Hegel’s ‘Reason’ – the cognition of God who is Absolute Reason

The rose in the Rosicrucian cross is a concentration of mystical meanings including that of unfolding Mind. ‘To recognise reason as the rose in the cross of the present and thereby to enjoy the present, this is the rational insight which reconciles us to the actual…’ Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Preface.

‘Philosophy in general has God as its object and indeed as its only proper object. Philosophy is no worldly wisdom, as it used to be called; it was called that in contrast with faith. It is not in fact a wisdom of the world but instead a cognitive knowledge of the non-worldly; it is not cognition of external existence, of empirical determinate being and life, or of the formal universe, but rather cognition of all that is eternal – of what God is and of what God’s nature is as it manifests and develops itself.’


‘Besides, in philosophy of religion we have as our object God himself, absolute reason. Since we know God who is absolute reason, and investigate this reason, we cognise it, we behave cognitively.’


G.W.F.Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion Vol. I, Ed., Peter C. Hodgson, Trans., R.F.Brown, P.C.Hodgson, J.M.Stewart, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2007, 116-7, 170


Excellent words from a priest

The masses are the victims of the deception of a priesthood which, in its envious conceit, holds itself to be the sole possessor of insight and pursues its other selfish ends as well. At the same time it conspires with despotism which…stands above the bad insight of the multitude and the bad intentions of the priests, and yet unites both within itself. From the stupidity and confusion of the people brought about by the trickery of priestcraft, despotism, which despises both, draws for itself the advantage of undisturbed domination and the fulfilment of its desires and caprices, but is itself at the same time this same dullness of insight, the same superstition and error.

G.W.F.Hegel, Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, Trans., A.V.Miller, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1977, 330


On philosophy as a sanctuary for an isolated order of priests

Cloister garden, Domkerk, Utrecht

Cloister garden, Domkerk, Utrecht

‘This is the life of gods and of the godlike and blessed among men, liberation from the alien that besets us here, a life taking no pleasure in the things of earth, the passing of solitary to solitary.’

Plotinus, The Enneads, (Abridged), Trans., Stephen MacKenna, Penguin, London, 1991, VI, 9.11, p. 549

‘Instead of allowing reason and religion to contradict themselves, we must resolve the discord in the manner appropriate to us – namely, reconciliation in the form of philosophy. How the present day is to solve its problems must be left up to it. In philosophy itself the resolution is only partial. These lectures have attempted to offer guidance to this end.

Religion must take refuge in philosophy. For the theologians of the present day, the world is a passing away into subjective reflection because it has as its form merely the externality of contingent occurrence. But philosophy, as we have said, is also partial: it forms an isolated order of priests – a sanctuary – who are untroubled about how it goes with the world, who need not mix with it, and whose work is to preserve this possession of truth. How things turn out in the world is not our affair.’

G.W.F.Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, Vol. III, Ed., Peter C.Hodgson, Trans., R.F.Brown, P.C.Hodgson, J.M.Stewart, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2007, pp. 161-162



The expunged two thousand year history of Indian materialism

The facade of Lomas Rishi cave, Barabar Hills, Bihar

The facade of Lomas Rishi cave, Barabar Hills, Bihar

Nothing could better exemplify pure cant and the results of hatred than that those who themselves have developed intricate religious systems and argue or have argued for the use of intellect and the  focus of philosophic and spiritual concern on self and fellows, should succeed in expunging from the face of this earth, other than in their own polemics against them, every trace of two systems of belief, both existing almost concurrently, that lasted for two thousand years. As the Dvaita Vedantist Madhvacharya (1238-1317 CE) wrote: ‘The efforts of Carvaka are indeed hard to be eradicated’.1

The core of this hatred towards the Ajivikas and the Carvakas or Lokayatas2 was the determinism3 of the former and, particularly, the materialism of the latter. In raising the subject of materialism one is discussing a subject no less emotive now than it was in India in the lengthy period under review. The creative bile of the fifteenth centuryCE Jaina Gunaratna regarding the Carvakas4 is echoed in the much more recent words of Rhys Davids who argued that ‘Lokayata’ and ‘Lokayatika’ were pegs on which certain writers hung views they attributed to their adversaries, giving them an odious name, that such a philosophy hardly existed, like European materialists – although ‘one or two may be discovered by careful search …’5

On the other hand, and about the same Lokayatas, another wrote ‘They exhorted all people to cast off all their shackles which had bound them for ages and to march shoulder to shoulder towards freedom.’ One can almost hear the cry ringing through the villages ‘Lokayatikas of the world unite!’ Yet theirs was the one philosophy that did utterly reject not only ‘another world’ but the ‘buffoons, knaves and demons’6 who made a living advocating it. Clearly, words and views concerning the Ajivikas and Carvakas must be treated with the utmost circumspection. Nevertheless, what comes through in the writing of those who hated them or were opposed to them are somewhat more than bare outlines of two most important philosophies – particularly the Carvakas who were astonishingly bold and different to all the other schools.

My definition of ‘materialism’ is simple – it is a system of belief holding that that which is independent of consciousness and thought – matter – is primary and that consciousness and thought are secondary to and derivative from it. The world comes first and exists independently of us. We as products of it reflect it in our consciousness and thought. Shastri wrote that materialists in India did not attempt to lay down a system of philosophy but only to refute the foolish orthodoxy of other schools.7 The evidence argues clearly against this, both with regard to the materialist Carvakas and the religious Ajivikas, whose philosophy had elements strongly recognising the primacy of the world.

Basham wrote that not only did the Ajivikas have a canon of sacred texts in which their doctrines were codified, they had a fully developed system of belief and their own philosophers and logicians. At the core of their beliefs was niyati – the universality of which controlled all phenomena and actions and which made effort futile.8 The Ajivika universe in which time was infinite had finite contents, was highly complex, ordered and material,9 and within which samsara (like a ball of string unravelling)10 and karma (which for Gosala was effectively replaced by niyati and was without moral force) functioned.11 Chance (sangati), nature (bhava) and causality were illusory modifications of niyati – niyati was manifest through them. The Ajivika nirvana did not entirely transcend the world. Basham wrote that the atomist Pakudha Kaccayana and the amoralist Purana Kassapa were, with Gosala, among the founders of the Ajivikas and that when the King in the Milinda Panha asked Purana ‘Who rules the world?’ he replied ‘The earth rules the world’.12

The Jaina version of the Ajivika canon, given in the Bhagavati Sutra, in addition to two Maggas,13 include an eightfold Mahanimitta14 which clearly shows the importance they placed on the recognition and consideration of the world. This is again clear in the four key elements of the Ajivika faith.15 The four material elements had characteristic properties and tendencies: earth (hard with a downward tendency), water (cold with a similar tendency), fire (burns, moves upwards), air (motion in a horizontal direction). These elements16 and the atom of life17 (different to the material elements) were held together by wind or air, they were united by ‘eternal action’ (most probably a synonym for niyati. These theories, along with a theistic bent, were developed in the Dravidian south, after the decline of the Ajivikas in Magadha, from the end of the Mauryan period.

