Category Archives: The Way

Drift, Not Doom: The Beginning of the End

The middle class was always spoken of in near sacred terms by my father. Perhaps you can get this from a lot of cold war era conservatives. It was a validation of the American way of life because, by every indicator, the American family (and in a broader sense, the Anglosphere family) lived head & shoulders above anyone else. The Europeans, of course, are (were?) included right up to the Iron Courtain in these considerations — we had rebuilt them and aided them because, after all, the North Americans are the sons of Europe & we are Europe  beyond Europe. The middle class was the important difference between us & our enemies and it represented the fruit of our system: to be able to live free and live with great means, with a permanent sense of upward movement.
Le petit bourgeoisie was vital to our success– in order to have a good society, you had to have an Americanesque middle class which was highly educated and capable of not just managing the large scale production and having their members become the innovators of technology, industry and culture, but also competent participants in the society as a whole. For even the Americans of the sixties were not naive enough to think that good society happened in a vacuum, and that the economic circumstances alone were enough for them to be considered successful.
 
The Soviets were daily reminders of what happened if the people were sucked into a Leftist narrative: a spiral of degeneracy. The Fascists were representatives of those brought into some classic Traditionalist & Fascist ideology: a culture of jingoism, murder and racism in their own right. In my father’s time, it would seem quite clear that the happy medium was reached and the delicate balance was unlikely to be screwed up.
 
And it is the destruction & dismantling of this middle class, and its ruin through egalitarianism & social degeneracy which marks the decline of the West as a whole. We can see it in the rise of household debt, the ever increasing amount of illegitimate births and divorce, the general rise in divorce and its substantial decline being partly explained in the lack of marriage and, of course, who can look at the rise of LGBTQ as its own set of indicators as the decline of a moral consensus let alone a moral consensus with a meaningful posture. While some of these numbers do not add up to a sense of the world falling apart around us and there is no real sense of doom in the now, we can see that the US has massive political divergence & polarization, and while ironically the pessimistic attitudes of conservatives towards the state of the society are nearly always firmly rebuffed by optimistic liberals who saw their perspectives triumph over the last decade these are the same people who ultimately were weeping openly on November 8th.
While there is no sense of imminent doom, there is a sense of drift. We can explain away the doom simply: do we imagine that the economic infrastructure of Rome or the Ottomans began collapsing overnight when the leading citizens became increasingly incapable, childless and decadent? Of course not. Rome would go on to fund mercenary armies and the Ottomans would be able to raise massive forces from their human tributes and vast stretches of land. Just as such, the Americans hold in their hands the reigns of limitless capital and possess the petrodollar. No one can afford to turn their backs on them because they hold the practical means of production — whether or not it is in the hands of a capable Stoic who steers the ship towards success or it is in the queer hand of an anemic wastrel, people are going to do business with the people who have businesses.
The drift is what is worrisome because it represents an internal negation. America ceases to represent a method of doing things, a collection of values, a way of life. It comes to be associated with the political crisis of this negation. While the economy might continue to function it will do so in diminishing form simply because, without direction, without a projection of interests, the spheres of influence will naturally wane and competitors will eat up portions of the Empire (con ti partiro…).
Is this about gay marriage & transgender restroom use? The trend is to diminish these things and say that they are issues too small to be relevant, and to also energetically gesticulate and point out how there is no conceivable direct connection between mah gay frands & their cute baby. In reality, though, it is all about gays at the altar & crossdressing men in the women’s locker room — it simply isn’t entirely about gays & bathrooms. These are merely symptoms of society’s drift apart through which we get society’s self-negation and thereby the diminishment and decline of the American state & people.
The proper framing of social degeneracy has to encompass more than just the things we immediately do not like because it is outside of our 1990s comfort zone. Without the increase in  illegitimacy rates, divorce rates and the arrival of the open society and the concept of openly indulging in whatever impulses we would have never come to the point of equating the open relationship and the gay marriage with the traditional family, nor would we have come to a point where whites feel so guilty they feel somehow obligated to bring in the totality of Syria and excuse the illegal immigration of unskilled workers. The list would go on — but the point stays the same: the drift started far earlier, and just like all things it must have seemed slower or as if it was some natural conclusion of the decisions that people had made before.
And it is only with this drift that we open up the potentiality of a great dissolution, and while a civilization-ending moment isn’t on the immediate horizon it isn’t difficult to see  America as a divided place with significant amounts of our people more interested in the dismantling of our tradition and belief than in carving out a future in an increasingly challenging world.
But let’s be entirely fair: many are simply more interested in playing video games & getting drunk which is its own kind of self-destruction.

