Amerika

Posts Tagged ‘transcendence’

Transcendence, Transcendental Experience And Transcendental Thought

Friday, July 7th, 2017

As usual, the media and academia get it wrong. Here they are babbling on about “transcendental thought”:

You can lose yourself in love, or feel awe watching a lightning storm from your porch. You can get into a state of flow at work, or take a break from the rush of everyday life by meditating. And these experiences exist on a spectrum, as Yaden points out: There are “major transcendent experiences,” where your sense of self completely dissolves and you feel at one with the universe — which is what Janeen experienced. And then there are more everyday experiences, like when you step outside of your head while listening to a beautiful piece of music, taking a walk through the woods, or attending a religious service. According to Yaden, most people have had some sort of transcendent experience at some point in their lives — and about a third of the population has had “intense experiences of unity.”

For them, transcendental experience an experience of unity and being at one with the world. Where else have we heard this kind of language?

“We Are All One” is essentially pacifism restated. Instead of having conflict, which scares individuals because they might lose out, we declare everyone to be friends and then we can go about with our individualistic pursuits instead of concerning ourselves with the state of the world.

Conflict arises when people try to impose reality, and pacifism gets rid of this by declaring that it is more important that we get along than that we find out the right answer, so everyone focuses on making nice instead of making right. This allows the individual more time for their personal drama, shopping, hobbies, jobs and paychecks, addictions and compulsions.

Transcendental thought takes several forms, but what they have in common was expressed best by the American Transcendentalists:

Transcendentalism in America, of which Emerson was the leading figure, resembled British Romanticism in its precept that a fundamental continuity exists between man, nature, and God, or the divine. What is beyond nature is revealed through nature; nature is itself a symbol, or an indication of a deeper reality, in Emerson’s philosophy. Matter and spirit are not opposed but reflect a critical unity of experience.

This follows from the linguistic concept of transcendence:

to rise above or go beyond; overpass; exceed

In other words, transcendence is recognizing the meanings of things beyond the obvious, usually implying a sense of understanding the order of the universe to the point where it makes greater sense that our immediate worries and fears, which are based in personal and material confrontations. It is the opposite of “we are all one”; it is an understanding that conflict and horror are necessary parts of life, but that through them, a better state is achieved, even if we are personally terrified of what must be done to get there.

This is a central concept in almost all philosophy, including much that is not religious, because it enables us to understand our world and then regain a position of being active in it, instead of withdrawing from fear of confrontation with its darker sides. Currently, our society is entirely withdrawn, sustained by a steady diet of freedom, pluralism, individualism (i.e. no obligation beyond the self), narcissism and… pacifism.

Our media and academia, in the distinctive style of all Leftists, has inverted the definition of transcendentalism from understanding the operations of life to rejecting those for a humanistic conceit, namely the notion that we are all one and therefore, conflict and struggle are not necessary.

Pagan Christianity

Monday, June 19th, 2017

The Right desperately needs to get right with God.

Perhaps not in the way most would think, this need arises from the confusion about the role of religion in the Right. Some want it to be the basis of the Right and to install a de facto theocracy; others see it as irrelevant; still others argue that conservatism is not based on a single method, as ideology is, and that religion is one part — perhaps not for all people — of a bundle of methods that together make a solution but are not in themselves solutions.

These seem to be prerequisites that can be accidentally made into ideologies. For example, racial and ethnic homogeneity is necessary for a thriving society, but in itself it is not a whole solution, only part of one. Similarly, deposing democracy and equality is a partial solution. Together these and other methods make up a complete society.

For that reason, it makes sense to view religion as not a solution in itself, but also something that at least many of us need. This gets us away from the theocracy that forces us all to become believers, and instead points to rule by culture, which requires strong nationalism to establish.

This takes us in turn to the question, which religion?

Varg Vikernes makes a compelling point for avoiding Christianity. It leads to Leftism, and conspired against our people in the past, not to mention creates the “personal morality” conditions which encourage virtue signaling. In his view, as in Nietzsche’s, it is entirely too pacifistic and fatalistic of a religion.

Onto this we might add one other shining elephant in the room: at least geographically — the Christianity Identity folks have some interesting input here on the origins of Biblical Jews — it is foreign, or simply put not European. The names are not in our languages, nor are the locations, or presumably many of the customs and values.

To this it is important to add that Christianity is also at least from a surface reading, which over time in the hands of large groups is what it will be streamlined to be, it is dualistic, or posits another world where the rules are more real than the rules in this one. In other words, logic is not logic; there is a different logic, more like a human logic, which is actually real.

DARG adds another failing of Christianity, which relates to the personal morality it champions:

The beginning of this is a clarification on the terms sacred and profane. Christianity has made [humans] believe that the sacred is themselves, and equivalent to “tolerance and love” (towards what they define as permissible, of course) and “feeling nice and warm”, and that the profane is everything that opposes that. How convenient. The more historical and philosophical stance, on the other hand, sees in the every-day world, and all that it holds, benign of malignant, as profane; and sees in the world of the exceptional, of man going beyond the merely human, the sacred.

The personal morality of Christianity, and its exoteric nature or tendency to behave like an ideological system more than a deep-learning skill, make it a mixed bag when it comes to religions. It is the great unifier, but that also means it simplifies the message.

Pagan faiths, on the other hand, are monistic — they believe there is no alternate set of rules for the universe, and that all that we need to know can be found in nature, science and logic — and esoteric, or formed of cumulative self-directed learning in which some are naturally gifted to go farther than others. Exotericism is inherently egalitarian; esotericism is innately hierarchical.

In fact, pagan faiths more resemble a philosophy and folkway with metaphysical implications than a religion, or organized spiritual dogma for the sake of shaping mass behavior:

This effort of combining all non-Christian religions under one umbrella was, in fact, a clever strategy by the early Christians to remove the “pagan” faiths altogether. Using the Norse traditions as an example, the Vikings of the early medieval period had no true name for their religious following. In truth, the word religion would have been an unknown, foreign term to them. The Nordic tribes preferred the word “customs” as—like the Greeks and Romans—their rituals, beliefs, and traditions were undefined and fluidly interpreted, orally passed down rather than rigidly studied. There was no all-encompassing word for the belief in the Aesir and Vanir, and the various other beings and deities the ancient Norse worshiped, and there was no written text discussing their practices until the Christian author Snorri Sturluson wrote their mythology down in the 13th century.

