Friday, January 05, 2007

Depression Hits Western Baby Factories, Output Nil, No Talks Scheduled, Domestic Market Threatened By Flood of Cheap Foreign Imports.

The concept of comfort is a recent one, similar to the concept of cruelty, concepts we assume are universally and eternally extant. In both cases above our assumptions would be wrong. For the concept of comfort, one might turn to Home: A Short History of an Idea by Witold Rybczynski, or an earlier post at http://nodhimmitude.blogspot.com/2005/12/concept-of-comfort.html, in which we look at the evolution of comfort and its problematic arrival in our time as an end in itself. Further, one may look to the concept of cruelty as discovery rather than construct in Medieval Cruelty: Changing Perceptions, Late Antiquity to the Early Modern Period (Conjunctions of Religion and Power in the Medieval Past) (Hardcover) by Daniel Baraz . Neither comfort nor cruelty are a priori truths in Human understanding. When we miss those points we are either naive of delusional. i would argue that mostly our public intellectuals are delusional and that the mass of Humanity in the modern West is naive, believing the rubbish idols sold in the marketplace of ideas are golden while in fact they are gilded lead. I argue that the idols of the market today regarding our frenzies of passion regarding comfort and cruelty are expressions of privacy corrupted, of what Digby Anderson et al refer to as "sentimentality, wonderfully put in Digby Anderson, (ed.) Faking it: The Sentimentalisation of Everything.
http://nodhimmitude.blogspot.com/2006/01/lies-sentimentalisation-of-west-4.html.

Without stopping to read three books before continuing here, to summarize, we in the West are living in a daydream world of cynicism produced by our intelligentsia, a cynicism that is expressed in terms sentimental, though in reality a cynicism that is deadly in effect, hence our constant reference to The Death Hippies. We are deluded if we think, and most of us do, that the entire world's people are happy-go-lucky creatures living in harmony with Mother Nature, only driven to murder and suicidal killing by Modernity and capitalist-imposed poverty against which those who otherwise live in comfort and in a state of innocence resist "with their bodies."

For-get-it!

Reality, stripped of its sentimental and cynical gloss is harsh and deadly. Comfort is an alien concept to most living people in this day of our Human life. Where it is known in the world of the non-comfortable it is despised rather than envied. Comfort is feminine and corrupt, as seen by most people outside the Modernity of our West. Cruelty, a concept evolved from experience of Judaism and Christianity over centuries, is one unknown and completely unmissed by most people outside and often even inside those closed religions. To assume that all people are noble savages, as too many do, is to live in a perfectly delusional world that dismisses the reality of living beings in favor of a sentimentalization of those who are not Modernists. The Romanticisation of others non-Modern is a dismissal of the authentic lives of others, a criminal occupation of our Left dhimmi fascists holus bolus. Primitives are savages, cruel and dirty and brutal. It is something we must live with as it is rather than indulging in "projection" and dismissal of the valid lives of others. But sentimentality and its cynical roots prevail in our modern West. Nothing, it seems, will shake us from our dogmatic slumbers-- perhaps not even "the big one" so ardently hoped for by the passivists among our more aware community members, the final outrage of the primitives that will impel the mass of lethargic to action in self-defence, some kind of panacea to arise like a genie from a bottle. More nonsense, more sentimentalisation, this time of the heroic sleeping giant only waiting for the nudge to action. We in the West are addicted to our comforts, the rest of thee world not so, and we miss the whole plot by refusing to accept that such is so, insisting instead on our own comfortable sentimental phantasies about the guilt of the West in the discomforts of the primitives, something we might, by our better generosity, buy off and make well again.

For-get-it!

