My own experience with PTSD has been illuminating. Though the stabbing and my subsequent psychological fallout were difficult, I was fortunate enough to have had a background that provided a context for my pain: I had been fascinated by the way of the warrior since I was a boy, had studied the martial arts since I was a teenager, and had concentrated my graduate school studies on the fundamentals of male psychology in order to explain why the modern feminist psychological paradigm was failing men. Finally, I was a Buddho-Taoist, and a student of meditation. This all afforded me a unique perspective on the trauma that I had experienced, and as I healed, my reflections rewarded me with new insight.
Part of the problem with PTSD is that we de-contextualize it in a way that de-values it- and PTSD does have value. Because what PTSD is, essentially, is a crisis adaptation: It is an adaptation that provides an advantage in a crisis environment. In other words, PTSD- or rather, the psychological condition that is called PTSD when removed from the crisis environment- increases the survivability of the person that develops it. The psychological condition itself within the crisis environment is not dysfunctional; it is fully functional, and absolutely necessary to survival. How can that be so?
Imagine being a soldier in the field: The enemy's number and position are very often unknown; the enemy's plans, tactics, and strategies are likewise very often unknown; the moment or manner of attack is, yet again, very often unknown. Because combat- and any other crisis environment- is chaotic, the number of unknowns multiply indefinitely. And even "good" information regarding pertinent information may prove weak.
This cloudiness of perception- so often referred to as "the fog of war"- is only exacerbated by the fact that the enemy's intention is always to conceal himself. In fact, that is the intention of every agent in war. After all, though academics think of war as rough and brutal, it is ultimately an arena fully dependent upon information. He who knows most may plan best, pinpoint vulnerabilities most effectively, conceal his intentions in order to accomplish his goals, and defend himself from the same in his opponent. So under these circumstances, what would be more psychologically advantageous than a constant and penetrating hyper-vigilance?
The problem, of course, is shutting it off.
This is when PTSD really becomes PTSD, when the adaptation becomes an obstacle to reintegrating into a non-crisis environment. Some doors, once opened, cannot be closed, or only with great difficult. It is like the Wizard of Oz: Once we see the man behind the curtain, we can no longer go back into mystery; we can no longer see the world as we once knew it. When the fragility of human life and the perpetual nearness of death is fully realized, there is no return to innocence. There is no way back; there is only forward, forward, forward...
And it is here that I believe that the modern feminist psychological paradigm has failed: It begins (as feminism always does) with an essentially utopian worldview in which suffering, trials and tribulations, pain, war, and death, are proof of victimhood. Hardships, seen from the point of view of feminism, is an argument against the world rather than a necessary element of it. For this reason, feminist psychology is entirely inadequate to address the realities of trauma, and even more ill-equipped to address the realities necessary in order to overcome trauma. In essence, the modern feminist psychological paradigm deeply misunderstands the very ground of reality: It assumes a utopia is possible, and thus contributes to wildly unrealistic expectations, which themselves result in an increase in psychological fragility.
Men who have experienced trauma- and women too- do not need to be told by academics who have never seen combat that "Oh, it's such a horrible thing!" We know that, and that is not helpful. Moreover, the very trauma that sits at the root of our suffering has afforded us insight into the world that others can only imagine, and there is honor in that. Such a knowledge has value, and should not be de-valued by condemning the crisis environment.
There is no going back to innocence; we can only move forward. We must learn to be proud of our pain, and not to fear what we have learned. The thing that was switched on within us may with work be switched off again, but what we learned in the dark can never be forgotten. More importantly, it must not be forgotten.
~ Joshua van Asakinda
On the 10th of August 2018, I was brutally stabbed while working a night job in a little town called Beaver Falls. Shortly thereafter, I was diagnosed with PTSD. Fortunately, I have benefited from many years of meditation and martial arts, which has equipped me with an uncommon strength of mind. But traumatic experiences are life-changing; they reform the psychology of the individual, no matter who it is.
My academic background is in psychology and philosophy. Clearly, most psychologists who work with trauma have never actually suffered from trauma. This may be for the best: Teaching psychological stability requires- first and foremost- psychological stability. And yet it creates blind spots.
For this reason, I think I have something special to offer.
This post will be short, something like a summary. Because I have learned three things from this experience that I want to share, I will delve more deeply into all of them in my next post. But for now, I want to share my three insights:
1. PTSD is an adaptation.
2. PTSD- as an adaption- can only be understood in tribal terms- that is, PTSD has evolutionary meaning within the context of war, conflict, and survival.
3. PTSD is either functional or dysfunctional only in relation to circumstances- that is, it is functional under a set of particular circumstances and becomes dysfunctional under another set of particular circumstances.
When we misunderstand these three points, we make a tremendous error: We divorce a necessary and justifiable evolutionary adaptation from its context. By doing so, we cannot possibly hope to understand what it is for, and therefore make it impossible for us to determine what to do with it. This is tantamount to trying to treat the "problem" of violence without understanding that violence has evolutionary value- and still does. And so by divorcing PTSD from its natural context, we stigmatize it as unnecessary or irrational (it is neither), and thus perpetuate its dysfunction.
But more on that in my next post.
~ Joshua van Asakinda
6 November, 2018
My brother passed away four years ago today.
It is strange how the pain of losing a loved one does eventually fade away, but it leaves a scar, and the scar stays no matter how much time has passed. We know that something has been lost, something sacred that can never be regained. But we have to live with that emptiness. More importantly, we have to grow with it, around and about it, through it, and even be grateful that we have learned from it, that we have become deeper and more profound because of it.
We are all of us forged in pain.
It is our suffering that makes us human, for it is only through suffering that we learn to empathize with the pain of others. We see in the pain of others our own pain, and it is because of this that we are able to feel what they feel, and to hurt when they hurt. Were we to live our lives safe and secure from all suffering, we would never know what it was to be connected to another soul; we would forever be totally isolated from our fellow human beings. And so in a very real sense, it is by suffering and suffering alone that we are made truly human.
Suffering is sacred.
I am a better man today than when I lost my brother four years ago, and in no small part because of that loss. It made me realize how entangled I was in my own self, how ensnared and entrenched I really was in me, my, and mine. I hope I am a better son, brother, and friend than I was this time four years ago today. And so today I will say a prayer, not only because I am grateful for the brother I knew, however short those years may seem, but also because in some way his death was a sacrifice, a steep and sudden price that had to be paid in order to make the world a better place through the lives of those whose hearts he touched.
We human beings do not learn easily; our lessons cost so much...but that is the way of the world. Life is short, and only precious because it is short. We should be grateful for every breath we take, and that is a lesson we only learn through loss- and we must learn it. For if we do not learn that lesson, we shame the sacrifice of those who pass before us; we disgrace their memory by not becoming better having lost them.
