Here are writings from our century that have in mind the literature of all centuries. “Azure Bell” has two meanings. In one sense it is a perspective, a way of seeing things, being the phrase Nietzsche used to describe eternity as a deep, clear blue sky, free from the passing clouds of what human beings call “good” and “evil.” It is to view the world sub specie aeternitatis, under the aspect of eternity: to understand that all the contemporary moaning and bickering and moralistic clamoring emanating from mass culture will fade, while the eternal cosmos, massive and merciless, can never fade, and is thus the better mentor.
In another sense, “azure” is intended to call to mind the use of the color blue during the American and French Revolutionary Wars, such as with the coats worn by soldiers in both the Continental Army and the Armée révolutionnaire; “bell” in this context links to the Liberty Bell which came to symbolize the enlighteners’ struggle to recreate and improve the freedom enjoyed in the republics of classical antiquity in a world otherwise besotted by petty tyrants left over from the Medieval era. The phrase in this extended conception encourages the practical application of philosophy to politics, where free thought can create a free existence, where free men can gather to form a noble republic. The medievals (—despised by the Lucretians, deists, and pantheists of the Renaissance and of the Age of Reason, those “free spirits” whom Nietzsche often employs as interlocutors and to whose tradition he ultimately belongs—) represent the marriage of political despotism to metaphysical idealism. The medievals of all times rule through theological lies which fog up the mind’s critical faculties and shut down the notion of individual sovereignty, thereby conditioning the masses into masochism, debasing their behavior to make them the perfect slaves of slithering priests and coarse barbarians.
We see these things—the many collapsing into helplessness, superstition, and aesthetic vulgarity, the conniving cynics who exploit their servility and hedonism to no purpose other than the increase of their own short-term wealth—returning in our time. The medieval way of things is returning. High literary culture and its artistic progeny (painting, architecture, music, theater, manners), the treasure of the ancients and of the Renaissance alike, is fading. We can lament this fact like the T.S. Eliots, and croon about better days; we can ignore it and participate in the circus, pretending we do not know better; or we can begin anew by creating a this-worldly creed through high poetry, a poetry that affirms this world rather than a world above and identifies this world with the divine, a theology of immanence consistent with our science, planting the seeds that will flower into ripe fruit in some future season of the grand unfolding of the ages.
This website is thus a way out, a swelling of fragments shored up against ruins that will create a new culture as the old one is falling. Here, there is sanctuary, where one can hear the rumblings of a new cultural soul, a February before a vibrant Springtime sun dawns upon the icy fields.
“To stand over everything as its own sky, as its round roof, its azure bell and eternal certainty: and happy is he who thus blesses!” — Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “Before Sunrise.”
“Adieu. The Bell rings, and I must go among the Grave ones, and talk Politicks.” — Franklin, in a 1755 letter to Catherine Ray, the first mention of the Liberty Bell in history.