Posts Tagged ‘plato’

Social Control

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Humans live in a world of confusion because so many things are a mystery to us, and so we write them off, but then become subverted by lurking doubts. We accept many things in our lives that we do not understand, and rationalize them as being for the best because we see no other option.

For this reason, at least two layers exist to our human world: there is the public layer, in which we explain our rationalizations to each other, and an underlying layer, understood by few, where actual cause-effect relationships are understood.

In that public layer, we reason backward from what already exists. “The economy needs” or “bipartisanship demands compromise.” Here, we are looking not just at the material world, but the configuration in which it stands now, and reasoning from that about what our future should be. This necessarily follows a single direction, because each act accepts the last as necessary and reacts to it in order to keep it from failing. It is like building a house out of a shack; we add on rooms to support existing rooms, and end up with a chaotic design.

The underlying layer remains understood by few because it requires analytical skill and patience to understand, things that require the force of character and force of intellect that are rare in any society. And so, all of the forces that actually regulate and change our society go unnoticed, while a play is acted out onstage to provide simple answers that make people feel intelligent and confident for understanding them.

Plato argues for a cave metaphor, and the ancient Vedic scribes talked about the veil of Maya, but this is not as simple as “materialism.” It is our tendency to mistake effects for causes of themselves, much as we like to see ourselves as causes of ourselves, which manifests in materiality as opposed to seeing patterns, which is what we call idealism of the German school.

We can understand patterns only through the world beyond the part of us that consciously rationalizes and uses language. Patterns must be understood on a lower level than symbols, and can be recognized frequently by aesthetics, but this requires that we reach into our inner selves where intuition resides. Through that, we can apprehend the forms or patterns that life takes, and thus understand it as a kind of language: in certain types of situations, certain patterns arise in response to certain conditions. Patterns replicate in parallel across different media — thought, information, matter, energy — and the broader our analytical reach in these areas, the less likely we are to be able to translate the patterns we see into language or equations. Instead, we must simply take them into our inner self and assess them against all else we know to intuit what is correct. This is the opposite of deduction and rational thought; “exterminate all rational thought,” as William S. Burroughs advised, opens the gateway to understanding the intuition.

As such, our only true motivation is from within, and is based in understanding, not desire. We cannot command it to be so, write laws about it, enforce it with procedures, or demonstrate it in a lab or open argument. It is a direct understanding of the world, and its counterpart is our creative side, which generates metaphors for our comprehension of it. Together, these two sides come together to give us a more accurate portrayal of the world, even if it is not literal, because we are dealing with patterns that occur over time and across multiple media, so they cannot be visualized, tokenized or otherwise reduced. They are alone in themselves, and the best we get is glimpses, but not all glimpses are equal; those glimpses which apply a focused understanding of the world are more accurate, and these are biologically possible for only a small segment of the population. Either those people are in charge, or the rest who do not understand such things declare them to be insane and reject them.

In every human event involving two or more people, the social impulse conflicts with the inner self. The social impulse is composed of what we want done to us, and how we convince others to do what we want done. Because both we and they are human, the natural tendency arises to assume that both have the same motivations because they have the same sensations, a condition which rapidly approximates solipsism. When reinforced by the group, the condition accelerates, such that reality is gradually minimized because it naturally clashes with a human-centered view of the world, and eventually inversion occurs, where the meanings of words and things are changed into their opposite. With this comes a backward thought process of rationalizing from what is, in order to feel good about it, so that others can be motivated with this good feeling to do what is necessary despite the otherwise crushing pressure of solipsism, like an exploded star becoming a black hole.

Social control occurs through the need for this manipulation. Instead of confronting reality and acting toward purpose, individuals act toward keeping the group together (“why can’t we all just get along?” howled the exasperated kindergarten teacher). This shows the dominance of the social impulse, which is entirely external and represented reversed logic, in that it argues from material motivations as a way of preventing certain acts and forcing others to occur.

External control benefits those who wield it because it is simple to achieve. You set up rules, make them vague, and then punish anyone who deviates, which is something you selectively interpret or choose to enforce. In other words, your citizens will be at all times cowering from the possibility of enforcement, and they will attempt to do things to please you in order to pre-emptively prove their loyalty. This makes them entirely subservient, and soon the need to rationalize this external control forces them to re-construct how their internal impulses work. Over time, they will stop being able to formulate objectives and analyze their own actions without your input because before they do anything, they must ensure that it will not offender the controller. In this way, people become entirely dependent on the control yet prone to rebel against it as they sense that it is changing the core of their personalities.

In our neo-Communist society, social control goes a step further by being distributed, or not directly implemented by a centralized force. Instead, the central authorities set up a reward/punishment system which mostly functions by making rewards necessary to rise above the entry level, subsistence lifestyle. For example, a controller can rule without making his ideology mandatory. Instead he simply impoverishes everyone, or at least forces large expenses upon them, and then alleviates that pain for those who affirmatively come to him and demonstrate a willingness to be obedient. Although it does not involve high technology, control is a form of mind control in this way, in that it induces people to re-wire themselves to be essentially mental servants of the controller. Taking this a step further, social control induces citizens to enforce control upon each other, with those who impose control upon others being rewarded, and those who fail to do so also fail to advance in the system. Soon there is a gold rush for having demonstrated obedience by making others obedient.

Bureaucratic society takes on this form through its pretense of meritocracy. As a way of enforcing equality, meritocracy starts everyone at zero and advances those who are willing to sit through many years of schooling, memorize all the right facts, participate in all the activities, and otherwise have their minds shaped to fit the type of behavior that society expects. This makes people into beggars who must prove their utility by sacrificing their time to be spent on essentially make-work, since very little of what is memorized is retained, and weeds out the non-compliant ones. Social control causes people to enforce on one another a competitive race for status, such as who owns what objects or has which titles. “Keeping up with the Joneses” motivates people to earn more, which in turn causes them to trade off more of their time. All of this has the effect of altering them internally, so that like citizens of ex-Soviet republics, they become unable to act of their own impetus and are entirely dependent on external cues — social, ideological, monetary, material — to know how to deal with life. Without others to follow and set standards, they are locked in paralysis at the thought of having to act.

