Depsite my classical inclinations, I don’t claim to be pop-culture free. I grew up watching NFL football with my dad (who was a star at quarterback in college back in the 60’s and almost signed with a couple of NFL teams). It’s gotten unbelievably crass and commercialized and obsessive, but then so has the rest of pop culture. And in the meantime the on-field product (as measured subjectively by the enjoyment I get from watching the games) has increased almost non-stop. It’s incredibly popular in the US not just because it’s slickly marketed (which it is ) but also because, if you enjoy sporting spectacle, it’s just fun to watch.

Watching the NFL is also something of a calculated decision. I “indulge” in the NFL once a week, for 5 months out of the year (and many Sundays I don’t watch because of work or other obligations). The rest of the time, I check up on a few blogs here and there and basically ignore sports and other pop culture until September rolls around and it’s time to hope against hope, once again, that the Seahawks somehow miraculously win the Super Bowl… or at least their season opener.

I watched the Super Bowl today, a high-stakes rematch of the 2007-08 game between New York and New England. It was a great game, with some memorable points. New York won in a nail-biter. I watched with a buddy, who is like-minded. We turn down the sound during the commercials and just chat, barely looking at the screen. Then the game starts again and we grab a handful of popcorn and turn up the sound and focus in again. Not for everyone, I understand, but for him and me, it’s a nice way to pass an afternoon together.

The halftime show was by Madonna. It was bizarre. We hadn’t planned to watch at all, but as it turned out, we left the TV on and listened to some Wagner (it wasn’t planned… but I have been listening to the Ring Cycle this week (Solti’s recording) and wanted to share some with my friend)  — some of the middle section of Die Walküre.

As all these halftime performers do, Madonna seemed to be performing some cobbled together medley of her biggest hit songs. But what I observed was how incongruent the overall effect was. In the space of 12 minutes, she attempted to hit several different moods. They all seemed false, except for the first one.

She came out on a royal chariot, a goddess of egotism and perversion. She is 53 and still trying to be a sex symbol. It’s vulgar when a 22 year-old woman acts the sex kitten on television, but at least she can have real animal appeal if she has a pretty face and a sexy body. There’s something truly disturbing about a 53 year-old trying to be a sex kitten. (My friend remarked that an acquaintance of his mother, a seventy-year old woman, recently got breast implants!)


The theatrics here aren’t bad. That headdress might look pretty great on Brünnhilde, actually. But of course, Madonna is only partially referencing a classical or pagan goddess. She’s no Brünnhilde, no Freia. She’s not even an Astarte.

The sexuality and slavery is there though. She entered on a golden chariot pulled by a troop of what appeared to be some sexualized mash-up of Roman legions and Trojan warriors.

Oiled-up muscle men.

This is the only part that rang true. She seemed perfectly in her element to be playing the part of sadistic sex goddess (other than, again, the jolting incongruity of her post-menopausal status).

From there it went into some happy-hiphop dance routine on sports bleachers with breakdancers in track suits (track suits with musical notes emblazoned down the sides!). Then came some cameos of current pop-trash stars, including “M.I.A.” who flipped her middle finger at the camera, and Nicki Minaj (she of “You a Stupid Ho” fame), and some other weirdly coiffed rappers that I have never seen before… I’m sure they’re big stars). There was some sort of bizarre cheerleading/booty-dancing troupe of fine young American “ladies” who’s majorette-uniforms and gold pompoms cleverly echoed the Trojan warrior slave guys of a few minutes before.

"Stupid Ho" Minaj in the foreground with the Mother of God

Finally, out came another star, Cee-Lo Green (who can actually sing very well), for a kind of gospel-inflected religious service.

Complete with choir (surprisingly, there were mostly white people in the choir). For half a moment we turned on the sound, but it was dreadful, so back to Wagner it was.

Anyway, it was so strange to see her (Madonna) try to go from man-enslaving pseudo-sex pseudo-goddess to reverent, joyous praiser of love and togetherness. The stage flashed the letters L-U-V over and over, and ended with electronic doves spelling out “World Peace.”

Truly bizarre. Not that I’m surprised of course. It was just rather striking. “Luv” is probably appropriate word choice, though. It’s not Love. It’s Luv.


Out of Sleep, Out of Bed, Time to Stretch and Go For a Walk

I’ve decided I’ll no longer be posting to this blog. It’s been very valuable for me, especially the comments from readers. However, as fascinating as reading and writing are, they aren’t helpful to me right now.

