Archive for the ‘Texts’ Category
Friday, November 18th, 2016
When trawling the internet, one is frequently reminded that 90% of the content there is ego-driven, like self-expression, self-adornment or simply pitching pleasant mental images to others in exchange for popularity points. While it would be nice to say that the underground right is different, the same normal distribution (“Bell Curve”) seems to apply there as well. On the far-right of that Bell Curve are some thinkers who demonstrate exceptional clarity, and the persona known as Reactionary Ian is one of them. Fortunately, he had a few moments to write an interview with us.
You identify as a reactionary; from what schools of thought do you come, and why did you choose these?
I guess you could call me a Christian Reactionary. I think of myself as a skeptic of modernity who would like to see a more hierarchical, unified order rooted in Christianity. Being a Christian has always been a part of my identity, and I don’t want a vision for the future that minimizes or omits it. I’m also an opponent of democracy who favors monarchy as the system of rule.
When did you first realize you were heading in a different direction from most of the population? Was it hard to break out?
To be honest, I’ve always been a little different than most people. Even when I was a kid I was a quirky misfit. In some ways it’s made me an interesting specimen, and in others it’s made it difficult for me to find my way in life, since I have trouble relating to the average person. Even today, I’m still trying to figure a lot of stuff out.
In sane times, the views of those who call themselves “reactionaries” would be taken for granted.
As far as embracing my reactionary tendencies, yes, it was hard. It’s difficult to think outside the Overton Window (either because aren’t exposed to other ideas, or our cultural narrative tells us they’ve been discredited), so for a long time I had a nagging feeling that something was wrong with our civilization, but couldn’t offer a coherent alternative. When I started becoming active on Twitter, I was at a point where I was starting to turn to the dissident side, but still afraid to talk about it openly. I tweeted as a Tea Party type for about a year or two before I finally started saying what I really thought. A part of it was the desire to fit in, and a part of it was the hope that the system I had always known was still salvageable.
Has your activity caused you problems with family, friends or the so-called “real world”?
Nothing major. I’ve talked to my parents extensively about my views, and I think that while they don’t completely agree with them, they at least know I’ve thought them through and there are good intentions behind them. As far as friends and other relatives, I’m more guarded. Some of them know a little about my views, but generally prefer to keep the peace by not bringing it up. I’m not sure what they’d think if they knew about my Twitter or YouTube activities.
Your Christian hangout attracts a core audience. What do you think appeals to them, and where do you plan to take it from here?
I think that a lot of Christians with more Traditionalist and racially aware leanings are looking for a place where they can discuss their thoughts without having to water down their views due to the presence of irreligious or anti-Christian types in the Alt-Right. In fact, the initial idea for the hangouts came from one of Millennial Woes’ Christmas hangouts I participated in last December, where I felt outnumbered by critics of Christianity. Christians need fellowship with other Christians, and that’s what I’m trying to provide.
As far as where I plan to take it, I don’t have any specific plans right now. Perhaps it could develop into a more focused podcast, or perhaps it’ll continue as a biweekly get-together. We’ll see where it goes. I’m certainly interested in taking it to a new level if it’s feasible.
This topic is so huge that it is hard to even figure out how to ask, but: what is wrong with the modern world? What should be better?
As a Christian, I would say that a loss of faith plays a big role in our current state of affairs. People are lacking a sense of transcendent purpose, and it leads to a nihilistic existence where the only unifying goal is to be good little believers in Progressivism. The things that are held up as virtues, such as tolerance, inclusion, etc. are in fact anti-virtues, because adhering to them requires passivity, not moral strength. We’ve come to a point where the highest good is not to exercise any sort of discernment.
Even among people who consider themselves Christians, there are many who think they can adopt the prog worldview and not be at odds with their faith. They’ve essentially thrown out centuries of Christian tradition, practice, and scholarship in order to assert that here in the 21st Century, we’ve finally discovered the true doctrine, and it just so happens to be the one pushed by Christianity’s ideological enemies. The last several years of being awakened have made me realize how true the words of Christ are: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” Few truly wish to remain faithful when it goes against the grain of their degenerate civilization.
As a race realist, I also know our ever-increasing diversity is a big problem. I’m not a race totalist, but the ill effects of diversity are well known to all of us in the dissident sphere. We know that people who live among their own kind are usually happier, more functional, and even more engaged in religious activities. If anyone is to find a place in this world, it has to be with people they can consider their own.
If you can tell us, how are you riding out the decline, and are you preparing to take that to another level if events get worse?
My only plan is to keep on keeping on. I’ll keep trying to improve myself to the extent I can, and hopefully it will lead me to where I need to be. And of course, I put my faith in God.
What writers, thinkers and artists inform your worldview, and are there any contemporary sources that you read?
I must confess I’m not nearly as well-read as so many others in these circles. Much of my philosophical worldview has been formed from pondering the things I observed in the world around me and trying to understand what they say about human nature. From there, the Alt-Right/Reactosphere has helped me flesh out these views and develop a more well-rounded perspective.
As I remember it, this very blog was my first discovery into this world. I was going through a rough time trying to reconcile my mainstream conservatism with the contradictions I saw within it, and was trying to figure out what it all really meant. I found the post “Why Conservatism is Important,” and I remember it being a breath of fresh air, because it articulated the problems with liberalism better than any mainstream conservative I knew ever had. I read some of the surrounding posts on Amerika, and it was a lot to digest, but it got the ball rolling.
People are lacking a sense of transcendent purpose, and it leads to a nihilistic existence where the only unifying goal is to be good little believers in Progressivism.
Also, while he’s more of a paleoconservative, Theodore Dalrymple was another early influence, which is why I’ve used him as my avatar for so long. He was sort of my go-to guy for about a year, when I needed a voice of comfort in an intellectually uncertain time. The beauty of so many of his essays gave me a lot of hope and encouraged me to start thinking differently. I’m probably farther to the right than he is, but he helped me cultivate a higher appreciation for aesthetics and an understanding of how they shape the world we live in.
As far as what I currently read, it’s mostly Alt-Right, NRx, and some dissident Christian blogs.
This is a bit personal, but usually fascinating: What is the source of your faith? In other words, what leads you to believe in God and reject the rampant atheism and materialism of this time?
To put it plainly, I’ve made a conscious decision to have faith. I’ve struggled with faith at different times in my life, but my personal experiences have long suggested to me that God is real. You can talk yourself out of anything if you question it long enough, but when you decide to let yourself believe, things become much simpler. And as a person who constantly struggles to stay focused, I definitely need that.
For those who enjoy what you do, how can they stay on top of your latest doings and/or writings?
My stuff is mainly on Twitter at @ReactionaryIan, and there’s my YouTube channel too, where I host the hangouts.
Do you consider yourself a type of “conservative”? Do you think there can be unity between social and fiscal conservatives?
That’s an interesting question, since I’ve recently been pondering the word “conservative.” I’ve grown to dislike it, because it’s taken on the connotation of a fairly narrow and unsatisfactory set of positions held by the “conservative movement,” and I don’t feel completely comfortable lumping myself in with them anymore. Thanks to our cuckservative political parties, it also carries the implication of weak liberals who have a slight distaste for change but will passively accept it when it’s imposed on them.
On the other hand, terms like “alt-right” and “reactionary” imply an opposition to the current state of affairs, and in my ideal world, my views would be considered normal and mainstream. The word “conservative” is a good one, because it ideally would indicate that you approach potential changes with a view of the larger picture and a knowledge of what has historically worked. You strive to conserve what needs to be conserved and change what needs to be changed, nothing more. I’d love to see the word “conservative” reclaimed with such a meaning, but that’s probably not going to happen any time soon.
As for fiscal and social conservatives (as those terms are understood currently), I think both have lost their way already. Social conservatives won’t touch certain issues like race, and even traditional family values have to have some concessions made to modern-day feminist thinking (You can read Dalrock’s blog to see many examples of this). Fiscal conservatives seem to have decided that the rightmost point on the axis is a completely unfettered free market, which really isn’t “conservative” in any meaningful sense other than that it places itself in opposition to the extreme Leftism of Communism (To give another link, AntiDem has a great piece on this subject called “Dump Capitalism”).
Few truly wish to remain faithful when it goes against the grain of their degenerate civilization.
I think to be a true social or fiscal conservative, one must be oriented toward the long-term growth and health of family and tribe. The Christian faith provides the best framework on the social end, and on the fiscal end, there should be room for entrepreneurship and innovation, but not when it comes at the expense of society as a whole. Any approach that takes into account only numbers, and not the people behind them, is missing a key component. To use a cinematic analogy, we should take the George Bailey approach rather than the Mr. Potter approach.
In your view, what does it mean to be a reactionary?
In sane times, the views of those who call themselves “reactionaries” would be taken for granted. In these times we live in, it means we are reacting against a modern world that worships the self and its own capacity for knowledge and wisdom. We reject the tenets of the false religion of Progressivism: democracy in favor of aristocracy, diversity in favor of nation, and equality in favor of hierarchy. We look at the world as having a natural order, which we upset at our own peril, and we aspire to higher ideals and values that are in line with it.
Monday, November 14th, 2016
At the fringes of what the herd accepts as discourse, there are some who are chipping away at the modern myth. They imply that at some fundamental level, our assumptions are wrong, and this has infected every subsequent decision with illusion. This is happening simultaneously in many fields, and W.M. Briggs is doing so in the field of statistics. Read on for a Q&A with this creative, inventive thinker who has a finger in many disciplines, informing his primary study to push it toward broader vision.
You are, for lack of a better term, a professional statistician. What led you to this field, and how did you find your way to your present position as professor and writer?
From the Air Force doing cryptography, to meteorology and climatology, to statistics. I was interested in how good forecasts were, and what “good” meant. And from statistics to epistemology, which is the proper branch of probability. I used to be in Cornell’s Medical School, but it was eighty-percent writing grants. There’s too much government in science, so I’m now on my own, though I have an Adjunct position at Cornell. About writing, more people read one of my articles, or even blog posts, that would read a scientific paper.
Is there any truth to the statement “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” How do we tell the difference between true statistics and lies? How do statistics become misrepresentative?
Primarily through The Deadly Sin of Reification. This is when a researcher’s model of uncertainty, a matter of epistemology, becomes reality itself, or it is thought to be so close to reality as to make no difference. But probability models are not causal: probability and statistics have nothing to say about cause. Yet everybody thinks they do.
Beginning philosophy with Descartes is an enormous mistake.
Probability is only a measure of uncertainty, but that uncertainty is not fixed. It is not real or tangible. It only measures a state of mind, not the state of reality. More damage in science is caused by assuming statistical models verify “hypotheses” than anything else.
Your book Uncertainty: The Soul of Modeling, Probability & Statistics seems to make the case that human cognitive approaches are basically wrong because we treat probability as a kind of absolute. How would you change the human perceptual outlook?
We have to let it sink in that probability is conditional on whatever assumptions we make. Change the assumptions, change the probability. Probability is epistemology, and only epistemology. Since probability doesn’t have physical existence, nothing has a probability.
Question: What’s the probability of being struck by lightning? Answer: there isn’t one. You have to supply premises or assumptions to form the probability, like, “You live in Oklahoma.” But even that premise is not enough to guarantee a numerical answer. The Cult of Measurement insists, wrongly, that all probabilities, be numerical. This is why you see asininities like “On a scale of -17.2 to 42 2/3 in increments of pi, how taciturn are you?” And then we treat those numbers as if they are real!
You also write about how scientific research is heavily skewed by who is funding it or “purchasing” it as an end product, for example mainstream science articles. How prevalent is this? How can it be avoided or ameliorated?
The government sets the agenda for nearly all science. In the cases of ideological bureaucracies like the EPA ‘the’ science is largely settled in advance, and then farmed out to compliant, money-universities for ‘validation’. The mark of a good scientists now is how much money he can bring in. That money not only pays his salary, and that of his assistants, but of his bosses, too, in the form of overhead, largess grabbed by Deans and spent on various initiatives, like Diversity. And you can’t get the money unless you want to play in the system the government dictates. Eisenhower, in this famous military-industry speech, also warned about government intrusion in science. Key quote, “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.”
Is it possible to state anything as truth without conditionals? How much does the interpretation of the individual receiving this truth limit what can be conveyed?
No. The conditions can be very basic, though, like sense impression, and our very occasional interactions of our intellects with the infinite. Simple example. Here’s a proposition, “For all natural numbers x, y and z, if x = y and y = z, then x = z.”
Part of the conditions are the understanding of the words used to convey them, so we have to know “natural numbers” are everyday numbers “0, 1, 2, …,” and where the infinite lurks in that “…” Now this proposition is a standard mathematical axiom, believed to be true by everybody who has ever given it thought. I think it’s true.
But since we cannot count to infinity, we must condition on our finite experience to believe something about the infinite. I don’t want to say that this works only in mathematics. It works for everything we believe true about universals; all arguments.
You say that the field of data science lacks a “firm philosophical grounding.” What kind of philosophy can serve as the basis for mathematics, statistics and other highly abstract disciplines?
You can graduate with a PhD in the hard sciences from the top universities in the land without having to have studied any philosophy formally. Of course, any set of thinking, including the thinking scientists do, is a philosophy. But since the thinking isn’t rigorous, neither is the philosophy, which leads otherwise decent scientists to say stupid things.
We cannot reach, with our finite minds, infinite precision in language.
The biggest embarrassments are statements of metaphysics. There are respected physicists who, for instance, define ‘nothing’ as quantum fluctuations, or whatever. Somehow they are unable to grasp that the something which is a quantum fluctuation is not nothing. Our understanding of cause is particularly benighted, and that’s largely because of the fallacy of progress. Only recent philosophy is thought worthy of study, the fallacy insists, because progress.
Beginning philosophy with Descartes is an enormous mistake. Some philosophers, those not suffering from science envy, like Ed Feser and David Oderberg, are rectifying the situation.
Would you say that you have encountered a fracture between the notions of assessing truth by coherence (internal logicality of form) versus correspondence (reliable representation of external objects and events)?
Yes, sure. Given “Alice is a green unicorn,” it is conditionally true that “Alice is a unicorn.” But there are no unicorns, green or otherwise. There is coherence. Coherence can give you castles built in the air, but there has to be a real foundation if you want to live in the structure.
You cannot go far wrong with Aristotle. “To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true.” That’s a form of correspondence, and the best definition of truth there is.
How much do you assess cycles in your work, such as the viewing a change in our world as having a life-cycle versus a categorical truth, much as it would be in a computer? Do you see yourself as introducing organic or biological principles to the field of mathematics?
No; no way. You might have a sociology of math that has these sorts of principles, something which says why mathematicians are working on these problems now, and might work on those later. But the organic principle itself would have nothing to say about the truth of the mathematics. Mathematics gives us truth, and philosophy aims to, as does physics. Now I said that all truth was conditional, but that does not mean that there are no capital-T Truths. And that leads to your next question.
You say, “Truth resides in the mind and not in objects except in the sense that objects exist or not.” How does this connect with the Nietzschean saying that there are no truths, only interpretations?
Nietzsche was wrong. If we agree on the premises, then we must agree on the truth the premises imply. It is always the case that if there is disagreement, it is in the premises and not on the proposition. And don’t forget the tacit premises, like word definitions. A universal truth, a capital-T Truth, is founded on a chain of reasoning backward to indubitable axioms or intellectual impressions.
So Nietzsche can say, “There are no truths,” which is, of course, contradictory. If he’s right, he’s wrong. If he’s wrong, he’s wrong. Now we all know the truth that Nietzsche’s statement is contradictory based on conditions including the meaning of the words in the proposition, the rules of logic, and so on, but most importantly on our intellects. There is no way for us to think it true that “There are no truths.” And so, conditional on this intellectual impression, we know the Truth that Nietzsche was wrong.
What is reification, and why is it misleading?
Reification shows up everywhere, and not just statistics. People confuse deterministic with causal models. A deterministic model can be a highly complex set of mathematical equations that say, in effect, “When X = x, Y = y.” Now even in this deterministic model works, in the sense of making skillful predictions, it is not necessarily the case X causes Y.
Understanding cause is something above. Scientists who study consciousness and free will are the biggest sinners here. They posit a deterministic model for the workings of the brain and confuse that model (which is anyway partial; another point oft forgotten) with a causal model, which leads them to say there is no such thing as free will. Yet obviously there is. Their models become more important than reality, which is tossed out and said not to exist.
In your view, is language a type of modeling? How can we make language more specific, or less likely to mislead?
In the sense that words imply universals, and our knowledge of universals, like knowledge of everything, is like a model. Words matter, because universals matter. We are not Humpty Dumpty. Communication is not possible with a shared, i.e. mutually believed, set of premises on what universals are true. But the infinite, the realm of universals, is a big place.
We cannot reach, with our finite minds, infinite precision in language. Recall Flaubert “Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.” The more difficult the concept, i.e. the more it involves the infinite, the less precise our language. And it will always be that way.
Can the type of confusion that arises over statistics and probability influence the choices that a society makes? How can this error be limited?
Yes, especially in a culture that views science with such awe. How to limit? Everything is supposed to be scientific. Hence the Cult of Measurement and endless questionnaires with pseudo-quantified answers, and “nudging,” and on and on. Scientism pervades.
