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Hello from Aristasia, and The nature of the Left

Hello. I am very new here and wanted to post something on the thread about the Left’s self-definition. However, being a dotty Aristasian blonde, I can’t work out how it works. Instead here is something I wrote to a friend on the question of what we might mean these days by the terms “right and “left”. You may find it of interest.

You say it should be obvious what you mean by Left and Right. Well, yes, I do think I know what you mean by them. If one uses “Left” to mean everything disruptive of order and harmony, of thame as an Aristasian would say, one is, of course using the term in a sense that long predates modern (I.e. - post French-revolutionary) politics. We are talking about the sinister in the profoundest sense.

However, while this sense clearly has an influence (largely subliminal, since moderns are unaware of metaphysics) on modern political terminology, the two senses are not directly transposable.

I would certainly say that most of the political orthodoxies now known as Political Correctness (Policed Consciousness) derive from the rantings of the extreme New Left in the 1960s.

At the time no sane socialist M.P. would have given these doctrines house-room. Many of them no conservative politician would now dare challenge.

But this in itself is an example of the redefinition of the political implications of the terms “left” and “right”.

“Yes,” you will reply “They are constantly re-defined leftward.”

That is true, but it also not quite so simple. Another shift is that the working-class left, which was once the backbone of the left movement (not its director to be sure, but that is another matter) has been wholly displaced by middle-class deracinationism.

In Britain, to complicate the matter further, one would have to call this middle-class-pseudo-proletarian (bourgeoik) deracinationism.

This is not just a move to the left on the old political spectrum, though it is certainly a move toward the sinister in the deeper meaning of the term.

What I am saying is that this march of the sinister does not wholly correspond to what is termed “left” politically. And indeed what is termed “left” politically is not always that easy to define.

In the 1960s, when the older model still generaly prevailed, if you asked an ordinary, educated person “what is Left and what is Right?” She would almost inevitably say “”Right is broadly capitalist and left broadly Socialist.”

Now that view did not prevail in the 19th century, and it does not really prevail today.

The whole political spectrum has shifted to the left in cultural “sinistrist” terms, but to the right in capitalist-socialist terms.

The British “New” Labour Party, while being more socially destructive and sinistrist than any previous socialist government is also more capitalistic than any previous socialist government (and, indeed, more capitalistic than ’60s Conservative gvernments).

In a Trentish [1930s] book the statement “Government should be run on business lines” was discussed. It was considered a statement that would be espoused by the Liberal Party and opposed by the Tory party (still, to some extent, seen as the party of the gentry as opposed to the industrial new rich).

By the 1960s the statement would have been considered the very epitome of Conservative ideology. This very statement would have marked, in most people’s minds, the fault-line between Left and Right.

By the 1990s the statement would be considered typical of the thinking of New Labour - the most left-wing (in the sinistrist sense) party ever to hold power in Britain.

So you see a very cardinal statement has held three quite different - and opposing - political significances in the course of less than a century.

I mention this merely to indicate that using the trems “Left” and “Right” as convenient labels with fixed meanings is not as simple as it seems. One could bring up many other instances.

What we oppose is “sinistrism”, deracination, the undermining and inversion of all civilised norms. The things you so beautifully argue against.

I do not think we should muddy the waters by confusing this profound and ultimate battle with the mich more trivial “conflicts” of the modern political “Left” and “Right”, which are in any case mostly a smokeskreen under cover of which, whoever wins, deracination and sinistrism constantly advance.


I agree that “Right” and “Left” are confusing when defined in an overly coventional and unphilosophical way. Almost any particular thing can change from “Right” or “Left” in a few years or anyway decades. I suppose I’d be inclined to define “Left” as a tendency toward a purely this-worldly understanding of things, and so a debunking of tradition, abandonment of the transcendent, conversion of the whole world through and through to a rationalized hedonistic system, and so reduction of man to consumer, productive unit, therapeutic and welfare client, and (in the case of women) consumer good.

Whatever tendency most advances that process becomes “progressive” and “Left,” whatever resists it becomes “Right.” If business methods advance it they become progressive and Left, if they retard it because socialist methods would be more effective they become “reactionary.” Supporting the working class is Left as long as that disrupts the traditional class hierachy, but once that traditional hierarchy has been thoroughly disrupted and the point is to disrupt the traditional hierarchies of family and neighborhood the working class becomes reactionary and middle-class functionaries who bludgeon the working class in the interests of advancing e.g. feminism and multiculturalism become the Left’s standard-bearers.