Now, the picture gets more complex because Christianity is mostly Pagan. It is clearly a derivative, or rather a compilation and synthesis of the indigenous faiths of lands the Jewish scribes were in contact with, featuring the Greeks whose philosophy they loved above all else. This means that there are Greek, Nordic, Hindu and other faiths retold in the Bible.

There was a reason why formerly “pagan” communities switched to Christianity, namely that it was both mostly familiar and more effective for manipulating herds of people. The exoteric nature of Christianity means that its symbols can be directly adjusted to cause people to behave one way or another. Some of this was positive, namely getting people to leave behind previous antisocial habits.

However, this displacement of the original faiths also led to cultural erasure. When a simpler and more easily understood version of a tradition comes along, especially one that is written, people simply adopt the new and forget the old, which most importantly contains the roadmap to understanding the reasons for the beliefs.

What this means however is that there is a bridge between pagan faiths and Christianity, and that for this reason, we can have faith that is not strictly entrenched in either one, only expressed through it, and that over time, this may change to the simpler and more internal, informal and naturalistic pagan ideation. Consider the Perennial nature of spirituality:

It also makes sense to have some form of metaphysical outlook, perhaps of a Perennialist nature:

At the core of the Perennial Philosophy we find four fundamental doctrines.

  1. The phenomenal world of matter and of individualized consciousness — the world of things and animals and men and even gods — is the manifestation of a Divine Ground within which all partial realities have their being, and apart from which they would be non-existent.
  2. Human beings are capable not merely of knowing about the Divine Ground by inference; they can also realize its existence by a direct intuition, superior to discursive reasoning. This immediate knowledge unites the knower with that which is known.
  3. Man possesses a double nature, a phenomenal ego and an eternal Self, which is the inner man, the spirit, the spark of divinity within the soul. It is possible for a man, if he so desires, to identify himself with the spirit and therefore with the Divine Ground, which is of the same or like nature with the spirit.
  4. Man’s life on earth has only one end and purpose: to identify himself with his eternal Self and so to come to unitive knowledge of the Divine Ground.

If we distill religions to their core and take the intersection, we see a basic starting point that does not necessarily need formalization and, if kept informalized, loses its “human” projection and interpretation, and starts to resemble more the pagan faiths and even older Indo-European religion that our pre-Greek ancestors adopted.

This takes us away from religion as an external constraint that we adopt in order to shape ourselves and become a mass of people acting toward some goal, and reverts it to its original form, which is an observation about the nature of reality that reveals hints of the metaphysical embedded within nature:

As that great non-church and heterodox Christian Rudolf Steiner said: to disbelieve in God is to be, in a real sense, insane; in other words, it is to disbelieve any possibility of coherence, meaning and purpose – which is to regard all of life as a delusion.

…And to deny God within us and the world is to live earthly life in a state of detachment – since we can only observe and never actually participate in reality: we can never know.

In other words, religion is rediscovered by those with clarity of mind who can observe nature; this is the essence of transcendentalism, in which joy arises from understanding the nature of the world and seeing it in logic, therefore wisdom, and therefore beauty and a positive intention toward those of us caught in it, which in turn implies a life-like force to the universe, which per German Idealism — also found in Hinduism — is thought-like, dream-like or composed of thought or information.

In this way, we can see how for the West to rediscover the divine, Christianity must converge on the less formal and more intuitive forms of religious faith, which are the folk customs and existential search of the inner self that produces our classically reflective outlook.

Already we see signs of this. The Orthosphere-style thinkers tend either to embrace Catholicism, or outward-in, religious thinking, or to go the other way and embrace transcendentalism with discipline. This leads to a more naturalistic interpretation of religion that is naturally less obsessed with personality morality and its means-over-ends analysis.

Pagan Christianity, in addition to the Perennial Philosophy traits mentioned above per Aldous Huxley, also has a different map of the cosmos and metaphysical. At its core, this represents a shift from three paths (Father, Son, Holy Ghost) to four:

  1. Information-Space
  2. Godhead
  3. God
  4. Gods

In this mythos, the natural order of a universe comprised of information comes first, and with it the notion that we each have a role to serve determined by our logical placement within this order. Natural law and logic come first, and within them there are other spaces.

Godhead is the animating force of all that we know and the most essential tendencies of the universe. This works within the information-space, shaping us toward the divine and influencing the birth of the gods.

At the top, there is an all-encompassing God which represents holiness itself and less of an active personality than a tendency, like gravity or rain, to order the universe into beauty by balancing darkness and light so that existence itself can prevail. Since the universe is relative, darkness is necessary to emphasize light, much like death gives significance to life.

Below that are the gods, or animistic forces with distinct personalities. These are manifested forces which act according to their own interest, which means that we can respect them without expecting them to judge us or treat us according to some moral standard of our own. They simply do what they do, but they reflect the spirit of godhead, and so are divine while bridging to the profane world of the mundane.

At the bottom are the creatures of Earth and beyond, including humans and plants, who exhibit spirit of their own. These are able to partake in divinity by seeking transcendence and avoiding hubris, but will never fully know what is on the other side because they are limited to a perspective of the physical and individualized.

Perhaps that is enough of a start for now. We have seen how Christianity and Paganism are not that much different, how they share a core, and how we can rediscover that core by starting from reality itself. As with all esoteric things, that represents a doorway opened, and a path upon which each of us will journey a different distance, often down different tributaries.

Desolation And Hope

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

desolation_and_hope

The world has been crazy for a long, long time.

At least 95% of it has always been crazy and has languished in third-world status. This is primarily a result of disorganization and low average population IQ. These populations could reverse that status at any minute by selecting their intelligent people and giving them wealth and power. Those people organize the chaos.

Western Civilization has been tripping down the merry road — the path to failure is always easy and comfortable — toward third-world status for some time. It started when we reversed the principle of civilization. To have civilization, you select the good people and put them at the top. Reverse it and you fail.