If we forgo our usual sentimental phantasies and immerse ourselves in the daily lives of the rest of the world we will see within days the truth of Howard Bloom's
The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into The Forces of History, observation that men are biologically geared toward death in battle. http://www.bookworld.com/lucifer/about.html. To disagree with me is a welcome thing, but to refuse to acknowledge reality as it is in favor of cynical sentimentality is an act of hostility against Humanity that at least borders on criminality. Not to accept that men are warriors who do not seek comfort, and who are not generally obsessed with the evils of cruelty toward others or even themselves, is to act as a Death Hippie, as a sentimentalist cheerleader for savages who kill by virtue of their being as they are. To deny the essence of others as invalid and at odds with ones own sentimental gloss of Romantic ideology is to dismiss the legitimate being of others. And in so doing, to sentimentalise others to the point of creating a false image in the marketplace of ideas, is to eventually disillusion the buyers of such rubbish to the point they will no longer trust the marketeers of value. Then, unfortunately, the good as well as the bad will be swept from the marketplace and tossed into a sand diorama of curiosities of the wasted past, people living, if at all, as remnants of a primitive world destroyed by Modernity, all thanks to the self-indulgent phantasies of glory spun by the poseur Death Hippies to make themselves gnostic heroes in their own little minds.

Reality sometimes sucks. But even then it's far preferable to bullshit. Pretending that all want comfort when the truth is that few people do, instead preferring violence and extremity and the expression of the focused cosmos in death in glorious battle; to pretend that all people outside of Modernity are innocents corrupted by our Modernity, driven to violence, driven to murder and resentments forever by Modernity, made cruel by our past colonial transgressions against the eternal innocence of nature; to pretend that men are not made for war and death in battle, all that is to live a vile lie. Worse: when people of our Modernity finally sicken of the lies of our intelligentsia they will express their outraged feelings of betrayal in normal and righteous violence against anyone remotely resembling anyone who can be killed at random. Rather than now harnessing reality and molding it into normative pursuits, our Death Hippie Left dhimmi fascists create a cauldron of hostility that will not find a streamed outlet but one that will burst upon the unprepared world like an atomic bomb. Thank our lying intelligentsia. Those evil bastards.

Comfort comes from affluence, as we can see very clearly in Murdering McKinley: The Making of Theodore Roosevelt's America (Hardcover)
by Eric Rauchway. With affluence comes the time and luxury of pursuing a "higher education." Rauchway details the rise of affluence in early 19th century America and shows the rise of the professional class of post-missionary educated women who turned to "social work," the profession of baby-sitting the poor. He details the infertility of such women, showing as he does, the infertility of the Modern West. Educated women do not want to be baby factories, preferring to live the life of motherhood vicariously through the tending and minding of the poor. Such is the nature of comfortable women, and rightly so. Highly educated women have fewer and often no children. This is not surprising. Refer if you will to child-bearing in The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium by Robert Lacey, Danny Danziger to see an unromantic account of childbirth death. Again: n the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death and the World It Made
by Norman Cantor to see that women, often little more than children, were made to make babies, and that they often died as a result, a thing to be avoided by sensible women if they have a choice. Those who do, according to American Reformers 1815-1860: Revised Edition by Ronald G. Walters often become babysitters. Like it or not, men are not so attached to babies as they might be to baby-making. In a phantasy world of comfort and the denial of universal cruelty, many tend to ignore the reality that men live to commit violence as an act of group bonding, and that women avoid having children if they can. Reality is sentimentalised and Romanticised for the sake of indulging in cynical pseudo-moralistic posing. Women don't have babies if they have comfort instead, and men don't war if they can lay around being intoxicated otherwise with less visible harm showing. But then reality seeps in, fertile women baby-sit and virile men turn to drug addiction. The Death Hippies dress up and act out morality plays that would make those of the Middle Ages cringe at the amateurishness of them. But here in our modern West it sells, so far. For now. For a while.

Reality intrudes, though. Most people do not want the freedom they have in comfort. Refer to Escape from Freedom by Erich H. Fromm. No, men often prefer fascism. When they don't have it they turn on themselves and act out their innate need for violence on themselves in what can only be considered weirdness such as watching television football games. The vicarious life of violence is transferred to a box in a clean well-lighted place. It will not last. Nor will women continue to die out childless as baby-sitters. Those who grasp the nature of reality will survive them and the world will pay for the evils of the Left dhimmi fascist stupidities and sentimentalisations of our time.