The Biggest Problem & ‘The Two Sets’

This is my biggest problem with politics: I do not like the political architecture we’ve inherited. I think this is true of many of the people here. For instance, I have seen Craig U., Brian A., Damien H. and David T. really speak extensively about these just very different political ideas that just aren’t feasibly going to come about in our lifetimes barring some unpredictable drastic changes… But I have never minded that because that is where the most fascinating and exciting ideas exist, IMO, and I am very guilty of believing in things that just won’t ever be seen in the current political framework & ideas….
 
This creates sort of an interest barrier between people. There are people who, when they mean politics, refer to everything within the current framework. To them, politics only consists of the inherited framework & it will only remain as relevant as what is conceivable.
 
This is why Bernie Sanders & Donald Trump were so exciting to have… they are ‘anti-establishment,’ and to some degree they could thus be seen as rejecting the political architecture they’ve inherited. Of course, not entirely, but it’s a great start.
 
So this produces these funny gaps in dialog… When one person wants to talk politics they have a very good depth in the last 100 years of American / British / Korean or other relevant political history; they want to talk about issues so very directly relevant to _what is happening and what is likely to happen, and the best possible choices among the likely ones. Of course, these are things that we all discuss as well, but you can see their faces fall when and they feel that the topic is derailed when I want to talk about how the last 100 years have been a mistake, or that ‘of all of the likely choices & options, I hate them all, and I want to talk about the way it should be.’
 
… In a sense, there are people who want to talk about ‘the politics in this generation’ and those who want to talk about ‘the politics of every generation,’ and there are those who think in terms of ‘what this generation is to do and what that means’ versus a broader political philosophy.
 
I feel this produces “Two Political Sets” for each person.
 
(a) The Ideological
(b) The Immediate
 
The examples would be obvious… The Fascist who votes for Donald Trump; the Libertarian who votes for Trump; the Christian conservative obsessed with theology & issues of abortion and euthanasia who votes for Trump, all of these having an “Ideological set” that they try to fulfill through the “immediate.” For the sake of space I won’t enumerate the opposites of these.
 
I feel the ‘ideological’ is the most compelling and most interesting set, so I focus on it. I used to thumb my nose at people who worry about the ‘Immediate’ more than the ‘ideological,’ but I understand how focusing on the reality has its own merits. In fact, I am often jealous of people who have a wide range of familiarity with each politician and all of these relevant movements that are happening, and often times these are the peopel who have very good raw data on the benefits of X or Y when that is a topic I do not concentrate on very much.
 
I think the ‘Immediate Set’ gets a bad reputation because there are millions & millions of people who don’t give a fuck about the Ideological set and thus they are always political trainwrecks with no real basis for discussion; this is also true of religion. There are the “immediate” religious people who are not well versed in the “ideology” and thus cannot bring forward a meaningful, accurate & persuasive defense of their views. perhasp “Ideological” and “Immediate” sets have a very broad range far beyond politics.
 
… I think I need to be able to say that in an the ideological sense I am a Traditionalist or a sort of Fascist, but as this holds no reality in the Immediate sense I am a “reactionary” who is also quite strongly a representative of the extreme ‘Republican’ ideas. It seems very, very weird to reduce this giant ideological viewpoint to what I view as the shallow, immediate set of ‘Republican’ but in another sense it is also liberating to, at last, feel comfortable in a title that has real world grounding.
 
I think we should all feel comfortable in both the “ideological” and the “immediate,” and from there we can even have better discussions when we recognize that “Now I am supposed to talk as an ideologue with a great architecture,” and “now I am supposed to talk as a Republican/Democrat, Conservative/Liberal, Left/Right with just the immediate architecture.”

