January 1st, yet again.
“And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”- Eternity is a terrible thing indeed. Eternity is a wondrous thing indeed.
People often ask why a loving God might condemn mankind to Hell. This is a misunderstanding, I think. Hell and Heaven are both choices, and Hell is a separation from God. Absent this connection, the love of God is like an unending burning agony. This life is the time for toil and the time for choices, while we still have a body and flesh. Continuously, we face choices, where we must choose between good and evil.
These choices are, in many ways, the choice between The Good and The Evil. Though men act as if the choice is hard, the choice is often easier than we think. The wages of sin are death. We find often that sin is self-defeating. The greatness of the great comes not from their sins, but their virtues, which are often twisted. To paraphrase CS Lewis, what is Attila without his courage? It is the only things present in great but wicked men that allow them to do their deeds. And given these gifts, it is all the more tragic when they freely choose evil.
So what is eternity? Eternity is a time when choices end, and our existence stretches on forever. When we are wrathful and seethe, it feels like our soul is burning up, but it does not harm our enemy. When we are greedy, we obsess over wealth to no avail. So on, and so forth. What if we were perpetually locked in a state of cope and seethe? And moreover, we no longer have the fleeting distractions and pleasures of the flesh to assuage our pain, but exist in an unmediated spiritual state of cope and seethe. When we die, therefore, unless we have achieved a state of total depravity or Sainthood in our lifetimes, we exist in an impure state, but one which is either inclined to choose either The Good, which is God, or The Evil. Given this, what is our conclusion? Everything not fit for eternity must perish. What then is Hell? It is not the arbitrary cruelty of an evil God. Rather, God is full of love. When Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge, they became like God, able to discern Good and Evil – and thus sin. Nevertheless, God will save us.
What are our souls? Our souls are like rotting mansions, deep in disrepair. The roof is caving in, bed bugs and spiders roam the roams, every hall is covered in mold and grime, and it is terribly drafty. We do not notice. We are always out in the world.But one day, that long night will descend upon us, and we must go home to sleep, and sleep for the long sleep. What we will return to? Dwelling in our sin, we will tormented by the bugs and winds and rains forever, and the burnings shall never cease. But it need not be that way. God wants to repair our houses, however shabby they may be. He has sent His Son to us. After all, Jesus was a carpenter. Every time we repent of one of our sins, we are fixing one of the broken parts of our houses, making it fit for eternity. We are trading the temporary joys of sin – or oftentimes, the temporary excitement, less than even joy – for something permanent. Every time I discard a sin, I feel a new calmness descend into my soul. With truly holy people, one finds them almost totally at peace, unbothered by the swayings of the world. Such is fitness for eternity.
So why must Job suffer? For Job was a righteous man. And it was true that Job was blameless in his ways. But Job was not the Lord. His own right arm could not save him. His talents, in the end, do not come from within himself. Some lessons can only be taught by affliction. To continue, what is path dependence? Path dependence is a sequencing of events such that each step depends on the previous step. Certain things only unfold as they do because of the sequencing. What does this mean? On Thursday, you go grocery shopping but forget the milk. After a workout on Saturday, you suddenly realize how thirsty you are. In a panic, you rush down to the nearby corner store to get milk. You bump into someone. She becomes your wife. Very romcom.
The Battle of Midway. If the bombers hadn’t come then – if the planes – if they hadn’t – if – if – if The mark of path dependence is that you can’t really recreate it in a training situation. In exercises, they can’t make Midway go as it did. Instinctually, we crave path dependence and weave it into our stories. We love our serendipity. But we close ourselves to it in real life. What are our earthly plans? We have plans and goals. And an earthly plan posits steps that reach that goal.
The path dependent route of serendipity is more of a series of unexpected shocks that nevertheless advance towards the goal, such that you approach the end with a series of flourishes and arabesques. But embracing it means losing control. In retrospect, I can say that God’s plans have always been more glorious and satisfying than even my wildest plans, and if they disappoint, they only disappoint compared to totally disjointed and bizarre daydreamings which never had any steps or plans. Single moments must pass a certain way. And in this, we see the hand of God. He is the one weaving the past from the future and weaving the threads of fate into a tapestry.
Why did I link my Exodus threads to people? Because I wanted people to see them and be astonished. It was my vanity as much as anything else. My natural state is a rebellion against God. The line between Good and Evil falls in the middle of your traits. A man such as me wants to brag about the things I have made. But it took a man such as me to make them. We are called to be a lantern unto the nations. To shine that light, we must kindle our flames. People think of Christianity as a cucking, a meekness of humiliation, a submission and a lessening. But it can be a greatening. To stoke the fires of our greatness may burn us, may sear our very souls. The greater the glory, the more the risk.
As we face towards God and remember the purpose of who we are and what we do, we can kindle the glory of our flames while staying safe from the heat. I have a bone to pick with modern psychology. Big Five et al quantify traits vis a vis an imagined baseline. The presumption is human neurological uniformity. All traits are deviations from an imagined normal neoliberal man. Personality styles become personality disorders. The flattening is an attempt to have the positive sides of every trait without the negative. Instead, we medicate ourselves into being nothing at all. The Jungian is the archetypal. People are archetypes. What we have are not deviations, but natures. MBTI is by nature a typology positing a number of heroic archetypes. The purpose of psychology in this framing is not to level us out into being nothing, but to guide us to becoming our Heroic Self. When we become a light unto the nations, what we become is not flat, but the Heroic version that we ought to be. We are becoming more like ourselves, higher and brighter, and not less. We are becoming who we really are… and fit for eternity.