Men are made for war, but not necessarily made for killing in war. Our sentimentalists miss that too. An Intimate History of Killing: Face-to-Face Killing in Twentieth-Century Warfare by Joanna Bourke shows clearly that men kill others less often than they support their own in battle. Experience tells. Some affluent women willingly and enthusiastically have children, and some men happily kill people. Comfort corrupts that. Sentimentality disguises it from our consciousness. But reality seeps in anyway.

We can see clearly the brutal mind of the average fascist in The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements by Eric Hoffer. We ignore these realities at our peril, and also at the risk of destroying wantonly our moral by allowing the primitive world to grow in belligerence while we indulge ourselves in a morbid phantasy of sentimental projection.

Not everyone shares our phantasy about comfort and our aversion to cruelty. Most men, living in the comfort of their homes sitting in front of the wide-screen TV. watching the big game, don't care to have themselves crippled or killed. And most women don't wish to endure personal experiences of the two entries, abactio and childbed fever, detailed in Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die by Michael Largo.

Comfort and the denial of cruelty as expressions of our modernist sentimentality show themselves glaringly in our lack of childbirths. Affluent and barren women baby-sit other people's children if not the world at large, and comfortable men sit around watching other men act out war on small scales. But it's all a lie covered up only for now. In the deepest pools of the mind lurk lizards, and the feeding by Furies will unleash them on a perhaps undeserving world. The harsh truth is that even though women die in childbirth and that men die in war, reality is preferable to lies and sentimentality. Life and its nature are cruel. We lie to ourselves in denying it in ourselves, in others, in life itself. Avoiding pain and death for the sake of comfort andour indulgence in the denial of cruelty is a barreness that will lead to our extermination or in the extermination of others by those of us who are true to our lives, brutish and nasty as we might seem to the self-deluded.

Yes, the baby factories have moved off-shore. We reap the benefits of cheap imports. Our easy lives are comfortable. But it's not what we need at all. Now it all depends on how those of us who are rational will respond to our coming shortage of volunteers for the wars to come. I'd be making babies if I could find a girl willing, but who has the time? And I might miss the big game. Too cruel! For-get-it!

4 comments:

truepeers said...

In a phantasy world of comfort and the denial of universal cruelty, many tend to ignore the reality that men live to commit violence as an act of group bonding, and that women avoid having children if they can....It will not last. Nor will women continue to die out childless as baby-sitters. Those who grasp the nature of reality will survive them and the world will pay for the evils of the Left dhimmi fascist stupidities and sentimentalisations of our time

Men are made for war, but not necessarily made for killing in war. Our sentimentalists miss that too.... men kill others less often than they support their own in battle. Experience tells. Some affluent women willingly and enthusiastically have children, and some men happily kill people. Comfort corrupts that. Sentimentality disguises it from our consciousness. But reality seeps in anyway.


There are some important paradoxes here:

1) you are saying that men live for violence. But more precisely they live for it as an act of group bonding, i.e. a form of discipline that is conducive to things like hunting and warfare. Without first having disciplined bonding they cannot have what they "really" desire which is some kind of violent or sacrificial feasting on the other whether animal or human. But if we desire the violence of the sacrificial sparagmos, or feel the pull of the yet more primitive biological instinct to animalistic war, how do we account for the discipline that is necessary to bonding, something that can surely only be realized by a deferral of the group's capacities for internal conflict. What's more, it is this deferral and discipline which is a more primary desire for some of us (relative to desire for the sacrificial feast it allows). Some of us are priests at heart, rather more than warriors. We only succeed in external violence by first succeeding in internal (relative) peace.

And this basic dynamic can and is endlessly iterated. If there are three competing tribes in a given area, two may well seek out a pact - a new form of internal peace - to make them more effective against a third; or the three might ally against an encroaching empire from abroad. Capacities for peace and war grow hand in hand.

And as we become more aware of this, the peace within the community depends in good part upon how our leaders are representing our community before others. One faction's preferred choice is not always to war with such and such a tribe; sometimes we want a pact with them to make us more effective on another front. Thus our capacity to go to war becomes more and more dependent on our capacity to survive our own internal battles over what kind of wars to fight.

