Dialogue with James

James: Heya.

Adam: Morning. What’s up?

James: Nothing much. Just finished some reading and decided to take a break to perhaps get some breakfast but I’m not sure what I want right now. What’re you up to today?

Adam: Not much by the seems of it; it is Sunday afterall. Might do some writing soon, I’ve just been talking with people and listening to music so far today.

James: What kind of music?

Adam: Recently it’s been a mix of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Burzum, Meshuggah and Death Grips. Sort of eclectic I guess. I saw on Tumblr you mentioned Vivaldi; I’ve never managed to get too into classical beyond the odd piece here and there, though I’d like to.

James: Depends on how one approaches music, really. There’s certainly the kind of “filler” noise that one can consume. I tend to sequester things like baroque or classical music for “special” times. It requires a greater activation of the self in order to really get into it. Whereas day-to-day music — like the soundtrack of my life — takes on a more “casual” form as I walk through my activities. In other words; Vivaldi, Bach, Monteverdi, etc. are for contemplation rather than entertainment.

Adam: When I listen to music I often do it without doing anything else, at a high volume and repeatedly.

James: Why do you think you do it that way?

Adam: It’s an act of submission, one might say; in order to reap as much from the music as possible. I let it totally dominate my senses.

James: I see. I think it was a few years back that I had watched a “documentary” (more like a video essay) by Roger Scruton that he did for the BBC about beauty. It was that particular broadcast that accentuated what I already seemed to enjoy ever since I was a child. Had you seen it?

Adam: No, I don’t watch television. Could you give a summary?

James: Perhaps I should start by asking if you know of Scruton at all.

Adam: Yes, I’m familiar with Scruton.

James: The title of the video, if memory serves me correctly, was “Why Beauty Matters.” He basically goes through what is the essential quality of art and why it is relevant especially in the modern world and how “modern art” is a desecration of this sacred vocation.

Adam: Ah yes; got it up on YouTube now. I’m familiar with this sentiment, though I must admit my musical tastes are rather modern in form.

James: It’s no surprise, really. We all have our particular modern tendencies. After all, if we had no such attachments, we’d be living far off in some utopian retreat. Since we’re adventuring in this world, it can’t be helped that we pick up the delights of the orgiastic substratum every now and then. My particular weakness is pop music!

Adam: Performers like whom?

James: I don’t really follow performers as much as I just pick up songs here and there. I think the last set I listened to was just a mix of K-Pop. A dance mix of Lana Del Rey’s Summertime Sadness was something I was listening to at the gym earlier. One can’t get away with not listening to pop music in southern California. We’re the petit bourgeois capital of the world.

Adam: Ha, fair enough. My musical tastes tend to be antibourgeois; dialectical, one could say. I don’t compare Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with anything by Death Grips, for example: they serve different functions and represent different things.

James: What do you think makes it so? And what function do you think your music serves for you?

Adam: A deprogramming of the bourgeois, liberal, moderate sentiment which permeates the society I’m a part of. An embracing of the extreme, of the heights, of the radical. Fury, passion, vigour, etc. Best encountered through lived experience, might I add. Music can only simulate such things.

James: Hmm. I think I understand. For me, the reason why my rejection of the modern world includes an appreciation for finer music is because it is analogous to the way in which we try to “replace” current systems. Most of the time, the movement of dissatisfaction among young people lead to a kind of “amorphous” anarchy when it comes to the political world. While they have the right intention of rejecting the convenience and comfort of the bourgie lifestyle, their solution is to descend to the level of pure, undifferentiated energy. Which is why I tend to reach for musical rebellion in the sphere of higher organization with a pathos and thumos that can still be felt but in a way that is undeniably organized; a cosmos. Like tonight when I was listening to the Stabat Mater and letting it move me to extreme pain. Or when I listen to Dvorak’s New World Symphony to feel a sense of adventure. It’s the qualitative difference between the guttural cries of a person in agony and the eloquent lines of King Lear at the death of Cordelia. In a sense, the emotional movement becomes unimportant, but a connection to the superemotion, I guess is one way I would say it. To that which is the “beyond” of what we feel or what incites us from music.

Adam: Yes, I understand. I’m merely using these modern forms, not holding them to be something they are not. I’m listening/watching this documentary as we speak, by the way.

James: So you’re about halfway through then? It’s only an hour long, I think if I recall. What he speaks about when he talks about longing without lust is something that’s an ongoing project for me.

Adam: I’d imagine that’s difficult to overcome, especially in the present context.

