We’re All In The Mosh Pit, And We Love It

 

Maybe you read internet blogs on a frequent basis.  If you do, it is likely that these sites will share, in a general sense, the same subject matter.  Or overlap at least.

If you feel like everyone is piled up on each other in a great seething mass of bodies–careening off each other like so many agitated atoms–you are not alone.

They tell us that the world is a big place, and that the internet is a big place.  But sometimes it does not seem so.  We are in fact all in each others’ faces.  Nothing wrong with this, you know.  Because we know how to deal with each other.

Even if I do not really know a man, I still know him.  We all know each other, and feel each other.  We know how to regulate ourselves and our interactions.  Sometimes we fight.  And this is good.

We don’t take it personally.  Even when we fight each other, we accept each other.  Maybe, deep down, even like each other.  This is just how men are.

The same thing applies in nearly every congregation of bodies, interests, even inanimate objects.  There is just so much matter out there.  So many corporeal things.  One wants to slough off such debilitating matter, as its gravitational force seems to weigh us down, somehow, on some metaphysical level.

And all these physical bodies, each with its own striving personality, are in an unsteady, tense sort of equilibrium.  The tensile forces holding all together can give and stretch only so much, before the surface-skin must break, somehow.  And it is quite good that this is so.  It is in the nature of things, as far as life-forces go.

All men collected together, in any common enterprise, exhibit this sort of tense interchange.  For each man has his own pole of will, and those poles sometimes attract, and sometimes repel, the corresponding energies of the others.

And sometimes this delicate balance can be upset, and then a violent release is needed to bring things back into cosmic order.  Cosmic Rightness, we might say.

Violence has a cathartic force all of its own.  For which we should be very glad.

Let me give you an example.  In the old days of sail, when the captain of a ship was lord and master over the crew, men were in each other’s faces for long periods of time:  working, eating, sleeping, and the like.

Men can get on each others’ nerves after a while, under such conditions.  Not necessarily in a bad, evil-minded way.  But just in the way that the Physical Equilibrium we described above can become overcharged with electric intensity.  And this overcharge needs a release:  it needs to spark off, somehow.

Too much energy needs to be dissipated.  Somehow.

And this is why it was felt necessary to flog a man every now and then.  That balance, that Equilibrium, needed to be restored.  It was nature’s way of keeping those tensile forces in their proper balances.

On ships, in these interminable sea-voyages, you would see slime-bags beginning to act surly, unruly, and undisciplined.  And it would grow on your nerves, after a while.  The whole dynamic is described in detail in a passage in Richard Henry Dana’s Two Years Before The Mast, a classic of American literature:

The captain stood on the break of the deck, a few feet from him, and a little raised, so as to have a good swing at him, and held in his hand the bight of a thick, strong rope.  The officers stood round, and the crew grouped together in the waist…

And we know what comes next.

Don’t tell me how whipping is bad.  I’m not convinced.  I say, bravo.  More people in America nowadays need to be whipped:  it would do no end of good.  For themselves, and for the rest of us.  The proper balances of life are thereby restored, and the Equilibrium reaffirmed.

We have lost our moral sense of regulating this Equilibrium properly.  It cannot be done through words alone, through mealy-mouthed invocations to “goodness.”

Sometimes, man just wants to be flogged.  No more lectures:  just the cat o’ nine tails, or the rope’s end.  We are speaking of moral truths here.

Flogging came to be viewed as a great barbarism eventually, and so passed into history.  But I wonder sometimes.  I wonder how “humane” our systems are now, which punish terribly for small infractions, that in previous eras might have been dispensed with a good hiding.  There is too much sheltering, too much coddling, too much protection from the moral forces of the world now.

So expect a re-adjustment of Equilibrium every now and then.  It is right, and it is good.  We are in this pit together, and will thrash around in it, and find our own balance.

Men can handle this logic, and can obey its law.

 

Read More:  Beware The Waters Of Salmacis

7 thoughts on “We’re All In The Mosh Pit, And We Love It

  1. I finished reading Dana’s book a few months ago; what I found interesting is even Dana didn’t think whipping was barbaric. He later adamantly defends a captain’s total authority on the ship because he also has total responsibility over it and the crew.

    I wonder if that scene in the book inspired Heinlein’s whipping scene in the novel Starship Troopers when one of the recruits hits his sergeant or CO. Even in that quasi-fascist society, whipping is considered appalling, but necessary to maintain social order and stability.

    Then, of course, there is the great debate in the 2003 film “Master and Commander” between Jack Aubrey and his surgeon friend about the necessity of whipping a sailor for insubordination.

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    • Glad you read the book, man. It’s a great one. And I agree with you…physical enforcement of discipline under adverse conditions is absolutely necessary. Men cannot be impelled to goodness or duty by rosary beads and pater nosters alone.

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