My brother passed away four years ago today, and I love him still.
~ Joshua van Asakinda
27 May, 2018
"Now this is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky,
And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk, the law runneth forward and back;
For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack."
~ Rudyard Kipling ~
The need for brotherhood in human beings, especially men, is ancient; we are a social species, and have been for many millions of years. Even more importantly, our identities as individuals are largely developed according to our place in this or that group. In a sense, we need enemies; we even want enemies. Because enemies in part define who we are as individuals.
This kind of tribalistic mentality is rarely given respect in the social sciences, and even less so among political pundits. We attack tribalism as primitive; we think of it as short-sighted and narrow-minded. What we forget, however, is how important it is, and all the good things we gain from it. For whether we like it or not, our love of family, faith, and fatherland, are all bound up in a tribalistic mentality: Our Founding Fathers fought for freedom not for strangers but for their families and for their friends; our soldiers and our policemen risk their lives daily for their fellow citizens. After all, patriotism is tribal almost by definition.
Men need a tribe, and where they have none, they will find one. This is largely the reason why gangs have always existed, and will continue to exist: Historically, gangs provided brotherhood to outliers who did not fit their cultural mold; currently, they are a rare bastion of tribal masculinity in a world that has increasingly condemned both tribalism and masculinity. Gangs, though often destructive, are going nowhere anytime soon.
What is odd, though, is that although tribalism is looked down upon almost universally in the modern world, communism is somehow held up as an ideal. The strangeness of this phenomenon is rooted in the fact that communists see communism as a kind of universal brotherhood, and therefore, because it is universal, it is not tribalistic at all. However, they misunderstand the human condition: Communism is not about universal brotherhood; it is merely a failed attempt at universal brotherhood- because love, psychologically speaking, grows organically. We love those we can know and feel; we love what we can touch.
Now there are those who take a religious view, and argue that love is and ought to be universal. And yet although it is true that many religions advocate a kind of universal compassion, it would be difficult to prove by means of either their texts or their histories that this really meant a universality of love in the noblest sense of the word. The Old Testament, for instance, was almost entirely ethnic in orientation- it was, after all, specifically the story of the relationship between God and the people of Israel- and although there is much talk of the love of neighbors in the New Testament, every single disciple of Jesus was a Jew. Later, after the crucifixion of Jesus, Paul, a Roman Jew, spoke an awful lot about Gentiles, but even these were considered separate from the world specifically because they had converted to Christianity; they were members of the body of the church, and therefore brothers. So although Christianity may be the religion most contingent upon love as a principle, we still find in the Christian church a strong in-group/out-group mentality.
The distance between theoretical love and practical love may as well be infinite. We must have a personal relationship with the objects of our affection. Is that not, after all, the entire idea behind prayer? To have a personal relationship with God?
Without a personal relationship between individuals, there can be no brotherhood. And this is the great error of communism, the notion that the ties that bind men together can be multiplied infinitely. They cannot; love is exclusive by definition because love entails not only self-sacrifice but in a very real sense the sacrifice of others: When we love God, we love God above all other gods; when we fight for our country, we win the war by killing men who are also fighting for theirs; when we get married, we choose a husband or wife in exclusion of all other possible husbands and wives; and of course, when we bear children, we love them above all other children. To think that these or any other types of love could be applied by any individual to all human beings is insanity.
This is why although tribalism is so quintessential to our nature as human beings, communism always fails at any large scale. It succeeds at small scales; it succeeds in tiny, closed societies wherein all of its individuals know one another, and share common values with one another, as they do in monasteries. But the larger the society gets, the greater the failure of communism. The universality of love it proposes always breaks down into smaller and smaller tribes, so that in the end, each individual just takes whatever he can get for himself, but under the guise of loving all- and that deceitfulness in the name of love is somehow more abominable than outright war and outright theft.
As a result, in a tribalist society, the competition between individuals is open and understood; it promotes a healthy social system, and does not preclude respect among competing individuals. Moreover, honest competition entails rules, and includes punishment for rule-breakers. But in the case of a communist society wherein honest competition is outwardly condemned, those that follow the rules are at an obvious disadvantage to those that are willing to break them- and they will break them, because they cannot care about the wellbeing of others to the same extent to which they care about their own. So communism, in essence, corrupts tribalism.
We can love our own above all others while still showing respect for those that are not our own. This is an aspect of tribalism that is rarely discussed, but it must be discussed. Because although we live in a pluralistic society, we forget that multiculturalism carries with it a great deal of disagreement, and that there will always be tension, friction, between individuals and groups of individuals that do not share values. While it is true that race means very little in the grand scheme of human affairs, culture means everything. This is the entire meaning of the American Experiment, after all: to see whether or not an idea could take the place of other aspects of identity. To the degree to which this idea takes the place of other identities, the experiment will be a success- and only to that degree.
So in the modern world, a man's tribe is his culture; a man's culture is his tribe. And he will fight for it more than he will fight for that of another. Insofar as we share a culture, we can live in peace with one another, and where we do not share culture, there will always be conflict. But there will be no future at all for us if we do not admit that we must love our own above all others, and yet that we can still respect others for loving theirs above ours. To pretend otherwise is to begin the game not knowing the rules, and that is not a good way to win.
~ Joshua van Asakinda
21 May, 2018
We always think we know more than we do.
Call it the vanity of the modern world: We think we are wiser than our forefathers merely because we have access to more information, but wisdom resides not merely in access to information but in application of information. And in this, we moderns (especially millennials) are sorely lacking.
How, though? How could a generation with instant access to all the world’s information still be so abysmally, unabashedly stupid?
Truth be told, it’s not entirely their fault; they are victims of a pedagogy run amok. Academic post-modernism has successfully destroyed the foundation for proper education, and it has done so intentionally. After all, there is nothing so useful to a politician than a citizenry educated enough to perform a given function but not educated enough to direct itself in its own affairs- and it is politicians that determine policy in public education.
How this has been accomplished is up for debate, but I propose a three-fold theory:
1 Education has moved away from the development of fundamental skill sets such as logic, reading and writing, mathematics, history, philosophy, the natural sciences, and so forth, in favor of newer, more modern skill sets. Classical education, it is argued, has little value in our modern world; what good are Shakespeare and Schopenhauer, after all? Though ostensibly practical, this move in reality has undermined the development of any and all higher level skills because it has removed their most basic foundation: the ability to think deeply, which has always been the goal of classical education, and without which society as such, especially western society, is impossible.
2 As a consequence, education has also abandoned classical measures of excellence such as memorization, testing, etc. These, it is argued, are too constraining, and damaging to our poor snowflakes, because they are not democratic enough. But it is only through great self-discipline that great self-confidence may be developed; the classical method of education results in an appreciation for hard work, for all the blood and sweat that is necessary in order to accomplish a great goal. And no matter how well-meaning the intentions of liberals, they do no good by raising our children to be emotional cripples.
