Last week, what struck me the most was the irony that many of the so-called reactionaries that I have met recently — those individuals that have a strong attachment to a benevolent, strong, and compelling overarching authority in political matters — are surprisingly democratic, anarchic, or blatantly communist. But let me backtrack.
Everyone is usually not themselves. Their true “self” or “I” has abdicated or vacated. Instead, there is a flurry of thoughts, emotions, and actions which pull their soul, spirit, and body willy nilly into automated and learned responses. But I shall be even more explicit and deliberate.
Ⅰ. The Democracy of Personalities
What people think is their personality — this culmination of their various likes and dislikes or preferences in how they do things — does not stem from an act of the will, but a habituation usually engendered through external circumstances in their lives. They “tend” towards something and these tendencies push them, by a critical majority or plurality of their sensations and feelings, towards a direction. This direction is often mistaken for their “will.” This confusion of “preference” for “identity” is something I hinted at though did not really cover in my article on homosexuality, but homosexuality is obviously one such example in, perhaps, an extreme case. These tiny personalities — each representing a different agenda, fetish, or impulse — have overthrown the authority of the will and mind and established a dictatorship for the members.
Despite its obvious case in homosexual behaviour, most people of a “conservative” or “moral” disposition are just as susceptible to this internal democratic process. How often, for example, do any people weigh whether or not to get up in the morning promptly as if by committee? How often do people prefer metal bands over Korean Pop because “I just like this one better.” And if you ask people why they have certain preferences — why they can’t eat seafood or they don’t like this or that — they’ll often say, “I don’t know.” Or, worse yet, “I just do/don’t.” Is there really a person in there making that decision or was it just a simple consensus of the various members of the body voting? The head was no longer involved, it was just the most energized lobby of the body that gets their way. Whether it’s the gonads threatening extreme discomfort if they are not allowed stimulation or the stomach allying itself with the lobby of the lazy limbs who are afraid of pain to convince the body to take on more cheesecake, it isn’t the “self” creating the agenda or guiding the direction, but the members.
And so the body continues without understanding who it really is. Like a de-racinated nation that simply relies on its political system to maintain its economy and stability in society, nothing special occurs in the automated man. He merely persists. It is ironic, therefore, that many reactionaries overlook this essential nation — the nation of their own members. They pine for an Emperor or at least a strong man at the helm and yet they allow their actions to be maintained by the surging, populist energy of their members. How often do individuals simply do things because they’re “in the mood?” Is not abdicating to that mode not the very essence of a populist candidate winning over the members? Indeed, many people desire a higher consciousness and a higher awareness in their body politics and yet have not made any effort to increase their own consciousness and their own awareness. When people speak of “higher states of consciousness” it is not some abstract idea, but a practical realization of where our “self” is.
Ⅱ. The Mechanization of the Self
I had written before about the necessity of a Butlerian Jihad of an internal variety — a war against the machine-self. Plenty of individuals believe themselves to be liberated from the machine-self. They say that they are “thinkers” or people who have the “proper ideology” and therefore are immune to the collectivist mode of thinking that their Leftist cousins possess. Yet inner consciousness of one’s thoughts and emotions seems to be blatantly missing despite these external advertisements.
Examples do not even have to be of an obvious morally detrimental character; in fact some things, such as habitual prayer, can become automated even if it’s a real boon. Is this not what the Teacher has advised us not to do? Did He not advise us not to engage in vain repetition? It is the abdication of the will and the mechanization of prayer — the profanation of it through unconsciousness — that is the sin associated here. It’s obvious, after all, if I teach a parrot to say the Our Father that it would not be prayer. Yet, how much of this mechanization takes over our very lives? How often do we rely on our instinctual responses, reactions, attitudes towards other people, things, or ourselves?