I’m a reader and a writer by disposition and by long habit. It was reading and writing (online, in fact) that gradually pried me away from some very severe delusions I once held dearly . It’s also through reading and writing (also online) that I made contact with some excellent, thoughtful, and well-tempered voices who have been helpful to me and who have become my friends.

But I feel I’ve reaced a plateau (at least for the time being) beyond which reading and writing, especially online, will not carry me. There are some rather fundamental changes I’ve had to make to my lifestyle to bring it in line with what I now recognize to be a moral and purposeful life. But it’s not been enough to simply have that realization and make a one-time (or two-time or ten-time) solemn vow to follow the proper path.

We are creatures of habit, creatures of the body, and creatures of our environment — just as we are creatures of spirit, creatures of will, and creatures of God. I’m prone to letting misty ideas about the second half of that list get miles ahead of my actual daily behavior. In order to do follow my spirit more truly, I need to change my habits.

This means spending my free time in quiet and meditation, in reading old books, in passing moments with loved ones.

This means not having a posting schedule to adhere to, and not worrying about replying to comments.

This means not immediately trying to articulate every inner experience I have, and not spending too much time trying to explain myself to people who misunderstand, disagree, or argue. This blog is not a particularly argumentative one, especially by internet standards, and so I have no complaints. But that’s hardly the point. It’s the very nature of the format that puts me in such a mindset: to explain, to argue, and to anticipate disagreement.

I’m not swearing off critical thought by any means. (And, see? There I am already trying to anticipate and diffuse any misunderstanding of my previous paragraph.) I’m merely giving myself some time to let things sink in on the animal level.

I’ll be keeping this URL as an archive, and I may very well start posting again in the future should the time be right. I’ll be writing in the meantime, privately, and who knows? Perhaps some of that will make its way onto this site in the future.

A very sincere thank you to everyone who has commented on the blog, especially the regular commenters. It’s been immensely valuable for me.


I’ve been afforded some time away from daily busy-ness over the first part of December, so I will be using this time to go into a semi-retreat during these dark winter months, to do some meditating, reading, and thought. This means that I will not be using my computer much at all, and therefore will not be posting on the blog.

The blog is not going into retirement though, only retreat. I imagine I will lose most of my readers, but that’s ok. The point of this blog is not to become widely-read, but to lead me to greater wisdom. Right now I can get greater wisdom through getting away from my writing the blog and so I will.

However, I will also be back. And it will not be very long that I pause. For those of you who like this blog and want to be reminded of it once I begin posting again, I encourage you to click the “Sign Up” button on the right to receive an email notification. It’s very easy, and it’s also easy to unsubscribe when you are done with it.

Otherwise, you can just check back periodically. Feel free to leave comments as well.

Peace to all. I’ll be back when the gloom of winter is darkest.

Without Souls, Why Not Be Nazis?

If people have souls, then people are all infinitely valuable. Every single person who was ever conceived has infinite value on the ultimate plane of being. (Or if “infinite” sounds too close to calling people God, let us say that all people are “incalculably” valuable.)

But if people have no souls, then the only value people have is operational, functional, and pragmatic. This is why Leftists insist on radical equality so vehemently. Men and women must be equally good at all functions in life, because if men were better than women at certain things, this would imply that men were more valuable than women and therefore had the right to dominate women unfairly, to rape them and to beat them. So we must never notice that men make better soldiers, better entrepreneurs and better political leaders than do women. Because to do so would logically imply condoning rape.

Blacks and whites must be equal at all functions in life, because if whites were better than blacks at some things, then whites would be right to enslave blacks and kill them at will. So we must never notice that whites are on average smarter, less prone to murder, and better at building quiet, well-functioning communities. Because to do so would imply condoning genocide.

And on and on.

Leftists intuit (with their God-given consciences, with which they were imbued despite themselves), that to rape a woman or enslave a black person is inherently wrong. But why is it wrong? Not because God gave us souls, not because God loves all of us and wants all of us to be happy. No, it is wrong because we are all equal, at all tasks, at all times.

Therefore to give in to the notion of inequality is to condone rape, murder and other horrors.

But to those who know that all human souls are precious, it doesn’t matter that someone is less intelligent or has less muscle mass. That “lesser” person is still worthy of respect and still deserves freedom of the soul. To rape or murder someone because of “inferiority” on the material plane is anathema.

