Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Neoreactionary Theology of the Body.

Atheist warning. This is a religious post.

One of the positive developments with regard to Neoreaction has been the reassertion of the role of biology with regard to human nature. This reassertion has far deeper sociological significance than may be initially appreciated and poses as direct challenge to one of the main tenets of Liberalism, namely, the  "blank slate" theory of man. This theory is one of the pillars of Liberalism since it posits man as a being of endless potential. All it takes to shape man into whatever a social engineer wants him to be is to have control over what is written onto the slate in order to form a man of his choosing. 

The assertion of the role of biology is a direct challenge to this view and places strict limits on the ability of social engineers, hence, both the danger and potentiality of Neoreaction.  Thus wherever Liberalism's aims are thwarted by biological reality, the liberal approach will be the attack the validity of the underlying reality or deny it. So it's no surprise that when presented with mountains of evidence asserting the importance of biology, the liberal Cathedral does all that it can to discredit those who assert it. (Intelligent readers can already see the foundational tension between liberalism and science.)

It's important to understand how "blank-slatism" was able to gain widespread acceptance. Though the notion had been debated since ancient times, it was never taken seriously given the obviously manifest natural inequalities present in men to those who can see. It only gained serious traction in the West once John Locke published An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. From that point on we see it gaining gradual widespread acceptance, until now, where the concept of unlimited human potentiality is nearly universal. How did it happen?

The space offered in this blog is insufficient to do the subject full justice, but the increasing literacy of the population,  the advancement of science and the rise in democratic sentiment all were influential. However, ideas are like seeds, and in order to flourish they need a fertile "culture". It's my contention that it is Christian culture, particularly its more ascetic factions, which provided the "superfood" in which the idea could grow. Sure, history does show that Christianity fought like a tiger against the more radical ideas of the Enlightenment, but eventually it lost the battle because, unknowing to itself,  it was providing the enemy with ammunition. One of the more diabolical features of the radical enlightenment is was able co-opt various strains Christian thought to further its cause.

To understand the problem we need to visit the subject of Hylomorphism. Hylomorphism is the Aristotelian idea, further developed by Aquinas, that humans being are unified entity comprised  of matter(body) and form (soul) [Ed:this is highly simplified] and it needs to be understood that hylomorphism regards body and soul as one thing. The Catholic Church and other strains of Christianity have always advocated the idea of the unity of the soul and the flesh. Now, amongst the intellectually disciplined the unity of the body/form concept is recognised, but amongst the intellectually sloppy, which comprise the bulk of humanity, it's easy to see how the idea of body and soul could be seen as two separate entities.

It didn't help things, that despite upholding the doctrine of hylomorphism, the Church in practice worked against it. Its continual emphasis of the importance of the spirit and the denigration of the flesh meant that when it came to the average man's conception of the human being, two notions were associated in his mind. Spirit=Good, Flesh=Bad. Thus, not only was a duality was formed but so was a polarity.

Overlaid upon this were several other notions of Christianity:

1) Firstly, the idea that man was completely able to be "renewed in Christ":
2) No man was unforgivable, and thus everyman was capable of being reborn.
3) An emphasis on the flesh being a source of evil.
4) Christianity's emphasis on "getting souls to heaven" and a  "who cares" approach to the demands of the flesh.

The balanced mind could see the context and limitation of these notions, but to the average-bulk-of-humanity man, who's thought processes are more an amalgam of associations and impressions, these notions could be corrupted into ideas that the human spirit is infinitely malleable and good. The flesh on the other hand, was an impediment toward spiritual perfection. Thus ascetic Christianity, despite its intentions, drove a wedge between body and soul. Furthermore, it was traditionally thought that the mind resided in the soul so its quite easy to see how people could conflate the soul's infinite transformative potentiality in Christ with the mind's infinite transformative potentiality. Once you've reached this point its only a small step away from liberalism.   It's not very difficult to see the analogy with Liberalism's blank slate and  the soul's unlimited potentiality. And the more the Church doubled down with religious asceticism against Liberalism, the more support it gave to its enemy.

Once you can get people thinking that spirit/mind good, flesh bad, then all sorts of interesting things become possible. Biology becomes disassociated from person-hood and its seen as something that can be overcome. It's very easy to see the analogy between some desert ascetic trying to break away from the desires of flesh to become a more fully "authentic" Christian and some homosexual male wanting to become a woman but  who is "trapped by their flesh". Both men are trying to escape the realities of their biology.

Sex and gender, likewise become disassociated: the sex being the biology and the gender being the spirit. The feminist approach to sexuality, largely opposed by traditional Christianity, is nevertheless supported by by Christianity's "real world" approach to the human person. Radical feminism is enabled by a Carnal-Lite human anthropology. Being true to biology doesn't matter if you think the flesh is bad.