Issues of Egalitarianism & Modern Readings of Philosophy

This is a review of the article of Tom Stern in the Point Mag:
The most interesting and essential part of the article, which must be read for good understanding, reads as follows: 
 
“Later I watch de Botton himself interviewing Nigella Lawson, celebrity U.K. food writer, about the meaning of food. The hall we sit in—usually a church—is packed. Nigella sits comfortably beneath a quotation from the Gospel of John: “I am come that they might have life and that they might have it abundantly.” The one time in the interview when de Botton seems genuinely disappointed is when he asks Nigella what one needs to be a successful cook. “The most important thing in becoming a good cook is having a palate,” she begins, “and that is something you have or you don’t have.” De Botton is bothered: “Well, tell us about that, because I thought… everyone had a palate. Is it like an ear for music?” Once it is affirmed, he looks momentarily downcast. The answer he wanted was, presumably, “we all have it in us to know which tastes we like and which ones we don’t, we just have to find the grammar, the right emphasis, the right audience…” The Poetics of Food. But we don’t all have it in us to discriminate between flavors and to know how to mix them in a way that other people will enjoy them with us.
 
One thing I notice about my class, in fact—and about de Bottonism in general—is that it finds it difficult to tell you that you are wrong about something. You are told in the class that you are “the expert” about what matters to you, that there’s “no intrinsically good or bad thing to do,” that what matters is the “meaning and purpose” that you put on it. You can lose sight of the things that matter to you or fail to appreciate what you have. You can be misled, on the wrong path, disoriented, hindered, distracted. But you can never just be wrong.”
 
I think this is also the frustration that the philosopher might even feel in the earlier part of his essay about the sunday discussion group… but what he also somehow… celebrated, by saying that philosophy does not necessarily divide into experts / non-experts.
 
And in the conclusion this seems to be hinted ata gain that ‘philosophy has failed,’ or some such, because there is no definitive answers…
 
Yet, I think we all know that while we cannot come to concrete conclusions there are the people who have given very inadequate evaluations of the positions that they have. There is certainly impossibility in making definitive conclusions about all manner of hard, moral questions… but I think we can even distinguish between the person who we disagree with that has made a conclusion after great effort, and even the person we agree with but who has made such a conclusion inadequately. We’ve all had the moment where the person we actually agree with is embarrassing us with their agreement.
 
I felt the reference to the Sunday Assembly ‘religion for atheists’ thing fun, as well, and runs the course of misunderstanding religion from classical perspectives. For instances, the Catholic & Orthodox perspective believe in the entire liturgy & ceremony is an incredibly meaningful act, and even the Lutherans & mainline Protestants see the Eucharist also as a very meaningful action. Even more purely philosophical religions like Buddhism have all manner of liturgical affair that are at the core of it…. And the liturgical grows out of the spiritual, the power of ceremony & ritual, and bridges a profound gap between the logical & the rational and the concept of the eternal. To reduce religious services to ethical sermons ignores the core of these services and also, I think, ignores the fact that religion is meant to supersede ethics and is often possessed by notions of salvation via non-ethical principles. It is perhaps supremely de Bottonist to reduce thousands of years of theological & introspective practice to something you can just pick up and go away with…
 
And this is why de Botton is despised:
 
These aren’t things that you can casually pick up and put into practice.
 
De Botton and others are very useful when they can successfully explain it concisely and in everyday terms, but let’s not fool ourselves… It is better to understand it in the original and complete fashion, and it is better still to not treat it as reduced. De Botton’s chief sin is to attempt to boil things down and make them so consumable and give some unwarranted sense of satisfaction to people that may be appropriating some of the phrases without understanding the depth.
 
Likewise, I guess it is this strange democratic egalitarianism that may have even contributed to the vanquishing of philosophical sentiment being respected — it is the common people who do not put much effort into understanding these things that present their large conclusions as equals to those who devote much attention to it that certainly is de-mystifying. We’ve resorted to the idea that public verification is the only premise from which something can be seen as entirely true… and perhaps this is the natural conclusion of an egalitarian society based on materialism. The vanquishing not just of the appeal and pull of philosophy, but even debasing the philosophical argument as a means of advocating something.

