If I was to put the current instability of western culture down to a single thing, in the simplest way I could conjure; it would be lack of discipline. I am writing for a page called the Philosophical rambler, yet what good are ramblings if not backed by action? For many a man has talked the talk about his values and virtues, but how many act out what they say? Dostoyevsky famously distinguished his characters into two groups: The man of acute consciousness, and the man of action. I have noticed that people by their nature tend to tilt one way or another. A modern psychologist may say something akin to comparing the big five personality traits of openness to experience (acute consciousness and breadth of thought and interest), and conscientiousness, (the man of duty and action). And it’s true, many an intellectual may think deeply about something, and be able to analyse it from every direction and angle, but ultimately, they may also be pathetic little rats who lack courage and bravery to get up and go into the world to experience life in the face. Nietzsche called these people – “Insects with one-thousand-foot antennas”, and it was indeed at his core philosophy for man to overcome life, rather than to merely ponder and be consumed by it.
The fact is, it is easier to be an insect of chaos in this day and age, analysing from the side lines, but never really facing life and its battles. And now with social media, it is even easier to be an insect. Even the most fragile body can fear no attack when hiding behind a computer or a smartphone. I myself have friends who are amazingly intelligent people. Creative people no less too, people with huge potential, and people who I hold dear, and enjoy spending time with. People who see things so clearly, ever so conscious of their abysmal condition. Their condition being addictions to drink, drugs, and wasting hours upon hours on video games; knowing deep down that all these things are trapping them in a loop, yet feeling themselves powerless to break these habits, even though they are brutally aware of how they are negatively affecting their life.
From my observations, it seems relatively common for high IQ individuals, particularly the ones on the creative side, to fall prey to lack of action. Many may look at these distracted floaty individuals, and say they have an illness, ADHD, perhaps. Society may see these people as social retrogrades, constantly stagnating and never moving. But if we were for one moment to break down someone with an interest in art, for example, it would be fair to say that the artist sees the world in a complex way that is not easily expressed through common language, and therefore the artists paints in compensation for his lack of people understanding him. Or it could be the fact that the artists sees the world from a such an open minded perspective, that he can connect many more dots that most people, and wishes deeply to express this visionary perspective. So, the artists paints, he writes, he performs his piece of music. And still, the chances of success? Minimal. And these people, have they not already considered the chances of slim success? Of course they have. So how many creative and intelligent people just say sod to it all, and result to over drinking, drugs, distractions, oversleeping. Ultimately never finding their rightful visionary place in society. It is indeed a curse to be intelligent and creative, as many are blessed with visionary abilities, but cursed with a lack of the ability to act as easily as someone more naturally conscientious. Of course, you may say, we get dealt a hand at birth, and we must play it regardless. Discipline is required! And this is true. Even if it is also true that discipline comes more naturally to some by means of genetics, or the reality of strong and powerful father figures from a young age. All this means in the end is more emphasis must be placed on discipline for these individuals than others. When asking one of these distracted yet smart people why they don’t do the things they should be doing more often, the typical reply will be – “I don’t feel inspired, I lack motivation.” A disciplined person will then say – “You shouldn’t need to feel inspired or motivated to do the things you should be doing; you just do it regardless of your enjoyment or motivation.”
So this leaves us in a sticky situation. What really are the secrets of discipline, outside of Nikes wisdom of – “Just do it.” How do we really just do it? For every situation, there are always two options. To do what you should do, and what you know is best long term. Or, to delay this option, and do what will make you feel good in the short term. Yes, it could be argued that what is only good in the short term, is occasionally required for benefit of long term, but this devil at the crossroads will milk this logic far past its merit, giving you every rationalisation in his toolbox to convince you why it is okay. And fair enough, we give the devil his due, but we must not give him much more than that. For if we accept rejecting the devil completely can cause repressions of the animal instinct, to embrace it completely makes us no better than savages. So, the answer clearly lies in strengthening our discipline muscle, and the only way to do that is the gradual implementation of habits. So to all the people who ramble but don’t act. Start acting small, lift those light weights, write those small segments, do something just a little scary; and before you know it, you will become a beast of not only savagery, but of humanistic sophistication.
So habits are important. It is obvious, we can all agree. But to simply maintain habits for a lifetime requires not only discipline and will power, but also requires spiritual passion and revelation. The excuse of “Lacking motivation and inspiration” if said enough, (and it certainly is), must contain at least some truth and merit. We are seeing more undisciplined people than ever, more people turning to cheap and easy outlets for meaning, more people than ever jumping on board popular political narratives and ideologies to fulfil the human instinct of meaningful fulfilment, regardless of the reality of these ideologies positive effect. People these days will refuse to accept criticism of their chosen narrative, whether they be a climate warrior, a socialist utopianist, or simply choosing to do something far less than their capability because choosing nothing at all will leave them as completely hopeless and nihilistic. Carl Jung believed we all have a personal myth, a personal destiny. And deep down, I too believe we have a guiding light that pulls us towards this greatest potential. But the realisation of our destiny can be too much weight for many to bare, and even more difficult to implement. And so for this reason, people will take the easy option, the quick and dirty path, they choose the devil, they choose expediency over meaning and greatness. And this, in my eyes, is largely not just an individual problem, but a social one. I say this because our mainstream narratives no longer celebrate individuals’ quest for greatness, but instead glamourise the invert. For men, the media proposes characters that give in to nature, chaotic in temperament, consumed by emotion and submissive. And for women, characters that choose to go against their nurturing chaos and emotional understanding, instead choosing to be stoics, fighting tooth and nail to be powerful and hierarchical climbers. All this accomplishes is a short circuit, making woman and man alike neglect their dominant instincts, and instead to over identify with their inferior functions. This modern inversion, this enantiodromia, this reversal of roles, this is all a clear indication of modern cultures clear sickness to the divine order. Would it not be true we would have more disciplined men if we had more mainstream and celebrated masculine, disciplined, strong males in the limelight? And conversely, would it not be true we would not have happier women if we had more common depictions of women engaging in the nurturing roles of mothers and caregivers? We are told these are “Social constructions”, constructions coming out of consciousness, here to control us, and not to help. And this of course taps into the very natural instinct of rebellion, to go against the established authority. And yet, all this based on a lie we are told that these are merely constructs to hinder and control, and not to help.
Gaslighting of Demonic proportions.
But as I said earlier, everything that is common enough, or said enough repeatedly, must at least have truth. So allow me to give the devil his due once again. Our culture Is indeed on an inverted order. So allow me to express the perspective that this universal inversion is potentially mere over compensation of the scales to try and find an ultimate balance with God totality. If we consider Jungs concepts of the inferior and at first unconscious feminine anima in men, and the inferior function of masculine animus in women; it seems clear to me that we have put our foot past the line of balance in order to become collectively closer to perfection. For the masterpiece of individual integration of the opposite is a line walked as fine as a tight rope walker, and it is a line we are desperately trying to compensate. For if we were for a while tilting too far right, our balancing pole has in its attempt to integrate the suppressed feminine Dionysian spirit gone now too far to the left. It is my vision that the pole will swing the other, way, then the other, then the other, until eventually, bit by bit, the swings will lose volatility, and the pole will eventually balance in perfect harmonious balance with the divine narrow path of the lord above.
Our kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.
If that is not the ultimate goal of humanity, I don’t know what is.