We might wish to organize a football league with tribes xyz to make us all more effective against the soccer fairies of tribes abc. The football game cannot be simply dismissed as a demasculinizing, de-realizing indulgence. It may well be part of a necessary internal bonding, of tribal com-pacting, to give us representations of what kind of people we are, vis a vis the other we really want to target.

What's more, if our enemy tribes abc aren't soccer fairies, but prefer polo with human skulls, the lessons about hard human realities don't just go one way. Yes, they will have something to teach us about the more fierce martial values. But with our more sophisticated game of football we may have something to teach them about teamwork, organization, and strategy - and, in a war between the two, would you choose to be on the side of the BC Lions football team, or the Lion clan of some deep bush tribe? In the short term, you'd probably pick the bushmen; in the long term, you'd choose the BC Lions, assuming they survive the first shocking assaults. The winner is he who best combines the sophisticated and primitive, which is another paradox. And reality would suggest it is probably easier for the more sophisticated to re-learn basic hard truths than for the hard men to learn sophisticated pacts. But to the extent the hard men threaten us, it is probably in our interest not just to re-learn how to crush them with hardness but also to teach at least some of them how to join our sophisticated pacts and use them against their former comrades.

2) In other words, a growing human self-understanding and discovering of new and realistic ways to transcend previous limits is a fundamental part of reality too. There are not only hard primitve realities, but truly difficult transcendent realities and disciplines to learn about. Thus your statements about women and childrearing are necessarily ambiguous. Do intelligent educated women avoid or embrace child rearing? You say both; as we learn from the present fertility crisis in the West, will we continue to say so? There are a lot of women today unhappy with feminist takes on child-poor careerism. And as you note, there are educated women who want healthy-sized families, which is not too much to fear with today's medicine.

to sentimentalise others to the point of creating a false image in the marketplace of ideas, is to eventually disillusion the buyers of such rubbish to the point they will no longer trust the marketeers of value. Then, unfortunately, the good as well as the bad will be swept from the marketplace and tossed into a sand diorama of curiosities of the wasted past, people living, if at all, as remnants of a primitive world destroyed by Modernity, all thanks to the self-indulgent phantasies of glory spun by the poseur Death Hippies to make themselves gnostic heroes in their own little minds.

-I share your resentment of the sentimentalization of the death hippies, but be wary Dag that perhaps you are guilty of what you accuse the "passivists". How do we know that a critical mass won't survive the gnostic delusions to allow us to rediscover true value without first avoiding a great fall? I know you are not saying it has to be one way or the other. So it is a question of how to articulate the paradoxes. How can real value be lost in a sea of lies? Can humanity have come this far if we have any capacity for endless delusion or lies? Surely the lies are always a temporary (whether we are talking decades or centuries we can debate) excess.

What is more likely: that the Gnostics will destroy their host culture, or that the true value in that culture will be rekindled? I will end by quoting Gil Bailie on this question:

The more one learns about the violence and ferocity of Muhammad and about the unalterable Qur'anic legacy he left for his later followers, the more one realizes that the greatest act of real charity a Christian can perform for his Muslim brothers and sisters is to try – with charity and all due respect – to convert them to Christianity; that is to say: to speak the truth to them. It is passing strange that so many Christians have come to believe that it is more charitable to reassure Muslims (condescendingly) that theirs is a religion of peace, one that is presumably in no need of what Christian faith has to offer above and beyond its fawning admiration and uncritical acceptance. At least our Muslim brothers and sisters do us the favor of trying to convert us, albeit too often menacingly, with violence or the threat of violence.

I’ve had major city taxi drivers urge their Islamic beliefs on me with a fervor that would cost Christians their lives in Saudi Arabia and other places in the world. In these tyrannical societies, therefore, one can hardly fault Christians for using discretion with regard to Jesus’ command to “go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Christians in Islamic societies imperil their own lives when they try to follow this central tenet of their faith, and they endanger the lives of any Muslims they might succeed in converting. The comparable failure of Christians in the West is less respectable. Our efforts at inclusion are virtuous only up to the point where they violate our responsibility as Christians.

