There is an infographic making the rounds that goes like this: “Bad times make strong men. Strong men make good times. Good times make weak men. Weak men make bad times.” Anyone with an interest in history can hear the truth in that. Decadence and debauchery, when made cultural norms invariably leads to a weakening of society. This makes society then ripe for a group of “Strong Men” to take it for their own.
But who are these “Strong Men”? Who are these noble folk who conquered territory and set the roots for powerful, world stretching civilizations? How can we become like them? To get to that point I feel it’s important for us to examine the word “Noble”.
For those of us raised in the modern West, the word noble may have a sour taste. It brings forth images of wealthy aristocrats in fancy dress; of stuck up disconnected meddlers. Of perhaps the Rothchilds, with their weak faces, dead eyes and penchant for meddling in world affairs. For those of us born in the modern West, the word noble speaks of anti-egalitarianism. “All men are created equal” is part of America’s Declaration of Independence and the idea of a noble class or person soundly refutes that idea. Communists and Socialists worked with that idea and attempted to destroy the Noble class. They did so claiming it would lead to greater equality, when in reality it simply set the banks and money lenders on the thrones of power. The government shifted from earned authority to a “pay for play” system. One where money alone could secure votes and status. This ultimately lead us to the “Tyranny of the Majority” as John Adams once called it. The least capable among us having equal say to the most meritorious.
No, today’s nobles are hardly worthy of the word in most cases. They are hardly the “Strong Men” who created civilizations. Those who conquered, tamed and set in motion. How then do we find them?
What if, instead of just noble we added the word primal? Primal Nobility. What do those words bring to mind? Perhaps you see a Bengal Tiger stalking through the dark jungles of India. A scarred, Alpha Wolf leading his pack on the hunt. Maybe you see a medieval knight crouching over a fallen peer, his rondel dagger poised to strike while the knight below raises his hands in defeat. How about a Japanese Samurai in full armor, riding through his land while his people fall to their knees in respect? With these images we come closer and closer to the source of what true nobility was. To what the soul of modern man yearns for. Strength, vigor, acumen, deadliness and confidence.
These original “Strong Men” or nobles were warriors. Warriors who were above and beyond most others. Men who made their living and maintained their liberty through the arts of Mars.
Going back to 1200 A.D. Europe, we see the beginnings of a group that would become known as Knights. These men did not farm or work common trades. Their trade was in arms and their daily work was the practicing of these arms. Stone throwing, vaulting, swimming, wrestling, hiking, jogging, sparring. Enormous mock battles would be waged wherein knights would meet to battle their peers. This training made for a man with a strong, straight back, solid musculature, great endurance. One who was swift, deadly and confident. The training and lifestyles of these men gave them the characteristic we associate with true nobility even today. “He has a noble demeanor!”. The constant challenges, sparring and fighting (with elements of real danger) gave them an adapted calmness and poise in stressful situations. When the world began to fall apart, the primal noble would be as an eye in the storm. The lifestyle of these noble men made them strong in both body and mind.
We see this idea of the primal, warrior noble echoed through the known world. The Kshatriya class of India, of who it is said the god Rama is descended from, manned forts and battled invading armies. By doing so they amassed great wealth and power and made it possible for the Priestly Brahmin class to do things like write the Vedas.
Japan was ruled almost entirely by its warrior class for hundreds of years. The martial traditions of which have been romanticized, loved and practiced by people the world over. How about the Spartans of who we know had one of, if not the most martial cultures the Western world has ever seen? Do we not sing their praises and remember their sacrifices even to this day?
Is not Emperor Charlemagne, Julius Caesar, Oda Nobunaga, King Leonidas, and Guru Singh noble? Do they not easily overshadow the soft, banker elite of the modern age? When men read the tales of these warriors and rulers, are we not filled with excitement? When we pour through the exploits of Sir Fiore de’i Liberi, Sword Saint Miyamoto Musashi or Master Johannes Liechtenauer, is not a fire started in one’s belly? Authority gained through martial skill and valor is just, noble and honorable. For it is truly authority earned and is authority that can be tested by one so audacious and courageous as to do so. There is a sincere honesty in it all. Free of social games, media manipulation and insider trading. Men that were uniquely connected to a time, place and culture using their own bodies to fight for what they wanted.
Warriors of the world long for and accept the just rule of strong men who have earned their place. Of men who take and conquer through skill, cleverness and raw physical ability. We can accept these things because in the heart of almost every man is a desire to be like them. To hold their qualities or “Virtus”. No man fantasizes of sitting behind a desk filing account statements or hopes that their sons will be weak, effeminate and cowardly. We do not remember the deeds of the quiet man who never made any enemies.
No, we long to be like the men who set down the foundations of civilization and gifted our ancestors with a fiery spirit, an impetus to always grow and overcome. Those ancient predators who mastered the arts of Mars while simultaneously mastering those of courtesy and etiquette. Knowing that to insult another predator could mean a fight to the death. Those noble souls who risked everything and gave those that would come after an identity, a culture, a role model.
These “Walkers of the Way”, who would lay everything on the line for glory, kin and personal power; these were our Strong Men, our true Nobles. Tapping into this primal current and understanding the reality of our heroes can push us forward to greatness, even in this decadent, falling age. Train hard, practice your arts of Mars and make ready. The world will need it’s Strong Men, it’s true Nobles again.