Acceptance / Achievement

Is                         -            Ought
Old                      -            New
Endure                 -            Innovate
Acceptance          -            Achievement
Means                  -            Ends
Non-resistance    -            Aggressiveness
Mercy                  -            Justice
Populist                -            Hierarchist
Centre                  -            Periphery
Real                     -            Ideal
Unconscious        -            Conscious
Maternal              -            Paternal
Security                -            Freedom
Communal           -            Individual
Communism        -            Capitalism
Saturn                  -            Apollo
King                     -            Prince
Senex                   -            Puer
Demos                 -            Aristos
Horizontal           -            Vertical

The aggressive, masculine youth longs to be free - or to put it another way, "context independent."

The Gossip Village is context. It situates the individual in a web of relatedness. The Gossip Village stands in direct contrast to "greatness", the "enormous achievements of homosexual hybris."

Quigley: The achieving outlook of the modern West has taken the form of middle (or merchant) class striving - material progress, or 'transcendence in the world.' But achievement, or progress, takes a different form when other classes are in control (priests or warriors).

The Faustian striver is happy to trade security for freedom.

Seated at the high table of civilisation, modern man sees himself as the inheritor of history, with all preceding cultures forming a more or less linear trajectory that leads inexorably to himself.

Within his progressive teleology, whatever helps development is good, and whatever hinders it is bad. The story of history is one of gradual 'levelling up.'

Hoel’s gossip trap is an analogue of BAP’s longhouse/gossip village - all are what we could call ‘scaling traps’ - cultural prophylactics that work to prevent maximisation of select variables at the expense of others i.e. ‘scaling up’. The progressive sees scaling traps as obstacles to be overcome, but from the viewpoint of tradition they are necessary safeguards against runaway growth and the destruction of tradition.

Your view of the trap is conditioned by your view of progress. Modern man assumes that progress is good because it leads to the boons of civilisation. Primitive man guards against it so as to safeguard his tradition.

In the eyes of primitive man, civilisation is a state of sickness, brought about by detachment from environment and denial of reality. Primitive man does not live in denial. Modern man represses negative feedback and assumes that his sick state is healthy and normal - the default, in fact - whereas to most preceding cultures he is an aberration.

Clearly the story of progress can be framed in opposite ways. Because the traditional view rejects the core assumptions of progressive teleology it cannot be ‘included’ within it on its own terms.

Primitive man didn’t ‘hinder progress’ with his scaling traps or his sluggish rate of innovation. Such interpretations fail to understand tradition on its own terms and so present little more than a simple picture book history.

The world for Nietzsche is full of people who are incapable of accomplishing what they hope to accomplish, people who want in vain to be brave, generous, strong, perhaps even cruel, or at least notorious in some way - people who want to, but cannot, leave a mark on history.

These are “the suffering,” those who […] have finally convinced themselves that their weaknesses are actually their virtues, the results of their choice rather than the shortcomings of their nature; they even take their weaknesses to be reasons why they will someday be rewarded “in another life.”

Unable to distinguish themselves from the rest of the world, they come to consider uniformity a virtue and impose it on everyone: this is how “the herd” is created.

The values of the weak, which Nietzsche considers moral at least in part because they are intended to be virtues that all must exhibit, aim to ease suffering caused by impotence by construing such impotence as an achievement.

The weak actually suffer from envy, from ressentiment, of the few “fortunate accidents of great success” who are not like them and who are unaffected by the morality of the herd.

[Alexander Nehamas]
Nietzsche: Life as Literature, p. 120-1

Morality is in Europe today herd-animal morality - that is to say, as we understand the thing, only one kind of human morality beside which, before which, after which many other, above all higher, moralities are possible or ought to be possible. 

[…] with the aid of a religion which has gratified and flattered the sublimest herd-animal desires, it has got to the point where we discover even in political and social institutions an increasingly evident expression of this morality: the democratic movement inherits the Christian.

[…] at one in their tenacious opposition to every special claim, every special right and privilege (that is to say, in the last resort to every right: for when everyone is equal no one will need any rights? -); at one in their mistrust of punitive justice (as if it were an assault on the weaker, an injustice against the necessary consequence of all previous society - ); but equally at one in the religion of pity, in sympathy with whatever feels, lives, suffers (down as far as the animals, up as far as 'God' - the extravagance of ‘pity for God' belongs in a democratic era - ); at one, one and all, in the cry and impatience of pity, in mortal hatred for suffering in general, in their almost feminine incapacity to remain spectators of suffering, to let suffer; at one in their involuntary gloom and sensitivity, under whose spell Europe seems threatened with a new Buddhism; at one in their faith in the morality of mutual pity, as if it were morality in itself and the pinnacle, the attained pinnacle of man, the sole hope of the future, the consolation of the present and the great redemption from all the guilt of the past - at one, one and all, in their faith in the community as the saviour, that is to say in the herd, in 'themselves'...