This use of social control to morally and intellectually neuter people demonstrates the nature of bureaucracy as a control system, rather than an efficient method of administering society:

The end result of complete cellular representation is cancer. Democracy is cancerous, and bureaus are its cancer. A bureau takes root anywhere in the state, turns malignant like the Narcotic Bureau, and grows and grows, always reproducing more of its own kind, until it chokes the host if not controlled or excised. Bureaus cannot live without a host, being true parasitic organisms. (A cooperative on the other hand can live without the state. That is the road to follow. The building up of independent units to meet needs of the people who participate in the functioning of the unit. A bureau operates on opposite principle of inventing needs to justify its existence.) Bureaucracy is wrong as a cancer, a turning away from the human evolutionary direction of infinite potentials and differentiation and independent spontaneous action, to the complete parasitism of a virus…Bureaus die when the structure of the state collapses. They are as helpless and unfit for independent existences as a displaced tapeworm, or a virus that has killed the host.

When hierarchy is abolished, such as by a revolution, all that is left is those in power. Hierarchy refers to a hierarchy within the citizenry, such that some have rank above others, as opposed to government or another party outside of society itself which, like a contractor or service provider, claims to provide quality governance and stability in exchange for income from taxes. A controller is neither of the group nor interested in hierarchy; control must come from on high, or outside of the group, and be obeyed or used to ostracize or otherwise damage the person who failed to obey. Controllers may implement a hierarchy within the political class, but this division represents power only, and not a role beyond administering control downward.

Leadership is not control. Government of any form seeks control because it is external to society and operates by reducing people to the rank of equals so that it can reward those who obey, punishing the rest by parallax motion of their social status and fortunes. Actual leadership separates the best people out from the rest in advance, does not demand loyalty tests or other methods of keeping the herd together, and emphasizes reward for successful achievement of goals. Control regulates methods as a means of limiting what people can do and therefore what they can think; leadership rewards achievement and has minimal influence on methods. As a result, leadership creates many paths to the same goal, where control creates repetitively similar paths to many different goals, since it does not operate by reward but by punishment for deviation from ideology, and encourages all other forms of deviation as a type of stochastic resonance to silhouette and emphasize the ideological narrative.

With control, mass culture is created, but control also arises from mass culture because with masses, keeping the group together is more important than having purpose. For control, purpose is short-circuited into a perpetual pseudo-purpose of always maintaining control. In this way it is both tautological and cyclic in a self-perpetuating way, although with each cycle, it seems to lose some energy because of its repetitive nature, and slowly runs down. Mass culture and control are inseparable from bureaucracy, which is the assembly-line treatment of people as identical objects upon which the state acts, and this requires imposing external manipulation on people through rewards and punishments as a means of “shaping” them to be obedient. For this reason, bureaucracy is totalitarianism

Thus, over the past 50 years, the consequence has been the rise of The Manager as the archetypal Modern Man – the manager is the cocrete terminus and manifestation of sixties spirituality. Indeed, the 60s-type rebels and cynics always become managers; and managers are the servants of The System – indeed managers are the dupes of The System.

The deal is that in return for creating and imposing The System – in return for working as-a-manager to extend the reach and power of The System via the expansion and linking of bureaucracy – the manager personally will be rewarded with wealth, power and status such that he can pursue his (or more usually her) selfish gratifications – sex, holidays, fashion, possessions…

All managers hate their work as such – and it is indeed hateful work; it being to collaborate in the intended long-term and permanent enslavement of others to a totalitarian agenda of materialism and inversion of the Good. (Bureaucracy just is totalitarianism.)

Management uses the same philosophy as other forms of control: an external authority, using external methods, manipulates people in order to shape them into a pattern of compliant behavior.

This has several negative consequences. First, it makes people entirely dependent on authority, and correspondingly unwilling to trust their own analytical ability, intuition or common sense. Second, it allows those who have no inherent wisdom to get ahead by simply being obedient and diligent, which is a form of equality when put under analysis. It also bores those who do not lack ability because for them, all of this stuff is remedial and tangentially relevant. But it delights those who find comfort in external process. People who find comfort in external process are those who are alien from the inner process by which they formulate their own purpose; control, because it is external, acts against those who have inner purpose, shaping them gradually into those who respond only to external stimulus. This is why it associates with fantasies of revenge, defense of the underdog, equality which innately sabotages the higher to promote the lower, dominance of the weak over the strong, and other fantasies.

William S. Burroughs reveals knowledge of this when he spoke of what he thought about Leftists:

All liberals are weaklings, and all weaklings are vindictive, mean and petty. (164)

Bureaucracy, Leftism and Control thus fit into the same pattern: imposition of the weaker on the strong, after subverting the strong with a mental virus based in guilt for having succeeded. This accelerates the rise of the people without souls over the small group who do all the hard intellectual and moral choice-making.

People without souls focus on the external personality of other people — obedience, social cues, favorite TV shows, shared activities — and ignore the inner core, where intelligence and moral character reside, two factors which along with the creative impulse constitute what we call the soul. That inner core is hidden from socialization, and can generate the personality from its most essential principles outward, but only if the person is self-actualized; otherwise, the personality is an artifact of the social group. Since this inner core is inaccessible to control, it represents a threat to control, which relies on the concept of universalism, or one idea applied equally in different contexts without regard for the patterns and variations inherent to those different contexts. Universalism is control because it destroys context, difference and individual traits, and replaces them with a mechanical, artificial and uniform rule which stamps out the difference between human beings so that control can remain in power. Similarly, it seeks to crush nature, which is comprised of endless variation and complexity, because nature threatens human dominion by not being human, where through social means, both individuals and groups can be dominated.

Using language, tokens and social pressure to control a human herd is the essence of modernity:

Language is a virus that seeks to supplant natural order. People are able to use language to manipulate one another, and through this can get ahead with social/ideological means instead of by producing actual results in external reality. From Tom Wolfe:

Evolution came to an end when the human beast developed speech! As soon as he became not Homo sapiens, “man reasoning,” but Homo loquax, “man talking”! Speech gave the human beast far more than an ingenious tool. Speech was a veritable nuclear weapon! It gave the human beast the powers of reason, complex memory, and long-term planning, eventually in the form of print and engineering plans. Speech gave him the power to enlarge his food supply at will through an artifice called farming. Speech ended not only the evolution of man, by making it no longer necessary, but also the evolution of animals!

And William S. Burroughs from The Ticket That Exploded (1962):

From symbiosis to parasitism is a short step. The word is now a virus. The flu virus may have once been a healthy lung cell. It is now a parasitic organism that invades and damages the central nervous system. Modern man has lost the option of silence. Try halting sub-vocal speech. Try to achieve even ten seconds of inner silence. You will encounter a resisting organism that forces you to talk. That organism is the word.

And Friedrich W. Nietzsche in the document that kicked off postmodernism, “On Truth And Lies in an Extra-Moral Sense” (1873):

But because man, out of need and boredom, wants to exist socially, herd-fashion, he requires a peace pact and he endeavors to banish at least the very crudest bellum omni contra omnes [war of all against all] from his world. This peace pact brings with it something that looks like the first step toward the attainment of this enigmatic urge for truth. For now that is fixed which henceforth shall be “truth”; that is, a regularly valid and obligatory designation of things is invented, and this linguistic legislation also furnishes the first laws of truth: for it is here that the contrast between truth and lie first originates. The liar uses the valid designations, the words, to make the unreal appear as real; he says, for example, “I am rich,” when the word “poor” would be the correct designation of his situation. He abuses the fixed conventions by arbitrary changes or even by reversals of the names. When he does this in a self-serving way damaging to others, then society will no longer trust him but exclude him. Thereby men do not flee from being deceived as much as from being damaged by deception: what they hate at this stage is basically not the deception but the bad, hostile consequences of certain kinds of deceptions.

In other words, language is used to obscure the selfish motives of the individual which are cloaked in the idea of altruistic motives to help others. This is the essence of Crowdism.

Control, like tyranny, represents the ultimate selfishness: it is defensive in that it seeks to quash variation and independent thought in order to smash down the accurate analysis and perception of the most accomplished in force of moral character and force of intellect in our society. Control works by removing the natural leaders of society and replacing them with rote laws and a single universal standard by which all people are molded, making them replicants of the intent of the controllers, which does not offend the 90% who are weakest in the parallel of force of intellect and force of moral character, but destroys those who might know better by being able to more accurately perceive reality.

At the core of control we find the human impulse to avoid fate. Humans claim to want safety, but what they mean is freedom from being incorrect in their assessment of reality, thus subject to natural selection via physical or social means. In nature, the man who fails to make a fire on a cold night dies; in human society, the rest of the group is obligated to save him, thus dooming the group to drown in incompetents as more of them are saved and reproduce. Fate treats us all unequally. Some are born to sweet delight, and some are born to endless night, but social control would have them all be born to a state in-between, a perpetual grey mediocrity where they are safe but also prohibited from reaching excellence, beauty, realism, honor and virtue. And yet, this is popular with a crowd who by its very nature is formed of people who have nothing to distinguish themselves, therefore must rationalize that they have been wronged in order to continue believing that they are in fact good. All human efforts perish by this standard.

Inside of humanity lurks a great weakness. We try to avoid fate by eliminating possible error, and in doing so, neuter and domesticate ourselves. We are looking for excuses to do nothing, to rationalize life instead of acting it and by so doing, coming to terms with our limitations and the fate that awaits us beyond our control, like natural selection itself. This becomes a fear of life itself, and it is why every human effort fails and over time, becomes replaced by an oblivious mediocrity which dooms its original purpose and removes access to an honest enjoyment of life for all.

Metaphor For Modernity: The Ring of the Lydian Gyges

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Modernity presents a paradox to us: a collective, formed of individualists, acting for equality, so that each individual can have the power of the crowd but the anonymity of the mob. It conceals its core, which is a focus on the desire of the individual to never fall short of a social standard, and therefore to be “equal” despite outcomes, or in other words, not accountable for the results of his actions.

This reverses the principle that makes any society great, which is “good to the good and bad to the bad,” or rewarding people by outcome. Those who do great things have great rewards, where those who do not achieve anything good are not rewarded, much as is the case in the order of nature. It resembles natural selection and our tendency to esteem those who demonstrate proficiency.

Naturally the herd rebels against this. Most people do not distinguish themselves, so in any large group, the lowest common denominator wins out. They want to be recognized for something other than real-world activity, namely their social activity, and they insist on this to the point that everything else might as well be destroyed so they get what they want.

Humans find it hard to describe this process conceptually. On one level, they seek power, but even more, they want power to contradict obvious reality and common sense needs of civilization and the individual. This means they want to control perception and through that, force other people to accommodate their non-realistic and non-necessary “needs.”

Control proves to be a seductive virus. It says: the rules do not apply to you, and you come before everything else. When disguised as something altruistic through the theory of equality, this notion becomes irresistible to most humans, resembling a virus or parasitic infection.

Plato gave us an even more powerful metaphor: the ring of the Lydian.

According to the tradition, Gyges was a shepherd in the service of the king of Lydia; there was a great storm, and an earthquake made an opening in the earth at the place where he was feeding his flock. Amazed at the sight, he descended into the opening, where, among other marvels, he beheld a hollow brazen horse, having doors, at which he stooping and looking in saw a dead body of stature, as appeared to him, more than human, and having nothing on but a gold ring; this he took from the finger of the dead and reascended. Now the shepherds met together, according to custom, that they might send their monthly report about the flocks to the king; into their assembly he came having the ring on his finger, and as he was sitting among them he chanced to turn the collet of the ring inside his hand, when instantly he became invisible to the rest of the company and they began to speak of him as if he were no longer present. He was astonished at this, and again touching the ring he turned the collet outwards and reappeared; he made several trials of the ring, and always with the same result-when he turned the collet inwards he became invisible, when outwards he reappeared.

Whereupon he contrived to be chosen one of the messengers who were sent to the court; where as soon as he arrived he seduced the queen, and with her help conspired against the king and slew him, and took the kingdom. Suppose now that there were two such magic rings, and the just put on one of them and the unjust the other; no man can be imagined to be of such an iron nature that he would stand fast in justice. No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when he could safely take what he liked out of the market, or go into houses and lie with any one at his pleasure, or kill or release from prison whom he would, and in all respects be like a God among men.

Plato uses this metaphor to argue that where anonymity — as one experiences in a crowd — exists, there will be no honest people. To be a God among men would seduce just about anyone. In that sense, by hiding the individual, the ring reveals the individual, or how much tendency they have toward good.

Modernity is like this ring because we are atomized, or isolated as individuals, and therefore only have power in groups, for which we are not accountable. We vote anonymously, supporting a party instead of standing for its decisions. In the city, we are part of a faceless herd, much as we are at a carnival or large party. We act invisibly on a social level and are able to deny accountability.

Immanuel Kant raised the intensity of this metaphor by arguing, as did the Hindu and pagan thinkers, that the inner spirit is where we must focus in order to be able to do what is right and good. He offered us a simple idea, namely that everyday evil is the most pervasive form, and that any violation then conditions the heart, and encourages more. Kant’s concept of radical evil informs our knowledge of inner discipline:

Unlike original sin, which Christian belief has understood as inherited, radical evil is self-incurred by each human being. It consists in a fundamental misdirection of our willing that corrupts our choice of action. In Kant’s terminology, it consists in an “inversion” of our “maxims,” which are the principles for action we pose to ourselves in making our choices.

Instead of making the rightness of actions — i.e., the categorical imperative — the fundamental principle for choice, we make the satisfaction of one of our own ends take priority in the willing of our actions. We thus inculcate in ourselves a propensity to make exceptions to the demand of the categorical imperative in circumstances when such an exception seems to be in our own favor.

To steal a candy bar, then, is to interrupt the principle in our minds that we ought not to steal because we are taking from someone else a part of his wealth and through that, his time; this literally drains away his life, because time is the only irreplaceable commodity in life. Even more, a single theft conditions us to see the world through a lens in which theft is acceptable.

In order to escape modernity, we need to answer the ring of the Lydian with a strong statement of radical good. That is, our actions are measured by their ends. A theft or murder that leads to a good result is a good thing, and should be rewarded, much as it was in the ancient pagan texts like The Odyssey. If the result is bad, or out of context in the natural order and hierarchy, then it is worse than bad in a social context, because it is an insult to the gods and therefore to reverence of life itself.

Humanity struggles to find a moral order in this time of horrors. One theory suggests that people have different abilities to perceive what is good, and that those who desire good would do good in results even if by using evil methods like theft and murder. While this offends the universalist idea of a set of moral rules to which all are subject, it seems to more accurately describe the quest for human thriving.

Aristotle And Plato On Why Diversity Is Tyranny

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

Some have noticed recently that the ancients realized that diversity was a means to an end, namely of the power of tyrants. Guillaume Durocher quotes Aristotle on the topic of multiculturalism:

Aristotle’s ideal of citizenship, entailing civic duties and group solidarity, necessarily requires a strong common identity and a sharp differentiation between citizens and foreigners. Conversely, foreign mercenaries had no solidarity with the people, and were thus frequently used by tyrants to enforce their unjust rule:

The guard of a legitimate king is composed of citizens: that of a tyrant is composed of foreigners.

It is a habit of tyrants never to like anyone who has a spirit of dignity and independence. The tyrant claims a monopoly of such qualities for himself; he feels that anybody who asserts a rival dignity, or acts with independence, is threatening his own superiority and the despotic power of his tyranny; he hates him accordingly as a subverter of his own authority. It is also a habit of tyrants to prefer the company of aliens to that of citizens at table and in society; citizens, they feel, are enemies, but aliens will offer no opposition.”

This passage brings to mind the Bolshevik tyranny in the early decades of the Soviet Union, when the government, and especially the secret police, was dominated by people from non-Russian ethnic groups.

Interestingly enough, Plato observes the exact same thing, namely that tyrants import foreigners as replacements for non-compliant citizens:

And who are the devoted band, and where will he procure them?
They will flock to him, he said, of their own accord, if lie pays them.

By the dog! I said, here are more drones, of every sort and from every land.

Yes, he said, there are.
But will he not desire to get them on the spot?
How do you mean?
He will rob the citizens of their slaves; he will then set them free and enrol them in his bodyguard.

To be sure, he said; and he will be able to trust them best of all.
What a blessed creature, I said, must this tyrant be; he has put to death the others and has these for his trusted friends.

Yes, he said; they are quite of his sort.
Yes, I said, and these are the new citizens whom he has called into existence, who admire him and are his companions, while the good hate and avoid him.

It would be foolish to imagine that anything about human behavior has changed for the last 2400 years. The same tactics still work: if you want to rule forever, subjugate people by destroying their culture and importing scabs to supplant them. The EU and US have pursued the same policy since 1965.

Ceremony Of Opposites

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Poor humanity. Like a trapped beast, it rages, but no matter what it does, the result always seems to be the opposite of what was planned.

This suggests that the next frontier in human evolution consists of understanding our world better, possibly through self-discipline that also keeps us from choosing emotional and symbolic actions over realistic ones.

Plato observed that opposites attract, or at least create one another in human affairs:

The ruin of oligarchy is the ruin of democracy; the same disease magnified and intensified by liberty overmasters democracy –the truth being that the excessive increase of anything often causes a reaction in the opposite direction; and this is the case not only in the seasons and in vegetable and animal life, but above all in forms of government.

The excess of liberty, whether in States or individuals, seems only to pass into excess of slavery.

Yes, the natural order.
And so tyranny naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme form of liberty?

He writes about what was described to me as “the middle path” by those who study spirituality. It means that one consciously avoids extremes because they are almost always wrong, and aims for a middle instead. The catch is that this does not regulate goals, only degree of application. One does what is right, always, but chooses the most balanced and least risky way to get there.

The dark secret of humanity is that few engage in analytical thinking. They react emotionally and seek out a position that makes them feel better, instead of thinking about what goal they should have in the long term, and then acting toward that. As long as this process is with us, we will never do more than self-destruct.

Jesus, Democracy and Easter

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

Ahh, spring — a time to relish the joys of Direct Democracy in action. Witness the word of The Lord from Matthew 27: 15-17. Read the entirety of Matthew 26 and Matthew 27 from an Alt-Right perspective and you will almost reach the conclusion that Democracy is blasphemy before the eyes of The Lord.

15 Now on the occasion of the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the crowd one prisoner whom they wished.
16 And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called [Jesus] Barabbas.
17 So when they had assembled, Pilate said to them, “Which one do you want me to release to you, [Jesus] Barabbas, or Jesus called Messiah?”

Democracy by its essential functions must tear down and destroy all individual greatness that crosses its path. Nothing bars the way to “Liberté, Eqalité, Fraternité” like the individual who does things the right way and who has their stuff together. Democracy was therefore the ideal tool of corruption by which The Evil One could smite Jesus down and then wash his hands of the deed. Satan, himself only gets one vote. The plausible deniability of a democratic process is the friend of all malefactors from Marius and Sulla to Aaron Burr. The People chose it.

The Gospel of Matthew begins telling us the bad news of Democracy in Chapter 26:47-52.

