Saturday, November 17, 2007

Universal Teleology in Science and Spirituality

Teleology (from the greek work Telos: end or purpose) is the philosophical inquiry of a things design, purpose, and finality. The concept of a purpose driven existence has its roots in Aristotelean science, as the fourth and final cause for which a thing exists. The question of an ultimate purpose, or final end, is of great importance to philosophy and religion as any conception of “progress” must by extension conceive of some better endpoint to which the we are “progressing to” . In this way a philosophers teleology, his conception of the purpose of the universe and mankind's being, is of significant relavence to the intentions and goals of a philosopher. George Hegel has had a significant influence on western conceptions of a universal purpose/teleology with his writings about a WeltGeist (world spirit), which dialectically moves human history towards some final perfection(whether this is Marx's classless society or Kojeve's universal liberal democracy is a hotly debated question). Religious teachings also generally involve a conception of a final purpose of humanity for which it was created and oriented. Hinduism, like Christianity, conceives of a spiritually regressive world that will reach it's end when the Kalki(the 10th Avatar of Vishnu) the "Destroyer of Darkness" will come from heaven riding a white horse to end the Kali Yuga(most spiritually degenerate age) and begin a more spirituality enlightened age. With the unabated and exponential progress of technological (and by extension social) development since the industrial revolution, many philosophers have begun to wonder anew, what is the final purpose of humanity? Where is technological development ultimately leading us? The commonalities between the secular scientific teleology of futurist Raymond Kurzweil's technological singularity, and the evolutionary spiritual teleology of Jesuit philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's Omega Point, and Sri Aurodindo's Supermind are the 20th centuries religio-scientific answers to these questions.

The technological singularity(for all of my readers who are unaware of the impending apocalypse) is the point at which the exponential growth in computing technology will begin to self-develop independent of the control of human beings, in an method and with effects that are inconceivable to human beings before the singularity. For example, as computing technology is developing at an exponential rate, there may come a time soon when mankind could conceivably create an ultra intelligent machine which would be vastly more intelligent than any possible human mind, and the collective potential of all human minds. This hypothetical ultra intelligent machine could conceivably design machines that no human mind could possibly conceive of, designing successive generations of progressively more intelligent machines, independent of human input and control. At this point, human minds would forever be as obsolete and unnecessary as mechanical computation could effective think for humanity. With the exponential and unabated development of computing technology, many philosophers, futurists and scientists have been long expecting and preparing for the impending singularity. Inventor and futurist Raymond Kurzweil has written prolifically about the changes that will begin to take place during and after the advent of the singularity. In his 1987 book, “the Age of Spiritual Machines” he describes the process through which technology is exponentially developing towards the singularity event, and he expects that the singularity will come about before 2050.
Of more importance to philosophy than Kurzweil's futurist speculations, are his teleological justifications for hopefully anticipating the singularity, an event which Kurzweil admits will mark the end of human history as we know it. Kurzweil conceives of 6 epochs of universal history. The first four epochs of the universe's history involve the creation of the Earth, biological life, the evolution of man and the development of human civilization. The 5th epoch of the universe is the merger of human intelligence with human technology(which can be conceived of as a process begun with the industrial revolution) ultimately leading to the technological singularity, and the exponential development of machine-human consciousness. The 6th and final epoch that Kurzweil describes is the age in which human/machine civilization will explosively expand into the cosmos, consuming and mechanizing all the matter in the universe until the universe reaches a saturated state, in which all inanimate matter will be collectively incorporated into a universal human/machine consciousness. This final end and purpose of the universe, is the point at which the universe becomes self-aware its existence. The final teleology of mankind, for Kurzweil, is an omni prescient and omni powerful entity encapsulating all of space time. A God of man's creation, is to be man's purpose and final destiny. As novel (and perhaps blasphemous) as this might sound, it is not an entirely novel idea. Isaac Asimov, in his celebrated 1956 short story “the Last Question”, proposed the same secular scientific justification and purpose for humanity and the universe to exist. It seems that men without faith in God, often place their hope in the progressive nature of technology to give their lives some purpose and ultimate teleological justification.