Writing about the controversy following Pope Benedict’s Regensburg University lecture, a writer for the Asia Times, quoted in the November 2006 edition of Touchstone Magazine [p. 59] argues that jihad “is the fundamental sacrament of Islam, the Muslim cognate of the Lord’s Supper in Christianity, that is, the unique form of sacrifice by which the individual believer communes with the Transcendent. To denounce jihad on theological grounds is a blow at the foundations of Islam, in effect a papal call for the conversion of the Muslims.”

That is a truly charitable position for a Christian to take, and most serious Christians know so in their heart of hearts. But it is not an easy position to take, shorn as it is of the feel-good acceptance of the conspicuously unacceptable, which amounts to declaring the innocuous superfluousness of Christianity.

Sadly, most Christians lack the faith required to re-evangelize themselves, their children, and their perfectly harmless fellow backsliding Christians. How can they be expected to evangelize others until the cooling embers of Christian faith are stirred again to flame?

dag said...

...how do we account for the discipline that is necessary to bonding, something that can surely only be realized by a deferral of the group's capacities for internal conflict?

I argue that violence inherent in male nature is not blood violence necessarily, that it is indeed the act of bonding as men that is the transcendent motive, usually unspoken outside of weekend retreats at trendy spas. The violence is primitive if bloody, and it is rational bonding if turned to a common collective goal, such as carpentry, barn-building, for example. Our concept of violence is too focused: look at violence as commerce and see that blood sport and war are sublimated rationally in competitive money-making, productive and beneficial to all. Commerce is a full body contact sport, whether we see it as such or not in boardrooms. Our violence is now stylized into smiles and hand-shakes, turned from its origins into something resembling Noh Theater. I argue that it is not different in reality, just less obviously bloody.

People are still, however rational on the surface, animals. There is a respect for male strength among men, and it isn't communicable except in the act of movement. It is in the passing of one thing to another that the trust is made by one holding and trusting another to carry. That cannot be made by words, and once there is a record of that physical trust, the rest follows to the point that men who hate each other can admire each other, even if they might hate their own. The common bond of men, even opposite and armed men, transcends at times, bloody conflict. All men, I suspect, have an innate and intuitive understanding of that possible bond and their places in the hierarchy of strength, whether physical or social or what-have-you. So peace is likely between warring groups when there is first war. look for example at the Epic of Gilgamesh for a wonderful literary vision of this. Men, fighting against each other can come to trust each other's strength, and from that to admire and love each other as friends. It is a major mistake in our wars that we kill from above, not meeting our enemies man to man, but killing them by stealth. Worse, we don't kill many of them, and far worse, we apologize for those we do kill. The whole point of war, the bonding of man to man and the transcending bond that comes from that meeting in truth, beyond all words and only deeds, becomes a lie and an insult to those who are beaten not by men but by machines. To know we are hated by men and that men will fight us, and that we will fight them is to know we will meet equals or not, and that the hierarchy of life will settle itself rightly and the bond will form therefrom. That is the point of war. It is to prove oneself worthy of marriage to an enemy's sister, perhaps his widow, and if life continues, to form friendship between those who struggle against each other and cannot win or lose but who become bonded in action. And not all men are warriors, not all are capable of killing in battle. They should not be, and life doesn't provide that among settlements of men. There are priests, there are water-carriers, there are dancing men and poets. It's only when all men are expected to be of one sort, sensitive New age guys that things go wrong for all, regardless of who they might be in the raw.

"What's more, it is this deferral and discipline which is a more primary desire for some of us (relative to desire for the sacrificial feast it allows). Some of us are priests at heart, rather more than warriors. We only succeed in external violence by first succeeding in internal (relative) peace." Which I argue is the point of war, primitive or modern. War isn't necessarily to kill our enemies but to sort out our hierarchies among men. And within the hierarchies of our opponents we will and must find our friends as well, men we will admire and come to love even if we fight them, even because we fight them. We know what they can do because we have felt their strength against our own and found it matches our own or not. On the basis of outcome in the physical world we know and do not have to be told.

It is not the part of every man to kill in battle. It is the doing on the one hand that makes the reality; but it is the retelling-- rather than the telling of what was not-- that makes the others important. "I was there and this I saw...." That is as important a part of war as the actual battles. The Iliad is more important, in that sense, than was the sacking of Troy. The poets "make" but they must make from reality to make poetry, if not the poetry of real men, the experience of man as it is proven in life on the fields of battle, whatever those are.

