If we are to flourish in the modern world, we can only do so effectively if we maintain consideration for older, ancient and anti-modern psychophysiological programming; otherwise, we will doom ourselves to becoming progressively sicker, weaker, and dumber- no matter how wealthy we become in material terms. We see the tragic consequences of this today: violence, broken families, numerous social ills, and growing rates of virtually all psychiatric disorders, especially depression, stress disorders, and drug and alcohol addiction. Because ultimately, our modern tendency to evaluate "success" in material terms is counter-productive; it distracts us from the deeper desires of the human heart: to discover meaning & mission. And this trend towards nihilism has hit men hardest, for the modern world is generally anti-virile in orientation.
We must relearn what we have forgotten- and we have forgotten a lot.
ParaBellum [from Latin, para bellum, "prepare for war"] was designed with six very simple truths in mind (they are essentially the fundamental tenets of agonistic idealism), which are the kind of truths that would have been passed down from grandfather to father to son long ago:
Pain: Life is pain.
Meaning: The meaning of man is the pursuit of meaning- especially in the midst of pain.
Self-mastery: Mastery of the self is the path of realization, for there is no mastery but mastery of the self.
Happiness & Suffering: Mastery of the self is greater than either happiness or suffering, which are necessarily connected; there is no happiness without suffering, and there is no suffering without happiness.
Nobility of the Spirit: Nobility of the spirit is only revealed through the fusion of happiness & suffering; without happiness & suffering, the human being remains forever only human in potential.
Flourishing of the Human Being: The purpose of culture is to create an environment conducive to the flourishing of the human being at all levels- to the revelation of the nobility of the spirit of man-; concern for the flourishing of the human being is thus the highest concern, and should be given primacy over any other consideration.
Humanity and human civilization are interdependent, for they feed back upon one another, and so they cannot be disentangled. The health and wellbeing of the individual is intimately connected to the health and wellbeing of the individual's environment; the health and wellbeing of the individual's environment is intimately connected to the health and wellbeing of the individual. There simply is no separating nature from nurture. And so in order to create a better world, we must create a better class of human being (the reverse statement- that in order to create a better class of human being, we must create a better world- is equally true, but far less practical insofar as goals are concerned).
The question remains, of course, "How might a man better himself- that is, how might he learn to master himself- in order to create a better world?"
The goal of ParaBellum is to fix human society from the ground up, person by person, one individual at a time. We have been miseducated for generations, and now we are reaping what we have sown: Our misunderstanding of man and of the world that he lives in has resulted in counterproductive cultural policies, which have in turn resulted in an ever-increasing cycle of dysfunction at the personal level. And there is no solution but to teach the individual how to master himself again. This is, of course, easier said than done- but it must be done.
ParaBellum comes in three levels with increasing complexity: ParaBellum, ParaBellum+, & ParaBellum: Tactics. The first of these levels teaches FPS, which is a shorthand technique for maximizing personal efficiency; FPS stands for Focus, Prioritize, Simplify.
The basic ParaBellum system includes four points for returning to an older, bolder, and stronger worldview:
In order to return to the old way, we need to relearn to think in terms of why rather than in terms of how. Because the question of why is philosophical rather than capitalistic- that is, because it is a question of spiritual value rather than of monetary value-, it is often ignored (it is not a profitable question to ask)- but the question of how is never ignored, because the question of how is useful and utilitarian (it maximizes efficiency, and therefore increases profit margin). Tragically, the question how absent the question why is discouraging, demoralizing, and ultimately results in nihilism. As a result, the solution to the problem of nihilism must keep the question of why in focus at all times: The purpose of every pursuit must self-mastery, the discovery of meaning and a mission to that meaning, and the flourishing of the human being through the realization of his inner potential.
Many historians have wondered about the downfall of Rome. Specifically, they have wondered how a civilization that produced such incredible works of genius and greatness could also create such a history of madness in its rulers: Caligula, Nero, and Heliogabulus, to name just a few. The downfall of Rome was epic; the insanity of its later rulers was the stuff of legend. Sadly, complex problems rarely have easy answers...
Interestingly enough, there is a theory that the fall of the Roman Empire happened because of lead poisoning. It is a strange theory, and seems ridiculous on the face of it, and yet upon closer inspection, there may be something to it: Rome had a plumbing system, which only the wealthy could afford; the system used lead piping, however, and so the aristocratic classes of Rome may have suffered from multi-generational lead poisoning, which resulted in centuries of madness among its ruling families. Ironically, a similar thing occurred in England during the industrial revolution, when families engaging in hat-making typically used mercury solutions in order to dye their products, which resulted in the same effect: generation after generation of insane people isolated within a singular profession. And even today, we still use phrase derived from this very odd situation: "mad as a hatter."
But what exactly does this have to do with ParaBellum?
The average thirty year old male in the United States today has testosterone levels equal to his grandfather's levels at the age of sixty years old. There is even a disorder called gynecomastia in which males develop enlarged breast tissue, a disorder that has been on the rise for the last few decades, and not coincidentally. Modern dietary trends lean towards estrogen-amplification, both in males and in females: vegan diets- especially those that depend upon soy products- increase estrogen production in human beings; vegetarian diets are only slightly less harmful. Sadly, the case is little better for the "normal" diet: Sodas, fast food, and processed cereal grains all result in the same effect. As a result, testosterone is being slowly destroyed by the modern diet.
And of course, every decrease in testosterone results in a subsequent decrease in manhood, manliness, and masculinity.
