Derelict Space

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

by markdyal

There is nothing more American than being in a guerrilla band in a civil war. (Francis Marion)

First Principle of Degeneration?

by markdyal

“Divine limitations and human excellence go together.” Emily Kearns, “The Gods in the Homeric Epics.”

A Wolf that Doesn’t Wolf Isn’t a Wolf

by markdyal

“War is the air a warrior society must breathe.” Adam Nicolson, Why Homer Matters.

Maguire 19:24

by markdyal

“It would be easier to pass a Toyota Hilux through the chamber of an AK than to get a banker into Valhalla.”

Creating Casualties Works Both Ways

by markdyal

On this momentous occasion we hope you take a minute to reflect on what you’ve learned and what you’re expected to carry with you as you leave these years behind. Think about the virtues – oh the virtues! – sometimes obvious because preached from a pulpit, but more often hidden between the words of what you were told to read, or in the smug, knowing glances of your peers. Think about the commitment to justice your schooling has provided, or the pride you’ll feel when you stand khakis-to-blouse with your fellow alumni to “make the world a better place” for failures and weaklings. Think about the wisdom that only seems to avail itself to the degraded and decaying. Think about getting to hide behind these virtues – hell, think about using them just as they were intended: as a shield against struggle, suffering, and strength. Think about a world hewn of hierarchy, danger, and privilege. Thanks to your education, that world is yours for the taking.  

Can you imagine if this was all there is? Can you imagine if this shameful vision was enough for you? Forget those for whom it is enough. Forget the milieu and the form of life that expected you to be contented by such an ignoble existence. This day we share with you and your family is given no great value by the achievement that has brought us together but is instead animated by the promise written in your future, and in the life you are creating far from the institution from which time and passivity has granted your release.

For your future holds experiences – places and situations – in which sham virtues carry an extortionate cost; for you get to live as the tightrope walker, each step a matter of standing or falling. You get to live with bonds forged of blood and steel and bathed in pure love. Some men would kill for the honor.

For you, my brother, the puerile, corrosive, decadent life of cowardly virtues written only in ink, will never be enough. And for that, we congratulate you.

Silence is Only Violence if Put to Good Use

by markdyal

Yesterday’s school consisted of Titus and I reading and discussing the killing of Hector. The scene has really cool interactions between Athena and Apollo, the two most antagonistic deities in the Homeric world, as they each seek to confuse, and make vulnerable, the other’s hero. The most striking thing I noticed, though, is how their actions served to animate a system of values.

We see Agenor, a basically-anonymous Trojan who takes it upon himself to man the gates, allowing the retreating soldiers to enter the city. But the responsibility puts him at risk of being killed by Achilles. He ponders his options, until Apollo gives him courage to stand firm, and to disdain a “coward’s death.” We see Achilles tricked and mocked by Apollo, and then bolstered by Athena, and a similar situation befall Hector, as Athena tricks him into revealing himself, sealing both his and the Trojans’ fate, and Apollo giving him the resolve to face his death heroically.

Athena and Apollo both provide various forms of strength, courage, tenacity, defiance, and affirmation: the very instinctual and behavioral properties of the hero.

Nowhere in the scene, nor in Homer in general, are the gods the purveyors of truth, justice, life, or fate.

Instead they are the founts of the heroic traits, in effect they embody these traits (anthropomorphically) and dole a breath of themselves into the heroes they most admire. All the traits and behaviors coalesce in glory – and this is what the gods give.

But the bigger point is how this relates to the mortals who created these gods. Imagine valuing courage and strength, and rage and love, and tenacity and defiance so much that you gave them a divine source; and not only that but added them up to equal glory, and then made glory the highest possible human attainment.

It’s no coincidence that the progressive de-godding of our species (poly-mono-a) coincides with a de-heroing as well. From values such as strength, courage, tenacity, defiance, and affirmation we are now given meekness, fear, cunning, submission, and negation. Where once we had mystery we have truth. Where once we had active revenge we now have abstract justice. Where once we had chaos and pleasure we now have the plan of an all-knowing god. Where once we could die heroically now all death is to be feared (pride goeth …). Where once we could only act godlike (by in fact acting heroically human) we now get the gift of eternity (by acting slavishly human). Where once we were the glorious now all the glory goes to god.

It’s not that our modern lives are empty – far from it – but that they are lived in abject poverty. Our potentials are now expressed in an anti-heroic environment that serves the instincts and needs of the low and base. The distance between the hero and the slave is the same as the distance between the noble and base. We are not empty but full of ignoble values. Our highest ideals were once the lowliest. Beauty was once for the few, now it is only beautiful if available for all, as cheaply as possible.

I’m used to having to beat this point to death, but you fine initiates have already seen the distance between values and how they animate forms of life. You have seen what heroism and glory mean to a warrior versus what they mean to a slave.

Merry Christmas 2018

by markdyal

“An organism is nothing if not the solution to a problem …”  – Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, pg. 211.

Uniting the Left and the Right

by markdyal

“When you feel yourselves aroused at your best by your wonderful ideal, do you not instinctively dream of holding a gun in your hands? Doesn’t any one of you feel himself to be a soldier in a battle that is approaching? Can you really be sure that your offspring will not one day condemn you for having raised them by ignoring, by scorning, the greatest of all aesthetics, that of frenzied battalions armed to the teeth? I am telling you that war, any war at all, is made with guns, and that our enemies are at the gates, that every kind of zeal is needed, that all forms of heroism compel us in these hours of immense psychological upheaval, in our desperate wait for war. We are all unsettled and maybe even fearful cowards. We have to convert the great hatred we have accrued into a great love, into great heroism. If rivers of blood run healthily through this dumbfounded, anemic world, we shall be the first Archangels of Health.” F.T. Marinetti, “Our Common Enemies”

This Man Uses Ammo Boxes as Bookends

by markdyal

A Life Beyond the Pale

Higher-Ed Jobs Classified Ad

by markdyal

Expert on domestic terrorism seeks a milieu – an Event! – that would lead to the possibility of being employed as such.