Nation & Culture Coinhere in Cult

A nation is specified by a set of genetic similarities. A culture is specified by a set of practical, technical and moral similarities; of customary rules for living. The two coevolve, and are inextricably linked. They intersect at the cult of the nation. It is the cult that is first. Nation and culture depend upon cult.

No cult, no nation, howsoever similar the genes; for then, no matter how similar the men may be corporeally, they go each ideologically their own idiosyncratic way, unconstrained by each other.

Which never happens.

Likewise, no common cult, then no culture, howsoever similar the preponderant memes. When no memes are understood as holy, and so sacrosanct, no meme whatever may be evaluated by any reliable standard. Then anything goes, whatever. In that unconstrained libertinism is the death of true society.

Genetic and cultural similarities must in the final analysis recur to, and derive from, a cult: a set of First Principles about how things truly work, and ought to be done, that motivates and coordinates social acts. Their common devotion to their common cult consecrates and joins a people. Cults make nations holy. It is that sanctity we feel when our hearts swell with patriotic piety at the singing of the national anthem, that moves young men to sacrifice their lives to and for the high national purpose, and that weighs us down with the heaviness of grief when we contemplate the hallowed dead, even as we thrill to the beauty of their heroism.

The coevolution of gene and culture is mediated in the configuration space of cult, and in the territory wherein it prevails, and makes the national homeland a sacred temenos. Culture is a department of cult; and so, by the very same token, is gens.

No cult, no culture. No god, no nation.

Every nation has an angel.

So Ruth 1:16-17:

And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.

Ruth’s vow is formally akin to the wedding vow. Ruth pledges herself both to a foreign people, whom she loves for the sake of the concrete person – Naomi – whom she loves, and to whom she is loyal; and, so, to their God. Nothing less will do; it is cult, or it is nothing at all. For it is in virtue of the cult that the people are constituted as such. The cult *just is* the people.

It is the pledge unto death that procures true loyalty, true vassalage; and, so, true social integrity and health under the more or less constant pressure of immigration and emigration.

6 thoughts on “Nation & Culture Coinhere in Cult

  1. Pingback: Nation & Culture Coinhere in Cult | @the_arv

  2. Kristor, an off-topic request, if you please. Some months ago, a discussion arose from one of your posts concerning the progression of “moments.” IIRC, Bonald was involved in the discussion. I raised an objection to the idea of “moments.” I would like to read again your reponse to that demurral, if you can remember the moment, and direct me to it.

  3. I used to try to express this idea with the Greek word homonoia, but eventually came to realize that this word is too recherché. Then it occurred to me that the Latin word concord had been there all along, denoting the same idea. It just means hearts together, which is more or less the essence of a cult. As St. Augustine wrote, a people is a multitude that shares the same love. And concord is also the basis of friendship, which I take to be the model of national cohesion. As with friendship, concord does not mean perfect unanimity, since what would a friendship be without some friendly arguments; but as Plato somewhere says, an argument is not “wrangling.” Friends argue because they love the same thing; enemies wrangle because they don’t.

    The men within a cult can differ greatly in the intensity of their love for the axial symbols of the cult without breaking concord. But concord becomes discord when an axial symbol (such as a flag) rouses antipathy or hatred in the hearts of some men. Apostates tend to feel some degree of hatred for (or at least irritation with) the axial symbols of the faith they have lost.

    • Great comment, Professor. I learned about 18 things from it.

      Concord tends to homonoia. Friends in concord argue with one another in order to achieve homonoia by a closer approximation to agreement in Truth, under the terms of the principles of their shared cult.

      Enemies do not share first principles. So they cannot agree, except to disagree.

  4. Pingback: Nation & Culture Coinhere in Cult | Reaction Times

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