Politics of the Bible: Romans 13

This is one of the more interesting passages — now, just read it, and I will provide some contextualization towards the end:

Romans 13:

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

The funny thing is is that this was written to people living in an officially Pagan Empire that was decadent, rife with sex & indulgence, filled with slavery & all manner of other injustices, and it was written by a man who, while citizen of the Empire, was also a Hellenic Jew who was a former Jewish zealot that persecuted liberal Jews & Christians for not being Pharisees. We are literally talking about the most objective, abstract and divorced from bias opinion possible coming from the mouth of Paul on this one.

His integrity and position are incredible! Mindblowing, even. It is hard to fully grasp what is going on here simply because the fellow had no reason, no motive, to pledge any modicum of loyalty to Caesar or any other authority; indeed, Christ Himself was like the fabled Socrates drinking the hemlock at the command of the authorities.

There’s something to be said of this.

It shows some aspect of fatalism within early Christendom, but it also clearly outlines a devout sense of duty to the traditionalist perspectives of authority like that of Guenon or Evola.

In some sense it illustrates the commitment that these radical Christians had to the almost apolitical nature of Christendom. Truly, a radical passage, and one that also speaks of the Ruler – Subject relationship as it was in that culture.

A lot of things can be discussed via this passage and while I could go on, I still haven’t fully formulated my thoughts, and rather, I invite my readers on Facebook/Twitter and elsewhere to discuss or enjoy the depth and context of this passage.

Rembrandt’s rendition of the Apostle Paul

Keeping Loyalties Straight

We are often told that we should be loyal to the US Government because it gives us our rights, or loyal to a Church because it is our link to God; but our love of our Rights, and our love of God, should not be turned into love of Government, or love of Church, especially when these institutions no longer provide the things which are promised.

In fact, when the government fails to deliver the promises and ideals that we love, we should quickly realize this deception and endlessly criticize and berate the public officials that fail to deliver us our goals. Likewise, when the Church no longer as an institution functions to cultivate communal spirituality, facilitate good knowledge of Christ to ourselves and does not serve us anymore personally because it has become a money making institution or shills for a political viewpoint, then we also must recognize that in this the Church has failed.

When the government fails to live up to the rights it had promised and asks for our support, it shouldn’t get it; when the church fails, the same should be said.

We should give the Government and the Church both, regardless of the situation, a time to allow itself to reform… But what do we do when the Government no longer listens to the input of the people, and no longer even operates off of the same set of values that we have?

We can learn from Church history: we protest it, and we leave it, and we try to start our own community that exists separately of it.

Can we leave the US government, can we separate ourselves and have a community distant from it? Of course, it seems impractical that we would throw a literal armed revolution and overthrow the corrupt institution, and due to half a century of indoctrination & decay, we seem incapable of launching any meaningful reform of our central US government, and we are stuck unrepresented, and are left not even with our own memories of a better day, but history books that spoke of a better day.

The bet that we can do, as people, is to protest and criticize it, to point out its errors, and to resist cooperation with it whenever it is possible. We should only cooperate with it through institutions like the US military and emergency services that exist as necessary phenomena, and also due to selfless nature of the service provided, can maintain some element of purity to them.

Since it is impractical for us to either expect dramatic reform from Washington, and since it is impractical for us at this point to break away from it, we are as captives to some degree… But, we can be loud captives, and we can find happiness and meaning in our smaller communities of friends & family, and try to set the tone of a resistance.

It is merely important to educate others, and to remember for ourselves, that it is right to love and have loyalty to the lofty ideas & goals, but it is wrong to have any loyalty at all to an institution which turns its back on the original ideas & goals.

The Death of Quality

There was a period where radio & film actors and actresses were hyped for their background in theater. You could often hear the radio narrator talk about how next week So & So would be the star of the broadcast, and that they were a distinguished London or New York stage actor who, in the toughest markets in the anglosphere, were able to be an in-demand performer.

While we still have actors and actresses that are lauded for their work in theater, this tends to be the exception and not the rule. We also see a phenomena where people like Daniel Radcliffe essentially establish their careers in film to only go and perform in theater as a sort of ‘exclamation mark’ on their other work, to try to portray themselves (and to convince themselves) that they are more than just the person who had the look desired by a Hollywood producer.

