The Dichotomy of the Soul

The individual who has mastered the hierarchy of discretion, whose actions are underlain by a love for the ideal so strong that it transcends every division of his being is the consummate man.
His journey is that of a pilgrim, but the devotion he offers is not of a base, scraping quality, which demeans both his being and the object he worships. There is no obsequious bending of the knee as of a slave groveling for some pseudo-offense before his master. It is not worth, not the lack of it, that forms the basis of his devotion.

Dignity typifies the service of the consummate man. He offers his best — his honed talent — to a master he has chosen consciously and discriminately, on the basis of the merit with which it is imbued. He does not, as the groveling penitent, offer his worst to the judgment of an overlord, hoping his cheap coinage buys mercy and compassion. Instead, he meets the thing he values straight on. The capacity of his reason puts him at a level with that which he reverences, for his analytical processes brought him to the ability to value what is naturally good in a thing. Reciprocality characterizes the love of the consummate man. He offers not just the service of his physical efforts, but the ingenuity of his mind. He exchanges his conscience ability to value the purity of an idea with the boost to creative endeavors borne of moral clarity, of having a cause which is worth promoting.

The love of the consummate man is for sale, but the currency in which he deals is rare and impossible to forge: his talent brokered for the transcendent peace of living the diktats of his conscience. His religions is the value-for-value exchange between his best and the perfection of the absolute — an entity uncorrupted by time — in which is housed truth.

Nothing is outside the provenance of the consummate man’s interest. A piece of mechanical genius is as likely to excite his passions as is a masterpiece by a Renaissance sculptor. It is the ideas housed within these creations that are significant. The form in which they are encapsulated is only a testament to personal achievement. While this is not something to be brusquely dismissed, achievement is trivial unless it reflects some discretionary application reflective of the individual’s ideals.

The object into which a creator pours his love must not deviate from the consummate man’s own set of value-judgments, if it is to be truly appreciated. Just as the consummate man could never be satisfied with his labors unless he knew their end product to be borne of the full application of his talents, refined by exacting attention to the ways in which the ideal is embodied, so he cannot be drawn to another unless their character and, by extension, their work, in which is instilled their sense of value, reflects some resonance in judgment. His conception of what is best and another’s must be the same, since the individual can only conceive of good through the lens of his being, which is refined through the discretionary judgments of the analytical process so crucial to survival. In this way — and in this way only — discretionism is egalitarian.

But this egalitarianism remains rooted in ego. It responds more to the reflexive nature of roots: that if a man loves something in himself, he must respect the free exercise of that capacity in another. It is love of his own capacity to value that drives man to seek out others of like judgment. His desire to match his conception of the best with another’s emphasizes his self-interested desire for moral gratification, upon which the quality of his life hinges. His ability to apprise and value the work of others glorifies both his own capacity for judgment and the love due another whose character cleaves to the ideal. Just as a politician ideally endorses only those candidates with whom he is aligned closely enough that any difference in judgment does not violate his conscience — which is to say, closely — the consummate man does not approve of that which he, given identical talents and an identical context, would not produce. He might respect the process by which other honest brokers arrive at different conclusions, as a priest ought to respect the rights of conscience of his ecclesiastical brethren, but here all common ground ends. He cannot love the conclusion; it is a lower form of discretion than that which he practices.

But how, faced with a deluge of competing ideas, systems of beliefs and facts contended to varying degrees by interest groups, does the consummate man begin to establish his system of value-judgments? The search for value presupposes its lack: a paradox that would seem to bode ill for the individual who desires to eschew the relativistic sophistry of popular convention and instead ground his being in that which is eternally true.

The individual enters the world with only one moral absolute: the good of his survival. But survival has many connotations. The principle-less man, who considers only the immediate needs of his body, survives. But that is a much lower form of existence than the consummate man desires. He seeks a more abstract existence, one of permanency, not in body but in spirit.It is only by allying himself to the eternally true and meritorious that self-actualization is possible. But though he must look to the eternal for those absolute values in which he plants the bedrock of his character, it is not by gazing outward that spiritual enlightenment is to be found, but inward. If survival is to be a good in the absolute sense, rather than in reference to the relativistic needs of immediacy that accompany corporeal existence, one must first ascertain the nature of one’s being. The first task of the consummate man is to answer the primordial command of the universe: know thyself.

The consummate man stands at a crossroads between his head and his heart. Reason, with its clear, delineated paths and determinative laws, is the language of the head. Its dry, precise nature clashes with the heart’s passionate oratory, which is mercurial and turgid as the tide, but with far less consistency to its ebbing and flowing. Taken together, these two elements make up the dialectic of the soul.

Caught somewhere between reason’s fascistic rule and emotion’s anarchy is the discriminatory process. The soundness of its judgment depends on man’s ability to act as arbiter: to listen to emotional and rational appeals in turn, to discern in which argument the course of action that best fits a desired end is most likely to be found and ultimately to act following a comprehensive examination of all available facts.

The soul, in order to properly function, must have uncontested supremacy. Though its constitution rests on the dual-sovereignty of the head and the hear, both reason and emotion must be subjugated and confined to their proper dominions. The head and the heart together form the framework for the barbican that is the sole defense of the consummate man. Should either give out, his whole being becomes vulnerable.

For while ideals are attainable, they are only so through the careful and consistent practice of discretion. When emotion comes unhinged or reason rules despotically, the rapacious usurer that is absolutism comes calling to collect its interest, and extracts what it is due in the form of mental anguish from the soul of the consummate man.

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A philosophy based in individualism, stressing that consistent adherence to a core set of principles, applied consistently to all sets of life by a discriminatory process, leads to self-actualization and a permanence of the soul that transcends temporal bounds.

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Katherine Emily

Katherine Emily

Founder, The Subversive Scrivener. Writer. Thinker. Intransigent ideologue. Radical individualist. Talent fully developed is the highest moral good.

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