No910

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

John-a-dreams

As I was reading some comments left on this blog, my thoughts turned to the screen name of one of the commenters, Aeneas. (I don't know this person or how this screen name was chosen, so please don't take offense at what follows)

Aeneas was the founder of the city of Rome, but his key achievement was simply getting out of Troy alive when the Greek armies brutally sacked it.
And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
On Mars's armour forged for proof eterne
With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword
Now falls on Priam.

Out, out, thou strumpet, Fortune! All you gods,
In general synod 'take away her power;
Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel,
And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven,
As low as to the fiends!'

'But who, O, who had seen the mobled queen--'
'Run barefoot up and down, threatening the flames
With bisson rheum; a clout upon that head
Where late the diadem stood, and for a robe,
About her lank and all o'er-teemed loins,
A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up;
Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd,
'Gainst Fortune's state would treason have
pronounced:

But if the gods themselves did see her then
When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport
In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs,
The instant burst of clamour that she made,
Unless things mortal move them not at all,
Would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven,
And passion in the gods.'
Hamlet, ACT II Scene II

Aeneas didn't succeed in defending Troy, or in rebuilding it, or in preserving any part of it (Rome was culturally Greek). He succeeded only in leaving it behind.

That would seem to make him an unlikely father figure for an empire, but the theme turns out to be common enough. John Galt, Moses and Aeneas were all legendary founders whose founding act was running away. The Pilgrims offer an interesting example as well, and a contrast. Two, probably related, observations that one can make about them are that they are real, not legendary, and that there is no single hero to personify them in our minds. There are other examples, both ancient and modern, but it should be enough to point out that Aeneas is not the only hero whose epic story begins with defeat or exile.

It's much harder to understand the escape fantasies that people indulge in today. The presence of an enemy so well adapted to exploiting the weaknesses of our society does tend to focus the mind in that direction, but other than post-apocalyptic survivalist movements that arise occasionally, there are not very many models for what a 21st century epic renewal would look like.

But I can speculate. For example, how a society is organized is often an adaptation of how its military is organized. Athens was a democracy because that's how the Athenians fought. The Roman republic, Hitler's Germany and Hamas' Palestine all follow this rule. The organizing principles of the fighting class tend to determine the organizing principles of the society as a whole.

We're fighting a 5th generation war against a 5th generation enemy. On the assumption that the West will have to adapt to this method of war, presumably any newly birthed society would be so influenced as well. What does a 5th generation society look like? Is it free? Is it tribal? Is it possible to have a legal and legitimate underground economy? If we were to begin our exodus to the new world today, what would be the form of that exodus?

There is, in fact, an exodus from the MSM underway, but that's an adornment of the old regime, not the regime itself. More generally, the more I think about these questions, the more overlap I see between 5th generation concepts and those of a much more familiar political philosophy, anarchy, a notably poorly developed philosophy. From there the choices seem to be about wardrobe and whether your personal history is more filled with shotguns or video games.

I can understand the appeal of a global, extra-territorial, networked social structure that belongs to the good guys. It's harder is to be encouraged that such a structure can allay concerns such as those that drove Thomas Hobbes to seek a solution to the horrors of lawlessness in his time.

When he articulated how the state should operate and what its relationship to the individual should be, he saw that state as an assurance of liberty and as a liberation from the state of nature, which is utter insecurity. Those are big shoes for any new political philosophy to fill.

It's fascinating to contemplate new political and social forms, but it could also be an escapist daydream that leads people to neglect the defense and exercise of a system that is still living.

What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her? What would he do,
Had he the motive and the cue for passion
That I have? He would drown the stage with tears
And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,
Make mad the guilty and appal the free,
Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed
The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I,
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,
Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing; no, not for a king,
Upon whose property and most dear life
A damn'd defeat was made.
Hamlet, ACT II Scene I

5 Comments:

Blogger No Apology said...

Yes, and there are no quick fixes, either. We can't come charging in like the calvary, and fix the public educational system.
The "progressive education" ideas are endemic and entrenched. There must be recognition first, that dismantling the heirarchical structure of teacher-student relationship has done inordinate damage, and second, that authority must be restored to the educators.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Aeneas said...

Abu Nopal. LOL. No offence taken, I'm really rather flattered. The picture that I use is actually one of Aeneas' supposed descendants - the emperor Augustus, architect of the Pax Romana . He is my real historical hero but I like to be indirect in my hero worship.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Abu Nopal said...

> I'm really rather flattered.

good. I'm relieved. You never know when somebody is going to take something personally.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Abu Nopal said...

just to give a small taste of the feast a future anarchy might contain:

The Wrath of Ka

"Kemi Saba’s resentment is all-embracing: the injustice that rankles him began with the very origins of humanity. The kémites (the term replaces leucoderm words like blacks, Africans, or Antilleans) are the true chosen people, destined to rule the world. Victims of oppression of mythical proportions, they will liberate themselves by returning to original sources of spirituality and social organization. Ka males—medzatones—are noble warriors; the females—Aset—are sublime beauties and perfect mothers; the children learn to be true kémites in the “School of Hor” (Horus)."

2:20 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Yes, there seems to be a component wherein the 'Exodus' involves leaving something behind and not rebuilding it.

In Christianity, we think of the words of Jesus: "Can new wine be put into old wineskins?"

Simply put, no-- it cannot.

Here is to new beginnings.

6:08 AM  

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