A Prequel to the Author’s Interview with Lynn Lockhart
Lynn, you’ve asked me some pretty big questions and also to match wits with a man that has put forth some daunting ideas. Before answering I should make plain my divergence from modern society so that an understanding can occur.
Modernity places man in his masses under ideologies, according to numbers.
Most blatantly I disagree with this approach to violence studies. For instance, the FBI did a comparative analysis of Cocaine-Boom Miami circa 1980 and Dodge City, a hundred years earlier, and declared parity between the two, as they use numbers of people under threat, not area of habitat under threat to determine risk of violence, with their stupid how many deaths in 100,000 equation.
What this showed was that Dodge City and Scarface Miami were both equally violent to an unacceptable degree. Ever since people have used the euphemism that if guns are not taken away from Americans, than our cities will become like “The Wild West”
Well if Baltimore was like the Wild West, we would have had only one homicide last year. That’s right, in the year Dodge City was compared to Miami during the drug cartel high tide, one man was killed and that in a voluntary duel over a woman?
Not one murder, just a man slaughter. And, according to the FBI, that is equivalent to Cuban thugs and Columbian Narcos hosing down strip malls with machine guns while women and children are shopping?
Why would these geniuses—and they are geniuses, unlike I who could not pass the FBI entrance exam—come up with such a false model?
It is simple, the FBI is a branch of the U.S. government, and that government like all other modern state systems is engaged in people farming. Just as shepherds and ranchers count their livestock so do our handlers.
This, I see as a departure from most of human history and prehistory and has its roots in the two great submissive faiths, Christianity and Islam. Islam means submission, with Muslim men taking names that proudly declare themselves the slaves and servants of God. In Leviticus—in the very book of the Old Testament that justifies enslavement, God’s Chosen People are declared to be his slaves, and should therefore strive to keep one another free of lesser bonds of servitude to outsiders. Being raised Catholic, the idea that I was supposed to submit as a first response to an invocation of authority over my person and my soul was explicit in the ritual kneeling, the constant reference to God, His Son and Prophets “shepherding” their “flock,” coupled with the “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s admonition that our parish priests quoted often, indicating that I should be a submissive subject of a government, that I should be livestock.
This doctrine of submission to God and his representatives insured that Christianity and Islam would be the dominant faiths over most of the planet. And breadth means something here. For these faiths are the blueprints for interacting with the human habitat. There may have been more Hindus at one point, but the adherents to that religion were geographically limited, meaning that fewer aspects of creation fell under their religion’s influence. And to people before the materialistic ethos and atheism supplanted so much of the metaphysical construct humanity lives within, Creation meant something, something more than a pile of rock to be rendered into ore and smelted into precious commodities.
Many current critics of the “Abrahamic” faiths take issue with their ethnic or environmental origin. But the fact is that most tribal conquest resulting in civilizations feature violent, herding people displacing the ruling class of a submissive toiling people, who are naturally viewed as cattle, and hence chattel. This was obvious to all pre-modern societies. But modern society operates under a fiction, far less plausible than the idea of God, that is the idea of “civil service” or “democracy,” the insane notion that the cattle rule the ranch through their bellowing.
Before we continue with the dialogue on Taleb’s work, I’d like to make it plain that I see the human being in terms of his relationship to God, which includes the environment, and excludes the herd, the human shepherds. It is obvious that the sacred creeds of submission informed those who structured modern state systems and political ideologies, and that these notions of Dar al-Islam and Christendom contained a more ancient notion of habitable space, not simply the numbers of their flocks.
Before the Industrial Age, Europeans thought in terms of faith far more than race and would speak of “Christian lands,” placing people in their living context and beyond it, rather than in our atomized way. Muslims had a similar view and retain far more of it than we secularized Christians.
“…he regarded himself as a citizen, not of a country called Morocco, but of the Dar al-Islam, to whose universalist spiritual, moral and social values he was loyal above any other allegiance.”
-Ross E. Dunn on Ibn Battuta
Early Christianity retained much of the ancient, holistic, human worldview, before it was gradually reduced to an ethos to support Modernity. Many Christians [I’m not one] have a sense for this and are continually reinventing the Church on a smaller scale, whether localized or inward-reaching, even bordering on the shamanic, like John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart, in which he discusses “the silence of fathers” in our denatured society. In a larger sense the ethical systems derived from these religions are, too, silent, which is why I wanted to discuss Taleb’s antifragile concept and his related opinion concerning the absence of sacrifice, after this attempt to place it in a truer context.
I’ll address Antifragile, and then sacrifice, over the next two weeks.
Thanks for the demanding line of inquiry.
(c) 2017 James LaFond