The right is in a tough spot: in order to avoid comparisons to failures of the past, we’ve neutered our opinions, which lets our opposition portray us as dishonest and in retreat. In a sense, we are, in part because like all mobs centered around a stupid idea, leftism has taken over and the lunatics are running the asylum — for a while.
We all know that someday the piper must be paid, the check comes due, and the teacher comes back from that conference in the hall to catch us, arm drawn back, halfway through the process of winding up to nail someone good with a flying textbook. The comeuppance is real because it’s always right around the corner any time we deny reality and feast now at the expense of tomorrow.
Conservatives stand for many things. In my experience, the most obvious one is that we are realists. We care about causes and their effects, so we can pick our actions (causes) by what effects (results) we want. Leftists confuse cause and effect because to them, everything is a social act, and so the world is a one-dimensional face-value kind of place.
However, we’ve gotten caught up in issues, which is how politics ensnares everything it touches. The point isn’t our view on abortion; the point is we want a different type of society. We want a society where sex is for family production, and pleasure is derived from accomplishment and transcendental experience, not temporal bodily sensations. But to get to that point, we need to go even deeper into conservatism.
There are many now who insist that in order to be a conservative, you must be religious. This fits into the narrative of the left that we’re all religious fanatics, but even more, it cuts out a more fundamental motivation. The metaphysicians among us talk about the numinous and how we must contemplate it; following my wife’s example, I say that we can be secular just as easily as religious, as long as we follow something bigger than ourselves. For me, that is the luminous.
The books don’t have this definition of luminous, because I have coined it for a type of outlook toward life: the belief that, just around the corner, there is something so inexpressibly good that we shouldn’t wait to see it, just waiting to burst forth. That life is an opportunity, that consciousness is a gift, that nature is genius engineering and the conditions that made that beauty efficient even more so. That all is alive, alight, filled with beauty and transcendent sublime. A greater form of pleasure.
Conservatives frequently urge us on to appreciate “the permanent things” and “the good, the beautiful and the true,” but these have a root in the numinous. Before you can pursue the beautiful, you must desire the beautiful. To do that, you must see the refulgent line of iridescence running through life itself, be charmed by it, and forget your fear for a moment to lose yourself in play.
And in love, really. You can’t love someone without loving the world from which they came, and without loving the concept of love itself. What is the origin of love? The ability to love. And where does that come from? Look toward the glow within everything. A playful, patient, excitable, irrational, infinite glow.
None of this will make sense to leftists or to any who have not felt the magic of a certain type of experience. But as our society has become more modern, we have lost the poetry in our souls, which has started with our inability to see life as alive with a brilliance that material cannot measure. It is the experience that defines life, not the parts you can hold in your hand. Those are just means to an end.