We live in an era where we have stories of how Michael Bay had Megan Fox wash his car as part of her audition. The reason being, of course, that it is more important to infuse one’s works with sexuality and gross appeal to baser animal instincts to sell a film these days.

It should even be noted that some of the films that we even regard as being above typical, mindless Hollywood film, films like the Batman series or Fight Club, still depend on high budget action scenes and millions of dollars of investment.

The quality in today’s film (and even television) is seldom found in the story, but is found rather in the expensiveness of the production and the special effects, the blunt beauty & sex appeal of the characters and even the nature of humor is no longer one that involves witty comparisons or surprising observations, but it is one that relies on shock & sexuality.

Our sense of quality itself has begun to deteriorate. I find myself inexplicably attracted to a large budget action film and it seems these days I am less patient with introspective, low budget films than I used to be. It is like we have become so used to mindlessness that we no longer even fully understand the full value of mindfulness.

All we can do is try to cure ourselves through abstaining from quality-less, tacky, overproduced & underthought film, TV and music, and retreat back to the sanctum of True Art.

Anti-Religion & Libertarianism: Natural (& Dull) Conclusions of Western Nationalism

There has always been a divide between the Western (European) Nationalist model, and that of the Central & Eastern European models. One grew out of the rationalist philosophers and functioned more as a tool, the other grew out of German romanticist and other corresponding thinkers who brought it back to a more native perspective (though sometimes there isn’t ever even a true formalization of the philosophy in the cases of places like South Korea where there seems to be little officious doctrine on it).

It can be said that all forms of nationalism are derived from one or the other. But it can also be observed that the Western nationalists no longer think of themselves or even recognize themselves as Nationalists. Especially now, in the current age, there is a trend to think of themselves as more than Nationalists because they believe that their ideology resolves itself into a purely rational, and even ‘universal’ philosophy.

The American state began formulating that the ideologies of its society were, in fact, applicable to all nations (and perhaps this is why we have found ourselves in a thousand foreign wars to boot); we are motivated to provide a certain standard to all men all around the world, a standard that is identical to how we view our own relationship with others. Our nationalism has always been a relatively superifical one that is based off of individual liberty and rational cosmopolitanism as the scholar Hans Kohm says. This certainly echoes back into the education of any Western person.

The comedy of it is that we often deny such a thing to even be nationalism: so entrenched is the importance of this ideology within us we view it more as an abstract truth than any point open to our criticism. Of course the sense of individual liberty we have is necessary, and of course the multicultural, multi-ethnic formation of our communities are a good thing — they are the actualization of not just of our national agenda and mission, but they are also some sort of abstract universal truth of what is best for men.

In some sense this is the greatest form of Nationalism: it is the hidden Nationalism that nefariously turns even the Leftist progressive into a loyalist of the civil state.

Compare this to the Central & Eastern European brands of nationalism that has always sought to understand oneself in the context of being German. The truths and conclusions were meant only for a limited audience & culture. The same influence can be seen in characters like Michel Afleq of Syria who have seen his own contextualization for an ‘Arab nationalism,’ or any other manifestation in places like India or Korea. Admittedly, I am no expert in these, but there is a palpably different mission in these areas, although to some degree it can be said that the south Korean nationalism has essentially evaporated and become more & more like the Western nationalist models.

But the relevance of all of this has a few clear results that people won’t like:

(1) Anti-Religion: religion has ceased to serve a purpose within the context of the Western nationalist framework. Originally it could function as a loose uniter of the people, and that we could always depend on the spread of Christianity was enough that we could depend on a loose Christian humanism for lack of a better word.

Christianity functioned as a phase one within the ‘rationalist, cosmopolitan’ state. Christianity served to be an ideological cudgel against the idea of racism and against the ideas of ethnic natioanalism, and in many senses it can be said to have been a formidable tool in the full ingratiation of non-whites to the European elements there.

But, Christianity is entirely incompatible with the Phase Two: the rationalist cosmopolitan conclusion is one that is now rooted in creating an even greater aquarium of culture (a Gellner concept we will go into some other day), where religion should not even stand as a barrier to unity.