Kurzweil and 20th century science fiction writers are not alone in conceiving of a universal consciousness as the universe's ultimate teleology. Many emanationistic philosophers have historically entertained a similar idea that the purpose of the material universe, which emanated from God is the actual creation and reunification of the Universe as God. The great Persian polymath Avicenna, speculated that if the universe cannot have an infinite past and cannot last for an infinite amount of time, there must be some first cause and some final end. Since God was the first cause and creator of the universe, God must also be the final cause and ender of the universe, lest the future go on and on infinitely. He therefore hypothesized that the universe was ultimately moving towards a final teleological end, involving the union of all material with God. The Hindu mystic and evolutionary philosopher Sri Aurobindo wrote a detailed account of how this mystical process would come about. In his magnum opus, the Life Divine, Aurobindo conceived of the entire material universe moving progressively towards a supra mental divinized state, in which all matter would become transcendently conscious, allowing for the creation of an infinite unitary truth-conscious or Supermind; simultaneously transcendent and omni powerful.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French Jesuit trained as a philosopher and a paleontologist, conceived of a similar notion of orthogenetic(progress driven) evolution leading to an ultimate teleological goal which he called the Omega Point. For Chardin, the universe as a whole progressively moves towards more complex and simultaneously more conscious states by a means that he calls the Law of Complexity/Consciousness. The forming of stars, planets, life forms, and human intelligence are the means by which the universe complexifies itself to gain a greater degree of consciousness. The complexification of the universe is only possible because a grand designer and higher intelligence is drawing all matter towards itself, bringing all of it's creation towards a progressively greater union with the creator. The Omega Point, the end of this long process of complexification, is the point at which the universe is self aware and self reflective, immediately aware of the totality of the universe. Chardin points out that for a higher intelligence to bring about such an end, it must be both the prime mover and the final end purpose. As no conceivable material being can possibly be both the beginning(Alpha) and the end(Omega) of the universe, the aforementioned designer must be transcendent, immaterial, and beyond spaciotemporal constraints.

For all these philosophers, an omniprescient, omnipowerful supermind is the teleological end of all technological, spiritual, and biological development. With man's place in the universe rapidly changing due to unabated technological development, it behooves us to be mindful of science's warnings of a long expected technological singularity, as well as God's warnings of an ultimate and final end.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Land of Equals:The Coldest of All Cold Monsters pt. 2

“One still works, for work is a form of entertainment. But one is careful lest the entertainment be too harrowing. One no longer becomes rich or poor: both require too much exertion. Who still wants to rule? Who obey? Both require too much exertionNo shepherd and one herd! Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: Whoever feels differently goes voluntarily into a madhouse.” (Nietzsche; Portable Nietzsche pg. 130)

The 21st century is a time apart from history, a time of supranational states and democracies. The mechanization of labor and production through industrialization, has increasingly led to what seems to be an infinite abundance, readily and plentifully available. Democracy and egalitarian idealism afford near equal socio political recognition to all persons. It would seem that all of our wants have been satisfied, save for the perfection of plenty and equality. So it should seem, but for the gnawing sense of impersonal isolation and malaise that afflicts us in the moment of our triumph. Why is it that we don't feel like celebrating the Pax Americana? Might it be because we know in our hearts that there will be no more battles, no tests of greatness to set apart patrician from plebeian, noble from commoner? Because we know that we've traded the our pride for equanimity and equality. And so the greatest objection a person can make to modern liberal democratic states, a system in which all wants are satisfied, is the objection of the spirit.“Nietzsche believed that no true human excellence, greatness or nobility was possible except in an aristocratic society. In other words, true freedom or creativity could arise only out of megalothymia, that is the desire to be recognized as better than others. Even if people were born equal, they would never push themselves to their own limits if they simply wanted to be like everyone else. For the desire to be recognized as superior to others is necessary if one is to be superior to oneself. This desire is not merely the basis of conquest and imperialism, it is also the precondition for creating of anything worth having in life, whether great symphonies, paintings, novels, ethical codes, or political systems. Nietzsche pointed out that any form of real excellence must initially arise out of discontent, a division of the self against itself and ultimately a war against the self with all the suffering that entails: “one must still have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star”. Good health and self satisfaction are liabilities. Thymos is the side of man that deliberately seeks out struggle and sacrifice, that tries to prove that the self is something better and higher than a fearful, needy, instinctual, physically determined animal. Not all men feel this pull, but for those that do, thymos cannot be satisfied by knowledge that they are merely equal in worth to all other human beings.” (Fukuyama; the End of History p.305)These are the philosophical objections to the democratic state. Far from being the endpoint and fulfillment of all political advancements, democracy is but one among many viable forms of government. The nature of the 'polis' (the city state) was understood in antiquity to both reflect and affect the 'demos' (people). Democracy was said to be characterized by th 'pathos' (bodily passions) at the expense of the 'logos' (logic) and most especially, the 'thymos'(spirit or pride). Because of this democracy was widely reviled as demagogic and unstable, interested only the immediate passions of the constituents. Plato wrote

“Democracy is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder, and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequal alike...the democratic man always surrenders to his desires, allowing those desires to rule over him... Whether it is a matter of art, music or politics, it is only the ‘best men’ who are capable of true judgment. The true judge must not allow himself to be influenced by the gallery nor intimidated by the clamor of the multitude. Nothing must compel him to hand down a verdict that belies his own convictions. It is his duty to teach the multitude and not to learn from them.”Alexis de Tocqueville wrote as much when he visited early 19th century America to study the effects of democracy and egalitarianism on the new American 'polis'.“The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men. All equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty paltry pleasures with which they glut themselves. Each of them, living apart, is as a stranger to the fate of all the rest; his children and his private friends constitute to him the whole of mankind. As for the rest of his fellow citizens, he is close to them, but he does not see them; he touches them, but does not feel them; he exists only in himself and for himself alone; and if his kindred still remain to him, he may be said to have lost his country.