Science is silent on every important question. Why is murder wrong? Science has no answer. But when we think it does, we invent some statistical model that preposterously gives answers on the degree of wrongness of murder. The solution there, not to be too much hoped for, is again a return to philosophy.
Science is silent on every important question.
And then the confusion about cause. For example, statistics supposedly prove “racism” by showing discrepancies in math questions. If we can eliminate causal language which accompany statistical models, we can fix much.
For those who would like to know more about your writing and research, how would someone stay on top of your latest news and doings?
My blog, primarily, at http://wmbriggs.com/, and at Twitter @mattstat, though I have to cut back on the latter. What a time sink!
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016
Those who have read this journal for some time will be aware that it embraces all who are realists, or those that combine the results-oriented consequentialist perspective with a forward-looking transcendental view to fill in the prescriptive aesthetic dimension to human life. As such, we reach out to a wide variety of people above and below the social taboo line who contribute a vision of society other than modernity, based in those realist principles. We were fortunate enough to interview Billy Roper, a writer, organizer and advocate for ethnic politics whose career spans decades of intelligent and sensible promotion of the nationalist cause.
You have been involved in pro-white politics for many years. What started you down this direction? Do you have any regrets?
Hi, Brett, and thank you for this opportunity to speak to some new people who may have not heard of my activism, or had an opportunity to read any of my books, yet.
Looking back, I was very fortunate to be born to parents who were racially conscious. My father and both grandfathers were Klansmen, and my parents moved to an overwhelmingly White area shortly after I was born, purposefully. As a teenager, I was a Neo-Nazi skinhead, then as an undergrad I worked my way rightwards through a series of progressively more Nationalist groups until I found my way to the National Alliance. After grad school and being a high school History teacher for a while, I was asked by Dr. Pierce to organize and oversee his membership recruitment, and did so for the last two and a half years of his life. Following that, I grew my own teeth and claws as an activist, organizer, and leader in the movement.
We all have regrets personally, of course. Cue Frank Sinatra, right? If I have any regrets politically, it might be that I didn’t pursue a career which would have made me more independent from employers and supervisors, to become more financially able to carry out some of the projects which our people could have benefited from. Of course it’s not too late, and we all do as much as we can with what we have.
You have published a series of books that are quite successful and have delighted a new generation of readers. When did you decide to go this path, and what are your influences as a writer?
Like yourself and other educators and leaders, I’d been writing articles and essays aimed at awakening our people for years. I still do, in fact. However, I came to believe, through a study of how successful fictional books such as Dr. Pierce’s The Turner Diaries had been in reaching new people, that it was an underutilized genre. Especially since I wished to spread the idea of the inevitable balkanization of America, and post-collapse, dystopian, and zombie apocalypse type books were and still are very popular.
We need to cease placing unnecessarily, nonessential hurdles between ourselves and our largest potential recruiting pools, without abandoning or compromising our core ideals and principles.
So, I wrote Hasten The Day, which was my first foray into lengthy writing since “PaleoAmerican Ethnic Diversity,” my Master’s Thesis positing that Whites, Solutreans, were in North America prior to the AmerIndians. Hasten The Day eventually turned into a trilogy, following a cast of characters through the first years after the breakup of the United States into several racially-based states. What’s funny is that now, a dozen more books later, both fiction and nonfiction, the titular first book of the trilogy is still my best-selling and most popular work. I think that’s because it really resonates with people who see what’s coming.
When I met you, years ago now, you were a membership coordinator with the National Alliance. What, in your view, was effective about that group, and what have “we” — the real Right, reactionaries and race realists — learned since that time?
Brett, as you recall, because you were a part of it, we did a lot of good work, and what I think was most effective about the National Alliance was that it amassed the personnel and capital potential to create truly effective outreach: internet, literary, radio and video media representations of our ideas, presented by a first-rate and uncompromising intellect in Dr. Pierce, who could not be accused by our enemies of “ignorance” or unsophistication.
Since that time, what I hope some of us have learned, at least, what I have learned, is that tactics, messages, and strategies which make it easier for the largest number of our people, our target audience, to have their personal Overton Windows of acceptable political thought and discourse nudged further in our directions is a net positive. Contrarily, whatever makes us seem different, cultish, or alien to them, is a net negative.
We need to cease placing unnecessarily, nonessential hurdles between ourselves and our largest potential recruiting pools, without abandoning or compromising our core ideals and principles. As America continues to polarize and balkanize, millions of our people are going to be turning to us and saying, “Okay, so you were right. Now what?”. We have to have our stuff together enough to be ready to say, “Okay, here is what”.
Can diversity function in any form, or does it destroy societies through lack of social trust as Robert Putnam mentioned or other factors? What, for you, are the risks of diversity?
For me, the primary risks of diversity are genetic. Any country, any society, and any civilization, even, can be destroyed and rebuilt over and over again, so long as the people who created that civilization survive. But, once they are irretrievably mixed and interbred with people who never could have created civilization to begin with, and in point of fact never did, that ability, those genes, are muted forever.
I think that diversity is an inherently unstable and temporary crisis stage of group natural selection competition, just subsequent to the latest stage of the differentiation and specialization process, and just prior to one of the competing groups being ‘selected’ as better adapted, and the other(s) becoming either extinct, or assimilated. So, Putnam is correct, but social distrust is a psychosocial result of our still extant instinctive recognition of the “other,” and our biological acknowledgement that our primary loyalty lies with our own.
You once said, although I cannot find it now, that you were fighting to ensure that Nordic children would not disappear from the earth. Do you view yourself as a race-nationalist, or ethno-nationalist, or both?
I don’t see the two designations as being mutually exclusive. Race, genetically speaking, is a spectrum, with say, an Australian aborigine on one end of that spectrum, and a blue-eyed blonde Nordic on the other. You, and I, and most people, are somewhere in between on that scale. Our eugenic duty is to work to slide the fulcrum of that spectrum for the entire species away from one end, and towards the other.
Rather than seeking to have everyone look like ourselves, we should all acknowledge that the improvement of our race and the species to something better than any of us is the ultimate goal. Now, that having been said, I do believe that the different ethnicities within our race are the product of differentiation and specialization based on climactic and other environmental adaptations, just as differences between the races largely are.
However, nature cannot and should not judge, nor should we, between them, until all of the external competitors have been eliminated, and our race has become the new de facto species through the elimination of the others.
The usual suspects (SPLC et al) seem to have taken a dislike to you. How has this affected your ability to earn a livelihood and interact with society in general?
Like a lot of activists, I’ve been fired from good jobs simply for my beliefs. That happened in 2010 when I was running for Governor. In other jobs I’ve been harassed and threatened and blackballed, and of course I realized long ago that I could never teach again, either on the college or the High School level. My name is simply too well known, and all people have to do is Google me.
I don’t feel like a martyr because of it, though; many, many people have given up a lot more, and even made the ultimate sacrifice, for our people. Of course, being a publicly known racial activist is very much like taking a vow of poverty, or at least, that’s the net financial effect. But you know, Brett, I had a specific point in time, when I had just finished grad school and gotten the invitation from the current Chairman of the National Alliance, in fact, who called me and told me that Dr. Pierce wanted me to come out to West Virginia, when I made that conscious decision, and crossed the Rubicon with my eyes wide open. No matter what, I’d do it all again.
I do believe that the different ethnicities within our race are the product of differentiation and specialization based on climactic and other environmental adaptations, just as differences between the races largely are.
I’m sure that I’m not telling your readers anything which they don’t already know when I say that being who we are does shrink the available dating pool, too: not so much because some women reject us, but because our principles and values require us to reject them. Still, I’m happily married, and have never been alone for very long at the time, except by choice. There has been nothing that has happened or not happened which has ever made me wish I’d chosen a different life.
If your ideal society came about, what would it look like? Would it be a democracy, how would technology be handled, what would the demographics be like?
My ideal society would be 100% White, except for temporary visitors or limited diplomatic representatives. I’m a National Socialist, so even in that hypothetical White society, I believe that democracy would only cater to the lowest common denominator.
We all recognize that just as there are inherent inequalities between the races, there also are inherent inequalities within our race. Not every White person is good, noble, wholesome, or productive, let alone sane. There are many whom I’d not trust alone with my wife, my daughter, or my checkbook, sadly.
Not trusting, either, in the mortal wisdom of a philosopher-king as much as Plato did, I prefer that government be established with the power to be the vessel which holds and carries the race, and bases every foreign and domestic policy decision on the simple criteria that what is good for the race is good, and what is bad for the race, is bad. Technology should be advanced without regard to individual rights or personal freedom, but rather, again, solely for the best interests of the common good.
We should use our knowledge of the mapped human genome to eliminate genetically inherited diseases through gene manipulation, for example, if that is more efficient than simple positive and negative eugenics. We should attempt to colonize other habitable planets, terraforming when necessary, and genetically diversify new human subspecies which could better survive there, also, if necessary, so that we don’t continually have all of our genetic eggs in one basket, the Earth, in case of a stray solar flare or asteroid strike.
Furthermore, I’m very interesting in the technological potential of genetically targeted viruses, as possible eugenic tools in the future. The list of the racial applications of science are endless, and I wrote about some of them in Remnants, a science fiction novel I penned last year, as a way of exploring different possibilities with an open mind.
Currently you are hosting “The Roper Report” for Divine Truth Ministries. Can you tell us a little about Divine Truth, and what you do on your show?
Yes, certainly, I’m glad that you asked. Divine Truth Ministries is a Dual Seedline Christian Identity outreach which combines a belief that White Europeans, rather than Jews, are the actual descendants of the Israelites of the Bible, and are therefore God’s chosen people, with National Socialism. Christian Identity is the best and most effective bridge to White Nationalism for the millions of conservative White Americans who are at least nominally Christian, and on The Roper Report radio show, as well as in my articles on The Divine Truth Ministries website, I like to think that I serve as a two way bridge, myself; in one direction, for White Nationalists who are unfamiliar with it to better understand Christian Identity, but more importantly, potentially, in the other direction, for mainstream, conservative White Christians to be unshackled from the anti-White, pro-Jewish dogma they’ve been fed by “Judeo” Christianity. I focus more on news and political commentary, while Pastor Paul Mullet focuses more on the theological aspect, but there’s a significant overlap, from both ends, of course. It’s a very symbiotic relationship.
In your view, why have white Americans and Europeans been so slow in awakening to their gradual ethnic replacement and ultimate extinction? What is the cause of our problem within ourselves that makes us unwilling to defend ourselves?
It may be cliche, but it’s in our genes, Brett. Our people adapted to and progressed in a cold, northern European climate where in order to survive you had to become creative and inventive and develop abstract thinking skills, but the harsh environment also required the development of a greater sense of altruism.
It’s more strongly expressed in our women, of course, but females of both genders are especially driven by an overrriding sympathy for those who are perceived as helpless, oppressed, downtrodden, persecuted, in need, et cetera. In a racially healthy society, that was great, it kept crying babies from being tossed out of the longhouse into the snow at three a.m., but in a society where the homogeneity has been purposefully stripped away by Jews acting on their own learned group adaptive survival traits to gain camouflage, well, it’s suicidal, as we’ve seen. Our enemies turned what was a racial strength into a vulnerability, which they then took advantage of.
Do we have the ability to restore Western Civilization and, if so, how?
I think that we do. We’ve faced darker times before, times when from a third to half of our population fell to the plague and the Muslim armies were knocking on Europe’s southern door, for example. Times when the Mongol hordes looked unstoppable, as they swept in from the East. The further back in history one looks, in absolute numbers, there were fewer of us, and less technology available to serve as a great numerical equalizer, lacking only the will to use it. Now, the question is, how will we regain that will?
I prefer that government…bases every foreign and domestic policy decision on the simple criteria that what is good for the race is good, and what is bad for the race, is bad.
I think that things will get worse before they get better. The whole artificial edifice of multiracial democracy has to come crashing down, first. It may be that the lights will have to go out, that many people will have to be unhooked from the matrix violently, before they will be red-pilled. But you know, Brett, it’s never taken a majority to lead our people, or to change history. As Samuel Adams wrote, the ones who will always make the difference will be that tireless, irate minority continually lighting brushfires in people’s minds. That time around, it only took 3%. This time, it might take a crisis event to kick things off, a economic collapse such as the credit bubble popping, a war, or maybe the Hispanics going first, declaring La Reconquista a done deal… we’ll see.
None of us have a crystal ball, but I can tell you than multiracial democracy can’t fly. Nietzsche told us that what cannot fly must fall, and what is falling, we should still push, and say, “fall faster”! Balkanization is happening, right now. People are voluntarily migrating and re-segregating racially. Hispanics are taking over the southwest, blacks are moving back to the southeast, and in response, White flight from both corners is coming back to the heartland, to the red states, the flyover states, to what I, in my nonfiction demographic study of this phenomenon, The Balk, call, “New America”.
It’s coming, and it’s a huge, organic, inevitable process that our enemies can’t stop or even slow down. Nor, can we do much to speed it up, but our job, as I see it, is to make people aware of the coming breakup of America, and try to encourage them to be on the right side of the front lines, when SHTF and we regain control over our destiny as a people.
Can you tell our readers where they can learn about the latest you are doing and how to find your books?
Sure, I’d be happy to. All of my books are available on Amazon, as well as on the websites of Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Smashwords, and most other online retailers. As I mentioned, they vary in subject from alternate history to science fiction to adventure to nonfiction, but all of them have a racially positive message, of course.
My latest project, which I hope to have published by the end of the year, is a nonfiction philosophical treatise called The Big Picture. I intend that it’ll be kind of like Imperium, except with testicles. No offense, “Francis”.
Books by Billy Roper
The Fifth Horseman
The Hasten The Day Trilogy
The Balk: What it means, and what it means for America’s future.
Look Away: an alternate history of the Civil War
The Ice Path: A Way Forward
PaleoAmerican Ethnic Diversity
Hasten The Day
Waiting For The Sun: Hasten The Day, Part II
Wasting The Dawn: Hasten The Day, Part III
Saturday, October 29th, 2016
As the Alt Right grows, it depends more on the voices who can insert clarity and purpose into what otherwise becomes an emotionally-charged, symbol-driven conversation that inevitably drifts from its meaning. Paul Warkin is one of those writers who always gets a firm grip on the original meaning and then translates it into more detailed interpretations. You can find some of his work on Amerika. He was kind enough to take a few moments with us to speak about his worldview and interpretation of the Alt Right.
When did you become aware of being different than others? How did this disturb or complement your upbringing?
From as young as I can remember, I was repeatedly told how strange I was for rarely speaking. It seemed natural that upon entering an unfamiliar environment (being born and becoming aware), the first action would be to observe and learn. Others were content to repeat or state the obvious as a means of socializing. This was an early hint to me that I may be less socially influenced than the average.
What, in your view, is your primary issue or direction? What problems does this solve?
In the abstract: the defense, nurturing and creation of the beautiful, the true, and the virtuous, achieved primarily, in the long term, by evolutionarily improving humans. More concretely: defending, nurturing, and creating the people I love, and those I know who are of excellent character, talent, and beauty.
You seem to approach your thinking from a philosophical viewpoint more than a political one. What is the relationship between politics and philosophy? How do the two converge in your mind?
I have a preference for fundamentals, and philosophy is more fundamental than politics. Understanding a concept requires understanding its predicates. Philosophy explains politics. Politics helps us understand what to fight for and why, politics shows us how.
The Alt Right seems to be getting “large” at this point in time. Do you see this as the culmination of the past, or something entirely new?
Prior to 2015 the Alt Right was a combination of existing schools of thought and intellectual right wing movements like the European New Right, paleoconservatism, Fascism, Radical Traditionalism, Libertarianism, Neoreaction, and so on. Since then it has been joined by an increasing influx of people “red pilled by life” as Richard Spencer says. People who, for example, due to being born into diversity, always knew about racial differences but were explicitly commanded not say anything about it, and were forbidden from even noticing.
2015 saw the unopposed mass invasion of Europe and an American presidential candidate openly condemning illegal immigrant rapists. One white corner of the world saw a sharp spike in the arrival of their replacements, and another saw the first real political opposition to this. These events likely shook many Westerners around the world into an awareness of present conditions: we’re losing our nations, and that means our culture, our art, our order, and our unique view of the universe — our civilization — is going with them. 2015 made these problems that much more difficult to ignore.
At the same time, with the start of campaigning for the 2016 election, 2015 marked the terminal phase of the reign of the left’s race messiah, the one who was destined to unify the races. Undoubtedly many felt as though if there truly was a path to intra-national racial harmony, then Obama should have shown the way. A lack of progress in this direction, a failure to ease racial tensions, could hypothetically be excused or explained as being due to the presence of strong opposition, but he didn’t even point to a pathway. After one instance of a whitish man killing a black man, but before the judicially relevant details emerged, Obama revealed his true motivation and allegiance by announcing that if he had a son, he would look like the killed black man. This means that to Obama — the man who was hoped would bring racial harmony due in large part to the strong symbolism of his half-white, half-black ancestry — a person’s race was of primary importance when choosing sides. Obama’s legacy will be remembered as the culmination and conclusion of the civil rights era.
