The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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The ricochet effect

January 18th, 2018 · No Comments

“Just as self-hatred is the purest form of pride, the desire to be someone else is the purest form of vanity.” – Hans Abendroth, The Zero and the One

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Mad monkeys, angry apes

January 17th, 2018 · No Comments

“Moderns regard violence as something internal to human beings: they often speak of the violence that originates in mankind, as if violence were a series of actions a man might perform, or—were he less ignorant, irrational, or superstitious—might as well not perform. That is why moderns are always surprised by sudden outbreaks of violence; it is why they ultimately cannot understand the phenomenon, even as their scientific and technological achievements multiply it exponentially. The ancients, however, knew better. Violence does not exist in man; man exists in violence. Man is merely a vessel for violence, the site where it occurs, the name given by violence itself to the instrument that enacts it. When the man in man is stripped away, he returns to his source and becomes his God.” – Hans Abendroth, The Zero and the One

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Just the routine stuff

January 16th, 2018 · No Comments

“In practice, everyday morality rarely ever rises to the level of the tragic. Most moral decisions are as simple as basic arithmetic; just so, failures are not matters of knowledge but of social training. Where genuine moral problems are encountered—that is, what are called tragic dilemmas—it is the nature of the dilemma that none of the possible responses ultimately suffices. Any decision, therefore, made in response to a tragic dilemma, will still be, to some more or less pardonable extent, immoral, and any moral agent, when faced with such a dilemma, no matter how much he deliberates, according to whichever ethical system he favors, will not fail to be responsible for this immorality. Nor, if he is truly a man of conscience, will he fail to be permanently damaged by the outcome of his response, whatever it may be.” – Hans Abendroth, The Zero and the One

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The cover-up

January 15th, 2018 · No Comments

“The origins of clothing should be sought in man’s desire to forget that his skin is already a kind of uniform. Masks, disguises, costumes—these are worn above all to conceal something from the wearer, who wishes to appear as someone or something else, in order to convince himself that his body is not what it really is: a mask, a disguise, a costume worn by Nature. Just so, we are never more deceived than when we speak of the nakedness of truth. Truth is something tailored, something we have sewn together, stitched up, embroidered, woven, hemmed, and cut. It is something that has to be put on—one leg at a time.” – Hans Abendroth, The Zero and the One

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Hurts so good

January 14th, 2018 · No Comments

“The relationship between thought and language is the relationship between a wound and its scar.” – Hans Abendroth, The Zero and the One

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How did that get over there, I left it over here

January 13th, 2018 · No Comments

“Philosophy does not begin in wonder. It begins in anxiety, with the disquieting suspicion that things are not how they should be and are not what they seem.” – Hans Abendroth, The Zero and the One

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Taking a stand

January 12th, 2018 · No Comments

“Beneath each of us shifts the sand of a desert vaster than the Sahara, the desert of our past, over whose dry dunes memory can only skim, blowing temporary patterns of recollection and reinterpretation across the surface of a noumenal landscape wherein the ever-changing is indistinguishable from the eternally-the-same.” – Hans Abendroth, The Zero and the One

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Wandering the wilderness

January 11th, 2018 · No Comments

“Thought exiles man from being, being exiles him from his self, his self exiles him from the external world, the external world exiles him from time, and his tomorrow will exile him from his today just as surely as his today exiled him from his yesterday. Never and nowhere is man truly at home. In order to experience this all he needs to do is to return, after even a short absence, to the city of his birth.” – Hans Abendroth, The Zero and the One

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Ordering the good

January 10th, 2018 · No Comments

“There are three orders of good ; viz. that which is imparticipable and superessential ; that which is imparticipable and essential ; and that which is essential and participable. Of these, the last is such as our nature contains; the good which ranks among forms is essential; and that which is beyond essence is superessential. Or we say that the good which subsists in us may be considered as a habit, in consequence of subsisting in a subject; the next to this ranks as essence, and a part of essence, I mean the good which ranks among forms; and the good which is beyond essence, is neither a habit, nor a part. With respect to the good, also, which subsists according to essence, it must be observed, that since forms are twofold, some alone distinguishing the essences of the things fashioned by form, but others their perfections, the genus of essence, same and different, and the form of animal, horse, and man, and every thing of this kind, give distinction to essence and subjects; but the form of the good, the beautiful, and the just, and in like manner the form of virtue, of health, strength, and every thing of a similar nature, are perfective of the beings to which they belong: and of some, essence is the leader, but of others the good.” – Thomas Taylor, On the Mysteries

