Hazards of Endarkenment

I do not think it wise to dwell overmuch on the dark.   Our faith lets us know right from the beginning that we are only seeing a part of the entire picture—and not merely that, but a chaotic, incoherent part.  Heaven is orderly, Hell discordant—therefore we can learn a little about all of Heaven (and creation) by glimpsing only a small part,  whereas Hell carries no such guarantees, at war with itself.

And yet.  Here we are.  Darkly enlightened.

It is, of course, something of an affectation to use the word “dark.”  Why should any particular knowledge be inherently dark?  And yet there are various factors that move us in that direction:

– we see widespread lies, sin, and ignorance

– we see conflicts between genders, races, and religions that are not solvable by simply “getting along”

– those who would prefer to believe in easier answers to the these dilemmas often shoot the messengers.  If enough people tell you you’re dark, you start to believe it.

– this by itself cannot help but be a cynical-making experience.  Having found a bit of truth, and seeing it consistently rejected, tends to make one see the glass as half-empty

– the magnitude of the opposition, and the broad vistas opened by what we’ve learned, can throw into sharp relief the nobility and beauty of the heights we can achieve…but they also ratchet up where we “should” be.   And despite an intellectual belief in Grace…I mean, maybe you only found the Red Pill because Grace wasn’t coming through, you know?

One of the dangers of being the sole local possessor of knowledge you find important, is that there is no one that can talk you out of it when that knowledge condemns you.  Benevolence isn’t enough: they are ignorant.

If you’re not careful, you can start to abandon the quest for peace as hopeless, and settle for superiority:

O blind your eyes and break your heart and hack your hand away,
And lose your love and shave your head; but do not go to stay
At the little place in What’sitsname where folks are rich and clever;
The golden and the goodly house, where things grow worse for ever;

(The Aristocrat, Chesterton)

That line about things “grow[ing] worse for ever” is really a horrifying one.  It doesn’t mean simple decline; it means actual growth, self-transformation, in the wrong direction.  It is one thing to heal the wounded; it is quite another when someone has voluntarily begun to grow venom sacs under their armpits.  The Savior healed the blind with some clay; but reversing a reptilian tint to the eyes, once it has set in, might be a bit more involved.

But even if you resist, your aspiration works against you.  You know, walking home from the grocery store, that superiority is both illusory and not the point.  But that places you not one iota closer to where you should be.  My father had three kids at my age, you think.  And he did it on the East Coast.  What kind of natalist-traditionalist am I, a single Mormon dude in Provo with easy access to a dating pool worth killing for, and no prospects in sight.  If I’m the hope of the West, well, we might as well pack it up.  And you know that this very attitude makes it worse—which, alas, doesn’t make it wrong.

Be someone’s rock?  Reassure that everything will be all right?  I’m Darkly Enlightened, I’m nowhere near qualified for that job.  If only that meant anyone else was.  You can name five different reasons things will not be alright, and you are very, very confident you can defend them.  But the fact of their incompetence does nothing to solve yours.

I’m supposed to provide validation?  I need validationAnd I don’t know a single person I trust to give it.  Do they even aristocrat, brah?

And finally it comes to me.   There is one person who will accept my efforts without trying to dissuade me from my aspirations.  And you consider: have I been properly meek?  Were I bid to wash in the Jordan seven times, would I?  Have I done the equivalent?  Perhaps not.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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The Rebuttal I Wish I’d Written

David Hines wrote a good tweetstorm about the organization asymmetry between Right and Left, but what gnawed at me about it was: the Left should not be our example!  Over at Thermidor Richard Greenhorn highlighted the actual root problem:

http://thermidormag.com/the-spirit-of-a-spiritless-situation-on-the-rights-failure-to-organize/

 

We should all be praying for guidance.  The victory will not come because of our efforts—we may even lose the battle, from our point of view.

God bless you, and yours.

Against Skill

Heartiste will occasionally run a post featuring a “Game Challenge” for readers.  They basically go:  “You are in <x situation>.  <Y> happens.  What do you do?”  Readers are invited to comment, etc.