This is the type of naked leftism that forces a choice. The corresponding phenomenon on the lower level, on the scale of the useful idiot, is the rise of the social justice warrior to the point that any random man on the street likely knows what “SJW” means, and likely has some experience with them, either through their attacks on video games, their takeover of a science fiction award, or their forcing the cancellation of a band’s performance. The SJW’s imperative to out-virtue signal their peers has laid bare the logical conclusions of leftism, and has done so in a way that has personally impacted a significant segment of the population who would otherwise be uninterested in politics. The SJW phenomenon has demonstrated that anything that is good must actively be fought for or it will rot, decay, and die.
When people see this and recognize leftism for what it is, they look for alternatives. From here, there’s no going back, and it’s difficult to say what specific form the effects will take, but there is a real possibility for a new renaissance.
What influence did underground metal music have on your thinking? Were there other artistic influences, including literary? What are your favorite artists and works from underground metal?
The ethos manifest in underground metal of ruthless, vigorous, uncompromising pursuit of some cosmic end despite the onslaught of bitter tribulations imposed by a casually cruel or uncaring universe is beautiful and inspiring. These are some albums that stand out in my mind:
Incantation – Onward to Golgotha
Adramelech – Pure Blood Doom
Morbid Angel – Altars of Madness
Enslaved – Vikingligr Veldi
Tolkien’s works are a continual influence.
What, in your view, are the benefits and pitfalls of an engineering-based approach to civilization design?
easy to understand, which can allow rapid buy-in
easy to administer due to explicit rules which don’t require deep insight to apply and enforce
obvious junk is tossed, including superstitions and degeneracy
loss of good that is not understood, can’t be described, or is not readily quantifiable
successful to the degree that it is founded on true and practical knowledge of how humans work on the individual and group level — more limited or delusional knowledge results more readily in failure
subtlety is lost: rigid rules steamroll exceptions
must be manually tuned, which blocks the opportunity for automatic organic adjustments and refinements
Will you be voting for Donald J. Trump, or are you joining the accelerationists and voting Clinton to hasten the end? What do you think Brexit and Trump mean for Western politics, and will any good come of it?
I’m with the Trump accelerationists. Democracy is a terrible joke, this election makes that abundantly clear. Every form of government is rule by some type of elite. With monarchy or dictatorship, power comes from the top and flows fairly directly: it’s clear who’s in power and who’s enforcing the power. Democracy too has elites, but they are not as visible and there is an awkward intermediary in that power must be routed through the masses. So oligarchs who wish to rule use mass media to manipulate the people into voting for their puppet, that is, the candidate over whom they can exert influence in their favor. Ideally, for them, they wield influence over both candidates, and constrain the opinions of the masses into the range represented by the approved candidates. That was the norm until now.
This election appears to be different. Either choice is a threat. Clinton would threaten the current governing system by using and twisting it to maximize and maintain her wealth and power, and this would likely strain it to the breaking point. We can see this in action as the news outlets burn off their remaining reserves of public trust in an effort to desperately push Clinton to victory. Since the system is evil, that would be good. That is Clinton accelerationism. But though we would like to destroy evil, we also would like to look past its destruction and aim for favorable conditions in its fall.
Assuming Trump is sincere, and he does seems to be, he would be a threat to the current governing system because his determined efforts to fix the system would provoke strong backlash from the forces that have corrupted it. If both sides refuse to back down, this could very possibly lead to a civil war. That sounds alarmist and perhaps outlandish, and certainly the majority will choose whatever comfortable option they have in order to avoid violence, but we must remember that over the scale of centuries, far from being an unlikely aberration, war is in fact the norm.
Bush or Rubio would not have provoked this response.
So a vote for Trump is in that sense accelerationist. Conflict is coming; with a Trump victory, the ones holding the reigns of power, the official source of power to whom the middle may defer to by default, are more sympathetic with us, and have the possibility of becoming more closely aligned with us.
What do you think defines the boundaries of modernity?
Modernism means believing the primary determinant of the success of a society is the formal system used rather than the quality of humans (as individuals and in aggregate). This boundary lies somewhere between monarchism and democracy. The rationalization, or flawed assumption, that allows modernism to “make sense” is equality: when working with a set of identical components, how they’re put together is most important. Knowing that the components of society are unequal in important ways makes rejecting modernism easy.
How did you end up writing for Amerika? Was it a risky decision, trusting this hacked together site full of reprobates?
I’ve never revealed information that could lead to Hilary Clinton’s arrest, so for me putting disembodied words on the Internet is relatively low-risk. I honestly can’t remember whether I found the American Nihilist Underground Society by seeking metal recommendations or nihilist philosophy, but I’m fairly sure it wasn’t by searching the acronym. Either way, my interest was piqued by a philosophy that seemed to emanate from the ethos I described above, and eventually I responded to a request for submissions for Amerika, partly out of a desire to help the site grow if I could, and partly as a means of further exploring its ideas. Writing forces one to explicate vague thoughts and opens them to potentially useful criticism. It can also be more fun than the passive entertainment and empty pleasures the modern world offers. Becoming a thought criminal reprobate in the process is a small price to pay.
If all went exactly according to your desires, what would the future of Western Civilization look like, both globally and locally?
Western nations would embrace their heritage and return to ethnic homogeneity
a significant proportion of the geography of these nations, ideally the majority, would become technology-free zones to which individuals could be exiled, voluntarily or otherwise, when they are poor fits in their communities
art would be appreciated locally and idealized globally: it would be more common to personally know great performers nearby than for the few greatest performers to monopolize attention through mass media, and artists look toward replicating and improving works of the highest excellence across the history of the globe
automation would replace slavery and other similar arrangements, rendering an underclass obsolete
human reproduction would be natural (which ensures species and racial survival by preventing reproductive dependence on technology that may fail) but augmented with knowledge of phenotype made possible from reputation that can exist only in strong communities, and with knowledge made possible with genetic advancements indicating the likely phenotype (intelligence, height, ailments, etc.) of a given pairing
castes would be mostly downwardly mobile, with those falling off the lowest caste allowed to live out their child-free lives in peace to enjoy as they like if they cause no problems
extraterrestrial colonization succeeds and prevents the only source of life we know of from being snuffed out
Thank you for taking the time to communicate with our readers yet again. There is a lot to think about and be inspired by in what you have said.
Friday, October 2nd, 2015
Among all they will not —
The lone man,
Long legs relaxed, standing still,
Watching. Observing —
The traffic pass
The details of the earth and air
And that gives them pause.
The cars going past linked
As far apart as train cars
On the routes that built the West
The people beneath the clothing
The men in suits (who would be boys)
The joggers barely wrapped (like products on shelves)
The wary cops (who have seen the unstable heart of humankind)
Relentless, without judgment,
His eyes sweep them all
Whisking each piece of trash into view
Seeing the lax face of each inattentive driver
Catching the boredom, frustration and impotence
Possessing that moment from them, but sharing it
Too much, they think,
Wish government would send him a job
Hope that it has not done so already
In many faces
He reads the chimeric shimmer
Of a thought:
That some day, perhaps a truck,
Or a car with wobbly brakes
Will skid over and jump the curb
Crush him into the faded green grass
Close those eyes and end all that
This world hates a witness
Distrusts an observer
It hides behind its busy rumble
Many things that can be seen
A watcher ruins it all
The resentment submerged
As busy fingers hammer away
On the keys and levers
The vacuum of doubt
Encroaching from a place without appearance
The dark formless within
And they hate him for it
Saturday, August 30th, 2014
A world of memes comes crashing down on our shoulders: peacemakers versus terrorists, freedom fighters versus extremists, progressives versus what we assume to be regressives. It’s important to remember that a word has no meaning unless it is the true name of something; someone referred to as “evil” may be anything but. The most dramatic term of our time is “extremists,” so we should inspect and see what it actually means.
An extremist, in the current parlance, is someone who disagrees with “modern society”: the combination of industrial capitalism and personal liberty in democratic systems that defines the progressive West. All of Europe and North America and most of their allies have some variation on this type of system. Even further, it is upheld as the reason to support the West in its crusades: we bring you “freedom” and a nifty product-oriented lifestyle.
However, such modern society is by definition very popular, because it tells everyone they are liable only to themselves and their own interests, and that there is need for no other social involvement. Do what benefits you personally, both materially and in social status. Most people do not understand why anyone would oppose this, thus “extremists” tend to work through that form of guerrilla warfare native to our time, sometimes called “terrorism.”
After all, when you are outnumbered not one hundred to and not a thousand to one but more likely a million to one, your methods become extreme by definition and therefore there is little point in not striking decisively by any means necessary. An extremist is someone who believes that the path most follow leads to doom, and for that reason is inclined to urgent action.
What unites extremists is their refusal to give in to the popularity of an idea they believe will lead to a bad end, even if that end is far off. Like most politicians, they realize that the average person knows little more than what happens between paychecks. They know that on average and as a group of averages, people tend to be selfish, short-sighted, and emotionally manipulated by both pity and aggression. Extremists disagree with modern society because it preys on these tendencies and does not address long-term problems.
Since most people do not understand how liberal democratic society can lead to doom, let us walk through the paces: liberal democracy is the joining of democratic society and industrial capitalism, which provides both political/social and economic freedoms for its populations. In order for this freedom to exist, money must be used to regulate the population. What one can afford, one can do. This means in turn that every piece of land, every tree, and every natural resource is seen only in terms of its monetary value.
(Liberal democracies are famous for giving political voice to those who oppose this, like environmentalists and religious groups. But let us ask: what over the past fifty years have these groups accomplished that is of strategic importance? They delay some construction, bust a few polluters, convince the middle class to recycle, etc. but have not delayed or misdirected the widespread expansion of humanity to the point where unbroken natural land is a rarity. Religious groups have not protected their own members from what they see as immoral tendencies in society. There is no victory in a battle of endless details and no decisive strokes.)
Here is the future of our society: immensely popular, modernity will spread worldwide. Soon every nation will live as Americans do and will have all of their powers, including nuclear energy and nuclear bombs. Since there are more people, more housing will be built, and the only remaining wild land will be small national parks. As population density increases, houses with lawns and gardens will be replaced by apartments. Since most people shop compulsively in modern societies, malls and large department stores will be built every three miles, as they seem to be in American cities.
All these new mouths to feed — what will they eat? Fish is the obvious source of protein, but even now ocean fish is too full of mercury to be healthy more than once a month, and supplies are dwindling. “Supplies” of course is our silly abstraction for living populations that must renew themselves and do not magically appear in amounts we request, like burgers at fast food joints. These people will also need fruits and vegetables, but these will be increasingly expensive because land for corporate farms is limited. See, a person is not just the space required for an apartment and parking space, but the several acres of land needed to feed them.
A person is also water required for drinking, cooking and bathing. Our freshwater supplies are already limited, but for now, they’re only expensive. In the future they will become selectively unavailable. The problem with population is not where to put the people in question, because if it was just a matter of space for individuals we could cram fifty billion onto earth, but where to put the systems they need to survive: fresh water, food, exercise space, shopping space, worship space, workspace and on and on.
As the great naturalist John Muir said, the problem with capitalism is that it puts a price tag on everything — and thus nothing is revered for its sheer effect and non-material contribution to life. A beautiful mountainside can become a resort, but there is no logical pathway in democratic society for making it a mountainside appreciated by those nearby. Unique forests and animals? Well, what are they worth? Show me the money, the people say, and unintentionally, create greed through their combined voices.
So: as population increases, so does loss of space. Furthermore, so does pollution, since all of these people will be driving cars and buying products that generate toxic waste. Will government stop them? So far, the most legislative government in history, with the world’s largest prison population, has failed to stop toxic dumping or the driving of “smokers,” heavily polluting cars. How will the rest of the world fare?
Even more is the effect on culture. High culture — classical art, literature, music, theatre — has been sustained by its popularity among the educated and those who have inherited money. It is not as popular as rap music, rock, or mindless pop, so those will earn more money and eventually push it out of the picture. Traditional ways of living? According to modern society, it’s all about me and my power. Earning power. Sexual power. Social power. There is no room to care about ways of living that have worked for generations.
(As a wise man once noted, to find happiness you cannot directly pursue happiness: you must pursue fulfillment, which requires that you accept life despite its miseries and inequalities, and build a firm foundation — family, personal achievement, a solid steady income and not a flash of wealth — because through that, you will have done well by all that life offers and will find happiness in the completeness of your life — fullfillment. The other option is to separate life into “fun” and “not-fun” and pursue the fun, but then have nothing of practical foundation for a future life. Is that happiness?)
As seen by someone thinking in terms of millennia, modern society is a process of devolution and corruption, a loss of all the subtle things that might not be “fun” but makes us happier in the long run. Surely it is more “fun” to buy plastic junk than to meditate on meaning in life, and it is more fun to hear mindless pop than classical symphonies… but is it truly rewarding, or an empty pleasure that passes quickly? It’s more fun to get drunk than to build a family and family business that can be passed down to descendants, and it’s more fun to have quick sex than to work on a relationship. And who can be against fun? …Unless, of course, fun now leads to misery later — which is what extremists believe.
No one in modern society seems to think critically on this issue, which reinforces the sense of extremists that their concerns are not and never will be addressed by society. Because our media inundate us with constant most-exciting, most-dangerous, most-important-ever stories, our memories are short. We think as a result that “extremist” and “terrorist” means “Islamic terrorist.” We forget that society has other dissidents who, because their views were not popular, became seen as extremists.
There’s Ted Kaczynski, the “Unabomer,” who recognized that liberal democracies were self-congratulatory and self-reifying dogmas that would never stop themselves from expanding to consume all natural areas of earth. Malcolm X recognized that African-Americans could be handed political rights but would never own themselves as people until they had a separate nation. The New Right in Europe looks at the loss of culture and heritage in Europe and sees that unless this changes, the future of Europe is as a third-world colony not unlike parts of the middle east. Interestingly, “radical” Islam sees the same thing: selfishness knows no bounds, and when you admit modern liberal democracy to your nations, you become exactly like the Americans: thoughtlessly manipulative and destructive and neurotic, but willing to wage war against anyone who symbolizes an alternative to their own system — liberal democracy — and its fate.
Others were simply writers and thinkers. Socrates pointed out the democracy leads to selfishness, and that then, people are manipulated by pleasant images while oligarchs run society for profit. Neither group thinks of the future and so together they go oblivious to their doom, although generally oligarchs are such empty connectionless people that loss of nation, culture and family means little to them. Joseph Conrad illustrated the lack of spiritedness in Europeans and therefore, their manic pursuit of wealth; we don’t trust each other, so we try to afford getting away from each other. F.W. Nietzsche made his stand against “slave revolt” by which he meant seizure of power by slave-minded people, or those who saw only material comfort and political-social prestige, but might miss the beauty of a mountain or a heroic act or even an ascetic one.
These are all “extremists,” and they comprise some of the smartest people our human species has produced. Perhaps it is wise we listen? But we are afraid — and how can you be afraid when you have “freedom” — because such ideas are radically unpopular and can cost us jobs, friends, security at home and potential mates. “He has bad ideas!” the crowd screams with pointed finger, and the mob rushes forward to quash the dissident, whether actively or passively, by simply denying that person opportunity. Extremism is limited by this crowd revolt as well as its nature as a philosophy for thinkers of the long-term, not short-term pleasure seekers. The former is radically, extremely outnumbered by the latter.
If one must write a thesis on extremism, the wisest thing to say is: extremism is produced by what modern society denies and the vision of those who wish to avoid it. Extremists may kill a few thousand of you here and there, or may destroy some of your overpriced office real estate, but in the end they are doing what they believe is best for all of us. And who are we to deny them this “freedom”?
Thursday, May 1st, 2014
П Е Р Ш А Я Н А С Т А В А
З ангельскай мовы пераклаў Барыс Шчука паводле
Vijay Prozak «The First Lecture», amerika.org, 2009
Пераклад правілі Сяргей Лісіца і Ігар Кулікоў.
Выкладчык Рэндальф Паўш стаў шырока вядомым (у ЗША ― зацем пер.) пасьля сваёй «апошняй наставы», лекцыі, прачытанай ім незадоўга да сьмерці. У сваім тэксьце ён навучае ўсім рэчам, якія зразумеў за жыцьцё. У творы, што прапануецца вашай увазе, я паспрабую ўжыць у некаторым змысьле адваротны падыход і дам вам «першую наставу» ― пра ўсё важнае, што я зразумеў з прыходам у сьвядомасьць.
Пад прыходам у сьвядомасьць я маю на ўвазе тое імгненьне ў разьвіцьці розуму, калі я стаў здольны расчытваць гэты сьвет. Расчытваць, бо ніводнае слова ня значыць таго, што яно на першы пагляд мусіла б значыць, за кожным парканам тут хаваюцца таемныя змыслы і прычыны. Пасьля гадоў сьвядомасьці я нарэшце адкрыў сапраўдную самасьвядомасьць, а тады, пераўзышоўшы яе, ― сьветасьвядомасьць.
