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Category Archives: philosophy

On Reviving Authoritarianism

In a crowded world, a more authoritarian system becomes necessary.  Liberty and loose rules are privileges of those who have plenty of space and resources.  It comes as little surprise that America prides itself as the world champion of freedoms for the average person.  It is of course the nation that had an entire continent to grow into.  However, America’s days as a frontier society are over.  Always before, the problems that arise from society’s natural injustices could be deferred.  There was always a safety valve.
Now for the first time in about 400 years, the North American settlers have to deal with the same problems everyone else on earth has to deal with, vast masses of poor and disenfranchised with nowhere to go.
For the last few decades, American society has been in petulant denial like a toddler used to getting candy on demand. The tantrum has been especially stubborn and intense because there was a final big binge of halloween candy after WW2 with all the world’s demand to satisfy and all the other great competing economies burnt to the ground.  Now the holiday is over and life is back to normal.

I have read writings by those who call themselves neo-reactionaries, some of whom believe we should return to monarchy. I find there are many merits in their arguments.  Historically, there have been powerful rulers in most places most of the time. Republics and democracies have been few and far between and the best of them have been far shorter lived than even mediocre kingdoms. Even those representative governments that have existed have been oligarchic with most people as slaves and the voting citizenry a limited elite.
On its founding, even the American republic was intended to have suffrage limited to owners of substantial land and property.
The form that the USA eventually assumed, a large representative republic with nearly universal adult suffrage was unprecedented in history. These extraordinary freedoms were made possible by control of a large, sparsely populated, resource rich area surrounded by weak neighbors separated from everyone else by vast oceans. Crowded European states have adopted the trappings of US democracy since they’ve had nukes and/or weak neighbors but they have always by necessity had far more rules and taxes. Americans can kick, scream, and gnash their teeth all they like, but the system will continue to drift towards tighter order and stricter rules. There will be a steady push towards a new authoritarianism as serious problems fester and it becomes painfully clear that a democracy that’s indecisive by design is incapable of dealing with them. The Roman Republic in its twilight was forced to bend the rules more and more to deal with crisis situations until the old precedents became meaningless. Perhaps the facade of a republic remains for awhile, as it did in Ancient Rome, but eventually there is no need to pretend anymore.

Neo-reactionary monarchists have many good points and they understand correctly where things are headed. However, going back to monarchs as they were is impossible.  Too many people have too much information. Justifying the King’s power by divine right worked when most people were illiterate and ignorant. Mass literacy seriously damaged the power of monarchy and a host of other new information technologies finished it off. Today too many people are able to see that Frank next door might be smarter and more competent than a monarch whose every tic and nose pick is known to all. There would be no way to sustain the illusion of divinity when people know too much. An example is Emperor Hirohito of Japan, a mostly ceremonial monarch who was built up as a divinity and kept out of the public eye. When he personally announced the Japanese surrender on radio millions were astonished that he sounded just like an ordinary man. Worse, the occupying Americans had no qualms about using him for photo-ops and one picture with a 6 foot tall MacArthur towering over him became especially famous. A divine ruler was possible before mass literacy, photos, and videos because it was possible to cultivate an awe-inspiring air of mystery about him. In the modern world, only North Korea is committed to the information blackout necessary to support their own king as a divine ruler just as if the ancient kingdom of Koguryo had never ended.

There will be a return to authoritarianism, but not with the same foundations as before. Legitimacy for a successful oligarchy, will have to be secured by some form of meritocracy.
The average person must be convinced that they couldn’t step up and do a better job.
Neo-reactionaries understand correctly that post-enlightened rulers can’t coast on hype. They will have to become worthy to rule and then stay worthy. Being on top will mean being the best.
Rather than Divine Right rulers of the future must be backed by Divine Justice or else lose the mandate of heaven.

See also: Only Young Societies Are Egalitarian

Celebrities are Folk Heroes Risen Above Their Proper Place

Celebrities are Gods to masses, mythical figures that loom large over adoring millions.
So one way to establish dominance over the multitude is to cast down their Gods. In the ancient world, it was very common to consolidate victory by publicly crushing the idols of the defeated before them to conclusively demonstrate the truth of their superior power and legitimacy.

Let us imagine, for example, a typical arrogant, loud, foul-mouthed singer who teaches millions of young men to be violent and greedy. He acts tough and powerful on camera and society heaps its best rewards on him, giving credence to his claims. Because he is successful, millions want to imitate him. Enabling such a person to become a God in the heaven of apex social status demoralizes and corrupts society.

The correct heavenly order is re-established when the rulers show themselves as the True Gods. Because our example idol is built on being tough and rebellious, he needs only to be humiliated.
Imagine this swaggering tough guy celebrity forced to wear a pink tutu on national television, forced to kneel humbly on the ground while whipped with rods by hysterically laughing clowns mocking him with boastful lyrics from his songs. Then, humbled and bloodied, he might be made to crawl to the feet of an official and have to kiss his ring and beg for forgiveness. And afterwards, pictures of the fallen God’s tear-streaked defeated face spread all across the internet.
The fallen God could never recover his aura of invincibility and prestige. Though people might understand intellectually no one person can stand against the state, their primal lizard brains couldn’t unsee their God scraping on the ground in ridiculous clothing, getting beaten down by ridiculous people.
I think back on some MMA fights I saw on youtube and recall how even the most hulking warrior could appear small and weak while on his back, scrunched up defensively against the attacks of the guy on top. Though I understand intellectually the shabbiest of these fighters could destroy 99.9% of people within a few seconds, instinctual gut perceptions of bodily positions of submission and dominance are as strong in the deep human psyche as they are in dogs.
It is not without reason that statues and stelae since ancient times depict the conquering ruler on top and the defeated crushed underneath to illustrate the outcome in the most visceral way possible.
Because human animals deal in symbolic systems like language the impact is greatest of all when the person ceremonially dominated is no mere human but a powerful symbol.

Celebrities are like traditional folk-heroes, pagan anthropomorphic Gods, or modern comic book heroes. Their larger-than-life powers and exploits are combined with an abundance of human vanities so they can provide moral examples to the common people. In their proper place they are a positive influence in a vital mid to lower caste culture.

Celebrities, stars, and idols are folk heroes that have risen beyond their proper place. When they become Gods of the entire social order, the earthly flaws that make them appopriate symbols for simple souls drags down the entire culture. Without greater values to guide them from further up, they soon promote vice as virtue and rot society from within.
When Hercules commits a murder, he has to perform labors, when Zeus cheats his wife gets revenge on his mistress, Iron Man pays for his pride and recklessness by accidentally creating Ultron, King Arthur accidentally creates his arch-nemesis, Mordred, by cheating with Morgan Le Fay.
Each hero, while powerful, is steered back on course by a greater moral universe, so when Hercules is made the supreme power, he can murder all he likes. The force that corrects him and completes the story is removed.

It becomes necessary for the wise ruler to systematically out-alpha usurper celebrities and cast them down where they belong.
The former stars respond by just going underground and that is where they should be, out of sight of the higher echelons, known only to their proper audience, never to stand in society’s limelight.

