Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Vitalism, Not Traditionalism, is the Key to the Future
Many on the Right call for traditionalism, but what is traditionalism? There is a long history of traditions, and so much have changed over the eons. So, which tradition should we hark back to guide us in the present? The problem with invoking tradition is there is too much of it. It’s like a museum filled with all sorts of artifacts, relics, documents, mementos, and etc. Some may argue that we need to respect Living Tradition, but even a Living Tradition has undergone so many alterations, revisions, and reconfigurations. Also, the very longevity of traditionalism can be its weakness. Traditions have been strengthened via repetition through the ages. It’s like the celebration of Easter. But the seemingly endless routine makes tradition seem tired and boring, year in and year out and year in and year out again ad infinitum. It’s like Christmas for many has become just a time to shop. No one cares about what it means anymore. And Thanksgiving is just Turkey Day, just like Easter, if it’s remembered at all(not by Jews at Google), is about rabbits and eggs. After something is repeated over and over, people forget why it was commemorated or celebrated in the first place, and in time, rituals peter out to an end. Whatever happened to all the pagan celebrations of the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans? And what meaning do Christian rituals hold anymore? Most Christians are so bored that they want to spice it up with Rock music, Diversity, or Homomania in the church as discoteque. When a tradition grows weak and weary, people add more color. It’s like if the meat is old and dry, you add more sauce and spice to make up for its lackluster flavor.
‘Traditionalism’ connotes rigidity, fixedness, dogmatism, predictability, and lack of spark. Perhaps, ‘Arsenalism’ is closer to what we need. An arsenal is filled with stockpiles of weapons, but what we do with them is incumbent on the needs of the moment. So, if there are guns, bombs, missiles, bazookas, tanks, trucks, and copters, there is no fixed rule that demands that such-and-such items be used in such-and-such way. Everything in the arsenal is of use, but we decide what should be used and how depending on the nature of the challenge.
In contrast, Traditionalism suggests that we stick to a successful strategy used in the past. But what if the times have changed, and the enemies have adapted to a new strategy? Suppose the once-successful strategy using certain weapons in certain way will no longer work. But the traditionalist will demand that the Proven Way still be used. What if it fails against the New-and-Improved enemy with new tricks up its sleeves? The traditionalist remains adamant and insists that the Old Way is the Only Way because it and only it is the right way. This is sure to fail in the long wrong because every method or system, however effective in certain ways, has weaknesses. It’s like the Greek phalanx system that worked so well for so long didn’t work against the Romans who came up with more effective and adaptive means of combat.
When the once-mighty Ottoman Empire was faced with New-and-Improved Europe, its Old Ways of combat, which had once been so formidable, only led to defeat after defeat at the hands of Europeans.
If Traditionalism tends to stress the Proper Way of doing things with the available material, Arsenalism argues for a more flexible, creative, adaptive, and vitalist way of using and advancing the available material to take on the enemy. The problem with Conservatism Inc. is that it got stuck in the rut of playing by the same rule book over and over. Because of the great electoral victories from 1968 to 1992, throughout which the Republicans won every presidency except four years under Jimmy Carter, the GOP got stuck with the same tropes and themes. This was during the Cold War with relatively high taxes and troublesome labor unions. But with the rise of globalism & ‘free trade’, decline of Big Labor, massive increase of non-white immigration-invasion, and the Long March through the Institutions by 60s radicals, America of the 90s and thereafter was not the America of the 70s and 80s. Just like New Deal politics wouldn’t work in current America, neither would Reaganomics of the 80s. Thus, political traditionalism isn’t enough. There has to be political vitalism.
