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Tradition VS Liberty | Escaping the Matrix
Can human beings be trusted with responsible freedom, and do we need tradition to reinforce it?
I had Dr. Jason Reza Jorjani on Break The Rules last week for the 3rd time, and while making it a point for the stream to have at least two people of opposing viewpoints or unrelated circles join, his two solos felt like it was Jason vs. a loud section of the audience.
This was a prediction I made at the start of our stream which unsurprisingly came true, as I knew that a portion of Jason’s and my own audience have been so disillusioned by the current state of the world, that they hope for a traditionalist theocracy of some sort to take its place.
These are people to the right of my own classically liberal sensibilities who I have found easier to engage with than those on the left who consider my sensibilities bigoted. That they continue showing up despite my criticisms at least indicates their open-mindedness to question these conclusions, so that’s another good sign.
As for Jason’s audience, there's a departure from his radically anti-authoritarian views for a portion of them as well, which makes sense if you know the full context…
Thoroughly detailed in his “Who Really Defamed Me & Why” video is an explanation of how Jason originally intended to change the “Alt-Right” movement he had a hand in starting from within, so as to shape it into the antithesis of a top-down traditionalist dictatorship that comes to mind for most when they hear this term.
It was an important attempt for Jason, given that the woke leftist movements are seen by him as intentional pressure points to accelerate a right wing backlash resulting in a traditionalist take-over that would make Mussolini look like a choir boy.
Jason makes the case for this in his new book “Artemis Unveiled” but his totalitarian premonition was met with the obligatory “Based!” reactions from some in the chat last week, those who welcome an end to this pesky nuisance called liberty.
Of course, we’ve been here before in the 20th Century, when charismatic figures went right to the disenfranchised people over the heads of the elites. This “people power” was accompanied by all sorts of crimes against humanity that are alien to most alive today, but Jason sees organized religion as no different when it comes to turning the masses into willing criminals.
It was “the people” who were inflamed by a Christian lector into a frenzy that flayed and butchered the Neoplatonist philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria, as it was “the people” who were roused by Russian Orthodox priests to murder Jewish families in the pogroms of the late 19th and early 20th century.
Today, such frenzy is mainly seen in the Islamic religion when it comes to both sectarian violence and culture clashes within the tolerant West, something that Jason points to as a direct example of naïve “immigrants welcome” leftists inviting the bearded fox into their rainbow colored henhouse.
More so than Christianity, Judaism, or Hinduism, Jason sees Islam (which itself means "submission" or "surrender" in Arabic) as the ultimate relinquishment of personal agency that makes for the perfect unquestioning population to rule over by this predicted Neo-Traditionalist technocratic elite.
At the same time, some of the aforementioned right leaning people who feel disenfranchised by current year culture see Islam as an uncompromising traditionalist superstructure that will fix societal breakdown.
Expecting a certain degree of devotion from their future wife and a societal standard enforced by the sword, it makes sense why popular figures for young men like Andrew Tate portray Islam as an escape from the Matrix of degeneracy and meaninglessness (despite Tate himself profiting from the “absolutely haram” industry of camgirls).
In keeping with the Matrix analogy, today's societal influences (or lack thereof) are seen by these mostly young men to encourage a sloth and lack of higher meaning, so the freedom to do what you want can result in succumbing to lower instincts if there’s no tradition to kick your ass when you’re slipping.
The freedom ends up turning into another kind of bondage for those who lack willpower, while escaping the Matrix in this case would be to rely on tradition to reorient your sights on higher purposes like family and community.
American Mind + Federalist contributor and fellow “Stacker of Subs” Peachy Keenan had the following to say regarding the importance of tradition in this light:
“‘Tradition’, at least in the Judeo-Christian sense, has become a trigger word to some because it bears the heavy weight of a century of slander and derision. But instead of impeding the glories of ‘progress,’ tradition is simply our last remaining link to the timeless ways of being human.
It’s not an iron chain imprisoning us in some hated past that must be cast off. Instead, our traditions are the only tether we have to the spaceship—keeping eager fools from drifting to their doom and vanishing in the freezing void of a universe without them.”
To Peachy’s point, there are plenty of people who have cast tradition aside and drift off into the black hole of nihilism, while many others are absorbed into the massive gravitational field of today’s social justice movements reinforcing a new tradition that true believers are more than happy to follow.