Finally, given the infinite potential of the human spirit. Human person-hood can be constructed in such a way that is totally divorced from reality. Masculinity and femininity no longer become identity's intimately entangled with their biology, rather, they are identities superimposed onto it by whatever is the prevailing philosophical system. The congruence with biology being incidental or haphazard.  "Authentic" sexuality thus becomes a series of competing philosophical claims with scant reference to underlying physical reality. Manhood (or womanhood) then becomes whatever you want it to be.

One of the interesting phenomenon of history is the rise of Gnosticism, a phenomenon which was relatively unknown till the rise of Christianity and which shares many of the features of liberalism. It too, emphasised  the goodness of the spirit and the badness of the flesh but took the notions to extremes. Scholars have approached the subject of Gnosticism from philosophical perspective but I think they have erred. It's my view the Gnosticism is a product of the product of the cognitive limitations of the average human, particularly his preference for  System I thought.  System I thought is "thinking" by association rather than thinking by logic and evidence. The coincidence of Gnosticism with Christian culture is easily understood as arising from a Christian culture which though, theoretically committed to the concept of hyelomorphism was practically biased against the flesh and very pro-spirit.

Gnosticism, in its various forms, will be inadvertently enabled by Christianity as long as it keeps regarding the flesh as an inferior to the spirit. In my opinion, any push back against the modern understanding of the person will only come about when the Church starts reasserting not only the goodness of the flesh but of the obligation of the spirit to conform to it insofar as it is compatible with Caritas. Biology matters.

I have a feeling that JPII sensed this. His own Theology of the Body was, in my opinion, a botched attempt at reasserting the flesh's goodness. But it was a noble effort. It falls upon a new generation of men to build a new Theology of the Body. Christian thinkers need not only to reaffirm the hylomorphic concept but to proclaim anew the goodness of the flesh.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Update on Previous Post.

Over at Aurini's blog, Roosh has made a comment stating that this passage in my previous post was "made up";
A while ago Roosh tweeted about his failed attempt to seduce a young Croatian girl who was studying to become a nun.
I made this statement in good faith, based upon a Tweet he sent whilst he was traveling in Croatia.
Unfortunately, I don't have a screen grab or anything else to back my statement up, therefore, I have to defer to his version of events as he was the primary source.


Friday, February 07, 2014


I knew this was going to happen. What's with the flame war between Neoreaction and the PUA's, huh? This is a completely regrettable development.

I've been blogging for almost 8 years and one of the most satisfying things to see happen during this period is the rise of the manosphere. One of the great things about the manosphere is that it is a broad church, where people from a variety of persuasions were able to talk to each other about a wide variety of shit which pertained to men. Particularly with regard to sex. Lot of pissing contests there but after a while most guys put down their cudgels.

Most people credit Moldbug with the rise of Neo-reaction. I say bullshit. Effective Neo-reaction -the thing that's gaining cultural traction-- is an offshoot of the manosphere. You can theorise all you want but unless you put your words into action none of it matters. The manosphere was a forum where men could go to find effective practical advice with regard to changing their lives. Nothing most primed men to the notion of Neoreaction than taking the "Red Pill". The men most responsible for this state of affairs were PUA's; particularly Roissy and Roosh.

The other person who set the tone for the Manosphere was Ferdinand Bardamu, (Matt Forney). In Mala Fide was where Manosphere reached criticality. Ferdi's "broad church" policy meant that any idiot could spout out whatever he liked unless he was completely batshit insane. It was a great blog and it is sadly missed. Many offshoot bloggers continued with this approach and ensured that there was no "orthodoxy" in the sphere. It was a Darwinian battlefield of ideas. Over time several ideas which are staple to the Neoreactionary canon gained traction; Game, HBD, anti-liberalism, mass stupidity and so on.

But buying into the manosphere did not mean buying into everyone of its ideas, and there is still a fair variety of opinion on certain matters. But it would be a mistake to say that just because people have differring opinions all of those opinions are of equal validity.

Now, I disagree with quite a lot of what Roissy and Roosh have to say. As a flawed Catholic their lifestyle is not an option for me. However, when it comes to the subject of women, I give them a lot of credence. In order to bed lots of women you have to know something about them and, therefore, they have authority on this subject: They have "Wet Dick" authority.  You can theorise all you want about female sexuality but unless you've gotten a woman into bed it's just that, a theory.

On the other hand, the PUA types are liable to engage in the Wet Dick Fallacy (Hat tip. Bryce) where they feel that their notch count gives them authority to speak on matters outside their expertise. Now this creates a problem for the Christian members of the manosphere, who, because of the religious beliefs, can't screw around. In debates, PUA's are liable to "pull rank" on them by virtue of their notch count, and to a degree they are justified, but only when it comes to the subject of getting women into bed. When they start pulling rank on other issues, they've exceeded their authority.  Roosh measures his long term relationships in terms of months. I've been married for over 20 years, in a very, very good marriage: both physically and emotionally. When the PUA's diss marriage, I kind of tune out. When it comes to long term relationships, Dave from Hawaii, Dalrock and I can pull rank on this issue.