Instead of taking the wealth and power and giving it to our best people, we started having little contests for who should be in charge. Who makes the best products, stock market decisions, or most popular speech; that kind of thing. The result of these is that we have chosen our leadership and our values by consensus, not reality.

Reality is what remains out there, doing its own thing, when you close your eyes and after you are dead. Not all of us can perceive much of it, but we all perceive some, in varying degrees. As the saying goes, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” and those who perceive little of it tend to be delusional and third-world in mentality.

Whatever happens in our day-to-day struggles, we must keep focus on the goal: put those who perceive the most of reality, and have a tendency to maximize it, at the top of the hierarchy. Otherwise, the rest of us gang together into Crowds who destroy all good things, as we have seen in the West.

Hope by itself is a curse. It is a deflection from reality and a journey into our own emotional infinite loop. But hope with desolation, like life with death, points us toward what we must do: maximize life. Make ourselves our hope. Or rather, make our decisions and those who make them best our future path.

The West needs many things, but they form a pyramid like Mazlow’s hierarchy. At the top of that are these essentials:

  • Aristocracy. Take our people who perceive reality the most and also are inclined to maximize excellence and give them the wealth and power. Beat down the merchants, con men, advertisers, lawyers, carnies and other types who flatter us with pleasant illusions and then take control.

  • Nationalism. Every ethnic group demands its own space, and every race its continent. In Europe, nations matter. In America, our Anglo-Saxon (Western European) heritage is our core. Our people create the social order we need, and it cannot be created any other way.

  • Hierarchy. Like in the military or the church, we need methods of moving the better people up higher than the rest. Most of this is done by assessing choice, but another important dimension is to avoid the subsidies that governments so relish. Let Darwin into our lives in all ways.

  • Transcendence. We need a goal above materiality and social pressures. This goal cannot be achievable in full, but must always be there ahead of us on the horizon, encouraging us to improve qualitatively forever, always reaching higher toward excellence, beauty, wisdom, truth and goodness.

This is our mission. Right now, we are trying to stop the decline, but we cannot do it without having an extremely long-term goal, on the order of tens of thousands of years. We must think not of our time, but of all time. And no matter what comes our way, this light shall guide us from desolation to light.

White Nationalism failed because it incorporates too much liberalism

Friday, February 12th, 2016

franz_ferdinand

If you grew up after 1789, when the French Revolution formalized liberalism as the Western doctrine, you have grown up indoctrinated in Leftist propaganda. Any idea with its root in egalitarianism, or the equality of all people, is leftist.

This includes democracy, freedom, equality, diversity, pluralism, consumerism and… White Nationalism. While Nationalism itself is an idea as old as time, namely that the ethnic tribe constitutes the nation, White Nationalism is like National Socialism a modern creation. In other words: a liberal version of an ancient conservative idea.

White Nationalism misses the point. This is not red team versus blue team; it is how to save the West from imploding thanks to the influence of democracy, and through that, individualism. We need culture, cooperation and purpose to return and to rule ourselves with kings, not votes, because votes and purchases are made by groups who demonstrate the salient trait of humans, which is vanity as individuals and mass delusion as groups.

Anything short of that is failure. Our current society is a disaster and an unpleasant existential experience because it is failing. All of our institutions are inferior substitutes, our leaders are all corrupt salesmen, the voters are delusional and oblivious, and our culture has become dumbed-down mass appeal madness. This cannot be fixed solely by driving out the ethnic Other. We must fix ourselves, too.

Over at the $PLC, Derek Black makes some interesting points in the midst of groveling and logical fallacies:

Promoting a victim complex for whites does not recognize the oppressed experiences of others not in the position of a white person in society

He may have taken another bad direction into liberalism, but he has a good point about victim complexes. We do not need a victim complex; we need a can-do “let’s fix this” culture. The two are opposites.

White nationalism supports the premise that multiculturalism is a failure, and that politicians trapped in a multicultural status quo are oppressing white people in “their own country.”

Here he is correct, but he misses the underlying point: white people voted for this. Voting transforms individuals into a scared, pretentious herd that always votes for easy lies instead of honest solutions. The solution is to end democracy.

On the other hand, white nationalists consider white people in the US to be ostensibly the victims of an ongoing genocide brought about by immigration and miscegenation, and feel that when they try to speak up about it, they are subjected to a vicious double standard.

No one sensible could argue that this is not true. But: who is enforcing the double standard? White governments, at the behest of white voters.

Most arguments that racial equity programs disadvantage whites who would otherwise be hired or accepted to academic programs mask underlying anxieties about the growth of non-white social status.

Here he is off-base. The problem is that our society is being destroyed, and the only healthy societies are homogeneous ones not heterogeneous ones. This is not about our personal inconvenience, except in that having a society collapse into Brazil 2.0 is highly inconvenient and fatal.

More importantly, white nationalism’s staunch opposition to the gains in numbers and in influence of non-whites makes it a movement by nature committed to suppressing these people.

I think he misses the point here, too. The goal is to have zero non-whites and in fact, zero non-Western Europeans. Western Europeans are the only group on earth that is truly a persecuted minority because of our small numbers and relative wealth. Everyone loves to beat up on the successful nerdy kid, and that’s us.

Though there are plenty of powerful Jewish activist groups pursuing their chosen agendas, it is inaccurate and outrageous to talk about people of Jewish descent as “the enemy” of anyone, as it is essentializing a large group into a fairy tale antagonist.

I agree with him here. Jews are another group under attack, as we can see daily when 90% of the world’s liberals are keen to blame Palestinian terrorism on Israeli “oppression” despite nothing of the sort occurring.

The small, smart and successful groups (3S) like Western Europeans, Jews and North Chinese are always under assault by the rest because we have achieved what others cannot and they resent us for that.

There is no way to advocate for white nationalism but by arguing that minorities pose a threat to our supremacy.

Spot the sleight of hand: is it “supremacy” to ask that we have our own countries? Of course not. He has shiftily conflated world domination with wanting, say, Germany for Germans or Israel for Jews.

Advocating for white nationalism means that we are opposed to minority attempts to elevate themselves to a position equal to our own.