Although Madhvacharya begins his study of sixteen schools with the Carvakas – that school furthest from his beliefs – ‘the crest gem of the atheists’18 come through wonderfully as cocky, with a belief in themselves, humorous, determined, contemptuous of religious and philosophic fraud, straightforward and materialist. They have been referred to as sceptical, empiricist, positivist and pragmatic. As with the Ajivikas, what has been written about them – both anti- and pro- should be carefully considered. Although I have only found some internet references linking them to atomic theory I consider them materialist, not because of what they rejected (everything otherworldly)19 but because of what they asserted – which in effect amounts to the primacy of matter, and because of their consistency in doing so.

They held that the world and all in it are real, that everything is comprised of the four elements – earth, air, fire and water; that as alcohol is made from mixing certain elements, everything is constituted of those four, as is the body with its intelligence. When the elements separate, the body dies and intelligence ceases with it – our only ‘liberation’ is the dissolution of our bodies after death.20 ‘Soul’ or ‘self’ are only the body.21 Their assertions that consciousness is a material construct and that consciousness, sensation and perception are dependent on the body were both utterly logical and, in understanding the relationship between the body and the world, immensely sophisticated.

The fundamental principle for the Carvaka is nature (svabhava). It comprises the four elements behaving according to their own principle, combining and dissolving.

Fire is hot, water cold,

refreshingly cool is the breeze of morning;

By whom came this variety?

They were born of their own nature.22

Svabhavavada denies the existence of over-all purpose in the universe23 but does not contradict purposive activity on the part of humans. As the protagonist in the Samannaphala Sutta sought the fruits of a homeless life, the Carvakas condemned asceticism and argued that the fruits to be found in this life lie in how we live it – with our thought oriented to a material world and to do the best for ourselves and  live life to the fullest.24

I strongly suspect that the repeated attempts by their opponents to argue that the Carvakas rejected inference were another distortion,25 that their objections against inference were to show that not certainty (Truth) but only a practical probability (truth) can be established, that their fundamental objection to inference was that it be used to establish the existence of fate, the soul, another world and God/s, that their objection was not to reason as a tool. Likewise their rejection of testimony was with regard to testimony that relates to the unverifiable, particularly the religious. Still, the replies of their opponents to the arguments they attributed to the Carvakas on inference and testimony are often significant explorations of those concepts.

In his book The Notion of Ditthi in Theravada Buddhism – The point of view, Fuller gives an account of the various views that are stated to be wrong-views in the four primary Buddhist Nikayas. He writes that for Buddhism, our actions produce consequences – the view of ‘nihilism’ (attributed to the Lokayatas/Carvakas) is sometimes used to explain attachment (to sensuality, to view, to precepts and vows and to the theory of the self). ‘To deny that actions have consequences is … in a certain way, an expression of greed, hatred and delusion.’26 He wrote that K.N.Jayatilleke holds that ‘nihilism’ is based on the notion that ‘perception’ alone is the only valid means of knowledge and that since this is so, ‘higher perception’ is denied. Since, according to the ‘nihilist’ view the person is composed of the ‘four great elements’, there is no self and morality has no value. He cites Tucci who holds that the essential part of the view of ‘nihilism’ is the phrase ‘no fruit or result of good and bad actions’, and that this is in fact the central idea of Indian Materialism. The view of ‘nihilism’ denies the possibility of transformation and is a view that produces an unwholesome course of action and it is a wrong-view.27

I have several disagreements with the Buddhist positions, some already discussed. For the Lokayatas/Carvakas there is a self – it is the living body, and only the living body. The Lokayatas/Carvakas did have an ethic – not only to make the best of this one life we have but, by implication from their sharp and mocking criticisms of those who exploit religion, to do so honestly. A comparison could be made with Aristotle’s ethics on this point – although they are ultimately directed towards the perfection of the self of a self-focused man, and to a contemplative life. The central idea of ‘Indian Materialism’ is not the phrase ‘no fruit or result of good and bad actions’, nor the rejection of god/gods, of an afterlife, samsara and karma but the affirmation that matter (represented by svabhavavada and the four elements) is primary and the recognition of the consequences of that. The only possibility of transformation denied by the Lokayatas/Carvakas was that in ‘another’ world. And it is for this (essentially, their materialism) that they earned the hatred of the Buddhists and of those who advocated karma.

The Ajivikas were religious ascetics, the Carvakas/Lokayatas were materialist hedonists, similar to the Greek Epicureans. Both sects (as the Buddhists and Jainas) had arisen at a time of great intellectual ferment. Although the Ajivika doctrine of niyati was developed into a Parmenidean-like notion of ‘unchanging permanence’ by the southern Ajivikas and incorporated with theistic elements that facilitated their eventual absorption into Jainism, niyati was the taking of rta to its conclusion – the recognition of order in the universe. Basham wrote that by so doing, Gosala anticipated by over two thousand years the world view of the nineteenth century physicist.’28 The Ajivika canon and their belief in the four primary elements embodied their recognition of a material universe. Their theorising on the atom in that universe was brilliant, but they still were a religion – a sect for whom earthly forces assumed unearthly forms. The Brhaspatyas/Lokayatas/Carvakas were unique amongst all the schools.

If beings in heaven are gratified by our offering the Sraddha here,

Then why not give the food down below to those who are standing

on the housetop?29

Earth, air, fire and water are the original principles.

From these alone, when transformed into the body, intelligence is produced.