Leftists are constantly tossing charges of “fascist” or “Nazi” at people on the Right because that’s exactly what they would become if they no longer believed in radical equality. To a person with no belief in the soul, Nazism (or some equivalent) is the natural response to inequality. It’s the logical response.

Nine times out of ten when these topics come up, I keep my mouth shut because most people aren’t interested in reasoned argument, but only interested in shouting down the “bad guys.” But occasionally I find myself in a calm and loving discussion with someone I trust and who is willing to listen to me. I always explain it’s ok that blacks don’t score as high on school tests as whites do, because to me the value of the black person is not tied up in his performance on a school test. Just because a particular black person (or a particular white person, or whoever) isn’t very smart does not mean that he is therefore worthy of contempt and violence. It’s Okay. He’s valuable because he is a person, and he has a soul. I’ve found this line of reasoning, while certainly not foolproof, often gives pause. The implication is that the interlocutor is saying that it’s not Okay if the black person isn’t very smart. The tables are neatly flipped.

[Again, this argument usually doesn’t work because people usually aren’t willing to listen. But when people are honest and considerate, I find it can work.]


The funny thing is, there are also many things that women are much better at than men, and many things that black people are better at than white people. (I’m limiting the argument to these two major dichotomies of black/white and man/woman for simplicity’s sake. But of course there are countless variations on inequality … we could talk about Native Americans, or Asians, or Jews, or young versus old, or short versus tall…)

Because this society (the West), for all its recent changes and revolutions, is still basically the society built by white men, the things we tend to view as good on the mundane level are the things that white men are good at: Business, Organization, Science, Technology, etc. So when women or blacks (or whoever) fail to act like white men, Leftists see it as a failure to be good, to be valuable. So, according to their own materialistic, utilitarian views, “something must be done.”

So women are encouraged to behave like men, and it’s a tragedy when they don’t achieve as much manliness as men naturally do. And when blacks don’t turn out to make good law students or good physicists, it’s got to be because of some massive racist conspiracy. Women must be men. Blacks must be white.

Really, the Leftists are the sexist ones. The Leftists are the racists.


I’m glad I live in a world created by white men. I wouldn’t want to live in Africa or in a matriarchal society. But I also have a lot of admiration for great black musicians and great black athletes. Athletics are noble! There’s nothing wrong with being a beautiful athlete. It’s a form of human excellence. (I do think that commercialized sports are pretty heinous, but I don’t think it’s particularly worse in sports than it is in other forms of entertainment like crappy books and horrible movies … that is, the heinous part is the commercialization, not the black achievements.)

I have admiration for women. No man can ever be a mother, and a mother is the greatest thing a person can be, I believe. (Other than a saint, perhaps? But then many mothers are saint-like, are they not?)



But if all that matters is utility, and if utility is measured in how smart you are, how much money you make, how swift your tank divisions are, and how good your career is, then white men will naturally come out on top, on average. So we must insist that a black woman make as good a tank division commander as does a white man. Because the only other option is unthinkable…

 People — all people — have utility and souls. The skills of white men (or any other group) are valuable. But they are not the reason the people in that group are good and valuable. Slam-dunking and inventing iPads are both nice things, but they aren’t what humans were created to do. Value and worth ultimately come from God.

But for someone caught up in hating God, this is an unthinkable proposition. And so, the lies and the hate must continue…. at all costs.

Stuck in a Suburban Mall

Stuck in a suburban mall with two hours to kill. I look around the exterior of the place for somewhere green to walk, or perhaps some interesting side street. No. Only broad streets leading to freeway on-ramps, no pedestrians in sight. Concrete and wires in every direction.

I go inside and look with desperation at the directory, scanning through the categories of available stores for something that might offer respite. A small woman pushing with a broom handle a bucket on wheels comes up beside me, helpfully, and asks “Is there something I can help you find, sir?”

“Where is the book store?” I ask.

“Ohh.. I’m so sorry. There is no book store.”

“I see.” I’m a bit perplexed. Hopelessly, I ask (not even knowing what kind of answer I expect), “Well, what is the closest thing to a book store in this mall?”

She is silent for a moment, almost thoughtful, then laughs apologetically. “No… I’m sorry. There is nothing.”

There is nothing, indeed.