3 Ultimately, these policy decisions have resulted in an inability to effectively reconfigure old information in new ways. Fundamentals, though tedious, must come first; creativity comes last. The desire to cultivate creativity in children by freeing them from discipline actually results in the suppression of self-mastery, which itself a prerequisite for creativity itself. By abandoning the old way, the child is “freed,” in a sense, but never develops the skill sets necessary to do anything meaningful with that freedom. And that is not education; that is intellectual and emotional abandonment.
We owe it to our children to give them discipline- and not only mentally but physically as well- for it is only through external discipline that we develop internal discipline; it is only when we have long submitted to the will of our parents and teachers that we finally learn to command ourselves. It may not be popular to say it, but if we are to enjoy freedom as adults, we must first learn to obey. That is what education is, ultimately: It is not merely about information; it is also about obedience. To teach the former without the latter is disastrous, for when we teach information without obedience, we give power without either the capacity to use it properly or the responsibility for the consequences of its misapplication. Still, we must hold men accountable nonetheless, knowing that in doing so, we commit an injustice of sorts, for it was academia's abdication of its duties that created the problem in the first place. So if entire generations of children now enter into the world ill-equipped to control themselves, that is ultimately the fault of their parents and teachers and not the fault of the students.
This problem cannot be solved by children; it must be solved by parents becoming parents in truth, and by teachers becoming teachers. We have created a monster, and now we must bring it to heel; no one can help solve the problem but us. For we have ignored the words of C.S. Lewis, who once remarked, "Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil."
But the world has plenty of devils; we do not need more.
~ Joshua van Asakinda
7 May, 2018
“And there is nothing new under the sun.”
History, it is often said, moves in cycles.
This only appears to be the case for the uneducated observer; he accepts it as fact merely because he has heard it so often. But the truth of the statement is beyond question for the student of history. The same pattern plays out over and over again, like an endless parade of variations on a few universal themes. Most of these themes pertain to the centralization and disintegration of power: Some individual or individuals ascend to authority through virtue, grow lazy, and are thus corrupted; their virtue grows old, society decays, and they are finally replaced (at least, it is hoped that they are replaced).
Although we may be tempted to posit some quasi-mystical mechanism as explanation, the true cause is probably far more mundane: History repeats itself because history is the story of humanity, and humanity never changes. Each seeks what he believes is best, but because each individual is unique, each seeks something different; each seeks to reform the world according to his own will- and this cannot be accomplished peacefully. In some sense, human interaction is a zero sum game, for the more a man accomplishes his goal of reforming the world in his image, the less the world appears to be right to others. For this reason, the following truth becomes clear: So long as man is individual, he will find himself in conflict with other men.
This is not said with regret, for it is has always been conflict that has provided man with the best motivation for self-discovery. In conflict, man is forced from complacency; in conflict, man must awaken from his slumber- or perish. And so the best men always are found, as Nietzsche knew, "five steps from tyranny, near the threshold of the danger of servitude." For if man is not compelled by circumstances to discover his own inner potential, he never will.
Competition then- even dangerous, and yes, even deadly, competition- not only among individuals but between groups, cultures, nation-states, and societies, is man's best friend and most trusted teacher. The study of history proves this beyond doubt, for where peace has been secured for long periods of time, there is no longer found any forward development. Man evolves only where he must evolve, else he does not evolve at all. And so it becomes brutally apparent that there is nothing so disastrous to the human spirit as a long and lazy period of prosperity.
We should learn something from this.
For this realization should instruct us both in good times and in hard times: When things are good, we ought to seek out new difficulties, and always prepare for misfortune; when things are hard, we ought to be grateful for hardship, knowing that hardship prepares us for greatness. It is certainly a far cry from what is told to us these days. After all, our overseers would prefer us to be weak; the weak are easier to exploit. But such a state of affairs cannot long last.
The wheel of history continues to turn, for there is nothing new under the sun.
~ Joshua van Asakinda
1 May, 2018
We moderns are born into prosperity, and easily forget how short life really is. Enchanted by our newfound digital realm, we abandon living as our forefathers lived, as we were designed to live- beautifully and dangerously- and so we have ignored Nietzsche's admonition: "But by my love and hope I beseech you: Do not cast away the hero in your soul!"
But we have cast away the hero in our souls.
Nietzsche wrote, "Alas, I knew noble men who lost their highest hope. Then they slandered all high hopes; then they lived impudently in brief pleasures and barely case their goals beyond the day. Spirit too is lust, so they said. Then the wings of their spirit broke: Now their spirit crawls about and soils what it gnaws. Once they thought of becoming heroes; now they are voluptuaries." (Thus Spoke Zarathustra, On the Tree on the Mountainside)
This is what our modern, post-modern world has become: a land of voluptuaries, who once dreamed of becoming heroes...
In the Middle Ages, there was a Latin Christian practice of self-reflection upon mortality called Memento Mori, which means "Remember that you will die." Such a practice sounds morbid to our ears, and yet it is the secret to harvesting the greatest fulfillment from life. The sages felt that this practice helped one to cultivate virtue, and in the end to die well, as a man should. For what else can we ask as men but that we learn to take that final step with dignity?
We see similar practices in Asia, for instance among the Samurai. In the Hagakure, when asserting that "The Way of the Samurai is found in death," Tsunetomo Yamamoto explains, "This is a thin, dangerous line. To die without gaining one's aim is a dog's death, and fanaticism. But there is no shame in it...This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai. For if by setting one's heart right every morning and evening one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he gains freedom in the Way. His whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling." (The Hagakure, 1st Chapter)
This is an important passage, and summarizes well the spirit of Heroic Theory. For it is only when we know we will die, when we know deeply, viscerally, that we will die, that we become free to live rightly. The Christian texts are correct that the greatest sin is vanity, for it is vanity that makes us forget our mortality, and it is this forgetfulness that ensnares us in foolish living, in the empty pursuit of all our passions. This is wisdom common to all religious traditions, for the Persian Sufis wrote that "This too shall pass," and it is the First Truth of Buddhism that "All is unsatisfactory."
When we realize that we will die, when we think deeply upon this unavoidable, unassailable fact, that Virgil was right when he wrote, "It escapes, irretrievable time," (Georgiacs, Book 3) how much more grateful we are to have lived! How much more fully we live each moment! For this realization compels us to live better, to love more deeply, to fight with honor, and when it comes time for us to pass into shadow, to do so with dignity. "The unexamined life is not worth living." So said Socrates according to Plato (Apology, 38). But the same holds true for the unexamined death, and perhaps even more so.