When these are destroyed, intelligence ceases also.30



1. Madhava Acharya, The Sarva-Darsana-Samgraha, Review of the Different Systems of Hindu Philosophy, trans., E.B.Cowell and A.E.Gough, Trubner, London, 1882, p. 2 Basham wrote of the intense odium theologicum felt by the Buddhists and Jainas towards the Ajivikas. A.L.Basham, History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas, A Vanished Indian Religion, Luzac and Co., Ltd., London 1951, p. 38 The mutilation of the inscriptions of Asoka and his grandson Dasaratha on the Barabar and Nagarjuni caves which were given to the Ajivikas by the Mauryan king Asoka, and the omission of his grandson’s name from the king-lists both of the Buddhists and the Jainas suggests that their patronage of the Ajivikas was strongly disapproved of by both other sects. The inscriptions were mutilated in such a way that indicates that the original inhabitants of the caves were evicted in favour of their religious opponents. Basham wrote ‘The selective nature of most of these defacements indicates that they were carried out by the religious rivals of the Ajivikas, who made use of the caves after them, and did not wish to be reminded of the former occupants.’ A.L.Basham op. cit., p. 156. ‘Salting the earth’ – which Carthage was supposed to have experienced at the hands of the Romans, is another example of ‘erasing’ one’s opponents. I am now thinking again about the writing of Democritus who wrote as much and as widely as Aristotle…

2. As with so much to do with these two sects, even who founded them and their names present problems. Of the Ajivikas, Basham, citing the Bhagavati Sutra wrote that there were Ajivikas before Makkhali Gosala, Basham op. cit., p. 27. Again ‘There are arguments to prove that (the Ajivikas) originally had nothing to do with Gosala. Ajivika was the name of a much older sect and Gosala’s father Mankhali also belonged to it.’ Sharma, Brij Narain, Social Life in Northern India AD 600-1000, Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 1966, p. 215. Another has argued that even the name, consistent with the supposed humble origins of Gosala, was given to them by their enemies: ‘The name Ajivikas was given to the sect by their opponents. The word ajivika is derived from ajiva, meaning one who observes the mode of living appropriate to his class.’ http://philtar.ucsm.ac.uk/encyclopedia/hindu/ascetic/ajiv.html. Of the Carvakas/Lokayatas my view is that their school originated with Brhaspati who wrote a Bhraspati Sutra and his school then became known as either the Lokayatas (‘worldly ones’) or Carvakas (‘fond of debate’). Other possibilities are that one was a sub-sect of the other or that Carvaka was the follower of Brhaspati. The meaning of the names might be a clue to any possible temporal order. Basham and Fuller use ‘Lokayata’ and ‘Carvaka’ interchangeably, Bronkhorst gives a number of versions as interchangeable.

3. ‘Fatalism’ has a certain relevance here – Basham recounts that Gosala, having experienced ‘repeated failures in all his ventures’ bought two bulls with the remainder of his resources. These were both killed by a camel. He thereupon ‘uttered a long chant on the power of destiny, and the advisability of desirelessness and inactivity.’ He ‘cast off all desires and attained immortality.’ Basham op. cit., p. 38

4. ‘They take spiritous drinks and meat and also copulate with those unfit to be sexually approached (agamya) like the mother, etc. Every year, on a particular day, they assemble and copulate randomly with women. They do not consider dharma to be anything different from kama. Their names are Carvaka, Lokayata, etc.’ From Gunaratna’s Commentary on Haribhadra in Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya Ed., Carvaka/Lokayata, An Anthology of Source Materials and Some Recent Studies, Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi, 1994, p. 267a. Such charges were made over and again against both the Ajivikas and the Carvakas by their opponents – to extend the metaphor, ‘eat, drink and be merry’ is the standard fare.

5. Rhys Davids, ibid., p. 371

6. The Sarva-Darsana-Samgraha, Review of the Different Systems of Hindu Philosophy, op. cit., p. 10

7. D.R.Shastri, A Short History of Indian Materialism, Sensationalism and Hedonism, (1930) in Carvaka/Lokayata, An Anthology of Source Materials and Some Recent Studies op. cit., p. 399

8. Basham stated that the Ajivikas did recognise free will in ‘everyday’ life. History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas, A Vanished Indian Religion op. cit., p. 230 Bronkhorst provided an expansion on this by stating that the Ajivikas held that bodies act according to their own natures, that although the real self does not act, that ‘activity belongs to the material world, which includes body and mind.’ Johannes Bronkhorst, Greater Magadha, Studies in the Culture of Early India, Brill, Leiden, 2007, p. 47 This could offer a connection between life under niyati and svabhavavada.

9. Basham op. cit., p. 258

10. Samannaphala Sutta in The Long Discourses of the Buddha: a Translation of the Digha Nikaya, Trans., Maurice Walshe, Wisdom Publications, Boston, 1995, p. 95

11. Bronkhorst argues that the Jainas and the Ajivikas ‘interpreted the doctrine of karma in the same way, believing that bodily and mental movements were responsible for rebirth. But whereas the Jainas believed that motionlessness might destroy past karma, the Ajivikas did not accept this.’ Greater Magadha, Studies in the Culture of Early India, op. cit., p. 45

12. Basham succinctly stated the core reason for the loathing of the Ajivikas: ‘The fatalism of Makkhali entails the antinomianism of Purana. Since there is no possibility of modifying one’s destiny by good works, self-control, or asceticism, all such activity is wasted.’ Their opponents then accused them of luxury and licentiousness. This charge can be countered in different ways: Basham repeatedly pointed to the severe asceticism and self-mortification of the Ajivikas, that references to this are in Chinese and Japanese Buddhist literature. Basham op. cit., p. 112 Again, regarding Jaina hypocrisy on their charge of the Ajivikas’ non-celibacy he wrote ‘It is clear that many ancient Indian ascetics, including the proto-Jainas who followed Parsva, took no vows of chastity. … Their own religious literature shows that the Jaina monks themselves were not always as strict in the maintenance of chastity as the founder of their order might have desired, and that occasional lapses were often looked upon as mere peccadilloes.’ Basham op. cit., p. 126 That the Ajivikas survived for so long in the face of such intense hostility is testament to their sincere austerities and moral discipline. ‘Ajivikas generally pursued their religious quest by the traditional Indian paths of pain, fasting, and gentleness.’ Basham ibid. He wrote that their community was drawn from all sections of society, that women were inducted into their sect, they had educated members, they did not encourage caste distinctions, their monks were active in everyday life, that not only had they enjoyed the support of the kings of Magadha and got their greatest support from industrial and mercantile classes, in later centuries the Dravidian Ajivikas were supported by ‘men of substance’ Basham op. cit., p. 134. Because the Carvakas denied another world and denied karma they were hated by all the other sects. Johannes Bronkhorst, op. cit., pp. 364-365

13. Religious song and ritual dance.

14. ‘Of the Divine’, ‘of portents’, ‘of the sky’, ‘of the earth’, ‘of the body’, ‘of sound’, ‘of characteristics’, ‘of indications’

15. The atomic structure of the universe, the Lord, the Elements, their modifications. The divine Markali delivered these scriptures.