[Friedrich Nietzsche]
Beyond Good and Evil, 202

When you explain the way in which we behave on a genetic level there’s something that is missed, which is why I’m much more fond of explaining it in historical terms; [accepting that] ‘these are the things that have always been with us,’ and then to an extent making your peace with that. It means that you have a reasonable approach to things that you can’t do anything about.

You’ll never get rid of the hucksters, the liars; you’ll never get the world without hate. So have reasonable aspirations.

[Douglas Murray]
'Trust, truth and media in the pandemic, Douglas Murray' (53:00)

"I can't ever lose control with you"

The beloved compels us to be on our best behaviour, to be the best we can be at this moment in time.

And, inasmuch as this best behaviour runs contrary to our default patterns, it may sometimes seem like an act; as if we are playing the part of being good, whilst deep down maybe it isn't who we really are.

But the act needn't seem false; it is necessarily put on, and in putting it on we are able to craft ourselves, mould ourselves into the shape we want to be.

"Enough. Remember who you are"

Maintaining the act involves a frequent remembering. To stay on course may require constant minor adjustments, because we all forget the way from time to time.

Abstinence becomes a sign of inner strength, the hardest act to maintain. In conquering of one the strongest instincts (one of the strongest defaults), we light the road that leads to other victories.

The chaste brain has tremendous energy and gigantic will power. Without chastity there can be no spiritual strength. Continence gives wonderful control over mankind.The spiritual leaders of men have been very continent and this is what gave them power.

Chastity in thought, word and deed always and in all conditions is what is called Brahmacharya. Unchaste imagination is as bad as unchaste action. The Brahmacharin must be pure in thought, word and deed.

[Swami Vivekananda]

It is hardly worth dwelling on the neorealism that surfaced after World War II. It was characterized by the tendency in the artistic field to present as human reality only the most trivial and wretched sides of existence, mostly relating to the lowest and most vulnerable social strata.

The whole pose exhausted itself in a single phase; it appeared wanting in any dimension of depth, even virtual depth, and served as a sophisticated formula for certain intellectuals disguised as common folk.

When it was not reiterating banalities about the pathos of wretched people, it often took pleasure in ugliness and in masochism, in the complacent depiction of everything most abject, corrupt, and defeated in man. There is a whole genre of novels, unnecessary to name by title, in which this tendency appears undisguised, sometimes in combination with the most irrational and dark side of existentialism.

That which in actual life is only a sector of a complex reality is here characterized as reality itself: a misrepresentation too obvious to require further comment.

[Julius Evola]
Ride the Tiger, p.117

The foundations of liberalism were laid by a series of thinkers whose central aim was to disassemble what they concluded were irrational religious and social norms in the pursuit of civil peace that might in turn foster stability and prosperity, and eventually individual liberty of conscience and action.

Three main efforts undergirded this revolution in thought and practice. First, politics would be based upon reliability of “the low” rather than aspiration to “the high.” The classical and Christian effort to foster virtue was rejected as both paternalistic and ineffectual, prone to abuse and unreliability.

It was Machiavelli who broke with the classical and Christian eduction in virtue, scoring the premodern philosophic tradition as an unbroken series of unrealistic and unreliable fantasies of “imaginary republics and principalities that have never existed in practice and never could; for the gap between how people actually behave and how they ought to behave is so great that anyone who ignores everyday reality in order to live up to an ideal will soon discover that he has been taught how to destroy himself, not how to preserve himself.”

[Patrick J. Deneen]
Why Liberalism Failed, p.24-5

Everything [infants] do has to be regarded as above moral reproach and one hundred percent right. If you have an infant who is crying your job is not to judge, punish, or discipline the infant. The infant has a problem and all of your attention is to be focused on solving that problem.

And that’s great for people who are under six months, but it’s increasingly deadly as the child matures. An all-encompassing, ‘I will do everything for you’ is the enemy of development. That’s the Freudian nightmare, that’s what Freud put his finger on - he knew that was the pathology of the age: the Oedipal Mother. And that’s certainly what we see now.