Again he is wrong. We want them to do it in their own countries and to leave us alone. We have our own destiny to plan and work toward.

I believe that a healthy sense of identity and belonging are necessary, and I think being proud of where you came from is important regardless of race or class.

He’s right here. Every group should be nationalist and work in its own self-interest. That is Darwinian, moral and common sense.

I do not believe advocacy against “oppression of whites” exists in any form but an entrenched desire to preserve white power at the expense of others.

Here he is off-base again. We want our own countries and our own destiny, the same as anyone else. Why is this denied? It is white genocide by the resentful herd that gnashes its teeth at the fact that it has not made a successful life for itself as we did for ourselves, before liberalism at least.

The point that White Nationalists miss is that we are not fighting for the current system minus minorities. We are fighting to restore our civilization to a point of sanity, and while race is part of that, it is not the whole. Our society is existentially miserable as it is now and would still be without the presence of minorities. Nationalism is a means to an end, which is allowing ourselves to be ruled by our culture instead of an ideological government and its “proposition nation” united by politics, television, economics and a team identity of a jingoistic variety.

Conservatives “conserves” the behaviors of humanity that produce the best results. Those are four:

  1. Aristocracy: A hierarchy of our best people ruling as kings, instead of having a “System” of rules and laws to take the place of clear thinking. This includes a caste system so that people make decisions only at the level for which they are competent.
  2. Nationalism: Germany for Germans, Israel for Jews. This allows the group to have a shared culture which regulates behavior through reward and shame, instead of punishment and law enforcement.
  3. Free markets: Free markets require Nationalism and Aristocracy, but are the only way to do business that rewards performance instead of conformity.
  4. Transcendence: We need goals beyond the immediate material convenience of our society. We need purpose and to aspire to greatness, not merely react to “issues.”

There are no substitutes. Either you want the above, or you are happy with the status quo… if it would only favor you a bit more. That approach will land us back in the current position in no time because it is built on the same illusions.

Our society is dying. We are near the drop-off point. Our solution is to stop using methods that do not work, and to start using methods that do. These time-honored methods work. Democracy, diversity, equality, pluralism, tolerance and altruism do not. It is that simple.

The basis of conservatism is a love for life itself

Monday, May 26th, 2014

skyward_reaching_transcendent_awe

Conservatives need a simple message. Try: We are the future.

Conventionally, most people including most conservatives have tried to style us as people “standing athwart history, yelling stop.” And while that described their immediate task, it missed the big point.

Liberalism is a detour into delusional thinking. It represents not a forward motion, but a journey back toward the days before civilization itself… disorder, lack of hygiene, criminality and no infrastructure or social organization.

The idea of civilization is that we can adapt to reality by understanding reality. The idea of liberalism is that, thanks to civilization, we can stop paying attention to reality.

We all know what happens when you stop doing what makes you succeed. You stop succeeding. But it is human frailty that makes people want to stop doing what is necessary and instead focus on themselves. The human ego wants to be the center of attention, and to have itself be acclaimed as universal and absolute.

But when this happens, societies fail. Paradoxically, this is a trap for successful societies: the more you succeed, the more you create people who take that for granted, and no longer want to do what is necessary to keep society succeeding. (That, by the way, is not “work more”; it’s paying attention to reality.)

With liberalism comes a rejection of reality itself. People want to make themselves into reality. The point of “equality” is that each person can do whatever they want, even if it’s in total denial of reality. Especially if it is; otherwise, they wouldn’t need equality. Equality is a popular marketing gambit because it makes everyone feel good.

In other words, liberalism is a love of the Self.

Conservatism, on the other hand, is love for life itself. Reality comes before humanity. And humanity perfects itself by understanding reality.

To love reality one must love it on its own terms. This is transcendence: an appreciation for the beauty of its function and what it enables us to do. This requires understanding how appearance is not reality, and appearance is both subjective and seems to be universal and absolute. This is the origin of human projection.

To start down this path, one must begin with nihilism: nothing in life has inherent meaning. We can choose to survive or not, and to prefer good things or mediocre things. But if we love life, we begin to assign meaning to what works and more importantly, what works best.

The function of life is objective, but it is our choice to select to be functional. We are defined by our choices and rightly judged based on them as well. Those who choose perfectability — the triad of “the good, the beautiful and the true” — will find themselves rising above others, because these things are in synchronization with the goals of the system we know of as life and the cosmos.

But for others, life may have different goals. They may want the self to prevail over the obligation to the good, the beautiful and the true. Once again, we are judged by our decisions, and not by other humans only; reality judges us by showing us the consequences and fruits of our choices. Some are destined for first-world societies, others for third-world.

Others will choose other paths. Homosexuality for instance does not lead to reproduction, so it becomes a dead-end path. Excessive selfishness leads to isolation. Extreme hedonism makes family and long-term planning impossible. These paths are equally valid on a subjective level, but on an objective one their results are equally predictable.

To find meaning in life, we must meet it on its own terms. We must see the genius of its function, and thus find beauty in even the ugliness. With this, we rise above our own reactions and can see life on a complex level, where those who know only their own reaction exist in a one-dimensional world comprised of their reactions alone.

What’s the purpose of civilization?

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

nothing_really_mattress_anymoreDay after day, it hits me how the problem with humanity is obvious. It stares us in the face.

It’s that most of us are crazy, and while we have that in check, in groups the craziness becomes huge.

Think about a meeting. Once people start talking, inevitably you drift off topic. You end up discussing something unrelated. It’s hard to get back to the original meaning.

This is what happens to societies, even ideas themselves. Multiple people get involved and touch them, and soon, they’re mutated into something irrelevant. This is because each person brings his own needs and desires to the table.

In fact, it’s a rare thing to be able to truly consider an idea as itself in the context of reality itself. It rarely happens, and when it does, it’s by accident.

This is why bosses are good at “solving” specific problems but rarely good at fitting those solutions into a bigger strategy. That’s too much for them to consider at once. Only one thing at a time fits.

All of this is backdrop to the problem of politics. We talk about what “should” be done. But what is the goal? And why bother trying at all?

Here is what makes me a conservative: I don’t think the goal is individuals bringing their own needs and desires to the table. I think it’s that we consider our choices as themselves in the context of reality itself.

