Sunday, March 22, 2009

Green Hermeticism

I read the book Green Hermeticism last year, and enjoyed it. Recently a pal pointed me to this conversation on the topic, between David Levi Strauss, Peter Lamborn Wilson, and Christopher Bamford. Highlights:

Wilson: .... As a writer, and we’re all writers, the temptation is to look upon the Green Hermeticism book as the real product here, but I continually struggle against that, or the conference as the product, or even the academic course as the product. That’s not enough. If there isn’t a garden, if there isn’t a laboratory, if there isn’t a bioremediation project, if there isn’t something that can move into the real world as well as the intellectual world, it isn’t enough.

One reason that Chris and I are so interested in Hermeticism is that it’s the western way, without not being the oriental way. I mean, since Hermeticism exists in Islam, and Hinduism, and even Taoism, it’s also the oriental way. It seems like the way which doesn’t get in the way of anybody else’s way. Which seems like a real advantage, possibly. That it’s not only Buddhism, or only Christianity, or only secular science. But it could be all those things together with an overarching, unifying imagery.

Bamford: What’s fascinating about the whole alchemical, Hermetic picture is that it is absolutely universal and goes right back to the beginning—to the primordial revelations, to the first prophet or shaman. How could it be otherwise? Humanity has its being in nature, on earth, under the stars. Therefore nature, the earth, and the stars are common to all spiritual traditions and cultures. Every spiritual tradition and religious epoch has its sacred science, that is taught by nature. All traditions have an alchemical or Hermetic cosmological aspect.


Bamford: One of the pathologies we suffer from is an extreme confusion of means and ends. And Hermeticism and alchemy are always means to a single end, which is, depending on who would say it, divine service or healing—so that the divine may become all in all, the hidden treasure known, and the gods rejoice, and put forth their being with us on earth. Those are always the ends. Hermeticism is a means. But when you say “green capitalism,” the end is capitalism. It just happens to be green. Green has more of a true end, which would be service, healing.

(hmm, sounds a little bit like permaculture to me)