The Kazakh game of kyz kuu

In the central Asian nation of Kazakhstan there is a local sport (no, not the running of the Jews) which is actually quite interesting. The game combines elements of romance and Kazakh tradition. Horses have long been an essential part of the nomadic people’s identity, so many of their activities involve horses. But they also have a history, like basically all other people, of raiding their enemies. During these raids the men would capture and take women, often on horseback. This game is a play upon that history. The best description of the game of kyz kuu (Girl chasing) is,

This is essentially kiss chase on horseback. A woman sets off on a horse at a gallop. After a small delay, a group of men, also on horseback gallop after her. The aim of the game is to catch the girl and kiss her while both are still at full gallop. Any man that does not manage to catch and kiss the girl is then whipped by her all the way back to the starting line. I know you think I’m making this up … but I’m not. The game has its origins in the nomadic traditions of raiding another party of nomads and stealing their women.”

So you have to chase a woman, who has a speed advantage, on horseback, catch her, and kiss her, while maintaining full gallop. I should hope for the man’s sake it is a pretty girl. Because if he fails to catch and kiss her, she gets to whip him all the way back to the starting line. This certainly beats any American romantic tradition I can think of. Playing kyz kuu would be a much better way for new couples, or even potential couples, to spend their Valentine’s Day rather than buying crap.

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‘The Singers’, Oxyrhynchus hymn, and ‘A Psalm of Life’

The Singers

A poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

God sent his Singers upon earth
With songs of sadness and of mirth,
That they might touch the hearts of men,
And bring them back to heaven again.

The first, a youth, with soul of fire,
Held in his hand a golden lyre;
Through groves he wandered, and by streams,
Playing the music of our dreams.

The second, with a bearded face,
Stood singing in the market-place,
And stirred with accents deep and loud
The hearts of all the listening crowd.

A gray old man, the third and last,
Sang in cathedrals dim and vast,
While the majestic organ rolled
Contrition from its mouths of gold.

And those who heard the Singers three
Disputed which the best might be;
For still their music seemed to start
Discordant echoes in each heart,

But the great Master said, “I see
No best in kind, but in degree;
I gave a various gift to each,
To charm, to strengthen, and to teach.

“These are the three great chords of might,
And he whose ear is tuned aright
Will hear no discord in the three,
But the most perfect harmony.

*The Oxyrhynchus Hymn is the oldest known music notation and lyrics of a Christian hymn, dating from the second or third century. The English lyrics are roughly translated as,

.. Let it be silent
Let the Luminous stars
not shine,
Let the winds (?) and all the noisy rivers die down;
And as we hymn the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
Let all the powers add “Amen Amen”
Empire, praise always, and glory to God,
The sole giver of
good things,
Amen Amen

A Psalm of Life

A poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
     Life is but an empty dream!—
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
     And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
     And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
     Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
     Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
     Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
     And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
     Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
     In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
     Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
     Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,—act in the living Present!
     Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
     We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
     Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
     Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
     Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
     With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
     Learn to labor and to wait.

70 years of wedded bliss

(h/t Lena S.)

As unto the bow the cord is,
So unto the man is woman;
Though she bonds him she obeys him,
Though she draws him, yet she follows,
Useless each without the other!”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In our modern times it is easy to get swept away in all the cynicism and gloom of the ever growing insanity of life. For that reason it is good to remind ourselves of positive stories and, more importantly, that such positive stories are still possible. While the Supreme Court yesterday paved the way for the legalization of gay marriage here in the US, there is a good story coming out of Canada. It is about a couple, Doug and Helen Hatton, who celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary yesterday, June 26th, at a time when many cannot last even 7.

One thing I noticed about them was their playfulness. These two enjoyed teasing each other a bit. My favorite line from the article is when Doug says (highlighted),

Helen lives at Rapelje Lodge on Plymouth Rd. and Doug travels from his Denistoun St. apartment twice a day every day to see his wife.

“I do it just to see her, to be with her for a bit,” he says modestly of the dedicated trek.

“Where else would I go? Must mean I kind of like you.”

This is something too many people do not understand, the importance of simple joking and teasing. My grandparents were great with that and their marriage lasted just a few months short of fifty years when my grandmother passed. It is strange but with the elderly couples you can more clearly see the dynamics of a successful marriage. When two people can sit silently together yet know the other’s heart and mind, that is when you have truly become one.