На гэтай дарозе можна было б пераскочыць шмат якія прыступкі і прадухіліць шмат якія затрымкі, калі б меўся нейкі грамадзкі парадак, які перадаў бы мне веды былых пакаленьняў. Але ў грамадзтве, што апанавана звадкамі і ня мае выразных культурных уставаў, зварот да кагосьці па тлумачэньне каштоўнасьцяў застаецца ў найлепшым разе без адказу. Вось я і прапаную табе, чытач, першую наставу, якая дапаможа ў выпадку, калі ты прачнуўся, адчуў сябе жывым і пачаў разважаць пра рэчаіснасьць і пра тое, як зь ёй абыходзіцца.
§ 1. Жыцьцё вымагае прыстасаваньня
Найхутчэйшы шлях знайсьці ў жыцьці шчасьце ― высьветліць праўдзівы стан рэчаў. Ты ня бог і не машына, але адушаўлёнае стварэньне, якому трэба выжываць. Таму ты мусіш зразумець, што твая першая задача ― адаптацыя, прыстасаваньне да рэчаіснасьці. Усьвядоміўшы гэтую задачу, ты можаш засяродзіцца на ёй, адкінуўшы ўсё лішняе.
Жыцьцё з гэтага гледзішча не зьмянялася з часоў першага чалавека і ня зьменіцца ніколі.
Важна патлумачыць, што маецца на ўвазе пад словам «прыстасаваньне». Гэта ня значыць быць бесхрыбетным. Гэта значыць весьці справы з улікам рэчаіснасьці. Ты можаш пры жаданьні высечы і выкарчаваць частку лесу, зрабіць роўнае поле і наладзіць на ім гаспадарку, але табе давядзецца сеяць у правільны, адпаведны час ― то бок, прыстасоўвацца да ўмоў, ― інакш ніякага ўраджаю ня будзе. Што да жыцьця ў грамадзтве, то, напрыклад, часам ты пераходзіш з адной працы на другую ― лепшую, зьмяняеш месца жыхарства, каб ня жыць побач зь ёлупнямі, або робіш нешта ў дачыненьні да людзей, якія чыняць бязглуздыя рэчы.
З усім гэтым ты сутыкнесься. Каб разумець, як дзейнічаць, трэба вылучаць рэчы, якія ты зьмяніць ня можаш, і рэчы, якія ты зьмяніць можаш. Ты, напрыклад, ня можаш зьмяніць чаргаваньне пораў году; але ты можаш сеяць у сваім полі іншую культуру або іншы сорт; можаш перагледзець кола сваіх стасункаў, свой звычайны набор пакупаў, спосабы баўленьня свайго вольнага часу. Можа здацца, што гэта нязначныя захады, але практыка паказвае адваротнае. Больш за тое, паляпшаючы сваё асяродзьдзе, ты прамаўляеш голасам розуму і іншыя будуць браць зь цябе прыклад, бо ім таксама хочацца чагосьці дасягнуць.
Засвоіўшы гэткую навуку, ты засвоіш і адну выснову зь яе. У жыцьці ты сустракаесься зь дзьвюма разнавіднасьцямі людзей паводле стаўленьня да рэчаіснасьці: тыя, хто прыстасоўваецца да яе, і тыя, хто хоча, каб яна прыстасавалася да іх. Тыя, хто прыстасоўваецца, улічваюць абставіны, ставяць мэты і метадычна да іх ідуць. Тыя, хто не прыстасоўваецца, тыя ўпэўненыя, што грамадзтва ім чымсьці абавязана і павінна нешта задарма даваць. Але ж гэтага дармовага ім заўжды не хапае; з часам жыцьцё такіх людзей становіцца ўсё больш неўпарадкаваным, бязладным і яны ўсё больш злуюцца і гаруюць.
§ 2. Жыцьцё ― гэта імкненьне да посьпеху
Навакольныя могуць колькі заўгодна тлуміць табе галаву мілымі словамі пра ўсеагульную роўнасьць і пра тое, што «ты цудоўны такі, які ёсьць», але насамрэч жыцьцё ёсьць змаганьнем. Тыя, хто праз схільнасць да самападману ― хто чакае, што рэчаіснасьць да іх прыстасуецца, ― ня здатныя да посьпеху, тыя ненавідзяць пасьпяховых. Ня ўсе могуць быць пасьпяховымі, і ня ўсе імі будуць. У некаторай ступені пасьпяховасьць вызначаецца адказам на пытаньне: ці забясьпечаны ты матэрыяльна ўсім патрэбным, ці задаволены жыцьцём і ці займаесься ўлюбёнаю справай?
Ты ўбачыш, што ўсе незадаволеныя самі загналі сябе ў стан незадаволенасьці. Выклікі жыцьця былі для іх недастаткова захапляльнымі або надта складанымі, таму яны правялі зашмат часу ў патураньні ўласным дрэнным схільнасьцям ― да забаваў, ужываньня шкодных рэчываў, блуду і іншых спосабаў самападману. У выніку яны ніколі нічога не дасягаюць і ім застаецца шукаць, на каго б скінуць віну за іхнія няўдачы. Яны ненавідзяць урад, ненавідзяць прыроду, ненавідзяць грамадзтва, і, калі ты задаволены жыцьцём, яны ненавідзяць цябе.
Прачытай уважліва: яны ненавідзяць цябе.
Калі ты лепш матэрыяльна забясьпечаны, больш нутрана задаволены, разумнейшы, лепш выглядаеш, яны будуць спрабаваць зьнішчыць цябе. Доўбні робяць гэта з выкарыстаньнем фізічнай сілы, крыху разумнейшыя ― ствараючы супольнасьці, з дапамогай якіх можна каго-небудзь высьмейваць. Ім здаецца, што за імі сіла, калі яны кажуць: «Але мы ўсе думаем інакш!» ― нібыта гэта можна разглядаць у якасьці доказу. Памятай: ім хочацца, каб рэчаіснасьць прыстасавалася пад іхныя жаданьні.
Вядома, час пакажа, што яны памыляліся, і пад старасьць яны ўрэшце ўбачаць, што пражылі не такое жыцьцё, як хацелася, і ў нейкай ступені ўцямяць, што вінаватыя ў гэтым самі: яны не арганізавалі свой час і сілы, не ўлічылі ўмоў і не стварылі тое, чаго сапраўды жадалі. У некаторых выпадках самападман замінаў ім бачыць, чаго ж яны хочуць. Іншыя былі ўведзеныя ў зман, далучыўшыся да суполак, утвораных вакол нейкіх памылковых ідэяў.
…Тымчасам пасьпяховасьць вызначаецца нашымі дзеяньнямі. Хтосьці неарганізаваны і занураны ў забавы стаіць ніжэй за таго, хто сьпярша справіў усе свае справы, а потым змог вылучыць час на забавы. Нас можна падзяліць і паводле нажытага багацьця, але гэта губляе важнасьць для таго, хто мае дастаткова і любіць сваю працу. Можна пастроіць нас і паводле грамадзкай папулярнасьці, як медыйных зорак, але яшчэ не зразумела, ці робіць папулярнасьць сапраўды шчасьлівым.
Пакуль ты будзеш расьці ― у змысьле дабрабыту, самаарганізаванасьці, дысцыпліны, уменьняў, грамадзкай вагі ― ты будзеш заўважаць, як тыя, хто ня змог дасягнуць падобнага, ненавідзяць цябе і намагаюцца цябе падарваць. Збольшага яны робяць гэта праз пасіўны сабатаж: «Ня можа быць, каб табе падабалася твая новая праца, ты ж працуеш увесь час!» ― і спрабуюць спакусіць цябе на бязглуздыя непатрэбныя дзеяньні, якіх прагнуць самі.
Пад покрывам іхніх зьнешне прыязных паводзінаў хаваецца адзіная мэта. Яны зайздросьцяць і злуюцца, бачачы чужыя дасягненьні, для іх саміх немагчымыя; ня могуць прызнаць, што немагчымасьць дасягненьняў спрычынена ўласнай неарганізаванасьцю; і хочуць зьнішчыць усіх хоць колькі пасьпяховых, каб уласная нікчэмнасьць ня так рэзала ім вочы. Гэтае памкненьне суправаджае амаль усе чалавечыя звады.
§ 3. Шчасьце магчымае толькі на ўзроўні, вышэйшым за «я»
Магчыма, найбольшыя пярэчаньні выкліча думка пра тое, што шчасьця можна дасягнуць толькі пераўзышоўшы ўзровень уласнай асобы. Неарганізаваныя скажуць табе, што шчасьце ёсьць, калі ты маеш жаданыя цацкі, рэчывы для кайфу і грамадзкі статус; арганізаваныя скажуць, што шчасьце ў тым, каб знайсьці сваё месца ў жыцьці. «Месца» азначае наяўнасьць добрай працы, сям’і, сяброў, абстрактных цэляў і супольнасьці.
Добрая праца ― гэта проста: вызнач, што такога ты любіш рабіць, што прыгэтым было б каштоўным для іншых. Як што ты будзеш рабіць гэтую працу з задавальненьнем, то будзе расьці тваё ўменьне і, адпаведна, узнагароджаньне.
Размова пра сям’ю пойдзе ў адным з наступных параграфаў.
Сябры ― гэта тыя, хто хоча, каб ты дасягнуў посьпеху, бо яны ўпэўненыя, што таксама яго дасягнуць. Гэта твае прыяцелі і роўня табе ў найстарэйшым змысьле слова: яны падобныя да цябе розумам, целам і характарам. Сябры ніколі не падрываюць цябе. Яны і не для таго, каб рабіць за цябе штосьці, чаго ты ня можаш сам, але, як са сваёй роўняй, ты можаш абменьвацца зь імі жыцьцёвымі ведамі і па-добраму спаборнічаць ― гэта дапаможа і табе, і ім удасканальвацца.
Абстрактныя цэлі: сюды можна аднесьці, напрыклад, стварэньне музыкі, пісьмовых твораў, тэхналогіяў і іншых рэчаў, якія патрабуюць тонкага разуменьня і адчуваньня і не абавязкова ёсьць матэрыяльнымі. Гэта вобласьці, у якіх ты імкнесься пераўзысьці самога сябе, каб стварыць штосьці вялікае, і не разьлічваеш на ўзнагароджаньне і прызнаньне пры жыцьці. Гэта падарункі ўсяму чалавецтву, у якіх ты перадаеш яму свой досьвед і здабытую табой мудрасьць.
Супольнасьць. Шмат хто з навакольных можа быць табе непрыемным. Супольнасьць складаецца зь людзей і зьяўляецца звышістотай. Людзі, зь якімі ты супрацоўнічаеш у грамадзкіх справах, людзі, якія табе падабаюцца, і зрэз цывілізацыі, адпаведны тваёй мясцовасьці, ― з гэтага складаецца твая супольнасьць. Дзейнасьць па яе разьвіцьці ўлучае, напрыклад, удасканаленьне працы грамадзкіх установаў, укараненьне ведаў, пашырэньне магчымасьцяў хуткага перасоўваньня людзей у патрэбныя ім месцы.
Хто спрабуе жыць толькі для сябе, той звужае набор сваіх цэляў да забаваў і выгодаў. Па дасягненьні гэтага няма куды йсьці далей. Чалавек касьнее. Горш за тое, ён становіцца замкнёным ва ўласнай асобе, бо іншым няма да яго справы, а тое, што ён робіць, не нясе якой-кольвек працяглай у часе значнасьці ні для кога. Калі ж ты пераадольваеш боязь памыліцца, выглядаць недарэчна і быць непапулярным сярод навакольных і робіш высілкі дзеля станоўчых зьменаў у сьвеце, ты атрымліваеш добрую нагоду для самапавагі. Апошняя будзе расьці разам са зьяўленьнем вынікаў тваіх намаганьняў. Ты ўжо ня проста нязначны атам. У цябе ёсьць роля, сваё месца, і ты дапамагаеш тым, хто табе даспадобы, атрымліваць больш радасьці ад жыцьця.
§ 4. Не зважай на іншых людзей і іхнія ідэі
Магчыма, тут лепей ужыць двукосьсі: не зважай на іншых людзей і іхнія «ідэі». Сапраўдныя мысьляры бачаць нейкую нявырашаную задачу, прадумваюць спосаб яе вырашэньня, правяраюць яго ў дзеяньні і ўжо потым распавядаюць пра яго навакольным. Сучасныя жа павярхоўныя людзі спрабуюць знайсьці апраўданьні для сваіх дзеяньняў або тлумачэньні сваіх няўдач. Думка сапраўдных мысьляроў як бы працуе наперад; «думка» павярхоўных людзей працуе ў кірунку назад, намагаючыся выдумаць для іхных дзеяньняў тлумачэньне, якое зусім не адпавядае іхным першапачатковым пабуджэньням да гэтых дзеяньняў.
Тыя павярхоўныя сучасныя людзі ― якія ня могуць ні за што адказваць, ня могуць сябе арганізаваць і вінавацяць у сваіх няўдачах цябе ― якраз і ёсьць носьбітамі такіх думак-самаапраўданьняў. Яны думаюць не ў кірунку вырашэньня, зваяваньня нейкай задачы, але абаронча, нібы спрабуючы з дапамогай нейкай фантастычнай логікі выставіць свае ўжо зробленыя няправільныя рашэньні за правільныя. Прамаўляючы свае «ідэі», яны часта будуць спрабаваць схіліць цябе да думак, што ты робіш нешта дрэннае і што ты не павінен ісьці супраць іншых.
Гэтыя людзі могуць аказваць на цябе такое ж моцнае маніпуляцыйнае ўзьдзеяньне, як і сьпецпадразьдзяленьні з кулямётамі або якісьці яскравы і загадкавы, але пагрозьлівы сымбаль. Яны хамы. Іхняя задача ― прынізіць цябе, падарваць тваю пэўнасьць, змусіць цябе адчуваць, што ты ім нешта абавязаны або павінен прыслухоўвацца да іхніх думак замест сваіх.
Калі ты сумняесься ў маіх словах, параўнай іхнія думкі з тым багацьцем мудрасьці, якое захоўваецца праз стагодзьдзі. Ты хутка ўбачыш, што яны зусім няслушныя і нягодныя. Людзі, што ня любяць жыцьця, звычайна займаюцца дэканструкцыяй ― разьбіраньнем і разбурэньнем ― і, каб добра выглядаць у вачах іншых, карыстаюцца ліберальнай філасофіяй. Лібералізм любіць дэканструкцыю, бо выніковы хаос дазваляе ўцякаць ад адказнасьці ў натоўп.
На працягу жыцьця людзі будуць пытаць у цябе пра твае мэты і погляды, а пасьля гэтага некаторыя з дапамогай сваіх «ідэй» будуць нападаць на цябе, жадаючы выбіць з-пад цябе апірышча. Часам ты можаш падумаць, што трэба быць уважлівым да поглядаў навакольных, хаця б проста каб бачыць сьвет з «розных гледзішчаў». Навошта гэта, калі ты маеш дасяг да працаў усіх класікаў філасофіі, мастацкай літаратуры, палітычнай і эканамічнай думкі? Замест таго каб круціцца ў штучным коле сацыяльнай рэальнасьці, разгарні кнігу і набярыся ведаў ад сапраўдных знаўцаў.
§ 5. Тваё разьвіцьцё = самадысцыпліна x спадчыннасьць
Прадметам ці не найстражэйшага табу сучаснага грамадзтва зьяўляецца прамаўленьне таго, што якасьці чалавека, падабаецца яму гэта ці не, у значнай ступені закладзеныя ў ягоных генах. Тым ня менш, для дасягненьня посьпеху адной добрай спадчыннасьці недастаткова. І посьпеху ўсё яшчэ не дасягнеш, калі дадасі «старанную працу», ― гэтак некаторыя называюць упартае і бясплоднае сядзеньне на працоўным месцы па 14 гадзін на дзень, летуценна думаючы, што яно дае магчымасьць ёлупню ўзьняцца над прыроджаным геніем. Табе патрэбная самадысцыпліна. Што азначае арганізаванасьць, сістэматычнасьць, стараннасьць ды пільнасьць.
Вялізныя стосы паперы ды мільёны чалавека-гадзінаў былі змарнаваныя ў спробах запярэчыць відавочнай ісьціне: разумовыя здольнасьці закладзеныя ў чалавеку ад нараджэньня. Кожнаму дадзены нейкі свой узровень; і хаця ты можаш дасканаліць розум праз навучаньне і стараннасьць, ты ня скокнеш вышэй за сваю столь. Гэта як з мастацкімі здольнасьцямі. Хтосьці, хто ад прыроды здольны да музыкі, можа і не займацца ёю; калі ж зоймецца, то ўсё адно мусіць працаваць над сабой, каб чагосьці дасягнуць; але ў аднолькавых умовах і пры аднолькавых высілках ён абавязкова будзе апераджаць тых, хто ня мае прыроднага дару.
Незалежна ад узроўню тваіх прыродных здольнасьцяў табе спатрэбяцца дысцыпліна і арганізаванасьць. З майго досьведу, гэта найпершыя чыньнікі плённасьці тваёй працы. Дакладнае веданьне таго, дзе знаходзяцца твае прылады і неабходныя для працы зьвесткі, падрыхтаванасьць да ўсіх надыходзячых мерапрыемстваў і падзей, здольнасьць працаваць над заданьнямі з апярэджаньнем, каб мець магчымасьць ацаніць час на іх выкананьне, ― усе гэтыя рэчы жыцьцёва неабходныя. Бязь іх нават самародак ні на што ня здатны.