See also: Pop Music is Folk Music Elevated Beyond its Proper Place

Overpopulation Altruism Is Misguided

The composition of a population matters more than population size.
In ancient times we see a world that was far less populous yet far more violent with lower standards of living.  Over time people have been selected to be more productive and less violent even at much higher population densities.
The most casual glance tells us at once that how people are bred, organized, and educated is far more important than numbers alone.  A million humans bred for aggression, with no civic organization, and who are illiterate will be far more miserable and short-lived than a billion who can work together in peace.

This is why people who want to help overpopulation by not having kids are misguided.
If they, with their altruistic and cooperative tendencies choose not to procreate, they merely select for those who will reproduce recklessly.  Any “slack” that they free up for the species quickly disappears and further breeding is even more reckless.
If anything those who altruistically sit out of the game actually make the Malthusian trap even worse as even the capacity for restraint and long-term planning gets bred out, dooming the race to an eventual precipitous crash of famines, plagues, and wars.

A solution to the problem is to engineer societies to encourage conscientious cooperators to have babies and limit the fecundity of those who are short-sighted and vicious.
It may seem far-flung, but the inability of short-sighted people to plan makes them easily manipulated.  Their need for instant gratification means for small gains, more drugs and cash, they’d willingly get sterilized.  Thus the traits that make them fit under present circumstances would again, with such a correction, make them less fit.

It requires a certain conviction to make objective value judgments about populations of human beings, yet it must be done because avoiding the responsibility of judging leads to even worse outcomes.
Those who disavow children because of overpopulation are taking the easy way out, assuaging their guilt superficially while avoiding a higher responsibility to oversee the herd.

Of course, anti-natalist beliefs are also a convenient excuse for people to avoid children that will just be drains on their lives, so arguing the point matters little. We all contrive a facade to justify what we want to believe anyway.
In which case, it may simply be that in a world with abundant contraceptives, those who do not have an urgent drive to reproduce independent of sexual lust will simply go extinct, since it isn’t rational for an individual to beget the burden of offspring. Strictly rationally speaking, we live and die one life only, so the fate of a family, tribe, or species ought not to matter to us. Yet just one look at how the universe works shows us rejection of this sort of selfish nihilism is required to thrive and live well. Those who live for their brief day and stand outside the circle of life always lose to those who cooperate with the intent of nature. Anti-natalists, overpopulationists, selfish nihilists struggle against the laws of physics while those who work with ways of this universe succeed without effort.
Even the unusual breed of altruists who wish to reduce suffering by not continuing the cycle any further fail in their goals. By abstaining out of compassion and empathy, they merely select for those without compunction.

An Aesthetic Declaration of Independence?

Rebel against an established order all you like, but it’s all for naught if you have wallpaper, music, and food characteristic of your people.
Archaeologists characterize ancient peoples by their dwellings, pottery, decorations, and trash piles.  Why doesn’t anyone think to analyze modern peoples in a similar way?  Perhaps the absence of contemperologists is just another blind spot in our established world view.
If we were to make stone spearheads in a particular way, we would be Clovis people, regardless of what we thought about the local chief.
If you like the same top 25 songs everyone else likes, you declare allegiance to your people, no matter if you dislike some politicians.
We’ve established that governments are just outgrowths of the people, therefore it is futile to change a government unless the people change first.  Or rather, if we changed the people, government changes naturally.

There never was a very rebellious soul who had Jif or Skippy peanut butter and Campbell’s soup in their pantry. Brand-name comfort foods connect people to childhood memories of nurture and care, allowing people to feel like warm fuzzy parts of a meaningful tribe even as mass society parasitizes them.
By the same token it is extremely powerful to dismantle these visceral attachments and replace them. To do this is to truly rebel and turn one’s back on a corrupt culture that feeds on its own.
To follow a culture’s aesthetic is an act of powerful ritual significance that ties one to it on a subconscious level. No matter how people might hate their lives within a society, they are trapped so long as peform the rituals of obeisance.
Confucius got it right. He understood the importance of ritual in everything we do—its connection to the movement of societies as gravity shapes the course of celestial bodies.
So by deliberately engineering the rituals on which we base our lives, we shape ourselves.
From the carpets in your dwelling, the architecture of all the buildings around you, the flavorings in your food, the most frequently occurring colors, the shows on tv, the advertisements, the holidays. All these together create an attitude and way of perceiving the world. It’s all around us and influences every thought we think. For example, how does the architecture of a big box strip mall identical to dozens of others make us feel? What more powerful ritual could there be to bolster a philosophy of every place being identical with people plugged into one mass culture and people themselves interchangeable economic units?

So when someone begins to change the cultural environment and how it influences them, they move towards an aesthetic declaration of independence, a sort of hellish, Luciferian defiance magnitudes greater than defying mere governments.

Overrated Rationality is the Enlightenment Mistake

If we look at animals, we notice 3 levels of awareness.

-First there is the realm of the “reptile brain” concerning itself the basic impulses, sensations, and instinct.  Hunger, lust, cold, warm, thirst. Most animals go no further than this.  They have no need to.

-We notice another tier in some higher animals with more complex instinctive behaviors, memory and learning, emotions  and social skills.

-Lastly, we see in some humans a limited form of what we call consciousness or self-awareness.

The philosophers of the enlightenment who created the ideas of modernity predicated their ideas on human society on the assumption that most humans are rational and self-aware.
This is of course not the case.

The vast majority of humans adhere to whatever ideas they are taught early in life without ever a thought.  For the most part, humans thrive by banding into tight collectives and living their lives railroaded by instinctual protocols of social interaction, courtship, and rearing offspring just like pretty much any other high level social mammal.  They can hardly be distinguished from wolves, baboons, dolphins, or chimpanzees.

The individual as enlightenment thinkers conceive of one, is a being who hardly exists amongst humans at all.  And only a significant minority come somewhat close to the ideal of being able to think objectively and then only some of the time about certain things.  We have only to read for 15 minutes about the inbuilt cognitive biases in humans and immediately begin to recall some of the stupid decisions we’ve all made.

From the erroneous underlying assumptions of human rationality and consciousness come the catastrophic ideologies spawned from the Enlightenment.
Capitalism and Marxism in their various forms are portrayed often as opposites, yet both come from the same source, Enlightenment thinkers who believed societies were composed of free rational individuals.

Marxism believes the masses of workers ought to rule and Capitalists believe a market formed by the purchases of the masses ought to rule.
Both try to solve the problems of a society of rational individuals, a fantasy society that doesn’t exist.  This is why both systems, despite their good intentions end up wrecking entire peoples.
The empowered workers end up creating a despotism that impoverishes them and even causes famines.
Market demand enshrined as God destroys everything in its path like an amnesiac beast enslaved to its present whims.  And in the end, what good is all the wealth in the world if the people meant to benefit are destroyed and the sterile units of money still counted dutifully by whirring machines, oblivious to the piles of dusty bones nearby?
Ultimately, humans are group selected, like other social and eusocial animals.  The ideas that stand the test of time and spread are those that help one group of humans outcompete another.
If we would have a successful way of improving life for most people, an idea must first provide for the spread and defense of its adopters.  Enlightenment thinkers provided no defense.  Their ideology is like a nation without a military.  They had no concept of the harsh realities of survival, preferring to live in their dream world.
Every surviving major religion has some directive that its followers go forth and multiply, to defend against outsiders, and in some strains to proselytize.
For nature doesn’t care if the most competitive system makes people happy or not so long as it proliferates.