Artaxerxes, born Ochus, was not meant to be the Great King, the King of Kings. He had older brothers ahead of him in the succession. But he was a cunning and ambitious man. He used plots and poison to kill his older brothers, making himself heir. His father died of heartbreak. But there’s an obvious problem here. Ochus, being an Achaemenid, had legitimate right to succeed to the throne if he cut enough throats. This was equally true for any of his own brothers and cousins if they were ruthless enough. Ochus was a satrap, but he was one of many. As soon as he usurped the throne, Artaxerxes III had to put down a number of revolts from his brother-cousin satraps, his fellow ruling princes of the Persian empire. Why not? They had just as good as a claim as he did. And this is a common historical problem for kings.
Spandrell notes this often speaking of early Chinese history. The Chinese princes were one of the biggest threats to a new Emperor, being of his blood. After all, we’re all Lius here. Who’s to stop one of us from ruling Han? Nothing, if no one can stop you. The Chinese solution, which eventually was also the European solution, was simple. Disempower the princes. Instead of a nobility of your close relatives, use officials drawn from the lower aristocracy, the barons, to administer the realm, and select them by merit. The princes would either be sent into far exile, as in Ming, or be brought into the palace under strict supervision, as in Qing. Ottoman princes were kept in the harem, the gilded cage, to keep them from rebelling. The actual governing was done by mandarins or local lords.
Artaxerxes therefore had to spend much of his early reign destroying revolts from rival satraps who were eager to do what he had done. But this does not solve the problem of how to rule the now subjugated satrapies. Loyal, competent manpower is the essential politics problem. The baron/mandarin solution is one answer. But there’s another. Spandrell uses the example of Jomon in Japan. If you have an ethnic client group given force, they can enforce your edicts for you, acting as internal bandits, and they can never usurp you, as hated foreigners.
Artaxerxes did this. Persian armies led by Persian satraps of Persian royal blood are potential threats to your throne. But what if you brought in Greek mercenaries and gave them land and treasure to rule on your behalf? So one of his highest officials was Mentor of Rhodes. Still, even a foreign general is dangerous. Mentor delivered Artaxerxes’s greatest victory to him, the reconquest of Egypt, making him once again, as in the time of Darius and Xerxes, Great King from the Indus to Ethiopia. And what happened to Belisarius? So Mentor and Artaxerxes remained in constant communication during his campaign, Artaxerxes monitoring him and his war movements, and also remaining keenly aware of Mentor’s desire for reward. And when it was done, it was granted, and Mentor became a Persian satrap.
Mentor was wise. As Spandrell would say, Mentor gave Artaxerxes his sword by the handle. By constantly reminding his lord how greedy and ignoble a character he was, and how much he desired reward, he was really showing his loyalty by saying the price at which he would be bought. Mentor lived and prospered, whereas Belisarius did not. Be a Mentor, don’t be a Belisarius.
Another problem is wives. By nature, men love loving their wives. They love to simp for their wives. This means that the wife is always one of the most powerful, influential, and dangerous members of the court. The wife is the king’s chief agent and sometimes his puppeteer. As Spandrell notes, in Japanese history, the family of the wife was often the one that actually called the shots. The family of the wife could keep marrying into the Imperial or Shogunate bloodline and puppet the real ruler through the pussy. Marrying high is dangerous.
It was Persian tradition for the Great King to marry into one of the high noble families of Persia, thus binding together his family with a major power broker via marriage alliance. Your wife, at the very least, can’t usurp you, even if they can exercise undue influence. This is one of the reasons historians consider the Biblical Book of Esther a mere historical fiction, as Esther was not a Persian high noble, but a Jewess, so how could she marry Xerxes I? And besides, we know who Xerxes I took as wife anyways. Artaxerxes avoided this trap. Instead of marrying a Persian princess, he married an unknown and obscure wife and did not include her in his high pronouncements and artifacts. By doing this, he was able to avoid dependence on any of his rival relatives.
Of course, the ethnic patronage strategy can backfire. Ethnic minorities are often – but not always – loyal. For instance, Jews. During Artaxerxes III’s reign, the Jews rebelled, so he had to destroy their fortress at Jericho with Persian armies and deport thousands to Hyrcania. Curiously, Josephus does not name Artaxerxes as an enemy and oppressor of the Jews, but rather his chiliarch – Bagoas. To return to the Book of Esther, despite being a work of historical fiction, it has a number of interesting details about Persian life and how the Jews perceived their Great King, Xerxes. Details like the drunken feasts and oath-drinking of the Persians, who never lie. Or Esther using the cosmetic burners to beautify herself and give herself sweet smells. Or the terror of Xerxes, and his cruelty and bloodlust, although other sources say Xerxes I was a gentle man, as these things go, and a builder. Still, it’s a neat story of Esther and her fanfiction husband, Xerxes, or as they say in the Book, Ahasuerus. Suerus. Xer… xes. Aha? Aha xerxes? Artaxerxes?
In this light, a weird little story makes a lot more sense. It is the story of intrigue, political murder, and catspaws. Why does Artaxerxes deport the rebellious Jews to Hyrcania? And why do they multiply in number from thousands to a rhetorical millions? He could easily have crushed their ability to resist forever. After his conquest of Egypt, he persecuted their religion and taxed them heavily. He could have easily done the same to the Jews. Instead, he deports them to Hyrcania. Why Hyrcania? Hyrcania was his grandfather’s satrap, the place from which his grandfather rose to power. In short, he took the Jews and moved them to his *very own court*, the land of his house.
