VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger IV

This reading continues on from here.

The tenth essay in Ride The Tiger is called ‘Invulnerability – Apollo and Dionysus’. Here Evola further describes his conception of an aristocrat of the soul as someone who feels very deeply and who is very moved by things. The modern man (the man of clay, essentially), only feels very shallow emotions, and quickly moves from one such shallow impression to the next.

In this essay, Evola touches on the truly aristocratic topic of deliberately exposing oneself to great trials and tribulations, for the sake of learning one’s true nature. Alchemists will recognise this mentality as the one necessary to burn away everything but the gold so as to learn to distinguish Spirit from Nature. The purifying fire is that which burns away body and mind and leaves one with one’s true nature – it is necessary because it burns away everything shallow, leaving only actions which arise from the depths.

A person who has done this may find themselves gifted with a “transcendent confidence” that is characteristic of the aristocrat of the soul. This is important because in purifying oneself down to the gold one also strips away all of the conditioned belief in life’s meaning. To proceed past this stage, the alchemist must find within themselves the will to assert a meaning to life independent of any outside source. Then one is invulnerable.

To open oneself without falling apart is not easy in an age of dissolution. Here Evola takes care to point out that it’s very easy to fall at the second hurdle. Just because mainstream religion is bullshit doesn’t mean that we should abandon it for wild paganism and barbarianism. There is more.

The eleventh essay is called ‘Acting Without Desire – The Causal Law’. Once a person discovers their true nature, they should also learn the ability to act without desire. This entails taking the correct action at any given time instead of becoming distracted by profit or loss, or by what other people might think of you. Doing what needs to be done.

This needs to be qualified, however. There are naturalistic desires, that arise from the biology of the human animal. These are generally to be avoided. There are also, however, heroic desires, that arise from something greater than the merely physical, from something transcendent. These may be acted upon.

An aristocratic person, then, thinks not in terms of sin but in terms of error. The concept of sin is impossible because God has long been repudiated; all that remains is adherence to standards that one sets from within as an expression of one’s true nature.

One ought to act with a mind to what is effectively a law of karma, in that actions have consequences, regardless of whether those actions conform to any conception of good or evil. Those consequences are real and should be regarded as such. This is fine because the real man of gold doesn’t just live, but rather manifests himself and his true nature in the world.

This is the end of the second part of the book. The next part is called ‘The Dead End of Existentialism’, and the first essay here is the book’s twelfth: ‘Being and Inauthentic Existence’. This deals with the two types of existentialism (as Evola sees it): the philosophical, academic tradition and the practical tradition exemplified by Jean-Paul Sartre.

Evola dismisses existentialism almost entirely, for the reason that the existentialist philosophers are too much a product of their times, and because they are not themselves interested in the world beyond. The existentialists are very materialistic and this disqualifies existentialism from being a philosophy that an aristocrat might be concerned with.

Despite this, existentialism can be credited with some things. For one, the idea that “existence precedes essence” serves to keep the existentialist in touch with the metaphysical and transcendent. It also helps to highlight the dual nature of the aristocratic soul, which, as described earlier, is much deeper than that of the pleb.


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The Four Ways to Destroy A Population

The people, united, will never be divided – but there are other ways to destroy them

Ruled as we are by a parasitic, incestuous cadre of abominations, it isn’t easy to get our minds around all the ways that we have been destroyed. So many underhanded tricks have been used to divide and conquer us that it’s impossible to list them all. This essay tries to make sense of them by grouping the tactics of the ruling classes into four major categories.

The first is to disincorporate the target population. This means to take action that prevents them from forming any bonds of solidarity. Interpersonal solidarity, if too much of it is achieved, will allow a group of people to form their own sovereignty without being dependent on the State. Therefore, the State has to smash it.

The easiest way to achieve this has been known for millennia – it is to enclose public space. This is where people meet and where people talk, and where that happens there tends to grow opposition to the State. From the marketplace that spawned Socrates to the beer halls that spawned Hitler, anywhere people can meet and share their discontent about the way things are run is a place where that discontent can fester.

