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Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

Matthew Crawford on why fixing things feels good

In the book ‘The Case For Working With Your Hands’ (published in the USA as ‘Shop Class As Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work’) the philosopher Mathew Crawford emphasises the deep-down satisfaction that we gain from making and fixing things ourselves with our hands. More generally, he considers the nature of meaningful work, comparing the virtues of blue-collar versus office jobs, and makes a brilliant and eloquent case for the skilled trades that is more relevant today than ever. This book is an attempt by Crawford to make sense of his own career working both in offices and as a motorcycle mechanic. It will not relate to everyone’s experience of the office workplace, especially since nowadays ‘office work’ is so broad a term as to be almost meaningless. …


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Caravaggio — Bacco adolescente

The addicted lover archetype, and the guest for individuation.

In ‘Man and His Symbols’, there is a section written by Von Franz, a student and associate of Carl Jung, that is dedicated to a discussion of the ‘anima’, which in Jungian psychology is described as the feminine part of a man’s personality. In particular Von Franz details the destructive aspects of the anima, one of which takes the form of idealism and illusion. To illustrate her point, Von Franz recites this Siberian tale:

‘One day a lonely hunter sees a beautiful woman emerging from the deep forest on the other side of the river. …


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How to find and restore purpose, enliven sexual attraction, and live freely.

I can’t remember when I first read David Deida’s ‘The Way Of The Superior Man’; it was a long while ago now, and I have read it many times since. But I do know that this book has dramatically influenced the way I think as a whole but especially in regards to sexual spirituality. Deida offers the most sublime and accessible understanding of sexual dynamics and masculinity; he makes spirituality real and humble, and details a practical guide on how to live as a man in today’s world. I hope I can encourage some of you to read it.

Here I will comment on a few of what to me were the most interesting insights. …


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Sages and philosophers on the benefits of retaining

What persuaded me most to quit masturbation and pornography was the discovery that there is a vast amount of literature across every culture and religion that records the power of the male vital energy, the seminal fluid, and the importance of retention for health and wellbeing. This idea has been treated again and again throughout history and in all languages, and yet it is not known or spoken of, except by a few small circles and creeds, in modern Western society. In fact, the West seems to support the opposite idea, that masturbation and ejaculation, even if done multiple times a day, is good, even healthy, and has no negative consequences. To the scientific mind semen has no intrinsic value except for the fertilisation of an egg in the womb. But this, it seems to me, is another instance in which our scientists brand everything beyond the scope of their limited methodology as unreal and even impossible. …


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Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash

Why too many pleasurable distractions makes you depressed and apathetic.

Two years ago, in March, I and a group of mountaineers from university travelled to the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco and stayed for a little longer than a week in the Toubkal CAF hut. Our room was on the second floor. There were two long bunkbeds which fitted from end to end on opposite sides of the room, and all fifteen of us were packed in together side by side. Each day we got up early — most days around 5 or 6, but on the days you were going to climb Toubkal you had to be earlier. …


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Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

Why I quit porn, the benefits and struggles I experienced, and revelations after quitting.

The Internet is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen, and though I did not realise it back then I know now that my generation were its first subjects. This experiment, amongst other things, included access to infinite and unrestricted pornographic images and videos, and we who entered our adolescence as the Internet ascended could not contain our curiosity. And that was how it began: with me and my generation being a little too curious, and so releasing from its hole a horrible force we wished we could put back. I can’t recall when I first watched porn, but I was far too young; my guess is sometime between the ages of eleven and thirteen during my first Secondary school years. And from then on it was more or less a daily habit until last November, eight months ago, when I finally stopped at the age of 20. …


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‘In a very real sense it is the philosophy of Nietzsche which we are fighting.’

