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1. My Carlos Castaneda re-reading has brought me to A Separate Reality, a book i haven’t read in over a decade. In my youth i many times read, without really absorbing, passages on the nihilism/detachment of Don Juan, the Socrates to Castaneda’s Plato. i approached this detachment in my own way in my early 20s, through Camus’s Sisyphus, and through Kierkegaard’s reading of Genesis 22 – at the time i was much affected by the certain transience of friendships, and love, and could only just about manage this knowledge by thinking of Kierkegaard’s Abraham, for whom Isaac is both his most treasured earthly love, and something given, which could be taken away at any time. i had read the Castaneda book by then, but had evidently ignored the central coldness:
You should know by now that a man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting, nor by thinking about what he will think when he has finished acting. A man of knowledge chooses a path with heart and follows it; and then he looks and rejoices and laughs; and then he sees and knows. He knows that his life will be over altogether too soon; he knows that he, as well as everybody else, is not going anywhere; he knows, because he sees, that nothing is more important than anything else.
In other words, a man of knowledge has no honor, no dignity, no family, no name, no country, but only life to be lived, and under these circumstances his only tie to his fellow men is his controlled folly.
Thus a man of knowledge endeavors, and sweats, and puffs, and if one looks at him he is just like any ordinary man, except that the folly of has life is under control. Nothing being more important than anything else, a man of knowledge chooses any act, and acts it out as if it matters to him.
His controlled folly makes him say that what he does matters and makes him act as if it did, and yet he knows that it doesn’t; so when he fulfills his acts he retreats in peace, and whether his acts were good or bad, or worked or didn’t, is in no way part of his concern.
This kind of minimal intention, abstention from customary fuss and ambition, is no doubt one reason i proved unemployable, but has also been necessary for my survival. It is the purity of Tsunetomo Yamamoto.
2. As i perceive the wider workings of my other lives, with their various lunatic strivings, i tend to a kind of quietism, even as i daily meet and entertain and supposedly educate the Bosche. In two of my most recent (parallel) lives i was passionately concerned with cultural matters which have, naturally, only grown worse in the intervening decades; the third of these recent lives was, as best i can judge, totally disengaged & uninterested.
i cannot but worry about the 21st Century – for example, it seems fair to say that Angela Merkel’s decision to open the doors of Germany to anyone who wants to come here, whether or not they can speak German or English, or even read or write, or want to assimilate to European culture, will have grave consequences. For my first 4 years in my little suburb of Munich, i saw not a single altercation or fight, and heard sirens once or twice a month; since late September, the sirens are pretty much every day, and three weeks ago i saw a young black guy walk out of a supermarket, pursued by a diminutive female cashier who was saying (in German) “You haven’t paid!”; she followed him down the street, every few metres he turned and shouted at her (not in German) and then continued walking, and she continued crying “you haven’t paid!!!” While all the other pedestrians avoided even obviously looking at the fracas, i walked over with the intention of laying the Slap of Odin down if things came to a pass; it was predictable, given Germans’ cowardice, that i was the only person to even acknowledge a disturbance, all other Bosche pretending nothing was happening. Luckily, two of the cashier’s colleagues (also diminutive women) ran after her and i decided to leave it to them and go home to drink and smoke and nod gravely to myself at the villainy of things.
It shows some of Germany’s sheltered and Shire-like nature that the cashier sounded surprised and aggrieved – in a few weeks i imagine cashiers will just accept that this is now the way things are, and do nothing. They can call the police but as in England they will have their hands full.
There’s nothing anyone can do about this, since the political elite have made their decision without considering the wishes or interests of the electorate. So i try to take the long view, that every civilisation crumbles, sometimes swept away by foreign armies, sometimes betrayed from within.
