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1. i’m mainly teaching Arbeitsamt these days, as the whole of Bavaria (including my usual company groups) go to Lake Garda from June to September, to wish they could be Italian, and to complain about the Italians. Only the unemployed are compelled, by iron bonds of bureaucracy; only they abide in wretched durance, under my rule. There’s a big-titted blonde MILF in one class, Karen by name, nice, but desperate for cock and attention. She apparently told a mid-60s black American colleague of mine, Maya, that the whole group were worried that i was depressed and might kill myself.
me: eh? What? Is she going to complain to McLingua about that?
Maya: Well, uhh, no she was just, she said she was just, uhh, worried about you. She said you are seriously depressed and uhh stuff like that.
me: i’m actually quite cheerful.
Maya: Well I think she just wants to cause trouble and talk, and she probably, uhh, doesn’t understand your sense of humour. I told her that’s just elberry.
i realised that my life – teaching, hours of unpaid travel, and then home to drink and read and watch TV shows like True Detective, would strike most Germands as depressing and even horrific. Karen has repeatedly said that i need to marry a rich German woman, and seemed taken aback by my Burzum-esque laughter.
Odd, that a life of reading and gin could seem marks of depression, when in fact i generally enjoy my existence, as long as i don’t expect “recognition” for my writings, or money, or success, or any sense of being useful. But then Germands are a peculiar lot, generally quite bright (compared to the average Muslim) but almost totally ignorant of any culture outside the pap of German TV, dubbed American blockbusters, and – for the few who read – crime thrillers and sappy romances. On the rare occasions i have a student who enjoys reading poetry or real novels, it’s almost always a Russian or East European. For Germands, as for the English, reading is mere entertainment; you would never read a novel twice, because the whole point is to kill time, and the prose, the characterisation, the technical proficiency, are irrelevant – and so, like the Viking – who watched Boorman’s classic Excalibur and then grumbled into his beard, – It was impossible to enjoy because I already knew the story – the Germands are incapable of enjoying Rilke or Thomas Mann or Kafka.
2. It does sometimes strike me odd, that i am 40 and considerably more in debt than when i came to the Reich 7 years ago (almost to this day), and have failed to really learn any German since my job forbids any tongue save English, and after teaching i have little heart for social interactions with anyone, and those few tend to be base colleagues.
And yet i have my pleasures.
i’ve started drinking more gin, though perhaps when the colder weather comes i will take again to whisky. It’s a fairly cheap and uncomplicated pleasure – i will die of liver failure but given the whole of Western Europe will be under Sharia law in the next generation, this is a trivial consideration. My two childered colleagues, California Jesus and Toddball, seem to hate their lives, and spend all their free time placating their angry German wives and their angry German children. A bottle of decent gin, by contrast, is a simple and fortifying pleasure, and by the grace of God cheaper than a bottle of decent whisky, thus winning the war on both fronts.
3. Reading remains a great pleasure in these pre-Shariac days (don’t expect much in the way of libraries after the Muslims become more than 25% of the population). Here are some excerpts, of the last few weeks:
3.1 Evelyn Waugh’s Sword of Honour trilogy. Very English, leading on to Larkin – depressed, satirical, mostly hopeless. i’ve yet to finish the third but so far almost all the characters are somewhere between selfish trivial fools and monstrous psychopaths. i wonder, at times, what life was like Evelyn Waugh if he really saw his fellow men so; i expect he drank rather a lot of gin. Here’s a splendid account of the father of the protagonist (Guy Crouchback):
He was an innocent, affable old man who had somehow preserved his good humour – much more than that, a mysterious and tranquil joy – throughout a life which to all outward observation had been overloaded with misfortune. He had like many another been born in full sunlight and lived to see night fall. England was full of such Jobs who had been disappointed in their prospects. Mr Crouchback had lost his home. Partly in his father’s hands, partly in his own, without extravagance or speculation, his inheritance had melted away. He had rather early lost his beloved wife and been left to a long widowhood. He had an ancient name which was now little regarded and threatened with extinction. Only God and Guy knew the massive and singular quality of Mr Crouchback’s family pride. He kept it to himself. That passion, which is often so thorny a growth, bore nothing save roses for Mr Crouchback. He was quite without class consciousness because he saw the whole intricate social structure of his country divided neatly into two unequal and unmistakable parts. On one side stood the Crouchbacks and certain inconspicuous, anciently allied families; on the other side stood the rest of mankind, Box-Bender, the butcher, the Duke of Omnium (whose onetime wealth derived from monastic spoils), Lloyd George, Neville Chamberlain – all of a piece together. Mr Crouchback acknowledged no monarch since James II. It was not an entirely sane conspectus but it engendered in his gentle breast two rare qualities, tolerance and humility. For nothing much, he assumed, could reasonably be expected from the commonality; it was remarkable how well some of them did behave on occasions; while, for himself, any virtue he had came from afar without his deserving, and every small fault was grossly culpable in a man of his tradition.