Alchemically, this category is equivalent to clay, because that represents the masses coming together. Disincorporation, therefore, means fences, walls, blockades, moats, trenches and everything else that prevents the natural flow of conversation from taking place.

The second is to disintegrate the target population. This is essentially Plan B, for when disincorporation fails. Here, disintegrating means to literally take away sources of order from within the body of the target population. The result of doing so is to render into chaos the bonds of solidarity that hold the people together, making them less able to take action.

This involves schemes like the War on Drugs, in which half of the population is demonised and persecuted for no good reason while the other half of the population keeps their mouth shut lest they be the target next time. The people don’t need to be literally split apart by force (although that’s an option), because it’s easier to split them apart by turning their own natural greed and cowardice on each other.

Alchemically, this strategy is equivalent to iron, because it’s the sharp edges of iron that cause bodies of clay to disintegrate. Although bullets are definitely one method by which this can be achieved, it’s mostly about forcing people apart by legal boondoggles and trickery.

The third is to disorientate the target population. This is where actual lying comes in. This is Plan C in the sense that the ruling class only uses it if their target population form bonds of solidarity that resist initial attempts to break them. Here they have to spin a web of deceit, confusion, misdirection and pure bullshit.

In the West, which has generally high levels of freedom of movement, association and speech, it’s not easily possible for the ruling classes to prevent the population from forming strong bonds of solidarity. Therefore, the ruling class has to direct the natural rage of the target population somewhere else.

Mainstream media such as television and radio does an outstanding job of this in our societies. There are new, shiny and loud distractions every moment of the day, blasted into our brains in the ever more frequent gaps in the programming. These are the alchemical equivalent to silver, in that they shine things at us to distract and one risks becoming blinded by it all.

The fourth is to demoralise the target population. This is the plan of last resort, and the ruling class only try it if the previous three methods have failed. It’s a question of the will of the people: if they are many, united and well-organised, they will win unless their will to be free can be sapped.

Alchemically this relates to gold and is therefore primarily a question of spirituality. It can be seen that, in the modern West, all spiritual traditions are attacked and persecuted while corrupt and empty religious ones are allowed to thrive. Our natural spiritual relationship with God has been destroyed and replaced with a pathetic McDonaldsisation of old Hebrew myths.

This absence of genuine spirituality has sapped our wills to live, and our ability to feel joy. Instead of being united with our birthright, which is to know spiritual truths about the survival of consciousness beyond the death of the physical body and the laws of karma, we are told that we are merely accidents of chemistry. Consequently, fear of death pervades our every waking moment, and we are thus paralysed.

Demoralisation is arguably a more powerful tactic than any of disorientation, disintegration or disincorporation because it can destroy a population at any level of intellectual advancement or physical organisation. This explains why so many of the problems and stresses we encounter in everyday life exist – they are placed there, deliberately and maliciously, to demoralise us.


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Could New Zealand Ever Imagine Banning Rugby?

When even men built like this don’t want their kids playing rugby because it’s too violent, you know the sport has a problem

For decades, Kiwis have got used to the idea that wintertime means rugby. Well, we better start getting used to the idea of wintertime meaning soccer, because soon we’re going to have a lot more awareness about the effects of repetitive head injury than we do now, and when we do, there are going to be a lot of shrieking violets trying to get the game they play in heaven banned.

Rugby is popular in New Zealand for two major reasons. The first is that it’s fun as all hell both to play and to watch, the second is that rugby has been an important part of the masonry that cemented white people and Maoris together into a functioning modern culture. For over a century, rugby fields have been the places where Kiwis learned to set aside their racial and class differences and unite of their own free will towards a common goal.

There has always been an undercurrent of concerned mothers, however, who didn’t let their kids play rugby out of fear of head or brain injury. It’s an entirely legitimate concern – rugby is a collision sport, after all, and it’s evident from watching ten minutes of an All Blacks match that not even the best tackling technique in the world is a guarantee that one can avoid head injury entirely.