Arsenalism is vitalist. It’s like how a game is played in sports. Suppose your team won many games last season and took the championship. So, should your team run exactly the same plays this year? But the other teams will have studied all your tricks and will have adapted to come up with their own counter-tricks. So, even if you do the same thing again in the hope of repeating last year’s success, the chances are you will lose because the rivals have adapted their strategy to overcome your strategy. The only thing that is a constant between last year and this year is that your side must win. Now, it would be stupid to reject everything that was done last year. Indeed, many such plays will surely be executed again for their proven track record. But, they will have to be revised and adapted so that the other side won’t know the when-and-what of your strategy. The other teams that lost to your team last year have learned of their own vulnerabilities and have patched them, and furthermore, they studied all your strengths and devised ways to overcome or circumvent them. So, to win once again, traditionalism isn’t enough. You need vitalism. It’s like what Arthur says in EXCALIBUR: "There are no war tricks that will fool Mordred and Morgana." And so, Merlin comes up with an ingenious way to trick Morgana into filling up the battlefield with mist. Merlin is a classic vitalist. He remembers and knows more than any other man, but he doesn’t just rely on the Old Way. It’s not that he sees no value in past events or past strategies, in Tradition. It’s just that he knows every new challenge calls for a new, creative, and ingenious way to use that knowledge once again. After all, win-or-lose is decided in the Moment of the Now. One cannot rest on the laurels of the past. Victory and Power are about keeping it Vital. Tradition and Memory are important but only as a repository of ways and lessons. There is no guarantee that an old way will work again. Every situation has to be freshly assessed and dealt with.
Also, thought process must be intuitive and instantaneous in the moment of struggle. Consider a boxer. Surely, he's trained everyday and has much experience. His intuitive skills in the ring don’t just come from nowhere but from many hours of practice and the bouts that he had. Intuition is the crystallization of experience, practice, and knowledge. A musician’s intuition isn’t possible unless he spent lots of time mastering music. Granted, there are those who study, practice, and play a lot but never gain much in the way of intuition and inspiration.
But to have intuition/inspiration, one must master an art or skill. Intuition without experience and practice is hazy at best. Still, when the boxer is in the ring, he can’t THINK of all the years of practice and experience. He can’t intellectualize. He has to be IN THE MOMENT at all times throughout the fight. If he loses the sense of the moment, he could be knocked out or could lose the chance to knock the other guy out. Intuition is related to improvisation, which also requires practice, experience, and mastery. Before you improvise with a musical instrument, you need to learn to play it first. But when you’re playing, you must lose yourself in the moment of the music. You can’t think consciously in note-for-note terms. You must become one with the music’s beat, rhythm, and harmony.
While study, practice, and experience are crucial in storing our minds and shaping our bodies in a certain way, when the moment(of challenge) arrives, we need to be in vital than traditional mode. When we are taking the test, we must know IN THE MOMENT. Our minds have to work intuitively and instantly to make the connections and recall the necessary knowledge. We can’t be in the mode of someone in the library, looking through the card catalog, filling notes, and going through the material piecemeal by piecemeal. It’s been said that when the Iranian crisis spiraled out of control and hostages were taken, one of Jimmy Carter’s first reactions was to ask for books on Iran in the library. But it was not a time for reading books. He was president, not a librarian.
Even though we are part of a long line of evolution and history, we are always IN THE MOMENT. Any organism is part of an extensive genetic 'tradition' of life that goes back billions of years, but the vitality of his life doesn’t come from contemplation of that long connection. It comes from being IN THE MOMENT. If a gopher can't run and hide from a hawk in the Moment, it is dead.
Humans are different in being able to remember more and ponder the meaning of things, but the Future is determined by those who are most intensely engaged with the Now. And even if actions in the Now are informed by past experience and knowledge, the vitality comes from the ability to intuitively and instantly engage with the world. Mere seconds determine all the years of our lives and, if possible, the lives of our children and their children.