16. Later additions to these elemental categories were ‘joy’, ‘sorrow’ (dukkha) and ‘life’ (jiva). Basham wrote ‘These elemental theories seem gradually to have gained in importance at the expense of the doctrine of niyati, which … plays a lesser part in the Tamil than in the Pali and Prakrit texts.’ Basham op. cit., p. 263 The atoms are neither destroyed nor created, cannot penetrate one another and will not split, multiply, nor expand. The atoms in Manimekalai do move and combine, at least on the lower level of truth. They may come together densely or loosely. In Manimekalai and Civanana-cittiyar atoms combine in fixed ratios. Single atoms can only be detected by a divine eye, but large aggregations can be seen when they form objects. The Ajivika atomic theory was most probably derived from Pakudha Kaccayana and was possibly the first in the world (Basham op. cit., p. 3). The Buddhists, Jainas and Vaisesikas also had atomic theories, again most probably derived from Pakudha and therefore from the Ajivikas (Basham, op. cit., p. 269)

17. Basham wrote that throughout their history, the Ajivikas maintained the material nature of the soul. Basham op. cit., p. 269. He attributed the origins of the Ajivika doctrine of the atomic nature of the soul to animism whereby the life of man was viewed as a solid substance. Basham op. cit., p. 284 For the Jainas, the soul is not material but both dharma and karma are atomic.

18. The Sarva-Darsana-Samgraha, Review of the Different Systems of Hindu Philosophy op. cit., p. 2

19. ‘The Carvakas’ denial of another world is enough for those who hold that ethics must be rooted in it to pronounce that the Carvaka had no ethics.’ Materialism in Indian Thought op. cit., p. 55 ‘Rejecting sacrifices on the basis of their involving bloodshed and obscene rites, the Carvakas are little expected to preach adultery, stealing and the like (crimes) which they are represented to do.’ Ibid., p. 59 The parallels between the charge against the Carvakas by their opponents (including the proponents of caste) that they were (at the least) pleasure seeking egoistic hedonists and that against the atomist Epicureans by their rivals the Stoics and Christians (who shared a belief in ‘Providence’) is noteworthy. The damage done to the philosophy of Epicureanism persists to this day, encapsulated in ‘epicure’. The arguments of Epicurus against a fear of death are also echoed in words attributed to the Carvakas: ‘While life is yours, live joyously/None can escape Death’s searching eye/When once this frame of ours they burn/How shall it e’er again return?’ In The Sarva-Darsana-Samgraha, Review of the Different Systems of Hindu Philosophy op. cit., p. 2 Jaina morality is expressed negatively (non-stealing, non-killing) and the Jainas believe in mortification as a positive element of right conduct. Compare with the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha and the tortured death of Christ which point to salvation through the recognition of suffering as being at the heart of life.

20. ‘Fools and wise, at the breaking-up of the body, are destroyed and perish, they do not exist after death’ attributed to the materialist and possible forerunner of the Carvakas Ajita Kesakambali. In Samannaphala Sutta op. cit. p. 96 ‘The Carvaka view on the soul or consciousness especially that of its discontinuity at death … met with severe criticism from the Buddhists who sought to maintain that there is an eternal flow of momentary conscious states’ The Buddhists argued that ‘the Carvaka cannot assert that the self (soul) dies at the dissolution of the body because in so doing he contradicts his epistemological position that nothing is to be accepted as true that is not given in perception. Nobody can report his own (absolute) death unless we hold belief in some sort of survival.’ Kewal Krishan Mittal, Materialism in Indian Thought, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, New Delhi, 1974, p. 48

21. In his Sariraka-bhasya (commentary on the Brahma-sutra) Sankara wrote ‘Here now, some materialists (Lokayatika), who see the Self in the body only, are of the opinion that a Self separate from the body does not exist; assume that consciousness, although not observed in earth and the other external elements – either single or combined – may yet appear in them when transformed into the shape of a body, so that consciousness springs from them … and that man is only a body qualified by consciousness. … in the same way as we admit the existence of that perceptive consciousness which has the material elements and their products for its objects, we also must admit the separateness of that consciousness from the elements. And, as consciousness constitutes the character of our Self, the Self must be distinct from the body. … consciousness is permanent … the body may be used (by the Self) as a mere auxiliary.’ In Carvaka/Lokayata, An Anthology of Source Materials and Some Recent Studies op. cit., pp. 237-240

22. Sarvadarshansamgraha, quoted at:

23. For the Carvakas svabhavavada was the chance flow of nature, the coming into being and passing away of its formations. Nyaya-Vaisesika thinkers rejected the view of the Carvakas as ‘chance theory.’ Materialism in Indian Thought op. cit., p. 52

24. In his book, Mittal made excellent points regarding the Jainas – that there is very little in common between Carvaka and Jaina thought. He argues that the Jainas are not intentionally materialist. On the contrary, they are opposed to materialism. According to them, matter and the material are responsible for human bondage. The goal of human endeavour is to achieve kaivalya of the jiva from pudgala (matter). Further, one is to mortify the flesh and undergo austerities to achieve this end. Subduing and even destroying the instincts is recommended. Matter binds and degrades the jiva, the real self of humans – it is chaff to be sifted from the grain. Materialism in Indian Thought op. cit., p. 103 The Carvarkas, through Madhvacharya, would reply ‘The kernels of the paddy, rich with finest white grains/What man, seeking his own true interest/would fling them away/because of a covering of husk and dust? Sarvadarshansamgraha, quoted at:
http://www.humanistictexts.org/Carvaka.htm op. cit.  

