About High Culture – a comment

(From a CJ Hopkins substack article)

Here is a comment composed this morning in response to someone else’s:

Navyo Ericsen (https://substack.com/profile/23378208-navyo-ericsen)

Writes Fear or Love

20 hr ago

I agree. However, what CJ misses in his excellent and valuable critique is the innate love within human beings which is sidelined, ignored or even understood, and that that love is inherent in any spiritual belief, or for that matter living without spiritual belief. It’s our common denominator and I feel it will get us through all of this. The rest of it – what CJ outlines, really – is just performative, utilitarian accounting which has no depth of meaning whatsoever.

Random Ruminations [Me!]

16 hr ago

That is the essential ‘high’ aspect in ‘higher culture. Which has been excised from our cultures these days. So here we are…

Navyo Ericsen Writes Fear or Love

7 hr ago

So let’s get it back.

Random Ruminations

6 min ago

Deep topic!! The lives of individuals are infinitely rich in unending vistas and terrains, victories and defeats, growths and declines, progress and sidetracks, wisdom and temptations and so forth. So much more so in the case of societies.

When Putin says that he has received the civilization of Russia from his ancestors and intends to ensure that his people can pass it on to future generations of Russians, and also that he won’t allow others to destroy it without putting up a fight that makes sense to me. For such civilization takes generations, indeed centuries to develop. It is a very real thing if impossible to describe except via artistic, not scientific, expression. And nobody would care about such a thing unless it did not have a beating heart at the core, something precious and special, alive, sensitive, passionate, feeling, human – very human. These skeins are expressed culturally in language, dress, cuisine, customs and institutions such as Royalty, Government, Church, Festival, music, art, political discourse, literature and so on. The ‘high’ part of it – when working well – suffused through all elements high and low. Even the yakuza and Tongs are fiercely patriotic, after all, even if they are also cutthroats and pirates in practice. Honour systems are always present in high cultures too. Ultimately the high aspects have to do with goodness, discipline, honour. And ultimately they all come together in the mutual creation of sacred spaces, sacred perception. Such was the inspiration behind the great cathedrals of Christianity, an inspiration that transcended the power politics of prelates in Rome which gradually spread its corruption throughout the nascent civilization. For there is always corruption in any complex organism or institution. The challenge is how to recover from it.

The Chinese Hexagram #18, sometimes translated as ‘Work on What has been Spoiled’ could also be called ‘disease,’ ‘corruption’ or ‘recovery.’ It depicts five of the most poisonous animals locked together in a jar. The one who survives has the most potent toxin. This toxin is then used as medicine. For disease and corruption show the path forward. Such imbalances arise from mistakes – sins, crimes, laxities and so on. Correcting those mistakes makes society better but the institutions must have sufficient wisdom, integrity and mandates to do so. In this way the society maintains its high culture and indeed improves it over time. Of course only if it is truly high manifesting bedrock virtues which do not fall into the traps of empire-building, totalitarian control, egomaniacal tyranny and so forth.

The problem with the revolutionaries confronting corruption that has been allowed by a lax civilization to fester for far too long is that they know only how to destroy the old. They have no notion of how to rebuild afterwards. And again: good cultures, aka civilizations, take centuries to create, warts and all, so destroying them should never be an option, rather pruning and trimming to promote this aspect over here whilst reducing that aspect over there rather than simply chopping everything down and bringing out the builldozer. If that does happen, then perhaps it is best to follow the old ways: kill all the defeated, rape all their women so their offspring are the victor’s and the previous civilization – like so many before – simply vanishes forever rather than limping along as some sort of ghastly deformity.

In any case, it seems we have destroyed Western civilization at this point. Maybe it can be rescued, but I suspect that having bulldozed away both Royalty, the Church and the traditional location-based Aristocracies that we have simply failed to replace them with other elements which organically and authentically manifest the same deep cultural wisdoms and functions which spawned them over time. Yes, they may well have been corrupted (though history is told by the victors so hard to tell, frankly – reports about Tzar Nicholass II, for example, vary wildly depending on source) but destroying them wholesale was incorrect for sure, and we are all paying the price for that today, arguing about various -isms without being able to understand a single one.

Well, that was much too long a reply.

And not nearly long enough!!


Additional remarks for this post:

Personally, I think this is a very important topic but I do not recall seeing it being covered anywhere at all, though surely it must have been. We are all like lower order creatures who just paddle around in whatever mess has been made for us without any notion of choice or alternatives. Somebody overturned all the bowls and plates on the high table and cast the leftovers willy-nilly onto the ground and we all scrabble around feeding off those scraps without any seeming awareness of the table above from whence they came.

And yet on some level we all do know. Just like we all know right from wrong, honourable from dishonourable, those worthy of respect and those not worthy. We all know these things instinctively. Even most animals know them. Humans are social animals born with spiritual and moral compasses on a journey of learning leading to wisdom and compassion. We all know this. And good civilizations manifest this in no end of different – often marvellously different – ways.

The big battle of our age is upon us. On the one hand there is a vision of a multipolar world which cherishes all the many and varied civilizations in the world built over thousands of years since the Great Flood, the last cataclysm after which we started over, at first in tiny groups of bereft, impoverished survivors, later in emerging populations and societies, rising and falling interminably beyond the scope of written and aural memory. What for Plato was a questionable but most likely true tale of Atlantis (recently identified finally as a location in Western Africa resembling his descriptions remarkably well) is for us now only a myth; and even when we discover the likely location, the bare, almost shapeless ruins tell us almost nothing of who they were and how they lived so they remain only a myth. That high civilization is now lost.

But facing the multipolarists are the unipolarists. However this is not so much the so-called Outlaw US Empire, a hegemonic nation state based in a geographical location, or a race of ‘Anglo-Saxons,’ as a system, a way of doing things. Some called it technicity, I believe, or more simply a technocracy. Whatever it is called, we may soon all find ourselves digitally bound together in some sort of post nation state One World system, and quite possibly the same people and nations advocating multipolarity will take us down that road too.

All major nations today are experimenting with CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currencies) with the intention to issue them fairly soon, they say. (Interestingly, Ukraine was one of the nations in the Euro and near-Euro zone most advanced in this.) They will no doubt interface seamlessly with each other globally, no doubt on some level not beholden to most ordinary users like ourselves. Every penny spent or received will be automatically tracked, every purchase with time and location logged and linked to job performance and other social behaviours. The identification procedures to access such currency will no doubt also provide or prevent access to various locations or services. The digital technology will create a virtual totalitarian society world wide in which quaint notions from Common Law such as privacy and individual or societal sovereignty will have gone the way of the dodo. It will be a Brave New World indeed.

Meanwhile nobody really examines what makes a civilization great, not in terms of might, but in terms of humanity, wisdom and compassion. Or, in the terms of the comment exchange above, what makes a ‘high culture’ or ‘high civilization.’ For without that quotient, or element, all systems will fall victim to inevitable corruption. All. However with that quotient they have a chance to do well, sometimes even for several centuries in a row. But unless the society has awareness of those elements which make for a high civilization they will not be able to both recognize them and protect against various corruptions, individual and collective, which will degrade or even destroy it. At this point modern developed societies have no mechanisms for such self-correction because they have strayed too far from their sane expressions by destroying too many of their core institutions – equivalent to central pillars and arches, nay foundations.

Put simply: we have lost a shared sense of what makes for a meaningful life.

In short: it ain’t lookin’ good!

Published by The Baron

Retired non-profit administrator.

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