My Shortcut to Enlightenment

Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Nicolás Gómez Dávila (Pseudonym: Don Colacho) was a Colombian philosopher and writer who is known for his profound insights into the tensions between tradition and modernity. His aphorisms and reflections provide a deep and insightful critique of modernity and its values, emphasizing the importance of personal growth and enlightenment as the key to true freedom and liberation. While some critics argue that his work is too elitist and traditionalist, his critiques of democracy as a flawed form of government that can give free rein to the lowest instincts of the people remain thought-provoking. Overall, Dávila's work highlights the importance of cultivating the spirit and pursuing excellence, and his emphasis on the role of art in revealing the intrinsic beauty of the world remains an enduring legacy.

  • "The only real revolution is the enlightenment of the mind and the improvement of character. The only real emancipation is individual, and the only real liberation is the liberation of the mind from its own illusions." - This quote highlights the importance of personal growth and enlightenment as the key to true freedom and liberation.
  • "The decline of the West is due to the rise of the masses." - This quote criticizes the rise of populism and mass culture, which Dávila believed would lead to the decline of Western civilization.
  • "Democracy is the form of government that gives free rein to the lowest instincts of the people." - Dávila was highly critical of democracy, which he saw as a flawed form of government that allowed the masses to rule and indulge in their basest impulses.
  • "There is nothing more dangerous than a man who thinks he has the truth on his side." - This quote warns against the dangers of dogmatism and ideological extremism.
  • "The only true aristocracy is that of the spirit. The rest is nothing but a vulgar parody." - Dávila believed that true nobility and greatness came from the cultivation of the spirit and the pursuit of excellence, rather than from birth or social status.
  • "The function of art is to reveal the beauty of things, not to create it." - This quote highlights the importance of art in revealing the intrinsic beauty of the world, rather than in simply creating it.
  • "The most radical criticism of the modern world is the absence of a sense of the tragic." - Dávila believed that modern society had lost its sense of tragedy, which he saw as an essential aspect of the human experience and a source of wisdom and humility.

The Revolution Taking Down Christendom (The West)

According to Poncins, it 'cannot be stressed enough’ that "Judaism only became a destructive element when we allowed ourselves to be impregnated with it." The problem is "the democratic, materialist and revolutionary state of mind which reigns today and influences every one, consciously or unconsciously."


Atheistic materialism in the spiritual domain.


Democracy, republicanism and liberalism in the political domain.


Collectivism in the social domain.

Poncins’ warning is even more important now than it was nearly a hundred years ago: the only ‘really important question in the world’, he said, ‘is the fight against the revolution and above all against the revolutionary idea.’ This idea has its roots in freemasonry and, Poncins explains, can be summarised in six points:

  • Religious
    By philosophy or mysticism or empiric science to undermine and discredit all Christian creed.
  • Ethical
    To corrupt morality of northern races with oriental codes — weaken marriage bonds — destroy family life: abolish inheritance, even heritable names.
  • Aesthetic
    Cult of the ugly and aberrant in art, literature, music and drama — modernism — crude orientalism — degeneracy.
  • Sociological
    Abolition of aristocracy — creation of plutocracy, money standard — by vulgar display, extravagance, corruption, to create revolt in proletarian minds, hence class-war.
  • Industrial and financial
    Having destroyed ideals of craftmanship and pride in handicraft, set up golden serpent of profit. Standardisation of cheap and shoddy — centralization — cartel and trust loading to abolition of private ownership and to stale monopoly.
  • Political
    To kill patriotism and pride of race: in name of progress and evolution set up internationalism as ideal of human brotherhood. Thus undermine national unity, weaken all governments and so prepare way for their super-government which shall rule the world.

"so long as States followed the two guiding lines of absolute monarchy by divine right and of religion, the powers of evil were unable to prevail against them; on the day when they abandoned those principles these powers triumphed." - Vicomte Leon De Poncins

What Jonathan Bowden Got Wrong
I have great respect for Bowden and he went a long way in explaining a demise that we are all preoccupied with.

"I’m a Nietzschean", Bowden said, "and my views are philosophical." Nietzsche, too, went mad. His big idea was perspectivism: "there are no facts, only interpretations". Without truth, the world is merely a contest of conflicting narratives vying with each other for pure power. But is THAT a fact? Is it TRUE? Nietzsche never managed to extricate himself from that logical contradiction. Nor could he have done. His followers haven’t either. It’s impossible, and self-contradiction is the touchstone of error.