So what is the story of Esther? An ambitious Jewish baron, one of the officials made by Artaxerxes III, marries his daughter off to the Great King. Hamon, one of the Great King’s brother-satraps, constantly schemes against the Jews – who are the Great King’s ethnic clients. Nervous Esther is hesitant about her father’s requests, but her father is sure she won’t be hacked to pieces for defying the Great King. Trust the plan. Hamon, the King’s brother and satrap, dispatches an army of his loyal to destroy the Jews. How can Artaxerxes resist his beloved queen? And the man who saved his life? Hamon is put to death. And for good measure, put his sons to death too. Wouldn’t want any of these little shit cousins of mine to get any ideas about my throne…
But I can’t countermand my drink-oath (a thing done surreptitiously by scribes all the time)! No, Hamon’s army will still have to attack the Jews. But the Jews can defend themselves with their arms. And so, conveniently, Hamon’s loyalist army walks right into a trap. The Jews, forewarned and armed, massacre them. And then they go on to massacre people across Persia. Including the capital of Susa, which is another reason historians consider the Book of Esther to be fanfiction.
By now, Esther is clued in. She asks her beloved husband for more time so that the Jews might destroy all of their enemies in Susa. Why Susa? Isn’t that the capital? Why would the Great King ever sack his own capital? But at that time, the Persian Empire had four de facto capitals and four de facto courts, all with their own factions of satraps scheming to control the empire. Rebel satraps could be forces in themselves, ruling from their own courts as de facto independent rulers.
Let me render Esther’s request in plain English. “Beloved husband, I ask you give me permission to send the Jews to Susa, the court of your rival satraps, so they might destroy our enemies.” And the Great King smiles a cunning smile. “Anything for you, beloved wife.”
After the twelfth year of the reign of Artaxerxes III, the year of the first Purim, the Jews destroyed their enemies, who were the enemies of the Great King as well. There were no more rebellions for the rest of Artaxerxes’s reign. He was absolute from the Indus to Ethiopia.
Artaxerxes and Esther lived happily ever after…
…except he had broken one rule. Never trust a troon. Eunuchs are often elevated because they can’t have heirs, but that doesn’t make them loyal. The eunuch Bagoas had other ideas. He launched a palace coup, putting Artaxerxes III, Esther, and all his sons to death. In their place, he installed Darius III. But he did not profit by this. Darius III was the last Achaemenid. Alexander the Great came with fury. As per Plutarch, Bagaos had assassinated Alexander’s father too. (This asshole!) Darius had Bagoas put to death.
buy spandrell book:
I think the frustration with sympathetic villains vs black-and-white villains hits at the core of the Christian vs Nietzschean vs Last Man dynamic and why people are so desperate to form a synthesis, as well as the pros and cons of such a thing.
First of all, why have a simple villain that is more or less pure evil? It puts the conflict as a stark contrast. It is mythic and fairy tale like. It reduces “subversion” by having clear good guys and bad guys. But all in all, I don’t find this interesting. Why is it not interesting? Because unless they’re some kind of monster/animal or demon or elemental, they need a motivation that goes beyond “their nature”. A human villain, by which I mean any moral sapient, has a reason why they do the things they do. Motives come in a number of forms. First, simple gratification of pleasures. This is a category of things like the pursuit of power, money, physical pleasure, aesthetics for aesthetics sake. This can be interesting in many ways, but we rarely pretend this is justified. Nor do we necessarily need to. Many people who *aren’t* fictional characters are just in it for the money or the sex or art or some other thing. I wouldn’t call these sympathetic villains, but they are understandable, and they can be very entertaining. A variation on this is the “tragic backstory”. Here, the villain has a simple desire, but justified by some tragedy. “I want power” because “my cat died”. “I want to turn Boston into a beautiful statue museum” because “I grew up in an ugly modern art collection”.
Where we really veer into sympathetic villain territory is when the villain is pursuing some good *that is a genuine good*. CS Lewis might call these people bent as opposed to broken. They have goals and are active agents in pursuing their vision of the good. The tragedy and the source of conflict is, that by putting *a good* above *the good*, they end up twisted and their goals create even further harms, because they can’t see beyond the limited scope of their own aims and ambitions. The reason why people complain about sympathetic villains is that the villain can easily come off as being “better” than the hero in a number of ways. More courageous, more justified, more reasoned, wiser. But why? But how?
For us to side with the hero over the villain, the story has to make an argument that the hero is more moral than the villain. It must offer, through the hero, an even more compelling vision of the good than the villain’s. The problem with sympathetic villains is liberalism. Under the moral norms of liberal modernity, the argument made must be to preserve autonomy or to be kind. The problem with the villain is not necessarily even their aims (progressives agree with Thanos about population control), but just their means and their transgression.
The hero, therefore, represents not a will to accomplish any kind of good at all, but just a referee, a coach, giving a red card to the players of the game while not doing anything besides obstructionism. The heroes in capeshit are merely the “Will to Not Power”. The goal is not any high goal, but merely to restore the status quo, whatever it is, maybe with some reforms around the edges. It’s the Will to Grill. These heroes just want to grill. This can be done well, as in D-FENS. But note he fails, and that’s why it’s interesting.
In order to escape this praise of the status quo, the morality of niceness, you need a corrective. What is the opposite of the Will to Not Power? One opposite is the Will to Power. Sympathetic villains are uncomfortable because they have vitality. They have virtue. The Hero, the moral ideal of today, is nothing more than the Last Man, but with superpowers. And because the pursuit of excellence is anathema, these superpowers are just something that happens. Magic. Cosmic rays. A vast fortune. Nothing earned through struggle and conflict. Against this, why not raise the flag of evil? But what we are attracted to is not evil, but good, the good in the villain that enables them to do what they do. What is Genghis Khan without courage and strength?
