Self – degrading opportunism (SDO)

Definition of Self-Degrading opportunism (SDO)

When people, who are able to discern things foreign to their authentic self, in other words people who have style, despite their better judgement, comply with the majority only for the hope of profit.

Naturally, for people who lack such a style, opportunism is never self-degrading.

Excerpt from Critical Thinking?

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Modernity, Tradition & Identity – excerpt

Some fragments for a little taste from the upcoming book from the Prakhsis Classics series on the organic ideal.

jc

To understand modernity, contemporary man needs to change his views, since modernity can’t be understood from its own vantage point. This change of views must be fundamental. As we know people don’t change their views by reading books or by considering “rational” arguments; all these may help but this isn’t the key. The key is that only those people are able and willing to change their views that have intuition about the false nature of the views they hold and an uncompromising drive toward the Truth.

Since not having either intuition of or drive toward the truth is what qualifies them as moderns, only those may be able to understand modernity who –potentially or actually- are not modern: talking to modern man about modernity is simply absurd. For emphasis: not all contemporary men are modern; the overwhelming majority is, but not all.

Opposite to modernity stands Tradition; in fact in our world there is no bigger contrast than this and this contrast is palpable in all areas of life. Yet modern man, while all his life he thinks in opposites, always stands in opposition (to everything) and creates and is driven by conflicts, can’t notice this most fundamental contrast.

Tradition may be approached from several angles: philosophically, supra-philosophically, doctrinally, from the vantage point of culture, religion, arts or the sacred sciences. The approach we present now is reflective of the main theme of this book: the organic ideal.

The kernel of the organic ideal is authenticity; for everybody to be themselves as much as possible. People’s lack of identity is an important symptom of modernity. The individual literally can’t perceive himself as anything and is thus unable to organize organically. Looking at it from the structural point of view, modernity doesn’t offer any structures for people in which they may be fully who they are or where they may realize themselves, successfully unfolding their potentials.

Individualism, one of many meta-views* (for more meta-views see Critical Thinking – Introduction to navigating the irrational) of modernity compensates for the lack of identity with the view that “you may become anything you want” (including gender or racial identities). This has led to people keeping on changing their minds about what they want to be, or to adjusting to changing conditions with upbeat enthusiasm, cheerfully reinventing themselves whenever it becomes necessary. Of course being cheerful, upbeat or enthusiastic about this is cheating. Individualism conveniently forgets to address the problem of the Will.

Individuals don’t know what they want to be; instead, they focus on what they want to have. This is not a good substitute: irrespective of what they have, modern man lives in a deep existential crisis.

Moderns use many strategies to ease this crisis: they neuro-linguistically program themselves to be happy about their miserable situation; they buy more stuff or they swing to the other direction and go minimalistic and uncluttered;  they dedicate their life to careers or the opposite, trying to make a living on a different beach every few months by writing and selling ebooks about how to make a living on a different beach every few months; or they put the emphasis specifically on not having a will by indiscriminately following their increasingly irrational impulses and changing even their gender or racial identities every few months or so; or they pick an irrational cause that’s rooted in one of the meta-views of modernity and fight in a way that contradicts their proclaimed belief system …

…. Ideologically, modern man (in other words the mass-individual) views himself as an insignificant pile of dust flying aimlessly somewhere in the periphery of the universe; practically he is a voracious, hedonistic, ego-centric consumer concerned only about the basic conditions of life in ever larger quantities: food, drinks, shelter, clothing and entertainment, preferably in a luxurious package: modern man is trying desperately to be happy with being conditioned; happy in his prison cell. Passion is a celebrated quality and the objects of desire are: objects.

Archaic men despised conditions and thrived for rising above them, through the only way possible: detachment.

Traditionalism, which brings us the view of the pre-historic (from another aspect supra-historical) archaic man, is concerned only with the Truth. Authenticity from the Traditional point of view is not a question of individual opinion. Identity is a supra – individual concept. Identity, in the simplest definition means being oneself. Each person and individual is themselves, but to a different degree; and each person and individual has a certain range of potentials available to them that they may actualize to become more of themselves.

This sounds evident, but modern man doesn’t understand the concept of identity and leads a completely inauthentic existence. Moderns don’t believe in actualizing potentials (they invented the career ladder as a substitute) and they believe that everybody has equal potentials: everybody is a more or less equal pile of dust with small quantitative differences. The view of archaic man on the question of identity is radically different. Based on to what degree one is being oneself he sees vertical differentiation between people: a sacred hierarchy. The purpose of life, the ultimate objective is to be(come) oneself: to actualize all potentials and become oneself to the highest possible degree…

… Modernity is seemingly the age of the mass-individual. While in the age of Tradition justice prevailed between people and everybody was in their place living a life most appropriate to them, in modern times the opposite is true: nobody is in their place, organic roles and functions have been eliminated and people don’t believe that there is such a thing as the Truth. Hatred is incited in people against superiority. This was not possible before modernity, when people viewed the actual superiority of others as the potential superiority of themselves. The measure in everything was the superior – this is part of justice. In the age of modernity the measure is quantity which may only be pursued and sustained by inferior people.

With this brief overview we wanted to highlight that Tradition and Modernity represent two ends of a vertical pole whereby Tradition represents the starting position of a process of gradual decline that is characterized by the disappearance of qualities and the increase of quantities; qualities and quantities with their analogies in all areas of life: in social structures and communities, in world views, in intelligence, in taste, in people. Our age is a stage in the continuing process of this involution. But Tradition and Modernity also depict states of consciousness and corresponding identities.