I honestly have a great deal of time for PUA's when it comes to insights on female sexuality. They have had a positive impact on my personal life and professional practice. Because of patient confidentiality I cannot relate some of my cases (both male and female) where their lives have been positively changed by the practical application of Game. Game is Good. The important thing here is that we can learn from each other.

At it's core, Neoreaction is the truth asserting itself against error.  For example, the pushback against Democracy is not based upon some monarchist or aristocratic sentiment , rather, the realisation that the underlying principals of democracy don't align with reality.  Likewise, Game is Neoreactioary insofar as it is a corrective to the misconceptions of female sexuality. It (is) should be part of the Canon.

Like most Neoreactionaries, I'm concerned with saving Western Civilisation. Screwing around does not help this one iota on a whole variety of levels. Consequently, the Gamer's get a lot of heat from the Trads on this issue. I must admit it doesn't bother me as much because I think hedonism is a natural weakness, feminism is an unnatural disease. The other reason I don't give them so much heat is because of the underling sexual dynamics at play in a sexual free market. In the West, it is the women who control sexuality and if the place resembles a brothel is because women want it to be that way. The PUA's are simply taking advantage of the situation: they are a second order phenomenon. The primary pathogen is female promiscuity.

PUA's are not like Jedi Masters, able to exert some some irresistible mind control over women. To think so is to deny women moral agency. No PUA advocates rape, despite feminist attempts to smear them with this charge. For every successful notch there has to be a woman who has willingly spread her legs. A while ago, Roosh tweeted about his failed attempt to seduce a young Croatian girl who was studying to become a nun.  (See here re correction) You can't run a brothel without whores.

All I'm saying that this flame war is hugely counterproductive. Traddish types need to remember that the PUA's are taking advantage of the situation they are not the cause of it. Looking at the degree of ruin about us, all I can say is when it comes to PUA's, "Man, I can understand why you want to lounge poolside".  But for some of us life is more than just sex.  We don't want our God-like reason to "fust in us unused". We are patriarchs who will be held to account for our time on earth. We have a duty to our families, communities, friends and even you. For some of us, not screwing around is not because we can't but because we won't. I love your insights but when it comes to manhood, yours is not the sole metric.

Men are always going to engage in pissing contests with each other, that's to be expected. But stop for a second and look at the bigger picture lest everything our fathers built fall in ruins amongst us. A shit fight amongst the manosphere is to no one's benefit.


Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Song of Songs: Interpretation of Interpretations.

Over the last few weeks I've been mulling on the historical treatment of Eros within the Catholic Church. As I've said before, the Catholic Church was the big player in the development of European culture and thus its understanding of Eros profoundly influenced European culture's understanding of it. Particularly, I've been thinking about the historical treatment of the interpretation of Song of Songs. As this Wiki article mentions, Song of Songs is a "interesting" book of the Bible. A literal reading shows it to be about the Eros-love between a man and woman.
1. How beautiful are thy feet in sandals, O prince's daughter! Thy rounded thighs are like jewels, The work of the hands of a skilful workman.
2 Thy body is like a round goblet, Wherein no mingled wine is wanting: Thy waist is like a heap of wheat Set about with lilies.
3 Thy two breasts are like two fawns That are twins of a roe.
4 Thy neck is like the tower of ivory; Thine eyes as the pools in Heshbon, By the gate of Bath-rabbim; Thy nose is like the tower of Lebanon Which looketh toward Damascus.
5 Thy head upon thee is like Carmel, And the hair of thy head like purple; The king is held captive in the tresses thereof .
6 How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!
7 This thy stature is like to a palm-tree, And thy breasts to its clusters.
8 I said, I will climb up into the palm-tree, I will take hold of the branches thereof: Let thy breasts be as clusters of the vine, And the smell of thy breath like apples,
9 And thy mouth like the best wine, That goeth down smoothly for my beloved, Gliding through the lips of those that are asleep.
Compared to other books, it gives little direct reference to God, His laws or even the implied obligation to procreate. It's basically an erotic poem that celebrates sexual love. Given the literal nature of the subject matter,  there was considerable controversy amongst the early church fathers as to whether it should be included in the Bible or not. Historically, the book has been treated an allegorical representation of God's love for his Church. Looking at the above passage, all I've got to say is, Hmmm.

Anyway, whilst thinking about this subject I got sidetracked into a discussion over the The Orthosphere which bought up the subject of Galileo. An interesting realisation occurred. Galileo was censured for advocating a view which directly contradicted the literal reading of scripture. On the other hand, Song of Songs literal meaning (i.e Erotic) was deliberately downplayed and its allegorical reading emphasised.  Why the interpretive inconsistency? Why is it, that when the subject matter is "positively" erotic the material is meant to be treated as allegorical, but when the subject matter is "negatively" erotic the matter is literal?

As I've said before, I think that the Church has an anti-carnal bias and sometimes I wonder how Eros would have fared if weren't so intimately tied with procreation and romance.

For those who are interested, here is a good and brief paper outlining the historical treatment of Song of Songs.