Life is short, and time is flying fast. How will we live what we have left? Like lambs, easily led to the slaughter? Or like zombies, entranced by all the false love we believe we receive through social media? Or maybe like paramours, selling the best of ourselves for a bit of coin and a pat on the back- or wherever? Or no...perhaps we will seek out another path...
Perhaps we will return to a better way.
This then is the purpose of life: To seek out meaning in every moment- boldly, fearlessly, heroically- for each breath is not only a gift but a debt, and in the end, we all must pay.
~ Joshua van Asakinda
22 April, 2018
The West as a civilization is nearing a point of no return. But what has brought us to this point? What has hurried us headlong into destruction? After all, we have not come to this event horizon by accident.
So with no further ado, these are the Eight Enemies of the West:
1. The renunciation of religion: Whether one believes in religion or not, there is very little doubt that human beings are religious animals by design. There has never been a society without religion, and even where religion is condemned, for instance in the case of the Soviet Union, it is always kept alive secretly, and flourishes quickly once freedom is again established. Man is the religious animal, and the psychology of man requires religion. For it is religion that teaches us that we are greater than what we appear to be, and it is religion that is the foundation of all our striving to be more than merely a beast. Without this, we regress into a state of glorified savagery, feeding and fucking like beasts- but with nicer toys. Thus do we glory in our bestiality; civilization collapses.
2. The post-modern contempt for truth: When God dies, truth dies. The concept of God is the foundation for the concept of truth, for God represents a reality beyond the merely conditional, and thus, God represents something that can be known that is not subject to bias, and will not pass away. That is truth by definition. When God dies, truth dies; when truth dies, objectivity declines and egos run rampant- and there is nothing that destroys the bonds that bind men together so quickly as the unchecked ego.
3. The removal of the father from the natural family, and its subsequent moral deterioration: Father is the name for God. We are naturally predisposed to view the father as the mortal representation of God because it is the father that has power in this world, damn the feminists. The father is larger, stronger, more violent, and less empathetic to suffering than the mother- and thus more frightening. Fear of God and fear of the father go hand in hand. For it is only through fear of the father that man learns to discipline himself. The cultivation of self-discipline is only possible via submission, that is, through obedience to a more powerful agent, which is the father. The father is the first power man learns to obey, and only through obedience to the father does a man learn to obey himself. Where the father is lacking, a new father must be found, else a boy remains forever a boy, never learning to master himself, and remaining forever a slave to his own passions. This does not make a good citizen.
4. The reduction of manhood to a measure of money: When the father is lacking, the entire notion of what makes a man becomes shallow, superficial. Man as causa prima, as pater familia, as master of himself and master of his family, and thus as the motive force behind moral and social development- that man fades away and is replaced with...what? He is transformed from a spiritual being into a source of production; he ceases to be a father, a leader, a hunter, a pastor, and becomes a mere worker, a tool of labor, a cog in a machine that grinds his manhood to dust. We regress into Marxism. The question, "What is a man?" is thus replaced by the question, "What does he possess?" And this question is infinitely less meaningful.
5. The reduction of womanhood to a measure of sexual satisfaction: Women do not fare much better, for when manhood is destroyed, so too is womanhood. Womanhood is a support role, and necessarily so. This does not mean it is less valuable: All the qualities of womanhood are absolutely necessary to human health and happiness, both personally and culturally. But it is still a supporting role, for where the man leads, risks himself, and ultimately must be willing to be sacrificed for the sake of the tribe, the woman heals him, provides refuge, and normalizes the chaos that comes with that perpetual striving so typical of male psychology. After all, what does it mean to be a woman, a lover, a mother, a loving and caring power in a world all too lacking in love and care, without a man who is worthy of all this?
6. The mass hormonal castration of boys through soy products: This is the single most horrifying aspect of vegetarianism, which is itself an odd sort of sidelong attack on manhood via the condemnation of hunting, animal husbandry, and so forth, all of which are representative of masculinity. Traditionally, men have been hunters; women have been gatherers. So an attack on hunting, meat products, etc, is really a symbolic attack on manhood as such. Tragically, this has resulted in a radical increase in the use of soy products by feminists and vegetarians, which has the ultimate effect of suppressing the normal sexual-developmental trajectory of boys. Soy products quite literally turn young boys into a kind of half-female abortion of manhood, and they are doing so on a massive scale.
7. The social stigmatization of boyhood throughout school, and of manhood thereafter: Boyhood has been roundly condemned in schools for decades. What boys require in order to develop normally as boys is very different than what girls require in order to develop normally as girls, and there is an excellent case to be made for sexual segregation in the school system, which is almost entirely geared towards female psychology: "Sit down. Be quiet. Stop fidgeting. Don't bully. Don't quarrel. No fighting. Be nice. Why are you so competitive? After all, everyone gets a trophy..." All of this is contrary to the nature of boys, and teaches boys to be ashamed of the very qualities that are intended to be cultivated in order to make them fully functional men.
8. The digital revolution: Social media has been shown to be positively correlated with everything from depression to loneliness, and is probably a strong influencing factor on teen suicide. Tragically, its poison runs deeper than that, for the digital revolution has radically altered the manner in which boys play, discover the world, and struggle for superiority over one another, all of which are necessary in order for boys to develop into men. Boys are becoming less aggressive and more isolated, less prone to competitiveness with other boys, less capable of navigating their own emotions, and less effective in interacting with others. This has of course resulted in far-reaching consequences come adulthood, including a rising inability to establish connections with other men, with desirable women, and a growing sense of listlessness. The digital revolution has made our world more theoretical and less practical. But we as human beings need to feel the world, to reach out and touch it, to wrap our arms around those that we love and our hands around the throats of those that we hate. We are organic, and we must live in the world organically. When this need is thwarted, we grow inward, insidiously: Our competitiveness becomes petty online sniping; our need for human connection becomes porn addiction; our sense of purpose in life deteriorates and eventually fades away...
This is where we are today; we are sowing what we have reaped.
God have mercy.
~ Joshua van Asakinda
21 April, 2018
We live in interesting times.
In October 2014, Marvel Comics, in its endless quest to placate a demographic that never read its stories anyway, replaced the Thor we all know with another Thor- this time a woman, Jane Foster. With a stroke of their magic wand, the geniuses (*ahem*) over at Marvel transformed the concept of Thor; suddenly, some-crazy-how, Thor was no longer a name but rather a title, and the man Thor was found to be "unworthy" to wield the hammer Mjolnir.
In December 2015, Disney, now in control of Lucasfilm, released Star Wars: The Force Awakens, replaced the traditional male lead with a female character named Rey. George Lucas' intention of Star Wars being an opera for men concerning the relationships of fathers and sons was simply too old fashioned for Disney. The message has become clear: From here on out, Star Wars would be about how men are just too feckless or stupid or violent to get the job done. We have only to witness the destinies of the most important male characters to see the writing on the wall: Luke Skywalker- dead; Han Solo- dead; Ben Solo- an emotional wreck of a villain, and probably soon to be dead.
