Rooted




Sedentary                          -                  Nomadic
Fixed                                 -                  Fluid
Limited                              -                  Limitless

 


I won't run away no more, I promise
Even when I get bored, I promise
Even when you lock me out, I promise
I say my prayers every night, I promise

Even when the ship is wrecked, I promise
Tie me to the rotten deck, I promise

[Radiohead]
'I Promise'





The two fundamental elements of psychotherapy are: let’s find what you’re afraid of and avoiding, and help you confront it, so that you can gather the information that’s there; and let’s allow you to lay your story out, in all of its catastrophe and detail, so that you can straighten yourself out through speech.

[That’s] exactly what happens in psychotherapy, and it should happen in every real relationship. It's the spiritual purpose of a marriage, fundamentally: you face someone who’s different from you, that you’re tied to and cannot run from.

That’s actually why people get married you know […] because this is built into marital vows: ‘I’m not leaving, ever, no matter what.’ [And] that definitely puts a boundary around our arguments, because I can’t say, every time you manifest one of your flaws, which you’re likely to do just as often as me, ‘well enough of this.’ That’s horrible, if your whole life is ‘well, every time you get out of line, I’m out of here.’ First of all you’re not going to admit to ever doing anything wrong; second, you’re going to be like a scared cat the entire relationship, because, well who knows, it could just come to an end at any moment. People say that if the possibility of divorce is open, it makes you free - [but is] that what you want, you want to be free? So you can’t predict anything, that’s what you're after?

It's a critical part of marriage, because if you can run from someone, they will never show you their true face. Because if someone shows you their true face, you will run. And so you say, in a marriage ceremony, ‘I will allow you to show me your true face, and I will not run.

And unless you mean that, you’ll never be married, you’ll never understand what it means. And you’ll never reap the benefits of it, which are practical, obviously, but also spiritual and psychological.

It's a vow, and it says ‘l know that you’re trouble - me too. So we won’t leave, no matter what happens.’ Well, that’s a hell of a vow, but that’s why you take it in front of a bunch of people, that's why it's supposed to be a sacred act.

[...] it has to be a vow, because otherwise you have a back door open; and you’ll never really tell the other person what you’re like. And no wonder, because, really, who wants to know what you’re like! Not even you!

It's a form of voluntary enslavement I suppose, but it's also equivalent to the adoption of a responsibility.

And there’s more to it than that: if you can’t run away, then you can solve your problems - ‘I’m stuck with you, so how about we fix things; because the alternative is that we’re going to be in a boxing match for the next forty years.’ You think you’re going to fix problems without something like that hanging over your head? […] You think you’re going to do that unless there’s a good reason? […] There isn’t a chance, you’ll just avoid them because that’s what people do. It's really hard to solve problems, especially in a relationship.

‘We have to sort this out otherwise we’re going to be carrying it around for the next forty years’ - that, maybe, is enough motivation so you’ll actually try hard to solve a problem. It's a lot easier to say, ‘sorry, we’re not going there.’

What’s the alternative? Everything is mutable and changeable at any moment. Well, go ahead and live your life like that and see what you’re like when you’re fifty. It's dismal. Two or three divorces, your family’s fragmented, you’ve got no continuity of narrative … and it's not good for the kids, not by any stretch of the imagination.

[Jordan Peterson]
'Strengthen the Individual: Q & A Parts I & II' & '2017 Maps of Meaning 6: Story and Metastory (Part 2)'





Anonymous: I share much of this perspective but it concerns me that you would so easily desert the 'black flagship'. Earlier you remarked that you lack the time or inclination for hacking the infrastructure and it occurs to me that perhaps this is a problem in relation to the 'creative class', specifically here in this city.

The international artists, musicians, writers et al, that choose to live here, enjoying Berlin's relatively cheap rents, liberalism and cultural diversity (and I count myself amongst this group) can easily exist in a bubble, indifferent to local concerns and politics and contributing little. Don't like the neighborhood, city, country? - Move.