Instead of teasing, I see and read about guys always complimenting and essentially appeasing the woman. An occasional compliment is constructive, constantly doing so is not. The men who do this are the same ones that place her as their center. It is not meant to be this way. Men are not the relation beings, women are. Women exist in relation to men; their fathers then their husbands. Those women who lack such relation are adrift in a chaotic existence. Men are, instead, the rock upon which women find refuge from their emotional whirlwind.

I believe those with the long, healthy, happy marriages are the people who best understand this and apply it to their lives. It is not misogynistic to say this about women because that would imply it is a bad thing for women to be this way. But it is not a bad thing. Eve was made that way before the fall, meaning it is an inherently good aspect of female nature. A man should neither cater to a woman’s erratic emotions nor allow himself to be controlled by them. He is meant to lift her above them, not be dragged down with her. Happiness for both comes from stabilizing the woman by first strengthening yourself.

How does a man strengthen himself? He places God as his center. It is possible to be a good man without believing in God, but you are not whole and your marriage will never be whole. I must note that he does not place the God of liberal, effeminate Christianity as his center, but rather the biblical God that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, struck down Uzzah, punished the Egyptians, saved an adulteress from a mob, healed the sick, and preached turning the other cheek.

The more people realize what makes a marriage such as the one Doug and Helen Hatton have, the more likely it is they may have a similar marriage. Although the chances of finding a respectable wife, or husband, today is rather slim it is still possible. At the end of the day, for those that are married, it all comes down to this, really,

They still hold hands.

Still look into each other’s eyes.

And still whisper “I love you.”

There is no equality

(h/t Hipster Racist)

The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.“*

Aristotle

Simply put there is no such thing as equality. The worst tragedies of our age stem from the insidious notion that all people are equal. We can be equal before the law but not anything more. One particularly damaging result of this idea is that men and women must be equal. Feminism is supposedly (although I certainly do not believe it) about achieving equality between the sexes. Such a goal is untenable because to make such an attempt is the equivalent of trying to make apples equal to oranges. How can it be done? The answer is basically: it cannot.

Men and women have complementary natures and, thus, different roles to play. This is not about oppression; it is about acknowledging the laws of nature. Consider the story of Adam and Eve. God first made Adam (man). But God saw that Adam needed a partner, he was not fulfilled by his lonesome. Therefore God created Eve (woman) from the body of Adam. Woman was created from man, for man. Her body was created to receive his. Eve was the comforter of Adam, in body and soul. In her Adam finally found wholeness, and in making him whole Eve was fulfilled.

This is not about whether Adam was equal to Eve. It was about completion of the human person which could only be found in the unity of the sexes. Homosexuality is wrong and polygamy is wrong because they both reject this union. Man cannot be whole with another man and he cannot be whole with more than one woman. Those in rebellion against this eternal truth are denying the complementary natures of the sexes. One must believe that sex is interchangeable, that we are all essentially the same. But it is not true; common sense should dismiss that as lunacy.

A common mischaracterization of scripture would have us believe that men and women, in marriage, are called to “mutual submission”. This is simply not true. Only one person can be the leader in a marriage just as only one can be the captain of a ship. A woman is called to submit to her husband and a husband is to love and give himself up for his wife. This is not something radical, it is fairly simple. It amounts to deference of leadership and most decision making to the husband where he makes choices while honestly considering his wife’s interests.

The idea that men are to submit to their wives was created so as to prevent the Bible from appearing sexist. To require only women submit is to reject equality. However, this overlooks the fact that a man is then tasked with the difficulty of decision making and self-sacrifice for his wife. All feminism has done in terms of liberating women is removing them from submission to their husbands and instead making them submit to indifferent bosses/employers. Add to that the burden of difficult decision making which had once been removed from their shoulders has now been placed back on.

In the end, men want a refuge from the harshness of this world and women want to be that refuge. Why deny what we really want? The feminine is attracted to, and attracts, the masculine because the one wants what it does not have. This is how life works, how humans are made. Our physical bodies are even demonstrative of this complementary nature, of who is to give and who is to receive, who is to submit and who is to dominate. I have to wonder how this is not obvious.

*This first appears in 1974 in an explanation of Aristotle’s politics in Time magazine, before being condensed to an epigram as “Aristotle’s Axiom” in Peter’s People (1979) by Laurence J. Peter

The end of (our) history

‘The Death of the Grave Digger’, by Carlos Schwabe

Progress, this great heresy of decay.

