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‘An Alternative Spiritual Technology’
Fire in the Dark: Men and Gods by Jack Donovan
© 2023 James LaFond
MAY/25/23
2020, Dissonant Hum, 252 pages, an impressionistic preview of pages 13 thru 43
Thanks to Electric Dan for purchasing and sending this book to the garage in Portland where Jack and I met some three and more years ago.
Dan has asked me if I’d be interested in reading Jack’s book, Fire In The Dark: Men and Gods, and I said yes, if the typeface was something my eyes could handle. He said it was a reasonable font and not too densely set. This was correct, and Dan mailed a gift copy to the Yeti Waters residence. This actually caused an outrage by my Portland host, who has a deep dislike for one time fellow Portlander, Jack, who he says, “Was run out of town.”
Well, I was run out of town once, out of Baltimore in 2018, which was not just my residence, but my birthplace and the home of my family for over 150 years, and further from my ancestral state, Maryland, which was the home of my family for almost exactly 400 years. Well, so I’m not going to ignore a man’s work, a man who once bought me lunch under pressure from mutual readers, who despite being obviously and deeply uncomfortable with my prolesh person, was gracious to me when I was in very poor health.
Jack writes and speaks on masculinity as a vocation. This is a subject I avoid. It makes me cringe when someone cites me as a “masculinity expert” when I have but two children, have only conquered 15 women, have been made homeless by five different women, and have lost almost exactly 200 fights! On certain forms of combat and certain periods of history I might be well versed. But the idea that I am some kind of expert on being a man when the two men who I raised are embarrassed to discuss my comprehensive failure to climb the social and economic pyramid we were born into and regard me in all things as an example of what not to be, well that is strange.
I enjoyed reading the first few pages of Fire in the Dark, and then my eye exploded. The ringing in my head is now incredibly loud and the burning of the nerve that ends in my right eye is so severe that I am throwing up every second day since arriving in Portland. I am “in cycle.” These cycles last from 2 to 18 months. During a cycle I cannot read anything for more than an hour, and must limit myself to 16 point sans fonts, which means this screen. So, it appears that I will not complete a reading of Jack’s book, not this year. As it is, I read and slept for two solid days to get through less then 40 pages of the 252.
I did manage to get through the preface and the introduction, which is to say, read Jack’s summary and mission statement for the work I failed to read. I have read The Way of Men, No Man’s Land, Blood Rites and a Sky Without Eagles by Jack.
The Way of Men is still, to this date, the most important book of this century, for it is the most counter cultural, iconoclastic, anti-American [1], anti-modern book I have read. In The Way of Men, Jack actually broke down masculine characteristics as positive vectors for good, having written this book in a nation that has been dedicated to emasculation since its inception.
Jack writes to sell. As Jack told me, and as he wrote, if a written idea does not make enough money to buy a cup of coffee, then that idea has no value, is manifestly not worth a cup of coffee. Such is the world we live in, Under The God of Things. He is of course correct, for in America, only monetary and social media currency matters, and a bright man like Jack can see that in his life time, the two kinds of currency will gel as one and colonize what remains of our social pyramid. This matters even more to a masculine ideal, which Jack has promoted in our conversation and in his books, that denies that a man can be a good man outside of a hierarchy, that masculinity cannot be divorced from hierarchy. [2]
So, as defined by Mister Donovan, and I think correctly, a man can only be a good man within our monetary currency system, which is in the process of being merged with a feminine-inspired and neutered social currency system. The question that a masculine idealist is stuck with solving, is how does Money Man thrive in the world of Emotional Woman?
From reading Jack’s preamble to this appropriately titled book, I think he demonstrates that Fire In The Dark is a way to keep The Way of Men alive by addressing the strange tightrope that he and I have had to walk on writing about this subject [3], that it is an issue for theists and atheists, an issue that men must wrestle with continuously, whether they have faith in One God, believe in many gods [like me], fail to see evidence for divinity [agnostics] or see in themselves the incubus for an ascendant deity [platonic/academic/atheist/humanist/idealist] in a world barren of a higher conscious power.
Jack keenly employs his more successful brands and slogans. My impression is that Fire in the Dark is an operations manual for employing the concepts in The Way of Men and negotiating the hazards of the world illuminated in A Sky Without Eagles. Jack even backs partially away from his famous Violence is Golden article, [page 38, sentence 2] by declaring that the capacity for violence is not an intrinsic masculine value, when this capacity has always been the core value of men the world over, from earliest times until now.
My sense from this initial reading is that if you have read The Way of Men and found it insightful or useful, that Fire In The Dark is a book that you should read. The chapters and headings are beautifully wrought for a book of this type, with Jack demonstrating an expanding capacity for word crafting beyond ideals, slogans and arguments and into a more textured myth.
I leave you with a handful of Jack’s quotes, with only one criticism, that on page 30, men are described as needful creatures multiple times [strikingly odd in a book focused on heroic themes] and that throughout the opening discussion the gods framed by the author are in no way posited as real, that gods are just a fictitious assortment of the ideal for a man to emulate, embodied in the notion of:
“An Alternative Spiritual Technology”
“I propose Solar Idealism...”
“...we can confront the challenge of this age of annihilation...”
“...trending moralities are driven almost entirely by the madness of crowds and a culture of complaint.”
“I will sketch out the distilled essence of an integrated [Jack defines the regenerative Latin root] masculine spirituality—my own rendering of this eternal flame.”
In reviewing my notes in the text, I am most impressed with Jack’s commitment to propose an ideal of perfection as a direction rather than as a destination. Donovan’s one-man crusade on behalf of manliness is perhaps one of the most amazing things about our plight, as if wolves were left only the struggle not to become a dog, to the point were being a wolf were rendered secondary to the existential threat of becoming a goddamned dog!
Notes
-1. I am certain that Jack would disagree heartily. But he is probably not familiar with the Plantation America Project or the fatherless roots of this orphan nation.
-2. In Incubus of Your Sacred Emasculation [part 1 of the omnibus Under the God of Things] I discuss how hierarchy, under civilization, successfully colonized and subjugated organic masculine tribal society. The feud between Achilles and Agamemnon in The Iliad is essentially a summary of this otherwise neglected prehistory. This is further explored in Barbarism versus Civilization, my most hated book.
-3. Jack writes and speaks for alpha males and beta males, while I write for the tiny minority of omega males in Taboo You. In a strictly hierarchical, civilized view, there is no value to the outsider and he is thence a social cancer. But in a more lateral tribal society, an outsider like Aristotle the Stagarite [in Athens] Saul of Tarsus [in Rome], Liver-Eater Johnson [army guide] or Crazy Horse [the insane Blue-eyed war chief] might still be granted a tolerated arc of social value.
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Ruben     May 25, 2023

Fnck man!!!! You're on fire here. This is one of those posts that reveal your genius and just blow the whole family away!!!!
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