One can become only what one potentially is. Some may reacquire the world-view of Tradition; some may develop power, dominance, the taste, the life style of Tradition. In other words some people may become men of Tradition, or –which is the same thing- they may become authentic; and where authentic people meet, organic structures emerge.

 

 

Critical Thinking? – Conclusions

THIS BOOK HAS taken business under the lens of Metaphysical Tradition. Some of the people, whose life is currently completely subordinated to business, may find our point of view interesting enough to be moved to undertaking more research and study. We don’t expect that there are many of these but we are sure that there are some. For them we recommend that they consider the books we list under references.

Today the orientation is difficult, since business has gained much more relevance than ever before yet the most significant traditional authors have never dedicated much time to this topic. When it comes to business, as to most social phenomenon we may look at it from the conceptual point of view and from the organizational point of view. In this book we have obviously taken the conceptual point of view and addressed the organizational
point of view only partially.

Perhaps we have managed to contrast Metaphysical Tradition, which we view as a state of normality with the modern world that may only be described as a deep existential and identity crisis that manifests itself as the current global, political, geo-political, economical, social, religious, educational and many more types of crisis.
This pervasive crisis is necessary.

With the disappearance of supra-human traditional principles that used to serve as an absolute point of reference for orientation and self-realization, an arrogant and hubristic irrationality came to the scene that produced pseudo principles and through them, turned everything into an illusion: the illusion of science in the form of pervasive scientism that dominates all areas of life, the illusion of arts that among a myriad of other things have managed to produce boy-bands, paintings by elephants and skulls and other objects studded with diamonds, the illusion of beauty displayed on the cover of magazines and billboards that when it doesn’t grin, it has the facial expression of a robot, the illusion of power that demands a void, the lack of intellectual faculties, and a pseudo value system that openly and aggressively liquidates values and human qualities.
And all this is propagated and sold as “individual opinions” and it speaks volumes of the general condition of the masses that they buy this, mostly based on the celebrity status of the “seller”.

Seemingly there are efforts to solve this crisis but the majority of these don’t come from a vantage point above the causes but from the same level: from scientism, from pseudo arts, from pseudo powers, from activists representing pseudo values or from simply confused individuals with resources and a stronger than average ambition.

Why is this crisis necessary?
Fighting against abnormality, as the irrational is always abnormal, on a macro level is simply no longer possible: the odds are overwhelming, there is not one area of life anywhere where it doesn’t already dominate. It will disappear only after exhausting
all its potentials. This of course doesn’t mean that the fight shouldn’t be fought. It must be fought! If organization on some level is possible and we believe it is, authentic personalities must organize to make an impact. Not doing so would be damaging on
all levels.

Organizing, however, is a personal responsibility.

And this is where the solution lies: the crisis must be solved first and foremost on a personal level. In first case singular: personally I can prevent abnormality from running its course; and since this is also a potentiality or a possibility for me, not doing so would be an ontological crime against myself.
I must re-instate normality in my life. I must fulfill my organic role, I must have normal relationships, I must think and act according to supra-individual norms, because if I don’t, I automatically follow sub-human ones: organization takes place in this personal
context.

Eliminating irrationality results in organic organization and organic structures in turn don’t tolerate irrationality.

Critical thinking and taste

Mug_shot_osho  Osho mugshot

The likes, dislikes, habits, and ambitions of the modern individual are not aligned to true principles: they are not based on a firm, unshakable foundation. In fact these factors are not built up consciously, but they “develop” or “appear” seemingly by themselves, thus the individual ends up being moved by what he perceives “external forces” while remaining maximally passive. As we have seen, this applies also to people who attribute their success to their “vision” and their “iron will” to see it through: it’s enough to take a closer look at their vision and their (life) style to realize to what degree they comply with prevailing meta-views.

What does lifestyle have to do with critical thinking? Vanity, for example, often falls for Ponzi schemes[1] or we have also seen many high level managers (also exhibiting a vanity-based lifestyle with plenty of name-dropping, brand-dropping, address-dropping, title-dropping, etc.) with a good business track record falling for the most basic copy-pasted mass email scams that appealed to their vanity or ambition, not to mention the most straightforward examples of lifestyle criminals (corporate or non-corporate). This also works in the so called spiritual domains: since the early 20th century all celebrities seem to fall in the traps of fake gurus who sell themselves as spiritual leaders – quite profitably.

The key is style and taste.

[1] See the client list of Bernie Medoff for relatively recent examples.

bernie

Benefit yourself

“….Avoid situations that are below or above you. Identity is dignity:

living according to one’s nature. A craftsman enjoys more dignity than a priest who leads the life of a clerk; a Buddhist monk without possessions, fully dedicated to achieving awakening, is superior to a potential warrior who is judged by shareholders based on quarterly financial indicators; a barber who finds full satisfaction through serving is more superior than a freshly recruited “Buddhist monk” who is walking the streets of New York trying to recruit more people or, feeling“ qualified”, ventures to give relationship advice to women, etc.

There are situations that call forth virtues that are not below anybody and benefit all: heroism, self-sacrifice, loyalty (to factors of superiority, be it human or ideological). We all must respond to these….”