No ideology will have its intended results unless it is grounded in a firm understanding of how people actually are in the real world.
Yet I can’t see how an ideology that shows people the unpleasant truth of how we really are could ever become very popular.
Its adoption would depend on those more capable of consciousness subjugating those less aware and the humans most Human in the Enlightenment sense adopting rule over human animals as man establishes rule over beast.
Perhaps a banker who rules over a million humans by extracting a penny from each every day through sleight of hand is the natural ruler, parasite, and predator of their herd.
Or the politician who outwits them all through sophisticated talk?
Perhaps their easy dominance over the many shows us how a well-intentioned philosopher could come along and use an engineer’s knowledge of societies to realize their vision.

All Mass Societies Are Built on Coercion

To suppose coercion would go away without governments is foolish.  Those who rail against tax collection forget that if there were no large government, small governments would quickly take over.  Instead of paying taxes, we’d pay protection money to the local gangsters.  Then, over time, one gang would centralize power and eventually grow into a state that collects taxes. We’d be right back where we started.

One of the hard facts of being human is all our societies are founded on parasitism.  Since the foundation of agricultural settlements most people have lived in poverty while a small, dominant group extracted tribute from everyone else.
Before farming, there may not have been parasitism on the same scale, but those who got in the way of the strong were simply killed instead.
There’s never been a paradise because a tough grind with high attrition has always been the normal state of the natural world.  Humans are just another animal in the wild.

To change this state of affairs we’d have to transcend the trap of natural selection which thrives on scarcity and suffering to select ourselves instead.
Since transhumanism will remain science fiction for some time to come, it remains incumbent on anyone who wants to change anything to find ways to identify and enfranchise the best people and mitigate the damage done by the worst.
For the individual human, it is impossible to change the nature of billions of people, it is reasonable perhaps to form tribes of those with similar temperament and create within that sphere the world they wish to see, and that sphere finally formed, devise a means of its further transmission.

Proles Are Inert

We have established that human societies everywhere settle into a stratified equilibrium.  Many other social species have hierarchy.  Amongst humans, there is the hierarchy of natural castes.

Societies thrive or collapse  in proportion that its class system reflects the reality on the ground.  A society fails when mediocre men become rulers and great men are made into poor peasants.
A society stagnates when the best outliers are made to live as exiles and the halls of
power belong to ordinary men.

In the modern west, we think of justice merely as fairness in meting out punishments, but it’s much more than that.  Justice is a person attaining whatever station and reward is justly theirs.
It is sad we mostly understand this in terms of petty criminals being punished.
Rarely, do we reflect that it is just those with prolish values and temperaments are proles, or that those of noble bearing and character ascend the heights.

All across the internet, one finds idealogues who expect enraged masses to rise up and have a revolution any day now to stop “big government.”  Their outrage always turns out to be nonsense of course.
The peasants have always had their champions—champions who nearly always fail and end up dead themselves.  The brothers Gracchi in the days of the Roman Republic are a classic example.  After the two brothers were murdered in succession trying to pass monopoly-busting land laws, further attempts at reform dwindled for some reason.  Despite their far greater numbers, the proles were unable to protect their champions or carry out an agenda themselves.  As usual, they missed opportunities their betters would have seized upon.  The proles have always been inert.

Like most Americans, I was taught the idea of a “common man” enshrined as some kind of God.  But within a few years of going out into the world to fend for myself, I had discovered that the common people are no God, they’re just the mob.

The first universal trait I noticed in their character was passivity.  Everywhere I’ve been, prolish folks endlessly complain about their lot and resent their superiors in life.  But it dawned on me one day—they never do anything about it, nor are they capable of action.
I looked back through history, since my own life is a narrow anecdotal slice, but the pattern of proles is timeless as the tides.
So long as their stomachs are full most of the time, even if they’re subsisting on junk, they grumble amongst themselves, mostly for stress relief, but utterly lack motivation for change until they are truly desperate.  They are constitutionally incapable of framing dissident thoughts of their own volition.  Actually, their defining quality is they lack volition and agency.  If they were not docile and gullible, societies of millions where just a few have all the wealth would  not be possible.  In a way, it is just.  Unable to defend themselves, they assume their proper place as preybeasts.
Across history and location poor peasants have always been proud supporters of the established order while the truly rebellious have always been educated young men who couldn’t quite make it into, or beyond the upper middle class.
Peasants have always had revolts,
Frustrated petit bourgeois, revolutions.

Proles are by nature obedient creatures that define themselves by working most of the time.  They love to brag about how busy they are, all the sacrifices they’ve made while working, the injuries they’ve gotten doing the dirty work of the affluent.  They are masochists eternally dying in mines and on battlefields for their masters.  They take comfort in repetition.  Proles always buy the same brands, drive the same route every day, work the same tedious work, and listen to the same 25 songs everyone else is listening to over and over again.
Proles take pride in collectivism and trust the herd.  In a prole bar one doesn’t try to to order craft beers or wine when everyone else has pitchers of coors light.  In Proleville, no man can be talked to if he can’t talk about sports—the fine art of watching the accomplishments of others rather than doing for oneself.  Eating different foods, learning another language, staying fit with exercise, anything everyone else isn’t doing is a quick ticket to being cast out.  Just as they would not let a dog or pig sit with them at the dinner table, they allow no one in their midst who they cannot identify as a fellow human.

Maoist China, Stalinist Russia, or Khmer Rouge Cambodia are fine examples of what happens when the common man becomes ruler.  Given far more power than befits his station, his natural loathing and envy of anyone different than himself manifests in hysterical witch hunts.  Men like Mao and Stalin understood the vastness of this ocean of envy for The Man and kept their populations appeased by allowing the peasants to terrorize the hated middle management—rich peasants, the landlords, the educated.  Given permission by the rulers themselves, their normally impotent rage at life poured forth to create some of history’s greatest disasters.

The majority of human beings are proles.  The family I come from were classic anxious upper proles desperately groveling for middle class acceptance.
Their neurotic habits led to the isolation that allowed me to grow up in a vacuum of sorts and eventually develop customs of my own.
I learned to understand the futility of their struggle and regard their subservient attitudes with contempt.
I am genetically a prole, more predisposed to an honest day’s labor than white collar “networking.”
But I have striven to become an active rather than passive individual, attempting to shape my own destiny rather than spending the rest of my life complaining during lunch break.  If I accept the universe is fundamentally just rather than unjust, then I must face the fact that I must be the change I wish to see.
I may have unfair obstacles in my path.  I can choose to suppose I got a bad lot in life.  It does not change my mission.