25. ‘The Carvakas do not admit any pramana (validity) except perception. According to them, that which is not perceived cannot be admitted as existent; its non-apprehension proves its non-existence. … the Carvaka assertion that whatever is not perceived is proved to be non-existent leads to sheer absurdities. One leaving one’s home does not perceive his relations, and therefore should believe in the non-existence of these relations and even of his home itself. There will be no point for such a man to return home.’ Gautama’s Nyayasutra with Vatsyayana’s Commentary/Elucidation in Carvaka/Lokayata, An Anthology of Source Materials and Some Recent Studies, op. cit., pp. 79-80

26. Paul Fuller, The Notion of Ditthi in Theravada Buddhism – The point of view, RoutledgeCurzon, London, 2005, p. 17

27. The Notion of Ditthi in Theravada Buddhism – The point of view, op. cit., pp. 14-18

28. History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas, A Vanished Indian Religion op. cit., p. 285

29. The Sarva-Darsana-Samgraha, Review of the Different Systems of Hindu Philosophy op. cit., p. 10

30. Ibid. p. 2


Basham A.L., History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas, A Vanished Indian Religion, Luzac and Co., Ltd., London 1951

Bronkhorst, Johannes, Greater Magadha, Studies in the Culture of Early India, Brill, Leiden, 2007

Chakraborti, Haripada, Asceticism in Ancient India, S.K. Bhattacharya, Calcutta, 1973

Chakrabarti, Kisor Kumar, Classical Indian Philosophy of Mind, The Nyaya Dualist Tradition, State University of New York Press, 1999

Chattopadhyaya, Debiprasad ed., Carvaka/Lokayata, An Anthology of Source Materials and Some Recent Studies, Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi, 1994

Fuller, Paul, The Notion of Ditthi in Theravada Buddhism – The point of view, RoutledgeCurzon, London, 2005

Acharya, Madhava The Sarva-Darsana-Samgraha, Review of the Different Systems of Hindu Philosophy, trans., E.B.Cowell and A.E.Gough, Trubner, London, 1882

Mittal, Kewal Krishan, Materialism in Indian Thought, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, New Delhi, 1974

Organ, Troy Wilson, The Hindu Quest for the Perfection of Man, Ohio University, 1970

Sharma, Brij Narain, Social Life in Northern India AD 600-1000, Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 1966

Internet resources (accessed 26.10.10)



Encyclopaedia Britannica/Charvaka

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy/Lokayata/Carvaka


Ian Whicher on Yoga and freedom


W5: Pillars of Star Creation. Double-click to enlarge. ...Are we thinking Dante?

W5: Pillars of Star Creation. Double-click to enlarge. …Are we thinking Dante?

Gustave Doré’s 1855 illustration for The Divine Comedy: ‘Rosa Celeste: Dante and Beatrice gaze upon the highest Heaven, The Empyrean’.

Gustave Doré’s 1855 illustration for The Divine Comedy: ‘Rosa Celeste: Dante and Beatrice gaze upon the highest Heaven, The Empyrean’.

‘How is that Power present to the universe?

…Conceive it as a power of an ever-fresh infinity, a principle unfailing, inexhaustible, at no point giving out, brimming over with its own vitality. If you look to some definite spot and seek to fasten on some definite thing, you will not find it. The contrary is your only way; you cannot pass on to where it is not; you will never halt at a dwindling point where it fails at last and can no longer give; you will always be able to move with it – better, to be in its entirety – and so seek no further; denying it, you have strayed away to something of another order and you fall; looking elsewhere you do not see what stand there before you.’

Plotinus, The Enneads, Third ed. Abridged, Trans. Stephen MacKenna. Penguin, London, 1991, VI.5.12

Imagine if someone inverted this philosophy, giving it a material basis – a basis in the objective world.

Marx did this. He stood it on its feet.

In doing so, he took this theory of knowledge to its most developed stage.

Now it must be taken further.


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Contra sacerdotes latentes

Marie Spartali as Hypatia, 1867, Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron

Marie Spartali as Hypatia, 1867, Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron

Originally posted 21.03.14

Emails sent to ABC Radio National – I did not receive a reply to either.

To Alan Saunders, ‘The Philosopher’s Zone’ ABC Radio National, 03.09.09: ‘Knowledge or “god” ’

Hi Alan,

On 18.10.08 Graham Priest said on your program:

‘I mean one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century had a definite mystical overtone to what he was doing. So you may or you may not have heard of Wittgenstein, certainly one of the greatest twentieth century’s philosophers. If you read the only book that he published in his lifetime, the Tractatus, that ends by saying “I’ve shown you all I can show; there’s more but you can’t say it.” So it’s a direct appeal to the ineffable. Ineffability and direct experience is not alien to the Western philosophical tradition. So to say that these things have religious aspects or some mystical aspects, therefore they’re not philosophy, is just a non-sequitur.’

On 01.03.09, in reply to a question from you, Stephen Gaukroger said:

‘I think a lot of the motivation for developments in science in the seventeenth century, particularly the late seventeenth century, are driven by developments in natural theology, that’s to say particularly in England for example, and this is a view to which Newton was very sympathetic, the idea is that you have these two sources of knowledge, still unreconciled from the beginning of the thirteenth century, namely religion and science, and the thing to do is to triangulate them so that you can sort out the wheat from the chaff, and the idea is that there is just a single truth: both these discourses aim at truth, so let’s triangulate them, get them fixed on the same thing so that we can work out what’s true and what’s false in each of them, and in the process, build up something that’s much stronger than either of them taken individually.’

Your program on 04.04.09 was on Hypatia of Alexandria and Neoplatonism. The blurb stated:

‘This week, we look at the woman and the heritage of what is probably the longest-standing philosophical tradition in Western civilisation: that rational yet mystical, sometimes Pagan, sometimes Christian, body of doctrines known as Neo-Platonism.’

On 11.07.09 Moira Gatens said of George Eliot:

‘I think at the time that she’s writing and Feuerbach are writing, the relationship between theology…and philosophy was much stronger than it came to be in the twentieth century.’ A week later Clive Hamilton argued for a mystical view of the world.

Just as Gatens gave the standard and profoundly incorrect assessment of the current relationship between theology and philosophy, Priest, Deakin and Wildberg addressed elements of a theological current that suffuses Western philosophy and arts – that of apophatic or negative theology – mysticism. It is one of the two great pathways to ‘god’ in our culture (‘great’ because of their impact and because of the contributions to the arts done on their basis). The other, from which it is inseparable, is the distorted and limiting understanding and application of ‘reason’ (or as the Christians believe – ‘Reason’) which in the twentieth century was revealed in academic philosophy as ‘the linguistic turn’, divorced from a basis both in materiality and practice.