Perhaps most worryingly of all, even the best of the best rugby players in New Zealand are aware of the risks they are taking. Kieran Read has said that he intends to encourage his children into cricket on the grounds that rugby is too dangerous, and Richie McCaw said, post-retirement, that “I don’t miss getting smashed.”

The question is this: what risk of permanent brain injury is considered too much, given the positive physical and social benefits that come from the game? Because if that limit is exceeded, it may be that the responsible thing to do, from the Government’s perspective, is to ban it. After all, New Zealand schools banned Bull Rush with very little sentiment because of head injury concerns, so why couldn’t they do the same for rugby?

Recent studies on NFL players suggest that the incidence rate of brain damage in adult professional collision sports is many times higher than was previously suspected. It seems that, as brain scanning technology continues to improve, we are gathering a more refined appreciation of how vulnerable the brain really is to repeated blunt force trauma.

Rugby is different to American football, of course, because in rugby the tackle is made with the shoulder, whereas in American football tackles are often made with the head in a manner akin to a charging rhinoceros. But that’s merely a difference in degree, not in category. Rugby is still a sport based around putting the ball carrier on the ground through physical force, and this means the risk of head injury can only be minimised, never eliminated.

Already we’ve been able to observe a change in the culture of the sport in recent years. Avoiding head injuries is sometimes prioritised to an absurd degree, highlighted by the incident in the recent Lions tour when a Lions player leapt into the air to catch a loopy pass from halfback Conor Murray, was tackled before he hit the ground, and then was awarded a crucial penalty for having been taken out in the air.

This looks set to get even more extreme. It won’t be long until a professional match has to be stopped part way through because (for example) two tighthead props on one team have both failed head injury assessments.

This column has previously pointed out that the Government never gives rights back to the peasantry; they always take one new right away for every one they give back. Recent discussions about whether to change the cycle helmet laws have been centred around the idea that forcing people to wear a helmet discourages them from cycling. One can be certain that if we get our rights to cycle without a helmet back, pressure will begin to build to have them taken away somewhere else.

We would never argue for the game of rugby union to be banned, at any level. We don’t even support the softening of the game with the repeated TMO checks for suspected head-high tackles. But there are some wowsers and control freaks out there, and we can confidently state that they would happily ban rugby if they thought of the children long enough. It pays to stay one step ahead of them.


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How Do We Know They’re Not Lying Again?

They lied last time, and they’re not sorry about it – so how do we know it’s different this time?

In 2003, Britain teamed up with America to attack Saddam Hussein’s Iraq on false pretenses, an action that would eventually lead to over 1,000,000 preventable deaths – a war crime by any standard. 15 years later, Britain is again beating the war drums over a supposed Russian assassination of a former Russian intelligence agent on British soil. The question the rest of us have to ask is obvious: how do we know they’re not lying again?

The British Prime Minister in 2003, Tony Blair, solemnly presented to the world a “dossier of death” that supposedly detailed Hussein’s arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, ready to attack Britain within 45 minutes of the Iraqi strongman giving the orders. Even worse, the dossier claimed, Hussein had procured significant amounts of uranium from African sources, enough to build 200 nuclear bombs.

We were told all this, and then told that the international community “had no choice but to act”. It was a casus belli of such strength that it was apparent there would be no talking the Anglo-Americans out of their impending action. Iraq was, in Blair’s words, “a current and serious threat to the UK national interest”.

The trouble is, all of those claims were lies.

Hussein’s Government disintegrated at the first sight of the iron wave coming their way, and the victorious Anglo-American forces scoured every square metre of the country for the chemical and biological weapons that would have been triumphantly paraded before the world’s media. Had they been found. There were no chemical and biological weapons in Iraq.