Religion gets into the way of exaggerated concepts of personal liberty (that are now no longer distinguishable from perosnal indulgence) and so religion is cut from the Western Nationalist doctrine. We see it in all of the nations who no longer see a purpose to side with Christian doctrine, and we now see more hostile denunciations of Christendom, increasing even since the 80s, and an allowance & endorsed tolerance in the media and films for such an advance.

Defanging Christianity is also a goal because it defeats whatever traditionalist elements remain within Western society. The Traditionalist elements are always the most dynamic and flammable aspects of any society, and so the goal of the Western Nationalists, who never have had a deep nationalism, has always been to defeat those who would otherwise hijack these movements in a very potential way.

Even Hans Kolm has noted that it is the Central or Eastern nationalist stance that has the greater potentialities (& risks) that go with it. It could be said that the Western nationalism has only functioned as a tool of the Capitalist system that has been its largest proponent and driving force even after the enlightenment, rationalist philosophies have ceased to be great contributors to it. 

(2) Libertarianism Final Phase for Conservatives

Libertarianism rears its head as a philosophy and it is meant to be the last bastion of anyone who identifies as a conservative — it is the last ideology that, at all, tips any hat to any sort of tradition, and the tradition itself it serves is only that of excessive individual liberty prioritized over any traditional identity.

It matches the attitude of the rationalist cosmopolitanist who desires the destruction of the traditionalist principles that have always acted as a barrier to it.

It seems to be that the formation of a libertarian standpoint is less of a throwback to 19th century philosophical inspiration and more of the result of the anti-religion success to remove any sense of traditionalist cultural values within the American conservative philosophy.

Conservatism is stripped bare & left as a hollow, husk of an ideology — the husk, of course, being Libertarianism. The movement is boiled down to just the few, naked, skeletal conceptualizations that alone can be viewed as servile to the Capitalist institutions that directed this entire campaign.

You will also notice how utterly dull these philosophies serve to be; they have very few conclusions but only exist as static, blunt devices that are not meant to have large impacts on individuals but encourage them to remain as non-dynamic cogs within the wheels of Capitalist consumerism.

This is only a small piece of writing but I felt like putting it out there to simply show that the anti-religious & Libertarian sentiments are a planned part of the overall system; too often we perceive this as some heroic or dynamic change within our society but, in reality, they are planned phenomena.

Donald Self-Actualizes & Levels Up, Pointing Out True Theme of 21st Century

Prominent politicsforum.org user, and former Leftist but now metaphysically enlightened transpositional spiritual guru Donald summarizes the entire theme of the 21st century in the following words.

I do not elaborate because he basically wont his ‘ten ways to Sunday’ or some shit.

DONALD

Unread post Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:06 pm [ Report ][ Quote ]

noemon wrote:

I believe we are way past that stage, and that Islam will never pose a seriously credible threat to warrant the requirement of a zealous rally point. The West can deal with Islam so easy that it does not require to rally mass mobilisation. It needs only to order a 1% of its army and Islam gets crushed.

The next clash of civilisations will not be with Islam but with China. At that point I don’t really know what the rally cry will be.

I disagree. I see the world in terms as a spiritual struggle between Tradition and Initiation (with and against) counter-tradition and counter-initiation (read: René Guénon). The Chinese, like the West, worship Mammon and are part of the armies of Ahriman (the Anti-Christ), whose goal is the continuation of the law of the serpent (i.e., predatory evolution). Any kind of hostility between China and the West will always lack authenticity because they are bound to the same leadership.

PoFo

& this is why I understand the phenomena of never drinking alcohol and praying five times a day, and why other people are confused that they aren’t buying iPhones & updating their profile pics.

 

All civilization was a boiling away, a failing away; all humanity was enslaved, beatened, saddened, imposed upon.

& finally people just started thinking far outside of the box and got their inspiration from true geniuses analyzing the postmodern question as opposed to re-sharing “I Fucking Love Science” links.

Personally, right now, I want to live my life to the fullest & warn everyone that they are selling their souls & losing themselves with every minute they spend in slavery to a 21st century mindset.