§ 6. Удзельнічай у коле жыцьця
Многія людзі ня вераць ва ўласную магчымасьць пражыць шчасьлівае жыцьцё. Яны, наадварот, перакананыя, што яны вырачаныя. Гэта псіхалагічна прыемная выдумка, хоць яна і вядзе да непрыемнага выніку; прыемная таму, што здымае з чалавека адказнасьць. «Я пацярпеў няўдачу не ад таго, што быў неарганізаваным, п’яніцам, абжорам, неахайным і няўважлівым; але таму, што я ад пачатку вырачаны, ТАКІ МОЙ ЛЁС!»
Як і большасьць выпадкаў самаапраўданьня, гэта зводзіцца да простай догмы: вінаваты ня я. Хтосьці паступіў са мной несправядліва. Я нічога дрэннага не рабіў, а мае няўдачы спрычыніў хтосьці іншы. Ты сустрэнеш падобныя апраўданьні ва ўсіх частках грамадзтва, дзе назіраюцца няўдачы і нягоды. Вось табе праверачны вобраз: уяві прапойцу, які хоча працягваць піць. Якія развагі дазволяць яму гэта рабіць, не засмучаючыся наконт сваіх паводзінаў? «Мяне падставілі. Хтосьці ці штосьці прывяло мяне да п’янства.»
Гэтыя людзі, якія ў сваіх няўдачах вінавацяць само жыцьцё, іншых людзей, урад, абстрактныя рэчы, сімвалы і пачуцьці, будуць спрабаваць пераканаць цябе далучыцца да іхнага няшчасьця. Вядома, яны ня будуць казаць гэта наўпрост… Яны звычайна кажуць, што яны больш асьвечаныя за цябе, больш прагрэсіўныя, свабодныя, мудрыя, клёвыя ці, прынамсі, проста добразычлівыя. Іхняя цэль ― зьнішчыць усе твае прыродныя памкненьні і пахіснуць тваё адчуваньне таго, што жыцьцё не бясконцае і ў ім ёсьць этапы.
Сёньня, калі большасьць дарослых кажуць пра «розныя этапы жыцьця», яны кажуць гэта самі сабе, але ня моладзі. Я патлумачу: твой вораг ня смерць, а старэньне, лядашчасьць. Пачынаючы з твайго падлеткавага ўзросту, твае жыцьцёвыя сістэмы з кожным годам становяцца ўсё менш гнуткімі. Гэта значыць, што з кожным годам столь тваіх магчымасьцяў зьніжаецца. Таму трэба планаваць наперад.
Апроч таго трэба не забывацца пра параграф 1: жыцьцё патрабуе прыстасаваньня. Гэта тычыцца і цябе. Таму калі ты верыш у сябе і верыш у жыцьцё, ты захочаш пастаяць на ўсіх прыступках жыцьця. Сьвята захапленьня і цікаўнасьці ў маладосьці; станаўленьне на ногі ў пачатку сталеньня; шлюб і сям’я, працяг роду; нарэшце, адыход ад мітусьні і спакойнае сузіраньне сьвету ў старасьці.
Свабодныя і прагрэсіўныя скажуць табе, што гэта ўсё бязглузьдзіца і ты можаш вечна заставацца дзіцём. Гэткім чынам яны ў падсалоджаным выглядзе выражаюць сваё непасрэднае жаданьне, а менавіта: далучыся да нас ― да тых, хто ня ўмее планаваць жыцьцё і ня верыць у жыцьцё, ― і твая выніковая няўдаласьць дазволіць нам менш пакутаваць ад таго, што мы няўдачнікі. Бо ж у каго карова здохла, таму стане куды весялей, калі карова здохне і ў суседа.
Яны будуць расьпісваць табе жахі пра адказнасьць. Пра тое, што сям’я ― гэта праца, што ты ня зможаш павесяліцца, што сур’ёзнае стаўленьне да прафесійных абавязкаў ― гэта глупства. Ім бы хацелася, каб ты займаўся чымсьці нязначным, напрыклад граў у рок-гурце, замест таго каб рабіць сапраўдныя зьдзяйсьненьні накшталт напісаньня сімфоній або аповесьцяў. Ім бы хацелася, каб ты пажыцьцёва падзяліў зь імі іхнія пасады разносчыкаў ежы і газет і граньне ў бязглуздых indie-гуртах, замест таго каб дасягнуць нейкіх вышынь.
Але калі паглядзець на іх, то яны самі безупынку наракаюць на працу, бо ўвесь час працуюць. Бо ж іхныя абавязкі і патрэбы нікуды не зьнікаюць. І калі крыжовы паход іхняй маладосьці завяршаецца, яны прачынаюцца ў 40-гадовым узросьце, ня маючы за душой нічога. Ніякіх сапраўдных дасягненьняў (падлеткавыя рок-гурты ня ў лік.) Ні сям’і. Ні добрай працы. А для баўленьня вольнага часу няма іншых спосабаў, акрамя як зноў і зноў «узяць паўтарашку і пайсьці пасядзець з пацанамі». Што гэта за жыцьцё?
§ 7. Не ўжывай рэчываў, і ты ня будзеш жыць у брудзе
Тут я мушу павініцца. У свой час я з задавальненьнем і ў вялікіх колькасьцях піў алкаголь і курыў траўку. Нават магу сказаць, як найлепш «адляцець»: выпіць чатыры кубкі вады, потым два кубкі моцнай кавы, потым пакурыць моцных індыйскіх канопляў-сінсеміла з 15-адсоткавым дамешкам тытуню, потым залпам выпіць шклянку віскі. Але гэтыя «адлёты» не даюць ніякай навукі па-за першым досьведам, а надалей ператвараюцца ў сродак уніканьня самога жыцьця.
Усе рэчывы, што зьмяняюць стан сьвядомасьці, выклікаюць вельмі моцныя прыемныя перажываньні; гэта нібы выплеск нейкай сілы з тагасьвету. І ў гэтых перажываньняў ёсьць падступны цёмны бок: у параўнаньні са станам кайфу звычайнае жыцьцё пачынае здавацца пустым, непаўнавартасным. Адпаведна, моцныя «адлёты» ў выніку выклікаюць нянавісьць да жыцьця ― вядома, калі няма магчымасьці кайфаваць зноў і зноў. І пакуль ты сядзіш і кайфуеш, ты губляеш іншыя свае магчымасьці і сродкі ― найперш час ― і выпадаеш з жыцьця.
Калі хочаш жыць добра, не ўжывай (збольшага) ніякіх шкодных рэчываў, трымай сябе і сваю хату ў чысьціні і трымай у парадку ўсё, што маеш. Тады ты ніколі ня станеш ненавідзець жыцьцё. Магчыма, твае клёвыя свабодныя прагрэсіўныя знаёмыя думаюць, што жыць на ўскрайку якогасьці гета і эксьперыментаваць зь гераінам ― гэта «іранічна» і цікава; але гэта проста частка іхняй справы ў саманагаворы пра ўласную вырачанасьць і ў вынаходжаньні прычынаў ненавідзець жыцьцё.
Жыцьцё ў брудзе можа здавацца нейкай формай паўстаньня, пакуль добра не абдумаеш гэта. Дурныя людзі будуць спрабаваць пераканаць цябе, што ва ўсім вінаватыя ўрад, улада, грамадзкі лад і што адзіна магчымае сапраўднае жыцьцё ― гэта «супраціў», які палягае ў жабрацкім існаваньні і ўсялякай недарэчнай, пустой дзейнасьці. Але гэткім чынам чалавек змагаецца адно з уласным магчымым шчасьцем, проста шукаючы самаапраўданьня.
§ 8. Нават найдрабнейшае дзеяньне важыць больш за бясконцую балбатню
На жыцьцёвым шляху ты сутыкнесься з мноствам людзей, якія прыгожа гавораць. Гавораць шмат, гавораць так, нібы яны важныя, і гэта дазваляе ім адчуваць сябе важнымі. У тым і іхняя цэль, калі паназіраць. Яны ня робяць нічога карыснага ― калі наогул нешта робяць. Яны размаўляюць. Увесь час. Гэтак яны ствараюць уражаньне, што зьяўляюцца носьбітамі вялікіх ідэй (гл. § 4), а ты, адпаведна, мусіш адчуваць сябе дробным побач зь імі.
Разважайма так: калі б іхнія ідэі былі нагэтулькі важнымі, варта было б зьвесьці іх у кнігу, а таксама прыкладаць усе намаганьні, каб стварыць на аснове гэтых ідэяў палітычны рух. Але адбываецца наадварот: балбатуны адразу гавораць з такім выглядам, нібы ў іх ужо ёсьць цэлы свой рух, чыімі важнымі ідэямі яны сыплюць. Гэта яшчэ адна частка гульні ва ўдаваньне. Вось убачыце: празь дзесяць гадоў яны перакінуцца на штосьці іншае, што будзе цешыць іхнае «я».
Паўсюдная чалавечая хвароба ― непрыняцьце. Нізкая ўпэўненасьць у сабе, боязь будучыні і сьмерці, азлобленасьць, боязь недахопу ўлады над навакольлем, помсьлівая крыўдлівасьць, боязь быць незаўважаным, схільнасьць засмучацца і складаць рукі, боязь непадуладнасьці самому сабе. На кароткі час гэта ўсё можна прыцішыць, займаючыся балбатнёй, якая стварае ўражаньне, што ты новы Мартын Лютэр Кінг або Ленін, новы Гітлер або Буддга. Людзі любяць прыкідвацца, але якая цэль?
Адказ таўталагічны: цэль у тым, каб выглядаць так, нібыта ў іх ёсьць цэль ― і ад таго яны нібыта мудрэйшыя, больш кемлівыя, сьмелыя і альтруістычныя за цябе. Гэта проста бясконцае нагнятаньне штучных уражаньняў і, урэшце, спроба адабраць у цябе тое, што ты стварыў. Адабраць на падставе іхняй уяўнай «разумнасьці», бо ў іх жа ёсьць «вялікія» ідэі і цэлі. Не зважай на такіх людзей.
§ 9. Натуральны адбор ніхто не адмяняў
Сёньня вялікую папулярнасьць маюць «узнагароды Дарвіна», якія прызначаюцца ўсялякім небаракам за дурныя спосабы згубы ― напрыклад, калі хтосьці заедзе на сваёй машыне ў драбілку адходаў піламатэрыялаў. Аднак сапраўдны натуральны адбор менш кідаецца ў вочы. Ты б’еш сваіх дзяцей? Ты дрэнна абыходзісься з жонкай? Ты жывеш неахайна і дрэнна харчуесься? Гэта моцна ўплывае на здольнасьць выжываць тваю і тваіх нашчадкаў.
Чаму дзеці ― гэта важна? Ты ня вечны. Існуе статыстычная крывая сьмяротнасьці, у адпаведнасьці зь якой, пачынаючы з твайго юнацтва, з кожным годам застаецца ўсё менш людзей аднаго з табой узросту. Ты ня можаш яе перасіліць; у нейкай кропцы, прыкладна на 120 гадах пасьля твайго нараджэньня, крывая сьмяротнасьці завяршаецца. Што жыве надалей? Твае добрыя ўчынкі; магчыма, твае ідэі; але адназначна ― твае нашчадкі, калі ты падыдзеш да іх выхаваньня хаця б напалову правільна.
Нараджэньне дзяцей ― гэта ня ўся справа. Гэта толькі ейны пачатак. Калі ты выхаваеш упэўненых у сабе, жыцьцярадасных, сьмелых і сумленных дзяцей, а таксама ня будзеш забываць казаць ім рэчы накшталт гэтай першай наставы, у іх таксама будуць добрыя дзеці, у якіх працягнецца і тваё жыцьцё. Але калі ты гвалтуеш сваіх дзяцей, б’еш іх, не даеш ім увагі, падрываеш іхнюю самаацэнку або забываеш тлумачыць ім заканамернасьці жыцьця… можна з тым жа посьпехам проста шпульнуць іх у драбілку адходаў.
§ 10. Большасьць людзей не зьвяртае ўвагі на рэчаіснасьць
Амаль кожны чалавек пагодзіцца, што большасьць астатніх людзей ― дурні, ідыёты або вар’яты. Больш шчырым будзе прызнаць, што ўсе мы абмежаваныя ў здольнасьцях і, калі няма ад каго ўзяць знаньне, заснаванае на досьведзе, мы кідаемся туды-сюды ў бясплённай дзейнасьці. Памітусіўшыся некаторы час, мы здаёмся і пачынаем кампенсацыю, то бок робім рэчы, якія даюць нам уражаньне шчасьця ― аблуднае, бо мы цалкам адкідаем навакольны сьвет.
У гэтую пятлю зваротнай сувязі трапляе большасьць: бязладная дзейнасьць ― дрэнныя вынікі ― «невялічкая кампенсацыя» ў выглядзе празьмерных забаваў ― нарэшце, нізкая самаацэнка праз ўсьведамленьне неўпарадкаванасьці і марнасьці ўласнага жыцьця. Ня ўсе гэтыя людзі разумова адсталыя, ня ўсе яны вар’яты; тым ня менш, усе яны, за выняткам невялікай групы, паводзяць сябе як разумова адсталыя вар’яты, бо яны ні ад кога не даведаліся фактаў, не прачыталі добрых кніжак і проста здаліся.
Улічваючы гэта, ты можаш спыніць спробы спаборнічаць зь імі або падабацца ім празь дзейнасьць, падобную да іхняй. Усім ім моцна не стае ўказаньня кірунку. Адзіны спосаб ім яго даць ― самому жыць разумна і ні на кога не азірацца. То бок, не зьвяртаць увагі на 99% чалавечай дзейнасьці, адкідаць «ідэі» навакольных, не ўспрымаць сур’ёзна іхнія трывогі і патрабаваньні і рабіць тое, што ўважаеш за правільнае.
Для іх камфорт і забыцьцё каштоўнейшыя за веданьне пра неабходнасьць прыстасаваньня да рэчаіснасьці, бо яны ня вераць, што здольныя прыстасавацца. Не зрабіўшы ніводнай спробы, яны лічаць гульню прайгранай, а сябе вырачанымі. Бо лягчэй вінаваціць у няўдачах зьнешнюю сілу, чым напружвацца і станавіцца арганізаваным, адукаваным і скіраваным на плённую стваральную дзейнасьць. Яны хутчэй выйдуць з бою і пачнуць шукаць апраўданьні.
На працягу жыцьця ты будзеш акружаны такімі людзьмі. Яны будуць займацца дурной, марнай, безвыніковай, неахайнай, неськіраванай ― карацей, толькі шкоднай ― дзейнасьцю і ў той жа час вылупляць на цябе вочы, нібыта ідыёт ― гэта ты. Ім проста хочацца спусьціць цябе да іхнага ўзроўню. Суседская карова ж таксама мусіць здохнуць! Калі ты заўважыш ім, што яны робяць нешта дурное, яны абернуцца і люта накінуцца на цябе. Бо яны ня здатныя мысьліць далей за ўласную асобу і таму, адпаведна, ня могуць улічваць наступстваў сваіх дзеяньняў для навакольля і ўспрымаюць любую заўвагу пра гэтыя магчымыя наступствы як незаслужаны напад на іх.
§ 11. Сьцеражыся хлусьлівага альтруізму
Філосафы любяць спрачацца наконт існаваньня альтруізму як такога. Кажуць, у людзей няма іншай матывацыі, акрамя асабістай зацікаўленасьці. Я кажу, што альтруізм ― гэта адгалінаваньне асабістай зацікаўленасьці, бо калі нам падабаецца жыць, то мы хочам, каб сьвет надалей паляпшаўся, а таму працуем на ўдасканаленьне нашай супольнасьці. Вось табе адна разнавіднасьць альтруізму. Але ёсьць іншая, хлусьлівая разнавіднасьць.
Спаборны альтруізм ― гэта калі хтосьці спаборнічае за грамадзкі статус, чынячы міленькую з выгляду дапамогу тым, хто сам сабе дапамагчы ня можа. Спаборны альтруізм ськіраваны на асобных людзей альбо групы, але не на паляпшэньне грамадзтва як цэлага. Ён ёсьць барацьбой за адшуканьне самых бездапаможных істот у якасьці атрымальніка дапамогі: чым у горшым яны становішчы, тым большым героем ты выглядаеш, дапамагаючы ім.
Для спаборнага альтруізму ў нас ёсьць лепшая назва: торг. У ім мэтай зьяўляецца не дапамога камусьці. Мэта ― стварыць для навакольных бачнасьць, што ты дапамагаеш. Гэта спосаб самарэкламы. Людзі спаборнічаюць у альтруізьме, намагаючыся выглядаць найвялікшым ісусам хрыстом, самым добразычлівым ― такім мілым чалавекам, зь якім усе захочуць знацца. Але ж калі чалавек сапраўды настолькі добры, няўжо яму патрэбен гэты розгалас?
