Our civilization has fallen. It is clear that we must restart, and do so from a point before where our error began. We must find a healthy model for civilization that has existed through the ages and presented the fewest inclinations toward terminal decline. This is not a Utopian view; it does not aim for perfection, and accepts humans as they are, but seeks the best possible option.
Futurist Traditionalism is the philosophy of such a time. It consists of three parts:
When discord arose, then the two races were drawn different ways: the iron and brass fell to acquiring money and land and houses and gold and silver; but the gold and silver races, not wanting money but having the true riches in their own nature, inclined towards virtue and the ancient order of things. There was a battle between them, and at last they agreed to distribute their land and houses among individual owners; and they enslaved their friends and maintainers, whom they had formerly protected in the condition of freemen, and made of them subjects and servants; and they themselves were engaged in war and in keeping a watch against them.
In a Golden Age, humans strive to what is right — not through personal morality as in good/evil of the modern time, but in the sense of acting according to balance and harmony so as to maintain a state of those, in a honor/hubris division — but when a society becomes wealthy, it loses its sense of purpose and starts to think backward. Instead of acting toward purpose, it does what is convenient, and rationalizes or justifies this through arguing it as pleasing to individual humans. From this comes individualism, and from that comes collectivism as the individualists use each other to form a mob and suspend accountability, and from that comes egalitarian ideas including Leftism and consumerism.
Putting these together, Futurist Traditionalism consists of two concepts mirroring the two parts of conservatism, a radical realism and a qualitative purpose or transcendental outlook, which aim to create the conditions in which a Golden Age can emerge: a restoration of harmony and balance, coupled with a spiritual renovation so that we think in a forward manner again.
A Futurist Traditionalist society would resemble those of the past in social structure and outlook, but would retain modern technology and the impetus to use technology to fulfill the principles and goals of each society. It would be culture-driven and not government-driven, which as a prerequisite demands it be strongly nationalistic or excluding all individuals not from the founding ethnic group, but it would also have an aristocracy, a social caste hierarchy, free markets where applicable, and a union of culture and transcendental outlook to provide a philosophy and metaphysics (or “religion” if you will) that sustains, nurtures and guides that specific population.
Where Futurist Traditionalism differs from most Right-wing philosophies is that it is nihilistic, meaning that it does not recognize universal, absolute or innate truths. In fact, it views all of life as choices that are both up to us and take the measure of us, including the choice to be realistic instead of individualistic, humanistic, solipsistic or otherwise more concerned about human thoughts and feelings than their degree of accuracy in reality.
Nihilism takes the form of a naturalistic, Darwinian and transcendentalist philosophy of extremist realism coupled with a fundamental idealism, or the view that the cosmos operates in thought-like pattern orientation, similar to Platonic forms but in a less literal sense:
Among the possibilities that scare humans the most, the potentiality of no meaning — no inherent values, no innate truths, and no possibility of accurate communication — unnerves us the most. It means that we are truly alone with nothing to rely on but ourselves for understanding this vast world and what we should do in it. This belief is called nihilism.
Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence.” – Alan Pratt, “Nihilism,” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, retrieved from http://www.iep.utm.edu/nihilism/
In the 20th century, nihilism encompassed a variety of philosophical and aesthetic stances that, in one sense or another, denied the existence of genuine moral truths or values, rejected the possibility of knowledge or communication, and asserted the ultimate meaninglessness or purposelessness of life or of the universe.” – “Nihilism,” Encyclopedia Britannica, retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/nihilism
Nihilism rejects the ideas of universalism, rationalism and empiricism which have ruled the West for centuries. These ideas arise from our social impulses, or the desire to include others as a group and motivate them with what is perceived as objective truth.
Universalism holds that all people are essentially the same, and therefore that values are a matter of respecting the choices of each person, truth is what can be verified in a way a group can understand, and communication relies on words which have immutable meaning. Rationalism supposes that the workings our minds can tell us what is true in the world without testing, and implies universalism, or that the workings of our minds are all the same. Empiricism, now linked to its cousin logical positivism, states that truth is only found in observable and testable, replicable observations.
The essence of nihilism can be found in biology. In the tendency of human minds, many identical pieces work together to form agreement, and then act as one. In biology, abundant unequal pieces serve different roles without knowledge of a centralized plan but work together because they are united by very basic principles which cannot be deconstructed further, such as the need to feed, defend oneself, find shelter, and reproduce. Nihilism follows the organic model of different pieces of a larger puzzle working together because they share principles, but not form or the translation of those principles into specific methods. It adds a layer of abstraction to our understanding of how systems — groups of parts producing an output together — function.
