Mystics and Trainspotters

The bourgeoise disdain tidings of salvation, not because we are clever enough to see through all delusions, but because we have an unbreaking faith that we are already saved. Evidence of our soteriological accomplishment lies all around us, in the stores that carry our material needs, in the machines that provide us with companionship and entertainment. We are aware, perhaps, that we ourselves are deeply flawed individuals. But something, somewhere, must have gone right for this world to be the way it is; that is the bourgeoise credo.

Often enough, from this state of things both discomfort and curiosity emerge. This way of life does not, after all, make sense. We begin to understand that our lives are made safe and happy by civilization; that civilization has effects we cannot see, and that it is created by forces we cannot see; that its continued existence is by no means guaranteed. We may begin to study in books, to better understand how this time and place came to exist. And for the less historically aware, mysticism takes hold. Perhaps civilization is in danger. Perhaps it must be destroyed and replaced with a better one. Either way, a new path to salvation is laid out in the minds of the faithful, a series of stations ranging from practical, to obscure, to downright strange. A new object of devotion is found in the future state of humanity itself.

With enough history on hand to know how these movements work, though, a true intellectual cannot become a mystic. Disillusioned by the universality of error throughout human history, we are forced to stand on the sidelines and observe the forces at work, occasionally calling foul when they make an obvious error. Being treated to this game in and out every month of the year, we often become trainspotters. A particular movement will take over our interest, and we will become better acquainted with its inner workings than the mystics themselves. In America, the “leftist trainspotters” catalog the splits and merges of Trotskyist groups; in Japan, the “kyosan shumi” do the same. In Japan, the “Aumers” gain an encyclopedic knowledge of the once vast and murderous occult group Aum Shinrikyo; in America, unfortunately, this job is divided between atheists pushing their ideology and religious scholars pushing theirs, with neither group recognizing the exciting possibilities of a trainspotter’s life.

Trainspotters of the mystics always seem to be split between derision, curiosity, and sympathy. The last of these feelings may be the most profound. Mystics aim for nothing less than the creation of a new world in their image– and sometimes they are successful. For even though the mystics are often drawn to futile or dangerous activities, there is a creative power in their world that the trainspotters lack. For as we sit in our bourgeoise palaces, the concepts of laws, money, rights, government, society that we employ are nothing more than the unleashed and structured form of a latent mystical energy, the ability to believe in these unseen things and thereby determine how humans will behave. And to create a concept for tomorrow that does not exist today, we must again harness that power inherent in our minds.

Mystics are the enemy of the individual and the bourgeoise, but perhaps they are a friend to humanity.

Posted: June 11th, 2011 | Politics, Secular-Religious 3 Comments »

3 Comments on “Mystics and Trainspotters”

  1. 1 Gabe Ruth said at 12:17 am on October 13th, 2011:

    The beginning of this was pretty profound, still thinking about the rest. I married into a bourgeois family, coming from a family of mystics in a bourgeois existence (with some temporary attempts at leaving it). This life does not make sense at all, but if you can appreciate things as they are it’s difficult to beat for observing the world from a safe distance and doing as you please. The romantic in me screams that it’s all frivolity, but he has no alternative, and my loved ones don’t feel it. Still, of late I’ve been feeling apprehensive, and pausing to savor certain moments while thinking this state cannot last.

  2. 2 Ash Milton said at 4:16 am on July 15th, 2013:

    The trainspotter is definitely a position I’ve taken for a long time, particularly with regards to religious study and Tradition. Would you classify yourself as such as well? Good note to end on – the necessity of moving from observer to actor.

  3. 3 Avery said at 11:10 am on July 17th, 2013:

    I just reread the post and it’s better than average writing for me, describing how I felt in 2011, but since then my discovery of Evola and Guenon has moved me closer to faith. My upcoming book is outrageously mystical from the perspective of my liberal, trainspotter friends.

    However, Traditionalism is only an acknowledgment of the importance of sympathy. In terms of “choosing a tradition”, which is kind of clumsy language, I still remain on the outside. Recent events are making it more possible for me to move to the inside but I am still extremely cautious about taking the correct path. Cologero recently told us about how he threw caution to the wind and traveled down many false paths, but I have a very different personality and lifestyle from him.