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'A Critical Mass of Men'
Crackpot Podcast: Big-Brained Nimbus Crackpot Feedback Engine Polymarchus and the Little Brain that Could Stoke the Inquire
Thank you for the compliment. Whatever intelligence I may have suffers from not having been punched in the face enough. I should also start the trivium. Where you do think I should begin?
Okay, I will italicize my commentary, which will hopefully be of some help, considering I don't know what the fuck "trivium" means.
-The few times that responsible stewardship occurs is when a faction asserts its vision unopposed, without compromise. Ownership in this way is a necessary condition of flexibility and adjustment. Success strengthens the prevailing faction. Failure pulls the prevailing thought-tribe away from the old paradigm until its internal consensus fractures. This pulling away doesn't happen at the level of individual politicians and cultural leaders, but at their bases of support.
Thought-tribe is a term I like for bridging societal cohesion across ages from primal to postmodern and even feral.
-Compromise causes opposing attitudes to harden, because no one identifies with the halfway-in-between paradigm, and each side blames the opposing thought-tribe for its failures. Also, for a short time after the compromise paradigm is reached, there's no room for new thinking, and one generation will have no outlet for it's youthful idealism. This is part of a broader observation that conversations are not continuous, but pulsing.
This is perhaps the best description of the postmodern American mentality I have read or heard. This lines up so succinctly with the American social condition that it is immediately obvious, even after pickling my brain with tequila, that America, perhaps the greatest ongoing compromise in human history, must explode or implode.
-It would be better to say that consensus is achieved though persistence, not power, though they overlap.
Most fighters would agree with this statement.
"Any society that reduces man from warrior to worker will begin showing signs of the flimsy social stability you describe."
The warrior society prepares a critical mass of men for sustained existence at the knife's edge of life and death, the shortest of feedback loops. Such a society does not require a shared paradigm beyond ritual initiation and honor maintenance. It is by it's very nature immune to paradigm shifts, having no shared paradigm; nor does it build up the delayed feedback loops and paradigmatic shocks endemic of worker society. It is necessarily polytheistic as the faces of gods reveal themselves to men in struggle alone and requires no consensus other than proof of that struggle for their reality to be acknowledged by other warriors.
These men do not wear out.
They do not concern themselves with paradigms.
They close feedback loops too quickly to suffer shocks.
(Your observation, shared by military historian Martin van Creveld, that PTSD is a purely modern phenomena, is sufficient proof of the above.)
So you have to kill and defame them, preferably through betrayal and other non-heroic means. This is why pulp fiction of a heroic nature is hated by literary thought patrol officers. Doing away with a hero heroically, through honorable conflict, strengthens his impact down the stairs of Time and upholds that which he is only an expression of, heroism. We read echoes of the undermining, betrayal and assassination of the warrior by the worker [usually agricultural or sexual] as far back as Gilgamesh and Enkidu being punished by the Gods for heroism, Cain the farmer murdering Abel the herder, Samson being duped by a sex worker, Christ dying meekly rather than fighting, Roman soldier- farmers slaughtering—largely through applied agricultural logistics—cousin tribes living exactly as their ancestors once had, and every epic in which the cunning stay-behind figure, whether female or male like the prince who tried to betray his father's hero Beowulf, echoes this avaricious undermining of the dedicated proxy risk-taker [warrior] by the anti-heroic figure, such as the temple slut Shamahat to Enkidu and the whore who sold out Samson.
The worker society stores value in money instead of honor, which by it's very nature lengthens the distance between effort and feedback. Because meaning is negotiated through the marketplace the worker has no choice but to concern himself with consensus. Elongated feedback loops plus concern with consensus necessitate paradigmatic conflict. By modernity the erosion of warrior ethics causes the generational cycle of super-conflict every 75-90 years.