Try to imagine a villain with no virtue at all. The only ways to get one are some elemental force of unthinking evil, a demon, or something truly pathetic. Someone totally absent of virtue is not a threat, they’re just a pathetic soyboy. Sin dissolves, it cannot build. The villain therefore has his power through his virtue and the hero through fiat – the heroes of today are soyboys with magic powers. It’s a perfect inversion of the ways things should be. The real problem with the villains is that they are bent. They pursued their vision of their good so long they forgot what The Good meant. The opposite of this is not to pursue nothing. It is to pursue The Good. It is to subject your genuine virtues and genuine goods before The Good. And this is the meaning of humility. What is more compelling than a vision of a good? A vision of The Good in its totality. Not my will, Lord, but thine. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
As we head into the Apostle’s Fast, I thought I’d share a few thoughts about fasting. This fast is a more mild fast, generally, though obviously strictness comes down to one’s own spiritual needs and what is beneficial. It’s ultimately an optional practice to grow close to God.Fasting sounds unpleasant, and it really is at first. But the light is defined by the dark. Presence is defined by absence. One of the first lessons you learn about yourself is pain and how pain defines joy. In its own way, fasting reproduces the theme of the Cross.
By depriving ourselves for a time, we really come to appreciate the joys of food when they are renewed. It is a very fine thing to sup on red meat again after Lent. It gives us an appreciation of what we’re missing. It also gives us an appreciation of different, overlooked beauties. As we fast, we develop an appreciation for the often overlooked pleasures of a vegetarian diet, and the subtleties of that living. It gives us a general relish, such that our sorrow is joy, and our joy is higher.
Americans and other moderns are often attracted to fad diets. I think, deep down, they yearn to invent or reinvent religious dietary restrictions. These have a number of benefits. As you live more and more by a calendar, it creates a seasonality and rhythm of life. It’s a frequent joke that the hardest problem for couples is for the man to choose a meal. Some say this is correlated with leadership or take-charge mentality. This doesn’t seem true to me. Moreso, it seems that moderns are spoiled for choice. Restrictions take away that choice. It provides constraints in your decision making, which makes it less burdensome. Ironically, you see how bonds make you free, which is another lesson of the Cross – that in service to the Lord, we find our freedom.
To live wholly by urges is to ruled by the body. It is to be a slave to the passions. By fasting, we break the rule of the body and attain to the state of dispassionate reason which atheists took as their false, highest end. We see that only in God do we reach our ends. On fast failure and fast-cheating, which is commonly observed in the Middle Ages and in traditional villages in which villagers gorge on shellfish or seafood during fasts. You might tut tut at the hypocrisy, but this too is a spiritual lesson. Many vegetarian foods began as fast-feast foods, like almond milk. Medieval nobles would do things like turn fish into pseudo-duck, or make fake beef from vegetables. This is an instinct we have not escaped, but only secularized. And it’s not without merit.
The ability to feast while fasting is a reminder that we can make the best of the conditions God provides for us by Providence. It mixes in with our harder, less indulgent fasting days as a mini-mirror of our lives, with our intermixed joys and sorrows, our ascents and crosses. It is also a reminder that this is not the Law, we are not Jews, and we do not live like Pharisees. We bend the Law as we will, we make the Sabbath fit for us, not fitting ourselves to the Sabbath. The fast is ultimately of value for its spiritual fruits and lessons. The fasting law can be made so strict that all fail. Can any mortal man endure a forty day total fast like our Lord? But our Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, did it while being wholly man, without cheating, without invoking miracles. He lived on his own faith. By failing our fasts, we remind ourselves no man can be redeemed by his own works, or by keeping the law, because no man can actually wholly keep the law of fasting in its entire strictness. We are all imperfect mirrors of Christ’s sinlessness as a man and his perfection.
And finally, the total fast gives us a chance to see the truth of God’s words, that we might work wonders, that we can wholly live by faith, and the power of the Holy Spirit. We renew our bonds with God. During the total fast, you might expect the feeling of death, which does occur at times. But even more so, you feel life. The Holy Spirit fills you up, making your veins burn like fire. The Spirit alone is enough energy to sustain you and even make you vigorous by faith. By being able to carry out our normal duties and activities, hiding our fasting by metaphorically anointing ourselves and making rosy our faces, we show that the Lord alone is enough to keep us, and we bear silent testimony to us being able to be in the world, but not of it. For by not eating and not being harmed and no one knowing, we bear silent vigil and silent witness to the glory of our Lord.
THREAD STARTER: ZHP ESSAY ON SPIDERMAN
Like me, you may be having some qualms about the queer monomyth. That’s because the queer monomyth is the queer story *as it self-perceives*. It sees itself as asserting its true own authenticity against an inexplicably hostile world. In reality, it is reenacting Lucifer’s fall.
The queer monomyth starts by asserting what the protagonist *is*. But in reality, it is an assertion of what the protagonist *is not*. Satan, envious of Man and God alike, wanted to be a woman and God and all he was not. Made to be a male dragon, he wanted to be a mother goddess. What the queer monomyth states as a triumph of love and acceptance is, in our Luciferian monomyth, really just the triumph of brutish power to compel others to socially affirm unreality. This is the mystery revealed every time a troon compels female pronouns. What is the opposite of this? On one level, the basic rejection. You Will Never Be A Woman. You Will Never Be A Spiderman. The queer coding of opprobrium to Spiderman is metafictional. Inside the story, obviously no one will reject or stigmatize them being Spiderman.
But the story feels queer-coded about Spiderman because of the *writers* and *audience*. The point is to assert these new characters as equally Spiderman, validly Spiderman. You are a Spiderman, Spidermen! Yas, slay, queen. But they’re not Spiderman. Spiderman is Peter Parker. When watchers pick up on Gwen Stacy being “trans”, they’re more right than they know. She’s not trans-*gender*. She’s *trans-Spiderman*.
