These are dark days for manhood.
Fortunately, all is not lost. History, as is well known, tends to move in cycles, hence George Santayana's axiom, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." The quote is almost always regurgitated in isolation, but is actually a part of a larger passage well worth contemplating:
"When change is absolute, there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement; and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
~ George Santayana ~
Reason in Common Sense
What Santayana is arguing, and which any historian worth anything well knows, is that progress in civilization requires the study of history. For all that is necessary for the establishment of civilization cannot be learned in a single lifetime; its necessities, once discovered, must then be transmitted to the next generation so that they can discover not the same secrets as the previous generation but rather the next secret, and the next, and the next. But where history has been forgotten, the same steps must be re-taken each generation, and no progress is made at all. Man remains a savage, a human being whose infancy is indeed perpetual.
Progress, in the historical and not the political sense, requires one indispensable technology: a written language. There have been around 5,000 spoken languages in human history, and yet there have only been around 200 written languages. And it should come as no surprise that so many un-written tongues have been forgotten. No civilization has ever maintained itself without the written word.
In a sense, just as religion separates the human being from the rest of the animal kingdom, the written word separates the civilized human being from his uncivilized self. The written word, insofar as it records the wisdom of our forefathers, becomes our teacher, inspiring us to all we are capable of; it is the medium by which we communicate with our ancestors, so that we can learn at the beginning of life what our fore-fathers learned at its conclusion. This, of course, requires something else: respect for the past. And this too must be learned if we are not to regress once more into savagery.
This transmission of wisdom through the ages, which has almost most often occurred via the relationship between father and son, is indispensable to civilization. Sadly, it has been eroded in recent generations due to four factors:
1 The post-modern trend of cultural condescension towards traditional virtues.
2 The removal of the father from the natural family, largely due to feminism and the rise of the welfare state.
3 The de-prioritization of literacy in general and of historical literacy in particular from public education, which has been almost certainly intentional, and necessary in order to create a more easily manipulated voting bloc.
4 The supremacy of the digital, which has resulted in a reversal of values insofar as quality and quantity is concerned, and furthermore, which has dissolved the traditional barriers from the dissemination of sub-optimal information, namely cost factors associated with printing, production, and so forth.
However bad the situation may be, however, when properly analyzed, it provides a roadmap back to a healthier state of affairs. These four factors have hastened the descent of man (for that discussion, please see the-descent-of-man.html); reversing these four factors will usher in his rebirth. It will not be easy, of course, but nothing worth doing is. What is important is that it is not impossible.
Manhood has been sleeping too long, and now the sleeper must awaken.
~ Joshua van Asakinda
9 April, 2018