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You don’t say

January 9th, 2018 · No Comments

“The human race is imbecile, and of small estimation, sees but a little, and possesses a connascent nothingness; and the only remedy of its inherent error, perturbation, and unstable mutation, is its participation, as much as possible, of a certain portion of divine light.” – Iamblichus, On the Mysteries (trans. Thomas Taylor)

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No telling what they may choose

January 8th, 2018 · No Comments

“Since the ignorance of, and deception about, divine natures is impiety and impurity, but a scientific knowledge of the Gods is holy and beneficial, the ignorance of things honourable and beautiful will be darkness, but the knowledge of them will be light. And the former, indeed, will fill men with all evils, through the want of erudition, and through audacity; but the latter will be the cause to them of every good.” – Porphyry, “The Epistle of Porphyry to the Egyptian Anebo” (trans. Thomas Taylor)

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Singing in the sun

January 7th, 2018 · No Comments

“The sunflower moves to the extent that it is free to move, and in its rotation, if we could hear the sound of the air buffeted by its movement, we should be aware that it is a hymn to its king, such as it is within the power of a plant to sing.” – Proclus, On the Hieratic Art of the Greeks (trans. Ralph Manheim)

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Mebbe you doan wanna know

January 6th, 2018 · No Comments

“It’s a terrible thing, at any age, to be able to point to some period of your past and say, Those were the best days of my life. For it means that when you divide what is to come by what has already been, the remainder will be the same decimal repeating repeating repeating to infinity. Happiness, when ill timed, can maim a life just as thoroughly as sorrow.” – Hans Abendroth, The Zero and the One (emphasis in original)

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There you have it

January 5th, 2018 · No Comments

“Life without death in it is no life at all.” – Joseph Campbell, Transformations of Myth Through Time

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Ticket to perdition

January 4th, 2018 · No Comments

“How do you go to hell? You make your ego system harder and harder and harder and are stuck with it. Hell is the place of people stuck on themselves.” – Joseph Campbell, Transformations of Myth Through Time

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Swan on down

January 3rd, 2018 · No Comments

“You know the rule: If you are falling, dive. Do the thing that has to be done.” – Joseph Campbell, Transformations of Myth Through Time

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Now is the time and here is the place

January 2nd, 2018 · No Comments

“If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (trans. D. F. Pears and B. F. MacGuiness)

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And we’ll answer that question any way we can

January 1st, 2018 · No Comments

“It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (trans. D. F. Pears and B. F. MacGuiness; emphasis in original)

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Welcome to the egohood

December 31st, 2017 · No Comments

“The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the psyche, opening into that cosmic night which was the psyche long before there was any ego consciousness, and which will remain psyche no matter how far our ego consciousness may extend . . . . All consciousness separates; but in dreams we put on the likeness of that more universal, truer, more eternal man dwelling in the darkness of primordial night. There he is still the whole, and the whole is in him, indistinguishable from nature and bare of all egohood.” – Carl G. Jung, Civilization in Transition

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Nailing it down

December 30th, 2017 · No Comments

“Wherever the thought of fixity rules, that of all-inclusive unity rules also. The popular philosophy of life is filled with desire to attain such an all-embracing unity, and formal philosophies have been devoted to an intellectual fulfillment of the desire. Consider the place occupied in popular thought by search for the meaning of life and the purpose of the universe. Men who look for a single purport and a single end either frame an idea of them according to their private desires and tradition, or else, not finding any such single unity, give up in despair and conclude that there is no genuine meaning and value of life’s episodes.” – John Dewey, Living Philosophies (emphases in original)

