The Eternal War Between Orpheus and Narcissus: The Culture of ego-Transcendence Versus The Anti-Culture of ego-Reflection

Transcendental Realism - by Avatar Adi Da Samraj
An Essay from Transcendental Realism
by Avatar Adi Da Samraj

The Eternal War Between Orpheus and Narcissus: The Culture of ego-Transcendence Versus The Anti-Culture of ego-Reflection


In the so-called “modern era” of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, people seem to imagine that human experience is now remarkably different, in some absolute sense, in comparison to the experience of people in previous centuries. In the “modern era”, it seems to be presumed that previously unknown difficulties are now happening all of a sudden.

For this reason, it is also (and absurdly) presumed that art and culture are now (and from now on) required to be some kind of anti-art or anti-culture—or a to-the-public, by-the-public, and for-the-public reflection of the “new epoch” of “never-before-seen” negativity, emptiness, gross “realism”, public-“realism” art, and a totality of art and culture thoroughly debased and desecrated by the grossly politicized mind of vulgarity’s streetest dark and fireless deep of death’s own inspiration.

It is now (“post-all”) presumed that the experience of people in the past “allowed” them to create art that was inspiring and beautiful—whereas the experience of “modern” human beings no longer “allows” that.

It is now (“after” all) presumed that, because the “modern reality” is uniquely “different” from all past “realities”, artists are not supposed to “do” beauty anymore.

It is even presumed (in the now of “nothing more”) that the “aesthetic experience”—or ego-transcending and ecstatic participation in “significant form”—is no longer required, and even, somehow, no longer to be “allowed”.

All of this absurdly negative presuming about history and art is simply a misreading of both history and art. The past has been just as full of dreadfulness—politically, socially, and in every sense—as “modern” times. Indeed, in some respects, the conditions in past centuries were even worse for people in general. In the “modern era”, there has been far more enjoyment of the “goods of life”—for people in general—than there ever was previous to the twentieth century. In earlier times, people lived (as everyone now lives) with horrific plagues (in which vast portions of the population died, or may yet die) and (as also now) people everywhere lived in the midst of virtually constant dreadful wars. In earlier times, life was, in general, extremely difficult for most people (whereas, in the “modern era”, many more have lived comparatively well). In the midst of such difficult circumstances, people in past times always made intensive use of both daily and rare beauty, and always, as total and all-inclusive cultures, made fullest use of the “aesthetic experience”, and always everywhere promoted the daily use of modes of understanding that reach beyond the limits of mortality, of gross physicality, and of gross “realism”. In virtually all times before “modern” times, the human need for beauty and all-transcending “self”-understanding—and the indispensability, intrinsic value, and fundamental reality of beauty and profoundest “self”-understanding—was, in general, culturally and socially acknowledged (and, at least within the sphere of those who were most intensively so-inclined, both fully appreciated and fully exercised).

Human existence is, in every fundamental sense, no different in “modern” times than at any and all other times—except that, in this “modern era”, human beings have collectively arrived at some kind of agreement (or they have, certainly, been everywhere propagandized into accepting) that the great possibilities of human existence (including right and true art, and, altogether, the culture of ultimate transcendence) are no longer either relevant or acceptable. Indeed, the current propaganda is that those great possibilities should be abandoned, because “some uniquely dreadful situation exists now which human beings have never experienced before”. All of that propaganda is—like the naked Emperor’s traitorous tailor—utterly false. Indeed, all such propositions are merely the death-messages of ignorant anti-culture and the benighted philosophies of gross “realism”.

To “set up camp” in the realm of negativity, grossest “self”-bondage, anti-culture, anti-art, the absolutized defeat of beauty, and the universal denial of the necessity for the “aesthetic experience” of “significant form”, all in and by means of an intrinsically benighted and dreadful embrace of the realm and culture of gross “realism”, is to fall into a downward spiral that only has nothingness, death, and darkness at its end.

For the sake of everyone and all, there must now be the retrieval of really and truly inspired culture.

The right and true (and, now and forever hereafter, necessarily global) human culture is, by definition, a universal and positively inspired human domain wherein the possibilities of transcendence and ultimacy are cultivated and developed by all.

The artistic manifestations of such a re-newed culture of inspiration will not necessarily look the same as art made in the past. In the West, the institutionally obligatory “Christian” art of past centuries is no longer a necessary mode of representation. Indeed, specifically “Christianized” art is—within the comprehensive context of world-inclusive art—merely a conventional (and sometimes “official”) characteristic of “Western” tribalism, provincialism, and all-limiting culture-bondage. Likewise, in the East, all “official” (or otherwise conventionally expected) artistic traditions are based on “local” (and, altogether, “Easternized”) mythologies, symbols, archetypes, histories, religions, and social biases that do not (in and of themselves) encompass the indivisible totality of truly globally-extended (and should-be-cooperative) humankind.

The fundamental (and, heretofore, perennial) great disposition that must now be universally retrieved is the disposition to exceed the limitations of mortality, egoity, and gross existence altogether. That disposition is the right and true and necessary domain of right and true art, and (altogether) of right and true culture. The world-culture of humankind as a whole needs to become re-oriented now—away from its “meditation” on the downward spiral into darkness and the myths of “end-time”, and profoundly toward the disposition that would transcend all limitations.