If you put compassion in the highest place, that’s what you have - a state of being where everything is an infant, and the only hallmark of an ethic is pity. 

Jung said God rules with two hands - mercy and justice. And [justice] is discrimination, differentiation, judgement, putting things in their proper place, setting the highest above the lowest, formulating a pathway for further development.

A mother might say, 'You’re just fine the way you are', but what’s that to say to someone who is ten? You’re not fine the way you are! You’re ten! You’ve got a lot of growing up to do - and you’re probably not fine the way you are when you’re twenty. You’re just a fraction of what you could be. And if it’s all maternal compassion, and I mean that in the symbolic sense, then where’s the impetus for development?

The most abysmal thing you can tell eighteen year old boys, especially is they’re miserable, is ‘well you’re just okay the way you are.’ You can say, with the proper admixture of justice and mercy, ‘You’re not so bad for eighteen, and you can be way more.’ And that’s the spirit of justice, which is a patriarchal spirit fundamentally - the encouragement and calling forth of further development.

There has to be allowance for imperfection and error, while also an orientation towards a goal. And getting that balance right is part of what consciousness does. It constantly adjudicates between those two higher order principles. And there’s no final solution - you can’t just say, well we’re all compassionate and we’re done with it.

[Jordan Peterson]
‘Beyond Order Jordan B. Peterson Montreal | Host: Jonathan Pageau’

The strong man glorified by Nietzsche could “see nothing but mouldiness and morbidness in the saint’s gentleness and self-severity.”

The debate between the two ideals - and the debate was “serious,” James insisted - came down to the choice between “aggressiveness” and “non-resistance.” Which provided the better “means of adaptation” to a world in which human projects and expectations so often came to nothing?

[Christopher Lasch]
The True and Only Heaven, p. 283

What’s interesting is that anthropologists, from what I’ve read, seem to assume that raw social power is mostly a good thing (one wonders if they’ve ever seen social pressure applied). Mostly they focus on gossip, and if we look at the work of Robin Dunbar, and his 1996 book Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language, he speculates that the need to gossip was why language was invented in the first place.

And gossip has (as far as I can tell), an almost universally positive valence throughout anthropology. In the literature it is portrayed as something that maintains social relationships and rids groups of free-riders and cheats, i.e., gossip is a “leveling mechanism” that prevents individuals from accruing too much power.

According to the Davids, in the Hazda

“talented hunters are systematically mocked and belittled. . .”

And the evolutionary anthropologist Christopher Boehm came to a similar conclusion:

“Carefully working through ethnographic accounts of existing egalitarian foraging bands in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia, Boehm identifies a whole panoply of tactics collectively employed to bring would-be braggats and bullies down to earth—ridicule, shaming, shunning. . .”

Being in the gossip trap means reputational management imposes such a steep slope you can’t climb out of it, and essentially prevents the development of anything interesting, like art or culture or new ideas or new developments or anything at all.

So then what is civilization? It is a superstructure that levels leveling mechanisms, freeing us from the gossip trap. For what are the hallmarks of civilization? I’d venture to say: immunity to gossip.

[Erik Hoel]
‘The gossip trap’, The Intrinsic Perspective, Substack


"Lockean individualism" is too painful and "alienating" for so many you see...the Blade Runner world will never come because these very many will use technology to reestablish the warmth and community (snooping) of the gossip village where moralistic matron peeks from the window.

[Bronze Age Pervert]

Something essential will have been achieved when we revive the love for a style of active impersonality, through which what counts is the work and not the individual.

Through this, we become capable of not seeing ourselves as something important, since what is important is the function, the responsibility, the task accepted, and the end pursued.

[Julius Evola]
‘Orientations’, IV

Female tragic protagonists are rare. Tragedy is a male paradigm of rise and fall, a graph in which dramatic and sexual climax are in shadowy analogy. Climax is another western invention.

Western dramatic climax was produced by the agon of male will. Through action to identity. Action is the route of escape from nature, but all action circles back to origins, the womb-tomb of nature. Oedipus, trying to escape his mother, runs straight into her arms. Western narrative is a mystery story, a process of detection. But since what is detected is unbearable, every revelation leads to another repression.

Tragedy is a western vehicle for testing and purification of the male will. The difficulty in grafting female protagonists onto it is a result not of male prejudice but of instinctive sexual strategics. Woman introduces untransformed cruelty into tragedy because she is the problem that the genre is trying to correct.

