Spiritual Tradition, or the Value of Human Rites

Dearest friends,

It is clear to me that when a man waits in line for his breakfast, he must contemplate the spiritual. After all, to look at a menu is a deeply transcendental experience, as a man confronting a multitude of meal choices must also confront the multitude of choices we, as free individuals, must face every day in a modern technological society. The menu, with its dizzying variety, is a reflection of society in miniature.

It is easy to get lost in choice. When people are forced to make their own choices, they often find themselves making choices that they later come to regret, but have no way of reversing. And then they’re stuck. The world is littered with the detritus of shattered lives. People, lacking guidance, bury themselves in debt to chase dreams that they don’t really have, but that they think they should have. One way to mediate the problem of choice is to provide a life script. You establish certain rites of passage and markers of adulthood such that the transition is guided by respected authority figures and possesses a clear checklist of things to do. It structures life. And, based on my surveys of the great prole wilderness, I do believe the average American is in need of structure.

This sort of thing requires a lot of cultural infrastructure. A lifescript has to have buy-in at every stage of life to retain a sense of weight and resonance. It must have the weight of legitimacy. Tradition. Things must be done this way because this is the way things are done (lifescripts being essentially arbitrary things).

And unfortunately, there are no rites and rituals for picking a delicious breakfast. So that wouldn’t help me with my particular predicament.

But such a problem does make me think of something. Kashrut laws. The Jews who keep kosher have significantly reduced the size of their decision space. Is it true that they may have sealed off some tasty foods? Sure. But at least the mental energy needed to make a food decision is reduced. In fact, any such food tradition can serve this goal. If you always eat Chinese food on Christmas, you don’t need to use any mental energy thinking about it. Your life has been simplified.

It all comes down to the question of “Why do the Goyim X?”

“Why do the Goyim X?” Which does remind me of something. Goyim. Usually, people think of inviting refugees and other unsorted undesirable immigrants as an act of xenophilia. But if that were the case, why are elite communities free of them? The normal answer is hypocrisy. I don’t think that’s a complete explanation. I think that it’s an act of xenophobia. Elite communities are beautiful ethnic (ethnicity: Aristocrat) and cultural (culture: Aristocratic) monocultures, and they like it that way. But outside is a vast reservoir of filthy, unwashed, impoverished foreigners, who, terrifyingly enough, even kinda look like you. How do we stop their incursion? Undermine their shitty little communities, because, conveniently, we rule them. I’m a xenophile – I’m open to class mixing and making gross half-breed babies and listening to the weird ideas of the unwashed.

But that’s a thought for another day.

Why do the Goyim X? In that case, it was “why do people care so much about arbitrary rules and taboos over moral principles?” Reform Judaism nixed a lot of the rules such that Reform Jews are basically Episcopalians in funny hats, but it’s dying. The churches that thrive have an abundance of arbitrary rules and rites. People seem to need to crave them. And when it comes to everybody’s favorite prole church, Evangelicalism, a big unifying moral factor for their base seems to be abortion. And this, of course, seems absurd. Abortion is only necessary because these proles are already living lives of grievous sin. If you’re convinced otherwise, go spend some time in a typical American small town. It’s basically Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s not some sort of moral principle they’re upholding, because they don’t uphold moral principles. It’s a holiness signal. And the fact that not aborting ruins their life (what little there is to ruin) is all the better – the more you sacrifice to show your conspicuous holiness, the more holy you appear. At least prole virtue signaling only leads to self-destruction, unlike elite virtue signaling. To paraphrase Mr. Card, only one man actually asked us to be holy, and so we killed him for it.

This leaves us with the question of why the Goyim are so in love with moral rites. One could bring up that previous example of pro-life as virtue signaling, but you can just as easily virtue signal with moral principles. Why is “Why do the Goyim X” such a fertile question? And it is a fertile question, because otherwise it wouldn’t keep being brought up in my circle as conversation fodder. It’s such a fertile question because the commonsense practices of the goys often have some underlying logic governing them. But, goys being goys, they are unaware of what is. So you know there’s some reason why the memes exist in the way they do, but you are free to disentangle what is. And when you do, you look very clever and gain a lot of social status.

So why the fixation on moral rites? I thought about it, which is rather a pain, since my mental capabilities are rather limited and therefore I try to stay away from thinking, and I came up with a few categories of moral regulation.

Moral principle:
This one is pretty straightforward. You have a big moral idea, like egalitarianism, and what is holy is that which advances the cause of egalitarianism. Being a principle, it is easily extensible to novel problems, which is pretty good. And it doesn’t ask for any wasted use of effort. You’re not holy if you burn meat on a firepit, you’re holy if you advance egalitarianism. Seems pretty good, right? Well. No, not really. The problem with principle is that it’s very vulnerable to leftism. If leftism is the extension of societal principles towards their natural (but stupid) conclusions for the sake of power and social status, then any principle is totally open to it. It’s also easy to subvert, since any fuck can make a plausible sounding argument that your shoes need to be his shoes because equality.