The image-art I make and do is intended to serve the “aesthetic experience” of greatest profundity and of the intrinsic transcending of all limitations. My image-art is not religious art. My image-art is not made and done in any conventionally traditional manner. My image-art is made and done in the intrinsically free disposition that otherwise characterizes the fundamental manner of means that can be seen throughout the “modern” period and even the “post-modern” (or “aberrationist”, or “absurdist”) period. However, in the image-art I make and do, all kinds of free means that I have originated and developed are being put to use in the context of a unique disposition relative to doing art, and a unique understanding of the purpose of art. That purpose could be described as the “radical” (or always “at-the-root”) uplifting of the human disposition—out of the grossest course of conventional “realism”, and out of egoic (or space-time-“located”, and divisibility-driven, and “point-of-view”-bound) “self”-delusion, and out of the absurdities of anti-beauty, and out of the “dark”-minded determination to crush the “aesthetic experience” and even every lighted sign and vestige of “significant form”. In that sense, the image-art I make and do manifests the same fundamental disposition that human art has manifested for thousands of years. That anciently demonstrated disposition would transcend death, and egoity, and mortality, and gross “realism”—and all of the political and social and cultural darkness that inevitably follows upon the “philosophy” of gross “realism”.

Both the image-art and the literary art I make and do are free manifestations of what I intend as right and true art—or art in the ego-transcending (or Orphic) and, altogether, Transcendental Realist mode of action, rather than in the merely ego-reflecting and gross-“realism”-bound (or Narcissistic) mode of action.

Orpheus and Narcissus are, characteristically and inherently, opposites—in forever opposition to one another. One of the forever two must die in the eternal struggle—or else neither one can win.

Narcissus (or the ego-“I”) must die. Orpheus (or the will to ego-transcending Perfection) must win. Or else, the human being—or even the total culture of humankind—will die in contemplation of the mirror that is its own and mortal mind.

This “modern” time is not, in any absolute sense, different from previous times. It is simply that people in this time are tending not to make use of what is required to transcend the binding and negating force of mortal human experience. Indeed, in this “modern” time, human beings are collectively relinquishing the very means that, in all previous epochs of human history, have been used to master and go beyond the limiting power of mortal human experience.

If humankind ceases to make use of the disposition to transcend limitations—if people are somehow “talked out” of that disposition, or if that disposition is somehow culturally, socially, and politically not permitted—then the “dark” time that humankind is now suffering (and that, in every fundamental sense, shares all of the same human experiences of difficulty, stress, challenge, and limitation that humankind has suffered throughout human history) can, indeed, become an “end-time”. To “cancel” the impulse to transcend limitations is a volunteering to death, to negativity, to “dark”-mindedness, to anti-culture, to nihilism—and, ultimately, to the unconscionable (and even willful) annihilation of humankind and the inexcusable destruction of all of the natural domain of Earth.

When human beings cease to make use of the means for transcending limitations, they, consequently and inevitably, bind themselves to what would, otherwise, be transcended and gone beyond. And that bondage inevitably becomes death, negation, darkness, and emptiness.

Human culture is now, collectively and globally, in the untenable position of willfully choosing to not make use of the means for transcending limitations—and of collectively choosing to globally suffer the inevitable consequences. Thus, human culture is now volunteering to be utterly brought down by chaotic and gross influences. This devastating cultural trend is evident not only in the global political and social happenings that are everywhere now so dreadful from day to day. This devastating trend is also evident in the life of each and every human individual—whatever the zones of daily existence in which any given individual participates.

To be collectively (politically, socially, and culturally) without the will and the means for transcending limitations—and, thus, altogether, to be collectively without the will and the means to go (even Ultimately and Perfectly) beyond—is the characteristic (and the “globalized” suffering) of people everywhere in the present moment of human history.

Through the image-art (and the literary art) I make and do—and also through all of the work I do altogether—I am here to undo the “dark” disposition, and to restore humankind to the disposition of transcending limitations and of Realizing the Ultimate Truth That Is (Transcendentally and Spiritually) the Intrinsically egoless, Non-separate, and Indivisible Self-Nature, Self-Condition, and Self-State of Reality Itself.

What I am working to do with the making and doing of image-art is to bring the right and true means of transcending all limitations—and of Realizing Ultimate Truth As Reality Itself—into the context of visual perception, and to actually demonstrate that all-limitation-transcending means (and That Ultimate Reality-Realization) as and by means of all the images I make and do.



The Emperor’s new tailor is always here a fraud.

Long live the forever naked Emperor of all of Right and True—and mock with laugh again the fraud of fashion’s tailored new, that makes a show to hide or dark the Solar “Bright” of Real.

Death to the Archetypal tailor, the “self”-intoxicated Dope, Narcissus—the Sleep of heart in here and now.

Let Orpheus be Emperor of all of art and culture’s Lighted Happen in your briefest time on here.

Narcissus is the forever dead you should not want or imitate alive.

Behold the Right and Perfect Emperor of all true art and life—the Orphic Icon that is heart itself—that makes the free and ancient culturing of virtue’s humankind in mortal time of Realest Light.

Forget the tailor’s irony—the path and walk of heartless mirroring of “as-it-were”—and let the fool Narcissus go where Disapparent is, that cannot walk and rule the streets of Where you Are.

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