July 16, 2013

What's in a Name?

Over the past few years, I've talked to a few people, both on and off the internet, about my aesthetic, the Neo-Aristocrat. Invariably, the first response is something of distaste or confusion. When pressed further, the explanation usually runs along the  lines of "the aristocracy oppressed people for hundreds of years. They are a small elite. Why would you want to associate yourself with something hierarchical and prejudice?" 

It is impossible to deny that the historical term of 'aristocrat' has baggage associated with it. For centuries, the upper classes treated lower classes as chattel or less while monopolizing the money, leisure, education and culture. However, if we could step back from the historical connotations and consider the etymology of the word.

Aristocrat is the pairing of two greek words: "aristos" or the best and the suffix "-cracy" which meant to rule. Literally, translated it means to be ruled by the best. In a country, this translates into power, money and influence being centralized in the hands of  a small group of elites. Democracy was supposed to counteract the ills of the prior centuries, but if you have doubts about how well the American experiment in democracy is working, I urge you to read Christopher Hayes "Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy."

What I am doing with this blog and my own idea of Neo-Aristocrat is applying the idea of "the rule of the best" not to a country, but to my own individual life. What does this mean? That is a work in progress that will never fully be answered. As I grow older and accumulate new experiences, education, and wisdom, my idea of what is best will undoubtedly shift. Will it, at times, mirror aesthetics and philosophies of other alternative lifestyles or even the mainstream? Probably. But I am a unique individual and deserve a tailor made life and philosophy, just like anyone else. (This is one of the beautiful things about uniqueness. Everyone can be unique without losing their uniqueness- whatever cynical quips might declare.)

Since Neo-Aristocracy is applying the rule of the best to your own life and since best is not a set standard but differs from individual to individual, there is no limit to the number of people who could become Neo-Aristocrats. I would frankly love it if everyone did become one, because Neo- Aristocracy isn't about being better than others- only better than your past selves. 

But questions about discovering what is best for you and other qualities of a neo aristocrat will have to be saved for another discussion. 

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