Because conservatives tend to stress traditionalism, they lack in vitality. They understand meaning as all the material and knowledge in museums, books, and institutions, but the core meaning of life is in the power, and power derives from a vital ability to use knowledge IN THE MOMENT. Also, even though there is so much to learn from the past, Truth and Wisdom are sort of like Noam Chomsky’s theory of Universal Grammar. Just like humans are hardwired to use grammar in a certain way, humans are hardwired to access certain meanings if their minds are activated and cultivated properly. If a child is never taught language, it won’t be able to understand it. But when he is taught, his mind almost instinctively grasps the principles of grammar. So, it’s not like something totally external is being programmed in the child but more like his innate switches are being turned on by external stimulation. Without education, those switches won’t be turned on(just like without sun and water, a seed will not sprout), but once the process begins, more and more switches turn on naturally. Same goes for Meaning or Universal Meaning. Even without reading too many books or hearing too much music, many switches automatically begin to turn on in the minds of young people when they are introduced to ideas and criticism. And then more switches turn on of their own accord, and the mind begins to make connections upon connections. Granted, this happens differently and more with some people than with others. Some kids pick up chess right away after playing a few games. Some kids get music pretty fast once the switches are turned on. Consider Mozart who grasped the way of music far more than even older masters who’s spent yrs and yrs of study, practice, and performance.
Now, clearly, Mozart or Beethoven couldn’t have been possible without the glorious tradition of Classical Music. It’s not like they invented the instruments, music notations, and the basic classical forms. But they were much more than mere traditionalists.
In the East where traditionalism was stressed more than vitalism, the students and apprentices were trained to copy and master the correct way bequeathed by the old masters. Thus, even new works had a museum-quality about them. It had been the same with the Ancient Egyptians whose entire civilization just became a moribund funereal traditionalism of sticking to the proven way. Though there was a great tradition, it was petrified wood than firewood. But what is a bunch of furnaces if they can’t make fire. What is a collection of swords if no one knows how to use them? And even if one trains to use the sword in such-and-such choreography, what use are they in a real fight when there are so many unpredictable factors? In movies or choreography, the swordsman can repeat the motions over and over to make them seem impressive. But in a real fight, there is no telling what the opponent will do. One has to be trained to fight IN THE MOMENT.
Indeed, that is the difference between a mere expert and an artist. Most smart people can become an expert at something. He can read up on literature or music and expound about why Shakespeare or Beethoven is so important. Or, he could even train himself to compose Shakepeare-like Sonnets or Beethoven-like melodies. But it’s all imitation, not inspiration. There is no creative spark there. He would be a traditionalist who remembers, knows, and expounds but not a vitalist who can make new things out of old things. In contrast, Shakespeare(or whoever may have written the plays) not only was well-rounded in the tradition of literature but drew inspiration from them so that he could intuitively and instantly produce new and amazing possibilities from the traditional material. It’s like a real musical artist not only learns how to play a classic tune but finds ways to revise, rearrange, and twist them to make new possibilities.
Now, there is a need for traditionalism. Some people have to be museum curators, librarians, pedants, and teachers. After all, most people just don’t have the stuff of spark and inspiration. But all real change is created by the vitalists, not the traditionalists. Traditionalists preserve the storage of knowledge and works from the past. But they lack the ability to use the storage like an arsenal of firepower for explosions to make for the new. While everyone draws from tradition, revolutionary power comes from those who make breakthroughs. Consider Bob Dylan. Why did he have a greater impact on music than other folkies? Most folkies were just traditionalists who stuck to the tried-and-true, and they were pretty good. But the tried-and-true is also dried-and-through. It only comes to new life when someone is inspired by it to make something new. Dylan revered the traditions of American music, but he also had the vital force to digest everything and mold it into something bold and different. He didn’t just rest on tradition but drew on tradition to create a new force in music, and he changed musical history.
The problem of Conservatism, high and low, is that it tends to lack this vitalist element.
Low Conservatives tend to lack knowledge and interest in arts, cultures, and ideas. Their tradition is a simple one of faith and community. But with faith eroding and communities falling apart(due to decadence, globalization, and mass immigration-invasion), Low Conservatives are lost. Even Country Music is now just junky pop music.
