“Make no small plans; for they have no magic to stir men’s blood”
This quote is often attributed to Winston Churchill, but like many great ideas, he stole it and repurposed it for his own use. The man who did utter these words was not the architect of a great nation but rather an architect of great buildings, and here is the full quote:
“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and our grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty.” – Daniel Burnham, architect and designer of the World’s Colombian Exposition in Chicago.
Think big! Dream big! Small projects fall by the wayside; they get lost in the mundane. Great projects inspire men today, tomorrow, and forever. They move our children to do great things, things which will stagger our minds…so long, according to Burnham, so long as you focus on Order and Beauty.
But how do Order and Beauty appear? How is their magnificence brought to light? The answer is simple yet powerful: Order and Beauty are manifested by the actions of great men. Action is thus the first step towards Order and Beauty.
A life without action has neither Order nor Beauty..and in fact, a life a without action not only leads to a dull and stifling existence, a life without action leads to madness.
As Teddy Roosevelt said, “Get action; do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create; act; take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action.”
But not all actions are the same, nor do they have the same effect. A tweet is a minor effort. A blog is a step in a more fruitful direction. And a book is a noble beginning, but without action, without progress, without a resultant community of men who take action, a book lies inert, like a road map with no travelers, a sign post with no observers, or a world, as of yet, unattained.
An action which spurs no further action is inert. If you do something and no one responds, either positively or negatively, you’ve simply masturbated in public.
Quality of action depends on the consequential behavior of those who observe or participate in the action.
Therefore, we must strive not to create something great, but also to motivate the witness to greatness themselves.
* * *
I learned of Burnham’s quote while reading “The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America.” by Erik Larson. The book is about the World Expo held in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century. Burnham is one of the main characters: he’s an architect with great plans. And Chicago is the setting, one of the best towns in America. I love Chicago for its culture and people, but it’s also one of my favorite architectural cities in the world, owed in part, to the grandness and soaring majesty of the Art Deco buildings that create its skyline.
Reading this book now is a convenient happenstance for me. As close readers of mine will know, I’ve been on a bit of an art and architecture kick lately. And I’ve been enthralled with Art Deco architecture for years, but recent trips to view the Manifesto exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, recently turned my focus on the visual arts and how various artistic movements came to be.
At the Hirshhorn, I was reminded that great political movements have often corresponded with or been attributed to new eras of art and design. And these artistic movements tend to have at their core, a manifesto that critiques the old way and exalts the new. Futurism, Dadaism, Cubism, Surrealism, the list goes on, all had manifestos where the writers spilled their emotion and vision onto the pages in hopes of inspiring others.
Inspiration is what drives others to action. Art without inspiration, is again, masturbation, but art which results in a movement, now that is something to behold.
After returning to the exhibit multiple times, I started reading the manifestos themselves.
The words used by the manifesto’s authors are filled with energy, momentum, and emotion…some which would probably offend many today:
- “Make room for youth, for violence, for daring!”
- “You all are complete idiots, made with the alcohol of purified sleep. You are like your hopes: nothing. Like your paradise: nothing. Like your idols: nothing. Like your political men: nothing. Like your heroes: nothing. Like your artists: nothing.”
- “Before I come down there among you to tear out your rotten teeth, your scab-filled ears, your canker-covered tongue. Before I rip off your ugly, incontinent and cheesy little dick. Before I thus extinguish your appetite for orgasms, philosophy, pepper + metaphysical + poetical cucumbers – Before all of that, we’re going to have a great big bath in antiseptic – And we’re warning you, it’s us who are the murderers of all your little newborn babies.”
- “Look at us! We’re not exhausted yet! Our hearts feel no weariness, for they feed on fire, on hatred, on speed! Look around you! Standing tall on the roof of the world, yet again, we hurl our defiance at the stars! Our eyes, spinning like propellers, take off into the future on the wings of hypothesis.”
- “LET THE REIGN OF THE DIVINE ELECTRIC LIGHT BEGIN AT LAST!”
- “The best and most extraordinary artists will be those who every hour snatches the tatters of their bodies out of the frenzied cataract of life, who, with bleeding hands and hearts, hold fast to the intelligence of their time.”
- “I am at war with my time, with history, with all authority that resides in fixed and frightened forms. I am one of the millions who do not fit in, who have no home, no family, no doctrine, no firm place to call my own, no known beginning or end.”
- “I declare WAR on all icons and finalities, on all histories that would chain me with my own falseness, my own pitiful fears. I know only moments and lifetimes that are as moments, and forms that appears with infinite strength, and melt into air. I am a constructor of WORLDS.”
These writers did not endeavor to create something small, nor meaningless. They did not set out to simply make a thing, or a design a space. These revolutionaries (misguided or otherwise) sought to make lasting and meaningful change, they set their sights on their rulers, their laws, their order…. their tyranny. And they wished not for a fleeting nod to the aesthetic appeal of their creations, but rather yearned for massive change, not just in the salons of Europe, but in the hearts and minds of all those who inhabit the earth.
Make no small plans.
No surprise that Burnham and most of the manifesto writers I cite above were contemporaries.
* * *
Art Deco Soars
Art Deco appeals to me because of its grandeur. The materials are rich and exotic, the lines soar to the sky in defiance of gravity. Art Deco appreciates the natural world and embraces geometry, but it also idolizes man and his ability to shape the world around him. Does the rocket ship of buildings, the art deco skyscraper, concede to the power of gravity? No, it works to overcome it, to move beyond it, and to point us and our dreams to the sky.