47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a large crowd, with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests and the elders of the people.
48 His betrayer had arranged a sign with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him.”
49 Immediately he went over to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and he kissed him.
50 Jesus answered him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then stepping forward they laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.
51 And behold, one of those who accompanied Jesus put his hand to his sword, drew it, and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear.
52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”

The key verse of this passage is verse 52. All who live by the sword die by it, but those not bound by the law get their way first before death. Jesus, the one who actually asserts that the law should be followed, is led away by the guards under false and unrighteous arrest. Judas, at least for the nonce, has profited immensely from violating laws that his success in his dastardly endeavor required his victim to follow.

A hallmark of Democracy is the restraint of the law upon the just and righteous, while most mendacious, greedy and mendacious amongst us live the maxim of Aleister Crawley and “Do what thou wilt” with short-term tactical dominance as the law ties the hands of condign and righteous anger.

Matthew’s description of what I call “The Paradox of St. Peter” is at the heart of why mob rule and Demotism are disastrous for not just its targets but for those cursed with moral decency. These people realize the fundamental virus sickening the human species when power is actually given to the foolish and unworthy people. In Matthew 26: 69-75, we witness the temporary demolition of St. Peter as a moral human being.

His dilemma and paradox can be stated thus: If he does what is morally decent, he is arrested and nailed to the cross right next to the savior. If he lies to survive, he betrays the man who made him everything that he is. When Demotism destroys greatness, it does not just destroy the great individual. It unleashes a cancer that kills. Read the verses below and see how the mob does not even have to lay a finger on Peter to utterly destroy him as a human being.

69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.”
70 But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about!”
71 As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazorean.”
72 Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man!”
73 A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away.”
74 At that he began to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately a cock crowed.
75 Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: “Before the cock crows you will deny me three times.” He went out and began to weep bitterly.

And does the official power of the state work athwart the vile intentions of the unwashed mob? Not when the cowardly, swaddled officialdom learns of what the mob would unleash. The officialdom then tries to duck and evade. The officialdom, like the “military leadership” in the movie A Few Good Men, can’t handle the truth. St. Matthew is enough of a gracious Christian to understate the reaction of Pontius Pilate to Jesus’ refusal to offer him an out on making the hard decision.

11 Now Jesus stood before the governor, and he questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”* Jesus said, “You say so.”
12 And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he made no answer.
13 Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they are testifying against you?”
14 But he did not answer him one word, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

If you imagine an angry, hateful mob giving Pilate the deathstare of a pissed off Middle East the entire time he interviews Jesus of Nazareth, you get the context of the interview. Pilate was not amazed. He wanted Jesus to apologize to the nice old men in their Rabbinical robes. Jesus was not having it. The true believers are scary like that. They care about their perceived truths a whole lot more than any of your delusions of adequacy. Imagine Pilate squeezing his cheeks to avoid evacuating his bowels, and you conjure up the situation as I imagine it playing out.

In Matthew 27: 21-26 we get the true measure of both the leadership of Pontius Pilate and the society at large through the gathered mob. The mob howls for the blood of whoever the demagogues tell them to hate. They are entertained. Maybe some enterprising soul sells them goat kabobs as they howl for the carnage.

And Pilate? Wow, does Pilate hate Jesus. He doesn’t hate the evil mob as much. The idiots will always be with us. He hates the man who forces him to look in the mirror and see a pathetic, pseudo-sapient coward of a laughable public official. All leaders in Democracy hate the great man.

It’s not just the religious visionary. They would hold no brief for Richard Feynman if they had to sit next to him in a Real Analysis course. When greatness reveals them to be weasels, they lash out. Jesus was not whipped just to appease the mob. Pilate was smoking with Lucifer’s cheap and sadistic wrath over having to truly learn about the type of guy he sincerely was.

21 The governor said to them in reply, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They answered, “Barabbas!”
22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus called Messiah?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!”
23 But he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” They only shouted the louder, “Let him be crucified!”
24 When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all, but that a riot was breaking out instead, he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. Look to it yourselves.”
25 And the whole people said in reply, “His blood be upon us and upon our children.”
26 Then he released Barabbas to them, but after he had Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified.

They tell us in our civics class Democracy is the best form of government. The best form of government for whom. The Last Men of Nietzsche? The weakest link in the human chain? The vassals of putrid corruption that not only have to take the Gubbermint Handouts but who would genuinely rather?

This is not what Aristotle, Socrates, St Paul, St Thomas Aquinas or even Jean Paul Sartre ultimately told us to aspire towards. Democracy is the best form of government for those who condignly deserve to live under it. Yes, a case can be made that an exercise in Democracy gave us Easter Sunday. But only because the great man being torn down just happened to be Jesus Christ. When it destroys the rest of us, nobody rises again on the third day.

Theosis Is A Form Of Realism

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

As part of the Platonist vision of conservatism, articles on this site frequently speak of the vision unleashed by the intersection of Platonic forms and Germanic Idealism, namely that recognition that the underlying substance of the universe is thought or thought-like. This is why idea, structure, pattern and logic that corresponds to the outside world are more important than immediate material obstacles.

This ancient philosophy lives on through hermeticism, but also in Christianity through transcendentalist thinkers like Johannes Eckhart. Hermeticism finds its roots in Hindu idealism which, as expressed in the Bhagavad-Gita, roughly mirrored the Greek and German versions. All expressed the idea of an order of nature based not in material position, but logical order.

Plato even took this far enough to speak of healthy civilizations, which recognized this order, as contrasted to unhealthy ones, which were in the grip of hubris or the brew of individualism, narcissism, solipsism and socially-empowered boldness — in which the approval of the social group matters more than reality, and makes us feel safe in denying traditions — which modern people exhibit, especially with their smug and prim attention whoring at political events. Plato wrote:

In the succeeding generation rulers will be appointed who have lost the guardian power of testing the metal of your different races, which, like Hesiod’s, are of gold and silver and brass and iron. And so iron will be mingled with silver, and brass with gold, and hence there will arise dissimilarity and inequality and irregularity, which always and in all places are causes of hatred and war. This the Muses affirm to be the stock from which discord has sprung, wherever arising; and this is their answer to us.

…When discord arose, then the two races were drawn different ways: the iron and brass fell to acquiring money and land and houses and gold and silver; but the gold and silver races, not wanting money but having the true riches in their own nature, inclined towards virtue and the ancient order of things. There was a battle between them, and at last they agreed to distribute their land and houses among individual owners; and they enslaved their friends and maintainers, whom they had formerly protected in the condition of freemen, and made of them subjects and servants; and they themselves were engaged in war and in keeping a watch against them.

