Riva Tez and Praxis Society just published a really lovely video, which I think deserves to be read as text. I transcribed it for my own archive, so I figured I might as well post some of my favorite parts. Watch/listen to the whole thing here.
"What if this is the dark age?"
"Nietzsche's concept of the last man is a prophetic description of the world as it is today. You are basking in a fake glory. You are entertained and satiated. You are seemingly productive, but you are not great. If you feel this and aren't bothered by it, look away. If you feel this and it bothers you, listen on.
As a child you dreamed of conquering new worlds, of being a hero and a pioneer. As you matured, you grew content with smaller dreams. It's said that you live in the most prosperous era of human history, a supposed golden age that rose from the Enlightenment. But what if this is the dark age? How many times have you been fed the script that you are living in the best time the world has ever seen? Some metrics justify it, but what of others?
Why have we shaped a world where so many need to be numb? Just a quarter of Americans are on psychiatric medications. Many of our perceived mental disorders have no medical pathology, and much of mental illness is the grouping together of characteristics that don't comply with social norms. If this is our golden era, then what exactly are we running from?
Millions of children in the US are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and children as young as eight are being diagnosed with oppositional and defiant disorder. Is an obedient youth the sign of a healthy society? Are we aiming for docile children? Their wildness, the purest form of the human spirit, should be celebrated. Instead, we stick them in windowless schools and wonder why they're not obedient. Our children are being torn apart and rebuilt within a prison-like school system. Their bodies may come and go each day, but their minds are encaged.
Our senior citizens, our grandparents and our parents are being locked up in other types of prisons. The rejuvenating force of children and the wisdom of elders have been increasingly extricated from society. Many more of our seniors should be at home with us, multi-generational homes are a relic of the past. We cast off blood relatives at the thought of inconvenience. We're so over-indexed on productivity that we've forgotten what it means to share blood, what it means to build community, what it means to experience the full range of human emotion..."
On Imperceptible Renaissances
"Great books teach us that history's heroes were individuals who rebelled against authority and yet we are educated into blind obedience. This discrepancy is social conditioning. It's right in front of you. Let's peek further behind the veil of history.
Most people believe that there was only one Renaissance which originated in 15th century Florence. The 900 year stretch from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Florentine Renaissance is commonly referred to as the Dark Ages but these times were never dark.
Many of us were never taught of the Carolingian Renaissance, a rapid flourishing of ideas in the late 8th century. Prior to the Carolingian King Charlemagne. Texts had been written by scribes onto scrolls, but Charlemagne's workshops moved human history from scrolls to codices, an early form of the modern book. Amongst those supposed gloomy dark ages, Carolingian workshops produced over a hundred thousand manuscripts. Upon this, knowledge flourished. Almost all of our knowledge of ancient Rome comes from these Carolingian workshops. These include the earliest manuscripts of some of our most famous ancient thinkers. In fact, from all the centuries before the ninth, very few manuscripts have survived. This is because Carolingian workshops destroyed most of the historical scrolls before releasing their own versions. How can we be sure of ancient history?
Behind every renaissance is a controlling force, one who decides which accounts and artefacts to take and which to leave behind. In every case, human judgement, be it good or bad, is at play. Why are we so confident of the historical narratives that we've been told? If the news is fake, imagine history.
Let's consider philosophy. The supposed great Stoic thinkers Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus and Seneca. For Seneca, no manuscripts of his work exist before the ninth century. For Epictetus, no manuscripts of his work before the 12th century. For Marcus Aurelius's infamous text, The Meditations, there are no manuscripts until the 14th century. The evidence of our ancient manuscripts are closer in time to the modern day than to when these men were supposed to have lived, yet we quote these thinkers as if we knew what they actually said. Fragile threads of evidence weave our shared philosophical narrative."
On Faith and Virtue
"Faith, post-enlightenment, is defined as blind trust in something else. But faith means something richer than that. It means having conviction in your own moral ideals. Faith is strength. It allows for an identity. We have lost the ideal of conviction. It once led men to discover and settle new worlds, but now it is viewed as irrational. For Enlightenment thinkers, all of the world was up in the air. They knew only that they did not know, and this reasonable humility became itself a conviction. But who does this way of thinking serve? What good can come from a world that holds no beliefs? You are living in the wake of it. Upon dubious history, with the flimsiest of philosophical foundations and amid a culture of moral relativism, society has become squishy, pale and devoid of vitality. But belief should be held and here is one...
There is more opportunity out there than anyone wants you to believe. The entire world, all of what is above and below, is yours to discover. But to do so, you must first hold convictions and steady values, despite society hating you for it. You must have faith. There is nothing archaic about conviction. It's still what births heroes. One of the strongest principles that we have lost is that of nobility. But what does it mean to be noble?
People interpret nobility as being associated only with aristocracy. But nobility has another definition. It means having high personal qualities and ideals. The noble person strives to be virtuous. Virtues are diminishing from society, yet when present and cultivated, they lead to human flourishing. All religions centre around virtues, and almost every great epoch aspire to them, from the the chivalric code of the medieval knights to the Roman virtues. Having ideals and virtuous standards are important for human flourishing. Yet contemporary media proclaims that having any ideals is fascist. Everything of conviction is fascist. It wouldn't be the first word that has been twisted into meaninglessness.
For those who have conviction, who have principles, who strive to be noble and who want to build new worlds, society may never accept you. Don't seek their approval. There is a sad paradox that despite all of our technological progress and improved living conditions we suffer such dissatisfaction. For some of it, as we know, specific technology is to blame. A billion people willingly bear the algo assault of the biggest psyops in the world. Humans are handing over their most valuable possessions, their time and attention, to governments that think of them as expendable.
World War III isn't found on a battlefield. It's in the algorithms making you hate yourself and your own civilization. And if you do anything to take a stance against this degradation, from this bloodbath of morality, then you are a fascist. Our media states that some even believe they are fighting a primordial battle between good and evil. They are. You are.
If there's one thing that you take from this, let it be that the world still fights holy wars..."
Watch/listen to the whole video here. Learn more about Praxis here.