Philosophy of Pulp Fiction: Part 1

THE TWIN PILLARS 

Any Civilization has got to have two pillars to hold it up: Philosophy and Art. 

You’ve seen the Art form we espouse here, the literary genre of Pulp Fiction, the Warrior Epics of the 19th and 20th Century banished to the literary ghetto

So then, what is our Philosophy?

And by extension, what is our Philosophy of Western Civilization?

VIVERE MILITARE!

Our Philosophy is made for the Warrior Class. It is made for the Soldier on patrol, the Cop on the beat, the Citizen legally protecting himself in self-defense. 

But it is also more than that. It is made for all people because all of life is a Conflict. And in Conflict, there is a winner and a loser.

That’s what the Stoics understood. They called this idea “Agon”, which Medal of Honor Winner and Hero of the Hanoi Hilton Lt. Cmdr. James Bond Stockdale defined as “Competition, stress, pressure, struggle to win”.[1]

It’s what makes life possible. To see what I mean, get up out of your chair and take a few steps. You were able to move because your feet fought the friction of the ground, and in the end you overcame that friction and moved. You won.

Without that friction, you couldn’t have moved at all. You needed that force to oppose you in conflict in order for you to achieve your goal. If that friction wasn’t there, you’d slip and fall on the floor. 

That’s the nature of life, and it’s what Marcus Auraelius meant when he said, “the impediment to action advances action. The obstacle becomes the way”.[2]

But life isn’t just Conflict. It is Conflict in pursuit of a Goal. 

Mankind is a Goal-seeking creature. Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas call this by its Latin name, “Telos”.[3] In the example above, your goal was to get from point A to point B by taking a few steps. Friction opposed you in achieving your Goal. 

There you go, there’s your Conflict. You fight; you take your steps and you made it. You’ve achieved your Goal. You’ve won. 

Because this is the nature of all life’s creation,  then all of life’s creations are Warriors. “Vivere militare!” said the Stoics. “‘Life is being a soldier.’”[4]

THAT MAGICAL ELEMENT

So we have our Philosophy. It is for the Warrior Class of all people, because “Life is being a soldier.” 

We have seen that it comes from the Stoics like Epicteutus, Marcus Auraelius, and James Bond Stockdale. And we have seen that it comes from Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas.

But there is one more element, too that makes it unique to the Western World. This element is one that has conquered Civilizations, overthrown Tyrants, and allowed for the building of towering edifices of what is Good, True, and Beautiful.

What is that element?

We call it Confrontational Warrior Culture. 

Learn all about it next week in our next installment, “Philosophy of Pulp Fiction: Part 2”!

Bibliography

[1] Stockdale, James Bond. Thoughts Of A Philosophical Fighter Pilot. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1995. Pg 18. See also Neizsche, Frederich, “Homer’s Competition.” 1872. Retrieved from http://nietzsche.holtof.com/Nietzsche_various/homers_competition.htm and Kiland, Taylor Baldwin, and Peter Fretwell. Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton: Six Characteristics of High-Performance Teams. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2013. 

[2] De Sena, Joe. Spartan Fit: 30 Days. Transform Your Mind. Transform Your Body. Commit to Grit. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. Pg. 109.

[3] See Miner, Thomas. Thomas Aquinas on the Passions: A Study of Summa Theologiae, Ia2ae 22-48. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2011. 

[4] Stockdale, James Bond. Thoughts Of A Philosophical Fighter Pilot. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1995. Pg. 189.

1 thought on “Philosophy of Pulp Fiction: Part 1

  1. Oh, I’m liking this already!

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