This is a sloppy manifesto, at least for now, because I don't know yet how to make it neat. Tidy. Elegant. But elegance is where I'm headed, I hope. I have an idea about a sort of Grand Unifying Theory of Hellenism, or perhaps Meta-Hellenism, and this weblog is my way of worrying it and working it out until I understand it well enough to make something that is not sloppy.

And that's occlusive and obstaculary, I expect. I'll try to do better:

  1. I uphold a radical theory of egoism. The 'self' in 'self-interest' is not bodily utility or sensory gratification, but rather the ego as such, the idea of one's life that most fundamentally is one's life. I've argued this all over the place, most fully in my book Janio at a Point.
  2. I uphold a radical theory of individualism, the politics of egoism's ethics. In a sense, this, at least, has been defended by many great minds over hundreds of years of human history. But in another sense, it has never yet been defended at all. The crack-become-a-chasm results from philosophers trying to advocate individualism while rejecting egoism. This is a fundamental error, one which must be corrected now, else we will lose all of Hellenic culture.
  3. I uphold a radical theory of sovereignty, of personal responsibility for self. This is all through my work, but it is best expressed in the words, "Do your worst. I will not kneel!", from Anastasia in the Light and Shadow.
  4. I uphold a radical theory of human joy, which I call splendor. This is the sine qua non consequence of one's own self-adoration, individualism and sovereignty. This is discussed in some detail in the essay Shyly's delight and it is presented as a gestalt in my novel The Unfallen.

Splendor is the full and final objective of the fully-human life. My argument, ultimately, is that Hellenic culture has failed to overcome Orientalism for two reasons: Because it has failed fully to reject the anegoism that is Orientalism, at bottom, and because it has failed fully to embrace the splendor that is the goal most appropriate to human life. Hellenism has failed, so far, not by being too Western, but by failing to shed the vestigial Orientalisms it retains from its origins in the East.

(Nota bene: "Oriental" is from Latin. It means "of the East". It doesn't mean races or even places, it means doctrines that are most fundamentally opposed to the ideas I call Hellenic, which in turn can be taken to mean "of the West".)

There is more, more, more, but there is an urgency, too, where there hasn't been before: The West has a profoundly determined Oriental enemy in Islam. We no longer have the luxury of the Phoenix, to surge skyward as a thunderbird only to crumble back into the mud. If we permit rational egoism to crumble to ash this time, our Phoenix may never rise again.

Clarifications and amendments as time and clarity permit. I'm eager to hear from you--comments or complaints, but especially sips of splendor. Below is an email I wrote to my friend Billy Beck and the editorial board of the No Treason weblog; it offers some insight into my original thinking on this topic.

Not elegant, maybe, but not sloppy: My goal, for now, in two words: Evangelical Egoism. Probably that begs more questions than it answers, but there is nothing so Western, so Hellenized, so egoistic--and so un-Oriental--as questing after answers...

I wish you peace,

Greg Swann
November 23, 2002

on 10/26/02 10:38 AM, Billy Beck at wrote:
> I think we're really way too extreme for a lot of these
> people.
I'm wondering how that could be so. I don't see very
much Anarcho-Capitalist content on No Treason--and this
charge very much includes me. I've been thinking in a
general way that Libertarianism as such is rather silent
in the Bourse right now, and that seems to apply
underwhelmingly to us. In my own case, I think I am
impeded by hypocrisy--I want and don't want this War on
Terrorism--and I may write about this. But from none of
us do I see much more than caviling of late. Am I
wrong? Is it a matter of concern?
I've also been thinking about Individualism as an
unloved moral/political doctrine. Not my style of
Egoism, but simply the argument that one has a right to
one's own person, property, time, efforts, desires--and
differences. I'm aware more and more of truly hysterical
collectivist screechings, coming from very disturbing
sources, and we all know that unprincipled collectivists
cannot prevail against principled collectivists. The
Soviets are dead, but communism was never healthier. I
don't know what to do about this yet, but I know that
_this_ is the real issue. Billy says "tracing back
through at least a century". I think the real timeline
is forever.
Below is me writing philosophy and sex as a way of
demonstrating the idea of true integrity. But I think
now that this fails, in the sense that it talks only to
people who already know that integrity is possible-- and
permissible (which word feeds the beast anyway!). Billy
may be right: We may be stuck in the pitiable role of
Cato Uticensis, lamenting the Phoenix as it crumbles to
ash. But if we are not, then our job is not to sell
Anarcho-Capitalist to the six unbelievers who know the
term, but to bring Individualism to the six billion who
are being slaughtered by their own hands...
Greg Swann
This is from my book The Unfallen. The full text can be
found at:
    He said, "Do you know the word integrity? Do you
    know what it means? We have all sort of ideas
    about what that word means, but the word literally
    means 'wholeness'. There's more, though. To be
    integrated means to be composed entirely of one
    thing. No impurities. No corruption... A monolith
    has integrity. It's a mountain composed entirely
    of one rock. A man, a woman, can have integrity,
    too. Not just honesty--everything. No impurities.
    No corruption. One idea, expressed in infinite
    "What... What are you doing?"
    Her eyes were closed but she felt him smile
    against her lips. "I'm making love with you. Do
    you hear the word integer in there? An integer is
    a number with no fractional part, but integer
    literally means 'untouched'. Isn't that a
    beautiful idea, to be untouched? So pure, so
    Apollonian. White sheets flapping on a clothesline
    on a summer day, kissed only by the sun and the
    Her arms were still planted on his shoulders and
    her fingers were dug into his hair. His head was
    thrown back and she was kissing up and down his
    neck as he spoke to her.
    "That's what I mean by unfallen. Not just
    uncensured, unchastised, uncondemned. Untouched by
    evil. Adam and Eve were condemned for trying to be
    both, for trying to be more than animals, for
    daring to reason. I will not be damned for no
    crime, damned in advance for being what I am.
    There was no fall of man, and I was born unfallen.
    I can choose to be evil if I wish, but I can also
    choose only to be good. This is my choice, to be
    good, and to work always to be better."
    Gwen was lost but it didn't matter. He was sure
    she was with him, every step of the way. He
    clasped his hands to her hips and pulled her hard
    to him. "No impurities. No corruption. No sin."
    She moaned and he knew she was very close. His
    lips brushing against hers, he said, "No secrets."
    "No secrets," she replied, her voice barely a
    "No lies."
    "No lies."
    "No betrayals."
    "No... betrayals."
    "No shame."
    "No shame. God, Devin! Never any shame..."
    "No regrets."
    "No regrets..."