Some might call my sentiment here “elitist” but that is why proles stay proles.  They always stay steadfast that they are undeserving of the lot they’ve been given yet remain ignorant in an age of information and continue to squander their wealth on big trucks and houses they can’t afford, lotto tickets, slot machines, smokes, and red bull by the case.  Most importantly, though, they are eternally bereft of imagination and ideas—and that is why things are the way they are.

Why Philosopher Kings Are Rare

From control of wealth comes the power to govern.
Therefore the rulers will always be either a warrior elite or a merchant elite.
How then do you have a system that consistently puts a philosopher king in power?
A system that puts governing into the hands of the most capable.
There never has been a meritocracy of governance only the rule of the strong.
The life of the warrior or the merchant demands intense specialization and requires an incurious personality.  The rulers most societies have had most of the time reflects these realities.

Plato identified the main problem of politics 2300 years ago, but no one has ever figured out how to reliably implement that basic idea of giving that job to the best qualified.

Pop Music is Folk Music Elevated Beyond Its Proper Place

There has always been folk music, the everyday music of ordinary people.  This is lower music.  Folk music is spontaneous; its structure is informal but often guided by pre-existing traditions that can be quite rigid.  In implementation, it often relies on lyrics as much as melody.  Its purpose is to communicate sentiment and emotion.  Folk music is universally and eternally fixated on the fickle, youthful passions of falling in love, heartbreak, celebration, motivation, and protest.  In a previous age, it was just as much about coordinating while laboring or passing an evening before electricity and the distractions of modern “entertainment.”  It marks the passage of holidays, wedding days, and funerals.
Its players are typically musicians wedded to one instrument and they tend to play alone or in small bands of no more than 3-4 people with rigidly assigned roles.

For thousands of years there have been those who create higher music.  Today, we call them “composers” in the West.  These are the people who very deliberately craft works of music just as a skilled painter carefully applies multiple elements with a plan in mind.
There is a science to their art, it is not done on a whim drawing mostly on pre-established conventions.  Thus, while the composer’s work has more formal structure, it has far more potential for variation and originality.
Composers might dedicate some works to young love, but it is one small area of experience to which they can apply their talent.
The composer engineers the sound in advance, but is not necessarily one of the musicians nor is he associated with any single instrument.  He will write the parts of 100 different instruments if need be, they are artists’ tools, not an attribute of the artist.  He transcends the role of a single musician or small band of musicians and looks down on their movements from above, outside of time itself.
Composers are often inspired by folk music traditions.  Folk music serves as a deep wellspring of inspiration, it provides vision into the vastness of the cultural subconscious.  The composer is the rational neocortex who takes the raw passions of folk culture and uses the science of his craft to make something greater and higher than before.

Since the 1960s or so, there’s been a term thrown around to describe most music: Pop music.
What does this mean?
Pop music seems to be defined by bands and is focused on youthful passions, so it’s clearly folk music, but we have a sense that it’s different from folk music of the past.
What changed?

A big clue is how successful “pop” musicians are called “stars” or even “idols.”
This word choice shows that people understand on a gut level what the big change is.

Pop music is folk music that has risen above its proper place.

Pop music ceases to be the wellspring and usurps the social role that rightly belongs to higher music.  The result is the dilution and degradation of the culture we live in.
Pop music can’t inspire humanity to its heights, it speaks to our base instincts.    By its nature, its most successful forms never wander far beyond animal impulses such as “party all night long” and “everybody dance.”  It’s confined to the now just as higher music lives in the eternal.
Without the guidance and example of higher music, folk music runs rampant, becoming pop as it breaks down to its most basic elements.  The higher folk music rises above its proper place, the lower in form it becomes.

If Pop is Folk that has risen above its station, what happened then to higher music?

The briefest glance at art tells us that the world wars broke the spirit of the West.  Some of the high music of the late 19th and early 20th century was among the most sublime ever known.  In painting, this impressionism combined the best of abstract and literal representation.  You could clearly see a sunny meadow, but could also see the blurring of motion as grasses swayed in the wind.  In the shades of golden sun, you could feel the artist’s pleasure in simply being alive.
High music of that period created creeping and colorful impressions, the composers experimented with rhythms and scales taken from other cultures.
This culture reflected eager anticipation of the progress of humanity to greater and more beautiful forms.

The Great War and then World War II brutally crushed this old culture with its worship of beauty.
Art in all its forms was stripped down to its most basic elements robbed of purpose and meaning, and degraded into an obsession with harsh lines, stark contrasts, and jarring primary colors.
The 20th century was the high tide of centralization as the world was reduced to just a few major nation-states, each with just a handful of people who controlled mass media, systems of education, all access to information.  Uniform mass culture proliferated, until the greatest cultural success was defined by appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Defeated by the 20th century, high music abdicated its place.  Composers toyed with atonal, degraded, nonsensical music and monstrously, inhumanly chose to distance themselves from beauty and meaning.  By neglecting their sacred duty to culture, the sages of higher music left a yawning vacuum.  With the advent of mass media, this vacuum was rapidly filled by folk music—folk music that was hot-blooded as the new high music was dead and wan.  It picked up where the high music left off like it should, adopting the experimentation with new scales and rhythms and trying out new kinds of instruments in new combinations.  Without a firm guiding hand from the sages, though, the new folk music degenerated into pop music, joining the now defunct high music in its worship of ugliness and the lowest of instinct.

In the present day, the high music certainly remains underground, or rather in the background.  Composers continue to thrive in mediums such as movies and video games  but after a time, one begins to realize:
Dramatic movie music is  all descended from Wagner’s operas.
Sci-fi music comes straight from Holst’s the Planets.
It innovates and does wonderful and beautiful things, but in its very limited scope.  The high tradition lives on here, but like a goldfish, is stunted in growth by its small bowl.

If we are to look for composers who don’t just do music that’s considered “classical” or “orchestral” certain schools of electronic music stand out as possible heirs.
I notice that these kinds of music are composed, not played.  Using computers, hundreds of instruments can be used at once if need be, in any combination desired.  The science and philosophy of composition that leads to high music lives on here, but exists marginally.
High music won’t displace pop music in a culture that’s become mob rule in every sense.
Re-organizing culture will require re-organizing society itself.  To have a correctly aligned culture that effortlessly produces the highest of innovation and beauty at the top, the inherent breeds and strata of humanity must be restored to their rightful places.  First, mob rule of culture must end.
Until then, high music will remain mainly as a 18th-19th century style orchestra, a formidable ghost.  If folk music were the same way we’d never have seen banjoes replaced by electric guitars.

On Herdbeasts

No human can survive on its own, so every one of us has to pander to the group to stay alive, let alone to thrive and have the surplus necessary for reproduction.  Independence is a myth, individual freedom is a thing we must steal in the dark.

