CS Lewis

Towards a Neoreactionary Aesthetic

‘Neath an eyeless sky, the inkblack sea
Moves softly, utters not save a quiet sound
A lapping-sound, not saying what may be
The reach of its voice a furthest bound;
And beyond it, nothing, nothing known
Though the wind the boat has gently blown
Unsteady on shifting and traceless ground
And quickly away from it has flown.

Allow us a map, and a lamp electric
That by instrument we may probe the dark
Unheard sounds and an unseen metric
Keep alive in us that unknown spark
To burn bright and not consume or mar
Has the unbounded one come yet so far
For night over night the days to mark
His journey — adrift, without a star?

Adrift Without a Star

Generally, most cultural studies are done post facto, that is, to analyze that which has already taken place and is, because it is no longer taking place, a motionless body subject to dissection. We imagine that we understand culture that has passed from us because we can examine its ephemera from a safe distance; we inherently grasp the paradox of Heisenberg. For to say something about a living human culture is to alter that living human culture (provided that culture is aware of what was said.) To describe a person living is either to insult or flatter them; we may attempt zero proscription, but vanity comes not from an opinionated mirror but a neutral mirror and an opinionated gazer.

It is worth beginning a tradition of cultural self-examination, if such a thing did not exist, a way of describing what is ongoing and thus a way of describing that entails knowledge of something as living, and not a detailed examination of its husks and fossils. When I use the term ‘towards’ I do not mean to imply this is something that does not exist; rather, that it is something extant but nascent; something which, once it is named, will be recognized.

When I started following neoreactionary writers and blogs a while ago (at first, unintentionally, since there was no formal label to it) I began to collect impressions — informally — of the way in which neoreaction expresses itself. While some thrived on the notion of the different parts of neoreaction as being different, I looked instead for the reason why they were somehow able to cling together.

This is by no means exhaustive; these concepts are emergent and I have only included those that I have become certain of due to emphasis and repetition.

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