We should think very hard about what we put into our bodies. This relatively sudden drop in testosterone levels among the younger generations is indeed a very disturbing trend; it is tantamount to mass chemical castration. And so we must be certain to reorient our diet in the other direction: towards a hormonally-sustainable testosterone-based diet. After all, men constitute half the human species, and it is men that achieve most of the great accomplishments of the human species (the ratio of male to female geniuses, incidentally, is about 7-1); what harms men harms all of mankind, women included.
But what would such a diet look like? It would probably look something like this:
High natural fats & oils
High natural animal meats
General avoidance of plastics & similar xeno-estrogens (substances that increase estrogen production)
We all need discipline.
Sadly, discipline has fallen out of favor, especially among academics. In the field of psychology, for instance (this writer's field of specialty), discipline is avoided almost universally. And yet it is through discipline that we develop self-discipline; it is only through discipline that we learn to develop the power necessary in order to control ourselves, and to direct our own behavior in pursuit of our various goals. When we are not given discipline- by our parents, first and foremost, but also by our teachers, etc.-, we find ourselves lacking in internal stability; as a result, we project this internal instability upon the world around us, and find ourselves inevitably drawn into more and more unstable external conditions.
Discipline is difficult to develop on our own, though, and so if we find it lacking in our lives, we must take small steps in order to rectify the situation. They say that it takes about 90 days to build a habit; this 90 day period can and should be used as a guideline for self-development. There are a number of methods that we can use in order to accomplish this, including, for instance, the Ivy Lee Method. Whatever means we choose, however, we must be sure that we take the opportunity to dedicate ourselves to something that we feel passionate about.
Choose a discipline, and ideally a few disciplines (one mental and one physical). It can be any skill or habit, though for the purposes of ParaBellum, the more masculine the better: martial arts, hunting, learning a language, etc. And do this every day; prioritize it over other, less important activities. Because discipline of any kind becomes general self-discipline over time, and through self-discipline, we become stronger, with greater self-respect and greater self-control, and thus more capable of accomplishing our goals.
Nothing provides insight like meditation.
For the purposes of ParaBellum, meditation may include a number of religious and psychological disciplines: not only meditation itself, but also prayer, chanting, and hypnosis. What is most important is that it entails the development of focus and stillness, rather than mere pleasant sensations. Because through the development of focus and stillness, we develop insight into our own internal world, and into the causes and conditions of our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, which we so often conceal even from ourselves. Finally, meditation provides a third discipline (a spiritual discipline in addition to the already discussed mental discipline and physical discipline), and this keeps us balanced as individuals.
Psychoanalytically speaking, the external world and the internal world are connected. Therefore, no external problem exists without an internal aspect, and no internal problem exists without an external aspect; essentially, every problem requires dual-attention.
Like the basic ParaBellum system, ParaBellum: Tactics includes four points for returning to an older, bolder, and stronger worldview:
Domains of Determination
ParaBellum never loses sight of the goal: mastery of the self. Ultimately, the only problem in life is the problem of conquering the self- conquering our own weakness, pettiness, and resentfulness. For thousands of years, this responsibility was understood to be deeply religious- or in some cases, philosophical, which was oftentimes very nearly the same thing. But in our modern, secular world, new methods must be devised in order to accomplish in adulthood what rightly should have already been accomplished during adolescence: the development of self-respect and self-control, which result in wisdom, and a better, more fulfilling life.
Battle-mapping refer to ParaBellum's baseline method of using war tactics and game theory in order to maximize problem-solving efficiency, sometimes referred to as the Five Questions. Oftentimes, we fail to think about our own problems strategically, and this causes us to act and to react unwisely to adversity. The Five Questions address this error, and provide a simple yet subtle method for organizing problems in a more tactical manner, which results in better long-term outcomes; the Five Questions are:
Who am I?
What gives my life meaning?
What are my goals, and why?
What obstacles stand in my path?
What must be done in order to overcome them?
These questions are archetypal, of course, and can be applied in any number of ways, both personal and professional. The point is to begin thinking more tactically insofar as problem-solving skills are concerned.
Conceptual restructuring changes behavior by changing cognition- that is, conscious thought- and specifically changes cognition pertaining to the client's attitude towards the relationship between happiness and suffering, which is in the modern world oftentimes childish and superficial. There is in fact an entire discipline in psychiatry- cognitive psychology- that utilizes this method. For the purposes of ParaBellum, however, cognitive psychology alone is an insufficient model of health and wellbeing; its methods must be used in tandem with methods directed towards other, deeper systems. Because although we think of ourselves as primarily conscious beings, it is very rarely consciousness that determines behavior: There are many underlying sub-systems that are entirely subconscious, and have a marked- even primary- effect on behavioral patterns. These must be addressed as well, and not only in passing.
Domains of Determination
Domains of determination pertain to those aspects of the environment that have an effect on human development. For our purposes, there are three domains of determination:
Because a human being cannot be understood except in context of his environment, controlling his environment is the best and perhaps most critical aspect of his development, especially in youth. This is why it is so important to ensure that children, for instance, grow up with very specific environmental influences, and why addiction recovery can be so difficult for those who refuse to cut ties with past toxic relationships. We become what we are surrounded by; if we wish to become something new, we must surround ourselves with something new. So self-driven environmental engineering is really an indispensable aspect of the system, and in some ways is the final and most difficult step towards self-development.
[ Disclaimer:Joshua van Asakinda is not a licensed therapist. Psychological consultation is not intended for the diagnosis of mental health disorders, nor is it intended for the treatment or management of mental health disorders. Those who may be suffering from a mental health disorder should discuss it with a licensed therapist. Materials contained herein pertaining to mental health disorders are for educational purposes; services rendered by Joshua van Asakinda are rendered for the purpose of consultation only, and are in no way intended to be therapeutic in character. ]
Joshua van Asakinda +1-330-314-4170 Joshua.van.Asakinda@gmail.com