Akin to Proust’s Baron de Charlus, but finer and without Proust’s ubiquitous perversions. There is also an excellent Victorian slaughterer, Ben Ritchie-Hook, who somehow survives the 19th C to slay Germans, which all self-respecting Leftists would encourage:
“I’ve had fun in Africa too,” said Ritchie-Hook. “After one of my periodical disagreements with the powers that be, I got seconded to the African Rifles. Good fellows if you keep at them with a stick but devilish scared of rhinos.”
3.2 Andrei Znamenski’s Red Shambhala, where i learn of an apposite ancient legend regarding our Muslim guests, a final battle between the so-called Mlecca and the (Buddhist) faithful:
Besides the millions of wild and mad elephants and thousands of warriors and horses that Rudra Chakrin would gather for his final battle, the legend mentioned the variety of weapons to be used against the “people of Mecca.” There were not only chariots, spears and other conventional hardware of ancient combat, but also sophisticated wheel-shaped machines of mass destruction. There would also be a special flying wind machine for use against mountain forts. According to the Shambhala prophecy, this prototype of a modern-day napalm bomber would spill burning oil on the enemies. Moreover, the protectors of the faith would use a harpoon machine, an analogy of a modern-day machine gun, designed to simultaneously shoot many arrows that would easily pierce the bodies of armoured elephants.
4. i’ve been watching the youtube channel Thulean Perspective for a while with joy; ’tis the work of a Norwegian in France, by the name of Varg Vikernes; i have been long fortified by his unrelentingly pagan and European beard, and delighted by his soft, lullaby voice.
It was clear that this is a man you could trust as your babysitter, a man who could record audiobooks for children’s bedtime stories. A kind of Werner Herzog figure, with hints of extreme manliness but basically a big Germanic teddy bear. He talks in one video of his experience in Norwegian prison, and i assumed it was perhaps 6 months for so-called hate speech, or just for being white or perhaps shoplifting or some hysterical Feminist accused him of rape because he held a door open for her.
Then i Googled him.
He’s motherfucking Burzum.
He stabbed Mayhem guitarist Øystein Aarseth to death, burnt several churches down, and got 21 years in prison.
By God, i would still let him babysit my non-existent children, and if he were not to be available, i would play his audiobooks of The Wind in the Willows and Winnie the Pooh, to lull my non-existent brood to sleep, and dreams of Narnia.
1. The Viking visited ruination upon me earlier this week, as is his wont. A profoundly lanky and uncoordinated person with a huge Christian beard, he inhabits his own private reality of, basically, numbers, largely oblivious to anything else. i have decided he is autistic although any human categories must needs fall short of his appalling Protestant potency. We watched The Wolf of Wall Street, Sicario, and Batman v Superman. He seemed to enjoy the first to some degree, at least he didn’t say anything negative about it. He thought the second and third mediocre, as best i could tell – it is hard to gauge his reactions, as he rarely, to the point of never, says anything good about anything except CS Lewis and Pope Francis and the EU, so a favourable response consists of contemplative beard-stroking and a series of incomprehensible mumbles, or just “Hmmm.”
Raised as an Evangelical Protestant, he converted to the most anodyne form of Catholicism available a few years ago, and has remained Protestant in his habits & tastes. i encouraged him to go to the rad-trad SS Catholic mass in Munich but he demurred, – Hmmm. They are schismatics. Hmmm.
Instead he went to the most happy-clappy guitar & joyous tambourine & hippy dancing “Catholic” Mass he could find. i stayed in my flat, had a cup of tea and worshipped Wotan.