I suppose my point is that while “Left” and “Right” can seem analytically shakey at times on the whole I think they do keep up with the general trend of the modern development and successfully refer to those who oppose and favor it.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Mostly I agree, sir, although there is also a Nietzschean, social-Darwinist (etc.) right which only by a very special and personal-seeming definiton could one deny as being “right” or even define as “left”.

More importantly, within the “conventional” political spectrum the terms “left” and “right” can cause considerable confusion. I know many people who oppose the socially-degenerative character of the current society, yet firmly support multi-national “corporations” because they see these as being “right”, and their supposed “anti-capitalist” opponents as being “left”. Many of the same people will support wars of the liberal-capitalist West against traditional Theocentric societies, again on the grounds that these wars are “right” and their opponents are “left”.

In short, many people are being confused, largely by a terminology, into supporting the things they should logically oppose. Multi-natonal corporations and their advertising agencies have acted in a thousand ways on the side of cultural corrosion. According to your terminology, we should therefore designate them as part of the “left”. I should be happy to do so, but by that point we should be using a terminology rather obscure to most people.

I have drawn a distinction between the “sinister” - meaning everything that would be “left” according to your definition - including some very surprising things to many minds - and the “left”, I don’t necessarily propose it as a new terminology, just as an ad hoc way of getting to grips with the problem.

I think there’s usually a certain perceptiveness in ordinary usage and it makes sense to think what people might be responding to even if one eventually decides on something else.

It seems to me that both Nietzscheans and multinationals can be seen as comparatively “Right” because both stand against direct fully rationalized and administered egalitarian hedonism in favor of an ideal of discipline and achievement in the face of genuine risks and realities however empty the ideal might be in each case. In the case of Nietzscheans that should be obvious. In the case of multinationals I have the support of Plato in the Republic for the view that after the good society oriented toward transcendent goods has collapsed, and honor thereafter abandoned as a ruling principle, even wealth can retain some value as a principle of relative order. Naturally it doesn’t last, because it’s an utterly stupid principle that can’t defend itself, but in itself it’s not the final stage of disorder (even though it advances the process, as you and Plato point out, by intentionally disordering appetites for the sake of profit).

As to traditional theocracy, it seems to me that’s not what radical Islam stands for. Islam, especially radical Islam, tends I think to treat divine order as something that can be fully expressed in directives and realized by force here and now. That attitude is related to its treatment of a text in a human language as the uncreated Word of God and its identification of the religious community with a single worldwide nation ordered directly and solely by God’s law. Those seem anti-traditional attitudes to me. (Naturally, saying all that doesn’t mean that there aren’t big problems with American policy in Iraq or with messianic Americanism generally).

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

“even wealth can retain some value as a principle of relative order. Naturally it doesn’t last”

But it does. Imperial Rome lasted half a millenium. I daresay the modern corporatist-state will have as long a run.

Was wealth really the principle of order in imperial Rome? I thought it was basically the army and maybe to some extent the imperial bureaucracy, based more on family background and honor (the cursus honorum) than directly on wealth. Also, senators weren’t necessarily the richest men and couldn’t engage in non-agricultural business. If the men in the top social class couldn’t be businessmen, and their position was mostly hereditary even though there was a property qualification, how could wealth have been the principle of order?

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Roman law—the Twelve Tables—was important in Imperial order. Augustus promised Peace and Justice (Roman justice).