James: Yes and no. That’s the strange thing. Dante speaks about this beautifully in Purgatorio. The higher you go, the easier it becomes, so it was most difficult in the beginning and then the burden gets lighter as one ascends. But he writes about it perfectly well also: the challenges get harder, since reality is an education. And as we graduate, we move on to harder projects. Thankfully, we are made stronger by that which does not kill us

Adam: So what does this entail for you, exactly? Virginity? Celibacy?

James: Probably. I doubt that in this life I would become such a master as to be able to make sex into art. To be able to engage in a sexual act without lust at all is presently outside the scope of my realm of possibilities, so it’s simply something I won’t undertake. Pollution of that kind is simply regressive. Nonetheless, the tension it causes in my body is of great value. In the same way that Evola speaks about the way in which those of us who are able to stand tall in this modern age merit greater glory than the saints of old since they had the benefit of traditional infrastructure, so, too, will my godhood be greater than most others simply because I have endured this fire. This life circumstance. My labours will be of a greater achievement even if it isn’t considered so by the world at large since they expect great eloquence, fame, fortune, publishing, money, etc. Rather, I wash myself with temptation and can walk out of the fire unscathed. That will be my secret achievement. And when the world dissolves, as it eventually will, that aspect of my character, forged in the hottest fires, will cut better than my contemporaries.

Adam: Absolutely. Is there something you’re implying to me?

James: Am I? I wasn’t, but now I’m rather curious what you thought I might have been implying.

Adam: No, I don’t think so. Nevertheless, it’s an intimidating topic to me.

James: How do you mean?

Adam: Well, there is the mark of the superior and the inferior, and I find it difficult to crawl to the former from the latter; more acutely I don’t believe it’s possible.

James: Why do you think it’s impossible?

Adam: Physical incompleteness and mental weakness — though this isn’t something I’m going to be deeply sharing with you.

James: I understand. Such things are only ever shared in a sacred space. Only when the participants understand that it is sacred can one pull back the veil, otherwise the sight of the uninitiated profanes the secrets we keep.

Adam: Well, I don’t believe you wouldn’t understand — quite the opposite — but the nature of conversing about such things is really quite without reason; just a sort of vain mumble for its own sake. There are better things to explore.

James: I’ve come to realize that it is precisely in the small and seemingly unimportant yet debilitating aspects of myself that I find the true light and path of the “better things.” Moving forward to higher ground without addressing one’s own self can be dangerous. But perhaps it’s not so much that — perhaps part of it is that you’re so unused to actually introspecting in any helpful way that you’ve found it to be detrimental to really explore. As if you were a child who was shot and every time you picked at the bullet it would just hurt so naturally you would shy away from the emergency responder who wants to take the bullet out since all you’ve known from trying to address it was pain.

Adam: I address the matter, and other more serious ones, daily. I can’t find a resolution is all, and I’m tired of searching — that’s the bullet you describe.

James: Yes. I’ve seen this kind of thing before. But that’s why the solution that I’ve seen that’s worked is not to try harder, but to try smarter. You were trying to pull the bullet out with your fingers and it hurts like hell. You need a steady hand and a scalpel. All of us are wounded in one way or another. Finding the courage to try something different to address it is part of the risk of growing up.

Adam: The direction of this conversation seems to beg two points to me: 1) how do I know I’m “worthy,” or a natural “initiate,” or capable of riding the tiger; and 2) is there a way of overcoming physical deformity — which haunts me like a spectre — insomuch as transcending it, or does it actually have implications. It lurks in my mind, almost all of the time as of late, that in older societies I would’ve been left to the wilds at birth and for good reason. This all speaks of an interior unbalance in my self; a disunity. Can it — or should it — be remedied? You appear more qualified than anyone else I’ve spoken with to answer or address the question. It seems that I can “see” truth and clarity, but I cannot — or will not — assimilate it.

James: Qualification is a terrible burden. Mostly because, like I mentioned before, I’m all too conscious about protecting myself from being a charlatan. No institution remains today that can impart what you look for — this signal of initiation — this visible sign. As for whether or not one is worthy to ride the tiger, it’s a good question. One has to spend a long, spiritual journey in order to attain such an answer. It’s both a happy and difficult path, but a necessary one. The answer will not be handed to you on a silver platter. It wouldn’t be a worthwhile answer if it was, anyway. As for your deformity, it, too, has meaning. Perhaps you only fear it because you, at the present moment, are unable to read the “meaning” of it. For you , it only has implications of rejection, but it has relevance. Nothing of yourself is meaningless. That would be a waste of existence. The first question is what do you really fear from looking at whatever this deformity is? Do you fear being rejected by people?