2. It occurred to me that taste is fundamental, and even religion is merely layered thereon. The Viking dresses, for preference, in torn and stained beige rags, eats mashed potato and overboiled peas, and lives in a student room in student squalor, despite being 37. He cannot smoke even cigars without coughing fits and beard ignition. Conversation with the Man in Black as we were smoking on my last visit to Finland:
MIB: Does he smoke, this so-called Viking?
elberry: No. He is essentially a materialist atheist.
MIB: Ruined by a Protestant upbringing. Does he drink?
elberry: He can drink to some degree.
MIB: That is something, at least.
The Viking cannot, however, be judged by normal human, or even fascist, standards. Last year, i gave him a black bag i was reasonably fond of, thinking “well, i like it, but he really needs a new bag.” He took it. This time, i asked after the bag. He frowned and stroked his beard, then, with a careless shrug: – Oh. I left it in England somewhere.
i then proceeded to ask what happened to a great cybercriminal coat i bought him in 2004/5 from Zara, back when they actually made decent clothes. He frowned and tugged his beard, then, with another careless shrug: – My mother threw it away.
elberry: What? When? Why?
Viking: It fell apart after a couple of years and she said I couldn’t wear it anymore.
For a moment, i wondered if the coat – which i calculate cost a week of my wages – had been much frailer and badly-constructed than i had thought; then i realised he meant it had fallen apart after “a couple of years” of being thrown on the floor, kicked about, burnt, ripped apart with scissors, used to mop up piss, dragged behind a bus, thrown into a vat of silage, the usual Viking treatment. Money itself isn’t very significant for me, but when i think of how much suffering and grief a week of minimum wage office work represented, it was, briefly, horrible to think of him treating it so – but then, i also reflected, it was my fault for thinking he wouldn’t do this.
There is a long catalogue of things i bought him, all lost, discarded, destroyed. The first was a handmade leather case i bought for his Dungeons & Dragons dice back in 2001 – it was a beautiful piece, and comparably expensive; i asked if he still had it, the usual serene frown, beard-tug, then, – It’s probably in Canada somewhere.
3. i had a day’s respite when he went to Regensburg alone – i had to do laundry and sundry chores, and to be alone. i thought about my irritation at his Vikingry, and then realised it was basically self-inflicted irritation, for i was expecting him to be something he isn’t. Twenty years ago, i let my dobermann into the living room, and since he wasn’t properly trained, he promptly began ripping the cushions to pieces, and was much aggrieved when i threw him out. It was my fault for not training him, though at that point (aged 19) i knew nothing about such things; but nonetheless, one cannot blame the dog, and nor can one blame the Viking – it was my fault for letting the dog into the living room, and it was my fault for thinking the Viking could be other than a Viking. As the Man in Black judged, once a Protestant, always a Protestant.
4. As ever with the Viking, he managed to attract some vague danger. In this case, we were on the bus and a German chav was staring darkly at us, probably because we look so bizarre (Vkg in a linen hat and red cord jacket i bought for him, which he has probably already “left in China somewhere” or perhaps they “fell apart” or “they got on fire” or “a dog ate them” or “my mother confiscated them”), and were speaking English (and the Viking is incapable of moderating his voice, because he is autistic, so everyone in a 100 meter radius can hear him). The Viking yawned and the German chav immediately yawned, to me evidence of his attention. When he was about to get off, the chav stared menacingly at us and hissed, – Schöne Sachen, Leute! – translated directly, “nice things, people” – it could i suppose be taken as a compliment, but not with that look of Left-wing hate.
The Viking had no idea what was going on – despite speaking German, better even than me since he did it at school for 7 years, and besides told me in 2011 “You make my head hurt when you speak German. You should, like, stick to Italian or something, because you are brown and that is, like, a brown language because, like, all the Italians are, like, brown and stuff” – he insisted on speaking Slovak to everyone he met, which was met with uniform incomprehension as one would expect.
– Didn’t you notice him staring at us the whole time? i asked, amazed despite my long acquaintance with Vikingry.
– Didn’t you notice him yawning immediately after you did?
– Look, I was not obsessively monitoring him like you, the Viking snapped.
Given the chav had been directly in front of us, about 10 feet away, facing us the whole time, i found this rather odd. But then this is the Viking, who looked over a woman’s shoulder in a bank in Kiel, and then boomingly announced, – Hmm, interesting: she is paying in American dollars!