In December 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May called for the next James Bond to be a woman, citing the recently de-masculinized Dr. Who as a precedent, and noting that the castration of James Bond would be a victory for "girl power." Never mind the fact that James Bond is everything feminists like Theresa May despise: a violent, misogynist womanizer who shoots first and asks questions never- and that's why we love him. James Bond is worth watching only because of his masculinity; a female James Bond would be less than useless, a disgrace to both sexes, and absolutely intolerable at the artistic level.
The case for a female Dr. Who, incidentally, is not totally illogical, as Dr. Who is not a human at all but an alien who takes on human form in order to interact with other humans. Altering the character for each subsequent series is the entire point of Dr. Who, and changing the character's sex, race, etc, works well within the context of the story. In the case of Thor, Luke, Bond, and others (i.e. the female Iron Man, which sounds like gibberish even at the grammatical level), however, the alteration of the sex of the character, aside from disregarding the characters' entire histories, runs entirely contrary to spirit of the stories. These are stories about men, about manhood, and about what it means for a man to stand for something; they are not about, and cannot ever effectively be about, women.
But why should that be?
The premise behind this gender-bending trend is that man and woman are not fundamentally different from one another, that manhood and womanhood have no meaning, and therefore that they are entirely interchangeable. According to this train of thought, men can be turned into women with nothing lost in translation- though, strangely enough, the reverse is never attempted. This is a strategic move, and it reveals something about their intentions: The goal is not equality at all, but rather the un-writing of men in traditionally heroic roles from film. Those who support such artistic gibberish are well aware that life imitates art- or tries to.
Aside from proving that Marvel Comics, Disney, and the Prime Minister of England, are entirely lacking in the creativity necessary to simply create new stories with new characters of their own, it also proves that they have no idea how men and women function. Men and women are fundamentally different; we are different genetically, hormonally, structurally, developmentally, physically, neurologically, mentally, and culturally. There are no measures by which we can be found to be equivalent; we show differences from head to tail.
These differences, much to the frustration of liberals, also result in psychological differences. Males, for instance, display higher degrees of violent behavior, greater concentration of thought, are more strategic and tactical in their outlook, and naturally organize hierarchically, and are thus less democratically-oriented than females. All of these characteristics lend a certain heroic quality to the male mind, and this should not come as a shock: Men are built for war.
This is why simply changing the sex of the hero never works: It comes across as contrived, and is rarely believable. Heroism is a quintessentially masculine trait, and so the female hero must always express herself in entirely masculine terms, and that is very difficult to do without destroying the femininity of the character entirely. For this reason, the female hero is often but a shadow of heroism, a mere facsimile, and almost always distorted. That is not to say that female characters cannot be virtuous, but masculine virtue and feminine virtue are two very different things; their rhythm are nothing alike at all.
Masculinity is designed for the external, for the world out there, where danger and death await. This risk is acceptable because men do not bear children; men are in a sense expendable. Women, however, are not; women bear children. For most of human history, the species stood perpetually at the threshold of destruction: war, famine, pestilence- whatever could kill man did. The value of children, the value of creating new human beings to replace those that had been, and would inevitably be, lost, cannot be overestimated. Childbirth ensured the survival of the tribe, and therefore women could not be risked. Moreover, women are not built for war, either physically or psychologically, which we tend to forget because modern militaries are equipped with weapons that were unthinkable in the ancient world: Guns are equalizers; without guns, the notion of the female warrior is ridiculous.
Everything about male psychology is oriented towards violence, and towards self-sacrifice in the midst of violence. The meaning of male psychology is to preserve the tribe at any cost- even at the cost of oneself. Why? So that women and children may carry on, so that the tribe may not perish, so that the book of humanity may not be finally shut. And that is the very essence of heroism. That is why a female Thor, a female Luke, a female Bond, are all so nonsensical: Such ideas turn the world upside down; they fly in the face of our own humanity.
The quintessential hero will always be a man because the heroic is manhood itself.
~ Joshua van Asakinda
20 April, 2018
*** Full disclosure: I despise drugs.
Nonetheless, in spite of my contempt for drugs and all things drug-related, I went through a very serious libertarian phase in which I was very much pro-legalization of drugs. After all, does a man not have the right to do what he wishes? Of course he does. Tragically, however, the death of my brother, a schizophrenic and subsequent drug abuser for much of his life, changed my mind, because the legalization argument takes on a very different color when the hypothetical death of a user is no longer out there, somewhere, as a kind of metaphor.
"But marijuana is different!"
No, actually, it is not, and I am going to explain why. First, however, a caveat...
Every medicine is poison, by definition: Medicines kill living things; they are directed at living things killing the patient, and therefore are useful- as weapons. However, in absence of a disease to target, they can just as equally kill the patient. The various substances derived from the poppy plant, for instance, include morphine, which is useful during surgery, but few would argue that it should therefore be available for public use over the counter. Marijuana too has medical uses that are well-documented. For instance, marijuana has been shown to be effective in treating Parkinson's disease, and in the treatment of grand mal seizures, both of which are life-destroying; it has also been shown to have palliative uses, for instance in the case of those suffering from terminal cancer. In these cases, marijuana is a useful medical treatment because its rewards outweigh its risks, but in no way does that imply that marijuana is not dangerous, or that it ought to be available over the counter.
The fact that marijuana is useful for medical purposes is well-established; the notion, however, that it ought therefore to be legal for recreational purposes is most decidedly not well-established, and in fact, the opposite has been shown.
So here is my case against the legalization of marijuana:
1. Marijuana is highly carcinogenic: This should be obvious to anybody who knows anything about biology. Anything smoked involves the inhalations of carcinogens, which is why marijuana users have elevated rates of mouth, jaw, tongue, and lung cancer (europepmc.org/abstract/med/1313532).
2. Marijuana causes both short-term and long-term cognitive impairment: This includes lack of motivation and impaired attention, not to mention core negative symptoms of schizophrenia such as paranoia (www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278584603003105). Moreover, it also includes more long-term consequences such as long-term impairment of memory in adolescents and prolonged psychomotor impairment (europepmc.org/abstract/med/1313532), and that neuro-cognitive deficit impairments persist even after a month of abstinence (www.neurology.org/content/59/9/1337.short).
3. Marijuana destroys brain tissue: This includes deficits in white matter volume; white matter is the tissue that constitutes the corpus callous, the largest white matter structure in the human brain, and which is necessary in order for the two hemispheres of the brain to communicate with one another (www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0920996411001423).