Aristasia, a while ago there was discussion at Turnabout of what name conservatives should call themselves. If you click on “polls” at the top of any Turnabout page, in the list of polls that comes up it’s in the readers’ comments thread for the second poll from the bottom. I for one, who am “a conservative,” don’t feel especially “conservative” and never have in my life, and wish there were some other name I could call myself. All I feel is normal. In fact, I don’t like conservatives. I feel liberal and progressive and am convinced the liberals and progressives are incapable of making social progress or of respecting liberalism but are frauds and totalitarians who don’t measure up to either of those appellations. Only my side is capable of making social progress and respecting liberalism. Of course someone who feels men can marry each other, who feels there are no differences between men and women, who feels it’s OK for a woman to bring a healthy term pregnancy to an end by means of a partial-birth abortion on a sudden whim, who feels that teaching schoolchildren there’s a right and a wrong answer to arithmetic problems is racist, or who feels government should take steps to eliminate a nation’s white majority will also claim to feel normal but either that person can be shown to be not normal or there’s no common set of criteria on which to judge normalness and each side must simply assert the rightness of its own views without even a theoretical hope of ever persuading the other. I never knew that to question any of the commonly-held liberal positions I just cited or dozens of others just as insane, one must be something called a conservative. I think one can oppose them all and be either strictly neutral politically—neither “right” nor “left”—or liberal politically, or conservative politically: any of the above. “Conservative” is not what those opposing leftism are. What those opposing leftism are is merely normal. There’s normalness and there’s degenerateness. The fact that only normalness can make social progress—i.e., only normalness can be socially “progressive”—is a tautology. Degenerateness can’t ever make social progress obviously, and leftism is characterized by degenerateness, so when leftists fancy themselves “progressives” it’s nonsense on its face. What a conservative is is a mystery. Whatever it is, I’m not one.

“If a tree falls and an expert doesn’t hear it, is there a sound?” Yes, the sweetest, most melodious sound in all creation: the sound of entropy being brought clanking, screeching, grinding to a halt.


Excuse me, I should have addressed you as Novaryana. (Aristasia is a place? Where is it?)


I finally thought of googling “Aristasia” and came across their web-site. (I’d wondered whether it wasn’t perhaps some region or place or something in Europe which I’d never heard of.) When you think about it, it makes sense for normalness (which needs the name tradconservatism nowadays, our clueless, craven, and/or corrupt élites having capitulated lock, stock, and barrel to psychotic but clever leftism, strangely without even a fight as far as anyone recalls noticing)—it makes sense for normalness to be appreciated by women involved in a form of (understated, discreet, only obliquely referred-to) lesbianism (combined with mild, spanking-type S&M) that is intimately intertwined with English genteelness and stereotypical early-to-mid 20th-century Daphne-DuMaurier-Bertie-and-Jeeves-Hitchcock’s-“Rebecca”-style Britishness. The modern left wants to destroy all that, of course, and nearly has, even as we speak (or at least gotten a damn good start). Those tradition-based, class-related, culture-related (and, I would say, race-related) “bourgeois” British atmospherics are no more welcomed by today’s left than they would have been in China at the height of Mao’s Cultural Revolution when everyone of both sexes had to wear the Mao suits, women were reduced to oxen-like drudges, and newborns were dispatched with a needle through the fontanelle in top of their heads if they had so much as one elder sibling (while the mother could only shriek nearby).

As for the underlying philosophy of Aristasia, it is exactly right on many points, such as its assertion of innate differences between men and women, differences utterly denied of course by Marxism and today’s left (we’d all so naïvely cherished the fond hope that Marxism died in the year 1989—alas, how wrong we all were!). Where it makes a colossal mistake is in treating men and women as separate from each other, as if either could exist without the other. In that it contains within itself seeds for social destructiveness as devastating as that currently wrought by the left though perhaps in slightly different ways.

“If a tree falls and an expert doesn’t hear it, is there a sound?” Yes, the sweetest, most melodious sound in all creation: the sound of entropy being brought clanking, screeching, grinding to a halt.


Another thing I really liked on their philosophy page was their referring to the 60s as “The Eclipse,” with relative normalness before, lots of chaos and degenerateness since. They’ve got that exactly right and it was refreshing to see them declare that idea about the watershed 60s so forthrightly, without apologizing, equivocating, or paying homage to political correctness whatsoever. There were several other tenets and views of theirs, such as placing great value on what we all know as tradition and others, which I completely agreed with.

“If a tree falls and an expert doesn’t hear it, is there a sound?” Yes, the sweetest, most melodious sound in all creation: the sound of entropy being brought clanking, screeching, grinding to a halt.


Dear Mr Scrooby,

Thank you for your comments, Mr. Scrooby. An interesting assessment of Aristasia from an American point of view. I should like to say that we are *not* interested in S/M at all. Discipline holds a rather complex place in our social structure, but it is certainly not one of sexual titillation.

