Science of the SpiritS

Eye 1

The white man's Ghost Dance

The Ghost Dance
Howard Terpning, Hope Springs Eternal – The Ghost Dance
In the 19th century a stalemate that had held for hundreds of years between the European powers and the Amerindian nations broke. The newly formed United States of America had liberated itself from the English crown and, with that, from the restraints of treaties that had held back the white man's westward expansion. Wagon trains began to roll west, extending pseudopodia of settlements into Indian country. Soon the wagon trains were replaced by the steam engine, and the trickle of European expansion became a flood.

War was as inevitable as the war's conclusion. The red man fought fiercely and bravely, inflicting savage terror on the interlopers, slaughtering settlers, taking scalps and wives. But every bullet he fired had to be replaced by trade with the very enemy against whom he struggled, while for every one of those enemies he tortured to death, ten more took his place. And for all that he was capable of inhuman brutality, the ice-water that ran in his enemy's indifferent veins was every bit as terrifying. The red man, outnumbered and technologically out-matched, was doomed.

Towards the end, despair began to set in.

Just as the red man was on his knees, hope flooded back into his heart.

Light Saber

Best of the Web: The Truth in Wokeism

stree france urban peasant
Wokeness derives its power from deep truths, as the example of reformist education shows. If we don't recognize this, we risk losing our free will.

It is true: since the Woke Turn, we have all become conservatives.

But words have power; they connect us with concepts of a higher order, and therefore to entire thought clusters. We better know their nature if we are to avoid stumbling around blindly under a compulsion we don't understand, victims of yet another unholy dialectic: the playthings of forces whose very existence we actively deny by invoking an imaginary realm of facts and reason where there are mostly reactions and well-worn mind grooves that propel us in directions we may or may not want to go.

"Conservative," to many of us, connects to a sort of mirror image of Wokeness, its negation. Where those people say "anything goes," we demand discipline; where they say "you should express yourself," we say "just accept outside reality," and where they seek to "break free from how we have lived for centuries," we demand tradition to be honored.

But a merely reactive state like that, where we robotically invert the latest fashionable slogan, by definition is a state with little free will.

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SOTT Focus: MindMatters: The Unbroken Individual Is the True Source of Moral Responsibility

forest passage
This week on MindMatters we take a third and final look at the prescient and resounding thoughts of Ernst Jünger's The Forest Passage and reflect on what it means - in the philosophical and practical sense - to be a forest walker, or forest rebel. For our previous episodes on the book see: How one resists and chooses to respond to totalitarianism is at least as crucial as making the choice itself. But what are some of the many considerations involved? What inner resources does one draw upon and where might one find the light that helps to make the best of all choices? What does one fall back on when many of the institutions that are meant to morally support a society have been effectively gutted, or done away with completely? What is the responsibility of an unbroken and 'concrete individual' to step in and rectify institutional failure to some degree? And where does the power of the spoken or written word fit into this complex equation?

Running Time: 01:18:45

Download: MP3 — 108 MB

Heart - Black

Victim signaling and dark triad personality traits

Here is an interesting interaction involving a group of baboons, reported in a book titled Machiavellianism: The Psychology of Deception:
Humans will also feign victimhood as a strategy to obtain rewards. A 2020 study found people who signal victimhood (and virtue) are more likely to have Dark Triad personality traits.

The Dark Triad comprises narcissism (entitled self-importance), Machiavellianism (strategic exploitation and duplicity) and psychopathy (callousness and disregard for others). People with Dark Triad traits can be seductive.


Presentism: Don't judge our ancestors' actions by today's standards

© psychologytoday
In today's blog I wanted to focus on a concept that most people fall victim to when writing about the past (history). Presentism, the historical fallacy or problem area, applies when writing about general history or trying to write about our family. Don't try to sugar coat (cover-up) the actions of the ancestors you don't agree with.

Presentism is a historical term meaning judging past actions by today's standards, or uncritical adherence to present-day attitudes, especially the tendency to interpret past events in terms of modern values and concepts. We all too often color history with the lens of our current prejudices. Remember, attitudes and cultural values have changed over time. Try not to make excuses for the past.

In literary and historical analysis, presentism is the introduction of present-day ideas and perspectives into depictions or interpretations of the past.

Some modern historians seek to avoid presentism in their work because they consider it a form of cultural bias, and believe it creates a distorted understanding of their subject matter. The practice of presentism is regarded by some as a common fallacy in historical writing.

Eye 1

Woke Social Status: Fake But Deadly

A month ago, Richard Hanania responded on his Substack to a tweet by Rob Henderson. Here's the tweet in question:

rob henderson tweet
Hanania's main point, expanded upon in his article: in practice, people don't actually internalize these Woke standards, and the Kate Uptons of the world will always be higher status in social interactions, whatever the "correct beliefs" may happen to be. Call some feature of a normal woman masculine, or a typical man effeminate, and they won't respond favorably — despite professed values to the contrary. Attractive people get treated better than unattractive people. It's human nature.