Above this race of men stands an immense tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, it's object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood; It is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. (Tocqueville p.336)”Tocqueville like Nietzsche, understood that an Aristocracy('aristos-kratia' means 'the best rule') could have a potentially moralizing effect on society, because it is only in societies with a noble class that a person will have the social incentive to aspire to the highest degrees of excellence. The moral, intellectual, and spiritual perfection that the nobility of urban industrial societies so vehemently cultivated, was their claim to perpetual superiority. In an age when the aristocracy no longer decided battles through martial gallantry, the distinguishing mark of a nobleman became that of his gentlemanly character. The aspiring bourgeois who would have their name counted among the nobility must also have cultivated a nobility of character. In aristocratic societies, the aristocrats are the trend setters, and culture is modeled in their image.In a Democracy, no political party or ideology has precedence over another. The people are the sole arbiter of legislation. In the land of equals where no person can claim superiority, all mannerisms and lifestyles tolerated, and the number of voters determines our values. In this way democracy is closely linked to moral relativism, and the most profane ideas can be put to the ballot. The ballot! that unthinking, unwilled consciousness of a nation, with the guidance only of the majority.

"In a situation in which all moralisms and religious fanaticisms are discouraged in the interest of tolerance, in an intellectual climate that weakens the possibility of belief in any one doctrine because of an overriding commitment to be open to all that the strength of the community life has declined in America. This decline has occurred not despite liberal principles but because of them. This suggests that no fundamental strengthening of community life is possible unless individuals give back certain of their rights to the communities, and to accept the return of certain historical forms of intolerance. (Fukuyama; the End of History p.327)Tacitus said that “the Roman's created a desert and called it peace”. And in the same manner, in the “Pax Americana” we've created a desert of the spirit. So it is that the oppression of democracy makes the spirit weep. The spirited pride of man, which is loath to tolerate the indignity of equal dignity. The spiritual aesthetic which cannot applaud the minimalist egalitarian fashions of art and culture. The spirit of nobility which cannot celebrate the devaluing values of relativism and tolerance. The spirit of action which demands long lasting, virile leadership, in place of bourgeois consensus and majoritarian flippancy. And the spirit of faith, which will not recognize any form of legitimacy that is not oriented towards the heavens. These are manifold offenses against the spirit from which all men suffer in the coldest of all cold monsters.

“Somewhere there are still peoples and herds, but not where we live, my brothers: here there are states. State? What is that? Well then, open your ears to me, for now I shall speak to you about the death of peoples.State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it tells lies too: and this lie crawls out of it's mouth: “I, the state, am the people”. This is a lie! It was creators who created peoples and hung a faith and a love over them: thus they served life.It is annihilators who set traps for many and call them “state”: they hang a sword and a hundred appetites over them...” (Nietzsche, Thus spoke Zarathustra)[Thank you for reading the Second part of the series "the Land of Equals". I hope you'll continue to read my articles when I publish the 3rd part of this inquirery into the merits of Democracy and Egalitarianism when I publish "the Land of Equals: Divine Right of Kings".]

The Land of Equals: Hierarchy and Caste pt. 1

The idea of hierarchy has been much maligned in the 20th century. Noam Chomsky said that “all hierarchy is in some way oppression”. Oppression! As if to imply that when one person is given governance over another, injustice occurs. The radical nature of this position should quickly become apparent as it means to say that the stewardship of the government over their peoples and even an individual father’s paternity over their families is unjust and oppressive, without regard either to their benevolence, or their natural entitlement. But this is a sentiment of the 20th century, where patriarchy and monarchy are considered signs of feudal backwardness and injustice. With the prevalence of egalitarian idealism, and the affiliation of popular culture with the bourgeoning middle class, modernity has come to mean social, political, and economic equality. The hierarchy that was once known to exist in all things has been denied and inverted in the modern era; the body now governs the mind, the people now govern the state and there is no recognition of excellence because equality recognizes all peoples and lifestyles as equally valid. I will attempt to show in this multi part essay, that the Caste system is the most just form of social stratification, that all hierarchy is ubiquitous to human history as a reflection of divine providence and the objective truth of human nature, that opposition to hierarchy is a blasphemous illusion of outdated enlightenment tomfoolery, with no grounding in empirical reality or the ideal state.

The word "caste" is in actuality a misnomer taken from the Portuguese word “casta (Encarta Encyclopedia)”. The people of the south Indian subcontinent, with whom the Caste system is most readily identified, have believed for millennia that it is the most just system, both natural and universal. Hinduism teaches that all persons belong, by virtue of the nature of their immortal soul, to one of four castes, these being called the Brahmin(priests/intellectuals), Kshatriya(warrior/rulers), Vaisya(merchants), Sudra(workers). These castes are roughly analogous to the western Medieval tradition of clergy, nobility, burghers, and peasants, and also to the Persian tradition of Athreva (lords of fire), Rathaesthra (warriors), Vastriya-fshuyant (merchants), and Huti (workers)[Evola]. In the Hindu dharmic tradition, there is a belief that the soul is borne into the caste befitting it’s nature. A passionate soul is borne into the warrior caste, a pious contemplative soul into the priestly caste, and a kingly soul into a Prince.

