There is something retro deep inside me, and I think in all of us, when it comes to dealing with alienation of modern, global life. I think the proper thing to do is to work your way through modern, global life and supplant its alienation with a whiff of the tribal and a considered portion of the guild. You know the guild, the moose lodge, the order of buffalo, the brotherhood of the otter - something like Fred Flintstone had. You see, George Jetson had no running buddies.
I am reading Gene Wolfe's tales in the Book of the New Sun.
What impresses me now the second time around literarily, since Stephenson's OMVI, is the concept of a small group of men who are self-sustaining in their ways. They could be monks in their monastary, perhaps a royal family in their castle, maybe a group of makers in their hackerspace. Organized around an arcane competence. Prepared to initiate noobs into apprenticeship and grow them into journeymen. Dedicated to sentence fragments with implicit subjects, but descriptive nonetheless.
From Wolfe comes the Seekers of Truth and Penitence. Aah but maybe it's just little old me finally tasting a good portion of sword and sorcery. As I've read on, I can see how this story goes down the tunnel of a single quest and how different it is from more of what I'd call an 'open world / sandbox' adventure, of which Iain Banks is the master. And I've also gotten most of the way through Zelazny's Nine Princes in Amber, and see some of the same interesting, but limiting first person-ality.
This morning I heard the first whiff of the conspiracy theory behind some elaborate and scary intra-agency rivalries that verge on warfare. According to this particular Lt. Colonel, there are some sneaky agencies that run training operations in public and have patsies in place just in case something goes wrong. But I will deal with that at length on its own because that subject would overwhelm this, which is simply the following.
Since 9/11, I sorta kinda predicted then end of the nation state. Of course I don't know what I'm talking about, because some time later, Colin Powell convinced me that state sovereignty is too powerful for anyone to let go. So state sponsored terrorism remains to me, an evil to be taken quite seriously, and more seriously than any other kind. But that doesn't change the fact that many states have many elements with many agendas, many of which come into and out of power. Today's African National Congress is in much better shape than yesterday's. Today's KKK is pathetic. Today's OWS gets no news. So the nation state continues, but watch for the movements below that level.
Here in the US, we've gone diversity happy. I am convinced that just about anyone who flies diversity flags is eating their own dog food, much of which they didn't grow themselves. Which is to say that out of 1000 diversity programs, 990 are funded by non-diverse sources. In other words, we have a lot of cliques on the inside that aren't really on the inside. A lot of guilds have politicked their way into permanence, but a dependent permanence. Kind of like the class of people with driver's licenses and gas station credit cards as compared to auto mechanics and petroleum engineers. As long as there are auto mechanics and petroleum engineers willing to work for the public, driver's licenses and gast station credit cards are meanningful, but the guild of diversity is like the guild of driver's license holders. You can call it important. That doesn't make it important.
So all of this depends upon how well the rule of law and open society functions, leveraging the standing of the American general public. But at some point, I have decided to prepare myself for what might come next, which is the degredation of all that. How shall I say it? When it's time to cross the desert, the entire value of your cool low rider is nullified. Time to buy a Jeep.
So I'm interested in, as I said, my own martial education - but in the context of a reasonable guild. Not survivalists, but people whose value transcends the relative luxuries our open society provide today, but are not promised for tomorrow. That means that I need to make real tribal links.