You can literally see the skinny & handsome figure of Donald just standing up & stepping outside of a box, turning back & looking at it, summarizing it in a few words then walking away — now so much larger, so much the better than the box, though inside of this box remains hostile creatures fighting over spilt milk.

 

 

 

 

Cultivated Indifference: Our Attitude Towards Rotting Structures

There’s something about our postmodern existence that divorces us from any sense of responsibility. Certainly, there are some things that were directly assigned to us that we are responsible for. I was careful to never damage or destroy my school texts as I might theoretically be held responsible for it — but when it comes to damaging a desk or bathroom with graffiti, or watching someone else engage in it, it was an entirely different story. While I never abused property myself I had always thought that, on some level, there is no responsibility I have in the least, no obligation, towards the destruction of property.

I have spent much of my life though, then and now, not only with a sort of ‘indifference’ towards the things around me, but also have cultivated the idea that I am not not responsible. In fact, I have grown up with a feeling not only of no responsibility, but of powerlessness. Certainly great teachers have told me this is not the case since I was a young man — but this is a lesson that takes some age and maturity to fully grasp, and perhaps this is why this is a lesson that we try to impart on youth with such urgency.

I feel, though, that the task of changing the rot within the society seems like a monolithic venture. Whether it is excessive corporate greed or the sorry state of the American government, or the degradation of the environment, or even the moral degradation of ourselves as people, we have a vague fatalistic approach and a series of excuses and justifications for our indifference & inability. We also exist as tired creatures that are so obsessed with doing the tasks we need to do to keep from being destitute. In some sense we are not that different from former peasants who could do little to nothing to improve the state of their society.

It can be depressing to be so isolated from nature, and to be tasked out and treated as just a functionary within a society with a wrong direction. We also never get the ‘leg up’ we need to become influential partly because the only people appointed to be influential are appointed by the operators of the status quo — they want this maintained, and unchanged, and so appoint like minded people.  They push us into a direction only beneficial to themselves, and we know it; we have no sense of ownership over our Society, and we have no sense of ownership over our own Fate much of the time.

All of this points us towards cultivated indifference.

We are responsible for nothing because we are just another member of the herd, with no power, and no influence; and when we act and function just as cogs in the machine we are told that this is how you get ahead. You bide your time, you wait; you don’t waste time on things not your responsibility because it is too hard. Your responsibility is just making money and waiting for the day of your influence.

When we pass the homeless man on the street, we understand this is not something we can help with. It is someone else’s job. So is the environemtnal destruction. So is the corruption in the government. So is the trash on television. None of this is us. None of this is our responsibility.

In fact, not even our personal immorality is our responsibility anymore; we feel that these brief indulgences are things that we need to cope with the daily grind.

So all around us, there are rotten structures. We may even be a rotten structure. But because of a combined our of powerlessness and lack of responsibility, we do not even move to change it. I think this can be properly called cultivated indifference.

Perhaps what we have to do to effect better change around us, and better change for our society, is to do something like the following:

– Care about things around us, so that we can cultiavate the will to take responsibility for improving things. Even if it is not our responsibility directly, we should take efforts to make it a part of our general responsibility as human beings. 

– Exercise daily to improve our health, both mentally and physically, and make us more alert.

– Learn important things daily.

– Fight the rot in our own life, and then fight it in our community, and then fight it in our society.

The first step is for us to be better people, and the end goal is to simply change the leadership above us that routinely fails.

And if I cannot take away the leadership above me that creates a more terrible place to live, then I will simply resist in by all means at my disposal, and distance myself, and take precautions to let everyone know that I was not a part of the structure which further degraded our society.

I think there has been enough wallowing in exitential helplessness and we should proceed towards a proactive fight against the rot — and if we cannot clear the structures of rot, we must destroy the structures themselves.

Conversations with the 16th Century, Part 2: Funerals & Tradition

One morning Francois Beroalde de Verville was reading over some Seneca. He was disappointed with me that I did not have it in the original Latin and was partly horrified that I couldn’t speak it, but he brought up a good point:

“In Book 4, verse 25, it mentions that the great funerals of Kings & rich men exist as public affairs for all in such a way as to render the all too often death & misery that affects the common man a more bearable experience.”