“The varna system was based on a person’s characteristics, temperament and their innate “nature.” The Vedas describe one’s nature as being a mixture of the three gunas – tamas, rajas and sattva. Depending on the relative proportions of each of these gunas, one would be classified as a Brahmin, Kshetriya, Vaishya or Shudra. For example, Brahmins who perform much of the intellectual, creative and spiritual work within a community have a high proportion of sattva and low proportions of tamas and rajas. A kshetriya who is inclined toward political, administrative and military work has a high proportion of rajas, a medium proportion of sattva and a low proportion of tamas. A Vaishya who performs the tasks of businessman, employer and skilled laborer also has a high proportion of rajas but has relatively equal proportions of sattva and tamas, both of which are lower than rajas. Last, a shudra who performs the unskilled labor in society has a high proportion of tamas, a low proportion of sattva and a medium proportion of rajas.” (Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji)In Plato's Republic, the ideal state is also subdivided along caste line (philosopher kings, guardians, and producers). Plato recognized that there was a hierarchy of a just man’s soul in the same manner as there was hierarchy in a just society, the two being correlated and reflective of each other's perfection.“Justice is produced in the soul, like health in the body, by establishing the elements concerned in their natural relations of control and subordination; whereas injustice is like a disease and means that this natural order in inverted” (Plato; Republic)

Aristotle believed that the natural world provided a guide for an understanding of “human nature”, and in that way showed how men should live based on empirical observations. He observed that there was a hierarchy in nature; the mind governs the body, the master governs his slaves, the husband governs his wife, children obey their parents. He believed that the perfection of a just society should reflect the perfection of the natural order. The unequal distribution of the “reasoning parts of the soul” mirrors the Hindu tradition of “gunas”.“That one should command and another obeys is both necessary and expedient. Indeed, some things are divided right from birth, some to rule, and some to be ruled…For rule of free over slave, male over female, man over boy, are all different, because while parts of the soul are present in each case, the distribution is different” (Aristotle, the Politics Iv)

Like the Greek philosophers, English political theorist Thomas Hobbes conceived that hierarchy was the ideal. But for Hobbes this was the case because it was inevitable and justifiable in order to preserve our liberty and saftey in the “state of nature”. "The end of obedience is protection, wheresoever a man seeth it, either in his own or in another's sword, nature applieth his obedience to it, and his endeavor to maintain it." (Thomas Hobbes; Leviathan, Chapter XXI)A turn of the century English Tory, Anthony Ludovici, attempted to show the necessity of hierarchy, which he, like Aristotle and Plato, viewed as the recognition that the superior men should be utilized by lesser men for the good of everyone. “Thus superiority is inseparable from our idea of the ruler; because the ruler is essentially a protector, and only where men see or experience superiority do they always see and experience protection. Superior power is and always has been the shelter of the weak. Superior strength is and always has been something to cling to; while superior knowledge is and always has been something awakening trust and confidence. It is the marked superiority of the adult in strength, knowledge and power that first captivates and makes a voluntary slave of the child. It is the marked, though momentary, superiority of the Alpine guide which makes the tourists in his charge like unto menials doing his bidding....Since men are born unequal, and natural distinctions between them as regards nobility, strength, beauty, size, intelligence and elevation of spirit are undeniable, the wisest rĂ©gime is the one in which these distinctions are not ignored or overlooked, but exploited, placed, used and turned to the best advantage. Admitting that some must and can rule, there will be others who will have to supply the community with the material needs of life, others who will be the servants of these, and so on, until that labourer is reached whose capacities fit him only for the plough or the spade. ”(Anthony M. Ludovici; A Defence of Aristocracy, p.8)

The hierarchical caste system, as it has been manifested in all pre-modern societies, is understood in the Hindu tradition to be the recognition of the unequal disparity of natural endowments. All men are apparently not “created equal”, but created with an unequal allotment of characteristics and talents. When the inequity of birth and circumstance are recognized, it becomes apparent that there can be no social or economic equality for such a thing would presuppose that peoples were borne with equal allotment of the aforementioned “Gunas”. Inequality of birth, in physical form and mental faculty necessarily compels men to different occupations and social castes. While these stratifications of labor are not codified in our laws, they are apparent in our society. The military is set apart from civilians in military bases and provided for by the lower castes in exchange for their martial services. The intellegensia and clergy too are segregated from the bourgeois and the proletariat in a similar fashion, and provided for in exchange for their intellectual and spiritual leadership. In a liberal democratic state, all of the above castes are present, and provided for in exchange for the services they render, while being segregated from each other in culture and company.

The stratification of society into different castes was understood in the pre-modern world as both ideal and necessary. Indeed in the Hindu tradition, the Kali Yuga, which is the lowest age of spiritual degeneration, is described in part as “the unrestrained mingling of the castes and the decline of the rites.” [Bhagavad Gita]. This degenerative and involutional view of history is at odds with the modern evolutionary and progressive view of ‘enlightenment’. It is the guiding maxim of our Republic that “all men are created equal” irregardless of all natural inequality. We accept the ideals of the Revolution; equality, fraternity, and liberty; as the highest, most divine revelations of our enlightened liberal democratic state. We believe that hierarchy of every kind implies oppression, whether it is from a father, a husband, or a King. For the modern world, justice is the land of equals, without excellence or ignominy, without nobility or serf. Today only the citizen remains, free and equal, in a fatherless world.