Despite this self-referential incoherence at the heart of his thought, however, exploring Bowden’s ideas is instructive. They reveal how the Right goes wrong without Christianity. As Don Colacho said, ‘the simplistic ideas in which the unbeliever ends up believing are his punishment.’

But it also disagrees because all humans are equally made in the image of God. Without this transcendence, Bowden — like everyone else on the Right who abandons political liberalism but not philosophical naturalism — is left with only tribalism.

But race can’t sustain culture after its religious roots have been severed. Rome, for example, fell while remaining racially pure. So did countless other cultures, as Julius Evola noted.

They become what Spengler described as Fellaheen — spiritually exhausted, walking dead. According to The Cambridge Ancient History, Babylonian culture, for example, was in its final stages ‘spinning itself out only because there was no neighbour with enough force to cut even so thin a thread’.

IQ differences in the races, for example, do seem at least partly genetic, as Rushton showed. But it was Catholicism, not being Caucasian, that enabled European cultural achievements. Orientals have higher IQs but achieved less. Man cannot be reduced to the physical.

High IQ combined with secular liberalism results in bluetooth dildos.

It also results in what Bowden calls ‘total and utter atomisation’. Autonomy is the core of liberalism, and this weakens the sense of duty and community. Bowden says that ‘people are traumatised by liberal values and feel that they can’t stand against them.’ But prioritising materialism and small families, as most people in the West now do, is standing for liberalism. The idea of making sacrifices for parenthood as a civic duty is alien to them.

Given that a below-replacement fertility rate is, historically, the main symptom of cultural decline, they’re right. And they see the liberal West lacks a spiritual tradition demanding their allegiance. Nations exist in the state of nature with regard to each other — ‘red in tooth and claw’, as Tennyson put it. Weakness invites attack.

But because Bowden sees "Western civilisation as primarily, but not exclusively, Greco-Roman", his ideas about how to reinvigorate it are confused. Western civilisation is primarily Christian. According to one of the early Church fathers, Justin Martyr (ca. 100–165), the Jewish prophets and Greek philosophers were "Christians before Christ." Plato, he believed, had laid the foundation for Christianity: God was outside the universe, timeless, and immutable. Because Greek philosophy recognised man’s divine gift of reason, it also recognised the reality of free will, and Justin saw Christ as the personification of "right reason".

If liberty and rationality was the Greek heritage, the Roman heritage was law. In the Aeneid, for example, Anchises’s shade, speaking to his son Aeneas, tells him that, although others will exceed the Romans in the arts, the Romans will "impose their rule on the peoples (these will be your arts) and add settled custom to peace, to spare the conquered and cast down the proud" (Aeneid 6.851–53). And after Rome became Christian, Christianity became, according to Rodney Stark, "a highly centralised bureaucracy modeled on the Roman state. Ironically, this new ecclesiastical structure was destined to long outlive the empire and to play a pivotal role in the rise of the West."

Pace Bowden, then, Western Civilisation is primarily, but not exclusively, Christ and the Catholic Church. Any schoolchild could tell you that from the fact that the calendar says BC/AD. Christ is the pivot point. The heritage of Greece and Rome culminate in Christianity. Thus modern decline starts at the moment when Christianity begins to weaken and splinter: the Reformation, liberalism in religious form.

Because of this decline, ‘the West is very weak but incredibly highly armed’. Over the last few decades, however, practically every time Western troops have been sent to fight in the “developing” world, they have lost. What does a culture have to fight for when its divine fire goes out? ‘Enthusiasm’ comes from the Greek entheos meaning "divinely inspired, possessed by a god," from en “in" + theos “god”. When the fires go out in the temples, a culture is burnt out.

He gives Mel Gibson as an example of someone who faced up to the assault of liberal cancel culture and ultimately ‘faced it down’. But Gibson, tellingly, is Catholic. He has the enthusiasm to resist. ‘We certainly are in a philosophically vapid phase because we’ve privatised our belief systems’

Many people ‘just want a quiet life, but their vanguards that given them the identity in the first place will inevitably tend into conflict’. No subject is more neglected by the liberal regime that military history. And human history is largely war punctuated by brief periods of peace. Thus the timebomb at the foundations of liberalism is that ‘many liberal humanists don’t really like the people that they protest to adore because they all want them to become Westerners’.

