UP FRONT: This is not a detached, completely objective review of something in which I have no personal stake, like Michael Howard’s The Franco-Prussian War or Phillip Wylie’s Generation of Vipers (both of which are superb; you should read them). Instead this review is from someone invested in the book in question, not monetarily but philosophically.
Think for yourself.
In brief, The Nine Laws has four main parts: 1) The revelation and explication of the Nine Laws, and a detailed essay on each; 2) The Dark World and [what is?] the Dark Triad Man; 3) Training, and; 4) The Arena of Blood and War (that is, the world of today). But before any further detailed description of the main text, we consider the foundational preface, which was posted in full by Vox Day upon the release of the book. Since it’s also available in the “Look Inside” free access portion of the book on Amazon, see it below. Read and mentally enfold. It will avoid the necessity of my providing any detailed introduction:
PREFACE: THE DYING CHILD
The man sat across the sterile room and watched his child dying.
He had stood calmly under the hostile machine guns of the Soviets within the charred and shattered rubble of Berlin in service to his Crown and country. He had then crossed the world to America where he built and lived, loved and raised his family.
Now this former reporter could do nothing but watch, and wait, and take notes in a sad and tired hand on a yellow legal pad, recording details with the practiced habit of a journalist as fever migraines prodded his youngest son into crying, wakeful pain. The boy would writhe, then subside into exhausted silence on the bed once more.
Bruises covered him where intravenous lines had been run for weeks into his hands and arms, his feet and ankles. With each passing day there were fewer places to insert fresh ones, fewer issuances of hope from doctors and nurses who were reduced to mere attendants of pain and no longer able to act as healers.
Days and nights were a blur, for sleep and waking were run not by play and rest, by meals and repose, but by the fits and starts of fever and the incomprehension of the innocent who woke in the dark hours before dawn and cried and cried with pain at the soft light that glowed from the nurse’s station.
As the weeks went by the man documented the progression of meningitis that writhed in the skull of his child, burning the boy’s mind away and murdering his senses.
“His hearing is going,” the man wrote.
“Even in the pain, he can tell something is happening to him, and complains that he cannot hear.”
The love and helplessness inscribed into those pages shone from the written words.
The documentation stopped near the end, when against all odds the fevers broke and the doctor took the man aside and said to him, “It’s happened. We saved him.”
The grave illness had lost. The pain was gone, and the gift of calm and sleep had replaced the tossing and turning of agony and pressure within the golden head of the young child.
Soon enough the boy went home to his family, and entered into a world where nothing made sense any longer. The world had been turned upside down, and everything had been severed.
He was deaf. Birds, laughter, music, human connection through voices had all been stolen by the disease and the fevers and the drugs pumped into him with desperate hope and quantity.
The boy could no longer walk, for the nerves that connected his inner ears to his brain had been burned away. There was no longer an up or down to perceive, and even a simple attempt to stand on his own made the world tumble and turn and the floor would leap up and slam into him without sympathy.
The voice of his mother, which used to sing to him and lull him to sleep as one of the sweetest sounds of the universe, was now silent. There was only the great effort of slowly mouthing words, beginning the long and exhausting process of teaching the boy to lip read as if his life depended on it… and it did.
The living feeling of connection with friends and family was severed forever. No longer could the boy simply listen and be an integral and accepted partner of humor and discussion, of sharing and whispers. He was now a permanent outsider, cut off and reduced to an observer rather than an equal participant.
Gone were the dreams of a little boy to be an astronaut, a firefighter, a policeman, a soldier. Never again would a future be possible that relied upon the ability to hear, to listen, and act.
And so the boy was dependent, and hurting, and terrified, and did not understand. And finally the day came when the family sat down to dinner, and he laid on the floor and cried for help, because he could not walk. And not one person came, and he laid there alone in miserable despondency.
Until he started to scream in rage.
Then his older sister came down, and stood over him. And when she spoke, she made certain he could read her lips and understand.
“Get up and walk,” she said. “Quit wailing.” Her face was harsh and neutral. “The world isn’t going to help you.”
And she turned away, and went back up the short flight of stairs to the kitchen and the family.
The boy laid there for a moment, stunned, and rebelliously enraged at reality.
Then something contracted inside him, and he sat up. He looked at the stairs, then silently wiped his face.
He crawled to those stairs and dragged himself upwards, furious, finally reaching the chair next to his father. Then he gasped and clambered until he had pulled himself onto it. Not one person at the table glanced at him or offered assistance. When he was seated, his father looked over and calmly offered him a serving of dinner. But in that Englishman’s eyes was the glint of the most powerful approbation that an officer of the Royal Horse Guards can give another man.
It was respect, and the boy never forgot that look.
I was four years old.
This provides valuable insight into where Ivan is coming from, and where he will take you and me, if we’re willing to read, learn and take action. The first incredibly useful principle in this book is the embrace and love of reality, of things as they are and will be, of the complete and utter indifference of the Universe to you, your problems and especially your feelings.
This is the Dark World.
The second principle of great value is the distillation and explication of Nine Laws of living, or as Ivan states:
The Nine Laws are the pitiless Way by which an entirely different being is formed.
The Nine Laws are: Survival, Concealment, Purpose, Endurance, Posture, Freedom, Power, Preposterousness, and…No Laws. I do not go through them one-by-one-here. Read the book.
The training part of The Nine Laws is very different than what you may expect. Many of the exercises consist of what I would call “merciless introspection” and detailed observation of one’s own habits, posture, and actions, followed by “tasks” that put into practice the desired results of these introspections and observations; but they are not the simplistic specific tasks one finds in many “self-help” books. Consider this:
Task: Take steps each day to do one permanent thing that cannot be taken back. Begin with very small and deliberate actions. Respect the power of irreversible action. Build familiarity with it.
There are scores of subjects and the associated tasks in the book, each requiring patient, detailed and ceaseless probing, thought and action. Going through them all and doing them justice is the work of years, not days or months. While I have highlighted portions of my Kindle edition, I greatly look forward to possessing the physical book and making notes and recording actions in it.
This is a book that will repay careful study over a lifetime, and repay it a thousand-fold.
Finally, a brief consideration of Part Four: Arena of Blood and War. In this extraordinary piece of work the author mercilessly calls out the lies, duplicity and cowardice of the elites and leaders of the West, though he notes that today is not an unusual period in world history. The terrorists of today are not unique, the corrupt Presidents, Premiers and bureaucrats are mere echoes of thousands of years of human history, the “enemy within” the West was experienced by other civilizations before it.
The truly extraordinary nature of this work comes out now, in this part. The author reveals that The Nine Laws is not just a book of personal development, of mere self-improvement, but a manual of battle, the battle for our civilization and soul, and a call for men to gather under the banner of Truth, of acknowledgement of the Dark World and also the Light and Beauty in it, and to fight, together.
The real world has space and time for “the joy of living, the freedom of conscience, the delight in vital and happy days.” With finishing this book comes the extraordinary realization that by casting aside “happy” illusions true happiness, a real happiness, is not just possible but is the natural result of and authentic way of life based on what is, and not the fantasy fed to us by our current culture and institutions.
There is so much more that I could say, about The Nine Laws and the vistas that it can and will open for me and for many others; but something we may learn in this work is the art of saying neither too much nor too little for the unique circumstance that is this exact moment in time.
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.