So selection for group compliance is heavy amongst human beings.
People often know in their hearts that an absurd popular belief is false or at best uncertain, but they have a strange ability to refuse to admit even to themselves except in the dark of night as they try to sleep.  Their herd instincts overwhelm their reason.  This is the dissonance you see in every washed up careerist schlub you meet.  That middle class guy who lives a secure life with a wife and two kids, yet no one envies him.

This is what drives the evangelist to say “but how do you live without Jesus in your heart?”  They’re speaking to their own deeply embedded fears, not to you.  These fears are all the worse because they can never confront them, like ghosts hiding under a child’s bed.

Group existence is likely the cause of human intelligence.  In a group with just 5 other people, you have 25 possible combinations with them to account for.  Chimpanzees live in bands of perhaps 12-16 they deal with perhaps 144 to 256 different combinations.  Humans are equipped to handle groups up to 150 different people, or 22,500 possible combinations of interactions.
The man with even a slight edge in such a large group ends up with the best women and most of the wealth.
A society where millions interact has innumerable combinations and impossibly complex patterns.  Such a situation is bound to create pressures that produce herd predators that have an edge in exploiting mass trends.

Treated as an aberration in youth, I barely survived, but now I find I have great survival advantages.  I see people following trends and reading the news, while I ask how the trend creators gain and what’s in it for the journalists.  I would hope that I am the future and will do everything in my power to make it so.

I don’t fault them as much as I used to.  I’ve come to understand that every group has rules that serve to weed out specimens that are poorly adapted.
On reflection, I’ve come to realize I’d do the exact same thing if I had power.
I would wield it unapologetically, remembering well what life was like when they were in charge.
I’d naturally make life hard for those who displease me and grease all the wheels in life for the right kind of people.

Smart Racial Realism

It seems in the modern day that European Americans are the only group that doesn’t stick together while every other ethnicity seems to help each other out.
In my experience as a wanderer, I discovered the harsh reality that ethnicity is one of my fundamental traits, one I carry with me everywhere whether I like it or not.
I’ve been denied a job before when they learned I wasn’t Mexican.  I’ve been all but forced out of a job by black co-workers.  I curse my ancestors for allowing these outsiders to take over.

Rather than feeling guilt, “whites” should thank their lucky stars that they were the ones with the power.  I’ve seen the solidarity among just about any other group in the real world.  Long-nosed Europeans would have been wiped off the map if they hadn’t been able to defend themselves.  Most East Asian cultures, for example, are very frank about regarding other peoples as monkeys.

But experience also taught me working among European American proles is no better.  Just like the blacks and Mexicans, they sense I’m not of their kind.  Proles are everywhere the same.  Only the proportion of prolishness of a race differs.

Over years I experienced the difficulties of race, but also was forced to accept that class is more important.

This is where retarded white nationalists go wrong.  They blame all their problems in life on race.

I see the American Civil War as a grand monument to this sort of idiocy.

I’ll never understand why a single non-rich white in the South cared to fight for slavery, a system that hurt them and only benefited the very rich.

Most people who opposed the spread of slavery didn’t care about the slaves.  It wasn’t their problem.  What concerned them was the disastrous effect on the job market when abundant free labor arrives!

To your average white guy, the spread of slavery back then was like the mass illegal immigration and automation we face now.
One of the reasons young Abraham Lincoln’s family was forced to leave Kentucky for Illinois—slavery moved in and the prospects for ordinary people plummeted.
This early experience undoubtedly played a role in shaping the future president’s views.  He was first a believer in the Whig program of spreading wealth through developing infrastructure and commerce.  Slavery, a system that concentrated wealth on a few plantations and strangled commerce was inimical to his aims.

The vast majority of white southerners would have done better to forge an alliance with black slaves to overthrow the parasitic plantation owners without anyone in the North ever having to say anything.

That hundreds of thousands of them lined up to get shot for a system that only benefited the rich shows what dupes they were.  Faithful dogs, mere tools in the hands of their rulers.

To everything there’s a golden mean.  On one hand failing to embrace race realism is willful self delusion.  On the other hand, being obsessed with race makes one an easily manipulated pawn in the plans of the powerful.
If proles are everywhere the same, so are elites.
A millionaire in Massachusetts has far more in common with his counterparts in China or Nigeria than he has with a powerless US prole with his light beer, smokes, and football games.

When you bring up race with people in America only two possibilities can be imagined.
-Outright race war.
-Deluded ideas of sameness and equality.

It’s such a charged subject that no one can actually seem to think about it.  Being treated as a taboo subject prevents the issue being genuinely discussed.

I care about race because I know that when other peoples take over, I’m an outsider to them who will always be last in line to receive the fruits of society.  When you’re obviously different from everyone else, you become an easy target.  Cherokee Indians who tried to integrate into white culture discovered this the hard way.  If you live in another people’s culture, you’re at their mercy.  If one day they decide to exterminate you or take your stuff, too bad.

There’s no mystical magic in a race, though.  If I determine my clan’s interests can be better served by working with other peoples, I will do so.  I would gladly ally with blacks who share my interests against some plutocratic parasite with my skin color.  If I went out and took a bullet in some billionaire’s war because x people are bad, I would deserve what I got.

Race reality in modern America isn’t about racial solidarity to the point of stupidity.  It’s about recognizing opportunities for arbitrage across racial lines.  If I can get a hotter black or latina woman than I can a white woman, then I will not hesitate.
I’ve found that jobs with lots of blacks tend to have lower expectations.  Most Blacks don’t work hard if they don’t have to, a virtue as far as I’m concerned.  So  when I can get along with my co-workers, it’s great, because I can get paid for standing around half the time.  Whites and Asians who aspergically slave away spoil things for everyone.

Smart race realism means:
-A people must guard its territory; there must be a place that is unequivocally its own, even if it’s just a few city blocks.  It must protect its own and not give stupid concessions.  A people that shows signs of weakness gets quickly wiped out by its neighbors.
-A people must also maintain relations with its neighbors, being always ready to make a good deal.
-A people’s internal parasites are as much a threat as any outside people and must be dealt with.

Where There’s Tea There’s Civilization

Just as I suppose there’s no such thing as home without piping hot food, there’s no such thing as civilization without hot tea.

Hot tea requires taking your time.   The caffeine is stimulating but not overwhelmingly so.  The very act of sipping requires patience.  Every little sip is a ritual of taking delight in the smaller things.  You have to be able to hold back and enjoy sips before a large bite can taste its best.
This goes not just for food, but all life’s pleasures.
Without enjoying the sips, hedonistic overload devolves into the ashen discontent of jaded excess.

Being able to sit down and sip slowly is the mature sensibility of an adult rather than the capricious, excessive desire of a child.  It’s the ability to wait for good things to grow rather than plundering a lesser reward right now.

Taking tea with others is a ritual of humanity.  You pour from same pot as equals, you sit near, humbly, looking one another honestly in the eye.  Taken together, it’s about acknowledging another’s humanity even should they be your mortal enemy outside of that moment.

