It seems to me that Augustine apprehended a great truth, namely that every spiritual truth gradually turns into something material, becoming no more than a tool in the hand of man. In consequence, man can hardly avoid seeing himself as a knower, yes, even as a creator, with boundless possibilities at his command. The alchemist was basically this sort of person, but much less so than modern man. An alchemist could still pray: "Purge the horrible darkness of our mind," but modern man is already so darkened that nothing beyond the light of his own intellect illuminates his world. "Occasus Christi, passio Christi."
That surely is why such strange things are happening to our much-lauded civilization, more like a Gotterdammerung than any normal twilight. Mercurius, the two-faced god, comes as a lumen naturae , the Servator and Salvator, only to those whose reason strives towards the highest light ever received by man, and who do not trust exclusively to the cognitio vespertina . For those who are unmindful of this light, the lumen naturae turns into a perilous ignis fatuus , and the psychopomp into a diabolical seducer. Lucifer, who could have brought light, becomes the father of lies whose voice is our time, supported by press and radio, revels in orgies of propaganda and leads untold millions to ruin.