And the question is “Why?” Because that question is ultimately a broader question than “Why Gwen?” It’s a question of why young women are going in the first place. Gwen always dies. Gwen is a sacrifice. To be a woman in a secular world is to be asked to sacrifice yourself – to be the receptive entity. You must sacrifice your youth, your body, your dreams, your identity, your very soul – for what? The atheist world provides no answer. There is no joy. Gwen always dies.
In comes the Serpent. You will be free of the curse of being woman: simply become un-woman. The only way Gwen survives is to trans. To become trans-Spiderman rather than Peter Parker’s doomed love interest. It’s a lie, of course. In reality, the doomed nature of a woman becoming a man creates a constant, unending torment. And this is, ultimately, the purpose. As the first troon, Satan wants nothing more than for more souls to join him in his eternal torment.
But the fear is real. The fear is ultimately that a young maiden is asked to sacrifice everything for what is ultimately the devouring mother goddess she is asked to become. Ungit cannot bear to look at her own terrible visage. The cure for this, of course, was for Christianity to cast down the idols. And what are the idols? Only Man in its nakedness. Ungit is deified, Ungit was only ever an unfortunate woman, Christ liberates Ungit from the terrible burden of having to be a goddess. Sacrifice need not be total self-abnegation. This failure to grapple with the subsuming is also the failure to breed. Having becoming one flesh, they still fear to make that flesh fruitful, because it will subsume the being they now are, just as marriage subsumed the individuals. And what does this point at? The lie at the heart of the queer monomyth, the reason why it is the trans monomyth. And this is also a mirror lie in the right wing. Much like the yin and yang, there is a piece of truth in the left’s narrative, and there is a lie in the right. The truth of the left is that authenticity really is the key. The lie of the right is that self-overcoming and self-transformation is possible. But the left lies about what authenticity is because it lies about what identity is. The left tells you that identity is an act of prideful willfulness while pretending it is innate. But Gwen is not really innately Spiderman. Your authenticity is to your true self. But what is your true self? It is a set of immutables and semi-immutables.
The immutables are where HBD plays in. There are certain biological realities about ourselves that we cannot change. Some are tall and some are short. Some are smart and some are dumb. Some are men and some are women. The left tells us this is all will. Social construction. The semi-mutables are our interpersonal existences, our relationships. They are only semi-mutable because they require the reciprocation of the other. You cannot be an employee without a boss. You cannot be a friend without their friendship. Here comes the need for validation.
The Lord rebuke you, Satan. You will never be a woman. You are a dragon. Come home.
Quis ut Deus?
I offer this up as my meditation on the Precious Blood and the irrevocable consecration of myself to Christ’s Most Precious Blood, which is the end of sacrifice, its completion, and reenacted. Let my waverings and doubts never overcome this, done with full knowledge and will.
Do I confess that I have seen the Lord? Yes. Do I confess I have felt the joyous presence of the Holy Spirit? Yes. Do I confess I have witnessed miracles? Yes. And yet I have crises of faith. Why?
When people have crises of faith, myself included, the issue is rarely the mere existence of God. Almost all atheists believe in a higher power or universal moral force deep down. Simulation theory, “progress”, “the Universe”, being a “decent person” – this is all Deism. I would guess 10% or less of atheists are real atheists, as in not believing in some higher force and only believing in a truly materialist world. And all of those are either autistic or sociopaths – the only paths forward in a truly empty universe. Rather, a crisis of faith comes from questioning one of two things: the Goodness of God or the Incarnation of God. Or it comes from trying to exalt ourselves to be like unto God.
One of the first doubts: Why is there evil? If God is good, why is there evil? This can come in the form of asking whether there is evil in the world or in our own lives. “If God exists, why Holocaust?” “If God exists, tfw no gf?” “If God exists, why car crash?”
Which is really just “If God good, why bad?” Most atheists aren’t *doubting* God, they’re *mad* at God. Evil can be explained away many ways. The first kind of evil, human evil, is almost comically evil to explain. It is not God that did that, but Man. Man, with free will, disorders the universe and creates evil. But then Man asks about the evils of nature. And there is a clean answer here too. Nature is a system of systems. Many evils are merely consequences of the system, the natural flipside of other positive things. If not for decay, flesh would pile up on the earth. The parasitic worm evolves to prey on free biomass. The earthquake must be because of Plate Tectonics. Because of the motions of the stars and the laws of movement, celestial objects must collide, sometimes with us. Sometimes as punishment, but sometimes… Just because. God’s love is that sometimes He bends the rules *for us*.
But all this is downstream of an even more fundamental question: “Why is reality, as it is, not perfectly pleasant?” And the answer given is always that this is the best of all possible worlds. But what does best mean? The answer of the doubter is that best should mean “most pleasant”. But this is an answer of consumption. Like a soyboy with his funko pops or a child wanting to eat candy every day. Still, why is endless consumption bad? Because in that, we forget what we *really* are. We are not called to live a hundred years of sweetness on Earth. Our home is in Heaven. And what does that mean? It mean we should be preparing for eternity, and everything not fit for eternity must perish. It means Earth is a training ground. Our crosses cause us to grow.
Life is not maximally pleasant, but maximally *interesting*. The contemplation of life and the universe is the most interesting *for eternal beings*. Imagine being not a man, but a spirit. How much joy – an eternity of joy – could you extract from just *watching*? You could watch the lives of Great Men. You could watch interpersonal dramas. You could watch the machines. You could watch the animals. There are a million times a million stories, and then you could consider alternate timelines and fates. It would truly be a fitting joy. In the end, surely, you would conclude that God was Good and Loving and that this, the literally canonical timeline, was the best of all possible timelines and all possible worlds. Not most pleasant, but most interesting, and most instructive.
