Here I outline my thoughts on Of Tyrants and Tellers by Sonny Arvado of Strength By Sonny. We aren’t going to beat around the bush here. I’m not mincing words in the article beyond what I said in the video.
Here’s the video, if you’d rather listen to it.
Of Tyrants and Tellers
What is it? It is a book. A book on Culture and Infrastructure. Everything we are about to discuss is covered in Of Tyrants and Tellers in plain English anyone can understand.
I look at things by looking at what they are not.
Of Tyrants and Tellers is not…
- A book about Picking Up Girls vs Marrying and Raising a Family
- Some tale outlining Men vs Women and how one is keeping the other down
- A feel-good story that tells you that you’re “good enough like you are”
Of Tyrants and Tellers is a book about how all of the above have been beaten into your mind. The How and Why and even When of it all. And also WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT.
I suppose anyone whose read an advance copy (I’m not the only one) could tell you this. Next, I’m going to tell you what others might not.
Culture, Infrastructure, and Honor
As I describe in the video below, I look at Culture and Infrastructure within a model of Honor.
This model looks like a graph. I discuss these graphs in the video above, but for this post I have created graphics for each.
There are three graphs necessary, as well as a basic understanding of graphs. Left and Down are negative, Up and Right are positive. That’s all the math you need for this.
The Honor Model
In an honorable society, this is really the only model you need.
The innate desire to be honored by one’s peers, combined with the drive to aspire higher and honor self, should be all we need. Culture and Infrastructure are two mechanisms that play off of these desires.
In the first half of the book, Sonny discusses how Culture and Infrastructure have been manipulated to invert these desires.
Behavior that should be dishonorable to one’s peer’s is now perceived as honorable among peers. Aspiring for something higher for oneself has become perceived as undesirable. Degenerative, dishonorable behavior is no longer considered dishonorable.
You could not draw a line on this graph without adding another metric, that being Time. Instead, you happen to be at a certain point on this graph. You usually do not move to another point on this graph without severe change, whether that be internally or externally motivated.
This brings us to the second model.
Culture and Infrastructure
You might object to the graph being linear, but this will be addressed in the third graph. Hold your objections until then.
Culture and infrastructure go hand in hand, as Sonny discusses in Of Tyrants and Tellers. The graphic representation of Culture and Infrastructure cannot enter the bottom right or top left quadrants.
If one is weak, the other weakens as a result. They have a symbiotic relationship. Also note that the ends of the line have definite points.
In a perfect world, we would believe that there is unlimited upside for advancement of culture and infrastructure. If this were so, then we would have at least one example of an empire that never crumbled. Simply put, it has never happened.
Instead, things simply move in reverse along the same line until they tip below the origin, or point zero, of culture and infrastructure. This is a period of degeneracy, which Sonny also discusses at length.
Things finally hit a point in the negative where they cannot degenerate any further. This is the point of societal collapse, at which point things begin moving back along the same line again.
Now that we have a representation of Honor & Dishonor, as well as Culture & Infrastructure, we are ready to combine them. This is the third and final graph.
Order and Chaos: Culture and Infrastructure Within a Model of Honor
Now we start to see a better picture, one that fits modern society the way the original graph fit ancient society.
This graph is essentially my review of Of Tyrants and Tellers in one image.
Culture becomes tainted by weakened infrastructure by way of dishonor among peers. So too does culture become tainted by individual degenerative dishonor.
When the individual doesn’t seek to rise above, to bring honor to himself and his ideas and his gods, culture begins to degrade. This degradation of culture creates an environment of apathy toward dishonor among peers.
When actions are dishonorable, and negatively affect culture, but peers do not respond as if we’d done something dishonorable, our infrastructure falls apart.
This vicious cycle of atrophy of honor is described at length in Part One of Of Tyrants and Tellers.
What About Part Two?
Part Two, friend, is the best part of the book.
Because Part Two is how to fix it. What to do about it. The elusive “…What Now?” that no one is ever willing to share.
You’ll have to buy the book for that, though. And I sincerely hope you do.
It’s about time we reintroduced Strength, Honor, Culture, and Infrastructure to the individual.
Until Next Time…
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