Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Offisite Post: ‘China, Dixie, and Life in the Middle’

After an initial foray into the similarities between China and the South (https://www.geopolitica.ru/en/article/china-and-dixie-approaching-friendship-between-two-tellurocracies), Prof Alexander Dugin has opened fresh ground for us to plow with regard to this subject.  We will now put our hand to the plow and see what further ties we can find between the two peoples and their cultures.

The Middle Logos

Prof Dugin writes of China,

The Chinese Logos unfolds exclusively and absolutely in the middle sphere, in the intermediary world which is conceived as the main and only one. Neither Heaven and Yang nor Water and Yin, that is to say neither the Apollonian heights nor the Cybelean depths acquire autonomous ontologies or a particular Logos. There are no extremes, there is only the center between, which constitutes them over the course of a subtle dialectical game. The gods, people, the elements, Empires, rites, animals, luminaries, cycles, and lands all represent the unfolding of the middle Logos and are but traces of the dynamic, rhythmic pulsation of the Center always situated equally in the middle between two poles which are void of autonomous being and which intersect one another by virtue of great harmony.

--‘The Noology of the Ancient Chinese Tradition’, https://www.geopolitica.ru/en/article/noology-ancient-chinese-tradition

One sees this same emphasis on The Middle in Southern thought and life.  The late Prof Thomas Landess of Georgia spells it out in his essay on Southern religious life, in which he notes that it is neither the Father nor the Holy Ghost Who is most important in Southern Christianity but the incarnate Son of God, Who lived with us in the world as one of us.  This results in characteristics that distinguish the South from the other cultural regions surrounding her in the (unnecessary) American union.  He says:

Southerners have a sense of place in a way that sets them apart from other Americans.  New Englanders, Easterners, even Midwesterners have always believed in abstract America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, with liberty and justice for all.  Southerners have been more inclined to love its rocks and rills, its woods and templed hills, and more accurately, certain rocks and woods, the ones they see and move among and know are real.  Abstractions, however pretty, are to most Southerners no more than vague and inaccurate rumors of the truth, a questionable report on the nature of God the Father.

 . . .

 . . . It is God the Son who represents the family in the councils of the land.  God the Father remains at home, brooding over the headlines in His newspaper, which tell of the perennial failures of mankind.  He knows in His infinite wisdom that almost nothing can be done, but He sends the Son anyway, as a testimony to His good will and His agreeable nature.

The Son goes to the town council, or the state legislature, or the United States Senate knowing that he will be crucified.  He is particularly well versed on crucifixions as the result of the War [the War of Northern Aggression-W.G.], which He knows was no Armageddon but one of the many just causes in history that are defeated by superior forces and confused logic.

 . . . Southerners have been relatively immune to the tyranny of ideas in an age characterized by the emergence of one ideology after another.  . . .

In some measure this reluctance to join the larger movements of the age results from the fact that Southerners do not believe they have to join anything in order to have a sense of belonging, to derive some personal satisfaction from an emotional identification with a larger group of their own kind.  They belong, after all, to the family, which has the advantage over “the Folk,” or “the Proletariat,” or “the Party” in that the family is composed of flesh-and-blood people, whom you know well and who know you and who, because they are so complicated, defy ideological classification.

 . . .

Of course, such a recognition is not always pleasant and heart-warming, it can be a warning and an anathema.  . . .  In being members of the same tribe or clan we share with one another the secret of our own depravity, our certain knowledge of what it was that the Son died to save us from.

 . . . In one sense the power of Southern fiction lies in the very fact that it is not about the South but merely takes place there.  Thus it has a fine particularity that gives flesh and bone to its universal soul.  In that respect it is analogous to the created order itself.  We delight in its accidental variety and are spiritually moved by its substantial revelation of the Divine.  As it is with great literature, so it is with people.  . . .

To boil the matter down to an essential proposition, the best of Southern literature is characterized by its ontological orthodoxy.  For the most part Southern writers believe somehow, some way, in the Incarnation and in all that such a miraculous event implies.  The flesh—the concrete particulars of time and place—are therefore important, good, and hence sacred.  . . .

--‘A Note on the Origin of Southern Ways’, Why the South Will Survive, Univ. of Georgia Press, 1981, pgs. 162-6

Since everything does unfurl within the Middle in the South and China, a great deal of importance is placed on external behavior (rather than inner holiness) and the gentleman and the lady (rather than the saint) become the ideals that men and women strive towards.  Prof Landess explains about the Southern attitude:

Preachers speak of Him [the Lord Jesus Christ-W.G.] as if He were a close friend, someone known to every member of the congregation as the incarnation of the way they all should behave and never quite do.

Because of this familiar Presence (at times too easily familiar), Southerners have always paid some corporate attention to ethics, exemplary behavior as a mode of serving and worshipping God.  Perhaps the best example of such an attitude is to be found in Robert E. Lee’s famous statement, “Duty is the sublimest word in the English language.”  . . .  His sentiments are echoed in the letters of countless ordinary citizens as well as in those of public figures and are by no mean narrowly sectarian.

Thus, a “good Christian” is someone who behaves well, and the phrase is still more likely to be used in the South than elsewhere in the nation.  Indeed the attention to personal conduct that characterizes the South has considerably strengthened communal feeling over the years, though in ways that make many people uncomfortable.  Typically, one is always under scrutiny in Southern towns and cities.  Virtue is measured in terms of objective behavior as well as in properly orthodox sentiment, and vice is noted as well, though not in the same way that it was noted in seventeenth-century Salem [a town in Puritan New England-W.G.].  God the Son, after all, does not persecute witches.

--Ibid, p. 162

Prof Richard Weaver adds,

To take over his task [i.e., the philosophic doctor of the Middle Ages-W.G.], the dawning modernism chose the gentleman.  There was logic in this choice, for the gentleman is a secularized expression of the same thing.  Rulers any group must have; and, after repudiating the sanction of religion, the age turned to the product of a training which would approximate religion in breadth and depth.  . . .

 . . . The American South not only cherished the ideal [of the gentleman-W.G.] but had given it an infusion of fresh strength, partly through its social organization but largely through its education in rhetoric and law.

--Ideas Have Consequences, Univ. of Chicago Press, 2013 [1948], pgs. 50, 51

Confucius gives us the Chinese equivalents to these thoughts:

The Master said:  ‘The noble man takes the Right as his foundation principle, reduces it to practice with all courtesy, carries it out with modesty, and renders it perfect with sincerity.  Such is the noble man.’

--The Analects, Thomas Crofts edr., Dover Publications, 1995, Book XV, Ch. XVII, p. 94

Tzŭ Chang asked Confucius the meaning of virtue, to which Confucius replied:  ‘To be able everywhere one goes to carry five things into practice constitutes Virtue.’  On begging to know what they were, he was told:  ‘They are courtesy, magnanimity, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.  With courtesy you will avoid insult, with magnanimity you will win all, with sincerity men will trust you, with earnestness you will have success, and with kindness you will be well fitted to command others.’

--Ibid., Book XVII, Ch. VI, p. 106

Herbert Fingarette, commenting on Confucius’s teachings, writes,

 . . .


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!

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