About three months ago, I wrote a post which asked (and hopefully answered in a not completely superficial fashion) the question of what constitutes the natural aristocracy, that body of men who will rise above their fellows and who would, if in a rational system, obtain to positions of power and influence, guiding their societies in a superior fashion. This subject has actually been one which I’ve mulled for the better part of two decades, long before I made the journey from normiedom to neoreaction. For a while, I had set the concept of a superior group of people aside because I bought into the false churchianity teaching that “all people are equal” (which is actually never once taught in the Bible) and that it’s “unchristian” to suggest otherwise. Of course, what the Bible actually teaches is that while spiritual salvation may be open to all, positionally there are strict and unequal gender roles, positions of authority within the churches, positions of authority established by God in society, and even inequalities between different national groups. So my return to a proper understanding of inequality and the rightness, and indeed the naturalness, of it was like a reunion with a long-lost acquaintance.
The simple fact is that equality is a farce. People, both at the individual and at the national levels, are unequal. These inequalities occur partly because of genetic and other “hardwired” differences and partly because of choices which those individuals and nations make which have long-term ramifications for their success or failure down the road. While the question of inequality may seem on the surface to be something that pertains more to the nationalism and patriarchy circles within the broader alt-Right, I think it’s definitely something neoreactionaries ought to be concerned with as well. After all, the Moldbugian watchwords for passivism are: Become worthy – accept power – rule. Identifying and inculcating the natural aristocracy is intimately tied in with the first of these steps – becoming worthy. Without a natural aristocracy which has consciously prepared itself to step into the vacuum created by the Great Reset (which has not been averted by the election of Donald Trump, but only postponed for a few years at most), the best men will not rule when the time for it comes.
My purpose with this post is to delve more deeply into what is entailed in the notion of a “natural aristocracy” and how it is enhanced. The process must begin with the recognition that man is a tripartite being – spirit (pneuma), soul (psyche), and body (soma). This is an important point because the tendency on the part of many is to focus on one or two of these to the exclusion of the other(s), which necessarily creates an imbalanced person. Becoming the superior person, Confucius’ “gentleman,” requires the cultivation of all three. As noted above, there are many genetically inborn differences – some people are simply smarter, more athletic, etc. than others. However, the development of the triune being of man can overcome many natural deficiencies, and indeed demonstrates a superiority of will and purpose when this is done. I will cover each part separately in detail below, though keep in mind that each works coactively with the others.
I’ll begin with the spirit (pneuma), since it is the central being of man and thus will take up the most discussion. The spirit is that part of man which determines his motivations, instincts, responses to stimuli, and so forth, and is often described by the Latin term anima. The spirit is also often associated with that part of man which most immediately responds to God, and “spiritual” is used to describe the relationship of man to God in worship and service. Indeed, this is a part of the perfection of the spirit. Implied in religious worship and service is the submission of the spirit to authority – the authority of God and the subsidiary authority of those whom God has called into His service and placed over His churches.
Yet, this points to a greater and more extensive meaning of cultivating the spirit, which is that of self-control.
Certainly, self-control is necessary for obedient submission to authority, whether in the spiritual or the secular realms, to the pastor or to the king. The essence of hierarchy – which is itself a natural part of all human society – is submission to authority. Without the control of the spirit necessary to abide by such submission, anarchy and chaos will prevail, within any organisation no matter how large or small. Hence, the essence of perfecting the spirit is to establish the self-control and discipline necessary to master one’s self. Without this self-mastery, one cannot hope to effectively and wisely act as a master of others,
“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.” – Lao Tzu
What does it mean to master one’s spirit?
First, and an obvious place to start, is with the mastery of one’s temper and emotions. Anger, when uncontrolled, is not a cause for pride, but for shame. Anger at circumstances which cannot be controlled is a foolish exercise in indiscipline. One who is given to anger may be taken and dominated by others at their will, losing his own will in the process,
“He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” (Proverbs 25:28)
The one who cannot control his own anger shows that he is not ready to control others, but himself needs to be ruled. The superior man will temper himself to withhold excesses of anger (and other emotions). Anger is not the only emotion which is detrimental when expressed in excess. Grief and sadness can paralyse and debilitate the spirit of man. Too much joy and mirth can cause him to lose his sternness and dignity.