You write:

Where it makes a colossal mistake is in treating men and women as separate from each other, as if either could exist without the other. In that it contains within itself seeds for social destructiveness as devastating as that currently wrought by the left though perhaps in slightly different ways.

If Aristasia were setting iteslf up a an universal social system, that would be true; but such is not our intention. We consider ourselves in a sense to be “liberated” by the total collapse of the culture to create a New Sensibility in any form we choose, and we choose an all-feminine form.

So whether you would call us “conservatives” or not, I really don’t know. Certainly we do not define ourselves in terms of the Pit (the remnants of Western society) or feel any particular responsibility toward it. Nor do we normally define ourselves in terms of it, although naturally it tries to do so when it encounters us, often with rather odd results.

One of our number recently did a rather significant interview with a “Goth” magazine (I suppose they were taking a day off from sacking Rome) in which she answers a lot of questions that attempt to “place” us from the Pit’s perspective, which include quite a lot of “political” questions of the sort we don’t often address directly. If you are interested in Aristasia, I think you should look at this. It is not tailored to the conservative “market” (not that we tend to do much tailoring anyway) so you will see exactly what we have to say about ourselves to Johnny Outsider. It is not officially released yet, but you will find it here:

Just wanted to point out that this discussion continues a bit in a thread over there introduced by blogger John Ray.

Long live Flanders!


«Pour juger de ce que c’est que la noblesse, disait M…, il suffit d’observer que M. le prince de Turenne, actuellement vivant, est plus noble que M. de Turenne, et que le marquis de Laval est plus noble que le connétable de Montmorency.» —Chamfort

—“To understand what nobility is,” said Monsieur …, “one has only to reflect that the Prince of Turenne, still living, is more noble than Monsieur de Turenne, and that the Marquis de Laval is more noble than the High Constable of Montmorency.”

Paul Belien has an importance piece up at

“The great American 20th century journalist H.L. Mencken pointed out […] that it is not necessary to agree with the opinions of those whose freedom of opinion one defends.”

“The fact that [hate-crimes] legislation [that does away with freedom of speech] is pushed by Muslims and radical gay activists alike, points to the single issue that unites them: their anti-Christian zealotry.”

“Which makes it all the more puzzling that the administration of a born-again Christian such as George W. Bush seems to be blind to the demise of democracy that we are currently witnessing in Europe—and which may soon happen in the U.S, too.”

What is conservatism? Paraphrasing Chamfort’s anecdote, we might say that to understand what conservatism is, one has only to reflect that President Bush is more conservative than Vladimir Palko.


Long live Flanders!


Without any doubt whatsoever in my mind, the voices that have been raised against recent outrageous Swedish PC excesses have scared an appeals court in that country into reversing Rev. Green’s conviction.

More signs of intelligent life in that PC-besotted land, faint though they be:

“A quota-based admissions policy at Uppsala University was declared unlawful last week by Uppsala district court. The two students who sued the university after they were denied a place on the law programme said they were satisfied with the decision, but the attorney general, ¶ran Lambertz, who represented the state, said he intended to appeal.”

Meanwhile, here’s more of business-as-usual in our PC-besotted neighbor to the north: Use of the term “white people” is now being attacked by some in the People’s Republic of Canuckistan as “unacceptable.” In place of the term “white people,” PC would apparently prefer something like, “older residents of the [racially-changing] community”:

“Some Toronto councillors and a race relations expert say published comments by Scarborough Councillor Mike Del Grande that ‘white people’ are moving out of his ward are divisive and unacceptable. Del Grande (Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt) says he was only reflecting on the ‘reality’ of demographic changes in his ward when he told the Scarborough Mirror last week that ‘a lot of the white people are moving out’ of the area. Late last week, Del Grande reiterated his comments that his neighbourhood is losing its white population. ‘Was “white people” not the most politically correct (term)? The reality is long-term residents of the neighbourhood have moved out and if you look at the census, they’re primarily English (or British) background,’ Del Grande said. ‘I should have said many older residents of the community (are moving out). I didn’t say it in a politically correct way.’ “ [Emphasis added.]


Long live Flanders!