[Camille Paglia]
Sexual Personae, p.7

Nature’s cycles are woman’s cycles. Biologic femaleness is a sequence of circular returns, beginning and ending at the same point. Woman’s centrality gives her a stability of identity. She does not have to become but only to be. Her centrality is a great obstacle to man, whose quest for identity she blocks.

Woman does not dream of transcendental or historical escape from natural cycle, since she is that cycle.

Her sexual maturity means marriage to the moon, waxing and waning in lunar phases. Moon, month, menses: same word, same world. The ancients knew that woman is bound to nature’s calendar, an appointment she cannot refuse.

Sex is metaphysical for men, as it is not for women. Women have no problem to solve by sex. Physically and psychologically, they are serenely self-contained. They may choose to achieve, but they do not need it. They are not thrust into the beyond by their own fractious bodies.

But men are out of balance. They must quest, pursue, court, or seize.

Male aggression and lust are the energizing factors in culture. They are men’s tools of survival in the pagan vastness of female nature.

[Camille Paglia]
Sexual Personae, p.9-10, 19-20, 26

Chaucer’s humanism is predicated on the common man, on our shared foibles and frailties, our daily muddle. He absolves his admirers of guilt. There is no fear and trembling in his theology. Chaucer’s conviviality is full of winks, chuckles, and nudges. The hearty warmth of it all makes my skin crawl.

Chaucer is a populist, while Spenser is a hierarchist. The Faerie Queene, like Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, is aristocratic in form and content. Chaucer, and here is his continuing appeal, accepts the flesh. But the Apollonian resists nature by its hostile eye-drawn line.

Wise Chaucer, putting roses in the cheeks of medieval asceticism, opposes absolutism and extremism in all things. But the idealizing Apollonian mode is absolutist and extremist from the first architectural overstatements of Old Kingdom Egypt. Western greatness is unwise, mad, inhuman.

[Camille Paglia]
Sexual Personae, p.171-2

The coming decades were to be a peak moment in world history, a burst of creativity accompanied by institutionalized misogyny. Women played no part in Athenian high culture. They could not vote, attend the theater, or walk in the stoa talking philosophy.

But the male orientation of classical Athens was inseparable from its genius. Athens became great not despite but because of its misogyny.

Male homosexuality played a similar catalytic role in Renaissance Florence and Elizabethan London. At such moments, male bonding enjoys an amorous intensity of self-assurance, a transient conviction of victory over mothers and nature. For 2,500 years, western culture has fed itself on the enormous achievements of homosexual hybris, small bands of men attaining visionary heights in a few concentrated years of exaltation and defiance.

The Oresteia’s sexist transition from matriarchy to patriarchy records the rebellion every imagination must make against nature. Without that rebellion, we as a species are condemned to regression or stasis. Even rebelling, we cannot get far. But all vying with fate is godlike.

[Camille Paglia]
Sexual Personae, p.100-101

We have to distinguish, in all modernism, between the popular side with its dolce far niente, its solicitude for health, happiness, freedom from care, and universal peace — in a word, its supposedly Christian ideals — and the higher Ethos which values deeds only, which (like everything else that is Faustian) is neither understood nor desired by the masses, which grandly idealizes the Aim and therefore Work.

[Oswald Spengler]
The Decline of the West, Vol. 1, p. 362

For the indications - the signs of the times - are that the season is now pretty far advanced and the time of the harvest, when the wheat will be separated from the tares, may not be far off.

What indications? What signs of the times?

I think there are many, of which I shall mention only one: the extraordinary increase in the rate of change. If you would draw a curve of the rate of change, it would appear as an exponential, or logarithmic, curve of continuous acceleration.

It is quite clear that no such curve can proceed for any length of time on this earth. It must come to a stop before long, and that must mean the end of an era and "the revaluation of all values" or, in the imagery of the Gospels, the separation of the wheat from the tares.

[E.F. Schumacher]
Good Work, p. 24

The Puritan point of view contributed elements of self-discipline, self-denial, masochism, glorification of work, emphasis on the restrictions of enjoyment of consumption, and subordination both of the present to the future and of oneself to a larger whole.

These became significant elements in the bourgeois, middle-class pattern of behavior which dominated the nineteenth century. The middle classes were themselves largely products of the seventeenth century, and had adopted this point of view as one of the features which distinguished them from the more self-indulgent attitudes of the other two social classes—the peasants below them or the aristocracy and nobility above them.