There is never any need to take responsibility for the consequences of gentrification by culture - just keep one step ahead, so long as the rent is cheap. After all, the city, society, the world, exist for no other purpose than to facilitate our needs, provide a backdrop for our fabulous creativity - and isn't it great that everyone speaks English as well?

krskrft: As long as these people are paying for whatever they require from the culture (food, housing, etc), I don't see the big problem with it. After all, it could be investment bankers filling their places. I would agree that sometimes a creative culture can begin to border on (or wholly become) obnoxious, touristic, and cancerous to the culture at large, but as long as that's not the case, I don't see why it should be treated as an evil.

imomus: We are the new Jews, and when we're not in our creative ghettos -- which resemble each other wherever they are, with their (synagogues) synth gigs and colourful markets -- we're wandering. No, we're not rooted in blood and soil. Yes, we do usually add economic value, even if it's not always guaranteed to make us popular.

Anonymous: Is this not a false and self-serving dichotomy between nomadism and 'heimat'? I don't think the fetishisation of authenticity is an exclusive property of place - nomads also have strong traditions of self definition, inclusion and exclusion. To to be rooted 'in blood and soil' is patently undesirable but the question here relates more to the opposite pole, 'rootlessness'. My question is, WHO benefits from the value we add?

imomus: Well, essentially there's a "town and gown" division in Berlin between people excited by Knut the polar bear and people excited by the Art Biennale. There was a town and gown split in Aberdeen when I was a student, and there's basically the same split now I'm an expat artist here in Berlin. It's something I'm used to, and I think attacking it does invoke criticism of "rootless cosmopolitans".

That phrase is a euphemism for "Jews" dreamed up by Stalin when he thought his Jewish doctors were trying to poison him, by the way. Stalin didn't want to evoke Hitler's anti-semitism, so he came up with "rootless cosmopolitans". I won't say the creative class add as much value as doctors and lawyers and all the other things Jews have tended to become, but we may possibly be ministering to your spiritual health. We're certainly not trying to poison you, anyway.

Anonymous: It's this division that I am skeptical about, just who are the 'them', who the 'us'? I would think that at the very least these two sets intersect, if not exhibit co-dependency. In the interests of disclosure (livejournal won't recognise my ID for some reason) I could also be regarded as a member of the 'creative class' (though strangely this term makes me itch in much the same way as 'hipster' does you). When it comes to 'spiritual health' both the Knut fans and the Biennale audience have contributions to make - though when it comes to culture I'll take my poison neat.

Dialogue taken from Click Opera.




I think it's absolutely necessary for our spiritual life today to have a community where we actually live.

Of course, we have dear friends from thirty years ago who are living in Burma or Brazil now. And they're there for you when you're busted - in an emergency. But is that sufficient? For the maintenance of the world? It's definitely not.

I think for the maintenance of the world that other kind of local community requires regular servicing. And that's a very unpleasant, hard thing to stay with, to realize how much service one needs to perform - not for an old distant friend, but for the people [next door].

[James Hillman]
We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy - And the World's Getting Worse, p.43, 44




Start building your lifeboats where you are now. I can see that the lessons I have learned here are important whether you are thinking of moving from city to countryside, state to state, or nation to nation.

Whatever shortcomings you may think exist where you live are far outnumbered by the advantages you have where you are a part of an existing ecosystem that you know and which knows you. 

If the time comes when it is necessary to leave that community you will be better off moving with your tribe rather than moving alone.

[Mike Ruppert] 




Nationalism, in the broadest sense of the term, was the default worldview of most people at most times, especially in more traditional places. It was a community-focused attitude, in which a nation, tribe or ethnic group was seen as a thing of value to be loved and protected.

Globalism, the ideology of the rising urban bourgeoisie, was more individualistic. It valued diversity and change, prioritised rights over obligations and saw the world as a whole, rather than particular parts of it, as the moral community to which we all belong.

['Nationalism'] is really a new name for a much older impulse: the need to belong. Specifically, the need to belong to a place in which you can feel at home. The fact that this impulse can be exploited by demagogues doesn’t mean that the impulse itself is wrong.

If I had to offer up just one thing I have learned from my years of environmental campaigning, it would be this: any attempt to protect nature from the worst human depredation has to speak to people where they are. It has to make us all feel that the natural world, the non-human realm, is not an obstacle in the way of our progress but a part of our community that we should nurture; a part of our birthright. In other words, we need to tie our ecological identity in with our cultural identity.

