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Cultural Sickness: Virtus Vs Virtue Signaling

The Academy Awards, which fewer people watch each year, was a disgusting spectacle. I can’t imagine watching it, but unfortunately, because of mass media, I had to hear about it.

Millionaires who live in unimaginable luxury lectured others about equality. It’s another sign that we’re in a period of decadence, a time when existing institutions, cultural norms, and spiritual philosophies seem exhausted. Thus, people turn to escapism and voyeurism, virtual life instead of real life. Fake characters on the screen are more “real” to many people than their friends and family, assuming they have any. And as we all know now, behind Hollywood’s glitter something deeply sick and perverse is going on.

When the wealthy and elite lecture about equality, we call it virtue signaling. It’s a way for those who hold power to legitimize their positions. By praising weakness, they become strong. Their thrones are built by hypocrisy. Though they claim to be victims and underdogs, they command resources dwarfing those of past kings and emperors. Unless you are a true believer in media Narratives, you can see the cynicism behind these performances.

There is something inherently corrupt about the entertainment industry. In Rome, actors were considered part of an unclean trade. The Emperor Julian prohibited pagan priests from even going to the theater. He was on to something.

We could use a Julian about now. We’re not a serious society. Instead of wanting to accomplish things, we want to be celebrities, famous just for being famous. Instead of forging lives of heroic achievement, we look up to people whose only value is in pretending to be someone else. We’ve gone from a stern pioneer society to a decadent mob always crying for novel pleasures and entertainments.

Consider – a recent survey found a plurality of American and British youth said they wanted to be YouTube stars when they grow up. The same survey found most Chinese youth want to become astronauts. That, right there, shows the relative trajectories of these two cultures.

Many Western youth want to live in the artificial world. They want praise and attention from the all-encompassing media machine. They want to accept its values.

We don’t.

Yet… you’ve probably heard a sermon like this before. You may have written it yourself – probably on social media. Isn’t this just self-congratulation?

It’s easy to blast celebrities, or sneer at the media, or cultivate an “outlaw” image. However, if you’re critiquing the system without building an alternative, you’re not weakening it. You’re strengthening it. You’re not an outlaw. You’re part of the problem.

We must resist the temptation to give in to our own brand of virtue signaling. You may have healthy values, but what good are they if they don’t lead to real-world accomplishment? Slamming celebrity culture is no different than calling in to some local radio show to complain about what a bum some professional athlete is. It’s just ressentiment.

Get offline. Get outside. Act, don’t criticize.

Instead of virtue signaling, cultivate Virtus, the masculine virtues of heroism, strength, and the desire for glory. The cure for depression is purpose and an amor fati that views even the largest obstacles as challenges to be overcome. Instead of pretending you are some Viking warrior, admit what you are. After accepting that, strive to become something greater.

The best way to cultivate Virtus amid decadence is to find a space to physically, mentally, and spiritually separate yourself from Empire. It means having a sacred space of your own for ritual, reflection, and meditation. This may be in your house or apartment, but it is better if it is in nature. Here, you can recharge, reflect, and become better connected with your own Ideal, your own Highest Self.

After that, it’s time to act. It’s time to start building something in the real word. I’m not telling you to find your own answer. I’m telling you the Operation is the answer.

We emphasize physicality and fitness because physical hardship is often the best path to mental discipline and spiritual enlightenment. Restrain from the temptation to write an angry Facebook post and go to the gym. Instead of wailing about the NFL and wearing some other dude’s name on your back, start training yourself.

You may not have the strength of some professional athlete. Maybe you’re fat. Maybe you drink too much. That’s not what’s important. What’s important is what you do about it. Start your Ascent. Live by your standards. Instead of bragging on Facebook, become what you say you are, even if it’s hard, even if it costs you fake friends.

That’s really what this is all about – authenticity. There’s no privacy anymore. Some people out there will exploit this to  attack you. Living in this kind of world is a challenge, but also an opportunity. It means that we must embrace furious action and fierce sincerity.

You can only be hurt if you allow yourself to be hurt. The best way to reduce your vulnerabilities is to act, instead of talk. Unplug. Train. Get together with friends who share your values. Start a Division. Apply for Werewolf Elite during the next opportunity. Look for opportunities for adventure. Live a Myth.

Don’t worry about the magnitude of the task before you. Just focus on one thing at a time. Perform the next correct action. Slowly, you will grow in physical power, mental discipline, and temporal success. And by living this way, you will attract others to the banner of strength.

We know we live in a sick culture – almost more of an anti-culture. There’s no possibility of regeneration from the top. No one is coming to save us.

So start building a new alternative. I’m not saying it’s possible or even desirable to block out mass culture. But even amidst the filth, you can find things that you can use for your own ends.

What are those ends? Building a new culture. Pursuing strength. Enjoying fellowship. You have the power, right now, to do these things. So use it.

Escape from the blue screen. Build an alternative to degeneracy. Take the forest passage. And perhaps, one day, I’ll see you around the fires.