The second question is not about evil, but more “Why not me?” “Why am I not rich?” “Why am I not cool?” “Why am I not strong?” “Why am I not attractive?” “Why does the Lord withhold some blessing or another from me and my nature?” “Why are we all different?”
I contend that all of us would have chosen our gifts and our blessings. When people ask these things, they usually are asking for things *they don’t actually want*.
People often ask for power, but what they want is not power. Power is ultimately responsibility. When you have power, you must always be wary of rivals and responsible for decisions. People think the strong are secure, but power is actually the ultimate *insecurity*.
People often ask for money, but what they want is not money to have, but money to have spent. Ask people what they would do with a million dollars, and almost all of them answer with how they would *spend it*. That means what you want isn’t really the money, but the other aims.
I have been tormented with not being attractive, as have many men. But what is being attractive? It is game. It is playing The Game. And why do you play the Game? To attract “Hot Girls”, which are not necessarily beautiful, but women with “Hot Girl” personalities. The reason why “Chad” gets “Hot Girls” and vice versa is because they fundamentally have compatible personalities. They’re not shit tests to “Chad”, and it’s not a game to “Chad”. They’re compatible people and they genuinely enjoy playing the Game with each other.
What I really want is not to attract “Hot Girls”, whose personalities I find fundamentally unpleasant, by playing “the Game”, which I find psychotic and unfitting to my character, but a very simple thing. I want her. I miss her.
A lot of the torment is not in being attractive or unattractive, but in sensitive young men, nerds, and others, trying to twist themselves into being attractive “Chads” when they’re not, or despairing and blackpilling about not getting something they don’t actually want.
People want strength just to be able to pick on the weak or be left alone. But strength is a duty to defend the weak and to use it. It is not an avoidance of danger, but being constantly called to it, which is also what trains and maintains strength.
People want brilliance of intellect not realizing that it raises questions everywhere, especially about God. And therefore intellect demands us to also settle our own doubts about God intellectually before we can be sated.
To be given blessings, to be given *talents*, is to be given the burden of making those talents fruitful for God, lest it be an indictment against yourself. And God will give us these talents even if they aren’t fruitful if *we truly want them*. But we don’t want what we want.
And people doubt God because they doubt the Incarnation. The Incarnation is the ultimate statement that mortal existence is also good and being Man is good, because God took Man’s shape. It is an act of Goodness and Mercy, but also consecration. Man is worthy of God too.
I have often been disgusted by the weakness of flesh and its flaws. I have yearned to replace my muscles with steel and to live forever. One is even tempted to imagine the material universe is a sham, an illusion, an evil thing to be escaped from.
But how weak is flesh, really? Muscles are efficient machines that *repair themselves* rather than needing to be repaired. Our brains are not just computers, but quantum supercomputers, and they compute so efficiently they operate near the thermodynamic entropy limits of heat. Your 110IQ midwit is roughly equivalent to three top of the line GPUs running at top speed, and he doesn’t melt his own skull like a chocolate bar in the hot summer sun. Our current chips are near physical conventional limits. We have molecular circuits. The brain is *better*. These things are mirrored across all of Creation. God is not just morally Good. God is the greatest of engineers.
Hopefully everyone enjoyed the Pope Head space last night! For anyone who missed it, I’d like to go over the exegesis of the Michael prophecy and the eschatology of the War Scroll again, because it’s extremely relevant to the current day and thinking about this conflict.
The War Scroll is one of a few Dead Sea Scrolls dealing with the Archangel Michael and the last days – collectively, we might call this the Book of Michael. It is essentially an expansion on the fourth prophecy of Balaam in Numbers 24, which it quotes as its centerpiece.
“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near.
A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.
He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the people of Sheth.
Edom will be conquered; Seir, his enemy, will be conquered, but Israel will grow strong.
A ruler will come out of Jacob and destroy the survivors of the city.”
Let’s break this down. What does this mean? I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. Michael will rise up (also see Daniel 12:1) in a distant time and a distant place, not the Levant.
Who is Moab? Moab is a rival kingdom to Israel, descended from Abraham’s nephew Lot. They are a frequent rival of Israel battling for the Holy Land. And Edom? Edom comes from Jacob’s brother Esau, their brother nation. Today we might call these Levantine Arabs and Palestines.
And Seir? Seir refers to Mount Seir, and the people who came from Seir were the Horites. The Horites founded Sodom and dwelt therein. So Seir here means the denizens of Sodom, or the Sodomites. The survivors of the city of Sodom will also be destroyed.
When Bibi refers to Isaiah, he is referring to a similar passage from Isaiah 11. “They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west; together they will plunder the people to the east. They will subdue Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will be subject to them.”
And what about Sheth? Sheth is a “Hapax legomenon”, a word that does not show up elsewhere, and thus requires specific outside interpretation. Luckily, it has a specific meaning. Sheth refers to Indian bankers. Well, that’s kind of weird.
It is, however, funny that Bibi refers to Isaiah. Ultimately, what is the center of Isaiah? The prophecy about the humiliated, rejected Messiah who will be a light unto the gentiles and save not only Israel, but the whole world.
Read straightforwardly with the Old Testament alone, the Jewish Torah, these passages together are basically just a prophecy of victory in tribal warfare and the genocide of Israel’s rival nations so that it can win control over the Holy Land. This is how Bibi reads it too.