I’ve not been quite as regular a vistor/participant at Turnabout these days as I have been in the past, so I didn’t see this, or I wouldn’t have reposted an account of the same thing. Anyway…

I hadn’t heard that bizarre story out of Toronto, but sadly, knowing my country, and my home province (I now live elsewhere), I’m not surprised, alas… “Older residents”, indeed - Canada’s population is aging, and the only remedy permitted is massive immigration, which makes us less and less Canadian… I have three colleagues in my department at work who all sing the praises of dog meat (from three different Asian countries) - how long before meat markets start openly selling cat and dog meat in Western countries like Canada? My guess is not long…… Queer ‘marriage’, sharia for Muslims in Ontario, and dog meat - the future of Canada…

“I suppose I’d be inclined to define “Left” as a tendency toward a purely this-worldly understanding of things, and so a debunking of tradition, abandonment of the transcendent, conversion of the whole world through and through to a rationalized hedonistic system, and so reduction of man to consumer, productive unit, therapeutic and welfare client, and (in the case of women) consumer good.”

I’m struck by the similarity of your thoughts to both Voegelin and Alisdair MacIntrye.

MacIntyre (in “After Virtue”) says the modern society is characterized by three types of individuals: the therapist, the bureaucratic manager, and the aesthete (the consumer).

Voegelin of course claims that modernity is one vast gnostic system, deluded with the conviction of the cognitive mastery of reality.

I received the following, an extract from Mark Sedgwick’s Against the Modern World:

Aristasia is the post-1980s name of a group which, in slightly different form, was earlier known as The Romantics and The Olympians. It was started in the English university city of Oxford in the late 1960s by a female academic who used the name of “Hester StClare.” StClare was born in the 1920s other details of her career are unknown. A Traditionalist, in the late 1960s she began to gather a group of younger women, mostly Oxford students, who were dismayed by the “cultural collapse” of that decade. They took Guenon one stage further: worse even than modernity was the “inverted society,” the postmodern, contemporary era produced by the cultural collapse of the 1960s an event often referred to by Aristasians as “the Eclipse.” Inverted society — often referred to as “the Pit” — stands in much the same relation to modernity as modernity stood to tradition, argued “Alice Trent,” StClare’s most important follower. Not all that was produced before the Eclipse was worthless — Beethoven and Wordsworth are clearly not “malignant aberrations,” for example. Each phase in the cycle of decline may produce developments that, while “of a lower order than was possible to previous phases … nonetheless are good and beautiful in their own right.” Nothing produced after the Eclipse is of any worth at all, however (though theoretically something might be). In practice, all in the Pit is inversion — “the deliberate aim [is] an inverted parody of all that should be.” The higher classes imitate the lowest, “family life and personal loyalty” are replaced by “a cult of `personal independence,”’ and even the earlier achievements of modernity are lost, as crime and illiteracy increase. Chaos is preferred to harmony in art and dress, and masculinity replaces femininity.

StClare, like Evola (though without any direct debt to him), added gender to Traditionalism. Evola was distinctly “masculinist,” to the extent that his “absolute individual” was threatened with feminization as a result of modernity; Aristasia took the opposite line, that woman was threatened with masculinization. In Aristasian cosmology, the first age was not the age of the brahmin (as it had been for Guenon) but the age of the goddess. The rise of male deities and of a male-dominated society were the consequences of the earliest stages of decline. Modernity brought the triumph in the public sphere of “material and quantitative” male characteristics (aggression, warfare, and technical sciences) over “spiritual and qualitative” female characteristics — essentially “the principle of harmony or bonding.” This was an early instance of inversion, since the female characteristics are inherently superior to the male ones, and the female is properly “the primary or fundamental sex.” The final stage of decline — the Pit — brought “the ultimate triumph of patriarchy,” normally described in the Pit as the general acceptance of feminist views. With the Eclipse, “the Masculine Principle has come to dominate the culture entirely, extirpating femininity even from the heart of women herself. “

The Aristasian elite, then, is entirely female, and not only female but “feminine.” It also excludes men in order to avoid the risk of a return to the domination of women by men, which was a product of decline, not a characteristic of primordial tradition. Further, it endorses a variety of Evola’s apoliteia (though it does not use the term). Since everything in the Pit is contaminated by inversion, “the entire tendency of every aspect of the culture is corrosive, and this corrosion is a ritual act that disrupts the soul…. that … furthers the process of psychic disintegration.” It is thus necessary to control what enters our consciousness, just as we “will not normally pick up any interesting edible thing from the street and swallow it.”