At least he didn’t start reciting her account number outloud, then backwards, then multiply it by Pi (he has, naturally, memorised Pi to 10,000 decimal points) and inform her of the result. He is totally oblivious to ordinary danger, but throw a number in his field of vision and he will memorise it, Rainman style.
5. On our last evening, waiting for the s-bahn, he suddenly announced, – Oh shit, I just remembered: I need your underpants. Give them to me.
– I mean, umm, I am out of underpants. So I need to borrow a pair of your underpants. Obviously you can have them back.
i considered him. He stared at me without shame. i sighed. – If, for some inexplicable reason, i gave you a pair of my pants, and you then chose to wear them, i certainly wouldn’t want them back.
– Hmm. But I need underpants. Give them to me – now.
i was amused, in spite of my natural horror, at the idea of him “borrowing” a pair of my pants, and then years later he would tell me he left them “in Chernobyl somewhere” or “my mother took them” or “they fell apart”, no doubt shrugging at my stupidity in ever trusting him with anything. i informed him: – A man will not ask his friend for pants. A man goes commando, or reuses his old pants.
The Viking just frowned and said, after much thought: – Hmm.
And how was the Pant Question settled? Reader, i refused him.
Another of my “short stories”:
The Master of High Works
I am not greatly loved, it is true. Spoken of, known in some rough way, dreamt of, feared, obscurely worshipped, but not, one would say, loved. I and my crew are given official welcome in each town, we are hosted in the finest and also most remote and secluded lodgings, féted to the degree I allow, but certainly not loved. As we approach the town, packs of children howl about our wagons, running frenziedly to and away, cocking clods of excrement and rock, the hand coming up, never quite daring to hurl, and oftentimes my assistants leer and beckon them closer, or toss oranges, sweets, worthless coins, or offer them the horrors much loved by children (severed heads, eyeballs, stuffed kittens etc.) – and yet thus far none has come within arm’s length of our wagons, on our approach.
Nothing formidable to our wagons – ordinary constructions, ordinary beasts, and my capering assistants look to be grinning empty-headed fellows, without a care or thought in their heads save the varying prices of beer and wine, the quality of the local girls-for-sale, the weather, etc. And I? I am much as other men, I could be a workman, a smith, with my tools, my large hands and broad wrists, my adequate frame, my face hooded against the sun. We do not ride on huge black horses with flaming eyes, wielding weapons of murder. No no, by no means, we are simply men about a job.
We are expected, ushered quickly into rooms as far as possible from the bustle, fed and watered, offered the usual services of a town, and then I settle to the task. First, I require court proceedings, witness accounts, confession if any, and naturally full details of the crime. These I consider.
Then to the gaol, and here I make my determination. A sorry lot, in the main: low-born drunks missing their front teeth or an eye, demented children born in violence, deserters and bravos; then there are the poisoners: housewives cradling their hands together as a kitten, greybeards with ink-stained fingers and a look of great probity, magered students in once-serviceable rags, 10-year-old girls folded on themselves in horror, all varieties of killer. Not all are guilty, but all will be served. They are all put under my rule, and I can offer no reprieve. However, those I perceive to be innocent (of this crime) will receive an end commensurate with innocence. How could it be otherwise?
I am no hangman or head-chopper or gut-ripper. I am the master of high works in these our Lord’s kingdoms. The small authorities understand little of my work. − He must burn! they inform me, or, − His bowels to be eaten by dogs, after dismemberment! and he see it all, and screams! And so on. They presume to instruct me, as if mess and pain were my art. No no, sir townsman, you understand nothing at all. Let the barbarians indulge in spectacle of this sort, I have my own art.
I am feared, in some sense, and well-received, honoured. Death there must be, but how? That I master, a death apt to the life. My work is known throughout my Lord’s kingdoms; there are even, as I hear, imitators, though naturally doomed to mediocrity and disappointment. Death is no light matter, though common; easy enough to dispense, it is yet a subtle and coy matter. Some look askance. At my supposedly peasant and taciturn manner, in my old hat, my giggling assistants. Yes, they caper and jape and are lewd and hideous, but that is their own way; I need say only, − The women’s rope, and they will bring me the casket, with all my tools of finer hanging. And I care not how they act otherwise, they can go whoring, and drinking, and they can dance on tables and do all manner tricks and devilry, telling vile tales (some true), singing songs not heard in a good many century, songs to dead or at least greatly altered persons, they can feign to fly and sorcery, I care not so long as they come when I call, and bring what I require.
