Authentic life vs. modern life

Modern life is not only inhuman, it is antihuman. It is symptomatic of our age that the majority of people do not raise the right questions about their lives even if they may experience deeper dissatisfaction with it. Also, when questions do emerge, they often do so due to circumstance only (poor financial or economical circumstances or because of poor health issues, etc.); once these problems go away people quickly slip back to their routines and continue living the life of the undifferentiated mass. Only a minority has still the chance to recognize the problem, let alone doing something about it.

Living the wrong life is obviously fatal. Not because of sentimental reasons. Not because you spent too much time in the office vs. going out to do parachute jumps for example. In fact people’s “bucket lists” speak volumes about the general perception about life. Their “things to do before I die” list is full of platitudes that are hardly any different from their New Year’s resolutions. The majority hardly considers such life as fatal, they are even “fired up” as long as they get (more) stuff out of it. Their life is in analogy to their death, excluding them from any potentials that maybe realized in life or death. More about this here.

Those who long for something more than life, however, do realize that modern life is fatal; they have an intellectual intuition that their life should be organized differently but they may not be able to find answers as to how. As usual we outline a few points here purely for orientation.

At the very minimum a differentiated life is appropriate to one’s gender, vocation and age. Understanding what these terms entail already presents problems on several levels in modern societies where people follow careers in mechanical organizations along artificial lines of activities that have nothing to do with life, let alone higher realities. Being a CEO, a vice president, a manager or a specialist in any business or functional (like finance, HR, marketing, sales, etc.) domain do not in the least compare to true vocations and to true functions in an organic society; and this applies of course also to career politicians who also pursue exclusively material rewards and titles. These roles maybe performed by anybody, irrespective of gender or age, to mention only the most obvious factors.

Since economics have replaced any higher principles in all areas of life, it is obviously difficult for example for a 55 year old North American native man born into the warrior caste, or perhaps a 36 year old white man predisposed to be a priest in the traditional sense, or perhaps a 65 year old Chinese craftsman to lead an authentic life. Regarding women we only mention here that they also don’t have it any easier not only because they also bought into the idea of dedicating their life to “building careers”, essentially competing (increasing voraciously) on the “jobs market” against men for completely inferior objectives but also because less and less men exhibit masculine qualities, rendering not only healthy relationships, but also healthy and dignified social interactions practically impossible.

What can be done?

It is essential that men develop a better understanding of what it means to be a man and make changes in their life accordingly. We must mention once again that the modern “corporate world” hardly provide opportunities for men to act authentically — if anything the environment (that asks players to subordinate themselves to making and maximizing profit and be measured and judged in this respect only) makes it almost impossible to do so.

Institutions that previously served as environments (religious and military organizations, guilds, various Männerbunds for example) favourable for men (by promoting heroism, loyalty and intellectual independence, as well as the gradual unfolding of potentials) have either disappeared or they lost their essence to such a degree that what remains of them no longer provides any possibilities. Like in the other areas addressed here, men have to act mostly alone and perhaps when the time is right and they are ready, revive the remnants of such organizations or if this is not possible organize new ones, if the conditions allow.

Regarding vocations: many books and articles have been written about how to discover one’s life’s passion. If such explorations are done in context of establishing an authentic life, most of these advises provide some useful value — although we don’t attribute passion such an importance (if any) as modern men do. Similarly to authors we’ll mention below, we propose that everybody should examine their life finding the dominant pattern in it and consider it one’s own -up to this point mostly unknown- transcendent will.

It would be even more useful, if one viewed this will in context of what potential caste it corresponds to. About the functional aspects of the caste “system”, see Ananda K. Coomaraswamy’s work here. It is important to mention that when one does this exercise, one should successfully rid himself not only of the modern prejudices concerning the castes but also about any remnants of modern ambitions. Otherwise we won’t be able to see objectively. Once we understand what functions the four main castes symbolize in the social hierarchy it will be easier for us to accept ours as an important context for our life.

Regarding age. There is an unhealthy, irrational drive to remain youthful in all aspects, not only physical. It is also typical to our times — as Andras Laszlo pointed out- that we go from infantile to senile almost immediately in an ever earlier age. Less and less people actually reach maturity, let alone realize potentials that various periods hold for us. Obviously a man in his 30's have different potentials and should have different responsibilities and freedoms than a man in his 60's or 80's. Different periods call for different life styles and different objectives.

It is rather tragic and in some cases repulsive when we observe confusion in this respect and see children for example, completely without orientation; their relationship with their parents is often -especially in North America- reminiscent of that of their peers. People in their 20's and often 30's who grew up as best friends with their parents, without ever being exposed to discipline, risks and “failure” and whose “opinion” received equal weight with that of the parents, still live with their parents or with their peers, wondering what went wrong after their “textbook”, maximally protected, utmost comfortable childhood”; the more intelligent realize quite early that they don’t want the life offered to them by “society” and in lack of alternative, they are just drifting. The picture on the other end of the spectrum doesn’t look much better either. Career people or successful entrepreneurs blindly identify with the main currents under the illusion of control and become the “Joneses”, submitting themselves to a pre-programmed, uniform lifestyle. In this group we also can’t observe qualitative differences between life periods. We see people in their 60's still trying to live like people in their 20's, often exhibiting both infantile and senile tendencies simultaneously. Their “buying habits” and quite often their uncontrolled behavior reflect that of a 10 year old when you throw money on them. The content of life for people in their 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's and more is the same: positioning themselves for positions and accumulating as much stuff as possible.

This is testament to that they adopted a flawed world-view and that they haven’t actively reviewed, let alone challenged it throughout their life, making it their own.

Recommended reading:

Julius Evola: Ride the tiger. (part 2, chapter 7: Being Oneself)

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy: The bugbear of Democracy, Freedom and Equality

Rene Guenon: The reign of quantity & the sign of times

Andras Laszlo: Solum Ipsum (aphorism 142–153)

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