And, you know, this is useful, within its sphere.  But it minimizes something important: often the time for effort and skill is not “now,” but it was yesterday, or it will be tomorrow.  It’s tempting to think of “game” or “skill” as its own, independent, fundamental entity, that can be tested in an isolated, head-to-head trial:

An example from a few days ago:

 

Theodore asks,

“Game question: What is the best way to respond when a girl asks if she annoys you?”

 

Heartiste has an answer, and it’s alright.  But the answers most useful for dudes in their actual lives would be:

“Beats me.  If it’s possible that a small failure here tanks the whole relationship, then I’ve already screwed up.”

and

“Beats me.  If this goes south though it’s not the end of the world.  I’ll keep pursuing my goals and approach someone else.”

 

The race is not to the swift.

Assorted Thoughts, In Context

On Sexual Polarity

– The “ideal” member of the opposite sex, from a purely sexual point of view, will be at maximum sexual polarity.  Think Christian Grey and a mix between Audrey Hepburn and Jessica Rabbit.

– Sexual polarity is somewhat controllable.  Most advice in the manosphere is oriented towards increasing it—men are advised to do things that increase their confidence, to lift, to put energy into their careers, and women are advised to take care of themselves, dress in a feminine manner, and be supportive.

– Sexual polarity is, to some extent, a luxury good.  That is: just because something is sexy does not mean that it is always a good idea.  If you are bent under the sink, you don’t want to be wearing a miniskirt.  If you have work to do, maybe those extra hours at the gym could be cut down a bit.

– Not only do cis characteristics sometimes have to be sacrificed in the name of practicality, but sometimes it even becomes expedient to adopt some behaviors typed to the opposite sex—women pushing harder for raises; men being quiet and supportive of a boss, etc.

– The above explains the “paradox” that in poorer countries there are more women in “typically masculine” professions like engineering.  To an extent, the country “can’t afford” sex.

– Those of similar polarity attract.  Extremely masculine men and extremely feminine women gravitate toward one another.  This does not make them superior, more self-actualized beings—a hard-drinking gym rat construction worker and a flaky stripper are both strongly sexually polarized, and could definitely end up together, but you don’t want to be either one.

– That said, the prevailing ethos in the West generally moves people to a lower level of polarity than they “ought” to be—as in, could stand/afford, and would enjoy.

On Catch-22’s and Effort Sinks

– There exists a class of situations and goals where, after a certain threshold, exerting extra effort fails to provide returns, and may even be detrimental.  Examples include: you need a job to get experience/experience to get a job, confidence to build relationships/relationships to gain confidence, relaxation to achieve success/success to be able to relax, and faith to obey/the fruits of obedience to build faith.

– I’ve basically only come across two ways to break these impasses: either avoid them as unproductive in hopes that they will resolve themselves in time or as we labor in more productive arenas, or try to power through one of the steps despite the “necessity” of the other.

On Wanting Absurdly Attractive Women

– “It’s not so much that I’m shallow (although I am of course),” I thought.  “It’s that I view the attractiveness of the woman I can attract as society’s opinion on me.”

– “Oh,” I thought.  “Women must feel the same.”

 

 

If–, Commentary

Poem is here on my blog, here for a more general source.

 

Horror and Mastery In An Uncaring Universe

Of note is that the poem describes situations and actions, but little about feelings.

 

The modern demons of popular imagination are unconscious and uncaring:  AI risk, climate change, hypergamy, demography.  They cannot be reasoned with, because they cannot reason.  “NOTHING PERSONAL,” they don’t-say, as they send a hurricane over your house.

 

But the same insensibility that makes it impossible to bargain or reason with them makes them conquerable, forever.  If you hurricane-proof your house (is this even possible? I live in the West and know nothing about hurricanes), hurricanes will not adapt to be of greater strength and find different ways to blow your roof off.  If you are a high-value dude, hypergamy works for you, not against you.  Rollo is right, hypergamy doesn’t care if you gave everything to her…but it also doesn’t care if you gave her nothing.  It is a pitiless tormentor of the weak, but a toothless slave of the strong.