I'll go further and argue that the battle in the flesh is necessary to prove the reality of men as they are; that the retelling of truth is essential to give all a piece of the group's strength or explanation of why they are slaves; and that it is also, and here I wonder, the point of the priests to make it meaningful in a moral sense, moral as in the Moral of the Story. Without the battle between men there is no possibliity of the poetry or the religion that follows. I argue that the sentimentalization of life, of our disregard for the real bond of men at war against each other, vitiates our lives to the point we cannot stand ourselves, and to the point our weaker enemies despise us and attack us. That offering up of the strong to the weak to punish and humiliate is a goad to the weak, an insult to them that they cannot rightly bear. It is an insult to manhood and friendship when the strong pretend and patronise and emote, insulting the natural bonding of men to men in battle. All of the Death Hippie pretense of everlasting peace and brotherhood among Men is a lie that the men who would be our equals will not suffer lightly. To say to the Muslim world that we do not want to fight them is to say we have so little respect for them that we apologise for hurting them, they being so worthless to us that we won't bother pinning them to the mat and accepting them as defeated. We won't throw them down and then give a hand up and a slap on the back. We won't engage them at their finest in battle, take our loses and they theirs and then go on as equals afterward in poetry and ceremony. to refuse to battle is to belittle our enemies and to cause them to hate us, never giving them the chance to be our friends. To patronise is to infantalise. No wonder others hate us. We not only destroy their validity as men and equals, we destroy their poetry and ceremony. And they don't for the most part even get to play in our rational contests, in commerce. Until they, our enemies, whoever they might be today or tomorow, have a chance to fight us and win or lose,they will never have the chance to be our friends or equals. They can only ever resent what might have been, if not for our machines, they being men far superiour to us but not our machines, we being helpless without them. And so goes their phantasy, never destroyed or brought to reality because there is no physical basis for anything at all in this sentimentalised pseudo-drama of multi-culti concern.

"[O]ur capacity to go to war becomes more and more dependent on our capacity to survive our own internal battles over what kind of wars to fight."

I argue that war is a good thing in many respects, obviously not to the dead and the maimed but to the survivors and to societies generally as Human settlements over time. To grow outside ones own self and to form bonds with others is a thing good in my understanding. There are utterly destructive wars, annihilatory wars that lead to nothing but extermination, and I fear our Death Hippies lead us to one now. But first, there is the matter of civil war, it being usually the result of what I have seen as proof of the observation that "A nation that doesn't go to war against others turns on itself." Appeasement of the weak emboldens and creates situations in which the weak will eventually suffer from retaliation theey would not have if they'd been reinedin before they let their resentment of belittlement over-rule their sense. If we spend our time fighting ourselves over our morality and righteousness at the expense of the outsiders who need us to prove their reality and place in the hierarchy of Human settlements, then we will eventually turn our tests against each other. But since there is no bond to be made with our self that isn't made now, there is only likely further harm to come unless we so utterly annihilate our other half that they, like our South, are more us than we, and at what a cost. All for the sake of what we have already. IUnstead of our Civil War we might well have invaded by main force Nicaragua and then we might today have Americans throughout Central America, equals, free and prosperous. This time we must get it right, and to do so we must defeat our selves as we are Death Hippies. We must turn outward toward those who wish to test us and find us as we are and they as they. We must give those who would be our enemies a chance to fight us and to go down in honorable defeat so we can raise them up and say, honestly, "You gave it a good go." Then we will have friends and brothers among those who hate us now. They deserve our love and friendship, which the Death Hippies will not alow them. We have to overcome our own to make our enemies into our friends. then comes poetry and ceremony and sense and new challenges for further growth outside ourselves.

Truepeers writes much I'd like to address, but time is short at the moment. I'll return with more as I am able this evening.
****

truepeers said...

