Welcome to Political Irish

We believe in free legal speech, fair play and good discussion. Sign up and join in!

Register Log in

Ioan Culianu on the Police State and the Magican State.

SwordOfStCatherine

Staff member
Moderator
Premium
PI Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2015
Messages
15,738
Likes
18,468
Ioan Culianu was a Romanian academic born in Iasi in 1950 who defected to NATO in 1972 and after that managed to make himself something of a protege of the great Mircea Eliade though he never subscribed to the Iron Guardist views of the genius and was basically a Right Liberal. In 1991 he was assassinated due no doubt to his Right Liberal messing as regards to his fatherland- the question remains who by? Very possibly it was by a Patriotic Communist and very possibly it was by an Iron Guardist, but much more likely it was by some combination of two from the remaining structures of the old Securitate which had survived the 1989 NATO coup. Anyway despite his lack of Patriotism he did manage to write two very interesting books "The Tree of Gnosis: Gnostic Mythology from Early Christianity to Modern Nihilism" and "Eros and Magic in the Renaissance", this is from the latter. The thing that strikes me about this is that the EU, most particularly in it's Western half, is moving or already has moved to a synthesis of what he called "the Police State" and the "Magician State".

By the "Police State" here he is referring to Socialist Bloc during the Cold War. By "Magician" state he is referring to the Capitalist "West". However the terms obviously in his mind are more far reaching, "Ideal Types" in the sense that Max Weber used that term if you will. The context of all this is a discussion of the work of sinister cynicism if not outright erudite sociopathy "Chain of Chains" by the great "humanist" hero Giordano Bruno, who's identity as a "Black Magician" emerges quite firmly from the text in question.

"Is the Western State, in our time, a true magician, or is it a sorcerer's apprentice who sets in motion dark and uncontrollable forces?

That is very hard to say. In any case, the Magician state, unless it involves very vulgar conjurers is vastly preferable to the Police state in order it's own out of date "culture", does not hesitate to repress all liberties and even the illusion of liberty, changing itself into a prison where all hope is lost. Too much subtlety and too much much flexibility are the main faults of the Magician state, which can degenerate into a sorcerer's state; a total lack of subtlety and of flexibility are the main faults of are the main defects of the police State which has debased itself to the status of jailer state. But the essential difference between the two, the one which works altogether in favour of the first, is that Magic is the science of metamorphoses with the capacity to change, to adapt to all circumstances, to improve, whereas the police remain always exactly what it is; in this case, the defender to the death of out-of-date values, of a political oligarchy useless and pernicious to the life of nations. The system of restraints is bound to perish , for what it defends is merely an accumulation of slogans without vitality. The Magician state, on the other hand one only expects to develop new possibilities and new tactics, and it is precisely excess of vitality which impedes it's good running order. Certainly it to can only take advantage of an infinitesimal part of it's magical resources. But we surmise that these are extraordinarily rich, that in principle, they should have no difficulty in uprooting the decayed tree of police ideology. Why does this not happen? Because the subtlety of those internal forces at play exhausts the attention of the Magician state, which reveals itself ill prepared to attack the question of a fundamental and effective magic in it's external relationships. The monster of intelligence finds itself without weapons when long term operations are involved or when it ought to create a "charming" image in international relations. It's pragmatism lacking in ceremony and in circumspection, results in an image which however false, is repugnant in it's partner's eyes, and this absence of promises and of Byzantine speeches, when all is said and done, proves as counter-productive as it's obvious excesses of intelligence and it's well known incapacity to offer radical solutions.

If we can be surprised by the fact that police state can still can function, we can just as well ask why the magician state with boundless resources, functions so badly that it seems to daily to lose ground vis-a-vis the ideological and territorial strides made by the other one.

The conclusion is ineluctable; it is that the Magician state exhausts it's intelligence in creating internal changes, showing itself incapable of working out a long term magic to neutralize the hypnosis of the advancing cohorts of police. Yet the future belongs to it anyway, and even the provisional victory of the police state would leave no doubt concerning this point; coercion by use of force will have to yield to the subtle processes, science of the past, of the present and of the future."

From pages 105-106 of "Eros and Magic in the Renaissance" by Ioan Culianu.
 

Tadhg Gaelach

Staff member
Moderator
Premium
PI Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2016
Messages
46,990
Likes
46,598
Location
By the Gulag wall.
I wouldn't go along with the idea that Socialist states were rigid, but it's an interesting hypothesis. I wonder could it be restated as the Rational State Vs the State of Seduction. It's clear that Capitalism uses seduction to to keep its population in thrall. And it has to be said that human beings generally prefer seduction to reason.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Moderator
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
OP
SwordOfStCatherine

SwordOfStCatherine

Staff member
Moderator
Premium
PI Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2015
Messages
15,738
Likes
18,468
I wouldn't go along with the idea that Socialist states were rigid, but it's an interesting hypothesis. I wonder could it be restated as the Rational State Vs the State of Seduction. It's clear that Capitalism uses seduction to to keep its population in thrall. And it has to be said that human beings generally prefer seduction to reason.
Well what I would say is that the Soviet Union and the People's Democracies were often run by Doctor or Engineer types who do tend to be conscientiousness, practical and down to earth- practical and down to earth though often to the point of wooden brainness so to speak- and so when they turned their hands to propaganda were often basically crap at it compared to Hollywood and the whole capitalist music industry, speaking from a purely amoral point of view. This is why I always have to roll my eyes when you get these hard line Capitalists enthusiastically claiming that the Commies are dexterously brilliant propagandists when in fact mind controlling propaganda is something that since WWII Western Capitalism has come to excel at.

I like your way of restating it; it is a tricky question which they prefer in general, to know that you have been seduced to act against your reason and your own best interests has got to hurt even the trashiest person's pride. I think a huge thing about is that rationality is something that has been very much devalued in our contemporary Western culture.

It is interesting though interesting to observe a partisan of what John Paul II would have considered "Freedom" during the Cold War being so brutally honest about what that "Freedom" really consisted of. From a Christian point of view I think very many of the issues he raises across the whole chapter I quoted from (the fourth) are of tremendous importance:

https://monoskop.org/images/1/1c/Couliano_loan_P_Eros_and_Magic_in_the_Renaissance_1987.pdf
 
Top Bottom