In addition to excluding the Pit from their lives as much as possible, Aristasians attempt to recreate for themselves an environment corresponding to one preceding the Eclipse. Since “truly traditional … images … are too far from the everyday workings of our present consciousness,” the era chosen for re-creation is the one immediately preceding the current one — the 1920s to 1950s Aristasia, in addition to being the name of a Traditionalist group, is also a form of virtual reality (though Aristasians do not call it such, since they exclude neologisms as they exclude everything else characteristic of the Pit). Various aspects of pre-Eclipse life are painstakingly re-created in Aristasians’ houses — 1950s restaurants, 1940s clubs, 1930s homes. Aristasians dress in the clothes of their chosen decade, use the equipment and utensils of that decade, if possible drive the automobiles of that decade, and even watch the movies of that decade. This behavior is advanced as an alternative to the standard spiritual way of “sainthood” or “spiritual transcendence,” for which only a few have the vocation.

Aristasian Traditionalism is promoted through occasional magazine advertisements and on an elaborate website, which also includes Aristasian fiction. In Trent’s “Strangers in Paradise” a non-Aristasian has just caused confusion by using the word “men” in conversation with two Aristasians:

“Have you any idea what she’s talking about?” asked the woman with the notebook.

“Classical reference,” said her colleague, Eileen. “Men — mythical creatures: like humans but very ferocious and cruel. Said to inhabit the Northern wastes in ancient times. Sabrina the Younger mentions them; so does Ulalua.”

At the end of the twentieth century Aristasia consisted of some 40 fulltime, dedicated Aristasians, along with many part-time followers. Most Aristasians were in their 20s or 30s, with some older and a few younger; the most frequent occupation was “some connection to academia.” Almost all these Aristasians were in Britain — Aristasianism failed to find any significant following in America, perhaps because of cultural differences. Aristasia is permeated by the quirky humor characteristic of its Oxonian birthplace, where the expression of deeply held convictions is rarely free of an element of jest, and where no joke can be safely assumed not to conceal a very serious point.

British press coverage of Aristasia has emphasized less its Traditionalism than two aspects of its practice which, in the view of Trent, are more peripheral than central One is the division of Aristasians into “blondes” and “brunettes,” categories approximately corresponding to female and male in the outside world. This resulted in Aristasia’s being described as “a lesbian enclave” by The Pink Paper, one of Britain’s main gay and lesbian newspapers. The other was the use of discipline — beating — seen by Aristasians as “a quest for purity … a means of spiritual submission, ” and by outsiders as sado-masochistic fetishism.

The role that lesbianism plays within Aristasia is unclear, if only because in the era before the Eclipse such things were not talked about and so Aristasians will not willingly talk about them either, but “intimate relations with men” are not encouraged.” The practice of submission, however, can (just about) be seen as being in line with more mainstream Traditionalist spirituality — the Sufi submits to his shaykh, and Trent is not wrong in her view that “submission to a higher power … is the very essence of spirituality,” though one might wish to distinguish different varieties of submission. Similarly, the separatism of the Aristasian community echoes the separatism of the Sufi order.

In a reminder of the ever-present potential political implications of Traditionalism, in 1995 Aristasia came under attack in The Guardian (a British liberal newspaper) for links with British National Party (BNP), a notorious extreme right group, when it was discovered that the BNP leader, John Tyndall, had written to “Marianne Martindale” (a prominent Aristasian): “I admire and respect what you are doing to the point of fascination.” Martindale told The Guardian, “I personally have no interest in fascism,” adding provocatively that she also had “no interest in democracy … [or in] any masculine political movement.”

Aristasian Traditionalism is presented more seriously in Trent’s book The Feminine Universe. This book, aimed at the general reader, deals, for example, with Nietzsche before Guenon, and uses historical arguments with some skill. Aristasianism has also received some coverage in the British press and on television.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

The concept of an “inverted society” is interesting.

Another interesting concept is their notion that feminism is the final triumph of patriarchy. I’ve thought that feminism is wholly derivative from well-established western thought, and has yet to reveal any creativity at all.