4. Marijuana increases the rate of spontaneous heart failure by almost 500 percent: This increase in myocardial infarction risk is present within 60 minutes of smoking, and then rapidly decreases (circ.ahajournals.org/content/103/23/2805.short).
5. Marijuana induces schizophrenia: This has been well-established. The increase in rate has been shown to be anywhere from four times higher (www.bmj.com/content/325/7374/1212?variant=full-text) to six times higher (europepmc.org/abstract/med/1313532), depending on the study. Schizophrenia, incidentally, is a horrifying psychiatric condition in and of itself, of which about half of those who suffer die by the age of 30, either by suicide or accidental overdose.
6. Marijuana is feto-toxic: This means that marijuana is poison to developing fetuses, and causes non-lymphoblastic leukemia in the children of smoking mothers; in other words, marijuana kills babies (europepmc.org/abstract/med/1313532).
7. Marijuana induces chromosomal aberrations in all mammalian cells: This means, in short, that marijuana fucks up your DNA, and it is, at least to the best of our knowledge, the only drug that does so. Marijuana causes "chromosomal breaks, deletions, translocations, errors in chromosomal segregation, and hypoploidy;" additionally, "cannabinoids also suppress macromolecular synthesis (DNA, RNA, and protein) as well as reduce the level of histone gene expression" (informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/10826089009067003).
This is not an exhaustive list of research; there is much, much, much more out there.
Now, to finish my argument, I would like to make two comments:
1. For decades, liberals have been arguing that scientists cannot be trusted because scientists only care about money ("Big Pharma! Skreeeeee!"), but seem to strategically ignore the fact that this same prejudice would apply to those scientists who support marijuana legalization. This is probably due to the self-deception among hippies that nature- and therefore by extension all things natural- is good and just and kind (an absurd notion, especially as virtually everything in nature is designed almost exclusively to kill us). We have all heard the argument, "But it grows in the ground!" So what? So does heroin; so does cocaine. The fact that something is natural does not make it healthy. Rational individuals know this, but sadly, there is money on both sides, and it is equally corrupting on both sides. How are we to navigate this sea of misinformation then? By seeking out the truth, and the truth is absolutely unequivocal: We have decades of research; we should not cherry-pick our data in order to satisfy our preconceptions about what the research supports, especially if the only gain is getting high. The push for medical marijuana has, quite tragically, proven to be nothing but a Trojan Horse in the push for full legalization, and much to the detriment of those who do not know how dangerous the substance can be, and take their behavioral cues from the government by assuming the government would not legalize it if it were not safe for consumption. But, oh, how wrong they are...
2. Finally, I want to reiterate that marijuana does very clearly have medical purposes, but that these medical purposes do not imply that it is innocuous for recreational purposes. Moreover, as an adult, a person has the right to do as he wishes with his own body, including destroy it; however, he does not have the right to misinform others as to the effect that marijuana has on them, especially when those others are very oftentimes children who do not know better, and who trust adults to guide their decisions with wisdom, and, furthermore, in whom the effects of marijuana use, especially chronic marijuana use, are even more pronounced.
This fascination with self-poisoning as a sign of power (*cough* Tide Pods *cough*) is destroying an entire generation of children, and it is absolutely unconscionable to let it slide without a fight. But where have they learned this dysfunction? From their parents, of course! Or from artists and athletes who become surrogate parents when their real parents have abandoned the responsibility, which is more and more becoming the case in the world.
But that is for another post.
~ Joshua van Asakinda
10 April 2018
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
These are dark days for manhood.
Our forefathers fought tyrants for freedom, and now our children, raised from womb to tomb on an endless parade of participation trophies, need "safe spaces" to protect them from words, because, after all, "words hurt." What has become of masculinity when a boy thirty years ago showed more fearlessness when facing the world than the stereotypical millennial at Berkeley? More importantly, what have we done to boys? For there is no doubt that the current state of affairs is not natural; we have distorted the natural development of boys, and thus destroyed the possibility of them becoming men.
How did this happen?
This distortion, which is, if we are honest, nothing less than the systematic destruction of masculinity, began in the middle of the 20th century, when feminism began to become synonymous with Marxist class philosophy, albeit with masculinity taking the place of the bourgeoisie. Feminism is, therefore, nothing but sexual Marxism; feminism is vengefulness with a vagina. For these feminists, masculinity itself became tyrannical, and man a class of tyrannical human being- a thing to be overthrown, a thing to be eliminated. But how?
The war against manhood has gone through four distinct phases:
Phase I: The Philosophical Phase- This is early feminism of the post-suffrage type where equality ceased to be a legal concern and began to be infected by Marxist structuralism. Here we see the idea that cultural variances between males and females is not due to genetic differences between males and females but rather represents "structural" forms of oppression (whatever those may be). Conceptions of male and female begin to be forcibly removed from their traditional biological foundations; the natural order of human development is ignored. Philosophy becomes fantasy.
Phase II: The Moral Phase- This is feminism as a system of morality; the false "is" of the earlier philosophical phase becomes the false "ought" of the moral phase. Now the old morality as it pertains to men is condemned: respect for manhood, the conceptualization of manhood as qualitatively different than womanhood, the call to leadership, self-sacrifice, virtue in the masculine sense, fatherhood as a role of protection and provision, etc. Similarly, the old morality as it pertains to women is likewise condemned: respect for manhood, marriage, the creation of a family, the taking on of the role of the mother, reverence for the quiet dignity of the supporting role, and of course the traditionally feminine qualities- all condemned. By creating a moral void, feminism is left unchecked to fill that gap with whatever gibberish it sees fit.
Phase III: The Biological Phase- This is feminism as a lifestyle that physically destroys the developmental trajectory of males. The development of men is very different than the development of women, and has very different requirements: risk, danger, viciousness, competition, stratification, etc. Boys require circumstances that promote testosterone production, which includes specific dietary needs. These needs are anti-pacifist and anti-vegetarian: A lack of competition, for instance, decreases testosterone production while soy and similar protein substitutes increase estrogen production. [Side note: Testosterone levels in males in America has dropped significantly over the past two or three generations; males are actually becoming females at the hormonal level.]
Phase IV: The Legal Phase- This is feminism as a legal movement to condemn manhood at the government level, which includes, but is not limited to, the condemnation of ideas spoken by men, the call for removal of men from positions of authority on account of their being men, the denial of benefits derived from a masculine perspective, the rewriting of history in order to erase the successes of men from the public mind, etc. Moreover, this phase is an attempt at restructuring society in such a way as to continue to biological destruction of males begun in Phase III. For instance, Phase IV feminism would include the outlawing of traditionally masculine activities such as martial arts and hunting; the expansion of the conception of marriage to the point of de facto abolition of the institution, to be followed by de jure abolition of the institution; the abolition of the use of animal products, which are necessary for male development; etc.
