Under the spell of powerful optical illusions we have become accustomed to viewing man as a grain of sand next to his machines and apparatuses. But the apparatuses are, and always will be, no more than a stage set for a low-grade imagination. As man has constructed them, so he can break them down or integrate them into new orders of meaning. The chains of technology can be broken–and it is the individual that has this power. 1
Where do we find ourselves, as bodies? When we look around, we find we are situated inside different types of institutions: companies, schools, places of worship, cities and states, and so forth. Each of these things are organizations of people. These institutions have on one hand physical boundaries defined by their buildings and other human-made artifacts. On the other, our institutions have mental boundaries in how they include one group of people and while excluding others, praising some types of behaviors and shunning others.
How fares the boundaries of our present institutions? We are asked that each institution be active in including populations traditionally outside their boundaries. A new boundary is drawn: those who believe their institutions are fine as-is thank you and those who want to usher them in. Currently the dominant voice tells us that the widening of these boundaries is a moral imperative–this judgement only further driving wedges between people. All around us our boundaries are in flux, and our bodies with it…
When we agree on a boundary that boundary is stable. If we largely agree on a shared ethical vision then we place largely stable boundaries on what is done and not done. When my neighbors agree that we should see children laughing together playing in the fields instead of being holed up getting psyop’d by YouTube, then run they shall, free of the mind warping quagmire of Spiderman Elsa videos. Our shared moral values enables a bond of trust, organ-izing a new body.
There seems to be a natural boundary for this body: a polis, a city plus the rural area around it that supplies it. Too large a body and the value system will shift too much between organs, making keeping the body whole impossible. It is exactly this situation that we find ourselves in today, having linked the coasts together through communications networks into a giant mimetic amoeba that tears at itself. Too small a body and it will lack the requisite variety to be robust to changes in the environment.
A well-managed polis contains in itself the ingredients to maintain itself. At our barest we need shelter and food to survive. A polis that contains at least these resources necessary to sustain the whole can be considered a self-contained, self-propagating unit–an organism. This organism has a natural telos: to contribute to the flourishing of the humans that constitute it. This is the only sensible reason to bond together. If this bond made someone’s life worse, they should rightfully exit from it.2 The only way the whole may be said to flourish is if its members all flourish together.
That this telos exists means we may judge the flourishing of others and their contributions to the whole. In other words, we may be judges of virtue. The virtuous are marked by their own flourishing. These men and women are to be learned from: they should be the the mimetic avatars of a polis. When one is present with someone who is flourishing there can be no doubt of its truth. The internet enables a rotten simulacra of good, where values claimed to be good are preached without an experiential reference point for how well these values work in practice.
Bodies only persist through performing labor–and even that task is ultimately doomed to failure. We cannot escape this body-that-dies. It is in tradition that we find the possibility for eternity. To our children we not only pass our genes, but our behavior and knowledge of the world. When we pass on behavior and knowledge that is righteous, our ancestors prosper and pass on the same. There will be no recurrence of this body that we inhabit. What we can pass on is a bit of our spirit, that animating force that was before us and will continue to be forever.
Myth is not prehistory; it is timeless reality, which repeats itself in history. 3
Today tradition seems weak: statues are toppled, monuments renamed, narratives re-written. This has happened before, will happen again. Those who feel the circular flow of tradition have no fear of the present! We know that the suppression of the heroic spirit of man ultimately only vitalizes it, causes it to shine brighter and brighter until it cleanses the rot in its righteous fury.
The promise of the Eternal Polis is beauty recurring forever. When the Polis does not stand, it will be on the tradhumanists to bring it back into being. Next time I’ll be discussing how robustness is a mark of the eternal and what that means for a polis.