Within each of us there is something special, some hidden spark of potential. And this spark lies quietly in wait for the moment when it is called upon. It is like a seed; it is small, and becomes greater with cultivation. But the cultivation of this potential does not come without trial and tribulation.
We all possess the potential for both great happiness and great suffering. And we may like to believe that happiness and suffering are not connected, that we can gain the one without the other- but we would be wrong. Because the flourishing of the human being requires both happiness and suffering: Without happiness, we are consumed by misery; without suffering, we are consumed by vanity. But when we balance happiness and suffering within ourselves, we gain clarity; we find fulfillment in our own self-realization, and in the self-realization our happiness and suffering are intimately interconnected with the happiness and suffering of others.
We are, after all, tribal by nature. Man is a creature in context; his humanity means nothing without other human beings to share it with. For this reason, society itself must be in accord with the Tradition in order for man to flourish. But when society fails to uphold the Tradition, the foundation of social behavior begins to unravel; man finds himself forever at war with his own world. Peace passes away; violence runs rampant- and man is left alone in the wild.
And so we are designed to live and to thrive among those we call our own, in a particular kind of social system. This tribalism gives meaning to our lives as individuals, and provides a greater context for human behavior. But today, we are often alienated from organic interaction- the digital revolution has shattered the ties that bind us together- and thus we feel lost, confused, and despondent.
This is nihilism.
It is everywhere in the modern world: It is fed to us in film; it is sung to us in music; it is revealed everywhere in our behavior; it can be seen in our obsessions; it can be seen in our addictions; and it lies at the root of all our social sicknesses; it creeps beneath our disintegrating family structures; it is revealed, finally, in our forsaking of religion. And this enemy is a frightening enemy indeed. For with nihilism comes every evil thing; whatever is sick and vicious and resentful will flood in to fill that spiritual space. But we should not lose heart; every enemy can be overcome.
The cure for nihilism is, of course, the revitalization of the Tradition, which is merely to say the revitalization of a classical worldview. But this revitalization cannot be legislated; it cannot be achieved by force or by fraud; it can only be accomplished within the heart of each individual. This revitalization must be personal and it must be cultural- for these coexist together.
But how is this to be achieved?
What is required is a radical shift in worldview, a step back in spite of all our modern talk about "progress." For it is this very "progress" that has destroyed our faith in God; it is this very "progress" that has led to the (probably intentional) destruction of the natural family; it is this very "progress" that has led to all the artificiality of our current mode of life; it is this very "progress" that has resulted in entire generations of boys being raised without fathers; and it is this very "progress" that has led to the subsequent spiritual dispossession of half the population of much of the modernized world- namely, men. This is not to say that this step back can be taken at the technological level, but rather that we must take a spiritual step back: We must return to the notion that meaning cannot be found in the material.
And it is this very materialism- this "modernism," this post-modernism, this classical- and neo-Marxism- that has misled so many. Why? Because materialism is good for business- and nothing more.
As it is written, "For the love of money is the root of all evil."
Capitalism is one thing; materialism is quite another thing. We must return to the notion that meaning comes from within, that it is a spiritual pursuit, and that it cannot be gained through commercial means. A man is more than his money; a man must be more than his money. But the only way a man can become something is through difficult, through trial and tribulation, through passing through fire, through the purification of all that is weak within him.
Put simply, we must return to the idea that manhood must be conquered.
This is really the source of most of our troubles: We no longer live in a world conducive to the cultivation of the nobility of the human being. For all our technological advancements, we find ourselves weaker and sicker. And so it is critical to remember when conquering our demons that we cannot do so alone.Because whatever we do in this world, it means nothing without virtue, love, and sacrifice; it means nothing without the tribe.
The importance of this insight cannot be overstated; it has direct consequences not only for mental health and wellbeing at the individual level but also for the general trajectory of society in the main. In the digital era, personal relationships are few and far between; the very fabric of organic interaction has been strained. And if we are to renew the world we live in, we must do so not only at the personal level but also at the cultural level. We must relearn the meaning of brotherhood.
It should come as no surprise that men are prone to tribalism. For in every nation and at every place and time, men have formed tribal bands in order to overcome adversity. This instinct is deeply rooted, and is not even merely human; it exists in animals all along the spectrum of biological complexity. As Rudyard Kipling wrote, "The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack."
But what happens when the wolf is isolated, alienated not only from his pack but from all packs? What happens to the wolf when the very notion of the pack is forgotten? He ceases to be a wolf; he ceases to be what he was designed to be, for the very soil in which his nature is designed to flourish has been condemned.
All men need brotherhood. In fact, without brotherhood, there can be no manhood: Manhood withers, becomes sickly, and is soon forgotten. And so it is critical for us to feel that we are a part of something, whether that something be family, or religion, or military. Whatever it is, it must be greater than its parts, and it must give context to the trials and tribulations of its members. Because the although it is true that the pack needs the wolf, it is equally true that the wolf needs the pack.
Joshua van Asakinda +1-330-314-4170 Joshua.van.Asakinda@gmail.com
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