A person who can’t take tea with you is not a real person, never to be let into one’s trust.
If they can’t share tea with you from the same pot and look you in the eye, how can they be relied on to back you up when it counts?  When survival is at stake?  How can they be taken seriously as an ally in this perilous wilderness if they won’t even acknowledge shared humanity on the most basic level?

Why Haven’t Americans Figured Out How to Serve Hot Food?

In the time I lived in Korea I noticed a fantastic innovation at their restaurants.  Food was brought to the table simmering in these big steel cookers for everyone to browse from.
I was amazed how these not only kept the food hot, they even had an adjustable heat dial anyone at the table could use.

Such a marvellous invention would be unthinkable, revolutionary in stodgy, joyless American culture that takes greatest pride in its prolish junk food.

When it comes to American food, a piping hot meal is one of life’s challenges.
Everything gets served in complete portions on individual plates made of thick, cold ceramic, completely open to the air.  Everyone takes great care to eat as isolated individuals, avoiding any appearance of sharing from the same source.(that would be disgusting)  Browsing from a collective pot is taboo.  Just watching a people at meal time offers great insight into how they see the world on the most visceral level!
By the time people begin to eat, especially if there’s prayer before eating, even the mashed potatoes are starting to get cold.
I never really understood what a truly hot meal was until I went to some other countries where thick sauces, flaky crusts were common, served in the same container it was baked in hot from the oven, served in cast iron cookware or thick pots with small openings or lids to hold in the heat.  It was never the same again to just eat off of a cold plate that hadn’t even been warmed up.  It’s barbaric, really.  Cold food would offend even cave people cooking over their fires.  Actually, cooking over with a fire in the remote woods is far superior to eating off a cold plate.  There’s a radiant glow of heat that warms your face when you take those foil wrapped baked potatoes and pork loin from the embers of the fire.  Something about really hot food revives the spirit even as cold, soggy food chills the mood, even down to the tips of the toes.
In the States, I still often eat out of the hot pan I cooked in instead of serving onto a plate when making food for myself.  I’ll bring a chair right up to the stove and keep the heat on low as I eat.  If I take it into another room, I keep a lid on until the moment I’m about to eat and enjoy the ebullient rush of hot, delicious-smelling steam rising into my face before I dig in.  But even this is often difficult in America since almost all cookware I encounter is designed to get damaged if it’s so much as touched with silverware.  What backwards and alien customs!

I guess I feel that one of the main reasons to even bother to have a society is to make life pleasant for people.  It’s part of the implicit Contract that motivates us to cooperate with a social order at all.
First a people figures out how to invent a perfectly piping hot meal and then worry about surplus activities like missions into space.
It’s perverse in a way that the most wealthy populations on earth haven’t figured out how to apply sustained heat to their food or contain heat with insulation.
Perhaps it’s the Calvinist, Puritanical disdain for joy in this life that leads to such apathy.
Or is it misguided “enlightenment” empiricism? It has the same calories or nutrients served hot or ice cold after all.
Or is it simply a secular religion of competition and money-making that leaves no place for enjoying the smaller things that make life worth living to begin with?

I suspect it is a combination of all these that impede a culture known for innovation from serving food in containers that have a heat source and adjustable dial.  These are after all the same people who take toasters for granted.

Plato, Democracy, and Mob Rule

By the 4th century BC, civilizations had already existed for at least a couple thousand years.
By then, most of the basic patterns of civilization were ancient news.

Plato’s observations about governments over 2,000 years ago might seem disturbingly familiar to us now.

Humans may boast of mechanical technologies such as airplanes and atomic bombs, but social technology, the ways we organize haven’t changed since the very first farming villages:

“Every form of government tends to perish by excess of its basic principle.  Aristocracy ruins itself by limiting too narrowly the circle within which power is confined; oligarchy ruins itself by the incautious scramble for immediate wealth.  In either case the end is revolution.   When revolution comes, it may seem to arise from little causes and petty whims…when a body is weakened by neglected ills, the merest exposure may bring serious disease.

Then democracy comes…But even democracy ruins itself by excess-of democracy.  Its basic principle is the equal right of all to hold office and determine public policy.  This is at first glance a delightful arrangement; it becomes disastrous because the people are not properly equipped by education to select the best rulers and the wisest courses.

As to the people, they have no understanding, and only repeat what their rulers are pleased to tell them.  To get a doctrine accepted or rejected it is only necessary to have it praised or ridiculed in a popular play.
Mob-rule is a rough sea for the  ship of state to ride; every wind of oratory stirs up the waters and deflects the course.

The upshot of such a democracy is tyranny or autocracy; the crowd so loves flattery…that at last the wiliest and most unscrupulous flatterer, calling himself the ‘protector of the people’ rises to supreme power.

Plato complains that whereas in simpler matters—like shoe-making—we think only a specially-trained person will serve our purpose, in politics we presume that every one who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state.  When we are ill we call for a trained physician, whose degree is a guarantee of specific preparation and technical competence—we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one…when the whole state is ill should we not look for the service and guidance of the wisest and the best?   To devise a method of barring incompetence and knavery from public office, and of selecting and preparing the best to rule for the common good—that is the problem of political philosophy.”

-Plato as quoted, paraphrased, and summarized by Will Durant

The Story of Philosophy
Will Durant, 1953, Pocket Books, Washington Square Press
Excerpts from pages 20-21

Francis Bacon Predicted Airplanes, Submarines, and Lasers in the 17th Century

“Nylon and air-conditioning wouldn’t have surprised Sir Francis Bacon. He predicted them, along with most of our other present scientific wonders, over 300 years ago!…

this astounding man foresaw the airplane, television, movies, submarines, automobiles almost the whole range of modern discoveries.

Recently a research scientist, digging through the latin script of this ancient work checked off the list of these three hundred-year-old predictions and found that every one of them had come true except one!”

LINK

 

Many of these predictions arose in Bacon’s “New Atlantis”,  where he writes about an idealized society ruled by scientific method and where the rulers are scientists.

Not only did Bacon’s ideas lead to modern science and the enlightenment, but he also predicted something very like the modern secular state.

I find Bacon interesting because we see in our present world enlightenment ideas taken to an absurd extreme by ideological types.

Bacon was a shrewd politician and statesman who had a nuanced understanding of the real world.   He would never have believed in childish black and white extremes such as  “a war of all against all” or a “noble savage” that plague our civilization to the present day.

I imagine he would weep if he came back and saw where the intellectual movement he helped begin has ended up.

Francis Bacon perhaps gives us a glimpse of what the “enlightenment” could have been like had it been guided by worldly wisdom and savvy rather than reckless idealism and bookish wishful theory.

 

Philosophy was his hobby after his day job as a senior figure in Elizabeth I's government.

Philosophy was his hobby after his day job as a senior figure in Elizabeth I’s government.

 

How Microsoft’s Human Resources Culture Drove Away Talent

“Microsoft’s implementation – “stack ranking”, a bell curve that pits employees and groups against one another like rats in a cage – plunged the company into internecine fights, horse trading, and backstabbing.