In the age of drones and robots, this notion might sound airy or even ridiculous, but it has been the default way of seeing for most indigenous cultures throughout history. In the resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline, recently given the go-ahead by Trump, where the Standing Rock Sioux and thousands of supporters continue to resist the construction of an oil pipeline across Native American land, we perhaps see some indication of what this fusing of human and non-human belonging could look like today; a defence of both territory and culture, in the name of nature, rooted in love.

Like the fox in the garden or the bird in the tree, we are all animals in a place. If we have a future, cultural or ecological – and they are the same thing, in the end – it will begin with a quality of attention and a defence of loved things. All else is for the birds, and the foxes too.

[Paul Kingsnorth]
'The lie of the land: does environmentalism have a future in the age of Trump?'




Whether that which now distinguishes the European be called ‘civilization' or 'humanization' or 'progress'; whether one calls it simply, without implying any praise or blame, the democratic movement in Europe:

behind all the moral and political foregrounds indicated by such formulas a great physiological process is taking place and gathering greater and ever greater impetus - the process of the assimilation of all Europeans, their growing detachment from the conditions under which races dependent on climate and class originate, their increasing independence of any definite milieu which, through making the same demands for centuries, would like to inscribe itself on soul and body - that is to say, the slow emergence of an essentially supra-national and nomadic type of man which, physiologically speaking, possesses as its typical distinction a maximum of the art and power of adaptation.

This process of the becoming European, the tempo of which can be retarded by great relapses but which will perhaps precisely through them gain in vehemence and depth - the still-raging storm and stress of ‘national feeling' belongs here [...] -: this process will probably lead to results which its naïve propagators and panegyrists, the apostles of 'modern ideas', would be least inclined to anticipate. 

The same novel conditions which will on average create a levelling and mediocritizing of man - a useful, industrious, highly serviceable and able herd-animal man - are adapted in the highest degree to giving rise to exceptional men of the most dangerous and enticing quality. 

[...] while the total impression produced by such future Europeans will probably be that of multifarious, garrulous, weak-willed and highly employable workers who need a master, a commander, as they need their daily bread; while, therefore, the democratization of Europe will lead to the production of a type prepared for slavery in the subtlest sense: in individual and exceptional cases the strong man will be found to turn out stronger and richer than has perhaps ever happened before - thanks to the unprejudiced nature of his schooling, thanks to the tremendous multiplicity of practice, art and mask. 

What I mean to say is that the democratisation of Europe is at the same time an involuntary arrangement for the breeding of tyrants - in every sense of that word, including the most spiritual.

[Friedrich Nietzsche]
Beyond Good and Evil, 242




What is wrong with the man in the modern town is that he does not know the causes of things; and that is why, as the poet says, he can be too much dominated by despots and demagogues. 

He does not know where things come from; he is the type of the cultivated Cockney who said he liked milk out of a clean shop and not a dirty cow. The more elaborate is the town organization, the more elaborate even is the town education, the less is he the happy man of Virgil who knows the causes of things. 

The town civilization simply means the number of shops through which the milk does pass from the cow to the man; in other words, it means the number of opportunities of wasting the milk, of watering the milk, of poisoning the milk, and of swindling the man. 

If ever he protests against being poisoned or swindled, he will certainly be told that it is no good crying over spilt milk; or, in other words, that it is reactionary sentimentalism to attempt to undo what is done or to restore what is perished. But he does not protest very much, because he cannot; and he cannot because he does not know enough about the causes of things – about the primary forms of property and production, or the points where man is nearest to his natural origins.

It is nobody’s business to note the whole of a process, to see where things come from and where they go. Nobody follows the whole winding course of the river of milk as it flows from the cow to the baby. Nobody who is in at the death of the pig is responsible for realising that the proof of the pig is in the eating. 

Men throw marrows at other men like cannon balls; but they do not return to them like boomerangs. We need a social circle in which things constantly return to those that threw them; and men who know the end and the beginning and the rounding of our little life. 

[G. K. Chesterton]
The Outline of Sanity, p. 115, 118




It could be said in a general way that the works of sedentary peoples are works of time: these peoples are fixed in space within a strictly limited domain, and develop their activities in a temporal continuity that appears to them to be indefinite. 

On the other hand, nomadic and pastoral peoples build nothing durable, and do not work for a future that escapes them; but they have space before them, not facing them with any limitation, but on the contrary always offering them new possibilities. 