…Undoubtedly, he said, the form of government which you describe is a mixture of good and evil.

Why, there is a mixture, I said; but one thing, and one thing only, is predominantly seen, –the spirit of contention and ambition; and these are due to the prevalence of the passionate or spirited element.

The most important line can be found here, in plain sight because very few people can understand it: “the gold and silver races, not wanting money but having the true riches in their own nature, inclined towards virtue and the ancient order of things.”

To be virtuous is to live in a perpetual state of contentment, and to be free from “contention and ambition…the passionate or spirited element.” The ego is the root of the passions; the nature of being “spirited” is to be rebellious against what the evident order. Plato is pointing out that greed and rebellion are one and the same force.

Even more, he is showing how there is an esoteric path to wisdom, namely that only those with gold and silver natures are going to understand the value of “virtue and the ancient order of things.”

From this comes the root of traditionalist thinking: worldwide, there are many religions, and they all describe the same world, so they converge — unequally, idiosyncratically — on the same “truths” or accurate observations about the world, both physical and metaphysical. When we recognize this, we see that history is indeed cyclic, or the story of humanity in an optimal state, its fall, and its attempt to return.

In order to effect our return to this saner state of human being, and to force our evolution into silver and gold again, we must begin with an evolution of consciousness toward extreme accuracy:

When Owen Barfield described the evolution of consciousness, he used ‘evolution’ in a pre-Darwinian sense of a developmental change analogous to the fertilised egg ‘unfolding’ to become a mature, adult organism.

…If the evolution of consciousness has a unified purpose and aim (isn’t just a different purpose and aim for each entity), then this implies that there is a deity – as the source of purpose. Therefore, the evolution of consciousness is a consequence of some divine plan.

What could this divine plan be? For many Christians it will be ‘theosis’ – or the process of Men becoming more and more like God; aiming at becoming Sons and Daughters of God.

Realism demands that we understand our world as it is and adapt to it, which first requires that we make our minds more like the world, a process that in turn leads to transcendental wisdom, or appreciation for the logicality and sanity of our world in presenting us with the best possible existence. Normally humans do not understand their world and so view it as crude, threatening and disorganized.

Theosis is a subset of realism. If God exists, He is part of this world, in idea or at least as a cause of the effect that is this world. If we study the patterns of this world and come to understand its (realist + transcendental) wisdom, we can then grow closer to God by achieving greater mastery of adaptation to the physical world around us.

What this means, interestingly, is that the “religion-first” approach to traditionalism is not going to work. What works is to enforce self-discipline on ourselves so that we accurately understand and adapt to reality, and religion will emerge from within that process instead of the other way around.

The Echo Chamber Of Equality

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016


Philosophy enables us to see life not as objects bumping into one another, but the concepts that cause us to act in certain ways as resembling a Matryoshka doll: one inside of the other, until you get to the smallest one, which is the original assumption that set off the chain.

When we look at modernity, at first we see technology. But then it becomes clear that technology is only as good as how it is implemented, and that our present implementation reflects mass tastes through purchasing (consumerism) and popularity (democracy). On to the next layer by removing the outer doll layer with a floop sound.

When we look at consumerism and democracy, we see that both are unified by a belief in the equality of the individual. Floop! goes another layer.

When we look at equality, we see that it is based in the idea of equal consequences for unequal actions, or that the person who achieves good results by his actions, and the person who achieves poor results, both being rewarded for that. In other words, people want insulation from consequences. Floop!

When we look at insulation from consequences, we see that this benefits the individual and not the group. In fact, the “collectivism” of equality is based in individualism, or the idea that the choices of the individual are more important than anything else — including, and starting with, the results and consequences of those choices. Floop!

When we look at individualism, we see that the motivating force behind it is an Ego which wishes to be free of consequences and their potential Darwinian effects, which in civilization means exclusion from the group. Individualism therefore uses universal inclusion as its primary goal. Floop!

When we look at universal inclusion, we see a desire to make understanding the world optional. That is: people cannot be judged as good or bad based on how well they understand the world, which is what determines the actions they take and thus their results. They want their own thoughts to be accepted whether real or not. Floop!

And finally, we are at the smallest doll. People want their thoughts to be accepted so that what they intend, wish, desire, feel or judge is real, not reality itself. “What I perceive or want must be real,” stands revealed as the core psychology behind this whole mess.

That mentally unstable state is the origin of modernity. Or rather: it is a perpetual pitfall of human thinking, but it won out. Why? Probably because society succeeded, which caused a proliferation of people who could not exist except for society, who were able to reproduce because the institutions and social order of civilization protected them.

Perhaps there is a final Floop! here, if only in our minds. Civilization replaces nature as the arbiter of who lives and who dies; we need a replacement for Darwinism, or the process which filters out the insane, unfit, deranged, retarded, criminal and pathological.

Modernity arises from an echo chamber produced by the social collaboration of those who are individualists. They demand equality, and filter out any ideas which contradict that emotional vision, which rises from individual fear of insufficiency.

Where the Alt Right nods to Nietzsche and Plato is in its recognition of the Jack London style quest for adaptation that needs to be at the heart of our societies. Our hearts are too big and our methods too good; our intelligence and morality is what produces a surplus of those who will destroy civilization.

Naturally, none of this is politically correct, but — Floop! — it is more fundamentally not socially correct. It upsets people. And yet, it is the only path to survival for an advanced civilization.

Darkness and light

Friday, January 1st, 2016


Philosophy consists more of vectors than arguments, sort of like the “angle” to a good human interest story: approaches, and framing of both goals and points at which arguments become incoherent, that in turn reshape the issue from what we might think to what we recognize as structurally sound and consistent with all else we know.

In my wanderings, I have borrowed basic analysis from Plato and Schopenhauer; political analysis from William S. Burroughs (“Control”); civilizational analysis from Nietzsche and Plato; and my most basic approach, from the Bhagavad-Gita, the Odyssey and the Bible, which see the root of human error as hubris or self-important solipsistic delusion. These pieces fit together better than one might expect.

In doing so, I have refuted some parts of the philosophies of all of my heroes except Plato. I disagree with Fred Nietzsche that the root of liberalism is Christianity, since the actual root is hubris brought on by overpopulation of our lower classes thanks to the successful social order of our aristocrats. I see Schopenhauer as missing the political and metaphysical implications of Germanic idealism, where Kant was closer to accurate on the latter. Burroughs is often caught in a victim narrative that externalizes evil. And so on.

