Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Renaissance & Palingenesis

Image result for Renaissance

Renaissance, the period of growth and activity in the areas of art, literature, and ideas in Europe during the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries, from the French phrase renaissance des lettres, used by the 19th century historian Jules Michelet. In Old French renaissance means "rebirth." 
Palingenesis, from the Biblical Greek for “re-birth,” is increasingly used in the Anglophone human sciences to connote the reversal or transcendence of decadence in a new order. The archetypal palingenetic myth is that of the phoenix arising from its own ashes, suggesting an organic process by which degeneration is the prelude to a regeneration in which the old is subsumed within a new form. This theme is taken up in the regenerative connotations assumed by an idealized national or racial past within the fascist mindset.*  

- I've read that professor in Oxford's essay.
- And are you convinced?
- That fascism is a nationalism of rebirth? Yes. He makes a very good argument.
- What do you want to talk about?
- "Degeneration is the prelude to a regeneration." The rebirth in fascism is a ritual, ritual involves self-forgetting through passionate action in a group. The Italian Renaissance was a rebirth that involved remembering. Do you accept that distinction?
- Yes. Perhaps to avoid confusion we should speak of Renaissance as a conversion rather than rebirth, an individual's turning away from degeneration towards the truth.
- Would you also agree that the United States is ripe for fascism whenever distractions do not suffice to cover up the fact that it's every man for himself here?
- I would agree.
- That even if the government decided to take indoors the million people who sleep on the street in our country, that wouldn't change the fact that people don't like each other here, don't care about each other? It would be a practical government policy, not a conversion.
- Yes.
- Is Renaissance possible then?
- Can change here be based on remembering instead of forgetting?
- Yes. Remembering the art, literature, and ideas of another time and place, when at every moment you're in the midst of life and death struggle? Do you think that is possible?
- For some.
- Very few. So then what? Should we simply count our blessings fascism that has to come sooner or later hasn't got here yet?

Further Reading:
Who This Man Is
The Love Of The People
The United States & Totalitarianism
Eve In The Garden Of Eden
Two Kinds Of Mystery
* Roger Griffin, Modernity, Modernism, And Fascism