Usually when someone lies to you, and you find out about it, you don’t trust them again until you are satisfied that they have learned the value in honesty. But no contrition has been shown, ever, by any of the leaders who worked to bring about the slaughter in Iraq. Neither George W Bush nor Tony Blair have ever shown genuine regret for the invasion, or even the barest awareness that the invasion was the wrong thing to do.

Both George W Bush and Tony Blair are free men, not wanted by any Western war crimes tribunal. No Western leader openly calls for their arrest or imprisonment, despite that they murdered as many people as Pol Pot. No-one in British politics appears to be willing to commit Blair to trial for war crimes, the minimum acknowledgement necessary that the lost Iraqi lives had some value.

So why should we trust the claims of the British Government this week that the Russian state killed someone on British soil? Nothing appears to have changed since the last time they lied.

Most worryingly for New Zealand, our current Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern volunteered to work for the unapologetic war criminal for two and a half years, and after the scale of the destruction wrought in Iraq was widely known, and even after the fact that the invasion was launched on false pretenses was known. This suggests that not even our Prime Minister has the moral fibre to understand that killing a million people with lies is a bad thing and that people who do it should not be supported.

The prospect for world peace is looking grimmer, but, as this newspaper has previously written about, there’s no need to worry until the television starts telling us that Russians are mistreating babies somewhere. Then it’s time to hit the bunkers.


If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

How Terrorism Works

The 2005 London terror attacks killed 52 people; a decade later, the British Police are so intimidated by Islam that they won’t investigate Muslim grooming gangs even when they have raped hundreds of British children

Terrorism often seems senseless to modern, pampered Westerners. Killing for the sake of killing is a long way from our everyday lives of peace and bounty. But terrorism isn’t just killing for the sake of killing – there’s an established calculus behind it, and it works. This article looks at how.

The ultimate reason for committing any act of terror is to induce submission in an enemy population towards the collective that the individual terrorist is a representative of. The idea is that the terrorist does something so horrifically cruel and destructive that the observers of it become afraid of attracting the wrath of the terrorist or his allies, and so become submissive towards them.

The first king learned that submission could be induced by publicly smashing the skulls of his enemies in, and the natural logic of dominance and control that applied thousands of years ago also applies now. For instance, the vast majority of us are submissive towards government representatives because we have observed that governments will spare no cruelty when it comes to getting their will through.

This is no accident; all Western governments have purposefully committed acts of cruelty towards those they claim to be representing, for this is the simplest and most effective way to induce submission. Had they not done so, they would not exist.

The same is true of religions. All Abrahamic religions encourage and promote human rights abuses, whether those be infant genital mutilation, denial of rights to women or homosexuals, the murder of unbelievers or the incarceration of medicinal drug users. Neither is this accidental. All of these cruelties create an impression in the minds of the victims – an impression of the frightful consequences of resisting these people.

The purpose of terrorism, then, is to create an impression that it’s better to go along with the wishes of the collective you represent than to resist them. Therefore, submission means you can get your will through. Every woman burnt at the stake is another woman who doesn’t resist the will of the next priest to come through the village.

In the world of 2018, we can see that repeated acts of Islamic terror in Europe have led to incredible freedom and prosperity for that religion. British Police are so scared of being called Islamophobic that they happily turn a blind eye to thousands of young girls getting raped by Muslim grooming gangs – a phenomenon most recently uncovered in Telford – but they’re more than happy to arrest people for growing medicinal cannabis, knowing they can do so without risk to themselves.

This fear is a direct consequence of Islamic terrorism. In other words, the British Police have been successfully terrorised.

This is how fear and terrorism work, and it’s how the usual way that territories get conquered by foreign invaders, because the locals seldom acquiesce to such a thing without coercion. The British did similar things when they built the Empire, which is what makes it all the more surprising that they don’t resist when it’s being done to them.

Every Islamic terror attack in the West, especially if the attacker dies in the act, makes Westerners ever more impressed by the strong will and faith of Muslim people and ever more willing to bow down to those Muslims rather than stand up to them and risk being killed. The public response to terror attacks is usually horror and condemnation, but the unconscious individual response – especially among individuals who adhere to slave morality – is to be impressed by the bravery and conviction of the killers.