Japing there may and perhaps must be, outside the moment. At the time of my work, I allow no frivolities, no uproar, no cruelties, nothing unneedful. Oh yes, these local authorities are all for the needless. − My good sir! they tell me, these fine-silked folk, − We will a bear torn by dogs first, and jugglers, and there is a fire man from the South, he will bring his firebrands and then the man of whom we are talking, the evil man, he be brung forth and whipped, and all spit in his face, and he –
And I say, − No.
And they say, − No?
And I say, − No.
Mine are simple affairs. Generally the noose or axe or spear, sometimes sword, sometimes even poison though it is not to my liking as covert and imprecise. The man (or woman or child) comes forth, and the crowd keep silent – because this is my will – and the man stands before them all, and I read the crime and the judgement, and then I execute.
None play the fool in my work. The whole town stand and are still. I do not permit them to look away; and thus they perceive the death as it rightly is. All the customary japery is merely to distract from death, and thus I forbid it. There will be no tortures or maimings or shrieking in my work. For all the variety of subjects and ends, it is always the same: he or she stands, accepting, bare; and then there is death. And there is always a moment, somewhere in the work – I could not rightly say just before, during, or just after the moment – where the death is a picture of his total life, his death makes it total, and then the death becomes all that surrounds, all that life is not but by which is determinate, incalculable and so.
Afterwards, the people are still, and go their ways so. It was not what they had expected.
Then I dine with the family of the condemned man, if any there be. A custom begun many years ago, when parents of a young killer invited me to sup, and they said, in thank, − You ended him rightly and well.
It had become custom by the time our wagons came to the next town. I do not expect it, but always someone – a parent or sibling or cousin, or just friend or co-criminal – will invite me to sup after the high work, and they seem, as best I judge, honoured. All is clean and bright and the wine is the best to be had, and they either speak, for hours, of their friend or son or brother or sister, or they are silent in unhomed peace, and they say as I leave, − You gave him a greater end.
− No, I would say; but do not. I gave him an end commensurate with his purpose. For the people see only crimes and failings, I see further, and I grant an accordant death. They are ushered from life to death by my hand, and even where the freight is heavy, the passage is light. Thus am I master of high works.
Naturally, word spreads and becomes stranger still. So I hear there is a cult of sorts, grotesque portraits of me and my demon crew riding through the land with a giant scythe. Some worship and take me for a god, for that is the abiding perversity of man. My assistants, naturally, were delighted, and constructed an entire puppet theatre of the Evil Executioner, myself as a red-eyed puppet with an axe in each hand, slaying the unholy with menacing growls; and I was forced to endure their rehearsals and performances on our long rides from town to town, they chirping, − How would the Evil Executioner end this ungodly slaughterer? And I, − I know not. Silence, you trash. And they laughing, − Then the spear! The spear it is!
And as one would expect, they taught these shows to the people, and so it took on and complicated my work.
Over time, any great work becomes rumour and spreads in fantastical shapes. My assistants delight in their puppet theatres and whorings, for myself I do gallows work and no more. Often, the only ones to understand are those I visit and execute. For indeed, by the end we must have a perfect sympathy and with-thought, to achieve the high work together. Some are ready to die, and with such I merely discuss technique, feeling out the right method, and they have a good death without much fuss. Some would defy, with rage, threats, and lies, and this then is hard work; I must bring them to see and take their death, to accept their own lives & deeds, and complete all on my gallows. With riddles and tales they are beguiled, as one would persuade a child to sleep, on a wild summer evening.
Then there are those who fear, and piss themselves and shriek, − Do not! I will not die! as soon as I appear. Bah. Now, my work is not possible with fearers and tremblers. The man must stand there, and accept his life and its end, and then I take his life and give him end. I will have no tremblers about me, for fear is undecorous and loathsome and unbequem indeed. And with these, I must work hard. I assuage, I comfort, I will be to them a good father, the good master they had not, a quiet shepherd of frightened sheep, I all grim and hooded, with spear to ward off wolf and all, I must in a sense rob them of their fear – since it is often all they have, that to which they above all else cling, more even than life. And for all their original fears, when I am done their end will be the same – a high work, a brave day, a good death without fear, a life made perfect and bright, in hall of my many slain.