[…] These methods appeared in a number of essential ways, notably in an emphasis on self-discipline for future benefits, on restricted consumption and on saving, which provided the capital accumulation of the nineteenth century’s industrial development; in a devotion to work, and in a postponement of enjoyment to a future which never arrived.

To such people, and to the prevalent middle-class ideology of the nineteenth century, the most adverse comments which could be made about a “failure,” to distinguish him from a “successful” man, were that he was a “wastrel,” a “loafer,” a “sensualist,” and “self-indulgent.”

These terms reflected the value that the middle classes placed on work, saving, self-denial, and social conformity. All these values were carried over from seventeenth-century Puritanism, and were found most frequently among the religious groups rooted in that century, the Quakers, Presbyterians, Nonconformists (so called in England), and Jansenist survivals, and were less evident among religious groups with older orientations, such as Roman Catholics, High Anglicans, or orthodox Christians.

These older creeds were more prevalent among the lower and the upper classes and in southern and eastern Europe rather than in northern or western Europe. This explains why the energy, self-discipline, and saving which made the world of 1900 was middle class, Protestant, and northwestern European.

[…] these outlooks, values, and groups are now being superseded by quite different outlooks, values, and groups. In America today, those who wish to preserve them frequently show a tendency to embrace fanatical Right-wing political groups to implement that effort, and often speak among themselves of their efforts to preserve the values of WASPS (white Anglo-Saxon Protestants).

We shall call these features, as a single bundle, “future preference,” and understand that it includes the gospel of saving, of work, and of postponed enjoyment, consumption, and leisure. Closely related to it is a somewhat different idea, based on a constant and irremedial dissatisfaction with one’s present position and present possessions.

This is associated with the nineteenth century’s emphasis on acquisitive behavior, on achievement, and on infinitely expansible demand, and is equally associated with the middle-class outlook.

Both of these together (future preference and expansible material demands) were basic features in nineteenth-century middle-class society, and indispensable foundations for its great material achievements. They are inevitably lacking in backward, tribal, underdeveloped peasant societies and groups, not only in Africa and Asia but also in many peripheral areas and groups of Western Civilization, including much of the Mediterranean, Latin America, central France, or in the Mennonite communities of southern Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

The lack of future preference and expansible material demands in other areas, and the weakening of them in middle-class Western Civilization, are essential features of the twentieth-century crisis. Though this crisis, which has appeared as a breakdown, disruption, and rejection of the nineteenth century’s way of doing things, was fully evident by the year 1900, it was brought to an acute stage by the two world wars and the world depression. If we may be permitted to oversimplify, two antithetical ways of dealing with this crisis appeared.

One way, going back to men like Georges Sorel (Reflections on Violence, 1908), sought a solution of this crisis in irrationalism, in action for its own sake, in submergence of the individual into the mass of his tribe, community, or nation, in simple, intense concrete feelings and acts. The other tendency, based on nineteenth century’s science, sought a solution of the crisis in rationalization, science, universality, cosmopolitanism, and the continued pursuit of eternal—if rapidly retreating—truth.

[…] From the crisis itself and the myriad individual events which led through it, came World War II. Although few were consciously aware of it, this war became a struggle between the forces of irrationality, represented by Fascism, and the forces of Western science and rationalization, represented by the Allied nations.

[Carroll Quigley]
Tragedy and Hope, ‘The New Age,’ p.527-8

We have an achieving society because we have an achieving outlook in our society. And that achieving outlook has been, over the last few centuries, the middle-class outlook.

But there are other achieving outlooks. An achieving society could be constructed on the aristocratic outlook, on the scientific outlook (pursuit of truth), on a religious basis, and probably on a large number of other outlooks. There is no need to go back to the middle-class outlook, which really killed itself by successfully achieving what it set out to do. But parts of it we need, and above all we need an achieving outlook.

It might be pleasant just to give up, live in the present, enjoying existential personal experiences, living like lotus-eaters from our amazing productive system, without personal responsibility, self-discipline, or thought of the future. But this is impossible, because the productive system would itself collapse, and our external enemies would soon destroy us.

[Carroll Quigley]
Tragedy and Hope, ‘The Future in Perspective,’ p.809

Freud believed that civilisation demanded a trade-off in which people exchanged self-realisation for security. He understood politics as the rational administration of the repression necessarily entailed by this exchange.

This Enlightenment view is ill-matched to the political practice of late twentieth-century America. There are many Americans who are ready to trade off security for the pursuit of happiness; but they are often reluctant to admit the exchange they are making.

[John Gray]
False Dawn, p.109

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