Charles Baudelaire

In 1992 Francis Fukuyama wrote a book entitled ‘The End of History and the Last Man’. The main idea of this book was that history has been gradually progressing towards a time, in the not so distant future, where there will be one liberal democratic global state. He believes we are living in the last stages before this global state, founded in Western style liberal democracy and capitalism. All the events of history were an evolution towards this most humane, rational, and ideal world order, a near utopia of sorts. We are now nearing the great ‘end of history’.

However, I cannot help but see this as a laughable notion at best. It is unfortunately a common sentiment shared by many who view history as being linear, and not cyclical. Not only linear, though, but also progressive. The instituting of liberal democracy must be accepted, by all polite company, as a progression in comparison to the preceding eras of monarchy, theocracy, and empires. It would be heretical to modern doctrine to accept anything short of this. Yet for all the boasting of our superiority over those of the past, which having progressed past them obviously implies, we are incredibly ignorant in comparison.

History is not linear but, if it were, I would believe it would be grounds for dismissing the notion of human evolution altogether. Oswald Spengler proposed a more reliable theory of history*, one which demonstrates the cyclical nature of humanity. We do not; as those who adhere to a Whig view of history would have us believe, constantly progress. Instead civilization cycles through four stages which correspond to the change of seasons. A civilization begins with its spring, moves into its summer, then begins to decline with its fall, and enters a dark age during its winter.

For anyone who has paid attention, we are certainly living in Western civilization’s winter. Culture has died, politics has been utterly corrupted, morality has been abandoned, and sanity has fled our shores. This is not the end of history, but it is the end of our history. Upon reflection it may be said the West was a Faustian civilization built upon a deal with the devil. We gave up Heaven to gain the world. But the riches of this world are fleeting. All our gold is sand, swept away in the winds of time.

Think of our haughtiness to suggest that this, our style of society, is the apex of civilization. So great is their pride, modern man believes his madness to really be a triumph. Unfortunately modern man is nothing more than Nietzsche’s der letzte Mensch (Last Man). His greatest wish is comfort and security. So long as this is provided to him, he shall keep up his endorsement of the current order. When one or the other is threatened, he becomes angry, but his complacency triumphs. Der letzte Mensch believes himself above the “ignorance” of the past. All that has really changed is his degree of comfort and security.

Unfortunate for him, nothing lasts forever. Society is not “progressing”, it is regressing. He shall soon pay witness to this regression. For the fortunate few, they will be secure enough to not concern themselves too much with the inevitable problems which shall become all too obvious for the middle and lower classes. Government shall become more abusive, moral decay shall continue, race replacement will accelerate, general wealth shall decline, and with each passing day the bright light which once shone forth from our perceived future shall grow ever dimmer. At such a point the realization will occur that his comfort and security were impermanent, that he was not above the problems of his ancestors, and that his idealistic image of reality was horribly flawed.

Man is the same today as he was five hundred years ago just with new technology and more outlandish ideas. There are heretics today just as there were during Middle Ages. Science is still being oppressed for its dangerous theories. And government is at best as insidious. You can change the name from “witch” to “racist”, the theories from “heliocentric” to “race and IQ correlation”, and government from “divine right” to “liberal democracy”, but that does not make man any more enlightened.

In ancient Rome the concept of savages being men before the creation of a civilization would be incomprehensible. Savages were instead the remnants of a civilization that decayed and became corrupted. There is nothing noble about them as many would have us believe. Man is not inherently good, but he has the inherent potential for good. The inverse of this is our modern way of thinking. People are naturally good but only do bad things on account of some external pressure. Remove these pressures and people will all live harmoniously.

Societies begin to decay at the exact moment they begin to abandon their attempts at striving towards virtuosity. When the eyes of man are turned earthward, rather than up, he falls. What necessarily follow are all forms of debauchery and sin. The greatest invested effort is towards nurturing the system which promotes these vices. Even with the immorality of Rome preceding its unforgettable fall it could never rival the transgressions of the modern West. Our fall, when it inevitably arrives, shall be distinctly different, most likely due to its gradual nature, but also more thorough. The risk is permanent elimination.

Quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius (Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad), and we are completely mad. This is the end of our history, for better or worse. At least, it is the end of Western civilization as we know it. T. S. Eliot wrote** about the world ending in a more tragic way than complete destruction, I think it speaks best for the end of our Western civilization.

This is the way the world ends,

This is the way the world ends,

This is the way the world ends,

Not with a bang but a whimper.”

* The Decline of the West vol. 1, vol. 2

** The Hollow Men