In the beginning, there was nothing
Maybe the nothing you believe in was truly nothing. Maybe it was unorganized matter, maybe it was all potential and no realization.
But whatever it was, there was nothing — chaos.
And then God — or a god or the gods — came into that nothing and created the universe, our world, and life.
Whatever your beliefs are, there are three key components of this creation.
Formation, Division, and Beautification.
God formed the earth. He took that unorganized matter, introduced tension, and organized it into the world we live on today. That tension was the first step away from chaos and into order.
God divided the land from the water and the light from the darkness. And throughout history, multiple civilizations have likened both darkness and water to chaos, and light and land to order.
And then God beautified the earth. He placed plant and animal life in their variety across the globe. It wasn’t until the earth was beautified that it was declared ready for man. Without the variety and beauty of plant and animal life, this world would be like any other dead planet in the solar system.
Its beauty is an inherent part of its life.
In the Abrahamic faiths it is believed that God then created Adam and Eve in his own image – then gave them specific charges after placing them in the Garden of Eden.
The first was to multiply and replenish the earth — in other words, to continue the Godly task of Formation.
Next was to name and classify all the plants and animals — picking up the baton of dividing. When Adam called a horse a horse, it no longer was the same thing as a lion, oak, or rock.
By giving Man dominion of the earth, He gave Man the responsibility of continuing to divide chaos from order.
An often overlooked commandment given to Adam was to take care of the Garden of Eden – to cultivate it. Or, in other words, to beautify it.
Before God went and rested on the seventh day, He gave Adam the charge to continue, within his very limited capacity, the same three things that God himself does — form, divide, and beautify.
You don’t need to believe in this particular origin story to see the nobility and responsibility of it. Nor do the responsibilities of forming, dividing, and beautifying rest solely within the Abrahamic religions.
The Death of the gods
But God is dead, or so Nietzsche declared and lamented more than a hundred years ago.
And if God is dead, what happens to the responsibility to form, divide, and beautify?
The post-Enlightenment, post-modern world we’re in has given us all the answers to this question.
Because when God dies, there isn’t a vacuum that’s left. That hole has to be filled by something else.
And Man’s most current god is himself.
A century ago Man worshipped Man — our ability to create, to continually progress, to alleviate pain and suffering.
But the problem with worshipping Man is that Man is flawed. Man is a weak and frail god who doesn’t have all the answers but still has the expectations.
So we also killed off Man and that god-sized hole in our civilization was filled by an even more pathetic being – the self.
The worship of the self is a tricky religion – especially when there are 8 billion other little gods we share this planet with.
When Man worshipped Man it was still good and desirable to have heroes, to have ideals and standards.
But when one little god can’t live up to those standards, that god is forced to choose between continuing to worship himself — to be the sole arbiter of his truth, to believe that he is valid and good and perfect the way he is — or to confront the uncomfortable reality that he isn’t actually a god and therefore is subject to something greater than him.
And sadly, we’ve seen the results. Rather than recognizing our own frailties and choosing to worship something that ennobles us, we cling tightly to our own deities and kill off all of our heroes instead.
We no longer form, we consume. We demand that society form for us and then we glut ourselves on that vicarious formation and convince ourselves it was all done for our benefit.
We have pets instead of children because rearing an existing creature doesn’t carry the same weight nor engender the same selflessness as creating one.
And even if we do have children, we don’t take that pure potential and help shape it into competent, thriving, men and women — that cuts into our own pursuits. Instead we outsource it to our own class of priests and shamans who do the child rearing for us.
We no longer divide. As language becomes more inclusive it becomes less meaningful. We can no longer say this is good and that is bad or this is up and that is down because to do so will force some little god somewhere to face the reality that he isn’t actually a god.
So we bend over backwards to change the meaning of everything. We cut down the great because we can’t bring up the weak.
Men and women continue to become more and more indistinguishable — we’ve arrived at a point where it is frequently difficult to tell if that person you see on the street is a woman or a man.
Our poor live more extravagant lives than ever before and our wealthy go out of their way to look, act, project like the common man.
And we certainly don’t beautify. Our clothing, architecture, art, music, and media do not uplift and enlighten. They don’t point us to God, or the gods, or even Man. All of it is designed to point our gaze in, to trap us into worshiping ourselves so we never venture out and become better than what we are.
Not only have we stopped forming, dividing, and beautifying — we actively attack those who do.
Families with more than three children are considered to be either low-class freaks or selfish breeders. We shame and ridicule those who make sacrifices to improve their health or take an unapproved road to wealth.
We homogenize our world. Every major city’s goal is to become a cultural melting pot. We spout slogans like “diversity is strength” but then we all become the same thing. There is no room for the worship of other gods and so we are all expected to change our language, beliefs, attitudes, and cultures to not only become equal and equitable to everyone else on the earth but also to worship ourselves in the exact way they do.
We tear down statues and replace them with modern art, we develop farmland into bland suburbs that create physical proximity but socially and spiritually distance people more than small towns and large cities ever have. We censor old films, pervert timeless stories, and balk at “cliche” ideas like appreciating true beauty.
The Sexualization of Beauty
The attack on beauty has had an even greater impact on men than on women.
We have been conditioned to either have no relationship, or an entirely sexual relationship with it.
For decades the implicit understanding was that a man who cared about the way he dressed or groomed himself, who had more than a barely spartan home, who wanted to create art or music or film was sexually deviant — he was unmanly for doing so.
So unmanly that we did everything we could to make him a pariah. Artists and musicians were treated like degenerates, so only those inclined to degeneracy were willing to make the sacrifices to go into those fields.
“No son of of mine will waste his life away trying to be a painter. You’re going to be a doctor or a lawyer.”
Yet we all consume the art, music, film, and architecture created by these degenerates.
And when there was no one left to keep those fields pointed toward the good, the noble, the Godly, and the beautiful, they took a completely expected turn toward advocating, celebrating, and worshiping outright degeneracy.
Now we are surrounded by a visual battlefield of old beauty and new ugliness. Yet we continue to not only insist that the battle for beauty is not worth fighting for. We outright attack, belittle, or tear down most men who try to create beauty of their own.
It’s almost as if we’ve allowed ourselves to be tricked into believing that a highly strategic position on a battlefield is not only unnecessary — but those who do insist it is and it’s a hill worth fighting for and dying on must only care about it because they belong to the enemy.
Strategically, that’s suicide. It’s no wonder we’re losing the culture war.
We may tell ourselves we love and value beauty, but that typically only manifests in our appreciation of women, and only to the extent in which we want to have sex with them.
Unless you want to penetrate something, appreciating its beauty makes you less of a man.
This is insanity.
Any ascendent, healthy civilization recognizes the power of beauty and how well it conveys nobility and Man’s desire to become something greater than what he currently is.
Beauty and nobility are inextricably linked.
Even the most ancient, simple civilizations would create beauty on the walls of caves — art that would dance and move in the firelight — as a way to augment stories and pull men, women, and children alike into the tales of powerful gods or noble ancestors.
It is time for noble-minded men to retake the hill of aesthetics — to fight and die and kill on that hill so we can infuse our greatness — both real and yet to be realized — into everything we do. Our sons and daughters need to have heroes to look up to, gods to worship, and beauty to appreciate.
It will be awkward and clunky at first — but this is the case with developing any new skill. Our ability to execute and create beauty will not match our taste and appreciation of it, but that isn’t a reason to stop learning, trying, and growing.
We need men who create music, art, film, stories, clothing, and language that inspires and celebrates greatness. Because beautiful worlds are not only happier places for healthier men, they are also what gods create, and we are all gods in embryo.