I buy a cup of black coffee from a chain where a “small” is 12 ounces. Outside I sit on a cement divider and look at the sky. Everywhere around me at ground level are cars, more concrete, more wires, reflective paint. People come and go, mostly teenagers, almost none of them looking anything like me or the people I am related to.

The sun has just set. There are streaks and sheets of pink and salmon clouds in the sky. Seagulls passing south and west to the sea move overhead. I sit back, cradling my paper cup of coffee with its plastic lid and watch the birds pass in disorganized clumps. They are beautiful in their way, and the bright colors fade from the sky, leaving lavender, indigo, grey and then black.

I feel I am never home these days, and yet, I am always home.

Sexual Restraint is the Bare Minimum

Almost every spiritual discipline that I have ever read about includes as one of its very basic instructions some form of sexual discipline. There may be other entry-level beliefs and practices that are unique to a particular tradition (a belief in God; a faith in the Dao; a practice of simple prayer; other basic rituals), but they all share in common the notion of sexual restraint, and for all of them this is a basic practice, not an advanced one.

In Eastern religions, life essence (or jing in the Chinese Daoist nomenclature) is not the exact same substance as sexual fluids (semen, menses), but it is so closely linked that to discharge one’s semen is to discharge one’s jing, one’s life essence. In order to even enter into the lowest stages of spiritual cultivation, one must retain the jing for a bare minimum of 100 days. This is not just an act of repression, but a daily renewal of the commitment to practice emptiness (turning one’s will over to the will of the Divine).

This is like filling a car with gas. Without a full tank, you aren’t going to get very far down the road.

In orthodox Christian traditions, sex is forbidden except between husband and wife for the purposes of procreation. For priests, nuns, monks, total abstinence is the rule. In our modern, deluded and degraded age, these rules are seen as some kind of evil imposition; a denial of life and the crazed demands of a control-freak patriarchy (or whatever).

But in fact, without sexual restraint, we cannot even begin to fuel the tank. Everyone knows that the body and the spirit are linked. We intuit it constantly. It used to be common knowledge and only massive thoughtlessness and delusion has made modern people think otherwise. Many people are convinced the spirit doesn’t even exist. And of those who do believe in the spirit, they can’t even entertain a simple (obvious) notion like the idea that the body’s most intense phenomenon may be (must be) cultivated and restrained so as to feed the spirit.

The brainwashing about the idea of sexual restraint is almost completely triumphant in the West. Not only is sexual restraint considered unnecessary, it is considered evil. While chastity is in fact life-affirming, it is portrayed as life-denying. While chastity can be the basis of intense joy and pleasure, it is portrayed as a practice of grinding, hateful dryness.

But I say it is “almost completely triumphant” because it is not totally triumphant yet! For it is possible — even today, I can attest — to be completely on one side (the wrong, deluded, degraded, hopeless) of this equation and somehow (quite miraculously) end up on the other side.

The great thing about the Truth is that it does not stop being the Truth no matter how many times the lies are repeated. It is still there at all times and in all places. It never goes away. The lies have to be repeated constantly, ever more loudly, to keep people from discovering the Truth. Just a little bit of light shining through can be enough sometimes. Everything we do and say is important and meaningful. What a terrible responsibility and what a liberating thought!

The Outside Outsider

Many traditionalists or “paleo-conservatives” in the United States are ex-Republicans. Or they are disaffected Republicans who still tend to vote for Republicans as a least-bad option but who also have a sour taste when doing so, given what the Republican party has come to stand for (i.e. heavy doses of liberalism dressed up in the rhetoric of the free market).

(Anyone who is A-OK with mainstream Republicans is not a serious conservative.)

I, on the other hand, have never been a Republican. As soon as I became vaguely politically aware (about the time of the Bush-Dukakis election, and more certainly during the Clinton-Dole election), I had been on the Left. I voted Nader, Nader, and Kerry in the three elections I voted in.

[Incidentally, the moment I stopped voting on the Left was the Obama-McCain election of 2008. I was voting absentee, living in New York City. An old friend and I, Bush-haters both, filled out our ballots together over a bottle of white wine at my Brooklyn apartment about a month before the election day. It was a little celebration. She was so happy to fill in the bubble for Obama, giggling and bubbly. I knew I hated McCain, and my long-standing Leftist stance had me on the Obama side of things. She took her ballot with her at the end of the night, and I set mine at the door-side table, wanting only a stamp. As the days passed by, the ballot kept sitting there, first for want of a stamp, but then more and more out of a vague reluctance. The day of the election, I picked up my ballot and looked at it, and threw it in the trash.]