For now, however, ‘economy is all that matters to people because they’ve been told that it is.’ Pseudo-conservatives are willing to sacrifice anything on the altar of the market. Unfettered capitalism is economic liberalism. ‘I would prefer,’ Bowden says, ‘if people change their ideas, but people won’t, and therefore they need the pressure of material circumstances to do that, and that takes an economic form.’ As the Bible recognises, ‘all things obey money’.

Given that the essence of the Left is equality, however, this is odd: Christianity is hierarchical. The Devil was cast out of Heaven for trying to equal God. Man is not equal to the angels. And the Psalmist has ‘hated and abhorred iniquity’ (119:163).

So what does Bowden mean? Remember he’s a Nietzschean. For Bowden, ‘paganism is natural law oriented’. And what he means by this is not what Aquinas means by it — "nothing else than the rational creature's participation in the eternal law" ( ST I-II.91.2). No, he means Hobbes’s state of nature where man is wolf to man. It’s in this sense, he claims, that Christianity is weak.

This is Nietzsche’s concept of resentment. Note this is not the same thing as resentment. A weak man might resent being weak. Resentment would be an inverted system of values whereby he tries to revenge himself upon the strong man by denigrating his strength. Weakness, he claims, is superior.

That’s the problem, Bowden, like Nietzsche, sees with Christianity. ‘I don’t agree with Christian ethics. Deep down, they’ve ruined the West, and we’re in the state that we are because of them.’ Nietzsche believed that, under Christianity, the slaves rose up against their masters, tricking them into praising forgiveness and compassion. For Bowden, this isn’t the way of nature. Nietzsche’s Blond Beast, happy and noble in his strength, is the ideal.

But what does this actually mean?

‘Become stronger. Move towards the sun. Become more coherent. Become more articulate. Cast more of a shadow….you’re doing it for yourself. IT comes from inside’.

If you think this sounds like Jordan Peterson’s blend, you’re right. Like him, Bowden blends Nietzsche and esotericism. And ‘doing it for yourself’ is ultimately a gnostic belief — salvation by knowledge — hence the similarity to Jung. For Bowden, religion is ‘really just based on ideas.’ So ‘you only have to change what’s in people’s mind. It’s very difficult though.’

But whereas Bowden struggles to explain this difficulty, for Christianity it’s because religion isn’t ‘just based on ideas’. Christianity is primarily about the will and the heart, not simply ideas. Religion ‘on its subjective side is the disposition to acknowledge our dependence on God, and on the objective side it is the voluntary acknowledgement of that dependence through acts of homage.’ In fact, strictly speaking, philosophy isn’t sufficient for salvation nor even necessary. ‘Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature?’ Christianity also recognises, as Pascal said, that men hate religion are ‘afraid it may be true.’

By contrast, Bowden, baffled by why he can’t convert the masses, thinks it must just be because ‘Nietzsche is too strong enough meat for most people’. The idea that Nietzsche’s core ideas are nonsensical doesn’t cross his mind. Resentment makes no more sense that perspectivism. For Nietzsche, there is no truth. And that means no standards of true morality either. So what exactly could in principle be wrong with the weak inverting values? Don’t they thereby prove themselves stronger? If Christians really did defeat the heroic culture of the Blonde Beasts, they can’t have been very strong. According to Nietzsche’s view of the world, where only power matters, the Blonde Beasts deserved death. And then there’s the fact that Bowden’s — ultimately Nietzsche’s — view of nature is also wrong. It’s not relentless brutality. Animals work together for mutual survival.

Bowden wants to say ‘there are metaphysically objective standards outside life’. Since there is no way to get value from a Godless view of reality, however, Bowden — like Nietzsche — is ultimately reduced to idolatry. As Bowden explains, ‘the dilemma always in the West is what to choose. Back to Christianity or on to paganism?’ Nietzsche worshipped the Superman, and Bowden says he prefers ‘tribally based religions.’

Without transcendence, tribalism.

