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:
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,
on 10/26/02 10:38 AM, Billy Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org 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... Best, Greg Swann This is from my book The Unfallen. The full text can be found at: http://www.presenceofmind.net/TheUnfallen.pdf 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 variations..." "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 breeze..." 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 whisper. "No lies." "No lies." "No betrayals." "No... betrayals." "No shame." "No shame. God, Devin! Never any shame..." "No regrets." "No regrets..."