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Grail knights (II)

It is simply no good to assemble a group to, for example, “save the West” or “form a counter-elite”; if you do so, you will end up with altogether the wrong people. This is because most do not know what they want—they think they do, but they don’t. Hence the people who think they will “save the West”, “resist the woke”, or “form a new counter-elite” are the least fitted to do so—it will all go wrong.

In part, it is down to the immense vanity and conceit that you find in most people—these conditions entail lies and sometimes the lies are so ingrained that people don’t even realise they lie at all. Further, there is the fact that most people do not know what they really want at all; and this is not unconnected to the fact that when people get what they say they want, on the occasions they do so, they are disappointed with it.

Hence in Grail knight recruitment, for example, the most suitable person is someone with no interest in the Holy Grail whatsoever—certainly not an academic or enthusiast, someone who longs to find the Grail (as many amateurs do). I myself have little interest in the Grail, nil in fact—it is just that about five years ago I was compelled to read Dante and the Grail is in Dante. In fact, Dante doesn’t interest me either.

It’s about the same as if you made a conscious effort to be “friends” with someone; nothing could alienate more or be more unnatural than posed friendliness. You sometimes see assumed “mate-iness” between fathers and sons—it reflects the ambivalence that exists between them, concealed by good-natured shoulder-pokes. It comes about, to an extent with mothers as well, because families are people we “should be” affectionate towards—and so family relations can be as contrived as someone you decided “should be” your friend. Yet real friendships form and dissolve through serendipity, not a conscious effort.

A similar situation exists within religion: people feel they “should be” religious, since to do so is to be a “good person” or will “resist the woke”—or even just turn their life around. However, they do not think it is real at all; yet they force it—since it is a “good thing” to do. In fact, the first step to a genuine religious attitude—and this applies to everything—is to say what you think and feel; and in these cases what people think and feel is: “I don’t think this is true at all—I think it’s nonsense; and I don’t really like Christ, he feels sickly and oppressive. Yet I should follow some faith to be good.” If people would admit that this is so, then they would progress to a genuine religious position—it is only when you give it up that you get it.

What happens with people who “try to be good” is that they end up stuck halfway, usually stuck in moralisation—since it is all about being a “good/bad” person. They force belief because it will “be good”, make them “good”. Often, they will end up with a contrived metaphorical justification for their position (e.g. God is an egregore, emergent order; the sum of human activity)—or arguments from evolution that support religion as an advantage in competitive fitness. They will never get the real thing or the real benefit. It sounds a little trite—yet it applies to all life, not just religion—but if you let it go, you get it back; and, further, “to let it go” does not mean to switch to another moralised pose “atheism” (“good”, “rational”)—it means to state your actual position.

What most people end up as is crippled against themselves: they have a will that says (1) “Follow this faith” and then inside they have a voice that says (2) “It’s nonsense.” What happens then is a knot—as if you always sat in an awkward position, hunched over—where (1) attempts to push (2) down. These cases sometimes turn into atheists, since at a certain point the strain from doubt suppression grows too much and they snap to the opposite position (the same process is at work in atheists who become fanatical Christians one fine day).

It is not about the specific formulation—I just happen to know that “I don’t think this is true at all—I think it’s nonsense” is the most common position in these cases—nor is it about an intellectual justification; it’s about when you are transparent as regards your internal state—at least with yourself, although it can’t hurt to be transparent in public. It all comes down to that old Delphic injunction: “Know thyself”—and that is very hard, in fact.

Hence when my Grail knights find me, stood in a field, under the moonlight, with two antlers on my head, they will say, “You’re not Merlin. You’re a nutter with a cheap face mask from Amazon stood in a field.” I will reply: “True. I am a complete nutter and my girlfriend says I will soon be arrested, although, frankly, I don’t see how standing in a field wearing a pair of antlers is illegal.” It has to work like that—if it didn’t, it would be false.

The unfortunate fact is that most people are interested in tarty things—now, I like a tart myself, a tart with a heart, but it’s too easy to settle for ersatz. This is the problem with Hollywood, with Netflix—but also with many, many things. The easy route, the path of least resistance, is simple to fall into—it’s just there, it satisfies; it works. Yet there is no depth to it, no solidity. It is the case that the depth and solidity repel—and can, in fact, be perceived as boredom; it is just that the satisfaction works more slowly, that’s all—and that your palate has been degraded.

The difference is between television and a fire—both provide the same role, occupy the same space in the living room; and a fire entertains in its own way—you will see spirits in it. Yet almost everyone chooses the easy option today—a TV, or a tablet on your lap. I had a similar experience with a comic book as a child: there was some British version of Captain America—Captain Britain—and yet oddly I felt ambivalent about “Captain Britain”, contrary to what you might expect (what should happen); and the reason why was that it was in fact too powerful, it was too much what I wanted—too self-assertive. It stirred this peculiar sensation in me that was deep and strong, tidal.

The reason many people reject what is called “nationalist” politics and “fundamentalist” religion (i.e. race and faith) is not because they dislike these things—in actuality, the draw is so deep and powerful to them, provides such a deep satisfaction, that it frightens them. It is too real. The posed hysterical moralism that meets racial or religious assertion, even self-assertion, exists to protect the individual from that which would subsume them.

The pose used to protect themselves—in a Nietzschean twist—is “good” and “evil”; and the position that “I’m a good person” is hysterically defended—yet religion is about integrity, not morality, at base; and so it is, in fact, “beyond good and evil”, it is whole (holy). The hysteria that is generated by the assertion “blood and soil” reflects the desire for the soft path—ironically, the soft path is to pose as a “good person”, too good to submit to the deep tidal flow that will render your individual moralism non-significant. Hence “good people” are not much use to me (neither are people who pose as self-consciously “evil”). Too many people remain stuck in a conscious pose—as priests, as nationalists, as agnostics—and do not let themselves become transparent, since they cannot bear to cease to exist.


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