Cripes, you've got me going now, Dag.

it is indeed the act of bonding as men that is the transcendent motive

-more precisely, i think, it is the bonding that is, in its very exchange (and later ritualization) of a memorable physical gesture, the transcendent sign itself. The "motive" of the transcendent is, in its specfic shape or form, something of a mystery. But what generally motivates its emergence is the need, due to an erosion through conflicting desires of the previous transcendent effect of bonding, to renew transcendence, to reproduce the effect of effective bonding.

Commerce is a full body contact sport, whether we see it as such or not in boardrooms.

-i think it depends on what you include in commerce. Again, if we include the productive disciplines necessary to allow for the creation and circulation of things and their tokens (money), it is not simply sport. There are two or three distinct movements: production, circulation/exchange, and consumption. Sport or war is more obviously to do with the middle movement in anticipation of consumption.

When I was a wee lad on a soccer team, the coach one day announced that he had a prize that would go to the winner of a little contest. He indicated an oval course that the ball had to be taken around, and whoever had the ball at the end of this course would win the prize.

So, the lads all went off chasing and pushing for the ball as it was kicked around the oval. All, that is, except for me. I just stood at the start/finish line and saved my energy until the pack, tired, came around the final corner whereupon I took the ball and won the prize.

I am still ashamed to this day of how I won, but the coach apparently thought I played by the rules and he gave me the prize, long consumed and forgotten. I won by the rules of a market (where loner contrarians can prosper by anticipating the direction of the jostling crowd), or perhaps of a game, but not by the rules of war (where combattants would be under no obligation to accept my cheap victory in one little battle as final).

Markets and commerce are about production and exchange where anyone who can win a cheap victory and thus, by provoking envy, teach others how to refine the game and make it more efficient and productive for everyone. War is rather more to do with rights to consumption, or enforcing terms of exchange that will lead to consumption, or controlling resources that will one day be transformed (by the priests of production) into consumables.

When tribes who already have religion first meet and interact, they can form a bond either through economic exchange, or through war. It all depends on whether they can tolerate each other's performance of what is sacred and proper sacrificial conduct.

Our violence is now stylized into smiles and hand-shakes, turned from its origins into something resembling Noh Theater. I argue that it is not different in reality, just less obviously bloody.

-I'm not so sure; the origins of our violence must go back to the origins of biology and/or physics and chemistry. But the origins of our signs are much more recent (about 200 000 years) and it is a qualitatively different phenomenon - the human linguistic sign - from the animalistic tugs of war. Sure, once language emerges, it becomes inextricably bound up with our war, so that war becomes much more meaningful than it was for our pre-human, naturalistic forebears. But there remains something about the reality of war which is just biological, while our exchange of signs and things is uniquely human.

When a good Rotarian gives you a handshake and tells you business should be a win-win for everyone, why doubt him and think he is just disguising an act of war in a smile? Wouldn't the interpretation of business as disguised war take you into the camp of the lefists who see in every sign of culture the victory sign of some nasty hegemon, instead of a compact between parties that benefits all? What's more, this compact of business cannot be simply described as rationalistic, for a successful compact requires productive committments and acts of faith or virtuous self-sacrifice that entail risk and expense before reward.

People are still, however rational on the surface, animals. There is a respect for male strength among men, and it isn't communicable except in the act of movement. It is in the passing of one thing to another that the trust is made by one holding and trusting another to carry. That cannot be made by words, and once there is a record of that physical trust, the rest follows to the point that men who hate each other can admire each other, even if they might hate their own. The common bond of men, even opposite and armed men, transcends at times, bloody conflict...

-people are still animals, to be sure, but they are something else too. Your distinction here between acts of movement and words is misleading. Yes the physical gesture and its exchange is indeed key to male bonding; but if this is to be memorable, as say a record of some transcendent moment, then we are moving beyond the domain of animals signalling their dominance and submission, one to one, and into the world of the human signs that are themselves the essence of a shared transcendence. A transcendent sign is one that is communicated from a centre to a common periphery; animal signals are strictly one-to-one communications: the alpha dog need only address his competitor, not a larger community. The mystery we are grappling with is how do the one-to-one struggles of human battle then get memorialized in a transcendent collective sign or story? How does the particular historical experience give way to an eternal story? It is indeed a mystery to some biologically irreducible extent.