Those who forget the Lord ‘walk after strange gods’. With his rune pendant and talk of growing towards the sun, Bowden sounds little different from a hippy, yet he claims that ’the ‘60s revolution is a cultural revolution, not really an economic one, but a cultural and social revolution and it needs to be reversed or changed.’ How he proposes to do this is unclear. ‘The energy can be taken and changed and moved in a new direction, you see? Everything’s about energy. Master it, control it, and you can control the world.’ And this vision of man as master — man in control of the world — isn’t so different from the liberal dream of autonomy after all.

Catholic not Orthodox

“Compared to the Roman Catholic Church the so-called Orthodox Church is just a collection of fossilised and moribund fragments of what was once a great and living Church. Indeed it seems to me to be a great object lesson in the disastrous consequences of abandoning the rock on which the Church of Christ was built.” - Rev. C. J. MacGillivray, in his book, Through the East to Rome (1931)

Why what starts in schism ends in heresy

Christ declared definitely that His Church would be one fold under one shepherd, but there is no agreed authority among the Orthodox Churches.

There are at least 16 different Orthodox Churches existing independently of one another.

Like all schismatical Churches, it has ended by splitting up into further divisions. Just as there is no united form of Protestantism, there is no one united Orthodox Church.

It has no way of deciding matters of faith or morals infallibly. What is its teaching on birth control, divorce, IVF, medical and health ethics?

On all these vital matters it has no authoritative or binding statement.

Indeed, when asked about the Orthodox position on birth control, Patriarch Bartholomew, the Greek Orthodox archbishop of Constantinople, replied that "according to a long-held tradition, the Greek Orthodox Church avoids dictating or making categorical decisions of a social or ethical nature." (Time Magazine, 5 May 1997)

It is mostly confined to the Greeks and Slavs and their descendants wherever they have migrated.

Its total following is only around 220 million, and it doesn’t make much missionary effort.

It lacks the continued juridical succession of apostolic authority.

The Orthodox Church acknowledges a bond with definitely heretical Churches, but they acknowledge no real bond with the Catholic Church.

They reject the unity that only the Church of Christ can give and therefore lack the supreme spiritual authority of the Papacy. They tried uniting around the Patriarchate of Constantinople, but that wasn’t sufficient to prevent secular princes demanding a separation church for each kingdom.

A unity of reverence isn’t enough. Only a unity of obedience suffices:

“If a man will not hear the Church, let him be as the heathen." (Matthew 18:17)

Before the Great Schism commenced by Photius in 867 A.D., the Patriarchs of Constantinople were all subject to the Pope. There were no Patriarchs of the Greek Orthodox Church.

The First Council of Constantinople in 381, for example, demanded that the Bishop of Constantinople should rank next after the Bishop of Rome, and before the Bishops of Alexandria and Antioch. The Eastern Bishops affirmed at the end of The Council of Chalcedon in 451, “Peter has spoken by Leo.” A century and a half later, Pope Gregory I wrote, "Who doubts that the Church of Constantinople is subject to the Apostolic See?" The Patriarch of Constantinople, and all the Eastern Bishops signed the formula of Hormisdas, who was Pope from 514 to 523. That formula contained these words,

“We follow the Apostolic See in everything and teach all its laws. I hope to be in that one Communion taught by the Apostolic See in which is the whole, real, and perfect solidity of the Christian religion.”

In 861, missionaries from Constantinople converted the Bulgarians. To bring them under the jurisdiction of the Latin Patriarchate of the West rather than have them under the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Pope Nicholas I appointed Bishops for the Bulgarians in 866.

But partly this was also to maintain Rome’s political authority over Constantinople, and the Greeks resented it. Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople, wrote to the Pope in 867 condemning the Catholic Church. Although provoked politically, he also made various doctrinal charges. The schism started when the Pope excommunicated Photius, who retaliated by excommunicating the Pope.
After Photius made peace with Pope John VIII, he was duly recognized as Patriarch of Constantinople. This reconciliation lasted until Photius died, but then trouble started again.

After various difficulties, Michael Cerularius, the then Patriarch of Constantinople, renewed the break with Rome in 1054. He wanted to be universal Patriarch over the whole Church. Appealing to the political importance of Constantinople, he won over the Emperor. And since then, the Patriarchs of Constantinople haven’t submitted to the jurisdiction of the Pope or sought his confirmation for their appointments.

But Greek Delegates to the Second Council of Lyons in 1274 (and at the Council of Florence in 1439) admitted that they should. They sought a return to unity with Rome. On each occasion, however, on their return to the East, national interest repudiated their admissions.

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