Terrorism bypasses the rational mind and makes its appeal directly to the unconscious. When laid out like this, it’s clear that terrorism is simply a form of iron magic like any other. All successful uses of iron magic induce submission in observers, and broadcasting those terror acts into every household during the evening news is a genius way of amplifying the magic.

All this is lost on the Pastafarians. There have been several cases where individuals have ostensibly had their religious rights denied to them on the grounds that Pastafarianism isn’t a “serious” religion. They all miss the point. A religion counts as a serious one when its followers are willing to slaughter anyone who mocks or disagrees with them. That’s the only way that the rest of us can be forced to take the kind of garbage written in Abrahamic holy scriptures seriously.

Every Westerner instinctively knows, whether they’re willing to admit it or not, that if they stand on a street corner wearing a Bomb Muhammad tshirt mocking the prophet of Islam, pretty soon a Muslim will come and stab or shoot them to death or run them over. So they don’t mock Islam, neither on the street corner nor anywhere else. From the terrorist’s point of view, that’s victory.


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A Technoshamanic Update to the Perennial Philosophy

The perennial philosophy comes and goes, all throughout time and space, being a reflection of the mind of God in the Great Fractal. In every new age it updates itself, taking a form that makes sense to the people of the time, depending on the characteristics of that age. Because technological change has been so rapid over the last 150 years, the perennial philosophy has not been able to keep up. This essay makes an attempt to do so.

The metaphors of the former age were the crucifix, the fish and the crescent, just as they were the pyramid, the bull and the sacrificial brazier in the age before that. The age that we are now entering has its own zeitgeist – perhaps it is time for a technoshamanic update to the perennial philosophy?

The perennial philosophy is informational gold and is more fundamental than language and therefore cannot be described in words. However, we can predict what some of its teachings are going to be, by applying the axiom of “As below, so above” to the modern day.

In its earlier incarnations, through the writings of Hermes Trismegistus and others, the perennial philosophy explained the metaphysical world by analogy to the natural world. “That which is above is from that which is below, and that which is below is from that which is above, working the miracles of one,” reads the Emerald Tablet, “Its father is the Sun and its mother the Moon.”

This remained an extremely effective metaphor, until today. The world of today is so bizarre, so surreal and impossible that distinguishing it from a dreamscape is no longer easy. Moreover, modern people are almost completely out of touch with the natural world – many of us haven’t so much as looked at the Moon in years.

We need a new metaphor for a new age, and virtual reality seems like the obvious replacement.

Following this line of reasoning, one might expect that the creation myths of the new century will be based around the same binary division as always but with a modern twist; in other words not of yang and yin, fire and water or Sun and Moon but of 1 and 0. The hardware is the brain, the software is the mind, and electricity is the Holy Ghost.

Different lives could be seen as nothing more than differing sets of sensory impressions upon consciousness. As long as these impressions could be accurately recorded and reproduced, there’s no reason why they couldn’t be accessible for any conscious person to experience at any time.

My own The Verity Key twisted the ordinary perception of consciousness through a machine that could replace the consciousness of another person with that of the operator of the eponymous device. The idea was to play on the usual belief of the reader that their consciousness was directly connected to their physical body, and could never be separated.

This played with the idea of the Great Fractal, which is conceptualised as an immense algorithm that calculates all of the possible combinations of senses that make up the illusion of the material world. This is a modern way of expressing how all things flow from one, i.e. “all created objects come from one thing, an undifferentiated primal matter”.

In other words, all of the contents of consciousness ultimately flow from consciousness itself, because nothing more than consciousness is needed to create them all – a fact known to all who have managed to purify their consciousness to the level of gold and thereby completed the Philosopher’s Stone.

Other ancient alchemical or hermetic beliefs can likewise be transliterated into a modern context.

