Aesthetic Justification

Culture comes from the cult, and unfortunately, we live under a cult of ugliness. “Art once made a cult of beauty,” said the late Roger Scruton. “Now we have a cult of ugliness instead. This has made art into an elaborate joke, one which by now has ceased to be funny.”

We all know modern “art” is a scam. When someone bought a banana duct-taped to a wall as “modern art” for $200,000, it barely raised eyebrows. The dirty secret of modern art is that it’s mostly a front for money laundering. Insofar as it has an aesthetic or ideological function, it’s just to tear down what better people created in the past. Rather than inspiring us, it disgusts us, and it does this deliberately.

When Notre Dame burned, even those who weren’t Roman Catholics were horrified. Yet some journalists urged completing the desecration by giving Notre Dame a “modern” look like some shopping mall.

The same principles are bleeding into personal appearances. The corporate media promotes airbrushed, artificial celebrities warped by plastic surgery. They can even insert dead actors into films through technology, which begs the question of why worthless celebrities are needed anyway.

Yet the corporate media also tells us being fat and unhealthy is great because of “body positivity.” Now, we have a society of shoggoths.

Let’s speak plainly. Obesity is a moral failure.

Barring the few that truly suffer from a medical condition, obesity is a sign that you have no self-control, no mastery over yourself. It’s immoral to tolerate it. If a man is drinking himself to death, it’s not the act of a friend to encourage it and say that no one can tell him what to do. If a man is eating himself to death, shaming him and forcing him to stop is a moral act. It’s the act of a friend.

Yet there’s something more important at stake than worrying about health. Aesthetics are deeply important. “[I]t is only as an aesthetic phenomenon that existence and the world are eternally justified,” wrote Nietzsche. It we surround ourselves with ugly, tawdry things, our minds will be ugly and tawdry. If we surround ourselves with works of inspiration, beauty, and heroism, we will be driven to forge our own works of inspiration, beauty and heroism.

This begins with ourselves, with our own bodies. If a man is weak, fat, or both, we automatically feel disgust. We automatically know this person can’t be relied on. His opinions have little weight. After all, he can’t govern himself, so why should we listen to what has to say about anything else?

If a man is strong, and looks strong, his words have more meaning. After all, we know he can back them with furious action, if he needs to.

We only have so much free will and rationality when it comes to how we view the world. If free will is our mental software, our hardware is the judgments, assumptions, feelings, and impulses that our mind automatically impresses on us. Appearances do matter. Growing strong is important, but so is looking strong.

When we see classical sculptures of the human form, we recognize it as beautiful. Strength is beautiful and so is heroism. In great works of art, we see our Ideal, something higher that we should strive for. It lights a fire in our mind to become our own Ideal, to lift, to train, to grow strong, to accomplish great works.

For almost all human history, this was taken for granted. Kings, Emperors, Popes, and merchant princes patronized glorious works designed to inspire and elevate. Yet today, “art,” massively subsidized by governments and huge foundations, deliberately seeks to grind us down. It requires no insight, no talent, no vision. It just requires having the right political connections.

Instead of buildings that link us with a past and a people, we get soulless corporate structures that make us feel like a product.

Instead of beautiful paintings that require exquisite skill and perceptive genius, we get crude tricks, parodies, and desecrations.

Instead of sculptures that honor great men and great deeds, we get amorphous blobs on college campuses and in city parks.

It’s garbage. The people paying for it and creating it know it’s garbage. We experience deracination, depression, and alienation because we’re surrounded by these things. This is how they want us to be. Our minds are constantly driven into the mud, rather than inspired to look upward, to reach beyond ourselves, to reach for something greater than life.

Rebel against this through action. Training should be a religious act, a holy ritual. Through pain and sacrifice, you are forging yourself into something greater than you were. You are spitting in the face of death, fighting a battle that must be fought, even if the ultimate outcome is the grave. You are doing what you can to turn yourself into your own Ideal.

The stereotype of the dumb meathead setting off “lunk alarms” at Planet Fitness is false. “It is a disgrace to grow old through sheer carelessness before seeing what manner of man you may become by developing your bodily strength and beauty to their highest limit,” said Socrates. “But you cannot see that, if you are careless; for it will not come of its own accord.” A strong mind in a strong body is the Ideal and it must be relentlessly pursued.

If you are old, you can still start training. If you are injured, work around it. If you are utterly crippled, read, study, and look to the heroic to transport yourself beyond your current situation.

We were not born to be fat, complacent, and lazy weaklings, our bodies fueled by high fructose corn syrup and our minds filled with some corporate anti-culture. We were meant to be heroes. We are the descendants of conquerors and champions. We should act like it.

Our art should reflect this – in music, painting, sculpture and every other field. Our rituals should fill us with sacred inspiration so we can overcome the weakness within us. Our tribe should hold us accountable, not making excuses but driving us to ever greater accomplishment.

And the first step for all of this to happen is for you to train, to pick up that barbell, select a program, and get to work. Accepting struggle is saying yes to life. Find the hero within yourself. Fight, bleed, and suffer so that you can kill what is and become what should be.

Some may say this is unrealistic. I’d ask them to look again at what art speaks to them, motivates them, or stirs something deep within them. If it’s some “modern” desecration, I have nothing to say to such people anyway.

But I suspect you reading this have the same sense of life that I do. It may be against the spirit of our times, but you should take that as confirmation your deepest feelings are right and true.

Fight back. Rebel against decline. Rage against death itself. Rally to the banner of strength and build something great in this world of decay.