This all sounds so reactionary. Surely, the situation cannot be that bad! And yet it does not take long on a university campus to see the fruit of feminism in full view: a general resentment towards society as such combined with a truly breathtaking vengefulness towards manhood in particular. Feminism is poison; feminism is poison because feminism is Marxism- and it is destroying the fabric of society. Moreover, that is its intended purpose.
Marxism is a philosophy of world destruction, but its success is inversely related to the integrity of faith and family: Marxism never succeeds when faith and family remains intact; Marxism never fails when faith and family have been torn apart. Feminism is Marxism at ground level; feminism destroys families so that Marxism can enter into the equation as the only possible solution to a problem that never existed before Marxism.
Manliness or Marxism- that is the choice presented today. And we all have to choose, for if we do not choose, the world will choose for us.
~ Joshua van Asakinda
3 April, 2018
*** Full disclosure: I am a Buddhist, and although Christianity is not my religion, I admire its wisdom, and I am happy to learn from any tradition that has something worth learning. And although I disagree with Christianity in certain regards, that politically correct breed of anti-Christian vitriol so common these days in the media will find no sanctuary on these pages. ***
There is no small amount of scholarship dedicated to the symbolism behind the Judeo-Christian tradition. Carl Jung wrote about these archetypes at length, and of course Joseph Campbell might have argued that the crucifixion of Jesus was an archetypal expression of the self-sacrifice of the Hero, a self-sacrifice without which man can never "enter into the Kingdom of God," nor take his place as "a Son of God."
But why should that be necessary? Why should it be necessary for each man to "take up his own cross, and bear it?"
In Buddhism, the First Truth asserts that, "Iddam dukham," that "This world is dissatisfactory." This, along with the following three Truths of the Nobles, is the fundamental truth upon which all Buddhism is dependent. Similarly, the Judeo-Christian tradition describes this state of affairs in terms of the world being "fallen." This dissatisfaction, this fallen-ness, exists because of what Buddhists call the klesas, the "stains" that prevent human beings from realizing their true nature, and which is very much akin to the Judeo-Christian conception of sin. So there is much commonality between these traditions, as is always the case when truth is being told.
It is this original state of dissatisfaction, of fallen-ness, that makes the sacrifice of the self necessary. For if we are not willing to sacrifice the mortal self, we will never bear witness to the Dharmakaya, the Buddha-nature present in all human beings; we will never attain the realization that we are made Imago Dei, in "the Image of God." We will always view the world through the "stains" of our mortality; we will always want and need through sin. And it is this staining, this wanting and needing, that must be put to death in order for our true nature to be revealed to us.
We live in a world of division, and there are more than enough opportunities for us to argue about this or that, and the case is no different with religion. So we should be grateful when we find some reason for agreement, and in this, at least, Buddhism and Christianity agree: There is no liberation, and no salvation, without the death of the mortal self. This is our work in this world; this is meaning of all religion, a singular truth told in various ways. But the beauty of the Easter story may be the most beautiful of all possible ways of telling it.
~ Joshua van Asakinda
1 April, 2018
The relationship between man and woman is the foundation upon which all civilization is dependent. When this relationship fails, civilization fails, for it is only by means of this relationship that human beings are capable not only of continuing the species, but also of cultivating what is noblest in their children. This and only this prevents mankind from descending back into a condition of near-perpetual savagery. And it is for this reason that marriage is considered sacred in all traditions, whether European or Oriental, and that it must not be violated if humanity is to flourish.
This relationship is complementary in nature, and maximizes the distinct potentials of both male and female psychology. Men are leaders by nature; compared to women, men display higher levels of aggression, lower levels of risk aversion, more strategic and tactical modes of cognition, and naturally self-organize into hierarchies, which are more efficient in responding to crisis than more democratic systems of organization. Women, however, are more nurturing, and tend to excel in positions of support; women show higher levels of communication throughout their life span, empathize better than men, are far more concerned with fairness and similar notions, and thus tend to normalize a social system that if left entirely up to men would never attain any lasting condition of stability. In short, men seek out what is new while women tend to strengthen what is already established.
It should come as no surprise that explorers and adventurers have almost universally been men. This has been the case not only in the physical realm but in the psychological realm as well: The greatest religious leaders in history have been men; the greatest thinkers in philosophy and physics have been men; the greatest creators, whether poet or musician, whether artist or architect, have all been men. However, this need to break boundaries and to transgress into forbidden territory is not only positive; it is negative as well. For it is by nature a destabilizing power.
No matter what feminists would have us believe, the lack of women in the foreground of human history has not been due to oppression; women merely have a tendency towards support roles, which, though not as glamorous, are no less necessary to the preservation of the species. In the old world, it was well known that when a man reached a certain age, he must marry; it is not healthy for a man to be without a woman for too long, nor for a woman to be without a man. Marriage helps men to "settle down," and thus be more productive, not only for himself and his family, but for society in general. So we should not be shocked that so many of the great men in history did not find their greatness until they were married.
Young men are volatile. Without the structure and discipline learned only from a father (or by a surrogate father-figure), and without the subsequent calming influence of a good woman, men have a tendency of going off the rails- and this is no small problem. For, compared to women, men show higher rates of violence, higher rates of gang involvement, higher rates of alcoholism and drug abuse of all kinds, higher rates of both homicide and suicide, higher rates of homelessness, higher rates of risk-taking behavior, higher rates of early death, and on and on and on. Moreover, these problems are exacerbated in the children of single mothers, who show increased rates of a wide range of psychiatric disorders and who have generally lower levels of success in all aspects of life, whether male and female (a phenomenon that, incidentally, is not found in the children of single fathers). Taken all together, the data very clearly shows that there is no aspect of the modern world more damaging to human health and happiness than the destruction of the natural family.
The destruction of manhood is the destruction of civilization, for it is manhood that pushes society towards excellence. However, in absence of a normalizing counterweight, this very striving results in chaos. And it is womanhood, through empathy and that concern for interaction between individuals so typical of female psychology, that socially normalizes the striving of men. Male psychology is control-oriented while female psychology is support-oriented, and through the interplay between these two tendencies, the perpetuation of civilization becomes a real and distinct possibility- and only through that interplay.
The male, in absence of the female, becomes a monster of ego, destroying even as he creates, and with little thought for the consequences. Strangely enough, he considers this recklessness a net positive gain. This explains why dictators throughout history, whom have been almost universally male, more often than not view themselves as bringers of order rather than breakers of order; they have a kind of masculine myopia, for their emotional isolation makes it impossible for them to step outside themselves and see the world as it truly is. The female, however, in absence of the male, fares no better, for the female ego, though admittedly less aggressive, makes up for that seeming limitation by being far more emotionally exploitative. As psychologists will attest to, the passive-aggression typical of females is no less harmful to individuals than the overt aggression of males, though it is often more subtle, and thus less likely to be called out.