3. As i logged in to my blog i noted a referral from D.G. Myer’s blog. He died last year and though i never met him i felt disorientated by the referral; it was, for a moment, as if he were still alive. His death was inevitable, as is mine, and yours, and in a sense it is nothing to take too seriously – or rather, as Castaneda writes, take death as your advisor, and then your life is volatized, and then open to what purpose you will. The individual death is inevitable, it is harder to accept the wider cultural death, in this case the death of Europe. Juniper told me that she felt almost guilty to be affected by the Muslims’ destruction of monuments in Palmyra, as mere buildings should be insignificant, set against all the people murdered in the name of Allah. Personally, i feel sadder if a work of art is destroyed than if someone i don’t know from Adam is hacked to death by the Muslims; human life is always limited and rarely unmixed with pettiness, rage, ugliness, so i would say the average human being is probably of no real value for me; but Durham Cathedral has lasted a good 700 years and while it was originally (i guess) a statement of brute Norman domination, it has given a purer pleasure and meaning than most human lives. There is probably also a natural lifespan to buildings, but i see no reason to simply accept their destruction, whether at the hands of Muslims or Le Corbusier-esque progressives. And a culture is longer in the building than even a Cathedral, and more significant. Naturally, Muslims destroy artefacts of non-Muslim civilisations, because they stand as a rebuke to a religion dedicated to death and cruelty. The Muslims could echo Iago’s animus against Cassio: he hath a daily beauty in his life/that makes me ugly.
There seems nothing one can do to stop the political and liberal elite destroying Europe with the WMD that is mass Muslim immigration – a kind of biological/cultural weapon – so like Ludwig Beck, i am thinking of earlier times.
4. In the last few weeks i have (somehow) managed to shut off what Casteneda calls “the internal dialogue”, the usually constant repetition of thoughts and feelings by which the personality reaffirms its hold and identity. My father would often lurch about the house muttering aloud – for hours – and i always got the feeling he has a strong and incessant internal dialogue, so strong indeed that it often shuts out the world about him. i don’t know exactly how i got here, but i find i can suspend my own internal dialogue by willing it. It’s not that i no longer feel emotions, but they feel different, unadulterated by the constant reinforcement of the personality. i find i can also simply disengage from my emotions. My entire self feels different, unconditioned, though of course i have my limits & peculiarities.
5. At the moment i’m in Kassel, doing a 2-day job for an old student (helping him prepare for an English-language speech). Pleasingly, his company paid my train and would have paid for a hotel but i said i can sleep on Juniper’s sofa. It’s a tech company so full of young lefties, and the marketing person took me to dinner and went on about how we should have no borders and everyone should be allowed to live where they want, and also she hates anyone conservative, etc. i thought it was funny that she thinks of herself as democratic and liberal but thinks people should be forced to accept vast influxes of foreigners who hate their culture and want to destroy them, as if you should have no say over what goes on in your neighbourhood – presumably, she would staunchly resist an influx of Europeans into Tibet or Pakistan or Iran, because we might harm a fragile and beautiful culture, but millions of machete-wielding Muslims can only be good for Germany, and if anyone disagrees he is scum and should be silenced, because, in her words “I hate conservative people!!!”
i would once have argued with her, but now i just smiled and nodded, wondering what it would be like to be both so educated and so dumb. Kassel is now full of weird-looking refugees from all over the shop, and they certainly don’t look to be fleeing tribulation or war – they have a look of gloating superiority and contempt for the Germans who avoid making eye contact (much as the Germans avoided looking at the black shoplifter). i feel appalled at the prospect of millions of uneducated Muslims flooding Germany, especially since they seem to be entirely young men, and yet i accept that Europe is succumbing to a long-coming suicide, that the birth rates of Germany indicate the Germans’ unwillingness to continue their culture. While i would prefer an uninhabited wasteland full of Gothic ruins, to Arabia-on-the-Rhein, that’s just the way of it – there may be centuries of a new Dark Age, with Islam dominant over most of the planet, all books save the Koran burnt, women enslaved & genitally mutilated, all religions save Islam annihilated, the great artworks of the last millenia systematically razed amid much cheering of Allahu Akhbar!
but then i suppose, after a few centuries, the human race itself may die out, succumbing to disease, or perhaps God will be merciful and send an asteroid to destroy the planet. Everything has a lifespan and this perhaps includes the human race and our planet. If there were other worlds, i would go there, but i fear there is only this, so here it is, welcome to Planet Jihad.