So you know whether to read further, some background disclosure: I am Peter Harris, aka the ‘wizard of Eutopia’. My hero is Gandalf. I am an idealist from way back, a writer of fantasy inspired by Tolkien (see Apples of Aeden), an artist (see Altars of Art) and the builder of cafe Eutopia in Northland, New Zealand (so I use English spelling I’m afraid!). I have an MA in philosophy from Auckland university (My 1995 thesis – which was controversial and ‘narrowly failed’, so is not archived – was titled ‘Process and Inquiry’).
Before that, in 1978 I think, I got a degree in biblical Hebrew and classical Greek from Otago university – I was then a Christian. I am now quite enthusiastic about much of so-called Paganism – especially the vision of all life as connected and sacred and of the Goddess as a balance to the masculine God. I also revere science and learning of all kinds, especially philosophical, mathematical and logical.
I am a convinced Platonist in that I believe in the primacy of Mind over Matter, and a process theorist in that I see the World as process, evolving in complexity and tending towards levels of higher and higher Quality.
And I am a Romantic. I do not belong to any political party or group, but am a fervent believer in democracy, freedom and enterprise under the rule of law. In general, the four values I try to live by are Love, Beauty, Truth and Freedom. Oh, and I am at the time of this writing and the founding of this site, 61, married, a father of four, and a (doting) grandfather of two boys.
Welcome, now, to this quest, which is not mine only but that of all true ‘Men of the West’. It is a call to action, a meditation and a celebration of the essence of what I call the True West – that ideal blueprint of a civilisation never yet fully manifested in what is called the West, but often adumbrated in our fiction, for me most potently in Tolkien’s Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings; and in the myths of Camelot, Arthur and Guinevere, Merlin and the Lady of the Lake.
It is like a hologram, visible in glimpses throughout our Western culture when it attains some part of its potential. I have seen it, felt it, and know that it is a ‘true and real possibility’ to quote the philosopher C.S. Peirce. I know that, if you feel drawn to this site, that you must have felt it too, and and for its sake love this imperfect and often infuriating, wasteful and overwhelming Western culture, which is currently ascendant because of the great ideals which it (however imperfectly) is based upon and follows in its laws and customs.
I have since 2000 been actively trying to elucidate and manifest in microcosm these ideals, in what I called Eutopia. I built, or attempted to build, an inspirational space and cafe called Cafe Eutopia, a kind of ‘temple to Love Beauty, Truth and Freedom’ – now sold to others with more funding to complete it, while I still seek the essence of Eutopia and its fuller articulation. I have changed the term to ‘The True West’ because it is more clearly connected with our actual civilisation, whereas Eutopia, like Utopia, can too easily be dismissed as an irrelevant pipedream or fantasy. I want to show that we Westerners, like it or not, are formed by and live within the Western dreaming, as surely as the Chinese live within theirs, and the Indians, and all other cultures…
The wonderful thing about the Western Dreaming (and I speak only as one who really knows only his – our – own Dreaming and tries not to assume anything about that of other cultures) is that it contains within it the fateful urge to Truth above all, to clarity and honesty. This means it must always evolve and self-correct if it is to be true to itself. And here lies its glory and its greatest danger. We learn and change, and grow powerful through the knowledge which the honouring of truth brings – and forget who we are, and become degenerate, and even begin to kick away the truth-honouring ladder upon which we ascended. After that, it is only a matter of time before we begin to fall. This, unfortunately, has begun to happen. Our philosophers have led the kicking away, and become relativists who no longer believe in Truth, and our artists and architects and all the others who take their lead from philosophy have begun to fall with them into ugliness, nihilism and banality.
Our scientists, meanwhile, have forged on ahead, discovering the nuclear fire that can destroy our planet many times over, and unlocking a whole Pandora’s box of perils. They may not know or care that the philosophers have deposed God and Mind and elevated blind matter and energy as ultimate, but they and all of us still have to face the moral dilemmas their technology has brought up. On what basis will they try to solve them? Matter gives no guidance, except that biology urges the rule of the strongest and the survival of our tribe at the expense of all others. Without full respect for Truth as perceived by the reasoning mind, as C.S. Lewis said in ‘The Abolition of Man’, mere biology WILL rule us, and the West will fall. Here I must quote Yeats’ prophetic poem:
THE SECOND COMING
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
This, of course, would be a disaster, of a magnitude far greater than the fall of Rome. The technology remains, at least for long enough for the worst, full of a terrible fanatical certainty, to wipe out the best – and eventually, all the rest of us.
This cannot happen from the outside, short of a cosmic collision or similar. The West is immensely strong, adaptable and widely redundant in all its systems. No, if it falls, it will be an inside job. And we will have let it.
That is why I am not just investigating one area of philosophy or painting beautiful pictures or writing. The inside job is too far advanced. I have been called up. The threat from extremists fanatics and terrorists of all stripes (yes, mostly Muslim now, although Christianity, as its bloody history shows, is more than capable of producing its own incredibly evil movements, such as the Inquisition) is nothing to the threat from the thought viruses at work in our culture.
I don’t normally speak in terms of evil, but this year, I did. I was starting to do my painting seriously, and preparing to submit it to some galleries. But then I read ‘The $12 million Shark – the curious economics of contemporary art’, and what optimism I still had died, and was replaced by moral and aesthetic revulsion. These guys are corrupt, so corrupt that it set off an alarm bell in my heart and mind which has not stopped ringing. ‘There is something rotten in the state of Denmark’… These people, the so-called ‘great artists’ of our time, are like the maggots which grow fat as they consume something dead… something that was precious, the greatest culture I know of if only because of its infinite potential…
We are in a war for the soul of the West. And many of us are joining our enemies in slandering it, in the name of our ethnic conscience. Yes, ‘the physicists have known sin’ – but do we really understand what a long way we of the West have climbed to get to this point, where we can seriously attempt the righting of all wrongs we have perpetrated along the way, against the materially weaker tribes of the world? Do we have no understanding of what a torch it is we carry, passed on from countless seekers after truth, martyrs to the forces of barbarism and the law of the jungle? If we fall, the injustices will be unnumbered, there will be no legal redress, no Waitangi Tribunals, no War Crimes court.
In this site, I hope to make a clear map of the constellation of ideals that we in the West have inherited, and what we can and should do with it, and to a lesser degree a map of the main threats to it, and a refutation of the ideas which drive that threat. Join me in this quest, click on the Follow button to get email notifications and headlines of the posts, and perhaps join me in contributing articles, links and so on.