As a materialist (those who describe themselves as ‘atheist’ require ‘god’ for their self-description no less than do theists, while those who describe themselves as ‘physicalist’ or ‘realist’ cause me to think of a mouse trembling before a trap, the cheese on which is ‘materialist’, the trap being ‘communism’…) I argue that the failure to even know about and understand this theological current let alone to teach it (the understanding of it, the analysis of it) as fundamental to our culture, as fundamental to moving forward in the most rounded way (distinct from Lloyd’s Man of Reason) is the most massive failure, the most massive display of determined ignorance, dishonesty and servility to the dominant ideology by generations of academics – those in philosophy and the arts hold the greatest responsibility.

Guthrie wrote that the strict meaning of ‘philosophy’ is ‘the search for knowledge’ and it is to knowledge not to a subject pervaded by a concealed priesthood (or in the case of Gaukroger – overt) that my allegiance lies. If you have a similar regard for knowledge and would like to contribute to the exposure of timeservers on a narrow goat-track leading from ivory towers behind cloistered walls, if you would like to use your program to contribute something truly new in this country to knowledge and philosophy, you might do your best to get Wiilliam Franke from Vanderbilt University on your program and interview him regarding his two volume anthology On What Cannot Be Said. These two books clearly reveal the impact of ‘god’ and mysticism on our culture, on academic philosophy – right up to the present.

Franke, himself imbued with academicism, does not realise what he has done. Rather than, as he sees it, taking philosophy into ‘new areas’, he has laid bare the priesthood of an ancient current.

I urge you to interview him, and by so doing, contribute to doing likewise.

I have tried for twenty five years in this dozy and servile culture to get academic support towards my analysing and exposing the impact of this current on the visual arts – and to date have met with consistent ignorance and had very qualified success. I know of no university in this country where (in terms of an impact comparable with that of Plato and Aristotle) one of the greatest philosophers in the West – Plotinus – is taught. It is an outrage against intellect, an utter failure in social responsibility by time-serving academics.

Kant wrote in the preface to the second edition of his Critique of Pure Reason that he had found it necessary to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith. I recall Wittgenstein, in an even more miserable tenor, writing in the Foreword to his Philosophical Remarks that he would have dedicated it to God but people would not have understood. Is this acceptable to you?

In the Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion excerpted in the reader for this year’s ‘Christianity as a Global Religion’ course at the University of Sydney it states: ‘One cannot ‘study’ mystics, except to the extent that they are prepared to write or speak about their experiences. There was however no lack of such material…’ True. This study is done in philosophy and the arts at every university in this country where these mystics are taught, but they are called ‘great thinkers’ and their experience is bounded by the limits of language banished from the Word.

Just as Cato the Elder argued ‘Carthago delenda est‘, I argue that the concealed priesthood particularly in philosophy but also in the arts must be flushed into the open, to unshackle the potential of the most advanced organisation of matter yet known to us anywhere in the universe – what we all have between our ears.

The title of your last Philosopher’s Zone asks ‘What makes a world class philosophy department?’ You are in a position to contribute to that answer and thereby to those with a passion for knowledge and progress.


Philip Stanfield

*   *   *

To Alan Saunders, ‘The Philosophers Zone’, copied to Phillip Adams, ‘Late Night Live’, ABC Radio National, 11.06.11: ‘Plotinus and what cannot (but must) be said’

Hello Alan,

Congratulations for having finally done a show on Plotinus. Now move from the safe and distant past to the present and do a show on the impact of Neoplatonsim and mysticism on modern and current Western philosophy and culture. You could take Kant and any of the German idealists, the ‘genius’ and mystic Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Derrida etc. Take your pick. Contribute to exposing the concealed priesthood in philosophy – of which the Neoplatonic ‘priest’ Nietzsche wrote – and which is a massive impediment to the acceptance of our rapidly growing objective knowledge of the world.

Interview William Franke of Vanderbilt University who wrote a groundbreaking two volume anthology On What Cannot Be Said: Apophatic Discourses in Philosophy, Religion, Literature, and the Arts, exemplifying the impact of mysticism on our culture up to the near present. Or perhaps Mark Cheetham at the University of Toronto, who in 1991 published The Rhetoric of Purity: Essentialist Theory and the Advent of Abstract Painting – on the impact of Neoplatonism on Cubism – the pivotal moment of modernist art – both books met by thunderous silence in this dozy, servile and provincial culture.


Phil Stanfield





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The Mystical Hero of Nietzsche and Weber

The Sermon on the Mount Carl Bloch, 1890

‘Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?’

In The Genealogy of Morals Nietzsche sliced and diced priestly asceticism. In The Protestant Ethic and the “Spirit” of Capitalism Weber asserted that it is a ‘purely historical study’1 of the impact of Protestant asceticism. In his writing he argued for a resolute facing of the facts, yet the true attitudes of these two hard men towards ‘priest’ and ‘Protestant’, indicatively stated by them in those books is conveyed by Nietzsche’s ‘ascetic ideal’ and in Weber’s concept with double meanings of ‘innerworldly’, superficially distinct from the ‘otherworldly’ asceticism of monastic life. Despite the forceful and bitter rhetoric of Nietzsche and the more scholarly (until criticised, as in his rejoinders) tenor of Weber’s writing, their critiques of asceticism, built on its mystical essence, embody a defence of that essence and are calls for its centrality to modern life.

Nietzsche believed that the focus of asceticism – from the origins of Christianity through the Enlightenment to his time – and what has undermined Christianity – modern science – is the ‘ascetic ideal’ – ‘with its sublime moral cult, with its brilliant and irresponsible use of the emotions for holy purposes’.2 This ideal, expressed in different forms such as God or knowledge, is ‘truth’ – the goal of a deluded faith in reason. While asceticism can benefit the philosopher’s and scholar’s intellectual work, it is none the less excessively repressive, world and life-denying.

The ascetic ideal is held by the virtuoso of guilt the priest above the herd, his sick patients, as symbol and proof of their guilt. The ascetic ideal is an artifice for the preservation of life, because it gives meaning to what is otherwise without meaning. Yet although it is generated by the instinct of self-preservation, its banner is ‘triumph in agony’.3 Nietzsche wrote that the ascetic ideal is the greatest disaster in the history of European health. With the ‘death of God’ his bourgeois society was free – to live well, to be selfish, secure, passive and mediocre. He thought his society’s cultural condition was meaningless exhaustion – nihilist. But this same climate offered a potential for renewal for those with the strength and capacity to live without illusions.