Relatedly, the superior man will master and control his fear in the process of doing his duty.
“Self-control is the chief element in self-respect, and self-respect is the chief element in courage.” – Thucydides
The term “control” implies the overcoming of resistance. As has often been said before, the courageous man is not the one who lacks fear, but who masters it and does his duty. This is especially relevant to the natural aristocracy in our day because of the very real likelihood that we will find our comfortable world swept away and a dangerous and uncertain world rising in its place, at least for a time. If you cannot overcome fear in time of danger, then you have no reason to respect yourself, and others have no reason to respect you.
Another aspect of perfecting the spirit is that of controlling the bodily appetites. Sex, food, rest, comfort – these are all natural and normal parts of life and their use in moderation is a part of what makes us human beings. However, when luxury – of whatever sort – becomes the predominating factor in our desires and motivations, then self-control has been lost and control has been given over to the object of our inordinate affections. The superior man should not be excessively interested in sex, food, or other luxuries of life.
“The enemy is within the gates; it is with our own luxury, our own folly, our own criminality that we have to contend.” – Cicero
Cicero knew all too well that the great enemy of the upright man is not trial and austerity but luxury and indulgence. He saw this firsthand in the Rome of his day, a nation which was, during his lifetime, completing its transition from the manly virility of hardness and rigour into the softness of gratification and sumptuousness. The great tragedy of Rome at this time was not its transition into monarchy (which was, indeed, a welcome relief from the democratising morass of the previous century), but its descent into decadence caused by access to great wealth and ostentatious luxury goods.
Control of our speech is another element in containing and controlling the spirit. The superior man measures and considers his words and says only those things that he intends to say. He does not allow himself to be goaded into unwise, frivolous, or unguarded speaking. He has the self-control to resist being baited by others who might try to get him to speak foolishly to his own hurt.
The superior man accepts the circumstances of life when he cannot change them to his benefit. He doesn’t waste his energy fretting over things which he has no control over, but rather adapts himself to the changing circumstances. This suggests not only mental flexibility, but control over his emotions as well. He drives his surroundings rather than the other way around.
This process of self-control is not just negative – i.e. things that the natural aristocrat does not do – but also contains the feature of positively cultivating virtue in his life. The classical virtues of dignity, honesty, charity, hospitality, and the like will be found in the natural aristocrat’s life. All of these things, both positive and negative, are necessary to allow the superior man to truly exercise the authority with legitimacy that he ought to be exercising. It is necessary for the effective exercise of sound leadership.
Lastly, and getting back to the definition of spiritual that we noted above, the superior man will submit himself to the higher authority of religion, recognizing his place in the hierarchy of the universe. Yet, not any religion will do. He will find and join himself to a church which not only teaches the things seen above as abstract theologies or a theoretical moral principles, but also enforces them through the power of example and discipline. True and genuine religion befitting the superior man will be that which practices what it preaches, which eschews hypocrisy and demands a rigorous and manly virtue on the part of its followers. The natural aristocrat – at least in a Western context – will reject the modern churchianity of our age and seek a return to the austere religion of days gone by.
The next part of the triune man which the superior man will seek to cultivate and improve is the soul. The soul (psyche) is that rational part of our being, the intellect, mind, and will. Its relation to the spirit is as the “filter” through which the animations of the spirit – the impulses and the motivations and the emotions – are screened. By disciplining the soul and bringing it into subjection, one can more easily establish self-control over the spirit. The natural aristocrat will seek to improve his mind so as to improve his ability to lead others and subject himself.
While education and learning cannot, in and of themselves, make a man good, they can serve to help a man who is submitted to God and seeking to lead a virtuous life to do so in a well-reasoned and cultivated manner. They do so by providing him with knowledge and with the examples and wisdom of those who have gone before as guides. This knowledge may then be wisely used to provide sound leadership in times of trouble.
The natural aristocrat will be a reader. He will resist the urge to expend his time in fruitless endeavors, such as mindlessly absorbing entertainments which stultify rather than invigorate the mind. Instead, he will spend a good portion of his free time acquiring, and then learning to use, new knowledge and ways of thinking.