In this way is revealed the correspondence of the cosmic principles to which, in another order, the symbolism of Cain and Abel is related: the principle of compression, represented by time, and the principle of expansion, represented by space. 

This is why nomadism, in its ‘malefic' and deviated aspect, easily comes to exercise a ‘dissolving’ action on everything with which it comes into contact; sedentarism on its side, and under the same aspect, must inevitably lead only toward the grossest form of an aimless materialism.

[René Guénon] 
The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, p.147, 149




Ultimately, as a couple becomes older, the man stays more consistently in his "own country" or the country to which he has become attached.

Maantja described a number of such old men in his life history and characterized them as being highly localized, residing close to their more important sacred sites. Data from the other life histories support this contrast between the movement of young and old men, indicating a life-cycle pattern.

There is a strong feeling that the place of an individual's conception really is his place, that those conceived at a place should remain there. If this were so, local organization would realize the plan of The Dreaming.

[Fred R. Myers]
Pintupi Country, Pintupi Self, p.90, 131
 



A proper regard for and transmission of culture seeks to prevent the wilful and aggressive exploitation of nature and Gnostic condescension toward culture, just as it cautions against the sort of roving and placeless form of deracinated philosophy of the sort recommended by an education in "critical thinking” and implicitly commended by our encouragement of our students to define success only by achieving a condition of placeless itinerancy demanded by our global economic system.

Elite universities engage in the educational equivalent of strip mining: identifying economically viable raw materials in every city, town, and hamlet, they strip off that valuable commodity, process it in a distant location, and render the products economically useful for productivity elsewhere.

The places that supplied the raw materials are left much like depressed coal towns whose mineral wealth has been long since mined and exported.

Such students embrace "identity" politics and "diversity" to serve their economic interests, perpetual "potentiality” and permanent placelessness. The identities and diversity thus secured are globally homogenous, the precondition for a fungible global elite who readily identify other members capable of living in a cultureless and placeless world defined above all by liberal norms of globalized indifference toward shared fates of actual neighbors and communities.

[Patrick Deneen]
Why Liberalism Failed, p.130, 132




Blind to their own prejudices, the [educated classes] could not see that their own world was in many ways just as narrowly circumscribed as the worker's.

If the worker spent his days in the company of “people very like himself," so did the educated classes. Their travels took them around the globe, but the internationalization of the professional and managerial mode of life meant that they encountered the same kind of people and the same living conditions everywhere they went: the same hotels, the same three-star restaurants, the same conference rooms and lecture halls.

Education gave them vicarious access to the world's culture, but their acquaintance with that culture was increasingly selective and fragmentary, and it did not seem to have strengthened the capacity for imaginative identification with experience alien to their own.

Academic English - the abstract, uninflected, colorless medium not only of the classroom but of the boardroom, the clinic, the court of law, and the governmental bureau - had discarded most of the earthy idioms that betrayed its provincial AngloSaxon past, and the spoken form of this English no longer betrayed any hint of regional accent or dialect.

The bureaucratization of language indicated what was happening to intellectual culture as a whole: its transformation into a universal medium in a curious way seemed to weaken its capacity to promote public communication. The people who stood at the forefront of the "communications age" had lost the ability to communicate with anyone but themselves. Their technical jargons were unintelligible to outsiders but immediately recognizable, as the badge of professional status, to fellow specialists all over the world.

The cosmopolitanism of educated specialists overcame the old barriers of local, regional, and even national identity but insulated them from ordinary people and ordinary human experience.

[Christopher Lasch]
The True and Only Heaven, p.466-7




The general trend of history, however, supported the hope that man would outgrow "juvenile" habits of mind.

"Dependency, awe, and religiousness" - the "tribal residues" that led men and women to give unconditional allegiance to partial truths - would eventually be "exorcised" by man's growing mastery over the world. Once people understood that man himself was the "creator of meaning," they would come to acknowledge the cultural relativity of values and give unconditional allegiance to God alone.

Cox's thesis - secularization as the path to true faith - did not lack ingenuity, but it ignored the possibility that ultimate loyalty to the creator of being has to be grounded in loyalty to families and friends, to a particular piece of earth, and to a particular craft or calling.

[Christopher Lasch]
The True and Only Heaven, p.385