Thanks for the response NHA!
-Darken is pre-supposing that his listeners and readers are familiar with Traditionalist thought ala Evola, Guenon and Schuon. You on the other hand come from a different school of thought and from reading your input it word appear you agree with the historical materialistic dialectic espoused by Marx, and the Freudian and later militant atheist notion that religion is simply the result of fear and is therefore puerile. I am assuming that you are currently enroled in a state college or university?
- In Darken's defence he at least uses the word Truth and puts himself in a position where he has to defend something versus the tired "everything is relative", "there is no truth" position which is inherently flawed and self contraditory.
-Materialism is a strong force and so is fear, we may summarize this as simply "egoism". All Traditions start at this point and try to raise man above his own ego so that he may gain greater insight into the nature of reality and his place therein. This is true Religion or Tradition (ie. a symbolic language that describes reality) and seems to be more akin to what Darken is saying. As for the Medieval Catholic Church, one can also say that there are no shortages of individuals who did the exact opposite of hypocritically using spirituality solely for the material gain it would provide (ie. Savonnarola, the Desert Father and countless Saints)
- The Catholic Church also condemned the Cathars because they considered all material manifestation evil, including children. Somehow pointing out that the Cathars condemned the Church for being to materialistic is ludicrous because they considered there hands to be to materialistic. If any form of spirituality would be alienating it would be one that creates a false dichotomy between the spiritual and material. The Church and secular society also condemned the Cathar's because they did not believe in taking oaths, or abiding by contacts. Contracts and oaths were of course the foundation of Medieval society (a time when someone's word meant something).
- Darken is not saying that there is a dichotomy between material and spiritual, this is a false dichotomy that others have read into what he is saying.
-Darken is not saying that we should destroy all technology, this is something that you have read into his statement. What he appears to be implying is that we cannot continue forward putting our blind faith in the saving graces of technology. Technology must be tempered by wisdom and when it is not it becomes destructive and begins to control us. Instead Darken wants people to turn to the past and rediscover the lost wisdom of there forefathers and apply the lessons to our modern context (this is the fundamental message of Darken and anyone who cannot see this is missing the forest for the trees). Is this silly? Not if time does not exist, or time is spherical as many New Right thinkers believe.
- As for Savonarola? Consider:
"Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried. ~ Gilbert Chesterton
Chesterton must have failed to consider Girolamo Savonarola when he penned that line. First of all, there is no merit in a religion that is not worth trying. Second, every path is difficult, from the yoga path of Patanjali, to the eightfold path of Buddha, even the Old Religion. In all of them, there is devotion, duty, action, and wisdom. Only an egalitarian thinks that everyone must succeed the same way. Isn’t that why we honor our Saints, Heroes, and Sages because some excel and point the way?
I won’t repeat the history of Savanorola’s rise to be Capo of Florence; those unfamiliar with that piece of history can easily look it up. In brief, Savanorola passed up the “easy life” in his father’s business. The bourgeois life of family and property had no appeal to him; but tradition did, so he chose the path of a Dominican monk. Driven by an intransigent piety, he was unaffected by the lures of money, sex, and power, much like Dostoyevsky’s idiot Prince. He was blessed [plagued?] with apocalyptic visions [hallucinations?] which came from God. These were the source of his power and his torment.
Initially, he did not stand out, but over time he became known for his devoutness and he attracted a devoted following to his fiery and inspiring sermons. A series of events including the death of Lorenzo de Medici, the invasion from France and the rebellion of Pisa led to a power vacuum which he was called upon to fill. Although Florence was at the peak of its economic power and the center of the intellectual Renaissance, this return to a Medieval cast of mind still appealed to a large portion of the public. As a sort of priest-king, he outlawed usury, made sodomy a capital crime (causing many in the upper crust to flee), and engaged roving street gangs to enforce moral codes. He is most known for the Bonfire of the Vanities, where citizens were encouraged to rid themselves of secular, sinful and vain items.
Was this truly the difficult Christian life Chesterton described? If so, was it truly that much different from life in the Ancient City? Evola regarded Savonarola as the last attempt of the ancient Aryan-Roman spirit to reassert itself amidst the decadence of the humanism of the Renaissance".
No wonder no one liked him, he held people to a higher standard. Does this sounds familiar?
All in all, it sounds to me like Darken's ideas are relevant, or at least thought provoking. However, I am just a Darken fanboy seeking after supernatural abilities........;0)