But in the context of the fulfillment of Isaiah, the Messiah, the Christ, all of these passages take on a new light and a second meaning. Each of the tribes in these tribal wars represent something in addition to being an ethnos.
After all, the straightforward reading of Numbers 24 requires Michael to destroy not only still extant peoples in the Levant, which is easy enough, but also the Sodomites and Indian bankers, which seems very strange in the context of some desert warfare.
And if it’s just about Israel triumphing in a war in the Holy Land, why specify not only a time far in the future, but a place far away? It’s clear that the reading the Old Testament is *incomplete*. And Christ’s coming *completes* and renders whole the message.
In a Christian reading of the Bible, Israel does not only refer to the descendants of Jacob, but to what they did – believe and stay faithful to God. Israel refers not to an ethnos, but to the Church, the community of believers.
Similarly, the various rivals to Israel are not damned because of bad blood or evil genetics. Indeed, if this were so, then Ruth the Moabite would have made David accursed. From the beginning, even then, a righteous Moabite would be grafted onto Israel.
What was the crime of Moab? The daughters of Moab seduced Israel and induced its sons into sexual immorality and the worship of false idols. By harlotries, they were made to sacrifice children to Moloch and to worship Asherah, the Earth Mammy. Moab refers not just to the Moabites, a people, but to their crime. Anyone who indulges in sexual immorality and is tempted thereby to idolatry is spiritually a Moabite. The Longhouse is made of “Would”.
What about Sheth? It can refer to Indian bankers, who now flood the shores of the West and overrun the bastions of Jewish finance, certainly. And what a weird thing to prophesy in the Bronze Age, isn’t it? But in other variants, it is rendered as “the noisy boasters”. FUCK YOU BLOODY! FUCKING MOTHER BLOODY FUCK BITCH! Bitch y- FUCK YOU YOU! FUCKING BLOODY BASTARD… Benchod bloody BENCHOD YOU!! Everyone who indulges in this kind of shitflinging, in the spiritually brown lambo poasting, in online boasting – these are all sons of Sheth.
Why was Esau accursed? Why is Edom despised? Because Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of pottage. He saw the gifts of the Lord and spurned them. Esau is everyone who abandons God for the sake of a worldly pittance, the short term gain of worldly goods.
And I think the Sodomites are self-explanatory. Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
So in the context of the New Testament, this prophesy of tribal genocide takes on a new meaning. Instead of tribal Israel annihilating its neighbors in the Levant, it is a story of the struggle of the Church in the End Times.
In a time far in the future, in a place far away, Michael will rise up, and the Church will struggle against its enemies: The Longhouse, those who sell out God for pittances of the world, the noisy boasters, and the Lavender Mafia. And it will triumph.
So surely we should welcome this time, right? Not quite. Americans often look forward to the End Times, largely because they see them as a joyous time. This is mostly because of the belief in the Rapture, where the believers will be whisked away to Heaven to watch Earth burn. This is not quite Biblical. Christianity is about bearing crosses and suffering for the Lord, exemplified by Christ himself. It’s not exactly bearing a cross to enjoy a life of the Prosperity Gospel and then to watch your fellow man suffer on Earth from Heaven. But it goes deeper than that. Ultimately, Protestant Christianity has forgotten half of God. In this famous Orthodox icon, we see the duality of Jesus. Jesus is fully Man but also fully God. He suffers, but he also avenges.
They fixate on Jesus Christ as totally loving. Jesus forgives. Jesus loves. Jesus will have mercy. But Jesus is also the Judge. Jesus comes with a sword. In too much art, Jesus is only the man part of the icon. He is a soft gentle man who will forgive and love. But we are reminded not only to love the Lord… but to fear the Lord, for the Lord’s wrath is terrible indeed. Protestants have so forgotten the fear of the Lord that oftentimes American Protestantism can slide into “Jesus is my boyfriend” theology.
A detour. There is more to American theology than American Protestantism. There is also the esoteric. Masonry. I don’t like to go into Masonry too much these days because it’s largely a dead movement, irrelevant to modern elite politics. But the symbols do still live.
What is the meaning of the black-and-white checkerboard? It is a belief in the duality of evil and good, and that by walking through both evil and good, you gain a complete understanding and go to the true altar to commune with the true God, not the demiurge. Masonry draws upon gnostic theology. Inside elite occult circles, they share and discuss the Gospel of Judas, which posits that Judas was the actual elected disciple to see the true secrets of Christ, and that he founded his own hidden church. The hidden church, like Judas, is tasked to be the dark squares, to play the role of the Satan, the accuser, the Enemy, so that the game can be won and mankind can cross past the chessboard and rise to meet the true God. By playing the bad side, they can immanentize the eschaton.
Why do I bring that up? Well, even if this is no longer the dominant sect, the symbols and cultural language it created still exist as a sort of typeface for American art and occult sites and images. For instance, the Denver airport.
Just as pictures of Jesus tend towards the saccharine, the sweet, the all-too soft, like a modern youth pastor, so too do paintings of Michael droop. Very often, he looks bored, and certainly not fearsome or fierce. He languidly slays Satan. But preserved in this Masonic symbology is another side, another depiction. It is not just a Michael said to be an angel of compassion, an angel who opens up healing springs. The rainbow, the promise of peace, revoked. The dove, the bird of peace, slain. And all the world in terror. This is the face that made 1st century BC Jews whisper, in hushed tones, of the Prince of Israel, the Prince of Fear and Terror. BE NOT AFRAID.
The Day of the Lord is terrible indeed. Pray that it be postponed.
I can’t sleep so I’m just going to write about the much alleged 30IQ communication gap. I don’t think it exists as a communication gap per se. What I do think exists is an inability to truly get into the felt experience of actually living as an IQ level too distant from yours.