Паколькі большасьць людзей ня могуць разумець прычынна-выніковых сувязяў (кожны вынік ідзе ад адзінай прычыны; кожная прычына можа весьці да некалькіх вынікаў), яны ня кемяць, што спаборны альтруізм прызначаны для рэкламы альтруіста ў вачах іншых. Удзельнічаць у талацэ, за проста так аддаючы свой час на карысную для іншых справу ― гэта не ягоны шлях. Ягоны шлях ― перад тэлекамерай дараваць цацкі якім-небудзь пагарэлым, абяздоленым, Богам праклятым сіротам-інвалідам і мімаходзь згадваць пра ўласную мэблевую фабрыку. Рэклама мэблі ― гэта мэта, а альтруізм ― толькі сродак, падобны да выдачы бясплатных цукерак дзецям на ўваходзе ў краму.
Некаторыя людзі будуць з дапамогай спаборнага альтруізму спрабаваць выглядаць вышэйшымі за цябе. Яны ведаюць, што натоўп недалёкіх, апісаных у § 10, можна ўвесьці ў зман. У зьбітых з панталыку, засмучоных, неарганізаваных людзей няма іншага спосаба парадавацца жыцьцю, акрамя як праз дробныя падаруначкі самім сабе: скурыць яшчэ адзін касяк, паглядзець тэлевізар, можа быць, трошкі порна, купіць сабе якога барахла і г. д. І яны любяць назіраць альтруізм і шкадаваць няшчасных, бо гэтак могуць адчуць сябе ― на кароткі час ― жывымі.
Вядомы толькі адзін спосаб абароны ад спаборнага альтруізму: зьвяртаць увагу людзей на тое, што табе ён не патрэбны. «Мне ня трэба паказваць астатнім, што я добры чалавек, таму любая мая дабрачыннасьць непублічная,» ― гэтак ты ня будзеш дурыць людзям галаву і ў той жа час можаш добра контратакаваць, ― «Навошта ты ўсім паказваеш сваю дабрачыннасьць?» Потым можна мімаходзь нагадваць тым з прысутных, у каго працуе галава, што альтруізм ― гэта торг, а альтруіст проста прасоўвае сябе або свой тавар.
§ 12. Жыві дзеля станоўчых цэляў
Нігілісты (аўтар тэксту у пэўным змысьле прылічае сябе да нігілістаў ― зацем пер.) ставяцца да большасьці людзей як да пунджы. Кол-пунджы ― гэта паскудная старажытная прылада вайны (з паўднёва-ўсходняй Азіі ― зацем пер.); яна ўяўляе сабой востры бамбукавы шып, вымазаны ў нечыстоты. Такія шыпы ў вялікай колькасьці прыхавана разьмяшчаюцца недзе на меркаваным шляху ворага. Калі той ня будзе асьцярожным, то парэжацца або наколецца на іх і можа памерці ад пакутнай хваробы. Так ці інакш, ён будзе абязьдзеяны, прынамсі, на некаторы час.
Гэтак жа чыняць перашкоды і сярэднія людзі. Яны ненавідзяць сваю працу, якую яны «вымушаныя» рабіць; ненавідзяць сваё жыцьцё ― у няўдаласьці якога штораз вінаваты, само сабой, хтосьці зьнешні. Яны хочуць зьнішчыць любога, хто мае больш за іх. Таксама яны хочуць выглядаць значнымі, ня робячы нічога значнага. Але хоць пазбаўленьне ад такіх людзей урэшце стане патрэбаю для далейшага разьвіцьця чалавецтва, агулам табе патрэбная станоўчая цэль.
Ня вельмі проста даць азначэньне станоўчай цэлі. Можна казаць пра штосьці «канструктыўнае», «стваральнае», «сьцвярджальнае», але сутнасьць маёй думкі наступная: ты мусіш мець цэль, да якой імкнесься, рэч, за якую выступаеш, замест таго каб вызначаць сябе празь пералік таго, супраць чаго выступаеш. Тыя пунджы, пра якіх сказана вышэй, ― яны ведаюць, супраць чаго яны, заўжды ведаюць, што і каго трэба вінаваціць у бедах, але зусім ня ведаюць, што б яны хацелі бачыць навокал. Ты можаш перамагчы іх, пачаўшы якраз з вызначэньня таго, што ж ты хочаш бачыць.
Калі паразважаць, то, дзейнічаючы ў кірунку жаданага, ты апынесься ў стане, падобным, напрыклад, да стану больш жыцьцяздольнага віду птушак, які выціскае зь нейкай мясцовасьці слабейшыя віды проста за кошт таго, што чынна займае прастору сваёй вялікай колькасьцю. Ты ж будзеш напаўняць прастору больш дасканалымі рэчамі, больш разумнымі ідэямі, больш выразнымі сімфоніямі ― адным словам, усім тым, што ты будзеш імкнуцца ствараць, а не чаго пазьбягаць або што разбураць.
У гэтым знойдзецца сапраўдны змысел жыцьця: каб любіць самога сябе, трэба любіць навакольны сьвет, з ахвотай удзельнічаць у ім і ствараць тое, што лічыш прыгожым. Шмат што з гэтага можа быць прыземленым ― напрыклад, смачнейшы, чым у астатніх, вінаград або нават бачкі ў прыбіральні зь лепшым, чым раней, змывам, ― але вялікія рэчы ёсьць нечым танчэйшым. У любым разе табе трэба знайсьці годную для цябе цэль і ўпарта ісьці да яе, ні пад якім уплывам не зьбіваючыся з дарогі.
З усіх гэтых развагаў можна выснаваць, што азначае быць героем. Герой ― гэта хтосьці, хто зразумеў, у што ён верыць, на гэтым разуменьні склаў бачаньне правільнага, патрэбнага сьвету і стварае гэты сьвет ― за ўсякую цану. Цяперашнія людзі блытаюць героя з ахвярай ― напрыклад, калі чамусьці называюць героямі загінулых пры захопах і крушэньнях самалётаў. Быць героем ня значыць быць пацярпелым ці пакутнікам. Гэта пэўны склад мысьленьня і гатовасьць аддаваць сваё жыцьцё за тое, у што верыш.
На гэтым узроўні ты робіш жыцьцё «сьвятым», бо праз адданасьць ператвараеш яго ў кшталт рэлігійнага служэньня. Замест таго каб засяроджвацца на адмоўным, ты бачыш, што жыцьцё ўлучае і разбурэньне, і стварэньне, і што гэтае жыцьцё ― твая магчымасьць ствараць прыгажосьць. Ты разумееш, што такая магчымасьць важнейшая за ўсё астатняе. Імкніся да прыгожага і ніколі не здавайся!
Ты нарадзіўся ў час заняпаду. Любая цывілізацыя старэе гэтак жа, як і асобны чалавек, і са старасьцю тлусьцее і касьнее, губляе гнуткасьць і рухавасць. Гэта праяўляецца ў тым, што людзі з-за сьпецыялізацыі працы і прыманьня маралі натоўпу губляюць разуменьне прычынна-выніковых сувязяў. Яны ставяць сябе дзесьці паміж прычынай і вынікам, па сутнасьці ўяўляючы, што любое нашае дзеяньне ― гэта адвольны выбар выніку ў залежнасьці ад асабістых жаданьняў.
Такі параноідны, абарончы, рэакцыйны сьветагляд непазьбежна прыводзіць да ліберальнай палітыкі. Асоба хоча, каб ніхто не казаў ёй, што рабіць; як рак-хаванец, яна імкнецца адступіць унутр сябе. Яна давярае толькі самой сабе і іншым асобам, падуладным ёй. Для ейных сьляпых вачэй прырода ― гэта нешта неўпарадкаванае і бязглуздае, і яна ненавідзіць прыроду, асабліва ў частцы, што тычыцца ўласнай сьмерці.
У імя гэтага страху людзі ўцякаюць ад рэчаіснасьці і прыводзяць усё навокал у бязладзьдзе. Яны выказваюць адно аднаму вар’яцкія ідэі і прымушаюць навакольных пагаджацца зь імі, ператвараючы ўсё чалавецтва ў адно вялікае кружное апраўданьне чалавечага саліпсізму. Грамадзкая папулярнасьць і абмен дасьціпнымі каментарамі ў абмеркаваньнях твораў індустрыі забаў замянілі сабой любое знаньне пра рэчаіснасьць. Як адзін чалавек замыкаецца ва ўласнай асобе, гэтак і цэлае грамадзтва адварочваецца ад сьвету і прысьвячае сябе самаабмеркаваньню.
Ты можаш спыніць гэтыя хованкі ў сабе. Не адмаўляй сваёй сьмяротнасьці, не адкідай рэчаіснасьць разам зь ёй; прымі і тое, і другое. Ведаючы, што калісьці ты памрэш, жыві не дарэмна. Гэта дапаможа ўбачыць прыгажосьць і важнасьць жыцьця і пазьбегнуць вырачанасьці і смутку, якімі поўнае сучаснае грамадзтва. Замест таго каб спрабаваць паўмерамі здымаць боль і пакуты, не зважай на іх і імчыся наперад да прыгожага і значнага.
Нарадзіўшыся ў нашыя часы, ты зь першага ж дня акружаны атрутнай хлусьнёй. Не, ніхто не зьбіраецца наўпрост маніць табе; ты чуеш напаўпраўдзівыя рэчы, якія гучаць больш прымальна за адкрыты падман і прызначаныя для апраўданьня саўдзелу дарослых у хлусьні. Моладзь жа ва ўсёй напаўпраўдзе ясна бачыць невырашальныя супярэчнасьці і спробы паставіць аблудныя ўяўленьні вышэй за саму рэчаіснасьць.
Нягледзячы на ўсё гэта, ня трэба адчайвацца. Насамрэч, можна нават радавацца: увесь гэты хаос пакрысе адсейвае дурных і хлусьлівых праз тое, што змушае разумных аддзяляцца ад статку. Калі ты будзеш вучыцца ― пачынаючы ўжо з гэтай наставы, ― ты зможаш бачыць жыцьцё ў прычынна-выніковых сувязях і вызвалісься ад «мысьленьня» натоўпу. І пасьля распаду грамадзтва менавіта такія, як ты, зьдзейсьняць адраджэньне.
2-га ліпеня 2009 г.
Sunday, November 24th, 2013
In this piece, I analyze two internet-popular notions, drop-outism and Traditionalism. (Articles on Ron Paul, bitcoin, white nationalism, New Age philosophies, Communism, Scientology and other popular trends may be found elsewhere.)
Question: If time is circular, will (at some point) the future be the past? Or is there a linear time, such that we keep growing until at some point we don’t even resemble the past at all?
It probably depends on whether we think our situation in life is in any way related to what we are, instead of the properties of life itself and higher consciousness as an experience.
When we take to the internet, in a more intense way than the editorial pages, the need for a narrative defining “future,” even if including or limited to past, grows at a furious pace.
A decade ago, Ran Prieur wrote “How to Drop Out” to much acclaim. People collect internet personalities like dolls, and use them to explain themselves. “This is my rocker chick, shows I’m adventurous, but here’s my marine biologist, my serious side, then my neogoth, points out I’m vulnerable…”
And often, our reading choices reflect what we want to believe is true rather than what we know is true. For centuries, the independent person who owns nothing and is accountable to no one has been a trope of our literature. This is the nature of established society, which is that we see the grass is greener on the other side and want freedom from the obligation of maintaing civilization itself.
This is why 50-year-old suburban white women with all of the comforts of life at hand and almost no fear in their existence long for the life of, say, a homeless hip-hop impressario, or a yeoman artist who lives in the sewers of New York. They want to give up the plumbing, electricity, air conditioning and safe secure neighborhood for less responsibility and more “adventure” and “meaningful experience.”
Such a situation isn’t new. It’s an eternal human pitfall, like the old “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence” homily that gets bandied about at times. People crave what they do not have and what they are not. This is because it is easy to see the disadvantages of something while you are living it, but with its opposite, you see only the advantages.
“How to Drop Out” starts promisingly:
Unlike many outsiders and “radicals,” I never had to go through a stage where I realized that our whole society is insane — I’ve known that as long as I can remember.
If you stopped reading here, you win. This is the real takeaway for this article: “our whole society is insane.”
That’s the starting point for all future health, when you throw out the bad and start with the new. It’s not quite that simple as another homily, “Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater,” should remind us.
Much as it is necessary to “hit rock bottom” in order to begin working past an addiction or other crippling pathology, those who face society must embrace the totality of the problem. First is outsider status; then comes a re-evaluation and a sense of what it is we want to keep.
The counterpoint to this is that we can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. The framework that exists is something we need; in fact, most of what we see is fine, just in need of refinement or direction. It doesn’t make sense to destroy everything and try to start over.
Prieur found himself in a typical position for Generation X:
A few years later, with my two college degrees, after jobs operating envelope-stuffing machinery and answering phones in a warehouse, I was finally nudged toward dropping out by the Bush I recession and my own nature — that I’m extremely frugal, love unstructured time, and would sooner eat garbage than feign enthusiasm.
Translation: we saw our parents — Baby Boomers, themselves the scarred progeny of the fallout from the Jazz Age — waste their lives on accumulating capital, and then in their bitterness at having no time, turn on us their children with retributive justice and control.
Thus we are ready for a life without excess. However, this doesn’t take into account our fear of not having so much that we can step out of the game, and finally have free voices such that we don’t have to fear for our jobs, livelihoods, etc. when we speak the truth.
However, he does make a valid point here about the inward process corresponding to the outward process of discarding civilization:
The main thing I was doing during those years was de-institutionalizing myself, learning to navigate the hours of the day and the thoughts in my head with no teacher or boss telling me what to do. I had to learn to relax without getting lethargic, to never put off washing the dishes, to balance the needs of the present and the future, to have spontaneous fun but avoid addiction, to be intuitive, to notice other people, to make big and small decisions. I went through mild depression and severe fatigue and embarrassing obsessions and strange diets and simplistic new age thinking. It’s a long and ugly road, and most of us have to walk it, or something like it, to begin to be free.
Those who wish to re-make society must first make an image of what they desire in themselves. At the simplest level, this is knowing what they want, not simply what they don’t want. On a more complex level, it is having a plan and a goal. On the most complex level, it is having the moral and intellectual discipline to become the seed of a better future.
He also makes a good point about needs versus wants and luxuries:
In a temperate climate, you have only five physical needs: food, water, clothing, shelter, and fuel. (If you’re a raw-foodist and don’t mind the cold, you don’t even need fuel!) Everything else that costs money is a luxury or a manufactured need. Manufactured needs have fancy names: entertainment, transportation, education, employment, housing, “health care.” In every case these are creations of, and enablers of, an alienating and dominating system, a world of lost wholeness.
Of course, this doesn’t take into account getting older, or people who face health challenges.
Here’s where he goes off the rails however:
Some of the happiest people I know have dropped out only a short distance. They still live in the city and have jobs and pay rent, but they’ve done something more mentally difficult — and mentally liberating — than moving to some isolated farm. They have become permanently content with low-status, modest-paying jobs that they don’t have to think about at home or even half the time when they’re at work. Yes, these jobs are getting scarce, but they’re still a thousand times more plentiful than the kind of job that miserable people cannot give up longing for — where you make a living doing something so personally meaningful that you would do it for free.
This isn’t much different that tune in turn on drop out, and means you’ll never have power. You have assented to the direction of your society. If you decide to wait by the sidelines for society to collapse, you’re taking a bet on a volatile process that can nonetheless take centuries.
At this point, when I first read the article, I departed from his narrative. First, I don’t see the point in discarding all of the good that our ancestors fought so hard to bring us in modern life just because our leadership has failed and there are people around us who are so dishonest as to support them. Second, rendering oneself impotent is playing into the hands of those who want to wreak further destruction upon civilization.
Luckily, most didn’t even read this. They were caught up in a vision. The essence of what appealed to people — sort of like a visual image, or a story summary — was this:
Get a bicycle and learn to fix it yourself — it’s not even 1% as difficult and expensive as fixing a car. Reduce your possessions and you’ll find that the fewer you have, the more you appreciate each one. Get your clothing at thrift stores on sale days — I spend less than $20 a year on clothes. Give up sweetened drinks — filtered water is less than 50 cents a gallon and much better for you. If you have an expensive addiction, pull yourself out of it or at least trade it for a cheap one.
What does this sound like to you? Freedom. Own nothing, be obligated to nothing. Reduce your wants to the minimum and live outside of society. There’s some problems with this however.
His article takes a dark turn when he goes searching for an audience beyond that vision. There’s also some warmed-over Communism:
The only reason you can’t just go find a vacant space and live there, the only reason another entity can be said to “own” it and require a huge monthly payment from whoever lives there, is to maintain a society of domination, to continually and massively redistribute influence (symbolized by money) from the powerless to the powerful, so the powerless are reduced to groveling for the alleged privilege of wage labor, doing what the powerful tell them in exchange for tokens which they turn around and pass back toward the powerful every month and think it’s natural. Rent is theft and slavery, and mortgage is just as bad, based not only on the myth of “owning” space but also on the contrived custom of “interest,” simply a command to give money (influence) to whoever has it and take it from whoever lacks it.
