William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

What Russia Wants, Part I — Guest Post by Ianto Watt

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Editor’s note: This is Part I of two parts.

There are two surefire ways to insanity, The Abbott once told me. The first is to contemplate The Infinite always. The second way is to contemplate it never. And these two choices are what most of the world selects. This may account for the fact that most of the world is, generally speaking, absolutely insane. Completely starkers. Just read the papers, if you can stand it.

Now the truth of The Abbott’s words is fairly easy to ascertain. After all, if you try to encompass The Infinite within your finite head, without respite, your head will explode. It can’t hold all that it seeks to apprehend, which is to say, everything. The pressure will become too great to contain. The result is totally predictable. Blam.

On the other hand, if you never allow The Infinite into your skull, it will implode. Why? Because if you reject The Infinite, you’re rejecting everything, obviously. This produces a vacuum. And that will induce the collapse. So what’s the difference between these two choices? Nothing, really.

Do you have to believe this? No. Lots of people reject physics. And meta-physics as well. But this act of rejection doesn’t make the problem go away. All it means is that you will end up choosing what’s behind Door Number Three. And that would be Stuff. Lots of stuff! But not all stuff. Just the stuff that interests you. And that is seemingly enough to keep your head, until you’re dead. And then you’re gone. Gone to where? Well, that’s a good question, my friend.

Well, what does all this have to do with my favorite two places? You know, America and Russia. The Empire and its Great Pretender. Well, it’s simple. I’ve said all of this before. Each of them is trying to accomplish one or the other of these insanity-inducing activities. And unfortunately, they are both quite close to achieving their goals.

America for her part is trying never to contemplate The Infinite, as it slouches towards Gomorrah. She has done this ever since the Empire defeated her Spanish and French competitors in the New World, and then moved the capital here. Oh sure, there’s still a remnant of her civilizational past. But the vast majority of the ‘citizenry’ of The Empire is made up of the descendants of her Deistic, Masonic, Protestant, Dissenting Round-Headed past. And that includes the majority of ‘modern’ Catholics, by the way. Call it what you like, it’s all the same, ultimately. It’s Individualism, in the final analysis. Radical Individualism. And Individualism is the antithesis of The Infinite. One versus All. And the choice America makes on a daily basis, in her effort to stave off the inevitable insanity, is to go for Door Number Three. More Stuff. By any means possible. Sure, we’ll play fair, when it makes sense to do that. But remember, America is Exceptional, so exceptions have to be made, whenever they are necessary. Or convenient. Or simply available.

As for the Russians, they are busy trying to always contemplate The Infinite, as they lurch towards their own abyss. And no, I am not referring to the leaders of Russia. They don’t really believe in The Infinite (just as our leaders don’t). But their people do. At least, the ones who still remember who they are. The ones who remember what ‘Slav’ means. Huh? What’s it really mean? To a Slav? Well, it means ‘Glory’. And ‘Fame’. It also means ‘the Word’. As in, ‘In the beginning was the Word’, perhaps? At least, to a dedicated Orthodox believer. Interesting, no? Quite the self-image, eh Komrade? Actually, that self-image is even bigger than you might think. But we’ll get to that in a bit. But first, let’s ask the obvious question: If either of these two courses will produce the same result (insanity), just what is the proper course between Scylla and Charybdis? How do you navigate this treacherous strait successfully?

The Abbott would tell you to listen to Benedict. You know, the Father of Western Monasticism. And, by extension, the founder of Christian Europe, as we know it. Or rather, as we knew it. Well, it’s gone now, you know. It’s now Eurabia. You know, Mohammed’s summer place. Don’t believe me? Then I dare you to go into the ‘no-go’ zones of Paris, Amsterdam or London. And carry a Christian flag. Let me know where to send the flowers.

Anyway, Benedict is the Patron Saint of Europe. Why? Because he defined Europe. He built Europe. Yes, the Europe all the tourists go to see. The Gothic cathedrals, the walled cities, the incredible castles, the Palace of the Sun King. All of that. And more. His monasteries were the nucleus of the cities that grew up around his monasteries. And these monasteries (and all those that grew up in this image) were, to the terrified travelers of the decaying Empire (circa 500 AD), a safe haven for the night. A way station where a pilgrim could safely lodge, for free if need be, away from the Barbarian hordes that had overrun much of the Imperial domain.