…every unit was forced to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, then good performers, then average, then below average, then poor…For that reason, executives said, a lot of Microsoft superstars did everything they could to avoid working alongside other top-notch developers, out of fear that they would be hurt in the rankings.

Employees quickly realised that it was more important to focus on organisation politics than actual performance:…”

LINK

One of the commenters on this article, a ‘mikesmith’ gives some real food for thought by challenging current conventional wisdom about the ascendancy of STEM.

“I was particularly struck by the very last line, quoting Jobs: ‘Microsoft never had the humanities and liberal arts in its DNA.’ That is so insightful and so true, and says so much about why Apple is now the world’s biggest company. And it’s now fundamentally an arts company, nont a tech company. Sure it has to have great technology. But the purpose of the technology is to sell the arts products. It’s the products created by musicians, writers, filmmakers and others sold on iTunes that is financing Apple’s growth.

And it’s not just true about companies but about countries as well. Those that prosper in coming years will be those that promote the arts, the humanities, the liberal arts. Education in those areas should be a country’s number one priority, and those countries that do that will be the leaders and will have the most prosperous economies. People who study business and technology simply aren’t capable of coming up with the creative ideas. They are good at bean-counting, or finding ways of making the creative peoples’ ideas work better, but they shouldn’t be in charge and they certainly shouldn’t be receiving the bulk of the investment. It’s the artists and the creatives who matter, who now generate the ideas and the profits. Consider how much economic activity just two artists, Tolkien and Rowling, have generated in the past decade. Huge streams of billions, stemming from the work of just two artists! And they will continue for decades.

I’ve read numerous articles in this paper and others recently that young people are studying business and the sciences more than the arts and the humanities. That is just disastrous, both for the individuals and for their countries. And I feel so sorry for those young people who have been brainwashed into thinking that that’s the way to go. There’s no future for them. They should consider well Jobs’ insight, it’s quite brilliant.”

Metaphors in Language: Why Argument is War

“ARGUMENT IS WAR
Your claims are indefensible.
He attacked every weak point in my argument. His criticisms were right on
target
.
I demolished his argument.
I’ve never won an argument with him.
You disagree? Okay, shoot!
If you use that strategy, he’ll wipe you out.
He shot down all of my arguments.

It is important to see that we don’t just talk about arguments in terms of war. We can
actually win or lose arguments. We see the person we are arguing with as an opponent. We
attack his positions and we defend our own. We gain and lose ground. We plan and use
strategies. If we find a position indefensible, we can abandon it and take a new line of
attack. Many of the things we do in arguing are partially structured by the concept of war.
Though there is no physical battle, there is a verbal battle, and the structure of an
argument—attack, defense, counterattack, etc.—reflects this. It is in this sense that the
ARGUMENT IS WAR metaphor is one that we live by in this culture; it structures the actions we
perform in arguing…

Our conventional ways of talking about arguments pre-suppose a metaphor we are hardly
ever conscious of. The metaphor is not merely in the words we use—it is in our very
concept of an argument. The language of argument is not poetic, fanciful, or rhetorical; it is literal. We talk about arguments that way because we conceive of them that way—and
we act according to the way we conceive of things.”

Metaphors We Live By, George Lakoff and Mark Johnsen. 2003. p.4

What Comes Next For the Manosphere

To begin with, what is the manosphere?

What is it that this disparate crowd ranging from worldly pickup artists to celibate shutins have in common?

It can be reduced to a very basic level.

We are the silent dissenters hidden in the crowd for hundreds of generations of civilization always isolated and powerless against an overwhelming majority. We’ve always been dragged along forced to do what everyone else was doing even as we marveled at their lemming-like behavior.
We were that guy who thought “What a stupid, senseless world this is…” his last thought as he joined the crowd in a mad rush over the edge of the trenches and out into no man’s land.
We were the guy who knew that the glory of serving the state was just a waste of life and understood the ‘fair sex’ were as much competitors in a great game with conflicting interests as they were companions.

The internet has changed everything. For the first time in history, we’re able to find one another and communicate on a large scale. No longer can we be isolated like before and beaten into submission by an insane mass society, wasting our lives on everything we know to be wrong and false.

In Mala Fide was an important medium for this new communication. Some might see it being taken down as a bad sign or a sign that the manosphere is going away.
But I think IMF is being taken down because it has served its purpose.
I looked at the dismissive attitudes and complaints of some people when the news first came out.
The number one complaint? “It got too repetitive in its topics. It was getting boring.”
This surprised me a bit at first because it was one of the few sites on the web I could visit and find a community that made sense to me.
But then I understood that this is a sign of progress.

Just a few years ago, the notion of a ‘manosphere’ barely existed. The typical fare on sites like In Mala Fide and Roissy was gritty, rough, revolutionary.
These outrageous views attracted legions of trolls and sparked wars with the sites of those who adhered to the orthodoxy. These were exciting times.
It is telling that this sort of style has lost much of its impact.

For a growing populace this kind of stuff is just tiresome
preaching to the choir.
It’s no longer radical or revolutionary because a critical mass of people now take it for granted as truth.
The orthodox invaders who made writing for shock value so exciting have given up trying to challenge dissent. They’ve been forced to concede the manosphere its right to exist within its territory. The dissenters have won their independence.

Now what do they do with it?

The first phase was simply forming a group consciousness over time through simple observation, shock value, ridicule, and an overall passive-aggressive attitude towards the orthodox order: “enjoy the decline.”
IMF embodied this attitude.
However, passive ridicule and nihilistic indifference is no longer enough.

Over time as more cohesive groups begin to take shape dissenters will begin to see the potential for accomplishing more, maybe even gaining the power to begin changing the world in their favor.

As we move into this second phase of the manosphere, we’ll start to see the formation of tighter, more organized groups with more concrete goals and at least the beginning of serious thought about how to achieve them.

The rebels have finally formed an orthodoxy of their own and we will see them progressively establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with.

-Your Obedient Servant,
Don Giovanni Dannato

Averroes: An Islamic Philosopher Who Influenced Christian Theology

“Averroes is generally regarded as the greatest of the Islamic philosophers of the Medieval period and indeed one of the greatest Medieval philosophers. Nicknamed ‘The Commentator’ (because of his incisive commentaries on Aristotle), Averroes’ thought has two main strands…
Christian Averroists represented the most radical assimilation of Muslim Aristotelianism, adhering to Averroes’ supremacy of reason over revelation and the theory of the eternity of the world. Such heterodox views brought Siger and the Averroists into conflict with the Established Church and many of their propositions were rejected in the Condemnation of 1277…
The influence of Averroes (and also of Avicenna) on the development of Later Medieval Christian thought is therefore unequivocal. But this intellectual debt to Islam is very rarely mentioned in our times. When one considers the further development of the modern West, based on a paradigm of rational enquiry, it is Averroes who seems to best anticipate this model within the medieval epoch.”

LINK

Averroes

Averroes

Why Star Wars OT Appeals More To Men: Aesthetics

In Star Wars, the original trilogy, the ships, gear, and guns all had a no-nonsense gritty, used look.
It was the sort of aesthetic that was sure captivate male sensibilities.

