There is a curious school of ethics that prescribes only one moral obligation: die, eventually. Aggrandizing oneself and the pursuit of virtue are the same thing in its view. If you're whiffing Ayn Rand, you have a good nose. I grew up in a house full of conservative literature and prescriptive nonfiction, but I hadn't seen it up close for years until a few days ago, when I landed on a blog called Become An Individual, which the author says was inspired by Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.
The blog is an exegesis of conservative scripture. It hits all the classic pillars: dismissal of moral obligation to others, ascription of people's life circumstances to their virtue, and virulent odium for teamwork of any kind. Said their way, these would be described respectively as liberation from collectivist oppression, common sense, and the primacy of individual liberty.
In American culture, few ideologies enjoy a more dominant mindshare than carnism. Otherwise-warring political parties, religions, and regional cultures all share one habit: inserting carrion into their mouths and swallowing. The beliefs that compel carnists to do this vary. Some ingest carcasses because they believe it is necessary. Some imbue the act of killing an animal with sacred importance, and they just need something to do with the body afterward. Others do it because they don’t know how to cook. But from this diversity of starting points, every believer arrives at a thirst for blood.
The virtuous die young, or cling to life and putrefy. This is the philosophy that undergirds The Sea of Fertility, the master work of accomplished Japanese playwright and novelist Yukio Mishima. It's a quotidian aphorism you’ve heard before, but the tetralogy’s feat is not proposing the idea for the first time, rather tearing it open and showing you its insides, the vast and fractal-like machine of philosophical understanding it contains.
I am an American with an insatiable appetite for romantic drama. My quest for ever-more-complex geometries of love—you’ve heard of love triangles, but have you heard of love pentagrams?—has lead me from medium to medium, country to country, and after a fifteen-year journey I think I have at last found the frontier of romantic drama in the modern world.