Adam: No, by myself.

James: Why would it disqualify you from yourself?

Adam: It’s a disunity between the mind and body which was neither inflicted by some externality, nor something I can build upon, only around.

James: Are you so sure about this diagnosis? In other words, have you ever sought a second opinion on what it is?

Adam: It’s called radial club syndrome; my left lower arm is missing one of its bones, and my hand is crippled and a significant portion of it is missing. In a utilitarian sense there are few issues, but in higher senses there seem to be, or that’s how it appears in my mind.

James: And how would you say it blocks you from higher pursuits ?

Adam: Because of what it represents. Impurity, deformity, corruption, weakness, vulnerability.

James: I can certainly understand why you see would see it that way, however, I’d say the only weakness it might represent is if it mirrors your internal resolve. In other words, it is only a weakness — an external representation — if you take it to be that way. What your condition reminds me of is my father, actually. He’s a chess master. Oftentimes, in order to train himself, he would face off with an opponent without one of his pieces. He would be a knight short or a rook short at the beginning of the game. He demonstrates his mastery by winning or drawing the game despite being a piece down. Usually when he’s a piece down, the usual tactics necessary in order to win are not available to him; he has to rely on something even more deeply analyzed than his opponent. By analogy, your condition precludes you from the usual means of external jihad in order to fuel your internal jihad. But then, that isn’t a rejection, it is an invitation to test your mastery more deeply through a different avenue. For myself, for example; I doubt I will ever have biological children. But I like to think that all of the people whom I have influenced are greater testaments to my virility than any biological child. Individuals whom I have seeded with my ideals and self analogous to the insemination of a womb, and they recreate themselves. Those are the children I am destined to have. I give birth to Aryans because I inspire individuals to undergo their second birth; to become one of the dharmasastras. And as a result, my virility will be even greater than those father of broods that we call the “modern father” today. So for you, what avenue is closed in one path, you must take the other path. Dante himself knew this. When he tried to get out of the Dark Wood, he encountered three beasts that barred him from the regular path, so he had to undergo the Inferno and Purgatorio in order to get to Paradiso: he had to go the roundabout way. But because of that, he reached a level of sublimity that is unsurpassed. But even he will be put to shame when those of us who accomplish such tasks do it without recognition: those of us who are esoteric poets; the ones who receive no laud or compensation — but that is reserved only for a select few.

Adam: I can’t help but notice that the fact your forename means “to overcome” is sort of poetic. Have you written elsewhere? Do you have a presence anywhere outside of your social avenues?

James: No. Mostly because, again, I fear becoming a charlatan. I rather enjoy the idea of being the accidental knight errant instead.

Adam: I see. Such a notion makes me quite anxious.

James: Anxious? Why so?

Adam: Nevertheless, thank you for your words. And because I fear the same thing as you do. Disingenuousness; dishonesty — whether intentional or not.

James: Yes. I am also keenly aware that I have no real degree of mastery in these things. I am not fit to lead a school. I merely learn from the scraps left behind by the burning of the libraries of the traditional world, so it’s difficult for me to speak up when everyone else seems to call themselves “experts.” Nonetheless, I only speak of what I know has worked and not worked for me and for others I see, so I always give out my words of caution whenever I speak to someone.

Adam: Well, I’ve always made it clear wherever I am that I’m a novice. I’ve grappled with externalising anything at all — I came close to never speaking of such matters to anyone nor creating anything outwards. Occasionally it enters my mind that it might’ve been a wiser path.

James: We shall see, I suppose. One has to take into account the purpose of one’s externalizing. We are all trying to find a “home,” as it were. This is why those of the same castes have more affinity to each other than even to their own ethnic kin. We want to find that family.

Adam: Absolutely.

James: When I read the end of Ride the Tiger the other day, I thought it was a queer yet oddly compelling idea that we choose the circumstances in which we are born into. That the project was our choice to undertake. Therefore, there are no mistakes in the circumstances of our lives. We endure them because sometime before we were given flesh, we understood the chance to become gods.

Adam: Yes. Reminds me of what I said to you a couple of days ago about my path; knowing or nothing.

James: Well, all I know about my circumstances and my “handicaps” is that after everything has been dissolved, in however way we remember our life here on earth, I will strip my sleeve and show my scars and those gentlemen who slept through their lives will hold their manhoods cheap while any speaks who fought with us — to paraphrase the Bard!


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