(And, as an aside, I personally know all of this to be true. My son Thor and his band of ruffians and I have spent many a night around the campfire on the perimeter of The Abbey. That’s what Barbarian Auxiliaries do. Auxiliaries? Those are the Barbarians who signed up on the other side. That’s how we earn our keep).

In fact, Benedict and his men are also the founders of the hospitality industry. Not that they actually made any money at it, but that wasn’t their aim. No, their aim was to provide an island of safety, for both travelers and for knowledge. The ancient wisdom. Both pagan (Aristotle) and holy (Scripture). These men made it their job to preserve the past. In order to build for the future. And the way they did this was to be armed and vigilant. The Barbarians figured this out and began to avoid their walled compounds, and the fierce warrior-monks who dwelt within. The terrified citizens of the enfeebled Empire figured it out too. And they flocked to these walls. If you doubt the vastness of this incredible effort by these simple but determined men, read about the Monks of Cluny. Ten thousand men, dedicated to one task. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. This is how the past was saved and the future was built.

The result of the efforts of these determined men was that the populace began to gravitate to these oasis’ of Virtus et honor, as the Emperor would say. And thus began the re-building of The Empire. But not on the Emperor’s terms. But that’s another story. The story here is how these holy men resisted both Goth and Emperor. And the answer is simple. Their playbook was ‘The Rule of Benedict‘. And the heart of The Rule was this: Ora et Labora. Prayer and Work. You’ll notice the duality here. Neither activity is to become predominate. They are both necessary. They are both absolutely vital to a truly human existence. That’s the key to navigating between the Infinite and the Abyss. Ora et Labora. A man cannot spend all of his time trying to encompass The Infinite, nor avoiding it. Rather, he must try and drink in what he can of the cosmic wonder. But he must know his limits. And his basic limit is this: he has to provide for himself. He must eat by the sweat of his brow. There’s no escaping this command, regardless of whether you agree with who gave this decree. And to do it well, the individual must provide for himself in community. Huh? Yes, I know, that sounds paradoxical. But it isn’t, if you understand that man is both social and individual. And ‘The Rule of Benedict’ allows him to express himself in both ways. Thus the balance is achieved.

Now I would add that there is a third and unspoken element of ‘The Rule’. At least when you look at the saying of ‘Ora et Labora‘. It’s already there, but unspoken. But let me speak it; ‘Ora et Labora et Snora‘: Pray, Work and Sleep. Yes, I know, that wasn’t even good Pig Latin on my part. It’s actually Barbarian Latin. But so what? A man’s gotta get some sleep, or else he turns into a zombie. And so now we are back to Russia.

But one last comment before we get there. The Cycle of Man has run its course and begins again. First comes Knowledge, then comes Pride, then the Rot sets in. Starting at the head. That’s where we are today, in the West. The patricians will no longer fight to keep what their forebearers fought for. And so they hire the Auxiliaries. The Barbarians. But some of us don’t want to fight for those Imperial wimps. I can’t stand them. Besides, they never meet payroll on time. Just ask Alaric. We’d rather join with real men. Men who aren’t afraid of the Emperor or the free-range Barbarians. Men who aren’t afraid to fight alongside us Auxiliaries. Men who aren’t afraid to die. And that inevitably leads us back to the campfire on the perimeter of The Abbey. You do realize where we’re at, as a society, don’t you?

Yes, I know, I promised you a story about Russia. We’re getting there. Calm down; have a drink. There’s time. Have some Port. It’s wonderful for the nerves. Seriously. Think about it. What’s the point of time if it’s not spent in wonder? And what helps this along better than a glass of strong wine, my friend? Without wine, why would we pray? What better way to get a glimpse of the world to come? But yes, I know, we must first make our way through this world. And that is hard. So drink up!

And now, let’s take a look at the Great Pretender. Let’s look at Russia, the next contender for the command of the world stage. She will not be denied, believe me. Everyone gets a turn, and she is next. Resist at your own peril. But before you do, you should know who you are up against. For she too has a monastic past. And future. And this is no small part of what is in store for all of us. Let me explain.