This biological framework reveals a “pattern language,” or index of patterns that match functions, to both human thought and human individuals. We are not all alike, nor do we think alike, and many humans have unique roles they can serve where their proficiency makes them ideal candidates. Within the mind, we can identify patterns at a level below language or even consciousness that reveal our thought and how comparable it is to the reality in the external world. This allows us to use self-discipline to become better able to understand reality.
Without universal truth, we bypass the proxy of socially-defined goals and standards, and instead must judge our potential actions by their likely results in reality. This escapes us from the ghetto of human intent, where we judge our actions as if they were communications to others designed to show our value, instead of actions toward a purpose. We lose self-consciousness, which is really an awareness of ourselves as we appear to the social group, and replace it with world-consciousness.
The most difficult part (for modern people) involved with leaving behind universalism is that we now navigate between two poles: first, the wrong idea that there should be one rule and motivation for every person, and second, the wrong idea that avoiding the first pole means that everyone should do whatever they want. Nihilism is the death of “should.” Instead, there is merely “is,” as in each person is what he is and has the wants inherent to being that person. This means that people have different roles, of both vertical (proficiency) and horizontal (specialization) measurements, like animals and plants in an ecosystem. There is no universal role, only a shared mission, and the knowledge of what actions have produced which results in the past, from which we can derive general principles that fit our roles in the civilization ecosystem.
With this, we return to the Traditionalist idea of cause and effect with the cause being informational instead of physical. Pattern and idea dictate outcome more than the particular material elements or particularities of a time period. Consider the knowledge of man trying to start a fire:
Action Result 1. Rub sticks Weak fire, takes a lot of strength. 2. Await lightning Starve (usually). 3. Strike flint Stronger fire, but flying sparks can cause forest fires. 4. Pray to Xu’ul Nothing so far. 5. Bark rope friction Good, but hard to find the right bark.
Society would insert a third column between those for moral judgments, social feelings, personal desires and other chatter from the incessantly rationalizing mind, which seeks to find a justification for its feelings in the world and remove from itself the need to make hard decisions which remind it of existential questions like death, purpose and meaning.
When Bra’agh the caveman thinks about how he should proceed, he inverts the order of the two natural columns. He knows what he wants, or quickly will have to find out, and so he chooses the outcome that will fit his circumstances, and based on that, chooses the method he will use.
If Bra’agh is strong, he may choose to rub sticks. If he has not eaten and is tired, he may take a little more time to look for bark or flint. As a practical person, he may pray to Xu’ul because it makes him feel better, but he will nonetheless seek his own method of making fire (Xu’ul helps those who help themselves). Having bad past experiences getting very hungry waiting for lightning, he will discard that.
When his circumstances change, Bra’agh makes different decisions. If a thunderstorm has just passed over, he might take an hour to wander around looking for burning trees. If he is in a valley where there is abundant flint, he might go right to that method, almost bypassing choice entirely, which can be risky as he will then be oblivious to the downside of possible forest fires. If he is standing next to a tree with the right bark, the decision also seems to complete itself.
All of us have these columns in our mind, and varying degrees of the third column comprised of social and emotional thoughts. The strongest among us can balance the third column so that it fits in with the advantages and disadvantages of methods, like the possibility of forest fires. The weakest among us will think first of the third column, and then use that to choose the method, and will then rationalize from there that their choice is the best, a process called cognitive dissonance.
Nihilism rejects the third column by recognizing the emptiness of shared experience. Some experiences unify us, like love or comradeship in war, but for the most part, we are alone. What we know cannot be communicated unless the other person is willing to analyze it and us enough to know what we are nattering on about. As far as truth, there are accurate perceptions, but these are not shared among people, not in the least because most people do not care about accuracy.
Suppose that Bra’agh becomes a member of a troupe of cavepeople. They wander the fields and forests, foraging for food and hunting what bush meat they can conquer. Then they retreat to their cave where they feel safe. Bra’agh wants to make a fire, but the others either do not or are apathetic. He cannot argue with them, objectively or subjectively, that fire is needed. After all, they have fruits, berries, roots and bush meat which they can dry in the sun and eat, and they will be just fine.
