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 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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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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Smart and Dumb Are Best Measured Not On One Spectrum, But Two

The usual way for people to think about intelligence is as a single spectrum, where we start dumb and – if we’re lucky – grow to become smart. This seems to fit neatly into the dominant thought paradigm, which is that of materialist, empiricist science. This paradigm contends that single-celled organisms evolved to become intelligent and the more intelligent the better.

This is certainly one way of looking at things and it’s a valid perspective. It’s just a little simplistic. Intelligence is so multivariate and nebulous a concept that trying to reduce it to a single number is like trying to rank all of the world’s great works of art along a single scale. It might make some kind of sense, but it’s not really meaningful.

A better way to think about intelligence is that there’s a smart spectrum and there’s a dumb spectrum. The two have some overlap, but it’s minor. These two spectrums have been generally considered to overlap entirely, in that the more dumb a person is the less smart they must be and vice versa, but anyone who has met a decent range of other people in their life will know that this isn’t true.

The most obvious counterpoint to the single spectrum of intelligence argument is the large number of hopeless nerds and autists out there. There is an archetypal absent-minded professor who knows everything about their area of expertise and nothing about any other aspect of life – someone who could lecture a class of a hundred postgraduates but can’t change a lightbulb. Always these people dominate IQ tests, but it’s not as simple as declaring them intelligent.

These people, usually men, exhibit a high reading on the smart spectrum as well as a high reading on the dumb spectrum. So they aren’t intelligent in the same way as people who are high on the smart spectrum and low on the dumb spectrum.

This is not a dig at the university sort. A majority of smart people have made themselves less dumb for the reason that they have realised how much suffering their own dumbness causes and have acted to mitigate it. After all, what other use is being smart in the first place?

Another type of person who exhibits a high reading on both the smart and dumb spectrums is someone who wastes the intelligence they were born with. Being high on the smart spectrum isn’t by itself enough to succeed in life – there are all kinds of personal qualities like perseverance, diligence and honesty to consider.

People who are high on the smart spectrum and low on the dumb spectrum are rare, and are also difficult to recognise. After all, the average person is fairly dumb, and are therefore prone to assume that truly intelligent people are themselves dumb if they disagree with that average person on anything.

In many ways, these people are compelled to hide away, because being high on the smart spectrum isn’t necessarily a good thing, especially if someone else becomes envious of it and wants to challenge you.

Likewise, being low on the smart spectrum isn’t the worst thing either, because as long as one is also low on the dumb spectrum one can often just chip away at goals until they were completed, especially if one has been taught the right methodology. Being high on the smart spectrum can lead to distractions, and can lead to a person becoming impractical.

People low on the dumb spectrum and low on the smart spectrum might be the old-fashioned kind of person who never had a full education available to them, but who is nevertheless wise and not easy to fool. They can’t really fool others because they’re not smart enough to spin bullshit quickly enough, but it’s hard to fool them because they’re not greedy or gullible.

You could find a lot of this sort of person among farmers and agriculturalists, as well as members of traditionalist religions, and especially among old people.

The last sort of person is one who is low on the smart spectrum and high on the dumb spectrum. These people most effectively embody the chaos principle, because they are not as passive as people who are low on the dumb spectrum.

People high on the dumb spectrum have the tendency to do impulsive, mindless and destructive things, but if they’re also low on the smart spectrum they don’t tend to learn from their errors and gladly commit them over and over again. Driving drunk is a classic behavioural expression for a person in this quadrant.

These four personality types can be mapped onto an elementalist framework. The high-smart, low-dumb person can be thought of as gold, the high-smart, high-dumb person can be thought of as silver, the low-smart, low-dumb person can be thought of as iron and the low-smart, high-dumb person can be thought of as clay.

Whichever has the most value depends on what one is trying to achieve. If the important thing is to avoid errors, then the priority is to be low on the dumb spectrum. If the important thing is to be creative and to react quickly to changing environments, then the priority is to be high on the smart spectrum.


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Should New Zealand Legalise Cannibalism Out of Respect For Maori Culture?

In recent years, people have been asking hard questions about the effects of Western colonisation on the New World. Many moral values that were taken to be universal are now being re-evaluated in the new light of Western oppression. Eventually, New Zealand will need to ask itself: were the British wrong to abolish cannibalism?

In British culture, there is a massive taboo around cannibalism. The act is considered even lower than barbaric, more befitting of an animal than of a human being. Famous cases such as the Sawney Bean family horrify British people even to this day. The taboo can be traced back at least as far as Homer and is universal in the West.

In Maori culture, before British contact, there was no such taboo. Cannibalism was rife. The act of cannibalism was, as it has been all around the world, an extremely effective black magic ritual, in which the cannibal convinced themselves that they had absorbed the power of their victim. This ritual is effective for the simple reason that it increases the ego of the cannibal and makes them more formidable in the realm of iron magic. Moral considerations didn’t come into it.

So a couple of questions have to be asked: if cannibalism was an accepted part of Maori culture (in that it was practiced by many tribes over the whole country), did the British really have the right to suppress that particular cultural expression? And, if they didn’t have that right, are we obligated to re-legalise cannibalism out of respect for Maori culture?

After all, cannibalism may have been an effective method for keeping the tribe strong. Because it was mostly the old, children and those defeated in battle who got eaten, it could be argued that this practice served to keep the Maori genepool free of weakness. If so, who are white people to impose their own moral framework over a useful practice?

The major objection to cannibalism is that it is almost never consensual, and arguably could not ever be with someone of right mind, for the simple reason that it goes against basic self-preservation instincts. Getting cannibalised in New Zealand usually meant that one’s brains were first dashed out with a patu or taiaha, and it’s hard to legalise this for obvious reasons.

Another major objection is that many Maori tribes actually opposed the practice of cannibalism, and were happy to welcome the British settlers, who not only also opposed it but who had muskets to make their opposition count. The Ngati Porou of the author of this piece is one such example. Thus is could be argued that cannibalism was never a universal Maori practice and therefore not an integral part of the culture.

However, these objections have to be considered in the context of modern technology. As Sir Apirana Ngata said: “Ko to ringa ki ngā rakau a te Pāhekā” (“Your hands to the tools of the Pakeha”). Well, now ngā rakau a te Pāhekā include machines that can grow animal flesh in laboratories, and cheaply enough so that a lab-grown steak can be produced for $20. It won’t be long until we can cheaply grow human flesh in a lab.

If human flesh can be grown in a laboratory, this would get around the problem of people having to be killed into order for cannibalism to be possible. This would get around the moral objections so far presented against the legalisation of cannibalism. If there are then no remaining objections to legalising cannibalism, one is forced to conclude that the balance of liberty ought to fall on the side of established precedent.

Because cannibalism has been practiced in these isles for much longer than English has been spoken, it seems natural to conclude that it ought to take precedent over British settler values like not practicing cannibalism. Therefore, the New Zealand Government ought to take action that clearly demonstrates its respect for Maori culture, and make the practice of cannibalism legal.


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).