This, I judge, is why the families would sup with me – I redeem, as they see it. There is no fear in death; and death is little picture of life, so life itself is a fearless work, to be taken and given and surrendered to me, the master of all high works.
And the body is removed, the place cleaned. I dine with the family, those who loved what they could, I sleep soundly, and then we are onto the wagons with my clowning assistants, to the next town, the next death and high work of life.
6 August 2016
1. i saw the Master & Commander film and was surprised to love it – it’s a somewhat Top Gunny film, with jargon unexplained, good violence, homoeroticism, and music:
and so decided to give the novels a shot, starting with Post Captain. This is great, a bit hard to fathom as it veers from a Dickensian dark comedy (our hero Aubrey is even broker than me, and in danger of debtor’s gaol), an Austen-like social comedy as Aubrey and his evil sidekick Maturin court various young(ish) damsels in an English country house, and then to full-on naval violence.
2.1 Aubrey is refreshingly unmodern, an individual with his own mind & preferences, pleasingly described as “a vile ranting dog of a Tory” who likes huge pies and vast quantities of booze; he is at dinner with a French captain, Christy-Pallière, who speaks thus:
‘But what is the case with us? Republic interest, royalist influence, Catholic interest, Freemason interest, consular or what they tell me will soon be imperial interest, all cutting across one another – a foul hawse. We might as well finish this bottle. You know,’ he said, after a pause, ‘I am so tired of sitting on my arse in an office. The only hope, the only solution, is a -‘ His voice died away.
‘I suppose it would be wicked to pray for war,’ said Jack, whose mind had followed exactly the same course. ‘But oh to be afloat.’
‘Oh, very wicked, no doubt.’
‘Particularly as the only worth-while war would have to be against the nation we like the best. For the Dutch and the Spaniards are no match for us now.’
In these wars, there is some room for a man of independent mind & disposition, as there is little in peacetime, and in 2016, there is almost none anywhere – only the God Emperor Trump stands proud and alone, quaffing bottles of human blood and pinching maidens’ behinds and smiting his foes hip & thigh with his spare toupees. There is a pleasing lack of sentimentality & romance in these novels. Jack Aubrey is as violent as any, and does not prettify his actions; so when he is an honoured captive on a French vessel that is doing battle with an English, the English is damaged and the French captain Azéma opens fire on the repair crew (as far as i remember, Aubrey was on the Nelson, which was captured by the French, and then later they are attacked by an English ship, the Seagull):
Captain Azéma had been bent over a gun, laying it with the greatest care: he gaged the roll, fired, sending a ball plumb amidships into the repairing party. He waited for the flight of the shot, said ‘Carry on, Partre,’ and stepped back to his mug of coffee, steaming on the binnacle.
It was perfectly allowable; Jack might have done the same; but there was something so cold-blooded about it that Jack refused a draught from the mug and turned to look at the Lord Nelson’s damage and at the coast, barring the whole eastern horizon now. The damage was heavy but not crippling; Azéma had not made quite the landfall he had expected – that was Cape Prior right ahead – but he would be in Corunna road by noon. Jack ignored the second gun: he tried to make out why it should wound him so, for he had no particular friend aboard the Seagull.
In our social-media-saturated world, such instinctual feeling, untrammeled by virtue-signalling and thought of audience, would be very difficult. Teaching the Bundeswehr last week, we discussed the migrant/rapist situation, and the Platoon Leader said we should take in the legitimate war refugees but not all these hundreds of thousands of Iraqi/Afghan/Pakistan/etc fake refugees. The whole group seemed slightly taken aback when i said, – i wouldn’t even help the genuine refugees. i don’t feel any obligation to anyone i don’t know and don’t personally owe. If i see someone collapse on the street, i don’t have an obligation to help them. I can, if i want, but i don’t have to – i have absolutely no moral duty to help someone i don’t know.
i still feel so, that to say “but we’re all human beings!” is meaningless in a 7-billion-human-being planet. One might as well say one is morally obligated to help an amoeba, because we’re both living organisms, or to help a stone because we’re both physical beings. i think most people actually feel as i do – that unless you owe someone, you are not morally obligated to help them (leaving aside that a substantial number of the migrants are coming to rape, steal, and destroy, and the rest to sponge and live off welfare into which they have not contributed), but they feel compelled to pretend; and this compulsion is so ingrained that they don’t even realise it is a learned addition; it only becomes clear, indeed, when one considers the totality of their words & deeds, and the hypocrisy stinks to high Trump.