Going with the spaceship analogy, there’s the implication of a destination to be reached. For the Abrahamic faiths, this is heaven, while for the Hindus it is merging with the one-ness of the universe that is Brahman.
Whatever the truth may be, pursuit of this truth was the occupation of philosophers and mystics throughout time, so setting the destination as “truth” means that you will have smaller ships setting their own course in pursuit of this treasure.
But contrasting with the masses who would otherwise drift off, those who have the willpower not to steal, kill, or overindulge in empty hedonism are not motivated by the fear of punishment here or in the next world, and would have no need of a strict ideology to keep them in line in pursuit of this truth.
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This is why Dr. Jorjani separates “The Sheep from the Goats”, grouping people into those who were brought up with or afterwards cultivated an innate sense of liberty and justice vs. the masses who sleepwalk through life blindly following orders, even if those orders are there for the sake of keeping the spaceship running.
This is not to say that the people not following orders reject tradition, but the nature of their tradition would be to cultivate wisdom within themselves and others.
Neither is this to say that Jason’s ideal models are materialistic atheists who reject any higher form of existence than the ones we are currently familiar with.
It is quite the opposite, as Jason is well known for supporting the existence of parapsychological phenomena including astral projection, reincarnation, and various states of being that go beyond materialistic understanding.
While Jason philosophically rejects an all knowing “God” as it would imply no free will, he does not put a limit to what can be achieved within our existence, which is a more freeing concept in my opinion than a view which only attributes such gains to forces that you will always be at the mercy of.
That being said, the people kept together by certain traditional customs with religious roots need not be these aforementioned sleepwalkers. In my experience growing up in New York, there were plenty of families, mainly of Italian and Jewish extraction, whose religious fervor was buried under many layers of snow, but who nevertheless found it a good excuse to come together and cultivate the sense of community that I believe awakens a higher nature in humanity rather than mere group-think.
For one thing, it gives the individual an opportunity to care for others and learn to love by being loved in return.
While at the moment I cannot say as to whether Jason’s predictions of reactionary totalitarianism will come true, the risk of people “just following orders” of a far right or far left regime remains elevated unless there is a drastic move to cultivate the aforementioned inner qualities of wisdom.
But this is a process that takes time, money, and energy that not many people have, so while there are masses on this planet who prefer being ordered around, it makes sense that relying on tradition of a religious nature will work for many as a foundation.
Jason, however, rejects this foundation beyond just Islam, seeing the faithful masses as a whole to be an existential danger. He believes they can not be allowed to squash the freedoms of those who reject the totalitarian rule they’d welcome, nor can they be trusted with future technology powerful enough to wipe us out.
It is for this latter reason that Jason agrees with one view he sees these would-be totalitarian technocratic leaders believing… that humanity as a whole cannot be trusted with technology powerful enough to generate as well as annihilate on a mass scale. Since the splitting of the atom, we’ve been faced with this test that some would think it better to have never taken in the first place.
In the end, I believe this test is a macrocosm of the individual human test, especially in an age where you are a few clicks away from any distraction on the path to self-knowledge.
Were you to spend your time fighting saber-tooth tigers for sustenance, your sense of responsibility would come from survival itself. Same when you’ve got no choice but to follow orders or perish (by the enemy or by the mob).
In both cases, there would probably be a good deal of satisfaction from not having to will yourself into action.. No opportunity to feel guilt over procrastination either!
But were the above restraints to be fully lifted, how many would keep going or start to spiritually deflate from the lack of pressure?
As teacher and podcaster Will Reusch said when I asked him about this question of tradition:
“There is always a necessary tension between upholding the hard-earned and discovered truths of the past WITH the need to discover new plateaus. We must keep one foot on solid ground and the other can venture into the unknown to pull us forward. that is a delicate balance.”
This is why I would not fully reject many of the traditions we have today. Not for some Machievellian reason of the Platonic “Noble Lie”, or falsehood for the sake of a greater purpose, but because in our current state, there are morsels of truth through the simple act of helping other people and being a part of a community that I do not take for falsehood.
Nor do I take for a falsehood the sense of there being something greater regardless of whether Jason is right in denying some all-encompassing one-ness of God.
What I personally take for a falsehood is to proudly declare that we have figured reality out, and that the only thing people have to look forward to is the complete end of existence where-in nothing you do ultimately matters.
I’d go the opposite way:
Everything we do matters. The more we understand this within, the closer we are to escaping the Matrix.