Trad life is so plump and refreshing
This is a meditation on Tradition. It will meander. Traditions are often formed through wandering. So deep in a community’s past are the cultural decisions that generated a given tradition that they are forgotten as history. What remains is the social habit, practice, belief, or craft. This goes for Ideas, and Memes as well as textiles and buildings. Though any given tradition or cultural set of traditions is not strictly determined; ‘Tradition is Natural and seems to emerge prior to our inventing it’. Though this may prove to be an insufficient description; that is that ‘Tradition is an expression of a Natural Law conversation between the families of an ethnic community, and the geography of their territory, over the time of their habitation’. Once established, a tradition is a practice within a tribal community over generations whose worth is not questioned and whose meaning is so deeply ingrained that it is hard to articulate.
Traditions are not completely static of course, but Traditions are only malleable within a range; if they will functionally meet the requisites of Community that is. And that range is narrower when it comes to certain essentials of life. To the point, a wedding may take many forms, but whether a marriage is for life or not is either/or for a functional tradition; one that can safely enough enmesh its folk. Dysfunctional traditions, as Modernity proliferates, are just so many routs to Hell.
But the anti traditionalist spirit of the Revolutionary age we find ourselves in cannot escape the inevitable and at times sudden coalescence of Tradition. I have often been dumbfounded with how soon people believe, and even angrily defend notions that seemed to be invented only weeks before. The various incarnations of the Hippie movement from the Beatniks and Folkies up to ecowarriors and even green SJWs is telling. Rules and notions abound around food and dress and relationship norms; even a kind of fundamentalist spiritualism has formed, practically over night. All presented with a conviction that seems to be grounded in an ancient Tradition. But perhaps hyper conviction for ‘movements’ is not a sign of strength, but is more a sign of disrupted Tradition; a weakness in conviction. The neophyte rages against the terror of self doubt. The enfolded Traditionalist doesn’t understand the meaning of ‘disbelief’ as a personal experience.
The seeming rapidity of belief acquisition in human communities makes us wonder if we are natural believers? That without conviction we will not act. That Community is founded on shared belief. Shared belief in things Modernity finds arbitrary, like Origin Myths. Yet it is impossible to form lasting Traditional Community without a shared origin story. And there is no Myth more guarded by Modernity than Speculative Mathematical Cosmology. And all solutions that return the result /random/ or /purposeless/ are welcome in the Modernist’s Cosmology Fair.
In a meaningful Tradition, if you cannot call a person to account in your community by calling him to mind the wisdom of the Most Ancient, you might as well just be making shit up yourself. Sometimes augmented more with reason sometimes more with Narrative but at core we have motivating beliefs that when shared in a stable culture under a single Tradition produce lives grounded in community and place.
We are more interested in the larger, and seemingly more social functional traditions for now. Not to say that food and dress are incidental, the web of Tradition may have more necessary causal relationships than we can quantify now, if ever. Such as the inexorable cultural conversation between drive-through-onion-rings and a Liberal Democratic Presidency. Or perhaps we could address the metaphysics of attire: The more traditional preference for modesty against wantonness in dress will be a filter in a society, selecting the virtuous from the sluts. The virtuous will help prolong the community’s existence and the sluts will bring its demise if allowed to proliferate.
While on the topic, consider sexual liberation, and the mangled ‘traditions’ that have formed around this ‘ideal’. Not only will practitioners of this tradition tenaciously defend their own licentiousness, but will also speak of this liberation as the greatest good to ever come upon mankind. Apologists will speak of it with reverence; as though the value of free love or the freedom to tear families apart in pursuing ‘true love’ were so deeply rooted in the truth of human nature and community that it needs no explanation.
This belief in the Good of sexual freedom verses the Goods of chastity and faithfulness in marriage, are each grounded in the Natural, though with varying levels of complexity. On the one hand, the extreme libertine view is that monogamy is an unnatural burden imposed on people as a means of tyrannical social control. The governing ‘truth’ here is the human predilection for promiscuity; male and female (though for different reasons). It is often stated, explicitly and implicitly that restrictions to natural promiscuity is the root of all social>sexual dysfunction. That unless people are free to do as they please with ‘their own bodies’ they will become neurotic and abusive.
Our traditional marriage practices, both Christian and pre Christian also claim a Natural origin. Though through Christianity we have often lost sight of their metaphysical grounding in Natural Law, having isolated our rules governing sexuality as rules set up to prove obedience. This is largely a reaction to living in a socially broken society, where sex can be easily gotten from a variety of sources, though not nearly as often as many would wish. At least we are aware of this social reality; as such it represents a continuously running temptation script.
Western traditional family morality has suffered as a result of chastity and fidelity becoming tests prior to Heaven. We can even see the failure of Marriage in the West as a the direct result of an abstracted Rule of Marriage having usurped the understanding of marriage as grounded in the Natural Order. Once God was removed as a necessary hypothesis then our traditional rules governing sex could be dispensed with in favour of an approach that is more comfortable to Animal Nature. The Natural Law of marriage is governed by a more complex consideration not just of impulse and desire, but of the life of the community through time, the rearing of healthy children and the stability of society. Traditional sex rule is constructive whereas contemporary sexual freedom is deconstructive; descending rather than ascending
In the tradition of Free Love not only is the individual isolated from society, but from Time and thus consequences. Contemplation of Natural Law can be understood as consequence awareness. Yet a traditional marriage cannot only be grounded in obedience as a means of earning Heaven; a reward external to the living of marriage in this time and place. Marriage as a socially supported norm is much the best way to organize life to maximize purpose, and satisfy human longing on the whole. As an obedience test Marriage becomes focused on the Individual. The malaise of Modernity in which we are so deeply mired makes escaping this Tyranny of the Self nearly impossible to conceive.
We could look at Modern Art, or Alternative Medicine or even the manifold new disciplines found in the contemporary University. Mostly in Arts and Social Sciences; in every case we have an anti Tradition tradition that understands itself as the reigning moral and aesthetic authority in the given discipline. To do this it must invoke the validity of the tradition it is at once meaning to destroy. The full blown whack jobs in today’s University don’t just want to do something other than the Western Philosophic Tradition, they want to destroy the Western tradition in the effort, all so they can do whatever the hell it is they are doing, in its stead. Common to all PoMo intellectual and cultural traditions is the Hermeneutic of Resentment. Disaffected youth, they hope to be free of Tradition and live in an ever present newness of their own design. The Brave New World is the preferred utopia for pleasure bots everywhere. But Nature is inescapable; “gravity always wins“. It is not possible for humans to live day to day without familiar patterns of perception, and habit settling in. Tradition is both a guard against the terror of metaphysical chaos on a spiritual level, and an assumed cultural language, without which Community would be impossible on the ground. This is even so for communities of institutionalized rebellion.
The surety of these PoMo cultures has several roots to be sure. But the tradition of anti tradition is a clear but often not articulated ground for these rebellions. But we will leave the sickly behind for now. They provided an illustration only that Tradition is perennial; Natural. The relative health of traditions though vary widely.