And so, when i help people to whom i owe nothing (and in “owe” i include long friendship), it is not because i feel remotely obligated, but because it costs me either nothing or little, and in the moment i feel it is right, as Aubrey felt it was somehow wrong to take a drink from the French captain’s coffee; so, i often edit my students’ cvs etc. for free; and 2 years ago, as i was walking to the s-bahn a very serious-looking boy (maybe 9 or 10) asked if he could use my phone, and though i had then a pay-as-you-go deal i let him, because it felt right; he called his mother and was very German and serious, and i missed my s-bahn and so was late for my class, but i felt it was the right thing to do in this moment.
2.2 Aubrey, i feel, is the man without this layer of 21st-C Marxoid superego, this constant posturing for attention as a good human being, as a warm-hearted blah blah blah (and one need only consider the actual venom and cruelty of these “good human beings” to realise their hypocrisy). Trump i see as a man without superego – just id and ego, to use Freudian terms. He is so shocking because many today carry a heavy carapace of superego, so it is often hard to see the real individual struggling under this weight of social posturing & fear. The God Emperor Trump may not be nice, or good, or sane, or even able to manage the compromises of high politics, but he has, i feel, no side – what you see is what you get.
With the typical modern, i see something like a ghost, a flickering show of received opinion, and since these are mostly similar it is hard to engage with most such folk.
3. Aubrey’s “superego” is fairly limited – it would apply to simple customs, actions – not to opinions, beliefs. But this is the privilege of a soldier and a sailor, for action tends to burn away the unnecessary, the fraudulent. i enjoyed the Austen-like passages, where Aubrey woos the daughters of the rather horrid Mrs Williams – an early 19th C Leftist bien pensant, who today would be agitated about global warming, the evils of Christianity, the glories of Islam, etc. etc.:
Whether Mrs Williams liked her daughters at all was doubtful: she loved them, of course, and had sacrificed everything for them, but there was not much room in her composition for liking – it was too much taken up with being right (Hast thou considered my servant Mrs Williams, that there is none like her in the earth, a perfect and an upright woman?), with being tired, and with being ill-used.
Now that is very fine. The big words, love, or humanity, for example, are co-opted by the Left; and one should rather linger about the little words: like, affection. Aubrey is a marvelous character not so much for his qualities as for what he is not – not a worrier after good opinion, not a conniver after public acclaim; not given to self-pity or self-dramatisation; but rather a man after his pleasures – war, drinking, eating, and women, and music. His foil, Maturin, is far more intelligent but similarly unconcerned with the opinion of others, possessing a strange lyrical soul:
Tides, tides, the Cove of Cork, the embarkation waiting on the moon, a tall swift-pacing mule in the bare torrid mountains quivering in the sun, palmetto-scrub, Señor don Esteban Maturin y Domanova kisses the feet of the very reverend Lord Abbot of Montserrat and begs the honour of an audience. The endless white road winding, the inhuman landscape of Aragon, cruel sun and weariness, dust, weariness to the heart, and doubt. What was independence but a word? What did any form of government matter? Freedom: to do what? Disgust, so strong that he leant against the saddle, hardly able to bring himself to mount. A shower on the Maladetta, and everywhere the scent of thyme: eagles wheeling under thunder-clouds, rising, rising. ‘My mind is too confused for anything but direct action,’ he said. ‘The flight disguised as an advance.’
The physicality of Aubrey – man shorn of unnecessary thought – and the deep privacy of Maturin, seem to me emblematic of a greater human world. A decade ago i wrote of the dark side of the soul, that which is turned to the gods, necessarily invisible to man – and this is one benefit from reading old books; a glimpse of that dark and strange, that which gives men strength to doubt the well-lit world of society and its little fears & strivings.