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There is a reason why many think of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, to be the greatest novel ever written.
The epic scale of drama and philosophy that Tolstoy blends into this masterpiece is like nothing that had been done before, and arguably, has yet to be matched.
The BBC produced a six-part series recently, which captures just some of the glory that is ‘War and Peace’. The first time I saw this adaptation, it had me so gripped that I watched the entire 6 hours series, in one sitting!
The story takes you on such a roller-coaster of emotions – from transcendent elation, to existential despair, from tears of joy, to tears of sadness – and in such magnificent swoops, that you simply must know what happens next.
There is also another extraordinary production of this story done in Russian, from 1967. The trailer for this film (as attached here), showcases one of the most amazing cinematography moments ever filmed…
And if you play this trailer, you’ll also hear a superb line taken from the book:

“Thoughts that have important consequences are always simple. Since corrupt people unite amongst themselves to constitute a force, honest people must do the same. It is as simple as that.”

Albert Einstein expressed this same idea, in a similar manner, when he was asked, ‘how is it possible that such an advanced country like Germany, could succumb to the rambunctious ramblings of a man like Hitler?’

Einstein replied:

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

What I find most extraordinary about Tolstoy’s realization above, is that together with the other great Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoyevsky – they both had a ‘six sense’ about the tragedy that would soon unfold in 20th century Russia.
In an important way, their works aimed to turn around the cultural trends of the day, onto greater reason.
For it was around this time that Marxist and socialist thinking were taking root in Russia. These ideas were in their primary formative phases in the 19th century, and few had the foresight to see what this baby crocodile, would turn into.
With their works, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, as the geniuses they were, did their best to articulate and to warn against this growing monster…
(And if only more good people organized themselves – as to constitute a countering force, like Tolstoy advised – what kind of 20th century could we have had?)

The Brewing Challenge of Today

We can consider the message of Secret Meanings: Volume 3, and ‘the way of grace’ vs. ‘the way of nature’ in another way…
While the film above showed the personal impact that the way of nature has on the individual, Tolstoy’s War and Peace makes a broader, political argument –i.e. that unless ‘the way of grace’ organizes itself with others of like-mind, the organized ‘ways of nature’, will destroy families and destroy civilization.
For this is not just a central message of this particular book. This is in fact the essence of all stories of ‘war and peace’, throughout history:
  • Good people organize themselves and build good things.
  • The good things built, allow bad people to better self-organize.
  • Organized bad people, wreak havoc upon the good built.
  • Good people then must organize themselves to defeat the destroyers.
  • Organized good people now rebuild the good things…
  • And so the cycle continues.
It is no news to say that at the moment, the good things that have been built, are allowing many bad people to also organize themselves, like never before. Internet platforms, mainstream media streams, educational institutions and non-profits alike, these are all applying a unidirectional and coordinated squeeze.
The culture war is on and today ‘the good’ is once more on the back foot.
For instance, our ‘freedom of speech’ is now under direct assault and a central bastion for a good and free society is wavering under the chop of this radical axe. The ideologically possessed have mounted a political offensive, and many institutions and governmental branches have already fallen.
Thus, what would have been considered unthinkable just 10 or 20 years ago, today have become a somewhat ‘new normal’: i.e.
  • Prescribing to indoctrinated little boys and girls life-changing hormonal drugs, and encouraging, as well as performing irreversible amputations of children’s sexual organs…
  • Or a new reverse racism and sexism, where you are inevitably ‘bad’ and are justifiably to be discriminated against, because of your particular skin colour or gender…
  • Or teachers and principals who openly declare their mission in education to be, ‘to smash heterosexual normality’, and any number of other ideals of anti-reason…
How will future generations judge actions like these?
Because like in times past, depravity grows whenever the good has not made the resolute decision to self-organize as to constitute a countering power… For even as we speak, the ‘ideologically possessed’ are receiving new grants and new endowments, from all kinds of places.
Good parents, good teachers, good leaders and the like, have simply accepted these new norms, because we’re under the belief that if we just ‘keep our head down and roll with it’ – maybe it will all just go away…
After all, why make yourself a sitting target? After all, you’re just a single guy or gal. The radicals are well organized and well funded.
They cannot wait to encircle like a pack of hyenas and to make of you an example. They’re scanning social media posts as we speak, to see who would ‘dare’ speak otherwise…
So as many good people see it, “What chance do I have?”