This forgets that someone must build the housing and maintain it, and they have kids to feed, too. It also forgets that when you don’t have ownership, there is no risk-reward structure that picks better efforts above the rest. This isn’t about working hard; it’s about achieving results. When you remove that results-based structure, you end up encouraging people to do the minimum. Worse, the minimum becomes an ever-declining
This is the crisis of socialism. When you remove accountability, you’ve lowered the bar. At that point, there is no reason to rise above the minimum, because there’s actually a disincentive. When risk isn’t rewarded, risk itself is looked upon as “don’t rock the boat” and thus can cause social retaliation. The first guy to invent fire was unpopular because he might have ruined that raw meat with his weird flame-voodoo.
The root of socialism is social, or social feelings. We feel better when everyone gets along. In order to do this, you have to give every person whatever they demand. Food, property, money, sex… just hand it over. You appease them, buy them off, and placate them. That way everyone gets along. However, that’s not only not realistic, but it’s a path to decline. We call this path “equality” and “freedom,” both of which mean the same thing: that the individual can do whatever he/she wants without rules, common sense, realism, values, culture or standards stopping them.
We want people to rise above the rest. To invent new things, to do a better job, to be more moral or more realistic/intelligent than the rest. We want wisdom to prevail over ignorance. This requires that we be able to test things against our current standard, and pick what’s higher. Socialism is afraid of this, because the individual fears this. “What if I’m the one who’s wrong?” Thus socialism mandates that all participation is equal, and everyone gets rewarded, and by doing so both disincentivizes the higher and accepts the lower, including the criminal and parasitic.
I wish he’d elaborated on this point:
Do not feel guilty about using strengths and advantages that others do not have. That guilt is a holdover from the world of selfish competition, where your “success” means the failure or deprivation of someone else.
Is life a zero-sum game, meaning that for one person to succeed takes from another? I don’t think so, because that other rarely had it in the first place. Rather, someone succeeds because they have something that other people want.
If I move to desolate land, de-toxify it and remove the rocks, then turn it into a fertile field and grow abundant delicious crops there, have I taken from someone? I am taking their money, but they’d have to spend that anyway.
The point that Prieur didn’t and doesn’t know he’s making is that the best must rise. If you have ability, apply it. Others will be offended for social reasons, because now you have something they can’t demand in the name of equality.
Finally he gets to the most interesting point:
First define a clearly understood identity, then proudly claim that identity, then build public acceptance through entertainment and by each of us earning the support of friends and family outside the movement. I’m envious of gay people — I’ve spent years mastering written language just to halfway explain myself, and all they have to say is “I’m gay.”
This point is that anyone who wants a better society must achieve an identity first. Something that can be a quick conversation reply, such as “I’m an x-ian, and we believe in y as a means to a society of type z.” Then the ability to explain that. What does your identity stand for? In other words, what’s its basic value system? And how does that translate to a society and everyday life?
I think this is where ultimately the line of thought that led to this essay began to crumble. Dropping out isn’t an identity; it’s a negative identity. Being aware that society is totally insane isn’t a plan; it’s a complaint. There’s a need for another direction, and it’s not going to jive with the Communist sentiments earlier in the piece, since Communism is the idea of a worker’s state and nothing opposes a sensible direction like the “we’re all equal/let’s all get along” that has gone with every single worker’s state ever.
Prieur updated his article four years later. From the 2008 update:
Do not try to find a job doing what you love. This is my most radical advice. There are some people in the world who have jobs they love so much that they would do them for free. If you become one of these people, you will probably get there not through planning but through luck, by doing what you love for free until somehow the money starts coming in. But if you make an effort to combine your income and your love, you are likely to end up compromising both, making a poverty income by doing something you don’t quite love, or no longer love. For example, if you decide to become a chef because you love cooking, it will probably make you hate cooking, because cooking will become linked in your mind to all the bullshit around the job.
This radical advice is one of the shining lights of this piece. However, it’s also not universal. Some people find work doing what they love; most don’t. The question is really not what you love, but what you should be doing. Here, his thought verges dangerously close to endorsing a caste system, where people are put to work doing what they are genetically best at.
But then there’s an even more interesting turn:
Instead, try to stop yourself from committing suicide until you can find a job that is so non-hellish that it does not make you suicidal, and then stay at that job, or an even better one if you can find it, for several decades. Grab what fun you can on the weekends, save up money, enjoy your retirement, and you will have lived a pretty good life.
Wait… what happened? We’ve gone from drop out and live with no obligations on $20/year to an idea of building a career, having a home and owning things. This is advice for how to live within civilization, not drop out of it. Even more, it’s advice for making yourself comfortable and possibly financially well-off. In the span of four years, we’ve gone from radical drop-outism back to bourgeois values!
That’s because he threw out the baby with the bathwater, and rejected civilization as a whole. Had he started from the beginning with the inevitable answer to his salient observation that society is all wrong, he would have done better. However, that observation is “let’s fix society” and it is incompatible with the leftism he frequently succumbs to, as well as the Crowdism of his general appeal to vagabondism, and finally, with the individualism that is the core of his message.
“Drop out” works for someone who essentially wants to parasitize on society. Now we’ve left that behind, and are talking about contributing, but doing so in an “ethical” way. This means your own acts don’t contribute to the madness, but they don’t stop it either. Like all leftists, you’re left waiting for the Crowd to voluntarily, magically join hands and decide to do-the-right-thing(tm).
He brings the essay back to reality with some quality observations:
The most fundamental freedom is the freedom to do nothing. But when you get this freedom, after many years of activities that were forced, nothing is all you want to do. You might start projects that seem like the kind of thing you’re supposed to love doing, music or writing or art, and not finish because nobody is forcing you to finish and it’s not really what you want to do. It could take months, if you’re lucky, or more likely years, before you can build up the life inside you to an intensity where it can drive projects that you actually enjoy and finish, and then it will take more time before you build up enough skill that other people recognize your actions as valuable.
First is that society itself is reactionary. That is, to participate, you’re going to be constantly forcing yourself to react to it. This essentially blocks out your own thoughts and replaces them with reactions. What does the boss want? What’s the cheapest per ounce I can purchase ketchup? What’s the best route home? How do I get this paperwork filed? They seize your brain and your time, and fill them with pointless activities that are fundamentally ugly.
His point is a good one however. The ultimate test of anyone who wants to get beyond social order is self-discipline. The sheep instinct in us loves social order because all we must do is follow the rules. As under socialism, we don’t have to do it well qualitatively, we just have to connect the dots and submit a plausible imitation of the lowest common denominator. It’s easy! Do even 1% above the LCD, and you’re on your way to success. No wonder it’s so popular.
Even more, society offers affirmation. When you wake up in the night, realizing suddenly that you’re mortal and when your corpse is gone, nothing will remain and no one will remember you, it’s comforting to think that you’re “doing the right thing.” Going to work. Being nice to everyone. Adopting children from Central Africa or Indonesia. Drinking organic fair trade coffee. These are what modern society gives you in exchange for eternal death.
It’s sort of like the Soviet Union. People went to their deaths believing that they were doing the right thing as Communists, thus doing the right thing by their society, thus they had some moral claim to an eternity they did not believe in after the cold nothingspace of death grasped their personalities and evaporated them.
He explains this contrast here:
Primitive humans have moments of extreme exertion, but they don’t go through life in a hurry, they don’t push themselves, and even when they live on the edge of hunger, they don’t stress about it. Even medieval serfs worked fewer hours, and at a slower pace, than modern industrialized workers…The opposite of hard work is quality work. Quality work may be done quickly, but it is never pushed. It arranges itself around the goal of doing something as well as it can be done, and it finds its own pace.
Trying to measure work by quantity is a dead-end path because one person’s hour of diligent, perceptive, high-speed work does not compare to another’s hour of participation, attendance and LCD.
In our race to include everyone, called “equality” or “democracy” or even “freedom,” we have made a system that measures by quantity. As a result, we get lower results with more participation… a lot like socialism, only not quite as whacked-out and removed from reality.
He can’t quite go there, but he has refuted all of the left-wing sentiments earlier in his piece. That’s OK, because if you read carefully from his 2008 introduction, he does something remarkable. He refutes the earlier piece. He reverses all of his core points and goes from dropout to bourgeois careerist, in the same way hippies became the capitalists who sell you free-trade coffee at a 400% markup.
That’s not his fault. It’s the only path to follow, if you insist on letting equality hobble you. There is another way: tradition. This is closely tied to identity because it reflects a continuity between past and future. That requires a consistent belief, purpose, ideal, value… they all mean the same thing at some point. It requires an ideal that can be applied to an ongoing goal, a self-improvement that we call evolution.
This leads us to another legendary article, John Morgan’s What Guénon and Evola really meant by Tradition (…and why many get it wrong). Morgan is the highly-respected and widely popular editor of Arktos, a traditionalist/anti-modern book publisher cooperative.
This article is in response to two groups of people, first the political types hijacking “Traditionalism” to be a thin cover for either far-left or far-right beliefs, and second the spaced-out “Tarditionalists” who make Traditionalism into a bizarre, Byzantine religion full of I’m-cooler-than-you rules.
Let’s take a look at the first one:
It is true that the word ‘philosophy’ can, in itself, be understood in quite a legitimate sense, and one which without doubt originally belonged to it, especially if it be true that Pythagoras himself was the first to use it: etymologically it denotes nothing other than ‘love of wisdom’; in the first place, therefore, it implies the initial disposition required for the attainment of wisdom, and, by a quite natural extension of this meaning, the quest that is born from this same disposition and that must lead to knowledge. It denotes therefore a preliminary and preparatory stage, a step as it were in the direction of wisdom or a degree corresponding to a lower level of wisdom; the perversion that ensued consisted in taking this transitional stage for an end in itself and in seeking to substitute ‘philosophy’ for wisdom, a process which implied forgetting or ignoring the true nature of the latter. It was in this way that there arose what may be described as ‘profane’ philosophy, in other words, a pretended wisdom that was purely human and therefore entirely of the rational order, and that took the place of the true, traditional, supra-rational, and ‘non-human’ wisdom.
The point is this: philosophy refers to wisdom derived from the study of reality, but as time goes on, it often comes to mean the practice of philosophy itself. This is the classic confusion of the tool for its target that occurs whenever civilization is established. At first, people produce things; later, they participate, and if they do well in that participation, are rewarded by others.
Interestingly, the West has struggled with this idea for millennia. Plato made it feature prominently in The Republic, where he used a simple explanation to defeat it: like people watching a film strip, we have confused the projection for the reality. That is because the projection is what everyone sees and, like society itself, is a proxy for reality because since everyone sees it, and agrees on what it is, it is used to unify the group for action.
I think moderns misread this passage from Guénon. It is not about a mystical division. It is about how all ideas decay as soon as there is an intermediate, namely civilization, that rewards people for participation in the institution devoted to the idea, instead of applying the idea itself. This is the same thing that socialism does, if you think about it. It rewards people for quantity of output, rather than quality. Quantity refers to something socially-mediated, like popularity, democracy and products. Or ideology, as in socialism.
But here’s where it gets interesting:
However, there still remained something of this true wisdom throughout the whole of antiquity, as is proven primarily by the persistence of the ‘mysteries’, whose essentially initiatic character is beyond dispute; and it is also true that the teachings of the philosophers themselves usually had both an ‘exoteric’ and an ‘esoteric’ side, the latter leaving open the possibility of connection with a higher point of view, which in fact made itself clearly — though perhaps in some respects incompletely — apparent some centuries later among the Alexandrians. For ‘profane’ philosophy to be definitively constituted as such, it was necessary for exoterism alone to remain and for all esoterism simply to be denied, and it is precisely this that the movement inaugurated by the Greeks was to lead to in the modern world. The tendencies that found expression among the Greeks had to be pushed to the extreme, the undue importance given to rational thought had to grow even greater, before men could arrive at ‘rationalism’, a specifically modern attitude that consists in not merely ignoring, but expressly denying, everything of a supra-rational order.
We will get nowhere without setting up some definitions first.
- Exoteric: that which is characterized by an indoctrination, e.g. memorize these ten things and you’re in the gang.
- Esoteric: that which unfolds as more is learned, and requires the learner to meet it half-way through study of reality.
A great example of an exoteric order would be Communism, or perhaps even the freedom/consumerism paradigm that the West adopted to win the Cold Wars and WWII (higher overall productivity dwarfed the enemy, suggesting we have a better control structure). An example of an esoteric order is playing guitar. There are infinite levels of proficiency, and they require dedication and talent, and each higher order only presents itself when the prior lower order is conquered.
The point Guénon makes here is that modern philosophies are rationalistic, or exoteric. That means they are oriented from conclusion back to source in such a way that they can be “proven” visually, or through data and facts, where ancient esoteric orders by relying on the subtler study of underlying patterns did not require such false end results comparison. My analysis for this for some years has been that the modern tendency is to take one attribute of thousands, compare it in a before-versus-after study under laboratory conditions, and conclude that one act “caused” another.
Rationalism by its nature is backward-looking. It does not look toward root causes, but proximate causes. It is linear in that its causal study denies context. Where Schopenhauer chose causal chains, and Nietzsche spoke of “Will,” the modern rationalist sees Object A slamming into Object B producing a result of Object C. This is the nature of conclusion-based philosophies; they deal in objects and final states, not the nature of the interaction that produces them.
Here’s where I disagree with Morgan:
This indicates that Tradition cannot be understood via the means of modern, rationalistic philosophy, and that modern philosophy must always be seen as ultimately incomplete.
That’s a bit of a broad conclusion. Instead, Guénon argues shows that exoteric philosophy is fundamentally unrealistic. More importantly, the point is that when philosophy becomes mediated by social determinations, it becomes exoteric and discards its esoteric (inward, structural, design-based, pattern-based) component and thus loses track of reality. This is a case of us confusing our perceptions with reality, and not getting feedback from reality itself.
There is no more mystery to it than that. Morgan adds this thankfully:
The social world is exoteric, and therefore the least important aspect of Tradition.
Dead on and perfect. Not only that… he might have replaced “the least important aspect” with “hostile to” and not been wrong.
Onward with Guénon:
In the present state of things, however, tradition, whether it be religious in form or otherwise, consists everywhere of two complementary branches, written and oral, and we have no hesitation in speaking of “traditional writings”, which would obviously be contradictory if one only gave to the word “tradition” its more specialized meaning; besides, etymologically, tradition simply means “that which is transmitted” in some way or other.
That which is transmitted. Not that which is written. Got it: transmission requires two antennas, one receiving and one sending. They must be tuned to the same frequencies and, if a direct transmission, sending information back and forth. I’m reminded of the telecommunication protocols which consist in one side sending and then the other sending back a checksum to indicate what it received.
It was in order to avoid all difficulties of this kind that we were content at the start simply to describe a civilization as the product and expression of a certain mental outlook common to a more or less widespread group of men, thus making it possible to treat each particular case separately as regards the exact determination of its constituent elements.
Here we get into Plato territory again. Tradition is not civilization; tradition is the transmitted wisdom that produces higher civilization. That is because, worldwide and among people of a certain ability and inclination, there is a recognition that we’re not just looking for adequate, but some form of excellent, corresponding to Plato’s “the good, the beautiful and the true” and Eliot’s “the perennial things.” What is eternally true? The best of things, which are not formulated as boundaries, but goals.
Another important motif here is the reality referential, not self-referential, outlook of Guénon’s text. Socially-mediated knowledge is inherently self-referential by a group of people; however, any tradition which is found among a “widespread group of men” (shared among different societies and ages) is not derived from social conceits, which are either arbitrary or gamesmanship to preserve and raise social status, but derived from reality itself. This fits with the esoteric idea that if we study reality, we will appreciate its function in successive waves, each new one arriving as we understand the prior.
Guénon uses the term “mental outlook.” This corresponds to the frequent observation that philosophers write philosophies to justify their personal approaches to life. What if it were not personal, but a type of inclination? The healthiest inclination in life would exhibit vir, or the sense of an aggressive desire to place everything in harmony, each getting what it deserves, as Nietzsche wrote. Philosophers are guided by the mental outlook of vir not by some data or explanatory framework, which corresponds to the initial observation that modern philosophy has become detached from its essence; the outlook is the essence, the explanation the projection.
Here’s where Guénon makes a fatal error:
As for Western civilization, we have shown that it is on the contrary devoid of any traditional character, with the exception of the religious element, which alone has retained it. Social institutions, to be considered traditional, must be effectively attached in their principle to a doctrine that is itself traditional, whether it be metaphysical or religious or of any other conceivable kind.
In other words, without metaphysics you do not have Tradition. This makes two errors, first in separating metaphysics from physics and thus venturing into dualism; second, by assuming something that isn’t true. People can understand causes beyond the proximate/immediate/tangible and thus study pattern, form and other esoteric things without being religious.
Furthermore, he’s pointing his finger at something most likely corrupted, which is the nature of metaphysics to take on a dualistic or emotional-mystical characteristic that separates it from reality. This is why Nietzsche suggests we do not try to be “higher” men, but lower. We must reinvent God from mud, earthworms and sunlight, not from airy emotions which inevitably lead to social “feelings” and Crowdism.