This is why conservatives endorse ideas like eternalism, or what is perpetually true; “the good, the beautiful, and the true”; “the permanent things.” (We get sidetracked into liberty, small government, etc. because we’re trying to remove the others who want to obstruct our access to good things so that those others can pursue an Ideological agenda.)

Conservatives think the goal of our society is health. We think that if we make ourselves sane, disciplined, honorable, noble, intelligent and thoughtful, we will be a reflection of all the good in the world, and good will come to us.

Of course, there’s a glitch in this, as far as “most people” can see. Namely, that it requires us as individuals to change.

Most people love change, when government’s doing it or we’re all doing it as a group. It never requires them to alter their own sense of self-control, or the pursuit of individual needs and desires.

Conservatives have the opposite view. The world is big, and we are small. Its order is defined and beyond our comprehension; our own order is often disorganized, half-Simian and confused.

Thus like a painter capturing an early morning sunset in oil on canvas, we study our world, appreciate its beauty, and make a version of it in ourselves as best we can.

Charting discomfort

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

As a child, the areas around my neighborhood were dotted with bomb-sites.
Craters, rubble, and burgeoning plant-life. Insects. Birds. Shrapnel. A few scruffy boys, like me, out foraging. “Frequent Electric Trains, To And From London”, rumbled by, high up, on the blue-brick embankment. Even the odd, unadorned, grey/brown steam locomotive.
A world apart, only meters from the “real” world.

But there were no adults, and so this no-man’s land was almost solely mine.
I captured a bright black and yellow fly, once, and raced home with it, to show mummy, screaming at the sudden pain, for no one had yet told me about wasps. It got me, right under the fingernail.
Oh man, that hurt!
But no amount of stings, bruises, cuts or dog-bites could deter me. I became quite au-fait with discomfort. Which is one of the few really good things about being young.

I had the world’s worst tricycle. Salvaged, I suppose, from a dump. Every few revolutions of the pedals, the cotter-pin would rip another chunk out of my ankle bone. Yowww! More discomfort. I probably pedaled that thing all the way around the earth. Punctuated by pain, blood, and bits of ankle.

You won’t find many adults doing things that hurt, things that threaten, things that lack convenience and comfort. Which is one of the really bad things about no longer being young.

So it is as well, sometimes, in later years, to fall off ladders, slice hands with hatchets, plug oneself into wall-sockets, etc. It still hurts, but it serves to remind of those times when the hurt did not deter; did not lock one out of the real world of uncertain outcomes and inconvenient consequences.

Ideas are a bit like this. With age, we seek agreement. We prefer what we already know. The ideas we already have, we wish others to reinforce. To validate. For comfort’s sake.

What about all those things we don’t yet know? Haven’t yet arrived at? Had never been able to see? What about them?

What about them?

Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue by Paul Woodruff

Monday, November 23rd, 2009


Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue
by Paul Woodruff.
183 pages, Oxford University Press, $11

This little book wins people over because of its simplicity not its rhetorical fireworks or intricate arguments. When you think about it, distilling a simple truth out of a complex situation is either supremely difficult, or strikingly dishonest.

In this case, I believe, it’s the former. Reverence is “the virtue that keeps human beings from trying to act like gods,” says Woodruff, and we’ve forgotten it. That jives with what I know of people arrogantly acting as if their own needs are all-important, their opinions are fact, their science and statistics are more important than observation and, most of all, that we’re all equal and better toe the line and not offend anyone — or else.

All of these things originate in what Woodruff describes as the irreverent outlook, where we believe that our emotions, socially-defined conclusions, social status and shared memes somehow trump ultimate reality itself. In short, we’ve made ourselves gods and replaced paying attention to reality with solipsistically paying attention to ourselves.

Nietzsche pointed out how humanism leads to solipsism that denies all that’s good in life so we can avoid conflict, and get along like good equal social animals, nevermind that we’ve traded the future for temporarily stability today:

Once upon a time, in some out of the way corner of that universe which is dispersed into numberless twinkling solar systems, there was a star upon which clever beasts invented knowing. That was the most arrogant and mendacious minute of “world history,” but nevertheless, it was only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths, the star cooled and congealed, and the clever beasts had to die. One might invent such a fable, and yet he still would not have adequately illustrated how miserable, how shadowy and transient, how aimless and arbitrary the human intellect looks within nature. There were eternities during which it did not exist.

And when it is all over with the human intellect, nothing will have happened. For this intellect has no additional mission which would lead it beyond human life. Rather, it is human, and only its possessor and begetter takes it so solemnly — as though the world’s axis turned within it. But if we could communicate with a gnat, we would learn that he likewise flies through the air with the same solemnity, that he feels the flying center of the universe within himself. There is nothing so reprehensible and unimportant in nature that it would not immediately swell up like a balloon at the slightest puff of this power of knowing. And just as every porter wants to have an admirer, so even the proudest of men, the philosopher, supposes that he sees on all sides the eyes of the universe telescopically focused upon his action and thought.

On truth and lies in an extra-moral sense, by F.W. Nietzsche

In Woodruff’s view, the human tendency to view human commentary on the world as inherent truth is diametrically opposed to a transcendent worldview, in which we place ourselves mentally as small parts of a big world, and pay attention to how it works and adapt ourselves to it.

Through this transcendence, he reasons, we can interpret any belief system in the correct context, and assess any fact or reason in context, giving us the ultimate simple tool for finding a realistic solution or way of life.

Even more, as he argues in plain “psychologist speak” with a heavy dose of literary and philosophical references, we learn to appreciate ourselves again by not taking on an insane burden of the world but by seeing it as the magnificent, complex system it is and alleviating our feelings of the necessity of moral judgment.

Reverence doesn’t tell us what is right and wrong. It is instead the ultimate meta-level thought, telling us how to think about how we think about right and wrong. Although it will not grab headlines, this simple thought-virus is profound enough to make this book recommended reading for those in any discipline, religion, ideology or stage of life.