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How is it you are

December 29th, 2017 · No Comments

“What is it that has called you so suddenly out of nothingness to enjoy for a brief while a spectacle which remains quite indifferent to you? The conditions for your existence are almost as old as the rocks. For thousands of years men have striven and suffered and begotten and women have brought forth in pain. A hundred years ago, perhaps, another man sat on this spot; like you he gazed with awe and yearning in his heart at the dying light on the glaciers. Like you he was begotten of man and born of woman. He felt pain and brief joy as you do. Was he someone else? Was it not you yourself? What is this Self of yours? What was the necessary condition for making the thing conceived this time into you, just you and not someone else? What clearly intelligible scientific meaning can this ‘someone else’ really have? If she who is now your mother had cohabitated with someone else and had a son by him, and your father had done likewise, would you have come to be? Or were you living in them, and in you father’s father? And even if this is so, why are you not your brother, why is your brother not you, why are you not one of your distant cousins? What justifies you in obstinately discovering this difference—the difference between you and someone else—when objectively what is there is the same?” – Erwin Schrödinger, My View of the World (trans. Cecily Hastings; emphases in original)

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What’s the what

December 28th, 2017 · No Comments

“Concepts are functions of the mind, i.e., of individual minds. They may be derived from and signify perceptions of things in the field of space and time; or they may derive from and signify acts of the mind, the minds of thinking individuals; but in no case can they signify entities other than those in the mind or those perceived. The concept ‘dog,’ for example, is in the mind and signifies certain perceptions of creatures of a certain alikeness outside. It cannot be assumed to signify some metaphysical quidditas, whatness, or general substance dog, as an idea in a ‘divine’ mind somewhere else, of which all the living and dead individuals classified by analogy as ‘dog’ are representations.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology

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Not to mention someone who’s full of crap

December 27th, 2017 · No Comments

“Even a little intestinal sluggishness that has become habitual is quite enough to convert a genius into something mediocre.” – Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

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They made me

December 26th, 2017 · No Comments

“Who is that ‘other,’ those ‘others,’ to whom I entrust the task of being me? Oh—no specific person! Who is it that says what ‘they say’? Who is the responsible subject of that social saying, the impersonal subject of ‘they say’? Ah—people! And ‘people’ is not this person or that person—‘people’ is always someone else, not exactly this one or that one—it is the pure ‘other,’ the one who is nobody. ‘People’ is an irresponsible ‘I,’ the ‘I’ of society, the social ‘I.’ When I live on what ‘they say’ and fill my life with it, I have replaced the I which I myself am in solitude with the mass ‘I’—I have made myself ‘people.’ Instead of living my own life, I am de-living it by changing it to otherness.” – José Ortega y Gasset, Man and Crisis (emphasis in original)

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Or you can muddle through without a clue

December 25th, 2017 · No Comments

“Great biographers and novelists have always recognized that, in the lives of people growing up, initiations transpire through the revelations of chance, according to the readiness of the psyche. Beneath the accidental surface effects of this world stir—as of yore—the gods. Their ageless order of the archetypes of myth, ‘the grave and constant in human sufferings,’ can be discerned through all time and tide. The entire course of a lifetime is thus a rite of initiation and can be experienced as such.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology

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Get to work

December 24th, 2017 · No Comments

“A life—a life with substance—has to be earned and fashioned from within, not received from the world as a gift.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology

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Another way of looking at it

December 23rd, 2017 · No Comments

“Shame brings honor. Shame is the crown of the soul and a sense of shame the highest virtue.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology

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In case you’ve been wondering

December 22nd, 2017 · No Comments

“Behind every rich man stands a devil, and behind every poor man two.” – Carl G. Jung, The Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious

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So get over it already

December 21st, 2017 · No Comments

“Protestant versions of the Christian faith tend to lean more heavily than the Catholic on the family-cult theology of the Old Testament, which when seriously considered as an appropriate base for a proper world religion is constitutionally ineligible, since it is finally but the overinterpreted parochial history and manufactured genealogy of a single sub-race of a southwest Asian Semitic strain, late to appear and, though of great and noble influence, by no means what its own version of the history of the human race sets it up to be.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology

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Make it so

December 20th, 2017 · No Comments

“No experience is more likely to put politics out of mind, more thoroughly prove it irrelevant, and better teach how to forget it, than the experience, through art, of what is everlasting in man. And at a time when world political events of truly fearful force are involving all that is in us of individual human worth in sympathetic participation, overwhelming it and bearing it away—precisely at such a time it is fitting to stand firm against the megalomaniacs of politics, in defense, namely, of the truth that the essential thing in life, the true humanity of life, never is even touched by political means.” – Thomas Mann, Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen (trans. Joseph Campbell)

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