The same ego-maniacism that reveals itself in the male desire for power, women, and money, reveals itself just as well in the female desire for suitors, material possessions, and likes on social media. And these two diverging behaviors are equally disastrous at the cultural level, for society requires, if it is to sustain itself, rational citizens both male and female, each of which is willing to complement the skill set of the other for the betterment of one another. Any other scenario is doomed to failure, which is why the preservation of the natural family is without doubt the most pressing concern in the world today, and why its systematic destruction is more dangerous than any other existential threat. So if we are to ensure a future for humanity, we must do so one man and one woman at a time.
~ Joshua van Asakinda
26 March, 2018
The heroic tradition reaches back into antiquity, and beyond even that, and for good reason. Man was created in a world devoid of mercy, where every element stood allied against him. And in order for man to survive and to thrive in such a world, he needed to be fearless, and also fearless in the pursuit of truth, so that he could develop ever more sophisticated strategies for overcoming the many obstacles that stood in his way, and if he should fail, willing to lay his life down for those he called his own. Then, when he was old, he would pass these secrets on to his son so that he too might carry on the work of man.
These patterns of behavior were evolutionarily determined, and persist in us today. However, lest we make the mistake of thinking that man was formed merely by his material concerns, we must remember that physical truth and spiritual truth often reflect one another. But it was not until the great mythologist Joseph Campbell developed the Hero's Journey that this relationship became clear. For the Hero's Journey, which itself was an evolution of the work of Carl Jung, described the classical tradition as a deeply rooted psychological program for male development, without which man would re-descend back into animality.
Campbell's work has had a profound impact not only on psychology and philosophy, but also on art, for it was the Hero's Journey that provided the structure for many modern stories, and its author was even consulted on a number of occasions by George Lucas during the development of Star Wars. The Hero's Journey can be seen in many written works as well, including Homer's Odyssey, J.R.R. Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings, Lloyd Alexander's The Prydain Chronicles, Frank Herbert's Dune, Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising, and of course George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones. Comic books, an overwhelmingly male phenomenon, have also been influenced by the Hero's Journey, and we see it in the stories of Superman, Batman, and many others. The same can be said for video games, which are, like comic books, an overwhelmingly male phenomenon; the entire RPG genre, from Final Fantasy to The Elder Scrolls, is of course a Hero's Journey. Finally, we see it in mythologies spanning the world, whether Greek, Roman, Scandinavian, or Celtic, and also in various religions. After all, Campbell himself argued that the Hero's Journey was a quintessentially religious journey.
Truth, it would seem, wears many faces.
Sadly, although the Hero's Journey has become more and more ubiquitous in art, it has receded from the public spaces of human interaction. With few exceptions, the Hero's Journey is now almost entirely fictional in its expression; it no longer touches the lives of men. This has been much to our loss, and the world is suffering for it. For where men, especially young men, are not permitted to discover their own heroism, to discover the Master Within, they are inevitably led away from their own humanity- but into what? Nothing good.
We should remember the words of Friedrich Nietzsche, when in Thus Spoke Zarathustra the titular character speaks to the young man under the tree on the hill:
""Spirit is also voluptuousness," said they. Then broke the wings of their spirit; and now it creeps about, and defiles where it gnaws.
Once they thought of becoming heroes; but sensualists are they now.
But by my love and my hope I conjure you: Cast not away the hero in your soul!"
When we give up the hero in our soul, we break the wings of our spirit; then it "creeps about, and defiles where it gnaws." Man is meant to strive ever upwards, ever onwards, to something greater than himself. And not merely for himself, but for God, for his wife, for his children, for his brothers in blood, and for that unbroken chain of man that has existed since time immemorial. This is man at his best, but such a man does not fall from the sky: He is forged by his father, by his brothers, and by those he calls brothers even though they are not; he is forged by an idea that lives within him, an idea that must be cultivated if it is not to perish.
And this is what is lacking in the world today: the cultivation of manhood.
As a result of this failure, which is a cultural disaster on a truly epic scale, we no longer live in a world where manhood is aspired to; rather, it is routinely mocked, as though it were somehow unnecessary, old-fashioned, inferior, and evil. Indeed, this animosity towards manhood has manifested itself in a quintessentially modern bogeyman: the Patriarchy! Such is the ravening madness of a world in which men had once "thought of becoming heroes; but sensualists are they now."
This creates a vicious cycle:
The deterioration of manhood has resulted in contempt for men.
Contempt for men has resulted in toxic relationships.
Toxic relationships have resulted in boys being raised without their fathers.
Boys being raised without their fathers has resulted in the deterioration of manhood.
No matter what is taught today at our universities, it takes a man to teach a boy how to be a man. For it is not education that makes a man but rather emulation. Men must be raised by men; they cannot be raised by women. Moreover, we as a society have tried to do exactly that, and to disastrous effect. We have had three generations now of liberal psychology in our academic institutions and the result has been the slow motion destruction of three generations of young men brainwashed into self-hatred. And for what? Nothing but this: Where manhood has been abolished, a nation is easy to control.
The Nazis knew this well, for in World War II, whenever a Nazi officer was murdered in an occupied territory, the Nazis would round up and summarily execute all the men in the town, but they allowed the women and children to live. They knew there was no need to execute the women and children because they knew that women and children left without the leadership of men do not rebel. And this has been the case throughout history. War is the province of men; if men are destroyed, the war is won.
This should give us cause to question: Why exactly would our academics look forward to the destruction of manhood, when the destruction of men is a necessary precondition of slavery?
But that is a question for another day.
In any event, it should come as no surprise that feminism, pacifism, and nihilism, all grew up together as auxiliary ideologies to communism, whose stated goals include the destruction of faith in God, natural families, and patriotism. These all share a singular characteristic: Religion, family, and patriotism are all masculine in orientation. After all, God is referred to as the Father in virtually every religion on Earth; the natural family is almost universally patriarchal; and patriotism is itself rooted in patrus, a word that literally means "father" in Latin.
So no matter what our academics may claim, what communism really is directed against is not inequality of any kind but rather the teachings of the fathers, the classical tradition itself. The modern and post-modern worldview is anti-classical; it condemns manhood, and any authority dependent upon manhood, including any and all concepts of moral restraint reflective of manhood. In other words, the modern and post-modern worldview is one in which the animal instincts want to run wild; it is a return to bestiality.
This orchestrated destruction of the very principles upon which human society is dependent is a very real danger to the world, and there is no solution to the problem but the revitalization of all that is noblest and strongest within, which is, of course, nothing but the rediscovery of the Hero's Journey.
~ Joshua van Asakinda
28 February, 2018