Clausewitz famously said "War is an extension of politics by other means." Reversing this Curtis Yarvin said that "politics is a special case of war." Twisting this further, I will suggest that "Aesthetics are an extension of politics and war by other means."
What is aesthetic conflict? First, we must address conflict. There is conflict that occurs constantly around us, whether we are aware of it or not. Whether we see it with our eyes or hear it with our ears. There is conflict in our body, when our body fights an infection. There is conflict in the animal kingdom when animals fight for territory. There is conflict in the natural world found in the weather patterns which produce various phenomena. There is spiritual conflict that occurs in the spiritual realm. Evil is real and there is obviously, as any person of faith knows and believes, a layer of reality in which evil is in conflict with Good. Some would say that it is conflict in the spiritual realm which determines the forces of conflict in all other territories. At the most base and core level, there is even conflict in our souls. We all have a good impulse and an evil impulse. They are competing for our soul. This is conflict within us, at a deep spiritual level.
Conflict occurs in different territories. Territory need not only be physical. A simple understanding of physical territory would be that of a fenced space. A fenced space, 100 x 100, a perfect square. This is an enclosed territory in the physical. Of course, there is intellectual territory. Let's say you have a certain discipline. This is a certain intellectual territory in which those who practice this discipline exist. They may get along at some points or they may come into conflict at some points. This is an intellectual territory. There is the spiritual territory in which the domain of Good and evil exist. This needs no further explanation. These are not the only territories which exist. There are many others. This is just an example of a few different forms of territories both physical and non-physical.
Now that we have established that conflict occurs within territories we can begin to discuss the territory of aesthetics. We know that aesthetics is huge and all encompassing. We cannot even come close to addressing the entirety of this field or territory but will first set out to understand the nature of conflict in this territory and then beyond this we will further narrow our focus to that of clothing.
Just because one may not conceive of aesthetics as a territory in which conflict is occurring, does not mean it is not occurring. Ideas, our world and reality itself is like an onion. There are many layers that exist whether one is touching / seeing them, or not. It is also important to fan out a bit what exactly we are referring to here. We are referring to, in a very broad sense of the word, aesthetics as our surrounding and visual sensory world. In an even more simple, less clinical way one could say we are not so much addressing aesthetics first, but rather simply beauty or even most simply the observable intentional-world. Why though, it is important to tie this back to aesthetics, and never forget this path, is due to the engagement with meaning, philosophy, worldview which underlies this intentional-world.
Everything written here can apply to any facet in this physical visual realm. Remember reality and our world is an onion. This is also true of aesthetic understanding or even more simply the sensory world. Certainly you see with your eyes a certain thing. It makes you feel certain feelings. As you grow you develop certain tastes and you come to understand that you think certain things are beautiful and certain things are less beautiful.
Okay, great. You like how it looks. You have a certain taste for something. If you go to a deeper layer of the onion, you start to think about what these symbols mean. You think about what these things mean to you, without your consciously thinking about what they mean to you. These things, these images, this presentation, this aesthetic means something deeper to you, whether you are understanding, or aware of it or not. It goes beyond active understanding and goes to your heart. Formalizing linguistically or attempting to consciously understand the deeper layers of meaning is not creating the meaning. It is attempting to explain that which already is within. It is within, without the explanation or understanding.
An image may be beautiful in it's own right, and that is enough. It is possible to have meaning in that image that penetrates without needing to be understood, it is possible for that meaning to be wrapped up entirely in the beauty. It is two identically shaped, yet different toned lenses set over each other. The meaning is in the image and the image is the meaning. The ideology is in the image and the image is the ideology. The politics are the aesthetics and the aesthetics are the politics.
It must be addressed that midwit fools at this point often freak out and say. "Aesthetics as politics is Fascism!" This obviously needs to be dismissed out of hand. These are fools. Sure, aesthetics as politics is fascism. Aesthetics as politics everything. All of life is aesthetics as politics. Signals from aesthetics. Signals which point to something deeper and point to something greater. Intentionally manifesting that in physical form, that is so ancient and so integral to life to locate it exclusively to "fascism" is so foolish, so stupid and wrong (and actually a dirty dishonest cynical trick which I will write about in a later part of this series) it doesn't warrant any more addressing other than this brief addressing.
