Thursday, August 17, 2006

What Homer Knew and Plato Didn't

The right-wing pagans who reject Christianity because it is anti-white are partially correct; the institutional churches are against white people and our culture, past and present. But when the pagans suggest a return to Greece, my question is “which Greece?” If you’re advocating a return to the Greek philosophers, you may as well stay with the anti-white Churches because they are the heirs of the Greek philosophical tradition. St. Paul had no luck with the Greek philosophers because everything was speculative to them. They believed in the idea of truth but not in the incarnation of truth. That God could become incarnate was a return to the ‘silly’ gods such as Zeus and Hera which the philosophers had already rejected. Is it true that an advanced culture never had a sillier religion than the ancient Greeks? That’s what the intellectuals, the same ones who admire Greek philosophy, say. But if their religion was so silly, why is the European literary tradition so steeped in Greek mythology? Is it because the European poets are silly too? Well, yes, they are silly to the modern intellectuals; they can be read to produce an effect, an emotion, in the eviscerated academician, but they are not, to the academician, vehicles of truth.

In the last death gasp of a society, the academicians rule. Plato’s perfect society is a soulless, lifeless society. The European poets knew this, which is why they called on Homer for inspiration rather than on Plato. And it’s ironic that there is more realistic thinking in the metaphors of Homer than in the syllogisms of Plato, just as there is more realistic thinking in the works of Shakespeare, Scott, and Dostoyevsky than there is in the tomes of St. Thomas, Descartes, and Hegel.

If the new pagans prefer Zeus to Plato and St. Thomas, I’m with them. So were the European poets. There is more humanity in the Greek myths than in Greek philosophy, but there is something else that the new pagans overlook. The old European poets deepened the poetry of the Greeks. Homer’s Odysseus and Sophocles’ Oedipus were not looking for a non-human substitute for Zeus; they were looking for a man-god more human than Zeus. And if the Greek philosophers had not regarded Homer’s stories as frivolous nonsense, they would have heard St. Paul’s story of Christ’s Homeric victory over Satan and fallen to their knees and believed, just as Homer and Sophocles did when they crossed that threshold between heaven and hell and were vouchsafed a vision of the incarnate God. They knew him at once as God, because they knew, in contrast to the philosophers, that a divine God is a human God.

It’s not that there aren’t dangers when one follows the way of Odysseus, the way of the man of flesh and blood. Of course there are. There is Circe, there is Calypso, and of course, the Cyclops. But if the heart is alive, there is a chance, a good chance, that the Greek hero will find his way to The Hero. However, the philosopher will never find or see anything; he will be hopelessly lost in a rational maze of his own construction. Yet when the Church condemns paganism, it is generally the paganism of Odysseus that is condemned, not the paganism of the philosophers, which seems to go against Christianity. In order to feel the need for a redeemer, one must still be a man with a heart who sees life “feelingly” and can be moved to passionate repentance for sins done with passion. The philosopher, the man with the disembodied brain, needs no redeemer, for he sees nothing from which he needs to be redeemed. Passion, death, and sin are just ideas that have no real life outside of the mind of the philosopher. He, or more accurately, his mind, is almighty and self-sufficient. He smugly contemplates his own self-sufficiency through all eternity.

The Odysseus type of pagan needs to be converted to a faith that is purer and greater than his own, but since he has a functioning heart there is a good chance he will respond to His sacred heart. In contrast, the philosopher is dead. He cannot respond heart to heart to God because he has willfully constructed mind-forged manacles over and around his heart. Odysseus’s paganism would be a step up for the philosopher.

And the conflict persists today. The Kevin Strom pagans are, with their respect for kin and kind, at least human beings, while the various Greek Churchmen who think they have reached the zenith of human perfection, have yet to be born.

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