But let us return to that study of evil, because in this distinction, I see the most basic approach to philosophy revealed: one either wishes to know the truth of reality and see the beauty in it, which corresponds to the realist and transcendentalist prongs of conservatism, or one wishes to deny reality in favor of human feelings, judgments and desires. Throughout all of human history, all human actions have fallen mostly on one side or the other of this divide, because it reflects whether we are able to perceive the world (good) or are dedicated only to ourselves and our illusory power (evil).

Another way to see this distinction is that good means acting within a whole order, or one that incorporates all parts of the world. Evil means acting for yourself alone, which usually requires looking at only some parts of natural order, or cherry-picking what reality you notice and then justifying/rationalizing from that point of view. We see people do this all the time when they see an action in one context, and repeat it in another as if it were some universal solution, when really its success depended on the action plus the context.

But what is most interesting about evil is its desire to conceal — including through use of distraction. The following two examples show how evil works by hiding its actual intentions and then distracting observers with fake symbols of good intentions that exist merely to deceive.

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
The Bible, John 3:19-21 KJV

The evil hates the light, and so it hides its deeds; the good comes into the light, so its deeds may be seen, because the good does not fear judgment. This view sort of represents a “first take” on evil, because once the above has been said, evil — which is not stupid in the short term — will begin to disguise itself. This is why evil appears seductive, even beautiful, throughout the Bible and classical literature.

Plato expands on this concept:

Suppose now that there were two such magic rings, and the just put on one of them and the unjust the other; no man can be imagined to be of such an iron nature that he would stand fast in justice. No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when he could safely take what he liked out of the market, or go into houses and lie with any one at his pleasure, or kill or release from prison whom he would, and in all respects be like a God among men. Then the actions of the just would be as the actions of the unjust; they would both come at last to the same point.

And this we may truly affirm to be a great proof that a man is just, not willingly or because he thinks that justice is any good to him individually, but of necessity, for wherever any one thinks that he can safely be unjust, there he is unjust. For all men believe in their hearts that injustice is far more profitable to the individual than justice, and he who argues as I have been supposing, will say that they are right. If you could imagine any one obtaining this power of becoming invisible, and never doing any wrong or touching what was another’s, he would be thought by the lookers-on to be a most wretched idiot, although they would praise him to one another’s faces, and keep up appearances with one another from a fear that they too might suffer injustice.
— Plato, The Republic, Chapter III

The good will hide his good deeds, and let his bad be seen; this is equivalent to the good coming into the light from the Biblical passage.

The bad will hide his bad deeds, and let his good be seen; this, if anything, is the crux of Plato and later Nietzsche, which is that we should be wary of human symbols, intentions and displays/signaling as they are always corrupt (and seem to work, year after year for eons, on the clueless herd).

The above are in parallel to Plato’s classic formulation of justice, which is “good to the good, and bad to the bad.” In other words, give to people what they are, so that you get more of the good and less of the bad. This also fits with a Darwinistic interpretation.

Old-school conservatives began their study of humanity with evil, and extended this into political philosophy, mainly because when you combine the Bible and Plato you realize that most people are both deceptive and bad, and that we either put the good ones in charge of the rest, or the rest will rule us and destroy us with their solipsistic evil.

Conservatives, turn to Plato

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015


Conservatism divides us because while it possesses many good attributes, it inevitably becomes swallowed by leftism and ends up advocating leftist ideals. For that reason, it needs restoration, and like any good renovation effort, this one begins by stripping it to its frame and rebuilding outward.

The essence of conservatism is “to conserve.” That requires some unpacking: one conserves only what is good, which can come in two forms. First, something can be good because it works; second, it can be good because it displays a value or trait which is always true.

That second part confuses people because in utilitarian societies, good means whatever most people think is pleasant-sounding right now. Conservatism conserves wisdom most of all, and recognizes that goods are eternal and independent of human thinking, but like the first plank, are measured by what produces good results. This is a form of accountability that has been forgotten in modern politics.

Conservation recognizes a truth of human beings: they are not uniform, but in various stages of learning, and how far they get is determined in the largest part by genetics. Most things are mediocre, and most people behave in mediocre ways, veering toward the selfish, venal, corrupt, deceptive and narcissistic instead of that which will bring them long-term happiness. Anything which is left in the hands of the crowd, where people have zero accountability, will be plundered and destroyed.

For this reason, conservatives see “the good” not as “the popular” but as the eternally good, meaning both in the long-term and that in every age of humankind, what will produce results above the mediocre norm. As popular wisdom dictates, we either aim high in life or getting dragged down by entropy, stagnation and the steady erosion brought on by time. Conserving means not preserving a past state, but having a future aim that can never be fully achieved because that means we are always pointing in an upward direction.

This leads to a clash with popular morality. Most people want a morality of “protect the weaker” because, as individuals, they fear falling short of social standards or required performance at a task. For this reason, they envision themselves as the weaker and reason that if society protects the weaker, they personally will never face consequences. The eternally popular idea in humanity is: receive the benefits of civilization, but take on none of the burdens, a mentality we might call “anti-accountability.”

Popular morality regulates by method. Murder is bad; therefore, all killing — a method — is bad. This introduces hilarious inconsistencies when we go to war, execute murderers or defend ourselves because those are killings, which are bad, but can often have good results. This hopelessly confuses the issue, which is not method but results. Killing a bad person is good, but killing a good person is bad, to use the simplistic nomenclature of popular morality.

As a result, conservatives will never get to the root of their philosophy while they adopt popular morality. Instead, we should turn to Plato. In his writings, he expressed a simple argument based on the above in which he pointed out that bad methods can lead to good results, therefore measuring universally by method is a bad idea. His formulation was much clearer: “good to the good, bad to the bad.”

Where popular morality is simplistic and pleasant sounding, this more complex view puts more of a burden on us. We cannot escape censure by merely doing nothing to offend anyone, and not engaging in certain methods, but must master those methods and put them toward both good intent, and a study of the world that ensures we achieve good results. This means that we have a duty to kill when appropriate, instead of a socially safe position of never killing and assuming through pretense that we are thus “good.”

Popular morality works through a zero-sum game. In its view, if we remove all of the bad, we are left with good. Under the Platonic conception, we have a duty not only to avoid bad, but to actively achieve good, even through bad methods. This means that pacifism, withdrawal and tolerance are not moral goods, but moral ills.