Russia, like Europe, was built upon the labor of the monks. The Eastern Orthodox monks. And they too have a glorious history. Deo gratias! And just as the monasteries of the West were eventually ravaged by the ‘Enlightenment’ Revolution and Komrade Bonaparte, so too were the monasteries of Russia ravaged by her rulers. Huh? Do I mean the Bolsheviks? Well, yes, but they came late to the game, actually. The Tsars were the first and foremost tormentors of the Abbeys. And this battle is still being waged. But just as in the West, in spite of all the force the Emperors (and Tsars) could bring against these simple but determined men, the monasteries have survived. And truth be told, there is now an actual re-flowering of these refuges of reason. Both East and West. You won’t see it in the mainstream press, of course, but they are there if you will only look for them.

The same is true in Russia. The monasteries are re-emerging from their underground existence. And once again, they are exerting a strong public influence on the course of that nation. After all, the bishops of Russia come from the Black Clergy (the celibate monks). The parish priests (who are married) are known as the White Clergy. And they are under the thumb of their monastic superiors. And at a great cost, believe me. Because the path of Russia is dictated by the monks. And even Vlad will come to know this truth.

But there is a distinct difference between the Western and the Eastern traditions. And if you want to know why Russia is different, so totally different from the West, you must come to understand this difference in the monastic life of each. And so, here we go Komrade. Have another drink, and then let us begin to explore this (relatively) unknown terrain of the East.

27 Comments

  1. Reads better than most Time Cube posts, I’d imagine, but you have to work harder on your imagery, it’s still sufficiently rooted in historical myths to not have that strong stomach punch to every neuron concerned with consistency that we all love on that forgotten deleted site. What we are left is with some attempted murder here, merely. Try harder next time.

    Regarding the title, I’m afraid it’s all too easy to answer. Russia is Putin, and therefore asking what Russia wants is asking what Putin wants. But since he’s an obvious pathological narcissist psychopathic liar, there are no direct paths to know this. I’m willing to bet that it has something to do with hanging out with bears with few clothes on, for what reasons I’ll let everyone’s imaginations wonder.

  2. So, after reading about monastaries here, the next article I read this morning fit nicely:

    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-key-to-evangelism-in-21st-century#When:2016-10-22T05:02:00+00:00

  3. Here we go again…

    Recall this as a fact-check-able benchmark: http://wmbriggs.com/post/19307/

    There one can read I. Watt’s views on the Turkish coup … anyone can verify easily enough that “analysis” was not even remotely connected to reality (and if you give any credence to this writer, should re-review that narrative against reality — past performance/credibility is indicative of future performance/credibility).

    Just like pretty much everything else from this guest author, the credibility — factual correctness relative to historical reality — is wackily off the mark.

    (Briggs, you are judged…and given this blog is your resume per your website…[not] hired consistent with the company you keep).

  4. I very much look forward to the next chapter. I do not understand the above critics. I have no way of knowing for sure the tiny details of truth but it is clear to me that the substance of this evaluation is correct; monasteries were indeed bastions of the preservation of at least some kinds of knowledge as well as the only thing passing for hotels in many parts of the world.

    I differ in the author’s condemnation of “individual” expressed as “Call it what you like, it’s all the same, ultimately. It’s Individualism, in the final analysis. Radical Individualism. And Individualism is the antithesis of The Infinite. One versus All.”

    There need not be “versus”. Monks by definition escape from the world, they do not oppose the world. Monks are not born monks. They decide it. Celibate monks obviously do not breed more monks. What is more individualistic than deciding to be a monk?

    Sheep of the world are tossed to and fro by the winds of change. The gospel is petra, stone upon which your house, your mind, and your life can be built. It is neither hermit nor hive, but cooperative.

    Jesus said “turn the other cheek”. Well, how many do you have? Two. You’ve used one already; so turn the other cheek. Absorb the occasional offense that might not have been intended, but then again, maybe it was. You don’t know or need to know. But if the offense persists, Christians seem to be under no command to suffer abuse forever; or so I believe. Your mileage may vary.

    Also, cheek-slapping is hardly a mortal offense. If you are facing something considerably more serious, no need to die first and then seek redress.

    The Good Samaritan was individualistic. He chose to give charity to a stranger; no law or custom apparently bound him to that behavior.