Seek the book A Babylonian Woe, self-published in 1974, which stops in antiquity, as a study in the evolution of money systems as tied to slavery and being explicitly anti-heroic, particularly undermining the central figure of the heroic ethos, the king. Also, the fact that value stored in money is subject to erosion by inflation and devaluation, makes the housing of honor [for that is what money is, a tangible transference of de-heroized honor] in material form, and later in abstracted currency, intrinsically unstable and finally under fiat volatile. Wakashi, chief of the Shoshone, when the young men were wondering aloud if he were too old to maintain his chieftainship, went out and brought back 7 enemy scouts, shutting them up and upholding his heroic stature until he died at nearly 100 years, still chief. The money-based leader must constantly scramble and manipulate, where the hero can, for at lest a generation, rest on his laurels, while the politician and tycoon must constantly manipulate and deceive their own constituent population or class, to maintain dominance. This aspect of influence maintenance is corrosive to social norms, especially notions of honor. Indeed, the cartoonish Klingon ethos of the Star Trek universe is more workable than money-funded civic management and political slight of word.
We can say that the slower pace of technological change caused fewer paradigmatic shocks, but if the above is true the warrior society is already immune and the technological angle is redundant.
Warrior societies are immune to the brain leash so long as they remain warriors. This is why Wakashi, when congressional representatives asked him about the prospect of the Shoshone becoming farmers, answered in only three words: "Goddamn a potato," knowing full well that if his men remained horse herders, stock raisers or soldiers in the military, that, even if subsistence hunting was no longer available, they would be able to maintain their honor-based identity. Men of many conquered tribes, beaten by empires from Rome, to Britain, to America [the Ghurkas come to mind most prominently] have maintained social cohesion in micro-societies embedded in vast cosmopolitan empires, through escaping into the remnant masculine aspects of the machines that have devoured their nations, by becoming soldiers. This continues today with high levels of combat infantry specialists being recruited from the socially disenfranchised men of rural Christian America, with a notably higher level of social stability being maintained in areas with a high level of hunting, stock raising and military service, than in either cities of suburbs.
However, marketplace society is the consensus society. When religion moved from the hearth to the marketplace it kicked off the spiritual crisis of the Axial Age, which in the West gave us monotheism, via the Semitic peoples, marketplace extraordinaires of the old Mediterranean. The Old Testament is a long series of paradigmatic shifts about the true face of the one, consensual God. It is not the prevailing understanding of the One God that is important so much as the need of a consensus paradigm around it. Monotheism was perfected in the Logos of Jesus Christ, the search for the ultimate, objective reality, and gave birth to advanced technics, which eventually spelled the doom of warrior societies the world over.
Christian societies only maintained military efficacy absent a game changing technological advantage over other societies through three means: employment of partially pagan military orders under Catholicism, employment of essentially heathen freebooters [English Sea Dogs] and criminalized slave sailors and soldiers in the black powder era, and the employment of client tribes to defeat enemy tribes in North America, with virtually no tribe of resisting Amerindians ever extinguished by Europeans without the crucial aid of allied Amerindians. It is no surprise that Catholicism stood for 1500 years as the moral pillar of Christendom, buoying Europe in at least six crusades, but within 200 years of Martin Luther nailing his manifest to a church door, that protestant Christianity had slid into mercantilism, politicized deism, and pseudo-temporal prosperity gospel sects emerging as the moral face of Revolutionary America, which, as exemplified by the sacred words In God We Trust on our money, turned us into greed-based idolaters
If I knew more about the East I could hazard a guess it's solution to the marketplace consensus problem is the Dao, but I don't know.
I'm a dead letter here, other than pointing out that the warrior ethos remains strong in Japan, which is one of the only socially stable nations on earth. For this reason, western thought police must forever impugn the Japanese for their falling birthrate, which is simply a sign that only the Japanese realize that they live on an island, and we, having forsaken our migratory nature by abandoning the quest for the stars, have somehow still clung to the ethos of population expansion in the absence of an expanse to populate. Therefore I have predicted in one novel that the most likely survivors of modernity able to maintain a high tech civilization will be the Japanese.
I can't identify a broader cycle because I don't know any examples of a society moving from monotheism to polytheism. We can only show the successive reduction of vestigial warrior ethics in monotheistic societies as the Church waged both war and (more insidiously) peace on it's barbarian neighbors.
There are hints at earlier monotheistic societies in much of polytheistic theology, as well as persistent worldwide cataclysm legends in most polytheistic mythologies, suggesting an earlier macro-tyranny of the soul in many locals. Do recall that an attempt by one pharaoh at monotheism was reversed by the priesthood in Egypt.
Thank you so much.
Starter Book List
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the fighting edge
by the wine dark sea
supplicant song
den of the ender
the first boxers
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