Moral legalism:
Let’s move one level down. Moral law! Holiness lies in following the law. This is basically what Jews do. Thou shalt not eat unclean foods. Thou shalt not get abortions (I do assume there is some kind of moral principle behind this, but given that it’s a belief held by proles, it’s damned hard to figure out what it might be). They have a whole bunch of moral laws. By inscribing the law and not the principle, you basically shift the burden of leftism. Now, any attempt to move leftwards must first involve moral lawyers using various legal tricks to make a good argument that what the law really means is something else. This requires a lot of g, which screens off the attempts of any random prole. But aristocrats will still be able to manage, and moreover, they have a strong incentive to do so. Still, it at least puts one gate, even if it’s just a child-safe gate (Personal experience: these fuckers can be hard to open. Get a child gate, keeps kids in and landlords out.) And it provides a natural defense against leftism – you’re trying to twist the law to serve your own ends. If an aristocrat was so inclined, and they had allies, they could mount a credible defense of a moral law. And in the future, a moral law provides a natural Schelling point for reaction. Let’s just return to the letter of the law. Done deal. But we can get even more rigid than this.

Rite:
There’s a set of things to do, and you better fucking do them. If kashrut law did away with clean and unclean and just said that you better not eat pork because God will rape your butt if you do, then that would be a rite. If you are to stack boxes in the northeast corner every morning and unstack them every evening, that’s a rite. There’s no logic beyond “God said so, now shut up”. And that’s the brilliance of it. You can’t push it through leftism because there’s nothing to extend. There’s no principle or logic to it. Holiness lies in not eating pork, full stop. You can’t holiness spiral. A holiness spiral here consists in perfect adherence to the rite, and you can’t get more holy than that. You can keep kosher perfectly, but you can’t keep superkosher.

So we’ve defeated leftism. What’s the problem?

Leftism is death, sure. But leftism is also life. Leftism is mutation. The drive to gain more status drives new arguments, and these arguments allow society to change. Unfortunately for society, most mutations are bad. And eventually a society implodes under the weight of its own memetic load. But what’s the alternative? Stagnation and death. The modern leftism we know so well is rooted in WASP and Christian ideals. It’s an ultra-Calvinism. Why do Jews have such a strong rabbinical tradition, such a strong mutation engine? Because the rigidity of only having so many moral laws and needing to get on in a novel and hostile world demanded a significant rate of mutation. It demanded the ability to come up with novel moral solutions to novel moral problems. And what of China? Confucius dwelled heavily on the subject of rites. Human rites brought out an essential humanness. And I think that this vindicates his views, because a focus on rites allows for memetic stability. But China itself had significant memetic stagnation. The practices of the elite remained largely intact over the course of millennia, from Han to Qing. And one day, some big nosed people in a boat came and knocked it all over.

But wait, you say. You’re forgetting something. And indeed I am. There’s another possibility out there. The charismatic. The spiritual. Morality rooted in feels. If it feels holy, it is holy. This tends to be a creature of the lower classes, and for good reason. It has all the downsides of moral principle, because it can be perfectly pushed and subverted. I can push leftier than you because I’m even more of a sobbing, blubbering vagina of a concerned mom. Hooray! But it has none of the upsides. Because there’s nothing there but feels, it can’t give rise to new arguments, newly mutated memes. It can corrode, but it can’t build up. So the charismatic Christianities, the Evangelicals, these are prole. And deeply prole. When they are adapted by non-proles, they begin to shed the prole characteristics and to accrue theology in their place.

And what happens when you shear Evangelicals of even the fig leaf of moral structure bequeathed to it by Christianity? You get the Spiritual but Not Religious, which tend to be converts from prole Christianity. And boy are they prole. Spiritual but Not Religious is basically all the feel good holiness without any of the possible judgment by an angry Sky Daddy (Proles being proles, their conception of God is often just an angry Dad in the sky. Now, he is the Heavenly Father, but that doesn’t make him literally your dad.). It’s pretty easy to suss out a bravetheist of prole origins, because they rail against God-as-sky-daddy, which tends to earn them bemused smirks in the company of their betters. Higher class bravetheists have better arguments. I don’t agree with them, obviously, but I can find merit in some of what they say. Now, people who want to feel good but don’t want to be judged, even if those judgments are trying to steer them in the right direction are probably low FTO and low rationality. And people who can’t be arsed to do the rituals of church are probably low conscientiousness too. So this is already a population selected from the left tail of Evangelicals. But I suspect that the loss of moral structure also plays a role in making them even worse than what they would normally be. It’s a double whammy of adverse selection and adverse effects. The result? A predominately white ethno-religious group that performs about as economically well as the National Baptist Convention or the Church of God in Christ, aka black Protestant churches. That’s like an accomplishment, but in the opposite direction. It’s an un-achievement.

Or maybe this is all bullshit, and I’m upset I didn’t get the lox bagel instead. See, that’s a problem that kashrut fixes. C’est la vie!

Suffering a case of moral indigestion,
Monsieur le Baron

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