In September 1914, during the outbreak of the First World War, The Times published an article which exclaimed: ‘The peculiarity of Germany is that this notion of war as an end in itself has taken hold of the intelligence of the country, that her ideals now are not peace-loving but war-loving, that her national conscience has undergone the change of moral values which NIETZSCHE desired.’ (The Times, 13 September 1914, 9.) This was the beginning of a determined campaign by British propagandists to accuse the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and his ‘dangerous ideas’ of inciting a mood of aggressive imperialism within the German population. One key figure in this campaign was William Archer, a Scottish writer working for the British Propaganda Bureau, who maintained throughout the war that the German upper castes had adopted the dominant ideas of Nietzsche’s philosophy as a means to strengthen their political and military aspirations. Especially concerning for Archer was Nietzsche’s philosophy of the will to power, which asserts that power, and the means one attains power, is an end in itself. For Archer, this power worship demonstrated an obvious and alarming appetite for warfare. Further proof of Nietzsche’s gross glorification of war was found in his famous assertion that war is necessary as a means of advancement in culture and science, that it inspires invention and genius and brings out heroic qualities in men which are dormant in peace. ‘The beginnings of everything great on earth,’ Nietzsche writes, ‘are soaked in blood thoroughly and for a long time.’ (Genealogy of Morals II:6) Often cited by his opponents was this passage in his ‘Of War and Warriors’: ‘Ye say a good cause will hallow even war? I say unto you it is the good war that halloweth every cause.’(‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’, 60) This statement, Archer argued, ‘has always been, and cannot but be, interpreted as a eulogy of war precisely as it is waged by the Prussian General Staff.’ (Archer, ‘Fighting A Philosophy’, 39) Thus, Archer concludes: ‘In a very real sense it is the philosophy of Nietzsche which we are fighting.’ …


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Goethe Campagna

How to trust yourself and achieve independence of character.

‘Henceforth, please God, forever I forego

The yoke of men’s opinions.

I will be Light-hearted as a bird, and live with God.

I find him in the bottom of my heart,

I hear continually his voice therein.’

Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is unfortunate that Emerson’s essay on ‘Self-Reliance’ is popularly revered in our time as a defence of ‘rugged individualism’, as a promotion of the individual being totally independent from the outside. The truth, however, is quite to the contrary, for when read properly the end and aim of ‘Self-Reliance’ is a social philosophy rather than a campaign for selfism. The essence of Emerson’s intuition behind self-reliance may be found in a letter to his aunt, Mary Moody Emerson in 1827, who he described as a ‘spirited and original genius in her own right’, and his ‘earliest and best teacher’. The two regularly wrote letters to each other discussing matters of philosophy and religion, and for Emerson his aunt’s letters and journal entries spanning more than fifty years would become one of his ‘most important books.’ Like most of their letters, the letter in question ranges widely in its themes from the nature of the intellect to the mechanisation of art. …


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Poem of the Soul — The flight of the soul

What is synchronicity? And how can we use it for inner growth?

Sometimes events happen in our lives which are seemingly beyond the realm of chance without explanation or cause. Such coincidences are meaningful only to the person who experiences them and are difficult to explain to others without the accusation that one is being superstitious or reading too much into things. One often hears people say. ‘Well, the strangest thing happened to me today.’ But it is not usual for anyone to give their coincidence any further thought than the fact that it was strange. And strange it was indeed, but is that all? …


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Edvard Munch — Melancholy

Why anxiety is an attempt by nature to heal the psyche

When Carl Jung published ‘Psychology of the Unconscious’ in 1912 he knew it would cost him his friendship with Sigmund Freud. For Jung the book amounted to a theoretical declaration of independence from the man who had influenced him most intellectually during his formative years. Freud, who had once thought of Jung as ‘his adopted eldest son, his crown prince and successor’, was so enraged with the book that he suggested the pair ‘abandon our personal relations entirely’, and that Jung should take his ‘full freedom’. This divergence between Jung and Freud would only grow wider in later years as Jung increasingly focused on his theory of the collective unconscious, which he thought was more important in the development of the personality than sexuality. After the split Jung entered a long period of isolation in which he experienced a ‘horrible confrontation with the unconscious’, which inspired him to explore philosophical and spiritual subjects. …

About

Harry J. Stead

West Yorkshire, Great Britain.

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