I’d rather have wings

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

wings

How lack of a goal creates circular conflict

The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected. – G. K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday

If you lack an outward goal in life, or something for which you can always be reaching like an athlete who always wants to better her previous performance, you have nowhere to turn but inward. This creates a strange duality where you act for yourself inwardly, but because you have nothing that really makes you feel good, you can act only on the material world, which means you must get into the business of politics, or convincing others that you deserve things.

This psychological act in itself — going from reaching for something, to defending what you believe you should have — shapes your consciousness entirely as it distributes itself through your daily acts and long term goals. Your duality further divides itself because you must act for yourself, but convince others you are acting for the common good. A mob, after all, is formed by people who have nothing in common but that they want power against a common adversary.

When mobs form in underdeveloped countries to kill witch doctors, they’re removing the inventors and creative leaders. When we do the same in developed countries, we don’t call them witch doctors, but we are removing useful heretics nonetheless. The end result is that we murder our best hopes because of our greatest fears, which we cannot control.

Once this process starts, there is no ending, because it is forever subdividing humans into oppositional groups. When they get down to the last two, one will call himself conservative (based on past experience) and the other will call himself liberal (based on present emotion), and they will end up repeating the past because present emotion is a response to past events and past experience doesn’t teach how to argue against present emotion.

As more than one wise thinker pointed out, there is an alternative in cooperation: instead of trying to control each other, we could work together. But that simple statement conceals a network of complex decisions. To cooperate, we have to agree on a plan; already divisions occur. We have to agree on some kind of power structure; we have to agree who we will and will not support, and so on.

Our species struggles with this issue daily, although we like to hit it indirectly through issues and political alignments that often have nothing to do with anything important. What does remain consistent is that we’re caught in a cycle where we rebel against control elements, create chaos, and then try to implement control elements to keep that chaos in check — but in doing so, we become the dictator and police force, and others rebel against us.

It’s like a group of monkeys fighting over a trinket. Whoever has the trinket is now the motherfucker; let’s kill the motherfucker, urges a smart young monkey, because he knows everyone is looking for an easy answer and an outlet for their frustration. So all the monkeys surge against the guy with the trinket, slaughter him, and then are standing around blankly until someone says, “Look! That monkey got the trinket, and he’s using it to oppress us! Kill him!”

This cycle is as common a universal event as any. Matter and antimatter. Ice and fire. Water and sand. If you introduce opposites, you fragment whatever is there, and set off a chain reaction where it keeps dividing itself until nothing is left. In the process — like a fission reaction — you release the energy stored in the links that kept it together.

Similarly, in societies, each time we have a revolution we release more of the wealth stored up by the previous regime, but at the expense of the infrastructure which could build that wealth again. So each time we win, we lose a little more, and we make the competition more intense for what is left. This pattern is how nature eliminates things which cannot get their act together enough to adapt to reality and survive, and we see it everywhere from revolutions in ghettos to bands breaking up to religious conflict dividing nations.

All of this conceals the fact that once you start thinking in the negative, or saying “I don’t want that” pointing to something without knowing what you do want instead, your only option is to destroy. To deconstruct. To liberalize. To liberate to untold billions of tiny conflicts which will finish destruction. Liberals use negative logic in reaction to the past, while conservatives want to hold on to the past. Instead, why not just agree upon what we desire and work toward it with proven methods?

The one thing you do not find in any political discourse is a question of what our direction should be. In order to avoid being exposed to critique and ritual, people act as if a consensus does agree and they are making slight modifications to it, even if they are dividing it into conflict. But the dialogue we most need, which is that of what we really want out of life, cannot be had — and if we approach it, it is only on an individual and not societal level.

This reveals the sticky truth of individuals, which is that they fear consensus if they do not understand it, because they assume it will be used against them. This starts a cycle where they fear, so destroy, and then the causes of their fear increase. Think about it this way: every Revolution has been followed by a period of retribution against elites, and in all cases it has weakened the nation.

In America, for example, the post-Revolutionary War years brought retribution against loyalists to the British king. They were driven out of their homes and their property confiscated, making many people wealthier than before. But society also lost some of its integral members, and by the time the war of 1812 came around, was so divided by internal conflict that it could barely fend off Canada.

Similarly, the French Revolution brought retribution against the hated Royals, but then, the retribution became a tactic in use among revolutionaries themselves. If you wanted someone gone, you claimed he was against the revolutionary dogma — a cheap monkey parlor trick — and he went off to the guillotine. France has spent its time since then losing wars and existing in pleasantly dysfunctional culinary fame, having brought the dishes of the peasants, as cooked by the elites, to the world.

We can trace this heritage of opposition to our use of linear logic. In linear logic, you look at a situation with multiple factors and pick one you want to compare in “before” and “after” states, then do something to the whole situation, and throw out all data but that which pertains to that one factor. Linear logic, or “negative logic” because it relies on removing data, creates a sense of division and deconstruction as power in a scientific sense; when restrained by a positive goal, negative logic remains a tool of material results, but when no goal exists, it supplants other forms of reasoning and the means become the ends, the tail wags the dog, we serve our tools and we reverse our thought process.

I’d prefer, and the use of the word “prefer” means I do not believe there’s any degree to which I can “prove” this, since I’m combining many factors at once instead of comparing two instances of a single factor, to have wings. I want a society which strives toward goals so vague that it cannot ever fully achieve them, but can get one step closer every generation and feel fully satisfied in that. I want a civilization that is always growing in quality and not quantity. I want a civilization that explores the stars just because it’s cool, one that views justification as backward logic and laughs at it, a society that is driven relentlessly toward better art, logic, philosophy, architecture and martial power.

I want a civilization that is not afraid of life itself. I want a civilization that overcomes its fear of falling so much that it is willing to don wings and fly, and is able to by light of having a better forward positive goal, throw out the negativity of the past — and even abandon those who suffer who cannot be helped. I want a civilization that ignores the dying retarded child so it can urge the healthy children on to something better. I want a civilization that finds farts funny, that isn’t afraid of its own absurdity, and also is not worried about the censure and judgments of those who are not actively making great things.

Humans love to believe the negative. We like to think everyone is shallow, everyone is afraid, everyone is mediocre, and in short, that no one will rise above the crowd, so that we can exist without challenging each other or looking stupid in the social judgments of others. When we fear, we try to stop the world from turning, to stop evolution, and to stop any one person from growing and rising above. Until we fix this state, none will rise above, because it’s suicide.