    Shall you let others choose your charity? If so, then it is not your charity but someone else’s. Christian scripture says to give your alms in secret, your prayers in secret. No one should be able to tell just by looking that you are “holy”. Your worship of God is private and individualistic. To be sure, community is necessary, but it is a community of individuals, each of whom has made choices to support a group and to accept support from the group. But it is not a beehive with a queen bee (not supposed to be, anyway).

  5. I was going to mention that my views of medieval monasteries are shaped somewhat by the movie “The Name of the Rose” with Sean Connery.

  6. Michael-

    You make a good point, but
    I believe Watt was using the term ‘individual’ in the sense that one places themselves first in all situations, thus ‘Radical Individualism’. No monk would ever seek to be radically individualistic, as that would negate the communal life he has (individually, of course) chosen.

  7. Sander van der Wal

    October 25, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    There are plenty of reasons to stay away from Amsterdam, and most of them are caused by foreigners. But it is not yet quite as bad as Paris, as the mocro’s are killing each other, instead of policy men.

  8. Thanks, Lanto.

    Though I’m not very conversant with current theatrical World politics it’s very refreshing to see a thoughtful consideration rather than the usual mindless NWO sycophantic media creating mindless opinions sales-job.

  9. Luis Dias is right about this article in part but I don’t think Putin’s up o anything with bears, bare or not. He’s trying to impress a certain type of man and trying to irritate the feminists. I just think he looks silly.

    I would also add that London is not as you depicted. You can send the flowers direct to me as I’m still here to tell the tale.
    Make sure they’re white, fragrant and not lilies. I’m prepared to accept pink ones. Thank you in advance.

    Thank God for King Henry VIII.

    I wear a crucifix every day all day and night and have done for over a year now. I wear a symbol on my coat and at poppy time always have a poppy on. I don’t take any of it off when I travel through London.

  10. To digress a little from the topic:

    Ah, Joy! I’m not sure that HM QE1 would agree with you. The poor woman couldn’t undo any of Henry VIII’s depredations because he had already sold the Kingdom to the money-lenders making the monarchy a vassal to them.

    Poor, viciously proud, Henry began his kingship as a very erudite and gallant man; but finished it as a whimpering egomaniac… a mere figurehead for a racist plutocracy.

  11. Is a racist plutocracy better or worse than a papist theocracy?

  12. What the hell is a “papist theocracy”?

    There have been plenty of “papist idiocracys” before now but how could anyone make any of them into a theocracy?

    The only thing I can think of is that God-hating misanthropes can say anything as long as it will contribute to the extinction of Christendom.

  13. Oldavid, you know I won’t agree about Henry.

    God bless Queen Elizabeth too. She carried on what her father started and kept the Spanish in their place. She also began the process of sorting out the civil unrest within the churches.

    Without Henry we’d have Rome in charge and that hasn’t led in ANY example to a superior society.

    Henry’VIII was an intellectual, a champion sportsman and nobody’s fool.

    His end of life metabolic condition now believed to be diabetes, coupled with his gout (being the most painful arthritic conditions when in it’s acute phase although not as debilitating long term today and the best type if you happen to have the choice) would make any man, even you Oldavid in to a snarling spitting bear with a sore head. Any pain persisting for longer than about six weeks will cause depression in the most serene person. I Henry’s case his condition was uncontrolled and untreated.

  14. I wait in great anticipation for part two especially in regard
    to the fate of the Russian Orthodox Church post 1917, and
    it’s gradual rebirth under that devilish Putin.

  15. “Is a racist plutocracy better or worse than a papist theocracy?”

    It is for you what you wish it to be, just as the words mean to you what you want them to mean. Neither of these phrases conveys meaning to me.

  16. Joyful quote: “God bless Queen Elizabeth too. She carried on what her father started and kept the Spanish in their place. She also began the process of sorting out the civil unrest within the churches. ”

    Yair. The poor ole girl couldn’t do anything else as she and her kingdom were securely in the pocket of the racist plutocrats.

  17. …and God bless Owldavid, a bit early but God bless us, everyone!
    I’m not even supposed to be on here, I’m breaking all my rules.

  18. Aww. Thanks, Joy.

    Anyhow, poor ole “Good Queen ‘Bess” couldn’t even stop her “minders” from murdering (by beheading) her cousin Mary. Apparently poor ole ‘Liz was laid up for months overcome with grief.