How often does something happen and, immediately, we feel as if we were slighted? Is not the message that comes to our mind that says, “they don’t respect me” something we have lived with for so long that it has become habitually listened to? The automated response, as a friend of mine would say, is like that of a computer — creating behavioral algorithms that follow a set programming. Hence, this is why I wrote in my previous article on the machine-self how it is not that we shall create artificial intelligence, but that human actions and thoughts will be so automatic that it will be indistinguishable from machines.
Emotions, too, become programmed into us instead of decided upon. How often, for example, when we are told a different opinion from one that we gave do we immediately feel threatened and must defend our position even if the other person might be right? In fact, how often are we so convinced that we are right? Indeed, “deciding” is made ex post facto, it is never made about whether or not the emotion we feel at all is necessary. The machine reacts for us and the throne of our self is left empty occupied instead by something inhuman; something programmed. Because only a human can react organically to a given situation, person, or ourselves. Only a human can discern what is proper for that situation and if those feelings are necessary no matter how valid they might be. Is it not in the best tales of old that we see kings who are able to discern between the various courses of actions with temperance and wisdom?
Ⅲ. The Inner Court
The abdication of the self was something I was visualizing in this past week as an interior court where the young prince who was supposed to ascend to the throne has neglected his duties. Instead, he lets his learned advisors run the realm. In any given situation that a man encounters, his immediate judgments about the person and situation are supplied to him by his learned interior advisors. “That man is suspicious,” one might say. “That woman is absolutely hot,” another might say. They compel the body-nation to take certain steps. “Say something in this situation to make us look better,” commands one advisor. “Don’t disagree with him,” says another. “We need to make ourselves look smarter than the others,” another will say. All automatic and mostly unconscious. We just say, “Well, it’s just my personality to be this gregarious,” or, “I just like to be alone.”
The young prince relies on this because they tell him, “How can you ever run this nation? You haven’t trained for this, but throughout the life of the nation, we have. You’ve done this for so long this way there’s no reason to change. We are what we do.” Indeed, our personalities and interior advisors have learned from past experiences how to deal with situations and patterns that we see. And yet, do we discern them? Do we act as a King should and listen but not immediately follow the advice of something we may or may not really be able to trust?
The Inner Court, therefore, must have the returns of its King. The true “self.” Discovering this true self is an arduous journey of maturity. It is the “self” that lies beyond the shadows of desire and looks upon the nation of his body and the community of nations around him of persons with wisdom, mercy, respect, etc.. He embodies the virtues and he decides whether or not these impulsive ideas, thoughts, or emotions should be enacted in his kingdom. Yet this technique of invoking the higher self is greatly missing especially as there is a foolish misunderstanding that the “strong” self is the real self or the “intelligent” self is the real self. These are usurpers. I have often seen very intelligent individuals who retain great impulsiveness and disquiet but believe that because they are intelligent that this makes them immune from decay.
As for myself, this past week, as part of Advent Meditations, I have continued to practice the discernment of the Kingly self. He sits on the Inner Throne and allows the various thoughts and impulses to bring their cases and petitions to him. He then decides from a place of wisdom; hearing multiple advisors to see if perhaps there are multiple ways to look at a situation or person. He feels at peace because he knows that he is not subject to the impulses and desires. He can listen to them and decide for himself what action to take.
Wisdom is necessary because many of the impulses which come with wicked thoughts are perhaps simply misguided. An erotic desire, for example, is actually a plea for power which is in turn is actually for the sake of being seen as powerful so as to seek the respect of other men and, thus, not to be left alone. The “wisdom” of the King allows him to follow these long lines of motivations to their ultimate, golden core which can be addressed in healthy and productive ways rather than in the learned ways of past actions. Thus, the King applies justice with mercy. He recognizes the gold within the shadows and draws them out. He transmutes the base to the noble. He makes noblemen out of brigands. This is the alchemical task of the King and his power and it is the primary task of every man who wishes to assume an interior Aristocracy. If any man wishes a nation to be ruled gloriously by a King or benevolent patriarch, he must start with his own person.