This necessarily means that he will be selective about what he reads. One of the great problems in America today is that the intellectual content of the literature is so low. To the extent that they even read at all, Americans seem to mostly read trashy mass-produced novels. Even works which purport to be intellectual, about politics or related fields, tend to be trite, formulaic, and unsatisfying.
The natural aristocrat will seek to challenge his mind, reading not only things that are familiar and comfortable, but those things which will be more difficult and thought-provoking. The superior man will be well-versed in philosophy, history, economics, science, and other related fields. He will also make the time to read the classics of the Western world, as well as those of other civilizations. Further, he will not only simply read them for the sake of reading them, but he will meditate upon them, seeking to digest them and integrate the wisdom therein. This type of reading is a discipline and can serve as a means of establishing self-control over the mind.
Reading is not the only way to maximise the mind. The right kind of music can invigourate the mind and sharpen the senses. The classical musics of the higher civilisations improve the ability to think and reason because they appeal to the higher faculties. Conversely, the rhythmic swill that passes for so much of modern Western music appeals to the lower faculties and debilitates the mind. The natural aristocrat will drink from the fountain of music that uplifts the soul and spirit instead.
The superior man will also utilise other means to sharpen his mind. He may learn a foreign language or two. He might amuse himself solving logic puzzles or practicing games of skill. A personal favourite of mine is to create and solve math problems. Either way, developing and maintaining mental acuity should be a priority.
Lastly, the natural aristocrat will seek to hone his social skills, which at first may not seem to be as important or relevant. However, social skills are leadership skills. Leadership does not merely entail “telling other people what to do.” Effective leadership involves a connexion with those being led, earning respect and creating the desire to follow a strong leader. Being able to deal with other people without seeming awkward or arrogant is a cultivated talent that few will naturally possess.
Not as much needs to be said about the body (soma) because it is the vehicle by which the impulses of the spirit and the directions of the soul are enacted. Establishing control of the spirit and soul will bring the body into submission. Nevertheless, there are a few things which the one desiring to be a superior man should pay attention to in this arena.
The first is the area of physical fitness. The superior man ought to take care of himself, not to flaunt a physique, but to maintain himself in fighting prime. When the Great Reset comes, he will need to be ready. Whenever the time arises to defend his family or his people, he will be ready. He will strive to not be a soft fatbody. Fat-shaming is something that needs to come back into fashion in Western societies. The one who doesn’t respect himself enough to maintain a reasonable level of fitness is one who doesn’t deserve the respect of anyone else.
The next word to remember is this – weapons. The natural aristocrat will be more than passingly acquainted with the use of weapons, both firearms and more archaic (but perhaps also more gentlemanly?) kinds. The shooting sports are great for training both mind and body, and weapons training is an excellent form of martial exercise.
Finally, the superior man will avoid the trap of falling into the power of the fleshly desires. He will not be a glutton or a drunkard. Likewise, he will avoid pornography and fornication. He will restrain himself to the proper exercise of these natural desires and will not be brought into their power,
“Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.” (Proverbs 31:3-5)
A further understanding of “not giving his strength unto women” would include his exercise of a firm patriarchy in his home and in his society. He will not allow himself to be dominated by feminism or by henpeckery.
As we would expect, many of these things will overlap. Refraining from fleshly desires is both an act of the will and of spiritual control, for instance. Likewise, choosing to exercise the higher faculties in music or education requires the deliberate choice to overcome the resistance of our impulses and our baser fleshly desires and to devote our time and energy to what will build up rather than tear down or lull into comfortable wastefulness. The spiritual disciplines of prayer, study of God’s Word, and religious worship will naturally turn both mind and body as well toward what is higher and nobler. Just as the three aspects of our existence interact in synergistic ways, so also does the disciplining needed to be a superior man.
All in all, the natural aristocrat has a lot to live up to…which makes sense seeing as how he is aspiring to rise above the general run of mankind and take a place of honour. It is not something that just “happens.” It requires work, effort, discipline, and constant attention. But men who rise above the herd of common mankind will find themselves prepared to take the leadership and to rule when the time is right for it. Become worthy. Accept power. Rule.