He has a point — an important one. But by focusing on the details in typical autist fashion (AKA nitpicking), I think he misses the bigger point. And this point is hidden right there in his description of the exceptions who do take this nonsense seriously: "they are a minority and usually miserable due to how much cognitive dissonance it takes to act so contrary to human nature." Note the caveats in his arguments:
  • "a highly educated young woman who has views and attitudes typical of her social class"
  • "unless she's a fully committed pronoun person"
  • "typical cis-hetero male"
  • "except those who most deeply internalize woke ideology"

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SOTT Focus: MindMatters: The Road Best Traveled: Ernst Jünger's Forest Passage

ernst junger
What is freedom? Where may it be found and accessed? How does it become actualized from within the individual? And if we are to become free - then what are we to be free from? In this second discussion of Ernst Jünger's seminal book The Forest Passage we follow along with the author's many thoughts on what it means to be free. Concerning political bodies, the media, institutionalized medicine, and organized religion - what, if any, is the most fruitful approach to take in response to their diktats or guidelines? Where does free will, in the truest sense of the term, fit in to our responses? And if we are to face our fears and find a way to resist the tide of totalitarianism how should one approach the possible suffering that will likely be involved?

With the heart of a poet, and the mind of a realist, Ernst Jünger has given us much to ponder as we reflect on what he means by becoming a 'forest rebel'. Join us this week on MindMatters as we delve further into his world view, and a road from which we may find a path to the future.

For the first episode, see: Freedom in Tyranny: Ernst Jünger's The Forest Passage

Running Time: 01:28:28

Download: ---

Life Preserver

5 ways to stay sane in a world gone mad

Planet Earth
Lord knows we need them.
The latest woke vs. conservative outrage. A new war. The next insane policy. The shattering of our dearest assumptions and sacred cows. A novel theory that blows your mind. A crazy conspiracy theory you begin to suspect is true. Factions in the alternative media and various grifters at each other's throats. Anger and insults every day. Glued to our screens, our brains get scrambled until we lose touch with reality, with who we are, with what we know. Addictions of various kinds. Our lives pierced by a virtual reality we can't escape.

Maneuvering this situation requires us to keep sane. But how? Here are some things that have helped me.

Black Magic

Best of the Web: The Screwtape Stratagem

How global networks drive the efficiency curve of Evil (and why it will screw them in the end).
"Is the dullness of your present fare not a very small price to pay for the delicious knowledge that His whole great experiment is petering out? But not only that. As the great sinners grow fewer, and the majority lose all individuality, the great sinners become far more effective agents for us. Every dictator or even demagogue — almost every film star or crooner — can now draw tens of thousands of the human sheep with him. They give themselves (what there is of them) to him; in him, to us. There may come a time when we shall have no need to bother about individual temptation at all, except for the few. Catch the bellwether, and his whole flock comes after him."

— excerpt from Screwtape Proposes a Toast by C.S. Lewis.
The meals the arch-demon Screwtape describes above are the souls of modern people, whose sins aren't nearly as delectable as those of the past. By this he means both the great and bloody criminals of history and the deeper participation of the average person in their crimes. When comparing these to the more commonplace and mundane forms of graft, dishonor and impiety that spread in modernity's wake, Screwtape demonstrates how the latter is preferable in utilitarian terms; "quantity over quality" is essentially his argument.

What prompted me to look up this quote and contemplate it was a conversation thread with fellow Deimos Station member, in which she posited that Screwtape's graduation speech aptly described the "infestation" phase of what we might call demonic possession. I agreed, adding that it could be the kind of phenomenon that occurs at multiple levels and fractal iterations. I think as well that Screwtape's depiction of the modern sinner as less-tasty-but-more-prevalent dovetails neatly with the growth of global communications networks. The net is cast ever wider, but also ever shallower, because a greater number of meaning-starved fish gather near the surface to feed.

c s lewis quote
The Screwtape Letters— C.S. Lewis

Che Guevara

SOTT Focus: Marxcissism Is Real: New Paper Links Left-wing Extremism, Psychopathy, and Narcissism

fist protest
Lobaczewski called it in 1984. I've been writing on it here for just over a year now. John Carter gave it a snazzy name: Marxcissism. Now the research psychologists are catching up: "Antagonistic narcissism and psychopathic tendencies predict left-wing antihierarchical aggression, study finds."

Here's what the authors, Ann Krispenz and Alex Bertrams, write in the abstract to their new paper, "Understanding left-wing authoritarianism: Relations to the dark personality traits, altruism, and social justice commitment":
... as individuals with leftist political attitudes can be assumed to be striving for social equality, we expected left-wing authoritarianism to also be positively related to prosocial traits, but narcissism to remain a significant predictor of left-wing authoritarianism above and beyond those prosocial dispositions. ... The results of multiple regression analyses showed that a strong ideological view, according to which a violent revolution against existing societal structures is legitimate (i.e., anti-hierarchical aggression), was associated with antagonistic narcissism (Study 1) and psychopathy (Study 2). However, neither dispositional altruism nor social justice commitment was related to left-wing anti-hierarchical aggression. Considering these results, we assume that some leftist political activists do not actually strive for social justice and equality but rather use political activism to endorse or exercise violence against others to satisfy their own ego-focused needs. ...
I began this Substack with another vindication of Lobaczewski's work: Hare et al.'s article on political psychopathy and human rights atrocities. It's nice to have another, thirteen months later. So let's dive in.