Why We Are a Club

An important reason for why you should become a member of Jonah’s Club is because this club allow you to organize with all those around you – who also believe in the realities of truth, beauty, goodness, and ‘the way of grace’.
Jonah’s Club seeks to be a collective cultural force that can stand up and counteract those committed to ‘the way of nature’.
We are in a culture war – make no mistake about it – and the stakes have never been higher.
This is precisely why we have chosen the less traveled path, of organizing ourselves as a ‘social club’ in your area (and reject being a mere private online courses forum).
For it’s only by connecting live with each other as a collective, as to discuss the life of virtue and how we may live it – that we build up that common ‘ethos reservoir’, from where we can draw forth the resourcefulness to stand up to bullies.
In short, it is our mission that the life of virtue ought to extend beyond ourselves. And we can only do this as a living, supportive club, where we can form friendships and alliances with all those who are also in pursuit of the ‘total good’.
In the above video we looked at what happens when our minds are made callous by a self-interested attitude, and the tragic consequences this can lead to… We looked at the private aspects of a callous mind.
But this is just as true at a collective level…
The failure of good people to stand up for truth, beauty and goodness, means that our society in its entirety can become callous to these realities, and in time, can just the same, commit ‘cultural suicide’.
Cultural suicide has happened at least twice in our recorded history – during the Dark Ages and the Bronze Ages – and there’s no inherent reason why this cannot happen again.
And not in a distant, faraway future, but our lifetimes…
If we learned anything from the 20th century and the massive suffering that came with it, is that we came pretty damn close to ‘cultural suicide’, for a third time.
In the ‘roaring 1920’s’ we were dancing the ragtime boogie; in the 1930’s we were unemployed and struggling; in the 1940’s we were mowing each other down in a hail of bullets or incinerating each other with nuclear bombs and Zyklon-B gas…
It was all up, a span of merely 20 years!
We at Jonah’s Club as such, are not waiting around for some one else ‘out there’ to set about a return to reason.
Mahatma Gandhi long advised that the way to genuine political and cultural change is that ‘we become the change we want to see in our world’.
So this is it. We are the solution that we have been waiting for.
Let us therefore ‘walk the talk’ and live out the ideals we want in our world, today.
Become a member and work with your local community club, to bring about meaningful changes – starting with who we are…
Because if not you, then who?
Carpe Diem,

* ‘Notes from the Underground’ was the title of a book by the great Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The book was a reply to another book from around the same time, titled “What Is To Be Done?”, by Nikolay Chernyshevsky. This was a national ‘bestseller’ capturing the imagination of many Russians at the end of the 1800s.
“What Is To Be Done?” was championing the idea of a future utopia, of a society that was organized by small socialist cooperatives, ‘collectives’, which ushered in a society of total equality and ‘eternal joy of the earthly kind’.
It was written as a kind of new ‘social science’ insight and was the precursor to the idea of communism. It was a major cultural movement in Russia, and many credit this book, (and not Karl Marx), to have had the biggest influence upon what would later become the Soviet Union or USSR.
Dostoyevsky saw the great evil that lay hid at the heart of this ‘Trojan Horse’ and his ‘Notes from the Underground’ were written as a counter-response and a warning – in the hope that it may prevent a cultural catastrophe.
Unfortunately, Lenin picked up ‘What Is To Be Done?’, read it several times, and the rest is now history… tens of millions dead and hundreds of millions made utterly miserable.
The arguments made in Notes from Underground were of course true. The ideas from ‘What Is To Be Done?’ were a trap, and the communist ideology would bring about the very opposite of what was promised – ‘deep suffering of the earthly kind’.
In the same spirit then, these ‘notes from the underground’ are a continuation of this tradition – seeking to preserve some sense and reason, against the cultural assault at play with us today.
For the best response we can give to bad ideas, are better ideas.
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© 2023 Jonah's Club by Center for Meaningful Leadership Inc - A Non-Profit Organization


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