“Is that so? ” I said, knowing that he was going to segue into a lot more.

“I take this point to heart because it says something about the necessity of greatness within the public… People find it much easier to proceed with their own sorrows to know that someone above them likewise suffers. This is why the religion has been so useful which lowers the King before the eyes of man, and this is why tradition is so important in religion: so we know that even the highest men of the Church must always follow the command or the precedent.

“You see, no one is truly free in our old societies — no one was more powerful than tradition. And it was the tradition itself that gave us such meaning and courage to go on, and that took away sorrows.”

“And funerals were a part of it?” I asked, and Francois chuckled.

“Of course, they were the most important part of it. Death is an inevitable fate, and a fate that we all fear. The tradition eases the fear, and the tradition being done publicly by great figures is the public acknowledgment of their own morality. You know, the Egyptians built themselves great Pyramids with the promise of immorality to the kings, something which the slaves themselves could seemingly never hope for in the construction of these massive, selfish tombs. And herein lies the greatness of our own Faith: the promise of eternal paradise is within reach for everyone, and both our Kings & our peasants will be buried beneath the Earth.

“Death is a public experience for everyone; mourning is a universal phenomena. And with the death of mighty men, we feel safer to lament.”

Francois shrugged.

“These days seems to be a time where the traditions are confused and no one wants to commit to any particular tradition. So instead, there is only the artificial ceremony — there is only a deception. Because we cannot prioritize any specific tradition, we end up priorizing nothing at all, and then tradition begins to take on the semblance of nothing itself. ” Francois then suddenly chuckled…

“It is like the idea of the statue to the Everyman; the anonymous figure meant to be representative of the noble person, the noble anonymous person, and it never actually feels like you yourself are being honored by this but it always feels only like nothing is honored.”

“To be honest,” I said, “that seems to be what the worship of the military is like in the modern USA. This blanket of love is cast over a million people and few seem to ever be truly picked out and honored and thus, as you say, the praise is so general it feels meaningless..”

“And tell me then, Jacob, is there some coherent tradition to the honoring of the military that is truly meaningful?”

“Sure, we have some symbolic funerals and… well, events, like a run… And.. an oath to the Constitution.”

Francois nodded and sensed a certain level of disappointment.

“We create traditions and fraternal orders to give meaning to an otherwise seemingly meaningless existence, and that is why the Churches fight so hard, and so do the Knights or the scholars or even the traveling bards and musicians, to keep some semblance of the tradition. The tradition is like a law but it also transcends the law, because without the traditon the law itself would be meaningless… It is a meta-law, so to speak, that breaths life into the participant, that gives meaning to the action…

“And now everything in this century feels like a legal contract at best, and as a meaningless trudgery through a series of hoops to obtain a material reward… And the material is a mass produced item that was produced by another item that will be used to produce other, identical items for millions of others.”

“You’re telling me.”

We both seemed to sit in a quiet and thoughtful fashion, Francois a bit easier than me.

“I was initiated into a secret fraternity. Nothing that serious… Well, I guess it was serious, because as a secretly practicing Calvinist in such a secret brotherhood surrounded by Catholics, I would have been executed for going back on my abjuration of it… Our most sacred practice was our Communion itself, and there were some other things we did but these were parts of our secretive tradition… I would tell them to you because, and share them with you, because I like you, but…”

“No, no; in order for the tradition to have its fullness and its fraternity, if it was secretive, then it must remain secretive eternally, even if its meaningfulness in secrecy would cease to be relevant…”

“Exactly. And that is why even if I tell you of the traditions, or, if you read about any custom at all that you were never a part of, it is just some empty words on a page… You miss the feeling, the concept, the entire culture of it….

“But, of course, you can always try the route that the modern world has gone for: culturelessness. Traditionlessness. Everything about the individual experience as a consumer of the economy, and letting material fill in any gaps that we might have as people.”

“What is your suggestion?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Create your own communities or go live closer to nature — I mean, isn’t that exactly what we were for so long, doing the whole time before all this? It is just a matter of putting down the other stuff.”