In this difference the extremity of conservatism emerges. It is not enough to avoid acting in a way that appears scary. Nor can one hide behind approving of everyone and everything. In contrast, we each have a duty to do what is moral in order to conserve the ongoing direction toward what is good. While this makes us all policemen for social order, it also obliterates the complacency that allows civilizations to slide toward chaos.

By doing that, it makes conservatives not just a moral few fighting a rearguard action to defend their way of life, but as the guardians of an idea bigger than past or present: that we must continue our own evolution toward the highest goals we can find. This is not a philosophy of do-nothing, like that of egalitarian society, but orders toward war, and if conservatives recapture that outlook, they can end their centuries-long retreat in the face of encroaching insanity.

The essence of religion is realism

Friday, August 28th, 2015


Religion presents a quandary for conservatives. On one side are those who believe that God/country/family is enough; on the other are the Nietzscheans and other realists who recognize that “country” is a substitute for identity, and “family” reduces community to slightly-broadened self-interest. We also see how religion can substitute for these other necessary things.

Religion is part of the answer, but not the answer. It presents a good starting point because it focuses people on the idea that they must reform themselves so that they strive to do good. It introduces reverence for nature, history and the distant future. It frames self-interest in a moral context. But that alone is not enough.

In addition to that reverent outlook, which can happen without religion, we need something else. Conservatives often ignore this and conveniently escalate religion to the universal solution, but even religion indicates our need for culture, heritage and identity. Like most things in life, religion operates in parallel (the theme of this blog) with other necessary elements.

Without culture and identity, and an aristocratic leadership, religion becomes lost and corrupted as it has over the past 200 years since the French Revolution. The fascinating conclusion to this puzzle is that in order to appreciate each of those elements, and most importantly to desire all of them, one must find reason to respect life and take it seriously.

For this reason, religion operates in parallel with “realism,” or looking at life through its consequences in reality and the principles thus upheld or denied, much as it requires parallel culture, heritage and aristocracy. None of those can stand without the other. The truth of this can be found in realistic religious writings like Romans 1:18-32:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Those who hate the methods of civilization — religion, identity, aristocracy and culture among them — try to style religion as arbitrary. They wish to portray it as its own domain, which chooses its ideals for its own convenience, rather than what it is: another method of describing reality and regulating individual behavior correspondingly so that civilization can thrive. Through culture, we study success in social and family matters; through aristocracy, success in war, diplomacy and leadership; through identity, principle and purpose. Through religion we discover success in discipline of our souls, but the subject of that study is reality itself.

Witness a similar passage from Plato’s Republic, Chapter VIII:

And so the young man returns into the country of the lotus-eaters, and takes up his dwelling there in the face of all men; and if any help be sent by his friends to the oligarchical part of him, the aforesaid vain conceits shut the gate of the king’s fastness; and they will neither allow the embassy itself to enter, private if private advisers offer the fatherly counsel of the aged will they listen to them or receive them. There is a battle and they gain the day, and then modesty, which they call silliness, is ignominiously thrust into exile by them, and temperance, which they nickname unmanliness, is trampled in the mire and cast forth; they persuade men that moderation and orderly expenditure are vulgarity and meanness, and so, by the help of a rabble of evil appetites, they drive them beyond the border.

Yes, with a will.

And when they have emptied and swept clean the soul of him who is now in their power and who is being initiated by them in great mysteries, the next thing is to bring back to their house insolence and anarchy and waste and impudence in bright array having garlands on their heads, and a great company with them, hymning their praises and calling them by sweet names; insolence they term breeding, and anarchy liberty, and waste magnificence, and impudence courage. And so the young man passes out of his original nature, which was trained in the school of necessity, into the freedom and libertinism of useless and unnecessary pleasures.

Yes, he said, the change in him is visible enough.

After this he lives on, spending his money and labour and time on unnecessary pleasures quite as much as on necessary ones; but if he be fortunate, and is not too much disordered in his wits, when years have elapsed, and the heyday of passion is over –supposing that he then re-admits into the city some part of the exiled virtues, and does not wholly give himself up to their successors –in that case he balances his pleasures and lives in a sort of equilibrium, putting the government of himself into the hands of the one which comes first and wins the turn; and when he has had enough of that, then into the hands of another; he despises none of them but encourages them all equally.

Very true, he said.

Neither does he receive or let pass into the fortress any true word of advice; if any one says to him that some pleasures are the satisfactions of good and noble desires, and others of evil desires, and that he ought to use and honour some and chastise and master the others –whenever this is repeated to him he shakes his head and says that they are all alike, and that one is as good as another.

Yes, he said; that is the way with him.

Yes, I said, he lives from day to day indulging the appetite of the hour; and sometimes he is lapped in drink and strains of the flute; then he becomes a water-drinker, and tries to get thin; then he takes a turn at gymnastics; sometimes idling and neglecting everything, then once more living the life of a philosopher; often he-is busy with politics, and starts to his feet and says and does whatever comes into his head; and, if he is emulous of any one who is a warrior, off he is in that direction, or of men of business, once more in that. His life has neither law nor order; and this distracted existence he terms joy and bliss and freedom; and so he goes on.

Yes, he replied, he is all liberty and equality.

Yes, I said; his life is motley and manifold and an epitome of the lives of many; –he answers to the State which we described as fair and spangled. And many a man and many a woman will take him for their pattern, and many a constitution and many an example of manners is contained in him.

Just so.

Let him then be set over against democracy; he may truly be called the democratic man.

Both of these passages focus on the symptoms of degeneracy, itself a product of degeneration in the Darwinian sense or loss of higher genetic characteristics because, in the hands of social and cultural influences, they have become less valuable and therefore underused, gradually dropping out of the population. The first step toward degeneracy is changing behavior, which changes the economics of civilization such that bad is rewarded and good, by de facto inversion in the zero-sum game of competition that is society, punished.

Contrary to what is adherents sometimes say, religion alone is not a path to survival but to self-destruction. On the other hand, in conflict with what its detractors say, religion is not arbitrary. These rules exist for a reason which is that they provide the optimal survival of a tribe, and thus longest resistance to degeneration, over the centuries as has been witnessed by wise people in the past, repeatedly. Like science, religion is a repository of knowledge, but it describes the metaphysical using metaphor instead of attempting the detailed approach of science. Abstraction allows flexibility over the changes brought by the passage of time, and for that reason, religion is highly abstract. But it is neither nonsense nor a singular solution.

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