The following is a record of a brainstorm triggered by a recent post of my Orthospherean colleague and friend, Thomas Bertonneau. Because it is as yet no more than a brainstorm, I here report it as I first recorded it, and as it precipitated upon me from the Realm of the Forms – namely, as a series of impacts, occurrences more or less related:
In any population of evolving strategies for winning games (of any sort, no matter the rules (bearing in mind that the rules of such games are themselves subject to evolution)) with each other, imitation of strategies that win – or that have lately appeared to win under cogent criteria of local near term winning (bearing in mind that these criteria, too, are subject to evolution) – is a requirement of survival. Survival is the sine qua non of all other values; for, one must first be, in order then to realize any other value whatever; and so, no value is effectually valuable – is, i.e., valuable in actual practice – except insofar as it enables survival, which is the precondition of any other value.
If my group learns language, yours must do so too in order to survive against us. So for all other acts. If I attack you, you must attack back harder, or die. So human mimesis is a survival strategy for the individual within the group, and for the group as against other groups. Humans naturally imitate each other because that’s the only way to stay competitive, and so to survive.
Our friends over at Sydney Trads have posted their latest Symposium, featuring long form essays from a number of traditionalist and reactionary writers. Among them are three Orthosphereans. Jim Kalb gives us Dissolving the Black Hole of Modernity; Tom Bertonneau asks, Is Practicality Practical?; and my own offering is Toward A New Aristocracy. Also present are Frank Salter, Mark Richardson, Barry Spurr, and Valdis Grinsteins.
The theme of this second Symposium of 2017: Reactionary Praxis: How to Turn Critique and Theory into Practical Use.
Many thanks to our colleagues at Sydney Trads, who have worked so hard to bring this project to fruition. Their introduction to the Symposium is a magisterial treatment of the reactionary’s predicament; highly recommended.
Our friends at Sydney Trads have just published their 2016 Symposium, the latest in what must be hoped will be a long series of similar collections. Among the essays are three by Orthosphereans: Tom Bertonneau, Jim Kalb, and myself. The other contributors are Barry Spurr, Alain de Benoist, Krzysztof Urbanek, Peter King, Gwendolyn Taunton, Luke Torrisi, Michael Tung, and Valdis Grinsteins.
Many thanks to our antipodean colleagues for their efforts in mounting the Symposia.
Thomas Bertonneau’s last posting mentioned that René Girard states that the West is becoming simultaneously more Christian and less Christian. The liberal West has become hyper-aware of the possibility of scapegoating; of picking en masse on an innocent victim. But at the same time the anti-scapegoating message of Christ’s death – making us aware of the ways victims are killed to stop intra-group violence – is missed by the liberal if the victim seems to fall within the class of “persecutor.”
Girard notes in Violence and the Sacred that there are two traditional classes of victim. What one might call the upper and the lower. The lower include all the dispossessed; the POW, the slave, the handicapped, the foreigner; preferably, someone with no family to retaliate when the person is killed. In this manner, the West is more Christian. But the other class of victim found in probably all cultures is the upper; the king or his equivalent social position. When things go wrong, it seems logical to blame the person in charge even if in fact he is innocent. The king is already socially isolated because of his position. The king is exposed and can easily become the minus one against the unity of the mob.
The Christianized West has become aware and solicitous of the lower victims. We pass laws protecting the handicapped and “the weaker sex.” But the West is blind to its tendency to scapegoat anyone belonging to the class of supposed persecutors. It scapegoats with a clear conscience as unaware as any primitive scapegoaters of what they are doing. At times the liberal West makes the same mistake as Nietzsche. It imagines that single victims, the 1%, is the strong, the persecutor, and side with the mob against the few.
Our own Thomas Bertonneau is one of the contributors to the 2015 Symposium of our friends over at the Sydney Traditionalist Forum, Quo Vadis Conservatism: or, Do Traditionalists have a Place in the Current Party Political System?
Before your knee jerks and you answer “No,” go check out the Forum, get educated about the question … and then answer, “No.”
Two Orthosphereans have been published in the Spring edition of The University Bookman. Tom Bertonneau has an essay about Ray Bradbury, The Pulpy Roots of Fahrenheit 451, and Jim Kalb reviews D.A. Carson’s book The Intolerance of Tolerance.
Fellow orthospherean Joseph of Arimathea sends along word that this coming July, our own Professor Dr. Tom Bertonneau will be a featured speaker at Doxacon, a convention for Christian fans and writers of Science Fiction and Fantasy, sponsored by the Protection of the Holy Mother of God Orthodox Church in Falls Church. Be there and be … spherical?
Joke! I’m sure the discussions at Doxacon will be absolutely fascinating. From Out of the Silent Planet to Count to a Trillion, from Last and First Men to Up Jim River, those trad Christianist geeks will be tripping the light fantastic. In a manner of speaking only, I hasten to add; few things could be more disturbing than the sight of science fiction fans dancing …
I’m putting this in the Civilizational Twilight category, because almost all science fiction and fantasy involves the adventures of a hero in an age that has Fallen from its halcyon days of yore – this Fall being the generator of the Problems the hero must solve. Meaning that science fiction and fantasy are *essentially* traditionalist.
This should hardly suprise us. After all, *reality* is essentially traditionalist, no? That’s why there are regularities in nature, so that there can be science, so that there can be … science fiction.