High Conservatives do care about arts, culture, and history but in the mode of librarians, curators, or admirers. Admiring great art, ideas, and culture is good, but admiration alone doesn’t lead to anything new and powerful. It’s like the minor character in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA who admires Lawrence as a great man but is clueless as to all the forces, internal and external, that made Lawrence ‘great’. Bill Buckley was a charming character, but his view of history was to just hit the brakes. He was uninterested in the accelerator and the steering wheel. He didn’t like where history was going, so he just hit the brakes on and on as often as he could until they wore off. It never occurred to him that the real power is about taking the wheel and stepping on the accelerator to where one wants to go. After all, even a reactionary can’t go back to the past he longs for by just hitting the brakes. He must take the wheel and accelerator and do a U-turn, like the Islamic radicals of Iran. Buckley dreamed of the 19th century when the 20th century was hurtling toward the 21st century. And then, take an online site like THE IMAGINATIVE CONSERVATIVE. It’s a rather odd name because there is NOTHING IMAGINATIVE about anything there. It’s mostly staid and respectable, and that’s all very nice, but that’s not the kind of mindset that leads to new possibilities and new creative explosions. Creativity is ‘bohemian’ than ‘bourgeois’ even though both modes have a symbiotic relationship, as epitomized by the Gail Wynand & Howard Roark partnership in THE FOUNTAINHEAD(though, to be sure, most creative types are and must be far more flexible than the purist Roark who is almost resolutely Taliban in his vision, even blowing up an entire apartment complex in the name of principles). Wynand the bourgeois makes the money and, via Ellsworth Toohey, promotes middlebrow values and conventions for the masses. But with his great fortune, he finances Roark who can go further. Now, by ‘bohemian’, we don’t mean someone who goes out of his way to be weird. Indeed, self-expression via tattoos and piercings is almost always a crutch for those without true creativity. Having nothing to say, they seek attention with body graffiti or mutilations. In contrast, a true artist doesn’t have to do funny stuff with hair color or tattoos to demonstrate his worth. Stanley Kubrick didn’t have a nose ring, Akira Kurosawa didn’t have an ass tattoo, and John Ford didn’t have purple-dyed hair. Most of the great writers, musicians, and dramatists proved themselves with worthy work, not with silly trinkets hanging from their noses or stupid pictures injected into their skins. I doubt if T.S. Eliot had a cock-ring. I doubt if Beethoven would have been more creative had he pierced his tongue. By ‘bohemian’, we mean in spirit.
An artist in action works differently from an artist in training. It’s the same with soldiers. Boot camp is necessary to instill discipline, increase muscles & stamina, and instruct skills. And soldiers are made to march in tight formation to develop a sense of bond. But in the actual battlefield, it’s not enough to go by boot-camp instructions. A soldier has to find his own way to fight and survive. He has to learn to adapt and improvise from moment to moment. Same is true in business. Business schools teach the A-B-C’s of business, but a businessman can't make it in the field by lugging around a Business Text-Book wherever he goes and flipping through the pages for instructions in every transaction. Rather, the essence of what he learned must be an intuitive part of him so that he knows instantly what to do and what to say at any given moment. So, despite the value of what he learned from traditional business education, he will succeed or fail depending on how he acts IN THE MOMENT. Tradition of anything is long & vast and useless as a whole in any given situation. Much of tradition continues has immense value but only in relevant use to the demands of the Moment. A boxer has a host of pugilistic arsenal at his disposal, but in any given moment, he has to pick the right move. If he lunges when he should be dodging, he will be smashed in the face. If he throws a left-hook when he should be going with a right upper-cut, he will miss the chance to KO the opponent.
This should be obvious, but the invocation of Tradition among conservatives has had a way of nullifying(or at least ‘dullifying’) the sharpness of their senses. They often point to the Western Canon and take pride in the Great Tradition. But Power is about using ideas, and IN ANY MOMENT, the mind must pick the relevant ideas, retool and reinvent them, and then do combat. It’s like a chef has all sorts of utensils and pots & pans and sauces and spices, and they are all part of his ‘tradition’, but he can’t make something by using EVERYTHING at EVERY TIME. Depending on the demand or challenge, he has to find the instruments and recipes that he needs. A conservative is like a chef who says, "Look at all the wonderful utensils, sauces/spices, knives, meats, and vegetables I got" but is lost as to what to do with them when crunch time comes. There was a Japanese TV show called IRON CHEF that demonstrated the importance of vitalism. Each of these chefs were steeped in mastery of tradition. So, one could be an expert in French cooking, another in Chinese cooking, another in Italian cooking, etc. So, each knew his thing. The real challenge came with the presentation of surprise ingredients that the contestants must use creatively in conjunction with their established skills. That is demanding. A man who learned to make good lasagna can make good lasagna with his eyes closed. But what if he has to work with unfamiliar ingredients. Then, he has to make creative use of his knowledge in Italian cooking to make something worthy. The challenge calls on his knowledge of tradition, but tradition alone isn’t enough. He must intuitively grasp and use only the aspects of tradition that may complement the ingredients at hand. And it is this vitalizing(and revitalizing) and reinventing skills that are woefully absent on the Right.