The Fashions of a True Ladyship: Veils and Dresses

Dresses epitomize womanhood in the Western world. It has been the case since the western man adopted pants to replace the tunic in the 6th century (an aspect of the west's Germanic barbarian heritage). It is the way we differentiate between the silhouette's of men and women on the signs when we go to the restroom. The reason dresses are the indelible image of womanhood is due to the symbolic nature of pants and dresses. All clothing is symbolic(fashion is a type of art reflective of culture and philosophy) and dress in particular symbolize womanhood because they more fully embody the ideal of a true Ladyship, by which I mean the objective understanding of what men find attractive in the fairer sex, those things being passivity, domesticity, flirtatiousness, daintiness, childrearing, coital love, piety and fertility. These defining aspects of womanhood are immutable. Although you may take offense at the above listed nature of humanity, we all tacitly reaffirmed these attributes through our attempts to find a partner. All flirtation and courtship is a reaffirmation of what it is to be masculine and feminine because, it is only by fulfilling the obligation of our form that we can attract the opposite sex.

You might say that these things might once have been true but times have changed. Not so. The nature of sexual attractiveness in women is objective, immutable, and incontrovertible because it is directly related to the constant and unchanging physiology of men and women. What men find attractive in women is therefore fixed because the physiology of humanity has been relatively unchanged throughout recorded history. In this way the ideal form of femininity is fixed and unchangeable without regard for cultural context or time period. What men find attractive in women, the form of a true ladyship is objectively identifiable. It is the same now as it was in the time of Nebuchadnezzar. In short, femininity is sexy and sexy is timeless and universal.

What's not sexy is feminism (not to be confused with femininity) which is directly responsible for the disappearance of our beloved dresses and the adoption of pants by the “new woman”. Like all fashions, pants are symbolic of a thing, in this case masculinity because of the way in which pants symbolize activity through the allowance of physical and outdoor motion without encumbrance. This is in direct contract to dresses which symbolize passivity through the cumbersomeness of their form. As passivity and activity are symbolic of the sexes because of the active and passive nature of masculine and feminine sexuality, dresses are symbolic of femininity and pants of masculinity. In this way the wearing of pants by women is incontrovertibly represents the masculinization of the fairer sex, which as we mentioned before is not at all attractive.“these innovations set the stage for "unisex" fashions, which were developed in the 1960s. Both men and women wore blue jeans, "hipsters" and close fitting pants with zip fly fronts. The spirit of this latest association of pants with social and sexual liberation can be seen in Alice Walker's novel The Color Purple (1982), in which the social victory of the heroine culminates in her opening of a unisex jeans shop. In addition to jeans, pant-suits became popular with women in fabrics ranging from PVC and lurex to velvet and satin.Since the 1960s, women's pants have run the gamut of trends from the bell-bottoms of the 1970s and the skin-tight jeans of the 1980s, to the return of bell-bottoms and tight jeans in the 1990s. The fashion, however, is not yet entirely divorced from its controversial beginnings. Only in the 1990s has the issue over whether women should wear pants in the workplace cooled, aided by the phenomenon of "business casual" days. Perhaps a greater indicator of the merge in the feminist and fashionable aspect of women's pants is reflected in the 1998 Miss America Pageant, where a number of the contestants, having been allowed, for the first time, to choose their outfits for the introductory number, came out wearing jeans.”Another oft missed aspect of ladies fashion is the veil, a scarf or head covering for the sake of feminine modesty:“Most people think of the veil solely in terms of Islam, but it is much older. It originated from ancient Indo-European cultures, such as the Hittites, Greeks, Romans and Persians. It was also practiced by the Assyrians. Veiling had class as well as gender implications; thus, the ancient Assyrian law required it of upper class women while punishing commoners for it. The strong association of veiling with class rank, as well as an urban/peasant split, persisted historically up until the last century. Then more privileged women began rejecting the veil, as did Egyptian feminist Huda Sharawi, while poor women increasingly adopted it as a ticket to upward mobility. (A similar dynamic occurred with foot binding in modern China.) The contraposition of The West versus Islam certainly has historical roots, but these two systems have similarities as well as differences. Women in medieval Europe dressed more like women in the Muslim world than is generally realized. It was customary, especially for married women, for them to cover their hair with various kinds of headdresses. Paintings of urban women in western Europe often show everything covered except the face and hands. It was common to drape the neck and even sometimes the lower face in a wimple. This became part of the classic nun's garb that represents the most conservative style of female dress in the Christian world. It drew on the traditional head-veil of patrician Roman women, though the wimple may have Hunnic roots.