The laws of karma can be expressed in terms of frequency, which no-one understood before the days of widespread radio, and which now everyone does. If one can imagine such a thing as a frequency of consciousness, a higher frequency would produce a more harmonious tone and joy among those who heard it, whereas a lower frequency would produce a discordant tone and fear among those who heard it.

A technoshaman might contend that, upon the expiration of one’s physical body, the frequency of consciousness that one had cultivated is the only thing that passes into the next world. They might even go as far as to contend that this frequency will attract those of a like frequency, and therefore that, post-death, one’s frequency dictates which part of the Great Fractal one’s consciousness becomes attuned to and the frequency of those who populate it (until, of course, one dies there as well).

One’s “frequency of consciousness” can here be likened to an analog television or radio signal. The more pleasurable frequencies are not necessarily the first ones discovered, or the most popular ones, and they certainly aren’t the easiest to tune into. In order to tune into higher frequencies one must know where to find them on the dial.

The alchemical quest of transforming lead into gold is a physicalist metaphor for the mystical quest that, in modern language, could be said to be about tuning a low frequency of consciousness into a higher one.


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The Four Ways to Impress Another Person

People have historically put a lot of effort into figuring out ways to impress each other

To make an impression on another person is to instill in them a minor sense of awe, which is very useful because it tends to make that person more willing to be helpful. This minor sense of awe, if reflected back upon the awestruck, closely relates to the phenomenon of charisma. The tricky part is that what impresses another person depends on that person’s own level of alchemical development.

Impressing someone at a raw, biological level is fundamentally a matter of strength and natural vigour. This is primarily the basis on which dominance hierarchies are formed among social creatures in nature. Basically, creatures pay respect to any other creature powerful enough to fuck it up. These creatures probably evolved to do so, because the alternative to doing so was often death and therefore a failure to propagate one’s genes.

In an alchemical sense, this responds to the level of clay. In other words, it’s the natural state. People who have not been raised well – i.e. people who have been either neglected or abused as children – tend to not move past this stage. This is also the stage at which prison logic runs. The motto of this stage could be “Might makes right”.

What’s crucial to note here is that a person who is themselves at the level of clay will not and cannot be impressed by a person’s level of silver or gold, because they simply will not be able to perceive those elements. Even perceiving when a person carries significant levels of iron is difficult.

Being strong and vigorous will not impress any mature adult person, of course, for the reason that they only consider it impressive to be strong if one also has that strength under control. Wilding out and demonstrating raw physical dominance by fighting might impress some people, but it won’t impress those of a higher grade.

What will impress people of iron is being strong and having that strength under control. Respect is thus only given to those who are able to impose order upon their own bodies. At this level, it’s common for people to pay respect to people who are good at fighting, but to not respect people who are good at applying their intellects at the expense of martial prowess.

Alchemically, this level of control reflects the presence of iron, which itself implies a heightened degree of order. To have a will of iron is to have the ability to impose one’s will on one’s body no matter what it is telling one to do. The most impressive thing one can do here is to die on the battlefield by charging valiantly into the enemy and making them remember you.

Being strong and having that strength under control isn’t necessarily enough once one starts climbing the social hierarchy. Here, we enter the realm of silver, and here what impresses is not having strength, and not having that strength under control, but having that strength easily under control.

A person of iron will be impressed by the ability to bear great physical trials, but a person of silver will only be impressed if these trials are born with grace. This represents a softening, in the sense that the emphasis is no longer on killing like Rambo but rather preserving one’s humanity under duress.

The captain of a sports team always has to be a bit more of silver than the players under them, and it is on this basis they are judged after the match. Can they take a loss with good grace, and acknowledge the ways in which the opposition were superior? Can they take a win with good grace, and acknowledge that the opposition challenged and tested them despite the scoreline?

If they can do so while smiling, and while physically exhausted after an extended period of strenuous exertion and probably running on adrenaline, then they might impress the man of silver. This sort of behaviour will be considered noble or gentlemanly by any onlooker who are themselves sufficiently cultivated to appreciate it.

