Transmutation is the spiritual process of “overcoming” certain states of being and attaining something superior. This was contextualised historically and esoterically in the hidden art of alchemy, from whence we derive modern chemistry. The distinction between the two is indeed the distinction between “sacred science” and “profane science”; the former belonging to the spiritual domain of symbols and the latter to the physical domain: materialism. As Rene Guenon writes in The Crisis of the Modern World,
It was rather the deterioration of Alchemy, in the strictest sense of the word, which took place in the Middle Ages, with the incomprehension of certain persons who, incapable of perceiving the true meaning of the symbols, took everything literally and believing that in them there was nothing but a description of purely material operations, gave themselves over to more or less disorganised experimentation. Such persons, forever obsessed with the fabrication of gold, made, here and there, some fortuitous discoveries. And it is these that were the true precursors of modern chemistry. So we can say that hermetism and the Alchemical initiation are not related to modern chemistry by evolution or progress, but quite on the contrary, by degeneration. In this, as in other fields, modern science is built on the remains of ancient sciences, which have been gutted of their substance and abandoned by the ignorant and profane. ~ pg. 106-7
There exist in all true civilisations occult teachings which lead “beyond life” in pursuit of the Divine. Such paths are of course not for all men, only a select few can ever realise gnosis, knowledge of God, so directly; but the work of masters, teachers, accumulates over the ages, and to teach the worthy student their knowledge must be rendered decipherable in the form of symbolism. One of the best examples of this idea comes from Christ regarding the giving of parables unto the crowds whilst explaining the hidden meaning of said parables to His disciples; those who did not need symbols and allegories:
Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither to they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. ~ Saint Matthew 13: 9-17 (KJV)
A similar idea is conveyed in an earlier passage: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (St. Matthew 7:6). Such a distinction is also to be found between religious exotericism, which is for the masses, and religious esotericism, which is reserved for those of the priestly caste. Further in the case of alchemy, this “Royal Art,” we may cite Julius Evola‘s The Hermetic Tradition:
Alchemy … is differentiated from profane chemistry by a “metaphysic,” that is to say, by an order of consciousness beyond the senses, which ultimately presupposes the initiatic transmutations of human consciousness. Between this transmutation (the latter) and the transmutation of metals no longer in the symbolic sense, but now real, there are analogical correspondences. ~ pg. 199
This is to say that alchemy as it was traditionally understood began with metaphysics; it began with the spiritual, not the material a la faux-alchemy of turning wood into gold, for example, which is now a common myth as to what alchemy was. This is a misunderstanding based upon superstition built-up around early forms of the profane science Guenon speaks of.
So, if we can establish processes which lead to an overcoming of one’s “lower” nature, whether that be simple lethargy or indeed samsara, does there exist an opposite, or, at least, something, a process, which could be conversely examined?
When I wrote “Life: Yea or Nay” I was responding to a particular group of ninnies: antinatalists. The essential point of that article was that antinatalists quite literally hold non-Being itself as a positive state of affairs, they affirm, in their denial of suffering — a consequential denial of life — that nothingness is a moral good.
Such a philosophy has its natural conclusion in the suicide of the individual, as my extreme example of Otto Weininger conveyed, or, further still, the annihilation of all life, of all consciousness, of all motion. Such wickedness, such pure evil, runs totally counter to any notion of sensibleness, and, indeed all of creation. I am thankful that such stupid ideas cannot manifest in the minds of other creatures — what a horrible world it would be for all creatures to simply cease to be…
Indeed, what would motivate such an abhorrent philosophy? Dare I say it is the same philosophy — or, rather, mode of thinking — which underpins moral lowness and weakness? Aye.
One could describe the opposite of transmutation — the overcoming of lowly states emotionally and spiritually — as a sort of anti-alchemy, malfunctioning or malpracticed alchemy, or, rather, “malchemy.” Indeed it is malchemy which underpins masochism or the sexualisation of humiliation: not the overcoming of the base and squalid, but the admittance of it in a sort of inverting.
This is what antinatalism fundamentally is: whereas man, and indeed all of life, sees creation in and of itself as a good thing, as something which is positive, healthy and normal, the antinatalist inverts this and decries creation as unhealthy. The same process unfolds in the mind of the cuckold fetishist, or indeed the liberal oikophobe or indeed outright bleakness in its most vile and demonic of forms. Verily this sort of “underbecoming” as opposed to “overbecoming” is what underpins or motivates the social signalling one observes amid contemporary Leftist and the like; the desire to deny all that is powerful and great — or, rather, to view power itself as innately immoral, and to hold that which is low to be high.
What is good? All that heightens the feeling of power in man, the will to power, power itself. What is bad? All that is born of weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist
Power is the motivator of life, and absolute power, like absolute life, is Being in its highest sense. As transmutation draws one closer to the Divine, to God, to Being, to the Absolute, one is transfixed in ecstatic, confident meditation; yet antitransmutation, or malchemy, draws one closer to the Below, to Tartarus, to Non-Being, to Nothingness, one is ripped downwards to Hades in naive, uncontrollable, orgiastic stupour. Such ideologies within which this downwards-pull is manifest spring only from the lowest forms of knowing which seek to entrap one there and slam shut the Pearly Gates.
The Devil looks around the corner, and smiles a cheeky little smile.