This split is noticeable in men’s attitudes about women:  Some dudes will report cheating, constant shit tests, divorce rape, etc; others will say things like, “It’s just not that hard, man, you just tell her some jokes.”  Both are “right;” both are “wrong.”

But this post isn’t about women.  Another example of the split that comes to mind is Dickens on money:

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

There are twenty shillings per pound, and twelve pence per shilling—meaning that a decimal representation of the two expenditures is 19.975, and 20.025.

So in both these cases (women and money, anyway), we see extremely volatile outcomes, depending on small differences at the margin.  One is tempted to whine that this is “not fair,” that effort and reward should be more commensurate—but perhaps we should instead rejoice at the great rewards available for relatively little effort, at the margin, and the great amount of freedom we have once above it.

One thing we should remember is that impersonal Cthullhu-like entities and phenomena are very bad judges of character.  Thus we should not give them too much power in our own heads:

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster / And treat those two impostors just the same;

 

Does It Have To Be Hard?

In one reading, yes.  I won’t lie, reader, a tear came to my eye, returning from work last night, reciting:

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

It certainly sounds like it has to be hard.  But I don’t think this is the case.

Remember: Cthullhu doesn’t care.  Reality is pitiless, but not spiteful.  It won’t save you if you’re drowning—but neither will it pull you down if you’re swimming.

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

The way Kipling writes it, we are moved to imagine a situation hard to “bear.”  But that’s just our imagination.  Kipling did not write “If you can, with a lot of teeth-gritting and mental anguish, bear…”  The teeth-gritting and mental anguish are not necessary!  In fact, here’s my own poem:

If you can meet the hardest trial

That anyone can find

It’s fine to do so with a smile

Cthullhu doesn’t mind.

There is, in other words, no Frown Enforcer.  If the things in Kipling’s poem are painful and stressful for you, and you struggle all night, and do them: yours is the Earth and everything in it.  If you come at them mentally prepared, wake up at 10 AM, and do them with a smile: yours is the Earth and everything in it.

We have little control over what’s necessary.  But we have much control over how we accomplish it, and the rest of our life that sets the stage.

 

 

Upper Bounds and Pitfalls

My younger brother is mathematically gifted, but taciturn and not given to displays of emotion.  He used to have a small book of scratch paper he used to explain concepts, by drawing graphs thereon.  My mother jokingly referred to it as his “Book of Feelings.”

We will wax similarly mathematical here.

 

Men have greater volatility than women.  In, uh, everything.  Feminists like to say that “Every woman is different” — and they are correct.  But I will say: “Every man is more different.”  This does not mean women are all the same; it is more like:  women are different like snowflakes, and men are different like mountains.  The complexity is the same; the scale is not.

 

So for men—and If– is a poem about manhood—it is actually quite plausible that “Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,” if they can avoid the gauntlet of horrible things that can happen to them.  If you can avoid war, if you’re not a drug addict, if you don’t commit suicide, if you don’t die on the job.

 

I paint a gloomy picture, but I actually mean to do the opposite.  Because the male bargain is: if you can avoid the pitfalls, you have dominion over the earth.  It is a long road, fraught with danger and difficulty, but for men, it is the only one that actually leads somewhere—and in this case, “somewhere” means “WILD SUCCESS.”


 

This concludes my current thoughts on the poem that I could articulate.  A sidenote: I memorized it in an hour or two, and highly recommend it.  I recommend doing so at either four or eight lines at a time.

If–

I first came across this poem in my family’s copy of The Book of Virtues, a book I highly recommend, compiled by William J. Bennett, former Sec. of Education.
If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
I memorized this today: half on the way to work, and half during.
I have some commentary on it, but I have just returned from work, and it is 2:30 AM, and I must go to bed.
 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.