    The wretched ageing Henry, on the other hand, didn’t seem at all concerned about whacking off the heads of his “unproductive” wives.

    Yair!, I know that there were/are some proper mongrel bastard popes too… but they couldn’t/can’t change the Faith any more than Henry or Luther could or can.

  19. Mr. Watt has created wonderful straw men in his book, the Barbarian Bible, as well as in his recent posts on the site. It’s a pity that reality is nothing like the straw men he sets up. His description of Protestantism is 16th century, at best, and willfully ignorant. His analyses of History are highly suspect, and full of the worst kind of conspiratorial wishful thinking.

  20. Nate says “Mr. Watt has created wonderful straw men in his book”

    This would be your opportunity to set the record straight rather than merely complaining about someone else’s record. I happen to enjoy wonderful straw men (much better than dismal or depressing straw men).

  21. Mary was Elizabeth’s half sister not her cousin. Mary was Catherine of Argon’s daughter, and Elizabeth was Anne Boleyn’s daughter both being Henry VIII’s daughter. Mary went from the darling daughter of the Kind to the half sister of the daughter of the King. That was a problem from Mary. Sisterly jealousy before any other considerations about religious rights and wrongs.

    Capital punishment is what they used to call beheading. The French were still up to it many years later and are really never criticised for it. Which is ripe.
    Jesus never spoke against capital punishment which although an argument from absence of a thing might be considered weak, it seems to me that it makes sense. Jesus never claimed that his own capital punishment was unjust even and for what seems to be obvious reasons having to do with his purpose.

    You are correct that nobody can force the faith of another but they can certainly have a good try and do some serious harm trying.

    As for the bloodthirsty medieval era, Henry and Elizabeth are mild by the standards.
    boiling in oil, tarring and feathering, hanging drawing and quartering, before that, in the dark ages, the Viking blood angel was a fate which their enemies could expect.

    Beheading was considered, preserved for nobility and they used the sharpest swords and the ‘best’ swordsmen. Mere plebs had to suffer far worse!
    This nation was one of if not THE first one to abandon “medieval practices.”

    The Catholics had a rule at a similar point in history about no blood being spilled and so found all sorts of imaginative ways to kill innocents without drawing blood.

    Lizzy, beth betty Bess, Llilabeth, Betsy Bet, and so on, Queen Elizabeth was a heroine.

    I saw a recent programme about the sitch with her half sister not her cousin as you said.
    When you see the skulduggery that went on and see the so called notes and ‘evidence’ of betrayal it’s clear howtemuous some of the claims of treason are or were. I believe it was a David Starkey programme, If I can find it on youtube I will link it but I doubt it’s there. It left me feeling sorry for the pair of them in fact. I can’t imagine the hangers on and meddlers and minders that would surround not just female monarchs and nobility at the time.

  22. Aragon,
    “for Mary”
    and other typos, sorry.

  23. (Aragon is the derivation of the word “arrogant”)

  24. Sorry Owldavid,
    You meant Mary Queen of Scotts!
    Bloody Mary died of intrauterine Cancer, it is assumed. Hence Elizabeth’s succession.
    All three were at different time locked in the tower!

  25. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLwqygxl6s8

    This would please you no doubt.
    However it is not the documentary of which I spoke.
    I was speaking of the skullduggery between Mary and Elizabeth the sisters.
    Bloody Mary as we protestants call her.
    Mary Queen of scots met the only end she could have expect ted for the day with her constant attempts on Elizabeth’s life.
    Mary Queen of Scotts was not without her ;helpers’ of Catholic origin.
    This is politics not religiosity and no Catholic can ever convince me otherwise.
    It’s over. The Church of England is here to stay.

  26. Fair enough, Joy.

    That should teach me not to rely on my ageing memory for the details of who’s who in Pommy royalty.

    Anyhow, history is written by the victors and I have no doubt that “Bloody Mary” must be vilified to “sanctify” the winners. Good Queen ‘Bess doesn’t seem to have agreed at the time, though. The poor ole girl was reduced to a mere figurehead for the real owners of the kingdom and that’s what they’ve all been ever since.

    The Church of England has been a walking corpse ever since its inception.

  27. I am looking forward to the next chapter by Watt!

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