The visual layer, without any thought of what it points toward, is like the tip of an iceberg. Below the part of the iceberg which is visible above the water, there is hidden much more. This same is true for aesthetics. The same is true for clothing. Some may argue and say:
"You don't need to think about this. It's not true! It's just the visual and beauty for beauty's sake."
This is 100% true, but only at a certain layer(s) of the onion. It is completely okay if many people feel this way. This is how most should feel. This is how we should allow ourselves to simply be. Looking at the lower layers, the more inside layers is not for everyone nor any of us at all times. That being said, it can be useful to understand these inside layers because it is these inside layers which impact the outside layers and those who have no interest in the lower inner core are still be impacted by that hidden core which they are unaware of, whether they know it or not. Remember, conflicts are occurring around us all the time, whether we perceive them or not and whether we join them or not.
The conflict in the realm of aesthetics is a conflict pertaining to values, conceptions of beauty and the order of the world as it (is/was/will be) should be. Or to put it more simply and directly - the current aesthetic conflict in which we are a part, is a conflict between chaos-ugliness vs orderly-beauty. The forces of total chaotic, deformed and degraded degeneration are trying to smother, corrupt, rob and destroy the forces of beauty, order and goodness. This most base understanding of chaos-ugliness vs orderly beauty, with the ascendent force for a great many years being that of chaos-ugliness, is on full display in nearly every aspect of our visual world.
Cars, houses, buildings, roads, clothing, hairstyles, furniture, art and so many others are all domains in which this aesthetic conflict wages on, with force of chaos-ugliness growing and absorbing more, each and every year. In the most twisted sign of our degenerating dystopia even bodies, which to this day seem to be the deepest place of conquest for the chaos ugliness, have entered the realm of unholy destruction by man. Trans-sexualism, tattooing, grotesque repulsive piercings, horrifying disorienting unnatural neon hair coloring. This is, in a way, the furthest frontier this destructive force has penetrated. The breaching into this territory is additionally a sign of a further stretching of the push toward total liberation from all norms, rules, and restrictions.
We have now touched the idea of this onion, reality and our world. The idea that the world/territory of aesthetics is no different in this structure of seen and unseen, yet penetrable layers. We have established that intentionally manifesting certain values and ideas in physical forms which point in the direction of the non physical idea and this is present all around us. Now we have reached this point, we can dip our toe more specifically into clothing, the corner of this world in which aesthetics, meaning and beauty rest upon our bodies nearly every waking moment.
Every person is a part of some culture/historical way, style/trend and/or group of people/sub-culture. There is no island, truly. The great majority may not be aware of this, or they may be aware of a certain element of it, yet nevertheless they are a part of this territory and playing a role in this dynamic world. Every single man and woman is a part of this conflict whether they choose so or not. Whether aware of it or not, every man and woman is participating in either aesthetic degradation or aesthetic elevation of some sort. You are a participant wither unwilling or willing. You are helping to build something and/or destroy something in the aesthetic realm every moment of every day. Many say this applies only to the public realm, but some even suggest it applies to the private realm! That layer of aesthetic reality, the unseen image yet still present in the transcendental conflict, now that's an idea! It is known that Nixon wore a coat and tie even when alone in his own home.
Do you think that the hippies who grew their hair long, who stunk and presented themselves as slobs, do you think that they were making a cultural, political, social or idealogical statement? Of course.
The tattooed individual who has covered their body with tattoos and piercings. They have severely altered hair. It is dark pitch blue-black or some wild color. Is there a cultural, political, social or idealogical message in their aesthetic? Of course.
As men who dress ourselves intentionally, against the forces of degradation and degeneration. As men who very carefully and intentionally choose a way of dressing which goes against the great blob-society today; is there a cultural, political, social or idealogical message in our aesthetic? Of course.
My idea, elaboration, discussion on this idea and on our message will appear in Part 2.