We’ll start with my IQ level and how I think, because this comes most naturally to me. At +3SD, I effortlessly and simply think of things with consideration to potential 2nd and sometimes 3rd order consequences because reality is arranged for me as a system of systems.
Others may view things as insights or have some deep feeling of techne that explains away what’s going on, depending on thinking style and personality, but the effect is fundamentally the same: easily grasped intuitive complexity and innate multifactor analysis. Everything is kinda easy because you don’t have to apply much brain effort to get things done, and complexity comes naturally. At +3SD, you are basically playing life on easy mode. You have to try, but not very hard.
Extrapolating upwards, I can attempt to understand the thinking of people like Moldbug, Einstein, or Spandrell, who would test in the +4SD range, at least for their strengths. Whereas I see intuitive complexity, thinkers in this range seem to shift paradigms.
Every complex model or system of systems have implicit holes which can be followed to reveal multiple worldviews which might explain the creation of this system of systems. An entire worldview is hard to digest or articulate. A +4SD thinker seems to be able to do it. Because of this, they *invent* some big idea like Relativity or Bioleninism or the Cathedral or any of von Neumann’s fifty concepts or some such. It recontextualizes the entire system of complexity and gives it a new clarity while not undoing any of the derived models. It is difficult for me to keep up, because sometimes their words seem like magic to me. I literally cannot follow. Much of the time, it takes thought-effort.
Which leads me to… +5SD. People like Terence Tao or Chris Langan. I have no idea how these people work. Listening to a Terence Tao lecture just makes me clap and go “I like your funny words, magic man.” Functionally, this man is a wizard to me. And yet both of us are trying as hard as we can to communicate, and we can communicate.21292.5KMonsieur le Baron@Mssr_le_Baron·But even if I see his conclusions, his own description of his thought process drops so many steps that, well, it may as well be magic. Tell me more, magic man.
Now going down. I will apologize in advance for any condescension. First we have the +2SD zone. In many ways, this is the zone that makes the most “sense” as an intellectual. I know what it’s like to be +2SD because that’s how good I am at math and the technical, which for me is an area of weakness. At +2SD, there’s a nice clean effort-reward curve. If you put in the work, you can construct complexity. How would I describe this?
By thinking at it, you can put together the bricks to make a crystal castle in your head, in which all the parts come together and click, but a lapse in concentration will bring it all crashing down. But with that effort, you operate at the same level as +3SD innate complexity. The rest of the time, you mostly have Good Ideas. Good Ideas are natural one step solutions to one step problems. It’s nice to be this smart. It means that if you try, you solve your normal problems, if you try hard, you can be brilliant, and you fail if you’re lazy. Nicely fair.
+1SD is the learner zone. At +1SD, you can learn things pretty easily. I know what it’s like to be +1SD, because I was a learner too. This is what I was like when I was between the ages of 5 and 9. Basically, you hear what teacher says and you repeat. You get a pat on the head. This pat on the head is very rewarding and you learn things well, so you go on learning things and repeating things. Are people in this zone capable of original thought? Actually yes, and I’ve seen it several times. What I think creates the midwit problem is a validation trap. In order to come up with their own Good Ideas, the midwit has to think and think hard, and some of these Good Ideas are actually Bad Ideas. This is naturally frustrating. It is best to just copy the ideas you hear from the Experts, who naturally have Good Ideas. To communicate with these people, I naturally revert to what Ribbonfarm would call Babytalk, but from my perspective, they actually are just my baby self, so I have no other frame of communication reference. I have to be the Expert Authority to get my ideas across.
Which leads us to 100IQ. Normal people. The Everyman. The CHUD. I have no idea what the internal experience of being this is. It seems magic, but in the other way. If they lived their lives purely intellectually, it seems like they might drown looking at the sky. But they live. What I’ve concluded is that, for the most part, they operate off a mixture of animal instinct, gut check, emotion, and peer pressure, which coalesces into something called “Common Sense”, and is basically the evolutionary wisdom of tradition. It works very, very well. Most of the time, these people are more functional in important ways than +1SD learners because tradition is anti-fragile. I believe the anti-intellectualism of the common man is because it takes them effort to be Learners and Learn things, and it actually does very little good.
A friend of mine has DMed me an old heuristic that every +1SD gained halves learning time (and thought effort?). I think this makes a lot of intuitive sense. At some point, the juice is just not worth the squeeze.
More on 0SD and -1SD from info from DMs. Sources anonymous.
0SD: I think they do something they would call “thinking” which is like the puzzle block assembly of concepts from words or the assembly of more complex intellectual procedures from simpler ones. Thinking at higher levels is more like concept-smashing, I believe. 0SDs also can reason-by-analogy to determine solutions to novel problems. The instincts can be heuristics applied to new situations.
At -1SD. people apparently become completely incapable of this kind of instinct transference or manual override thinking process. They can’t seem to assemble complex concepts at all. A sufficiently dumb person can’t assemble the concept of “time” or “future”. Without this, they depend on ritual. A -1SD person can be perfectly functional within a system of strict rituals and routines, but they will have no idea what they are doing, and if the environment is disrupted and becomes novel, they will become dysfunctional.
Another DM: the community is often the source of this tradition, and if tradition fails, alternative solutions. This is part of why the radical autonomy favored by well-meaning liberals falls so flat on its face. Saw this chart, and I think “Mastery Learning” seems to be a good descriptor of 0SD. They’re not readers. The person I know best in that range does not read, but she does learn. By repeated encounters and practice in a scenario, they build up an intuition combined with thinking.
So they have gut instinct plus mastery developed from practice plus the process of “thinking” to guide them.