Of the fourth way to impress people very little can be said, as is usual for matters pertaining to alchemical gold. In the context of this essay it’s enough to say that it pertains to impressing people – and knowing that one has impressed people – without letting it go to one’s head and becoming egotistical.

In other words, it’s not enough to be strong, and it’s not enough to have that strength under control, and it’s not even enough to have that strength easily under control. If one wants to impress a man of gold, one has to be able to do all that without becoming too impressed by oneself, because it’s there that gold will not be.

This is extremely difficult for a number of reasons. The primary one is that it represents the apotheosis of the philosopher, which is an experience reserved only for the rarest of persons. Another major reason is that the temptations of the ego are evil in every possible application of the concept; they are multifarious enough so that evil can tempt one in any situation.


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Tim Southee, Mike Hesson and the Sunk Cost Fallacy

Matt Henry has a better ODI strike rate with the ball than even Shane Bond, but can’t make the current Black Caps ODI side over players with much worse numbers

A sunk cost is an economic concept that refers to an expense that has been already paid for, so that this expense is irrecoverable. It sounds unremarkable, but sunk costs do funny things to the human brain. The Sunk Cost Fallacy, and a little game theory, may help explain why Mike Hesson refuses to make the hard call and drop Tim Southee for Matt Henry in the Black Caps ODI playing XI.

The Sunk Cost Fallacy is an example of a reasoning error that is commonly made when sunk costs are involved. It refers to when people do something irrational because they have sunk costs (in the form of money, time or energy) into a line of reasoning already.

The common example given is the Concorde project, during which the French and British governments realised that the project would never make economic sense, but which they continued with anyway on the grounds that they didn’t want to waste their sunk cost.

This is a well-known phenomenon in economics because it often leads to horrific waste, particularly when people throw good money after bad in the hope that their initial investment will be recouped (it’s also a well-known phenomenon in poker when players go broke). As far as Mike Hesson is concerned, the same psychological process may be occurring with his obstinate refusal to elevate Matt Henry to the opening bowler’s position alongside Trent Boult.

Southee is only 29 years old, but he has been playing for ages. He debuted as a teenager, and looked incredibly promising with a five-wicket haul and a run-a-ball 77 in a Test against England. Since then, New Zealand Cricket have invested substantial resources in him, giving him every opportunity to take the new ball against all comers. No less an authority than Allen Donald touted Southee as potentially a great swing bowler, but it’s hard to deny the raw numbers.

The numbers argue confidently that Southee is not as good as Henry (in ODIs at least), and probably never has been.

Since the loss to Australia in the final of the 2015 Cricket World Cup, Southee has averaged 42.77 with the ball. He has taken 45 wickets in this time frame at an economy rate of 5.72. Henry has taken 44 wickets at an economy rate of 5.81, which is similar, but has an average of 28.13 thanks to a strike rate of 29.

This is, amazingly, a better strike rate than Shane Bond managed over his career (29.2), and means that Henry has been 50% more likely to take a wicket on any given ball than Southee during this time.

Southee is striking at 44.8 since the last Cricket World Cup, and has not taken four wickets in an innings since then, despite playing in 38 games. Henry has only played in 25 matches since the final loss but has already managed three four-wicket bags and one five-wicket bag in that time – only one of each fewer than Southee has managed in a 132-match career.

In fact, Southee has not managed to get four wickets in an innings one time in the last three years, whereas Henry took four wickets in his last match.

Mike Hesson might be thinking here in terms of potential, in that, theoretically, Southee has the potential to be another Jimmy Anderson. Like Southee, Anderson is also tall, bowls with an open stance and relies on swinging the ball to nick batsmen out. Also like Southee, the Englishman didn’t achieve anything particularly special in his first 132 ODIs, returning an average of 30.18 for his 179 wickets.

But in 43 matches since the start of 2012, Anderson has taken 65 wickets at an average of 23.97. Hesson might be expecting a similar transformation to come over Southee, but it’s also very possible that he has invested so much time and energy in Southee that he sees this investment as a sunk cost that he is compelled to recoup.

