Thursday, 25 February 2016

Every now and then I run across an article that’s so full of crap, it’s hard to know where to start.

Every now and then I run across an article that’s so full of crap, it’s hard to know where to start. Or even if it’s worth starting. For the first time, this has happened with an article from the Sphere, with a recent post by Thumotic (Jon Frost) in which he compares the less-than-satisfying life lead by many young men to the Killing Fields of Cambodia and to the genocides of the twentieth century. Since that’s so clearly hyperbole, let’s pass it over.

Discussing the video of a 34-year old man (“Malcolm”) who presents himself as a failure, Thumotic says
Malcolm has experienced thirty-four years of dull suffering, without any of the emotional highs and lows that characterize life as healthy man in his formative decades. Malcolm has never known the unfading eternal summer of impulsive young love; nor the comfort of true friendships between men who are good and alike in virtue; nor the pride of earning respect from his community. He may occasionally eke out some shallow masturbatory pleasures from the confines of his bedroom, but nothing that could possibly compare to the qualia of a life truly lived.
Oh man the cliches piled up so fast, you needed wings to stay above them. The "unfading eternal summer of impulsive young love”? “The comfort of true friendships between men who are good and alike in virtue.” “The pride of earning respect from his community”, and my favourite "the qualia of a life truly lived".


Fracking Qualia?

No. Sorry. That’s a fail right there. “Qualia” has a meaning in the context of old-school empiricism, and is an exotic parrot anywhere else. And "life truly lived"? Isn't it actually illegal to use that phrase now? Guilt-tripping anyone?

So. Back to the cliches.
Western men are dying, because they have no spirit, no purpose, no thumos. Their vital energies have been stifled by a culture designed to suppress their natural ideals of virtuous masculinity – duty, family formation, tribal loyalty, and spirituality. Our culture and education systems are optimized to crush the western man’s natural drive to build something for posterity.
“Duty, family formation, tribal loyalty and spirituality”. Way too much Jack Donovan there. Also, this sounds a lot like being a Millwall supporter: it takes spiritual resignation beyond a saint’s to support Millwall.

So we get to
The New Story will infuse young men with a sense of purpose and focus they’ve never experienced before. It will feel like waking from a dream state, and entering a new world of consciousness and meaning. Western men will be the heroes in their New Story. There will be a journey; an ordeal; allies and enemies. There will be a villain. What will the New Story consist of? The details will depend on circumstance, Great Men, and pure chance. But here are some broad predictions: The New Story will offer men a path to heroism The New Story will offer a tribe The New Story will offer a traditional warrior code of ethics The New Story will offer an opportunity to die for something bigger than ourselves The New Story will focus its merciless resentment on a villain
What’s wrong with this post is a huge case of the Good Old Days. Back in the day - you know, before anti-biotics, drinkable water, cotton, main drainage, railways, hospitals, power stations, Galaxy S5’s, fuel injection, power steering and Jack Daniels - men had Virtue, and Belonged To Tribes, and Were Heroes, And Raised Families, and all that stuff. Well, no, they didn’t. Athenian citizens complained about the low moral fibre of slaves, women and tradesmen even then. There’s never been a generation that didn’t have at least one author explaining to men how to behave like a goddamn grown-up and not scratch their nutsacks in public for Christ’s sake! What do you think Castiglione and all the others were? That Tribal Heroism stuff is fairy-tale bullshit, and even Jack Donovan knows it. It makes a nice story, but it’s crap.

An erroneous understanding of the exact conditions of the crisis will lead to incorrect action. That’s in Sun-Tzu somewhere. Also Lenin, Mao, Clausewitz, and probably Machiavelli and Aristotle. As long as people go on believing in some Golden Age to which we can return, they will be stuck in the present.

Being a man cannot be what women say it is, it cannot be what your supervisor says it is, and it cannot be what other men say it is either, because they might be exploitative assholes. It cannot be about possessing this or that or having children, because that puts someone else in charge of whether he makes it as a man or not. Being a man isn’t playing a role. It’s how you handle yourself, it’s how you respond to insult and praise, and loneliness and flattery and emotional manipulation. It’s probably a generational thing, but for me, Kipling got it.

Very, very few people make it all the way. Most of us fall short, falter, and I personally would never bet it all on a throw of pitch-and-toss, but I’m guessing that’s a metaphor as much as an example. A man is so despite the other people around him, the economy in which he works and the society in which he lives. Being a man is a daily act of defiance that no-one notices, until they notice they are compromised and you are not.

As to how you live? Choose any damn way you like. Just don’t apologise and don’t explain.

There is no solution to the problem of being a man. If there was, someone could learn how to do it insincerely.

While we’re on the subject, I don’t find “Malcolm” very convincing. The guy has a PhD and is unemployed? Um. No? The sheer hard work and ambition needed to do a PhD will carry the student into employment. Unless the PhD was in something truly worthless, and then, but that’s Maloclm's bad. People choose their PhD’s with an eye for how they are going to exploit the result at the end. As for never being laid by 34? Oh come on, even Nick Krauser under the spell of the Blue Pill got laid before he was 34. Shit. Even I did. Unless Malcolm has some fairly serious Asperger’s going on, I’m not buying it.

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