That is the point of war. It is to prove oneself worthy of marriage to an enemy's sister, perhaps his widow, and if life continues, to form friendship between those who struggle against each other and cannot win or lose but who become bonded in action. And not all men are warriors, not all are capable of killing in battle. They should not be, and life doesn't provide that among settlements of men. There are priests, there are water-carriers, there are dancing men and poets. It's only when all men are expected to be of one sort, sensitive New age guys that things go wrong for all, regardless of who they might be in the raw.

-yes, i agree with all this; but the point of war is not simply to be found in nature even though animals at war may be competing there for the other's females (or another resource) but without ever making this into a transcendent sign or meaning that they can then share as the basis of the ensuing "peace". Thus, while the human and animal war may look alike, the ensuing peace or stability is quite different.

The poets "make" but they must make from reality to make poetry, if not the poetry of real men, the experience of man as it is proven in life on the fields of battle, whatever those are.

-well said, this is the eternal mystery.

I'll go further and argue that the battle in the flesh is necessary to prove the reality of men as they are; that the retelling of truth is essential to give all a piece of the group's strength or explanation of why they are slaves; and that it is also, and here I wonder, the point of the priests to make it meaningful in a moral sense, moral as in the Moral of the Story. Without the battle between men there is no possibliity of the poetry or the religion that follows.

-yes the battle must precede the poetry; however, sometimes tribes can come together and trade, simply tolerating each other's existing take on religion, in the way that tolerant multiculti pagans can, without first going to war. But in the very beginning of poetry, there must have been conflict before the first pacifying, shared sign.

And giving all a piece is the sign is key, for the essence of humanity is that we all share equally in significance, and we are all potentially speakers, not just listeners. It is largely thorugh religion that we remember this original or essential fact of human equality in the exchange of signs. The essence of any priesthood is the memorialization of the primitive equality of all who shared in the first sign. An initiate into any priesthood is essentially someone who has gained the right to share equally in the performance of a sacred and primitive religious sign. Language, to the extent it is inherently detachable from any ritual context, readily overcomes its sacred origins, at the expense of forgetting them. While our everyday exchange of language may seem more egalitarian than religious exchanges among a professional priestly caste, it is the priesthood who takes on the job of keeping alive the memory of the shared sacred origin from whence all our signs have come.

I argue that the sentimentalization of life, of our disregard for the real bond of men at war against each other, vitiates our lives to the point we cannot stand ourselves, and to the point our weaker enemies despise us and attack us.

-i agree; the root of all the leftist-gnostic evil is the denial of the inevitably of conflict, and its meaningless destruction. The gnostic is one not secure in his faith that the time in the desert of meaningless loss will be rewarded with a renewed contact with transcendent truth. So the gnostic pronounces himself already in command of the secret key to unlocking all doors and makes a sentimental or utopian fetish of it instead of attending to a conflictual reality.

We must turn outward toward those who wish to test us and find us as we are and they as they. We must give those who would be our enemies a chance to fight us and to go down in honorable defeat so we can raise them up and say, honestly, "You gave it a good go." Then we will have friends and brothers among those who hate us now. They deserve our love and friendship, which the Death Hippies will not alow them. We have to overcome our own to make our enemies into our friends. then comes poetry and ceremony and sense and new challenges for further growth outside ourselves

-well said; we must allow this engagement and struggle to go on not only at the level of war but also at the level of economic, religious and theological struggle to conceive of and know the universal truth of human being. Some converts to brotherhood with us can be won without war; and war, when necessary, must be about our right to seek out friendship and brotherhood with our erstwhile enemy that people may freely choose to convert to the religion or belief that they, in freedom of conscience, can hold as most true

dag said...

I woke in th emiddle of the night, it being around 4:00 a.m., and I got curious about what Truepeers would have to say about my responses to the first partof his comments. Now I don't know that I'll get back to sleep.

I have some time tomorrow to finish my first response, which is not much, being that I am baffled and impressed and nervous about the concept of faith as Peers and Cahrles and no doubtr many others understand it, and conversely, as many like myself do not.

for now, back to bed for a few hours.