Art Deco inspired millions and it had its day, but modernity killed it. It took the detail, the lust for the life, the adoration of beauty, strength, and power, and replaced it with a rootless, monolithic, generic style called “internationalist.”
Internationalist buildings intended to make something out of nothing. They worked to create power through volume, spaces by absences, and style, well style be damned. Instead of buildings topped like the Chrysler Building in NYC, adorned in shape and motion, each floor working to lift our sight and our spirit – we now get boxes maximized to their utter most boxiness – with the interiors left voluminous yet void. The human spirit was no longer reflected in the structure, but instead now left to be expressed by the souls who inhabited the soulless buildings, except this time they’re not given architecture which channeled the emotion of a revolutionary minded manifesto. They just get ‘space.’ There is no leadership.
Yes, Chicago has several famous internationalist buildings, but its heart and soul, its stylistic heyday, its most memorable elements are still the Art Deco classics that line its river.
The spirit of Art Deco lives on inside the Loop.
* * *
You must stand for something.
Why am I so concerned with art and beauty today?
Because I’m tired of being defined by what I’m against rather than by what I am for.
“In time this will no longer be enough. In time, every no will have been said. A yes will be required. To escape is not just to escape, but, in the end, to build.” – Curtis Yarvin
It is easy to stand and point, to critique and shame, but it takes balls and vision to create something great, something beautiful, so beautiful it inspires action, actions that create change, change which creates meaning, meaning that our future sons and grandsons will admire.
We’ve reached the point of our cultural revolution where aesthetics have become important.
Bronze Age Pervert posts natural masculine beauty. Vox Day publishes fiction that embodies his ideals. Roman McClay published an epic three volume masterpiece. Why?
Because they look to current art and see nothing which represents the bold courageous future we need. All around us is the embrace of ugly. Grace, power, and elegance have been discarded in favor of blobs of everything which become nothing. Art today deconstructs. It is time for us to CONSTRUCT.
Curtis Yarvin explains:
“All revolutions begin as a fundamentally aesthetic break. The first step in a cultural revolution is the birth of a new artistic school. Behind this aesthetic must come an artistic movement, then artistic institutions. These institutions, if they prosper, become the cultural core of the new regime. Art is the spring, lever and hinge of any real change in our time.”
No small plans.
I look at Art Deco and I feel something. I feel inspired. I feel like reaching up to the stars, grabbing them, and making them my own. I want to be those soaring towers, I want to manifest man’s power over the earth, I want to enjoy the richness of exotic materials and notes from foreign lands. I want to indulge. I feel my urges swell when I see the beauty and power of Art Deco. I am moved.
Is Art Deco the future of the artistic impression Yarvin describes? Perhaps not. But its effect on me most certainly is. We must create beauty that inspires people to live by the ideals we believe form the foundation of a healthy and stable society.
But alas, I am no architect, nor am I a visual artist.
What am I to do instead?
I could tweet, but we’ve established that’s low value. I could blog, surely a step in the right direction, but its not the answer. I’ve written a book, and I’ll probably write more, but that’s still not enough. No, my words must flow through my fingers, on to the page, out into the world, and into the ears of men of action.
My art is to create change through community.
I wrote this almost three years ago:
“As auto-regulating men we must continuously assess, reassess, adjust and move forward. We alone are responsible for our well-being – physical, mental, and emotional.
But we cannot and do not have to do it alone. Technology has brought men together on the basis of ideas and condition – rather than geography or happenstance. This is a revolutionary change which we can use to enhance our lives together.
As you go through your own process of loss, pain, regret, reflection, and wisdom – don’t do it by yourself. Reach out and find community. The power of the internet means at any one given moment, there is likely a group of men experiencing the exact same thing you are. Find collective strength with them and grow together. This involves a deeper level of communication and empathy than has been expected of men in the past but give it a try. You will benefit.”
“Taking care of myself is the first step towards caring for others
We have a moral obligation to maintain our health and fitness as providers.
Sometimes I get overwhelmed with fatherhood. It is an enormous and complex task. I constantly wonder if I’ve already failed. But then I remember, as I wrote in the Jack Murphy Basics, we must first care for ourselves in order to provide for our family, our community, our nation, and eventually the world. It all starts with self-preserving acts of strength and resilience. Physical health, mental well-being, mindset control – these are the foundations for any successful life and fatherhood is no different.”
These words will seem familiar to members of the Liminal Order because we are living them every day inside our membership.
What I wrote three years ago in a period of expression and exploration has indeed become a verifiable reality with power and positive impact on the men who have joined us, their families, and now even the community at large.
I took that vision and created something new and bold which aims for greatness. It is intended to inspire. Its desired outcome is to spur actions from those who participate, or who even merely witness what we’ve undertaken.
In June 2019 I created the Liminal Order. And now, together, our community will create something so beautiful and so powerful that our sons and grandsons will admire us. Our families will benefit, our community will grow, and in time, we will fortify our Nation.
As the tumult of 2020 tumbles out before us I want to leave you with these thoughts:
THINK BIG WITH ME.
What will we create? How will we embody our ideals? How will we take action and find sanity? What “no small plans” shall we unfurl on the world to inspire others to leap into motion?
What will you do?
What will you become?
What will we all become?
What will the Liminal Order’s legacy be?
A small plan lost in the mundane?
Or will it rise like an Art Deco tower to the Titans in the sky?
* * *
Join us in the Liminal Order and find out: