This week a number of changes have been made. The most pertinent is the addition of a tablet to my Luddite’s lack of technological advancements allowing, for the first time since moving in September–this would be when the SoAG began slipping away from weekly linkage to falling away from posts in general–allowing ready and easy access to the manosphere. . . again. . .finally. Time is still an issue and will remain for the moment. For this reason I have pared down my reading list to a quarter of what it was, hoping to take the essence of the ‘sphere without requiring the commitment to devour it in toto. For now at the least, no continuing of the weekly Linkage but I hope to resume a more regular schedule of posting. So without further adieu:
Washington Irving’s Sketch Book
The other evening I was reading from Washington Irving’s Sketch Book, a collection of travel ruminations recorded by Irving before, after, and during a trip he took to Europe. The work includes little anecdotes as well as his more well known stories of Ichabod and Rip Van Winkle. The anecdotes are the meat of it and what I was more interested in reading. The first to catch my full attention was a little tidbit about crossing the Ocean at the start of the 19th century. Irving describes himself staring into the waters as they sailed and his wondering about the creatures that he had read about and all their world below.
I could not help but smile as we now have Planet Earth and other video recording an accurate picture of all the goings on in the deep blue. But then one must wonder if Irving had the advantage in such a case. As interesting, as fascinating as having such knowledge can be is there not something lost in not imagining what is under the crashing waves of the ocean. Moreover, in flying and not sailing the sea, one is taken across the pond so quickly they the opportunity to wonder is hardly afforded. The question becomes then does having this certainty, this assumption that one knows what is in the ocean, or that one knows what a cloud is, what causes the wind, or the nature of man for instance; does this certainty destroy the ability, or even the incentive, for questioning and for wondering about such things.
Let us assume for a moment that we could take Irving from the day he describes in his sketch book and transplant him onto a modern cruise ship. Were he to ponder out loud of the mystic kingdoms that could wait under the sea, or the majesty of the octopus or any other such fantastic rumination, who would not except some herb in cargo shorts to offer up his smart phone and youtube his way to oceanic video; in one sense he clarifies a lack of knowledge and yet in another he destroys a facility of wonder in locking in this certain picture of what under water must be.
All this carrying on must appear to have very little correspondence with the ‘sphere, yet the same thing happens to everyone brought up in the west. It is not only what lives under the sea but all blue pill knowledge that has a locked-in certainty. All things are certain in the land of relativity and personal irresponsibility. Is this not a wonder in itself? A culture that carries on about its openness where everyone’s idea are valid–but where all thoughts must fit within certain guidelines. Who of the red-pilled initiates has not spoke in the moment a red pill truth and found either dumbfound silence, heated disagreement, or outright outrage? The assumption of certainty is foundational to blue-pill thought.
These thoughts had been in my mind for days, coming to the surface here and there to be toyed with a moment then put back away, when this morning I decided to do a little reading and picked up a copy of the Works of Thomas Carlyle. I am not one to often read Carlyle for his thoughts, though they are not unprofitable, but his styling, the pure aesthetic pleasure of his wordsmithing, so outweighs the profundity that I often do not expect the weight of truth which is uncovered. This is what I read:
You remember that fancy of Plato’s, of a man who had grown to maturity in some dark distance, and was brought on a sudden into the upper air to see the sun rise. What would his wonder be, his rapt astonishment at the sight we daily witness with indifference! With the free open sense of a child, yet with the ripe faculty of a man, his whole heart would be kindled by that sight, he would discern it well to be Godlike, his soul would fall down in worship before it. Now, just such a childlike greatness was in the primitive nations. The first Pagan thinker among rude men, the first man that began to think, was precisely this child-man of Plato’s. Simple, open as a child, yet with the depth and strength of a man. Nature had as yet no name to him; he had not yet united under a name the infinite variety of sights, sounds, shapes, and motions, which we now collectively name Universe, Nature, or the like–and so with a name dismiss it from us. To the wild deep-hearted man all was yet new, not veiled under names or formulas; it stood naked, flashing in on him there, beautiful, awful, unspeakable. Nature was to this man, what to the Thinker and the Prophet it for ever is, preternatural. This green flowery rock-built earth, the trees, the mountains, rivers, many-sounding seas; –that great deep sea of azure that swims overhead; the winds sweeping through it; the black cloud fashioning itself together, now pouring out fire, now hail and rain; what is it? Ay, what? At bottom we do not yet know; we can never know at all. It is not by our superior insight that we escape the difficulty; it is by our superior levity, our inattention, our want of insight. It is by not thinking that we cease to wonder at it. Hardened round us, encasing wholly every notion we form, is a wrappage of traditions, hearsays, mere WORDS.
–Lectures on Heroes, Thomas Carlyle
And there it is the truth raised up from a century of dead men’s sighs. It is by not thinking that we cease to wonder. It is by an inundation an inculcation of mere words that the blue pill is poured in as an assumption of certainty. The world assumes its rightness by the mitigating chance that it has been told a thing, therefore that thing is true. It is the opposing force to Descartes’ dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum*. I hear, therefore I have thought, therefore it is.
Veritas numquam perit,
The Gentleman Poet
*I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am – From Meditations on First Philosophy, Rene Descartes usually the first word dubito is elited from the quote “I think therefore I am,” this, however, misconstrues Descartes thought as it was only in doubting that he could acknowledge that he did in fact think.