Han Solo’s ship, the Milennium Falcon was no shiny new vessel, it was a beaten up, but functional tin can. Random protuding pipes, cables, electronics with the occasional dent or scorch mark say it all. What guy who’s ever worked on a car or electronics wouldn’t want his own Falcon?:

Millenium Falcon

And lets face it, the ships, military vehicles, artillery depicted in the OT tend to be a uniform unpainted gray. Why would anyone one paint them beyond necessary insignia or identification numbers? The rebels and imperials alike seem to care a whole lot more about going out and winning than making their military hardware look pretty.

One minor character distinguished himself merely by showing up with a beat up old suit of armor dented and scratched with the marks of many battles. As soon as viewers saw this masked man, they knew he must be a badass. Thus this character went on to become a major part of the Star Wars franchise:

Boba Fett Demotivational

Let’s compare now to the aesthetic of the new trilogy. One example should suffice to illustrate my point:

N-1 Starfighter

Not only is the ship bedecked in resplendent gold and silver, even its afterburners emit a soft fuschia glow that inpires fear in the enemy as it flies over a tropical blue gem of a planet that brings to mind beaches and drinks served with little umbrellas. Indeed the ship itself resembles some kind of colorful creature we’d be delighted to see while snorkeling in warm, tropical waters.

I will extend our inquiry to another franchise: The Elder Scrolls

The gritty, exotic look of Morrowind:

Balmora Streets

All around, in this town, we see chipped mud-plaster walls stained dark by years of smoke from lamps and cooking fires. Like Mos Eisley space port, the place feels genuinely lived in. The locals have a rangy, hungry look to them and ragged, slapped together armor and clothing that immediately tells us life around here isn’t easy. The aesthetic successfully drives in the fact we’re in a remote border province on the most visceral level.

Now for the polished and happy look of Oblivion:

oblivion screenshot elven ruin

To make my point, let’s compare the aesthetic to that of Lisa Frank, a line of notebooks and folders marketed to little girls:

Lisa Frank Penguin

Even as a guy charges at us with a bloodied sword we can’t help but bask in the serene glow of the bright cerulean afternoon and admire the bandit’s improbably spotless suit of elven armor. Truly a museum piece.
Yes, the soft glow and bright colors put us at ease even as he’s trying his best to kill us.
The graphics are technically superior but the aesthetic is inferior; it fails to make us feel the setting of the adventure at the gut level.

After all nothing says adventure for men like savage border outposts, uncharted settlements, nicked unadorned blades with a spotting of rust, sooty fireplaces in taverns, and hastily improvised hyperdrives.

Wasn’t Hegel A Nazi?

Mohism: One of the Major Philosophies in Chinese History

A major force in Chinese society for centuries but now pretty much long extinct, Mohism looked to ‘universal love’ as its cardinal guiding principle.
In many ways it seems to have been just about the polar opposite of Confucianism:

“A ruler may have strategies in war, but courage is the fundamental value. A funeral may have many rituals but mourning is the fundamental value. Scholars may have knowledge, but applying the knowledge or practicality is the fundamental value. If the fundamentals are not strong, good works cannot be done. Mozi taught that a good man must discipline himself: he should avoid listening to malicious gossip, avoid cursing, avoid murderous thoughts. Mozi taught that the poor should display purity, the rich should show benevolence, to the living show love, to the dead show mourning. The foundation of all human motives should be immeasurable love.”
LINK

Its influence undoubtedly never completely faded from Chinese culture as with any of the ancient Greek philosophies in ours. And I suppose we could not call it a failure unless we were prepared to call Ancient Egypt or Rome the same.

Objectivism and Bioshock: The Art Deco Connection

Here’s the typical art deco cover for an Ayn Rand book.
It was first published in 1957 but I think this edition came much later. Perhaps someone in the publishing industry saw a common thread between the attitudes of elites in the 1920-30s and the objectivists. Or perhaps because that’s the era that produced Ms. Rand?

Now here’s an art deco style angel from real life. This one is a monument to humanity attaining a divine level of mastery over nature at the Hoover dam. It’s a relic of a world where people saw humanity headed ever upwards with man on the verge of becoming God. This unbridled optimism only seems all the more horrific to us in retrospect as Western civilization was running straight for the cliff’s edge even as everyone was celebrating.
Something seems to have broken in the Western spirit after two suicidal world wars and a great depression.
Ever since then, we’ve seen the growth of a Modern Art that tries to actively destroy beauty and meaning and the spread of existentialism and atheism.

In retrospect, art deco seems creepy, tragic, naive, fallen, and above all hubristic.

It’s now usually portrayed in a dark and/or sinister way in modern culture.

Batman’s Gotham city is a good example.

Better still is the aesthetic of the computer game, Bioshock in which a Randian superman founds an underwater dystopia in an effort to leave behind the slave morality of our society and achieve human perfection and godliness on Earth.
The main villain of the game looks rather like a piece of art deco statuary by the end of the game.
And his name is ‘Fontaine’ French for ‘fountain’ I believe. Certainly not a coincidence.

Animals Are Rational

“How can non-injurious aggressive behaviors — especially displays — induce one opponent to give up and relinquish a valuable resource?”

Animals have clear set survival strategies. They don’t make mistakes or try the martingale like humans are wont to do. Based on their programmed strategy they invariably stick to the course that is most highly probable to result in survival and reproduction according to the house odds experienced by the previous generation.
They are truly survival machines that operate with industrial grade efficiency.

In many territorial disputes in the wild, the intruder will almost always back down. However great the defender’s disadvantage, they have nothing to lose and will fight to the death. The stronger intruder will win, but at a net loss.
Unlike a typical spiteful and neurotic human, the strong intruder in the animal kingdom backs down.

Humans then, are clearly survival machines removed from their original circumstances.
Truly, our congruency with the ‘natural state’ is equal to the degree which our behaviors are biologically rational.

hawks and doves

Pre-Politically Correct History: Primitive Languages Lack Abstraction

“The languages of nature peoples are not necessarily primitive in any sense of simplicity; many of them are as complex and wordy as our own, and more highly organized than Chinese. Nearly all primitive tongues, however, limit themselves to the sensual and particular, and are uniformly poor in general or abstract terms.

So the Australian natives had a name for a dog’s tail, and another name for a cow’s tail, but they had no name for tail in general. The Tasmanians had separate names for specific trees, but no general name for tree; the Choctaw Indians had names for the black oak, the white oak the white oak and the red oak, but no name for oak, much less for tree.

Doubtless many generations passeed before the proper noun ended in the common noun. In many tribes there are no separate words for the color as distint from the colored object; no words for such abstractions as tone, sex, species, space, spirit, instinct, reason, quantity, hope, fear, matter, consciousness, etc.

Such abstract terms seem to grow in a reciprocal relation of cause and effet with the development of thought; they become the tools of subtlety and the symbols of civilization.”

Will Durant, Our Oriental Heritage, 1935

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