A solution that would save everyone’s face would be to demote Southee to third seamer. This would be the best of all worlds for everyone except for Lockie Ferguson, who would then struggle for a starting berth.

The positives are that it would allow Boult and Henry, with the best strike rates, to bowl with the new ball when they are the most effective, and it would allow Southee to utilise his skill set of varied deliveries at the death while minimising his weaknesses of being slow and inaccurate. Southee also has 33 wickets as third seamer, averaging an entirely acceptable 28.18 (compared to over 35 while opening). It seems like a solution whose time has come.


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VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger III

This reading continues on from here.

The sixth essay in Ride The Tiger is called “Active Nihilism – Nietzsche”, and continues to deal with the problem of the Death of God. Also continuing with the esoteric theme of this book, Evola appears to insist that the solution is alchemical. The negative is overwhelming and ascendant; it cannot be resisted. So the question becomes “how far the negative can be transformed into something positive.”

Here we are concerned with “the transition to the postnihilist stage.” Modern man is free, free from the strictures of Abrahamism – but free for what? We have striven against our enslavement for so long that we don’t know what to do with freedom. We invented God to assuage our existential anxiety, and, now that we are “free” from this God, that anxiety has rushed back with a vengeance. Evola cites Sartre here: “We are condemned to be free.”

Evola contends that Nietzsche’s conception of the Superman is not sufficient to avoid this nihilism. His reasoning is that the Superman theory is not sufficiently different from the other eschatologies, such as the Marxist one, and therefore cannot be more than a pseudosolution to the problem of nihilism.

As was true for Marxism, the Superman theory could potentially be used to justify all manner of horrors in the present by promising paradise in the future. However, Nietzsche’s theory of eternal recurrence strikes much closer to what might be described as a perennial philosophy.

The seventh essay is called “Being Oneself.” It seems as if that, once the pseudosolutions and outright false philosophies are abandoned, what one is left with is oneself. This something is beyond morality (indeed, morality is considered something to be liberated from), and internal, instead of imposed from without as if by God or King.

Nietzsche comes in for some criticism here. Evola considers his attitude to the human spirit “materialistic”, but concedes that Nietzsche must have seen beyond because he is capable of distinguishing the “Self” from the “I”. Other thinkers, such as Guyau, are considered, but dismissed for not offering anything truly new, merely “restrictions that more or less return to one οf the systems οf the old morality.”

Evola concludes that the answer, as ever, is to “Know Thyself”. However, there’s a caveat. In the past, it was easier to know thyself because one was defined by strictures of class, religion, nation, caste and many other things. Modern man is free, so he cannot fall back on these now-abandoned strictures.

Modern man is, in fact, so free that it is as if he has been shattered to pieces. His soul “contains multitudes”. This shattering, Evola contends, can be most easily observed in remorse, which is an emotion that mostly affects divided people and which is characteristic of our time.

The eighth essay is called “The Transcendent Dimension – ‘Life’ and ‘More Than Life'”. The man who gets it, Evola contends, is one who possesses a transcendental dimension, a spiritual dimension. Here he distances himself further from Nietzsche, who for Evola was more of a vessel that history acted through than a genuine actor in his own right. Nietzsche’s great error was “confusion of the sacred with the profane”.

Evola, through quoting Nietzsche, gives us a prescription for a man of gold, although without using alchemical terms: a many who has great passions (clay), but who holds them in check (iron), and who hold them in check with apparent ease (silver) and who, last of all, does not draw any particular egoic satisfaction from doing so (gold). Here, the highest sort of man is one who overcomes great dangers, for it is only in doing so that all these qualities can be expressed.

Evola mentions the common interest in Zen philosophy among the Beat Generation that was heavily influenced by the existentialists. Here, religious belief (of any kind) is rejected as a failure of the human spirit, of the sort of person who did not have the character to survive the tension of the Age of Nihilism, and who hence surrendered to easy answers.


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