To be IN THE MOMENT doesn’t mean we must reject or devalue our tradition. Rather, vitalism means having a tradition isn’t enough... just like having a closet full of martial arts weapons isn’t enough. One must know how to use them and which one when and where. The mind has to be sharp and focused. Indeed, even human brains work this way. Depending on the task, the neurons flare up only in certain parts of the brains. Not all of the brains are working all the time. Rather, depending on the tasks, dangers, challenges, or necessities, different parts of the brains kick into gear.
Consider the law student in THE PAPER CHASE. He claims to have a photographic memory, and he can memorize everything he’s read and seen. His mind is filled with a ‘tradition’ of memory. And this ability was good enough to have him enter Harvard Law School. But when challenged to think on his feet in the classroom, he is lost and flustered. He knows and remembers a lot but lacks the ‘vitalistic’ ability to focus on relevant facts for argument in the case at hand. To have traditionalism without vitalism is like that. It’s like holding a dozen swords instead of picking one, drawing it, and dueling with it. A man fine-tuned with one saber will defeat a man holding a dozen swords. Too often, Conservatives point to the Western Canon and say ‘Muh tradition’ but, in pitched battles in the Culture War, don’t know which weapon to pick and parry & lunge with.
Also, it’s not enough to inherit something from the past. It must be reinvented and revitalized. It must be re-created. Same goes with life. Life doesn’t live forever. It dies and new life is born that continues the life of its parents but also begins afresh. Now, ‘reinvention’ has negative connotations on the Right because Jews promote it to mean the West must be reinvented as a non-white mixed-race diversity empire controlled by Jews and homos. Who the hell wants Europe, the US, and Canada to become Brazil ruled by the likes of George Soros and Simon Schama?
But there is another meaning to ‘reinvention’, and all great works of art are indeed reinventions. If an artist just learns from past masters and imitates, it will be the same old same old, and vitality will seep out. But if he not only absorbs the tradition but reinvents with his creative will and spark, he will make it seem fresh and alive once again. Thus, his work will have connection to the past but also to the future. Consider what John Boorman did with Arthurian legends on EXCALIBUR. He reinvented the myth to make it live and breathe again. According to PC globalists, the West must be reinvented into a Non-West. White women must have children with black men to reinvent Europeans into a people who look like Moroccans and Yemenites. White heroes must be recast with blacks. Lancelot and Achilles must be made black. PC says whites cucking out to blacks is the New and Improved West. Jews want to gain control of whites by castrating white manhood into cuckhood and by infecting white women with Jungle Fever. That is the Jewish idea of reinventing the West.
But there is a patriotic and True European way of reinventing, retelling, and revitalizing the classics, legends, and myths. John Boorman showed what could be done. And Richard Wagner took old pagan Germanic myths and reinvented them in grand style with his DIE NIBELUNGEN RING CYCLE. It’s not enough to brandish images of Old Europe like Identity Europa does. The real key is to take the tradition and revitalize and reinvent it with creativity and originality. Indeed, why did the fallen West overtake Byzantine Europe in which classical civilization continued? Partly, it was because the East got tired and bored with its moribund traditions whereas the West found the 'lost heritage' exciting one again through the creative reinvention of the Renaissance.
And it’s not enough to invoke a great tradition in dealing with the Globalists. What is necessary is the Weaponization and Arsenalization of Tradition into a gauntlet, sword, and shield to do battle with the heinous Jewish globalists. That is the only way to win.