Nawal al-Saadawi remarked that "makeup is the post-modern veil," pointing out its near-compulsory use in certain contexts. That was certainly my experience growing up in the Midwest many decades ago. It remains so in the workplace, at the employer's whim, according to a ruling by the California Supreme Court in 2000. The judges upheld the firing of Darlene Jesperson, a longtime bartender at Harrah's Casino in Reno, for refusing new requirements that women wear lipstick, face powder and mascara on the job. This court decision also allows employers to dictate dress, hair length, and other grooming decisions for their employees.”As mentioned above, the veil has historical roots in all Indo-European cultures. Greek women were not to be seen in public with their head unveiled. Roman men and women veiled their head's during sacred rites and rituals. Medieval European women as late as the renaissance wore veils when in public. In eastern Europe and the Middle East, veiling is still the norm for all respectable women. But the only time you'll see a western woman today with her hair veiled is during a traditional mass as the veil is proscribed by the gospels and is an indelible part of Christian worship:

“For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head. In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice nor do the churches of God." (1Cor. 11:3-16, NIV) "Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man." ( 1Cor 11:4-7, NIV)”Veils are an important aspect of feminine fashion because they reinforce the defining aspects of femininity, which in this case are piety, submissiveness, modesty, chastity, and purity. The veil is also a symbol of the “sacred feminine” or the divinity of women, who alone are the wellspring of human procreation.“The enduring security of the race lies in the mystery of this figure, in the presence of which man feels hiw own fleeting impermanence. The mother feels herself in a sense superior to the man; she knows herself to be the anchor; as she is in a secure place, linked to the chain of generations, she may be likened to a harbor from which each new individual sails forth to wander on the high seas. The mother is in complete relation with the continuity of the race; the mother is the sole advocate and preistess of the race. The will of the race to live is embodied in her.” (Weininger, Sex and Character p.223)

In recognition of the divinity of womanhood, women are expected to veil themselves(in particular their hair, which is considered be sexual) from sight. The sanctity of the feminine vessel is veiled in the same way that the Ark, Tabernacle, and Eucharist are to be veiled from sight lest their majesty be witnessed by the impious. In recognition of the divinity of women, men are expected to remove their hats in the presence of a Lady, just as they do during other sacred rituals such as the Holy Mass and the national anthem. In recognition of this, it's proscribed by Sharia law that women cover their heads in public.The androgynous masculinization of the modern woman, through the donning of pants, suits, uncovered shoulders, and unveiled hair, is in a sense led to the slow whorification of ladyhood. In discarding feminine dress and modest veil, women seem to have symbolically discarded femininity and modesty(the virtues of women) in favor of sexual virility, promiscuity, and immodesty (the vices of men). But as it has already been established that the ideal form a true ladyship is a constant immutable aspect of humanity understood through sexuality, this strange new development can only represent a bizarre aberration of a perverse and ignoble culture. Dresses and veils are an essential part of the attire of any true ladyship, and should be worn

The Warrior Aesthetic: the Perennial understanding of Jihad

The call of Jihad, or holy war , appears in all traditions. Even in Christianity which, as it is characterized by pacifism, seems diametrically opposed to a religious sanctification of organized murder, there is an understanding of the Warrior Aesthic. By this I mean the spiritual, almost purgatorial, purification of the warrior through the horrors of combat. In the world of tradition, the “Solar Path” of enlightened gnosis that leads to the Kingdom of Heaven, and the beatific communion with the demiurgic godhead, is to be found in aesthetic martyrdom of Jihad.

“The aesthetic warriors who gave up the pleasures of the world in order to pursue a discipline not practiced in the monasteries but on the battlefield, and who were animated by a faith consecrated more by blood and victory than by prayer.” [Evola RatMW p.86]

“[in the] Persian-Aryan and also Hellenic view of the world, which often saw in material warfare the reflection of a perennial cosmic struggle between the spiritual Olympian-Uranian element of the cosmos and the Titanic, demonic-feminine unrestrained elements of chaos on the other hand.” [Evola RatMW p. 166] “This is the metaphysical justification of war... the transcendent war waged by the “form” against chaos and the forces of the inferior nature that accompany it.” [Evola RatMW p. 123]

The Olympian vs. Titan struggle that he's referring to was symbolic of the eternal conflict between civilizaiton and barbarism, between order and chaos, between constructed and natural, between masculine and feminine, between soul and body. Evola alludes also to how the conflict between warriors is connected to the internal conflict within the warrior between the rational Logos (which in the platonic/christian/hindu understanding is synonymous with the gnosis or communion with the demiurgic godhead) and the Pathos (bodily passions of materialism and sin). In overcoming the natural material animalistic passions and aesthetically sacrificing in the “cleansing almost purgatorial fire that one experiences before death(St. Bernard of Clairfax)” “the warrior evokes in himself the transcendent power of destruction; he takes on, becomes transfigured in it and free, thus breaking loose from all human bonds.[Evola RatMW p.123]”

"I am all powerful time which destroys all things, and I have come here to slay these men. Even if thou dost not fight, all the warriors facing thee shall die. Arise therefore! Win thy glory, conquer thy enemies and enjoy thy Kingdom. Through fate of their own karma I have doomed them to die: be thou merely the means of my work... tremble not, fight and slay them. " -Krishna Bhagavadgita

