I seem to be coming across quite a few interesting people these days. Jordan Peterson was one. Another one who I only encountered yesterday was Victor Davis Hanson in a YouTube podcast:
It was only a short conversation – barely 15 minutes -, but he had a lot of interesting things to say. About how “tenured radicals” had taken over a lot of universities. How the “intellectual pathology” of the current era was all prefigured in Petronius’ Satyricon (and by Catullus): at a certain level of affluence and leisure human appetites warp and change, and you get transgenderism, deprecation of the military, elite over-indulgence. It happened to Rome, and it happened to Byzantium.
“The enemy is usually within: it’s not at the gates.”
And he said that these days a lot of people were dropping out of debate and discussion, dis-associating themselves from popular culture – “the Athenians called it quietism”. They don’t go to the movies any more, they don’t watch TV, and say they don’t want to be part of that culture. And “that’s kinda dangerous, because we’re really getting to 1850 where we have two countries which are absolutely incompatible.”
Hanson was talking about America, but he could just have been talking about a great many European cultures.
A lot of what he said rang a lot of bells for me. For I’ve kinda dropped out. I don’t watch movies, or TV, and I don’t want to be part of that culture. The difference is that I was ejected from that culture by the smoking ban, along with a lot of other people. It wasn’t a choice of mine.
And what he had to say about leisure chimed in with thoughts I’ve had in Idle Theory, basically that people who have a lot of leisure get to feel that they’re passed beyond an era in which people had to work hard to survive, and had entered a new world, and could indulge themselves. Such people looked at the world with new eyes, and often what they thought was a delusion. I called it the “Rosy Vision“, and it was a dangerous illusion. It wasn’t quite what Hanson was talking about, but it was near enough for me to be reminded of it.
He didn’t actually get to say much about the New Dark-Age Mind, but I’m sure he has something to say about it somewhere, and I’m going to go looking for more of his thinking.
Where are all these interesting people coming from? The internet, it seems. You don’t seem to see them on TV, or read about them in newspapers.