If you want to know why this site turned back from Traditionalism “in its pure and true(tm) form,” here it is. We are perennialists and Monists; we are not dualists, and in fact we are hostile to dualism because it is entirely a human projection and a toxic one, derived not per se from the modern time but endemic of it. Even more, it’s a toxic virus. It is both blockheaded and a fundamental building block of thought so that anyone infected with it infects the rest of their thought.
This part of Guénon’s philosophy represents him making the same error he complains of in the first quotation, which is that he has confused the vehicle of a truth for the truth itself. The truth itself is reality, and all principles must be derived from that; he has replaced it with the human projection of metaphysics leading to dualism.
His error is fatal because it breaks the esoteric chain between the “outlook” and the translation to actable engrams from which action may be inspired.
The reason Guénon did not see the modern West as a genuine civilization is because, according to the traditionalists, there is no longer a connection between tradition and Tradition.
Here Morgan points out another contradiction in Guénon’s thought. He is treating Tradition as an artifact of the past, a fixed thing, where this is not what it is. When a child is formed, a few chemical interactions are set into place and, through consistent reactions to those, the complexity of the fetus is developed. Similarly, each person grows by experiencing life, realizing conclusions, and acting on those. All of knowledge is re-learned by each actor.
This is one of the essences of what I call Parallelism, which is the philosophy of independent actors rediscovering reality; this is part of the genius of our universe’s design, which is that truth is not encoded anywhere lest it be corrupted, but is derived. This is why dualism is not just stupid, but blasphemy. It’s entirely incoherent with the design of the universe itself.
Parallelism posits instead that idea, matter and energy exist in parallel, and that what influences more than anything else is design. We would be tempted, as Schopenhauer did, to assign this to “thought,” and it’s possible that this is its origin. However, it is more likely that there is a different underlying nature to the universe, which is pattern itself, and that this is manifested in reality and in additional dimensions to reality. Thus there is no dualism, but a continuity between matter and idea, with idea not being the “cause” per se of matter, but the principle of its organization, much as patterns organized that idea itself.
More toxic confusion from Guénon:
In the first place, the home of the primordial tradition has for a very long time now been in the East and it is there that the doctrinal forms that have issued most directly from it are to be found; secondly, in the present state of things, the true traditional spirit, with all that it implies, no longer has any authentic representatives except in the East.
While I am a lover of all things India, I think it a mistake to ascribe to any place Tradition, or to any tradition, Tradition.
It is reborn in every soul that can listen to it, and the readiness — that “mental outlook” — is how it knows it has a home.
When you think about it, that is esotericism itself: wisdom comes to those who are ready for it, and can meet it halfway.
This explanation would be incomplete without a reference, however brief, to certain proposals that have seen the light in various contemporary circles for restoring a ‘Western tradition’. The only real interest afforded by these ideas is to show that there are people whose minds have ceased to be content with modern negation, and who, feeling the need for something that our own period cannot offer, see the possibility of an escape from the present crisis only in one way: through a return to tradition in one form or another. Unfortunately, such ‘traditionalism’ is not the same as the real traditional outlook, for it may be no more than a tendency, a more or less vague aspiration presupposing no real knowledge; and it is unfortunately true that, in the mental confusion of our times, this aspiration usually gives rise to fantastic and imaginary conceptions devoid of any serious foundation.
Guénon blunders again with the above passage. Tradition is as it is practiced; like all esoteric or meditative practices, it is brought out by people making their hearts and minds ready for it.
Why would Tradition be any different from any other form of esoteric learning? He has admitted it cannot, indirectly, but now he seeks to argue that it must be a connection with something outside of the world, like a dualistic notion of purity.
There is no purity. There is no dualism. Such things are blasphemies against the order of the cosmos and dare we say it…. the intricate design and loving countenance of God.
Whether we view “God” as an underlying order to all existence, or as a proxy for nature or through nature, does not matter. We acknowledge the pattern of patterns that is our universe and forms the cosmic order.
With that in mind, it is clear that Tradition is renewed and reborn each time someone retraces the causal path of thoughts leading to its realization. There is nothing more to it. Mystifying it is pointless, as very few humans have the patience for following this path, and those of evil heart can only be stopped by good people identifying them and destroying them; they always subvert barriers set up to exclude them because subversion is the realm of an evil heart and it will always be superior in that discipline.
Guénon stumbles into modern liberalism next:
But it is the present state of things that concerns us most, so let us leave forecasts aside and dwell a moment longer on the suggestions that are at present to be met with for restoring a “Western tradition”. There is one observation that would in itself suffice to show that these ideas are not in order: this is that they are almost always conceived from an attitude of more or less open hostility toward the East.
He argues that we must get our Tradition from the East, and that to want a Western Tradition can only result from hostility to the East.
This is analogous to the modern argument that the only reason to oppose multiculturalism is “racism” (a word they never define, hence it’s in quotation marks until we figure out what the NWO means by it).
The point for desiring a Western tradition is that we of the West need our own identity and our own method of deriving our esoteric knowledge.
Moreover, despite all the illusions that some seem to cherish, the mentality of a race and an epoch is certainly not going to be put right by any merely “bookish” science, but only by something very different from philosophical speculation, which, even at the best of times, is condemned by its very nature to remain outward and much more verbal than real.
Here Guénon measures philosophy not by its best, but by its worst. He assumes that because, socially, philosophy has become an activity, that the underlying process of thought cannot be separated from the academic institutions and social practice of the same.
This shows the fundamental error of most Traditionalists who, as we noted above, are caught between the political extremists who want to use Tradition to justify their crusades/jihads, and the spaced-out New Age “Traditionalists” who want to turn Tradition into a clubhouse for those who cannot live in reality.
This error is the oldest one of all human errors, which is confusing the essence of a thing for its instance. Plato, for example, writes on this topic. For him, the world of forms is the essence, which is defined not by a dualistic blueprint somewhere, but by presence in many active instances and the commonality of pattern, which does not “exist” so much as it is derived from the interaction of informational forces required to produce the object.
For example, logically and informationally, the design of a chair exists because it is the simplest self-supporting object in which a human can sit. Variations can exist on this design — parallelism — without changing the fact that the root design “exists” simply because it is indicated by what we know of the forces of gravity, friction and equilibrium.
The essence of experience is reality; humans witness a single instance of their own experience, and humanity witnesses a class of experiences defined by our place in the order of the cosmos. We cannot confuse a tangible, fixed instance for the essence, and yet this is what Guénon has done by confusing the impression of Tradition in past for the living Tradition that, per the operation of esotericism itself, is discovered by all those who make themselves open to reality and then invest the effort to test their knowledge according to it.
Traditionalists do us all a great disservice by simultaneously mystifying and contracting the world of possibility. Tradition is closer to the scientific method, but in a non-rationalistic holistic sense, than it is to this form of weird dualism which recreates the worst errors of the past and tells us they are the only method of salvation.
Evolva, as an experienced Nietzschean, understood Tradition as an outpouring of the fundamental Will underlying all life. From “The Occult War”:
An investigation of the secret history that aspires to be positivist and scientific should not be too lofty or removed from reality. However, it is necessary to assume as the ultimate reference point a dualistic scheme not dissimilar from the one found in an older tradition. Catholic historiography used to regard history not only as a mechanism of natural, political, economic, and social causes, but also as the unfolding of divine Providence, to which hostile forces are opposed. These forces are sometimes referred to in a moralistic fashion as “forces of evil,” or in a theological fashion as the “forces of the Anti-Christ.” Such a view has a positive content, provided it is purified and emphasized by bringing it to a less religious and more metaphysical plane, as was done in Classical and Indo-European antiquity: forces of the cosmos against forces of chaos. To the former correspond everything that is form, order, law, spiritual hierarchy, and tradition in the higher sense of the word; to the latter correspond every influence that disintegrates, subverts, degrades, and promotes the predominance of the inferior over the superior, matter over spirit, quantity over quality. This is what can be said in regard to the ultimate reference points of the various influences that act upon the realm of tangible causes, behind known history. These must be taken into account, though with some prudence. Let me repeat: aside from this necessary metaphysical background, let us never lose sight of concrete history.
In this case, Evola is using “dualistic” to mean a chaos/order distinction. As a nihilist, I find the assumption of inherent order disturbing except to the degree that there is an underlying order to the universe; we choose actions compliant with it to the degree we wish to succeed.
However, his point is more coherent than the “dualism” of Guénon — in which there is a pure metaphysical truth/world in opposition to the material world — because it embraces the sense of pattern-order pervading both, and the esoteric notion that the more we understand this order, the greater our strength within it.
For another look at tradition, we turn to Huxley, with “The Perennial Philosophy”:
At the core of the Perennial Philosophy we find four fundamental doctrines.
First: the phenomenal world of matter and of individualized consciousness — the world of things and animals and men and even gods — is the manifestation of a Divine Ground within which all partial realities have their being, and apart from which they would be non-existent.
Second: human beings are capable not merely of knowing about the Divine Ground by inference; they can also realize its existence by a direct intuition, superior to discursive reasoning. This immediate knowledge unites the knower with that which is known.
Third: man possesses a double nature, a phenomenal ego and an eternal Self, which is the inner man, the spirit, the spark of divinity within the soul. It is possible for a man, if he so desires, to identify himself with the spirit and therefore with the Divine Ground, which is of the same or like nature with the spirit.
Fourth: man’s life on earth has only one end and purpose: to identify himself with his eternal Self and so to come to unitive knowledge of the Divine Ground.
Here we have a statement of esotericism that is monistic in its core. The Divine Ground is not alienated from the material world; rather, it is a higher level of abstraction for the same, and both are organized according to the patterns of this order.
Huxley describes Plato’s concept of forms and matter above. The dualism of degenerate societies, in which there is a true path versus a false physicality, is replaced by the idea that an order pervades reality based on the Divine Ground.
This Divine Ground is not describe as separate from the order of reality, but discernible from it, in the sense of esoteric learning. Further, as in the Nietzschean sense, it is not a doctrine but an “outlook,” or Will.
Finally, Huxley does not place Tradition in a glass case. It is discoverable, but even more, it is personally discoverable as an essential process of life itself.
For those who are not religious, it is possible to see Divine Ground as simply a mathematical order. I do not think harm is done by this; those who do not relate to religion can use their metaphor for reality as they see fit.
As a Perennialist, I affirm the above, which negates the necessity of a metaphysical/physical duality and instead sees both as part of a substrate organized according to the Divine Ground, which is ultimately an informational order and not a separately physicality-like place as in dualism.
Perhaps Traditionalists will abandon their philosophy which is reactionary to modernity and thus bears its imprint and instead turn toward this timeless and eternal system of belief.
Thursday, July 25th, 2013
Our society spends too much focus on the passage of time, and not enough focus on experience. People deny experience every day by doing the same rote things and carefully managing their exposure to sensations outside what they control.
Experience teaches us over time how to apply the ideas we know instinctually to be true. Most of us start out knowing a certain amount of truth, and we develop this in childhood when in isolation, but it is then “socialized” out of us.
Specifically, a social order is designed to teach us that we are all one, every person is important, and therefore, that there can be no higher truth than what each person wants to think is true. This is how you make friends among the underconfident.
From this unfolds the holy trinity of the modern time: liberty, equality and sociability (“fraternity”). What these mean is that we assume that, since everyone is equal and thus all their perceptions are equally valid, we are forced treat every individual viewpoint as true and still like that person.
This leaves only one enemy, which is those who insist on some principle higher than the individual. This could be God or the gods; however, it could equally be nature, or a goal, or even any shared values system like culture, intellectual honesty, or reality itself.
Any idea that each and every individual human’s thoughts, feelings, desires and judgments are not “equal,” meaning on par with every other human being and more important than any non-human higher principles, is unsociable and drives the underconfident person into a rage.
To prevent this rage, they form a group which is united on the idea of passive aggression and collective retaliation. If one member is harmed, all are harmed, and the group retaliates against those who have harmed them. This group is called a Crowd.
Paradoxically the Crowd is not collectivist except in method. In intent, it is individualist; these people are radical individualists who believe nothing comes before their own intent, but on a practical level they have joined together to enforce this social chaos on others.
As a result, they tend to emphasize a limited set of themes: universality, the exception disproving the rule, compassion and emotion, and the idea of pluralism or everyone being correct at once.
Their ideas are limited to a social scope, which means that outside of the artificial environment created by human socialization, these ideas fail instantly. They occur only after society happens, and generally, only when it gets weak.
When a society is strong, individuals recognize that society is a trade-off of some individualism in exchange for some stability. In other words, we have to work together, but the results are better that way. This increases individual autonomy but inevitably restricts some behaviors.
Those who assault civilization want us to believe that the imposition of rules is arbitrary and thus unjustified. On the contrary, societies build up rules based on known formulas for success. A repeated action, x, leads to a desirable outcome, y; thus it becomes a positive value.
On the other hand, societies build up taboos based on actions that encourage thinking that deviates from the system of known formulas of success. For example, intoxication may not in the instant be bad, but it may lead to a notion that pleasure is more important than results. Thus it is banned.
Crowdism defines itself in opposition to this process. It rejects both values and taboos as negative, and uses exceptions to justify its non-compliance with rules. However, it does not want to give up the advantages of society, so it replaces the thinking society with the socialization described above.
In the end, this ushers society into oblivion as it becomes increasingly removed from knowledge of the world, and more enmeshed in a narcissistic worship of the human self. Soon it is blind to all but its own self-importance and the desires, judgments and feelings of its members.
At the point where Crowdism arises, society becomes split into two groups. There is the new group, which resembles a cancer, who want to try the Crowdist way; then there are those who want to stick to the idea of known formulas for success, sometimes called “consequentialism.”
“Tradition” becomes a misleading term, because people confuse it with convention, which means “the way things are done around here.” Tradition means that we go back to the source of a society, find its values and derive them from the eternal truths of existence, and then uphold those.
Where Crowdist society is based on fear of doing wrong, Traditional society is based on the idea of achieving right. Platonists such as myself may identify it with “the perennial things” or “the good, the beautiful and the true,” but these all refer to the same thing.
We live in one reality which is consistent in how it responds to our actions. Thus we either study reality, or we study ourselves. If we study reality, we build up a heuristic of known successful acts and build on those. If we study ourselves, anything goes.
“Anything goes” appeals to those who are damaged, fractured, underconfident, alienated, sad and/or isolated. They form the first wave of Crowdism because they are fanatics. To them, it makes a colossal excuse for their failures in life, and transforms them into benevolent social successes.
The anything-goes types like platitudes like “we are all one,” “think of the children” and “all people are equal.” They hate hierarchy, borders, traditions, classes, castes and anything else that shows the natural inequality of human kind. They fear that someone might get ahead of them.
Although they portray their ideas as new, their ideas are in fact old. So old that these were the ideas that prevented civilization from forming at first. Like many illusions — salesmen make money for a reason — these ideas are more popular than reality itself.
Because these ideas are popular, commerce adopts them, even while many of the Crowdists attack commerce and complain of capitalism. The point is that the market has no allegiance to anything but its own process, so it can be very cheerfully against itself while receiving money for that service.
In our modern time, a vast and powerful machine has been created. Its first layer is commerce itself, and above that, the most powerful media ever made. Then a government which hires more people than any other firm. Then social pressures, reinforced by entertainment and media.
Against this there is one weapon: the weapon of radical realists, nihilism. Nihilism rejects the human mental categories that allow us to divide ourselves from reality and proclaim ourselves first. Instead, it substitutes reality itself, and cause-effect logic.
Where the Crowd wants to divide reality into good/evil, sociable/unsociable, etc. a nihilist sees these as surrogates for the real question. That question is the effects of our actions, and whether we achieved what we intended to or not. If we did not, we are either breaking new ground, or dishonest.
Someone who is breaking new ground has need to experiment. They will try many attempts, and eventually derive principles about how the new thing works. However, known quantities have no such excuse. History is a list of effect->cause pairs, so we choose our effect and trace back to the cause.
Unfortunately, that violates the sacred principle of Crowdism, and this is why nihilism is so feared. Tracing our actions through cause and effect instead of social morality makes us actually responsible. Not only to reality, but ourselves.
The essence of tradition is an esotericism based in learning. The more we open ourselves to reality, the more powerful we become. In the process it shapes us away from our potential Crowdist delusion, and more toward the organization and structure of the universe itself.
In this not only is there practical value, but a great beauty. By ending the division between our cosmos and ourselves, we eliminate false divisions between information and matter, and past and present. We rise to a higher level of thought itself, and thus know reality more fully.
This is why traditionalists refer to themselves as seeking perennial wisdom. It arises again, year after year, because the cosmos and its rules do not change. We can either learn those rules, and have better results, and refuse, or have worse results.
Civilizations are the same way. The choices made by a civilization determine what level of society it will be. Good choices lead to first world, mediocre choices lead to third world, and truly bad choices lead to self-destruction.
Experience disturbs our fellow citizens because it is what leads us on this path. With experience, we see that Crowdism fails, and that consistent study of the universe works. So we cast aside our mental chains through nihilism, and begin the process of becoming what we could always have been.