Weber believed he had made a discovery in the relationship between Protestantism and capitalism that could be traced to Luther’s spiritual revolution – his liberation of everyman from the priest – to become his own ‘priest’, and his notion of a secular ‘calling’ (Beruf) which gave religious and moral dignity to activity in the world. Weber argued that Calvin developed on this, and the elements and asceticism of Calvinist doctrines (and their offshoots in other churches), particularly predestination with the possibility of grace through works or the sanction of damnation took priority in his argument.

Since the eternal fate of the believer was unknown and, fearing damnation, he should live as if he were one of the elect by enhancing God’s glory and enriching His world through work and enterprise. He should not do so for the sake of idle pleasure or greed – he should live as an ‘(inner)worldly ascetic’, channelling his disciplined and concentrated energy into economic activity. He should contain uninhibited emotion, avoiding erotic pleasure and the instinctive enjoyment of life. He should avoid displays of wealth. Living simply, rationally, with order and method, he should accumulate the profits from his enterprise and re-employ them, building on what he had created, thereby enhancing the possibility of his grace. Seeking salvation through immersion in his vocation, he imbues the world with religious significance. Economic success was a sign of God’s blessing. Not only did this success result in the accumulation of capital which became the engine for the growth of capitalism, more importantly for Weber was the development of a bourgeois economic ethic – the ‘spirit of capitalism’ – which developed from the ascetic rationalism of the early Protestants to the rationalisation of economic and political life today.

Under the burden of predestination and a severe ethics, ‘innerworldly’ asceticism and the ‘spirit of capitalism’ progressed together but by the late nineteenth century, as concern with salvation and Christianity itself had declined, and rationalisation had advanced in science, technology, bureaucracy and law, there was left a society suffused with a disciplined work-focused inner orientation suited to the nature of capitalism but without the religious foundation. People suffered disenchantment and a loss of freedom and meaning. What had been a ‘light cloak’ for the religious had become a ‘steel shell’ (stahlhartes Gehause) for the modern. To counter this, Weber argued that individuals should find a Beruf or ‘calling’ in a value sphere (art, science, politics, religion) and to practice that calling with ‘passionate devotion’. His focus became the heroic individual who might be a model for others, one whose fearless life echoed the same principled asceticism of the earlier Calvinists.

Numerous differences can be found between Nietzsche and Weber regarding their positions on the effects of asceticism – Christianity, which Nietzsche hated and regarded as a millennial catastrophe that had promoted the decadence of modern man but which, in Protestantism, Weber thought had given an ethical core to capitalism; Christian guilt, which Nietzsche saw as the priest’s means of crippling humanity but which, as it operated with the requirement of proof as a sanction through predestination, Weber thought was his great discovery to understanding the origins of the ‘spirit of capitalism’; science, which Nietzsche regarded as ultimately a delusion but which Weber was committed to and democracy which, echoing equality before God was for Nietzsche another execrable continuation of ascetic Christianity but which Weber believed was necessary for a society’s health. Where Nietzsche hated modernity and the reduction of life to quantitative measures, Weber argued that modernity had liberating potential and that Protestant asceticism was fundamental to the efficiencies of rationalised modern life.

But the differences begin to blur on closer inspection: the approaches by both Nietzsche and Weber to asceticism (despite Weber’s assertion to the  contrary) are psychological. Weber believed that rationalisation together with bureaucratisation had resulted in ‘warring’ autonomous spheres of activity in which people worked as functionaries, disenchanted and deprived of meaning and freedom. He also thought that the conditions that had sustained liberal democracy had been undercut by modernity and came to focus his hopes on plebiscitary democracy and charismatic leadership as a counter to rationalisation and bureaucratisation.

Nietzsche’s propensity for the most freewheeling hypocrisy is well exemplified by ‘I have great respect for the ascetic ideal so long as it really believes in itself and is not merely a masquerade.’4 And this is the point with both Nietzsche and Weber – it is necessary to push through their words, through their surface arguments, to their deeper purpose – one which arose among intellectuals in response to the increasing pressure on belief in God and its overt acknowledgement by the rise of science, by the rise of our objective knowledge of the world that Nietzsche was in turn so critical of and denied and that Weber expressed commitment to – the defence of Neoplatonic mysticism – the major mystical current in the West, which suffuses philosophy, which philosophers are so afraid to address for fear of what doing so will expose in the achievements of ‘rigorous philosophic reason’, and the influence of which is throughout our culture.5

From the Dionysiac ineffability in The Birth of Tragedy to the final synoptic ‘aphorism’ in The Will to Power, Nietzsche was a post-Christian Neoplatonist. Why is this not commonly stated? No modern philosopher has been more committed to the ‘ascetic ideal’, to a life of religious asceticism than Nietzsche. His rage and bitterness are those of a man who had been conditioned in Christianity, who understood and hated its hostility to life but who, unable to release its ideal, knew his time had passed. With God in heaven now dead, the stage was cleared for his appearance on earth in Nietzsche’s response to late nineteenth century capitalism – Dionysus as the overman.

And this overman, this sculptor and perfecter of self, this rejecter of the (modern) world can be traced to Plotinus’ resonant sculptor around whom The Enneads are written. Weber shared Nietzsche’s romantic mourning.6 His solution to ‘the crisis of modernity’, within modernity – the exemplary individual devoted to his Beruf – a solution more scholarly, more sociable through service, less aggressive in depiction, less colourful and bilious, (his success in life – compared with Nietzsche’s failures – no doubt bore on this) drew on Nietzsche’s writing and the Neoplatonic tradition.

