The dialectic of the soul

All action stems from either thought or motion- or a lack thereof. Similarly, discretion properly practiced rests on the catalyst of thought or emotion, but subjugated to their own realms. Thus, the discretionary process of an individual depends on the relationship between the head and the heart. The soul is comprised of a dialectic between reason and emotion. Sober, reflective analysis governs thought and passion’s moral-compass informs emotion. A failure to constrain the two- to let emotion masquerade as reason, or vice versa- results in a perversion of the soul. The more cavalierly an individual regards this process, the more they trend towards one extreme of discretionary malpractice, the more magnified the perversion becomes, leading to a total breakdown of personality.

Though there are inherent autonomous qualities to reason and emotion, further complicated by the degree to which an individual practices discretion, it is ultimately the responsibility of the individual to consciously subjugate the head and the heart to their proper realms. The individual must act as arbiter, choosing to synthesize the impressions and biases of one organ or another and give them their proper place in his constitution. The price of doing so is tranquility of soul, a calmness that transcends all aspects of life and allows for the development of talent to its highest potential. The only path to the Ideal is through a peaceful relationship between reason and emotion properly constrained. Failure to do so leads to war between the organs that cannot help but warp the soul and pervert individual abilities.

The head and the heart either actively aid the practice or discretion or actively pervert it; there is no middle ground. The standard of the soul is encapsulated in a Latin phrase championed by the Scottish Gunn clan: aut pax aut bellum. Either peace or war.

Aut Pax Aut Bellum

Chief among the perversions of discretionary malpractice is a warped concept of the relationship between the self and the world at large. The Consummate Man, who practices discretionism at its height, understands he is limited by his own efforts. He cannot change the world if he is in the minority. But his decisions, using Idealism factored though the lens of his personal biases and goals, are not impacted by the thoughts of actions of others. Whether he is reviled or championed, he goes quietly about his quests only caring for the work and its merit. His comportment is truly apart from the world.

The man who mistranslates the dialectic between reason and emotion, however, is molded by his reception in the world. Each time his ideas or creations are rejected, he is personally affected. He either allows the judgments of the world to sway the actions he pursues and the ideas he espouses or becomes convinced that he has a moral imperative to sacrifice himself in pursuit of the greater good he conceives of in the ideal. Both of these courses are incompatible with the nature of individuality; both are a perversion of discretion and will surely lead to death, perhaps in the body but certainly in the soul. They are directly a result of a usurpation of power by either the head or the heart in the dialectic of the soul.

Another variable that effects the dialectic of the soul is an individual’s cognizance of it. The Consummate Man understand his concept of morality and its clash with differing epistemologies; he simply does not care for the opinions of others. It is the one trait he shares with the reductionist- regard only for process. But he, at least, is capable of accepting new facts and adjusting his notions of right or wrong to fit them. Those who mispractice discretion are not capable of doing so.

Also published on Medium.

All content protected by copyright. The Politics of Discretion, 2016.
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