Monday, August 28, 2006

The getting of wisdom

I've had the chance now to observe friends and family mature and settle into their adult lives of work and family. Gradually people figure out what's important and what's needed to make relationships work and how to deal with their own shortcomings.

So it certainly is possible for individuals to learn from their experiences and to get the basic things right.

The problem is ... it takes too long. I know a lot of people who finally reached their completed adult selves in their mid-30s, by which time their best chance to successfully partner and have children has often passed.

I was reminded of this when I read the following passage by American traditionalist Lawrence Auster:

The notion that man’s unaided reason is sufficient to form a good way of life and a good society is, of course, a defining belief of liberalism. By contrast, conservatives, starting with Burke, believe that one person or a group of persons do not know enough, that people cannot start from scratch in each generation and build a decent society, and therefore society depends to a great extent on the wisdom and experience of the past transmitted to the present via culture, laws, moral habits and traditions, religious teachings, accumulated know-how, and so on.

It is precisely a lesson of my generation that you can't expect every individual to start from scratch in acquiring knowledge. The kinds of lessons learnt by each generation need to be passed down as a kind of "short-cut" for the rising generation.

Of course this can be done directly through parents, but it helps too if the culture you inherit guides you to make wise decisions when young which your own experience later confirms.

And this cultural support my own generation did not have. The messages we received were derived more from political dictates than from traditional culture.

And so we had to battle through the confusion of being taught that there were no significant differences between men and women; that gender role reversal was the moral path; that it was liberating for women to act like "ladettes"; that the family was an oppressive patriarchal institution; that motherhood was demeaning to women; that men were collectively responsible for domestic violence; that the male provider role was oppressive to women; and that the Western tradition in general was privileged and prejudiced and to be considered in terms of guilt and apology.

We inhabited a kind of anti-culture, an imposed politics which acted rather as a hindrance to knowledge and development than as a vessel to pass on an accumulated wisdom.

I hope that my generation won't repeat the same mistake and that we will try to endow our own children with a supportive culture.

PS Take a look too at this item by Lawrence Auster on Angelina Jolie.


  1. When a culture reaches a state of power so great that survival is no longer an issue, it begins to decay from the inside and serves only it’s own decadent fantasies. Historically, ancient Rome & Greece experienced this. Orgies & hedonism flourished in these cultures when people had no ‘practical’ use for tradition any longer. (Japan/China is going through a similar thing with almost all it’s youth on the liberal spectrum.) Generations of strict survival-based ethics/morals have given way to a life resembling a perpetual party. There is no ‘immediate’ need to think beyond today, since everything is easy.

    The problem comes, not just in people’s lack of foresight to the next generation, but also their own future. (ie. Feminists blind-spot of delaying childbirth to pursue a career until it’s biologically too late to conceive.) It’s also irresponsible to future generations to lead one’s life purely by ‘subjective’ motivations. Our culture places FAR too much emphasis on the importance of ‘feelings’. It’s often touted to say that “One should always follow their heart” or “You can never be wrong if you follow how you feel” – which serves a ‘subtext’ of an aversion to logic. The more we’re taught to build the foundations of our characters, and society, on ‘feelings’ serves a materialistic (Read:political) ideology. Unfortunantly, the nature of ‘feelings’ is that they CHANGE. This ‘blind-spot’ is an unfortunate (and willfully selfish) way to live one’s life, and subsequently influence others’.

    Finding someone like Angelina Jolie (or really ANY celebrity) attractive, is to judge them on the ‘superficial’ only, because we don’t know them as individuals. They’re ciphers. Celebrities have an exclusive status removed from the life a ‘normal’ person. Most people (most likely dissatisfied with the world that feminism has built) are secretly longing to live outside of their culture that doesn’t ‘work’. “Escapism” through celebrity worship is just another way to live outside of our societal madness. (ie. More money/fame = autonomy from political/economic constraints.)

    The limited ‘Popular’ spectrum of role models for the young (especially girls) ranges from the one-dimensional materialistic sex-symbols like Paris Hilton - to the feminist (hear me ‘roar’) abnoxious, masculine brutes like ‘Pink’. Nothing, but a basic hedonistic notion, can be discerned by either. The ‘example’ shown to the impressionable youth is very counter-productive.

    Telling our current culture to re-establish many historical ethics, seems like ‘hard work’ to the current generation, as it means they will have to relinquish many of their ‘vices’. When the mode of social conduct is little more than ‘shooting-up’ (as a heroin addict would) on EASY pop-entertainment, then it’s almost impossible to expect the ‘addict’ to FREELY relinquish their self-destructive ‘legal’ drug.

    And as the article stated, by the time many of us (like myself) reach our mid-30’s, we tend to think more maturely about life. We no longer place much (if any) value on wastes of time such as chasing wealth, modern women or careers. We tend to ‘think’ more ‘practically – rather than ‘feel’ only viscerally.

    Unfortunantly, we have traveled very far down the feminist road. Most people like the view - but hate the ride.

    I’d hope more people would ‘chose’ (in their own syntax) to get off this ridiculous road.


  2. Nice comment Bobby. I'm glad you targeted the limited range of "popular" role models for girls. I think you're right that both the Paris Hilton and Pink options are trapped within a materialism, in the sense that they don't recognise a higher value outside our physical or egoistic wants which might guide our behaviour and principles.

  3. Not only that Mark, but I think that the modern cultural female attraction to role models has a very limited spectrum.

    After the cementing of feminists ideologies as Law in today's times, it's rather amusing to notice that modern women have 'chosen' ("A woman's right to chose") to idealise those qualities in female celebrities that ONLY seem to exude 'sexual' power. (And men want to have sex with those icons)

    Coincidence? No. Somehow, there's a guilty pleasure of seeing nature at work here.

    Britany Spears, Pink, etc - seem to be all that feminists (once they are 'free to chose whatever they want') gravitate toward.