Weber’s use of Beruf derives from Luther7 whose believer, seeking unio mystica with God practised his calling in the world, thereby giving his worldly activity a religious significance. Weber’s exemplary individual, in a world where meaning had been destroyed by rationalisation and the loss of an over-riding salvific religious belief, with equal devotional self-sacrifice, seeks to re-establish harmonious meaning within himself. In so doing, he ‘rationally’ shapes himself.8 As with the subscriber to Nietzsche’s ascetic ideal, he ‘subordinates “mere” life to a value or purpose “out-side” and above life as it is. (He) interprets and values life as a bridge to a higher form of existence’9

With his hair-splitting concept of ‘innerworldly’ asceticism, Weber emphasised the ‘hard’, rational and ethical asceticism practised in the world by Calvinists and distinguished it from the ‘otherworldly’ asceticism of the contemplative Catholic. Yet he wrote ‘It is evident that mystical contemplation and rational asceticism in the calling are not mutually exclusive (Weber’s emphasis).’10 Weber’s blending of Lutheranism and Calvinism in his concept of ‘innerworldly’ asceticism is most interesting. According to Weber, in both Lutheranism and Calvinism faith must be proven in its effects, but the former enables union with God in this world, the latter is oriented to that with God in the next. Where Weber concentrated in The Protestant Ethic on the influence of Calvinism, the mystical element in Lutheranism sustains his argument in that book and in his other thought on these matters. It is as if the body of Calvinism conveys the spirit of Lutheranism.11

Weber indicates his heritage and summarises his underlying argument in the following words from The Protestant Ethic: ‘Christian asceticism, which was originally a flight from the world into solitude, had already once dominated the world on behalf of the Church from the monastery, by renouncing the world. In doing this, however, it had, on the whole, left the natural, spontaneous character of secular everyday life unaffected. Now it would enter the market place of life, slamming the doors of the monastery behind it, and set about permeating precisely this secular everyday life with its methodical approach, turning it toward a rational life in the world, but neither of this world nor for it.’12

The ‘flight from the world into solitude’ are the concluding words of The Enneads.13 The wish of both Weber and Nietzsche was that the ascetic who was no longer, could be no longer Christian, an overt believer in God, now with his religious beliefs concealed, as a subscriber to the ‘ineffable’, would leave the monastery of faith and enter the Nietzschean marketplace of modernity and live ‘God in heaven is dead, but creates on earth as me’. Nietzsche’s version as Dionysiac overman, as true Redeemer,14 was more deeply romantic, Weber’s man of the Beruf more consonant with modernity, less noisily integrating mysticism with capitalism – methodical and rationalising. Both figures were to heal the ‘dissolution of spiritual unity’15 in late nineteenth century capitalist society. Nietzsche damned religion and pointed the way forward through mysticism. Weber advocated mysticism but allowed that the embrace of religion was there for those not up to his mystical challenge.

Nietzsche’s overman and Weber’s man of the ‘calling’ have a common heritage in Plotinus’ sculptor. While, of the three, Weber’s model is most comfortable within his society, even there Weber had built a wall between the everyday and the value-spheres. His proscription of the mixing of the calling with ‘everyday’ life, as if the latter were something less than, is evidence of the striving for transcendent spiritual purity which is in all three models. All three face away from this world. The story of the impact of Neoplatonism on our culture is the great hidden, little explored and told story.



1. Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the “Spirit” of Capitalism and Other Writings, trans. Peter Baehr and Gordon Wells, Penguin 2002, 121

2. Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy and The Genealogy of Morals, trans. Francis Golffing, Doubleday, New York, 1956, 280

3. Ibid., 254

4. F. Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy and The Genealogy of Morals, op. cit., 294 These words, amongst his railing against ‘rotten armchairs’, ‘prurient eunuchdom’ and ‘coquettish dung beetles’, not to mention the basis of his argument through the entire text of The Genealogy of Morals and other writing, are at the end of The Genealogy of Morals.

5. William Franke’s groundbreaking two volume anthology On What Cannot Be Said, University of Notre Dame Press, Indiana, 2007 traces the history of apophaticism in the West through the writing of its greats in philosophy, religion, literature and the arts. Mark Cheetham has written on its impact in the visual arts. M. Cheetham, The Rhetoric of Purity, Essentialist Theory and the Advent of Abstract Painting, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1991.

6. In Nietzschean language he wrote ‘In (the Puritan) Baxter’s view, concern for outward possessions should sit lightly on the shoulders of his saints “like a thin cloak which can be thrown off at any time.” But fate decreed that the cloak should become a shell as hard as steel. As asceticism began to change the world and endeavoured to exercise its influence over it, the outward goods of this world gained increasing and finally inescapable power over men, as never before in history. Today its spirit has fled from this shell – whether for all time, who knows? … No one yet knows who will live in that shell in the future. Perhaps new prophets will emerge, or powerful old ideas and ideals will be reborn at the end of this monstrous development. Or perhaps … it might truly be said of the “last men” in this cultural development: “specialists without spirit, hedonists without a heart, these nonentities imagine they have attained a stage of humankind never before reached.”’ The Protestant Ethic and the “Spirit” of Capitalism and Other Writings, op. cit., 121

7. ‘the German mystics did a great deal of preparatory work on the idea of the calling in the Lutheran sense.’ The Protestant Ethic and the “Spirit” of Capitalism and Other Writings, op. cit., 32

8. ‘The ascetic style of life … meant a rational shaping of one’s whole existence in obedience to God’s will.’ Ibid., 104

9. Harvey Goldman, Politics, Death, and the Devil, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1992, 264

10. The Protestant Ethic and the “Spirit” of Capitalism and Other Writings, op. cit., 141

11. The impact of Lutheranism and its ministers in his family on Nietzsche is well known.

12. Ibid., 104-105

13. ‘This is the life of gods and of the godlike and blessed among men, liberation from the alien that besets us here, a life taking no pleasure in the things of earth, the passing of solitary to solitary.’ Plotinus, The Enneads trans. Stephen MacKenna, Penguin, London, 1991, VI 9, 549. Armstrong translated this as the ‘flight of the alone to the Alone’ Plotinus Enneads trans. A.H. Armstrong, William Heinemann, London, 1966-1988. vol. VII, 345. In Thus Spoke Zarathustra Nietzsche wrote ‘Thus they came to a cross-road: there Zarathustra told them that from then on he wanted to go alone: for he was a friend of going alone.’ F. Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra – A Book for Everyone and No One, trans. R.J. Hollingdale, Penguin, 2003, 99-100

14. The Birth of Tragedy and The Genealogy of Morals, op. cit., 229. Weber’s figure was no less self-redemptive.

15. ‘In the present, where we operate so much with the concept of “life,” “experience,” etc., as a specific value, the inner dissolution of that unity, the contempt for the “man of the calling” (cf. ‘the man of the cloth’) is tangible.’ The Protestant Ethic and the “Spirit” of Capitalism and Other Writings, op. cit., 313