My rejection of Leftist politics came first as a rejection of Obama, and of Democrats (and Greens and Communists) to which I had previously been sympathetic. I still considered the Republicans to be vile (and I still do, with a few hesitant exceptions). So in a sense my rejection of Leftism has been rather clean. I was never suckered into Republican-style Leftism. I was very, very far Left. And in a short time I became so far Right that I was clean off the map!

If you can imagine a circle of modern politics, where west is Left and east is Right, then north would be standard American political centrism (Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman, John McCain). But I went south, into no-man’s-land. Left of Ralph Nader and Right of Michelle Bachmann. This is the murky land where you find anarchists, monarchists, and assorted other unsavory characters.

I might try and define my politics a little better in the future. As I said in an earlier post, it’s not totally unimportant. But, in another sense, it is unimportant. The circle I described exists on two dimensions. Life is three-dimensional.


Thanksgiving is something that is only celebrated in the United States (or in Canada, though you Canucks do it on the wrong day, you weirdos!).

People in the rest of the world might be aware of Thanksgiving because it’s a big deal in the US and because the US has a lot of influence on the rest of the world via pop-culture (movies and TV, mainly). But though there might be a few Brits having turkey dinners on Thursday this week due to the influence of some American friends or family, it’s basically an America-only holiday.

I know some Leftists who use Thanksgiving as an excuse to rail against White oppression of Native Americans via Facebook. I don’t say anything to them about it (don’t they already have Columbus Day as their official grievance day?). And there are some vegetarians who use it as an excuse to rail against the eating of poor, innocent birds.

But Thanksgiving has remained largely free of the politicization that surrounds Christmas. For the most part, Thanksgiving has remained Leftism-free in the US. We have other official holidays that grant a day off work, like Labor Day, New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, and Martin Luther King Day, but no one takes these very seriously. Among religious holidays, Easter is still a big deal, but you don’t get a day off from work for Easter. Halloween is a big deal culturally, but again, no time off work.

The Fourth of July is great fun, culturally, and you get a day off work. In a sense it’s the mirror-image of Thanksgiving. Not explicitly religious, universally recognized among Americans.

Christmas is the last standing religious holiday that is explicitly Christian and which still involves official time off work. I expect to see a movement to remove official status from Christmas within my lifetime, and I won’t be surprised if it works. (I also won’t be surprised if it provokes a massive backlash the fear of which, I suspect, is the only reason such a movement hasn’t begun already.)

Every other holiday in the US is minor at most. But Thanksgiving I love because it is a ritual embedded in time, like amber. The reasons to give thanks are ultimately religious. If there’s no Deity that provided things, then there’s no reason to give thanks. One can feel lucky, but one can’t feel grateful, if one doesn’t believe in a Higher Order. But since Thanksgiving has been cleanly separated from religious tradition in the popular mind, Leftists haven’t been able to attack it on the grounds of being too Christian.

Thanksgiving is stealth traditionalism. The main idea — and it’s still practiced this way among the vast majority of Americans — is to gather around the table with loved ones, to acknowledge the blessings of this life, and to eat and be merry. People play board games together, not because board games are that fascinating, but because it’s an excuse to laugh and love and be close to your family. The overeating that some people decry is actually a beautiful thing. People aren’t (for once!) overeating at McDonald’s or Pizza Hut, they are overeating delicious, traditional recipes that took all day long to prepare. It’s a feast. Even the Elves in Tolkien knew that the occasional feast was a glorious thing. It’s not gluttony, it’s celebration. McDonald’s is gluttony.

The foundations of Thanksgiving are shaking, just like with everything else that is good and glorious in our modern world. David Sedaris writes scathing, sarcastic accounts of Thanksgivings gone bad, and his books sell in the millions. The day after Thanksgiving is a nation-wide orgy of acquisitiveness. Etc. Nothing in our modern age is untouched.

Still, Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday, a tiny remnant of the old life. Even the word we use — Thanksgiving — is archaic and beautiful. To simply gather around the table with family and friends for no other reason but to eat and give thanks: it’s almost astonishing that we still do it. So in the tradition of giving thanks for the good things in life on Thanksgiving Day, I give thanks for Thanksgiving.