We were once monkeys, and monkeys destroy their best hopes because they fear losing what is stable, tangible — under control. We can leave behind our monkey state, don wings and explore this playground universe, or we can drag ourselves back into negativity and fight each other tooth and nail until we have destroyed everything and doomed ourselves, fulfilling our negative outlook with a reality no one intelligent would want to survive — returning us, through evolutionary regression, to fully being monkeys.

I’d rather fly.

Introduction to Traditionalist Thought

Friday, January 16th, 2009

nightsky_transcendence

As our modern society continues to implode on both an organizational and emotional level, many of us seek other answers. One popular one is Traditionalism, which posits that a universal integral order exists between nature and man based on role and context more than “thing-in-itself” logic including individualism and materialism. While this is a great start, it also opens a doorway to great ignorance for those who partially understand these concepts. Such people, called “Tarditionalists,” have hopelessly confused the genre for most by making it into metaphysical drama and theatre.

The solution to ignorance is not to fight it, but to construct a counter-ignorance platform, and so here we introduce several resources that can quickly and easily get you up and learning traditionalism.

While you read, I suggest you keep in mind a single principle: that the scientific method implies that reality operates by consistent principles, and that if we create adaptive responses to these that are accurate to the consistent principles of the world, we fare well; if we do not, we fail. In this light, we can see how all of history is a process of smart people sticking to reality, and others following a fashion or trend to deny reality in favor of a “social reality” which seems to work for awhile then fails because, having drifted far from a response to reality, it is unrealistic. The natural order is not just outside of us, but within us, much as patterns emerge in diverse media with similar but not necessarily visually similar configurations.

TRADITIONALISM

Traditionalism is the original idea: that our actions correspond to adaptations to nature both within and without, so there are eternal truths to life. This is in direct contrast to the view that morality or technology have changed the rules of the game. Anyone who has ever been in a relationship, or faced a great fear, knows how eternal the real experience of life can be.

  1. The Essence

    Aldous Huxley – The Perennial Philosophy

    This book is the best all-around guide to all philosophies other than modern. Huxley took his favorite resources, and quoting from them, wrote a narrative that stitched together all the pieces. He also gives a great prismatic view, as fans of the ancients tend to like to, by picking multiple points of view and showing their commonality. This is one of the drier resources on here, but if you read it first, everything else fits into place.

    Plato – The Republic

    In a famous remark, A. N. Whitehead said that the development of Western philosophy could be seen as a series of footnotes to Plato. Like the Hindus, Plato got there first, and put down his ideas in a concise form through dialogues between arch-provocateur Socrates and people who represent psychological archetypes you can represent today. In particular, Plato showed how the world of appearance and the world of structure are incompatible, with only the latter approximating reality as the product of interconnected natural/physical forces, and methodologically debunked the “wishful thinking” that underlies the illusions politicians still use to pander to us. Master this, and you’ve mastered the game.

  2. The Masters

    The Bhagavad-Gita

    Long ago, the ancient Hindus formulated their versions of the truths that every other society before or since has discovered, at least where there are smart people. Technically, Hinduism is “transcendental idealism,” or the belief in striving for abstract goals as a way to achieve good as an end and get over fear of good/evil as methods or conditions of life. I find it very cheerful, but unlike most holy books, it doesn’t pander to the sheep who want to hear that love will save the day. It’s about spiritual war to better yourself and save your society from intellectual entropy, commonly known as “stupidity.”

    Evola – The Doctrine of Awakening

    When most people think of Traditionalism, they think of Evola, because he was the first to unite Nietzschean pragmatic idealism with the ideas of the ancients in an intelligible form, and he was savvy enough to defer religious thinking in favor of psychological and epistemological depictions of reality. This book is about Buddhism, but in it, Evola articulates his basic thought at its clearest.

    Friedrich Nietzsche – On Truth and Lies in a Non-Moral Sense

    At a time when most Western philosophy had become irrelevant, fighting over definitions because social pressures prevented discussion of actual issues like, say, the ongoing parasitism of Western civilization, Nietzsche sliced in with a dual attack: one one side, he was passionate realist who saw how social reality obscured truth just as Plato’s world of appearance replaced intelligible design; on the other, he believed that life was best lived in striving joyfully for something difficult, and that complacency was both the enemy of sense and of fun. In this formative writing, Nietzsche separates human “knowing” from reality and points out how our desire to pander to others with socially succinct synopses dooms us to exclude the vital “mythic imagination” that allows us to bond creativity with analysis and appreciate life in a poetic, yet realistic, fashion.

    Max Weber: Readings And Commentary On Modernity

    Where others looked at society through a critical eye, Weber analyzed its mechanisms and mathematics, and used them to derive a clear view of its psychology. In creating this new sociology, he showed how psychology in a demographic sense determines the “behind the scenes” operation of society in a way that tangible institutions, laws, bureaucracies and public statements could not.

  3. Manifestations

    Gottfried Leibniz – Discourse on Metaphysics and Other Essays

    Through this collection of both early and mature analyses, Leibniz argues for a redirection of our thinking from the categorical to the descriptive as a means of perceiving a whole reality. Radically simple as that sounds, it sparked dissent for centuries. In these thoughts, Leibniz invents the methodology that Traditionalists later used as a framework for their ideas.

    Rene Guenon – The Crisis of Modernity

    Basing his work on the arguments of Gottfried Leibniz, Guenon argued that modernity is divided between external manifestations and an inward state of mind that seems to correspond to Nirvana. Thomas Pynchon told us similar things, but then made an error by insisting the division was between symbol and idea; Guenon points out that the division is between judgment and experience. Heavy on bloviation but has good content.

    Evola – Revolt Against the Modern World

    Making explicit the promise of his more abstruse works, Evola targets modernism as the clueless reliance on external appearance and denial of interconnected, polycausal reality that it is. He shows how the mechanistic material outlook of modern society not only dooms it internally, but also causes a proliferation of problems externally that cannot be addressed because the very constraints of modernist logic exclude such thinking.