Koran- “Let those who would exchange the life of this world for the hereafter fight for the cause of Allah; whether they die or conquer, we shall be richly rewarded” [Koran 4:76]”

“the Greater Holy War is of an inner and spiritual nature; the other is the material war waged externally against an enemy population with the particular intent of bringing the “infidel” population under the rule of “God's Law” (Al-Islam). The relationship between the “greater” and “lesser” holy war however mirrors the relationship between the soul and the body;” -Evola p. 119

Gospels- “Whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it” [Mathew 16:25]”

Hindu Scripture- “In death, thy glory in heaven, in victory thy glory on Earth. Arise therefore, with thy soul ready to fight.” [Bhagavadgita 4.1-2]

“The military profession, both worthy and necessary, has been instituted by God himself” [John of Salibury]
Chinese texts- “Prepare for war with peace in thy soul. Be in peace in pleasure and pain, in gain and loss, in victory or in loss of a battle. In this peace there is no sin.” []Mencius 3.2]

With the above evidence of the connection between the spirit and the warrior, what are we to make of the Patriotic warrior of 21st century America who worships the divinity of the state, and the secular enlightenment principles on which it was founded? How can the intimitely spiritual nature of the Warrior Aesthetic be reconciled with the Godless and secular nature of the State and modernity in general?

Leonidas: Champion of Vice and Existentialism

11:46pm Monday, Mar 12
Can a movie be too awesome? If moderation is required in all things, then “300” is a grave sacrilege against the commandments of moviemaking. But the blasphemy of Frank Miller goes far beyond his contempt for the limits of “badass-ness”. With this 21st century rendition of the epic Battle of Thermopylae, Miller has cast Jerard Butler in the image of a postmodern messiah. But where Jesus was a prophet of Christianity, Leonidas is a martyr for existentialism and America’s vice.

First off, there was a gratuitous amount of sex and violence in this movie. I probably only saw about a third of it cause I was covering my eyes during all the killing and nakedness. There were people without clothes! That alone makes this movie questionable. But it gets worse because those same people do very naughty things (I’ll leave it to your imagination if you haven’t already seen it). Did I mention the violence? If there is such thing as a pornographic orgy of death, this is it. There are actually scenes where Leonidas can be seen hacking into a nameless Persian’s abdomen as all his limbs miraculously separate from his body. I guess I should’ve known what to expect from a movie with a blood soaked movie poster.

If sex and violence weren’t enough, this movie ironically betrays the principles that it seeks to instill in the audience. It talks about virtue, honor, and reason, but what reason is there in this senseless orgy of violence and sex? How dishonorable is this over sexual and hyper-violent portrayal of women and warfare? How debasing and ignoble is it to illicit our lust and our passion with these scenes of rapine and violence? The thin veneer of civic virtue in this movie serves only to obscure the blatant promotion of vice for purpose of shameless corporate profits.

Was I the only one who saw the blatant parallels between the martyrdom of Leonidas and the crucifixion of Christ? If you didn’t here’s a recap: Xerxes plays the part of Satan/False God tempting the Christ figure of Leonidas. Ephialtes plays the part of Judas and betrays Leonidas. Leonidas even forgives Ephialtes (“I hope you live a long life”) just like Jesus. Leonidas sacrifices his life in a final pose eerily reminiscent of a crucifixion. Finally, the story of Leonidas/Jesus is retold eternally leading to the eventual defeat of the Persians/Romans and the triumph of the Greece/Christianity over barbarism/paganism.

I would normally find such biblical parallels refreshing, if it weren’t for the manner in which Miller’s movie actively touts the impending triumph of “reason” over “mysticism”. I’m not sure I can applaud a movie loaded with biblical allusions that seems to renounce mysticism/religion (notice the pedophile Ephors). Didn’t we already see this show once with Voltaire and Robespierre during the revolution? I thought we had gotten over this idea. I’m not sure whether this is an allusion to Aristotelianism, the Enlightenment, or Existentialism but it all speaks of a grave misunderstanding of Philosophy, Religion, and History. Does Miller forget that the 21st century has rejected the Platonic and Christian ideas of reason and virtue? Even the Greeks weren’t entirely rational empiricists. Platonic ideas of metaphysical dualism predated Christian dualism and people have always liked Plato more than Aristotle.So what are we to make of Miller’s Leonidas, this messiah of the modern world? To me, he seems a martyr for existentialism, the idea that a person’s individual existence defines a world devoid of objective truth or morality (hence the prolific amount of sex and violence). Leonidas is a romantic hero who fights against the oppression of hierarchical societies (Persia) and mysticism/religion. He’s a champion of individualism who will not suffer conformity or submission to authority. He is an American messiah in a uniquely 21st century movie.

Santa is Satan: the False Idol of American Consumerism

America is thought to have no unifying faith, but I believe we worship at the altar of shopping malls through the veneration of our purchases. Capitalism is the faith that binds American society and it's patron saint is Santa Claus.

Don't be ashamed if you don't recognise father Christmas, he's an obscure old Christian saint. Santa Claus is an evil pagan construct altogether different from jolly old St. Nicholas pictured here.

He was once known as St. Nicholas, the 3rd century Bishop of Myra in modern Turkey. He is in fact the patron saint of sailors, as he was a sailor and fisherman during his life and once saved a fellow sailor on a voyage to Alexandria. Today he is commonly associated with Christmas, and the gift giving that the is apart of the western Christmas tradition. But Santa Claus is an idol of the Amercan phyche as perversely distorted in character as a his butchered name is in pronunciation (Santa Claus is a mispronunciation of the Dutch word 'Sinterklaas'). Santa is the personification of the holiday season (the secular term for the Christmas festivities), and as its' embodiment, he urges us to indulge in the gluttony of consumerism under the auspices of representing Christianity and the gift giving spirit.

You may think he's jolly, but he'll consume your soul if you're too concerned with material wealth and capital gain.

In reality Santa is a false, pagan idol of our secular, capitalistic society. The queer pagan symbolism of elves and reigndeer serve to mask the suffering of the global proletariate who do not share the benefits of of America's gluttonous desire to consume (which is ironically represented in Santa's own obesity). The name Santa Claus itself seems a diliberate attempt to secularize 'father Christmas' and remove him from a christian context so that he might be more readily acceptable to America's atheist and agnostic citizenry. Santa Claus embodies the growing preoccupations of materialism and capitalism in our culture. When American Christians should use the Christmas holiday to reflect on the unique mysteries of their faith, they are instead concerned with pagan elves and reigndeer. As an obese, old, toymaker, he represents our shared vices of consumerism, sloth, and gluttony. Santa Claus is a false idol of our perverse modern society and is undeserving of veneration intended for Jesus on the day of his birth.

If 'God is Dead' capitalism is the new faith that unifies American society. The dollar is our eucharist ,the malls are our temples, and Santa Claus is our patron saint.

American egalitarian vs. hierarchical Victorian society? Tell me what you think

I've been thinking lately about the pros and cons of a Victorian style society with clearly defined social, economic, and political stratifications as opposed to our contemporary American society that promotes a sense (however unrealistic) of egalitarianism(equality) both socially and politically.

In the English Vicotorian era, economic and social classes were clearly distinguishable based on wealth, mannerisms, and education. As the ideals of chivalry and english gentry died along with countless millions and English commercial pre-imminence in the First Great War of the 20th century, American ideals of social, and political egalitarianism began to transform western society. By the end of the second cataclysmic great war of our time, America's social values were as overwhelmingly unopposed as it's military and industrial might.

This was a subtle but profound change in the way that Western Society had operated. For it not only contradicted the history and social conventions of the western world, it also directly contradicted the political philosophies that has made the West such a dominant historical force.

For instance, during the 19th Century in which Western Europe enjoyed the hight of it's global military, technological, and industrial pre-eminence, the dominant philosophies were of Social Darwinism, Laissez-faire, and individualism. While the mid 20th century saw the decline of the first two of these political and economic philosophies, the latter has remained the definining attribute of American society. In addition, the Republican party in particular continues to champion the 19th century ideas of victorian morality, social darwinism, and Laissez-faire economics (even Clinton commonly denounced big government).Thus while the philosophy of American Egalitarianism championed by the founders would have social and economic equality, American's commonly embrace and vote in favor of economic inequality and social stratification.

But American egalitarian ideas are not confined to the realm of economic concerns alone. They are made manifest in a host of societal outlets from fashions to mannerisms. In fashion people cleary display their unspoken desire for social egalitarianism even as their ballots and words contradict these desire. For instance, is it not unusual that the richest among us pay great quantities of money for clothing that is intended to appear tattered and filthy? Is it not ironic that only the most well off can afford to appear destitute by purchasing 300$ faded jeans with holes and wrinkles? Or how bout the irony that the poorest American's have the highest tendancy to be gluttonous and obese while only the richest can aford personal athletic trainers which enables them to remain perpetually fit and healthy, not to mention the scourge of Anorexia that generally affects the more afluent young girls of our society.

In a society in which Social Stratification is clearly defined, people are obligated to act, speak and dress a manner befitting their social position. A person of a noble family is required to present themselves in a gentlemanly(or ladylike) fashion lest they be shunned by their contemporaries. A person who is not of the nobility is forced emulate these behaviours in order to acheive greater economic and social status. This is quite the opposite in our contemporary culture dominated by 20th century American ideals of equaltity of birth. In our culture, a person who presents themselves a something inherently superior to another person (irregardless of that persons education or morality as such things are said to be relative) is considered a snobish pompous jackass, out of touch with the unquestionable principle of our society that all people are of equal status and value.

I have begun to find this idea of inherent social, economic, and political equality repulsive and insulting. Were it not for the fact that it affords all people irregardless of circumstance the oppurtunity to pursue happiness I would disregard it completely. But as it both contradicts and is apart of my economic and social philosophy I am conflicted on what I should beleive.What do you think about our contemporary society. Egalitarianism or Social Stratification? Help me reconcile my thoughts.