    Frithjof Schuon – The Essential Frithjof Schuon

    Shorter essays allow Schuon to target specific examples of what he believes and avoid the bloviating vagueness common to many neo-Traditionalist dilettantes (we call them Tarditionalists) who like to throw around abstract language as a means of excusing their inaction and or inability to find meaning in life. Schuon systematically analyzes medieval and earlier values and points out their scientific value from an informational and sociological context, showing the mathematics of human populations and the contrast between dogma and demography.

  4. Literature

    Mary Shelley – Frankenstein

    In the allegorical dream-language of literature, Shelley portrays modern man as what he is: a creation of technology now trying to discover his origins in order to find meaning in the continuation of life itself. Carefully disguised as a horror story, this novel also innovated the format used by horror movies today, which is a situation in which the individual must see technology fail him in opposing the supernatural or super-organizational, and also, fight others who refuse to recognize the obvious, before he can face an enemy he has no knowledge of how to defeat.

    Conrad – Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness

    The first of these books is a meditation on courage and how retreat from facing the need for courage creates emptiness that is worse than death; the second describes how the obsessive compulsion to pursue social symbols of power has weakened Western civilization by making it unable to recognize reality which is, in contrast to our neatly quantified social systems, a chaotic and lawless place designed to make the most realistic prevail.

    Tom Wolfe – I am Charlotte Simmons and A Man in Full

    Wolfe’s characters discover themselves in a modern time ruled by competition for status, since caste structures no longer exist, in which the essential values that can make people like themselves are forgotten. In confronting their own fear of being inadequate, these characters shuck the modern neurosis that had them worrying in the first place, and bond exoteric to esoteric by acting instinctively — and to their surprise, that turns out to be a wiser course than the ethic of convenience which dooms other characters in these insightful novels.

    Michael Crichton – Congo

    Humanity confronts its nearest ancestors in this book about how the pretense of knowledge that separates us from apes in fact makes us inferior to them in situations where realistic action is called for. In addition, Crichton assaults all forms of socially-accepted but delusional knowledge, targeting scientific arrogance and mass media with the same motion he uses to assault people who place personal careers and pretense of importance over collective and realistic action.

RADICAL TRADITIONALISM

The insurrectionary (but not revolutionary) arm of Traditionalism, radical traditionalists are those who believe we can put Traditionalist principles in practice and reverse modernism. They tend to have less use for the bloviation that marks theoretical traditionalism, and focus more on the design-level practicality of the Traditionalist idea.

Tyr defines Radical Traditionalism by the following ideals:

  1. Resacralization of the world versus materialism.
  2. Natural social hierarchy versus an artificial hierarchy based on wealth.
  3. The tribal community versus the nation-state.
  4. Stewardship of the earth versus the “maximization of resources.”
  5. A harmonious relationship between men and women versus the “war between the sexes.”
  6. Handicraft and artisanship versus industrial mass-production.

Michael Moynihan and Joshua Buckley – Tyr: Myth-Culture-Tradition

Radical traditionalism gained a new voice with this collection of essays that rediscover the ancient world through modern methods and an open-minded, liberal study of the past that does not seek to condemn it for the convenience of our mechanistic, commercial and populist empires. Topics range across the board but articles all seek to explicate through concrete example the dual spiritual and practical benefits of a radical Traditionalist outlook.

Deep Ecology – Mission Statement

This radical environmental movement blames “The loss of traditional knowledge, values, and ethics of behavior that celebrate the intrinsic value and sacredness of the natural world and that give the preservation of Nature prime importance.” They then give us practical solutions: localize, downsize, and lower population.

Stephen Flowers – The Woodharrow Institute

If your ancestors are from central Europe, the UK or the United States, chances are good you have a German in the family. Flowers explores traditional thought and iconography through a study of traditional Norse-Germanic practices and emphasizes the wholesome, spiritual and intellectual values of this approach. In his view, as that of many other scholars, organic cultural preservation is the one force that can restrain the reckless expansion of commerce and by its hand, mass culture.

ANTI-MODERNISM, NEO-TRIBALISM AND ANTI-GLOBALISM

Ever since ancient philosophers observed that as soon as sea trade was established, and the polyglot language of cities solidified into a single language — commerce –, culture failed and with it institutions became corrupted, the idea of opposing the common factors among commerce, modernity, single-factor thinking, and what we now call globalism has been on the tips of many tongues. While these philosophies are not labeled with the Traditionalist category, they use the same logical foundation to point out how far we have drifted from reality — by drifting away from our inner selves.

The Prince of Wales – The Modern Curse that Divides us From Nature

Start here for a simple and forthright assessment of how a lack of harmony with our world has made us into monsters who hate themselves. Assaulting architecture, pollution, culturelessness and commerce at once, one of the last surviving members of the aristocracy points out in clear and enigmatic language how foolish and misleading the modern dream is, and how it has brought us into increasing disorder with promises of “freedom” it has not delivered.

Brad Blanton – Practicing Radical Honesty

Dishonesty, like cracks in a wall, can only spread as the convenient practice of telling partial truths or outright misleading is applied to everything, even our knowledge of our world and ourselves. This book provides a battle plan for stopping the practice of gentle lying in your life, and as a result, conditioning your brain to face each situation honestly without necessarily submerging itself in negativity and depression.

Paul Woodruff – Reverence

The question of how to connect our knowing, judging minds with a reality that passes before we can parse it remains the focus of most esoteric religions. In this short and informal philosophical discourse, Woodruff shows us more than tells us, through a process of saturation in anecdote and observation, how rediscovery of our ability to revere nature and the beauty of life by putting off our fear of it can, through conditioning us to see the whole picture, re-sacralize the reality which we inhabit and escape the smaller, boxlike world creating by our judging minds.

Love and Nihilism: A Parallelism Primer

Written by the same author as the piece you are now reading, this philosophical treatise invents parallelism, which is a way for us to learn to appreciate the interconnected forces that render reality, and stop paying attention to appearance so we can start paying attention to Plato’s “intelligible” or design-based view of reality. If you like what you’ve read so far, this short piece may direct you toward other areas of practice through its information-based analysis of reality.

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