But Bra’agh, he has a dream. In this dream, there are big hunts once a week and then the food is cooked and preserved, so that they will have more free time and do not have to go foraging every day. Perhaps Bra’agh wants to write the great cave novel, or dream of gods in the sky, or otherwise discover the world. For him, time is more important than convenience. This is not so for the others, and nothing he can say will logically compel them to share his vision.
If he demonstrates his idea by slaughtering a caribou, making a fire and roasting the meat and handing it out to others, they may partake. They might not, however, see the utility in this approach, because it is harder and riskier than gathering roots and killing squirrels with rocks. There is no universal standard for all of them.
Suppose that Bra’agh is a burly caveman who instead of arguing for his idea, simply forces others to do it by beating senseless the dissenters. Soon the troupe of cavepeople are hunting and following his path, and he heaves rocks into the skulls of those who thwart the activity. Over time, the survivors are those who share his vision, and the genes for those who are otherwise inclined have passed into history.
In ten thousand years, a civilization may arise in the place where Bra’agh bashed skulls. It will be based on the idea that some risk and effort that achieves a better result (second column) is worth enduring the harder activity (first column). Applying that principle, the cavepeople will start domesticating caribou and planting crops, giving them even more free time. They will invent language, writing and early technology.
After another ten thousand years, the civilization will encounter its first troubles. The people will take for granted that they will always have civilization and stop bashing in the heads of those who cannot direct themselves toward that purpose. Those, who by nature are less focused, will devote their time to the pleasures of the flesh, and become fruitful and multiplicative. Over time, they will outnumber the others.
The civilization will now take a dark turn. It will abandon the original nihilistic principle, which is that some are of the caliber of Bra’agh and must lead by bashing skulls, and instead turn to the principle of universalism. Everyone is welcome and all are celebrated; in fact, they like to say that they are all one. Quantity replaces quality. Realistic vision is lost. The civilization begins to die.
A strange thing will have happened to the people in this civilization. They will live almost exclusively in the third column, thinking about what others think of them, with the world beyond the ego and the human social circle unknown to them. If someone explains nihilism to them, using the language which sprung up as if out of the ground once it was needed, they will retreat in fear, like monkeys flinging faeces at a feared totem. To them, there can only be one rule for everyone — the rule of the third column — or life has become bad and evil.
Nihilism remains controversial for this reason. It connects us to the nothingness in life, and the necessity of sacrifice in order to achieve quality-enhancing results, which naturally brings up the question of mortality that almost all people (except pasty Goths in black) would rather not discuss. People would rather decrease quality and increase quantity, meaning that all actions would be seen as equal, because this is more emotionally convenient for them. Nihilism erases any importance granted to this emotional state.
The modern West finds itself at a crossroads. The path we are on leads to eventual death and a form of entropy that returns us to the state of the cavepeople before Bra’agh and his vision of fire. A new path beckons which will take us higher than the greatness of the past, continuing the idea that seized Bra’agh as he was wandering the veldt. For us to accept the possibility of the new path, we must first strip away the human-only mental prison in which we exist because of social influences and “peer pressure.”
Nihilism leads to idealism for this reason. When we remove the over-dominance of the methods we use to interact with the world, we see the importance of pattern and arranging ourselves and material according to the idea we seek. This connects to a primal idea, which is that existence itself is biological, and that life extends past the physical into the metaphysical. In short, idea is all; material — including the third column — is a false goal that causes us to rationalize and become confused.
In this sense, nihilism shows us the value of transcendental thought. By facing the darkness of life directly and allowing the cold wind of the abyss to lick our faces, nihilism creates acceptance of the world as it is, and then embarks on a search for meaning that is not “social meaning” because it is interpreted according to the individual based on the capacity of that individual. Nihilism is esoteric in that it rejects the idea of a truth that can be communicated to everyone, but by freeing us from the idea that whatever truths we encounter must include everyone, allows for lone explorers to delve deeper and climb higher, if they have the biological requirements for the mental ability involved.
For this reason, nihilism is transformative. We go into it as equal members of the modern zombie automaton cult, convinced that there is objective truth and we have subjective preferences. We come out realizing that our preferences are entirely a function of our abilities and biology, and that “objective” truth is as much an idol as the Golden Calf of Moses’ time: a fiction and consensual reality created to keep a troupe of slightly smarter than average monkeys working together. Nihilism transforms us from human into beast, and from that, to something which can reach for the stars.
In Nihilism: A Philosophy Based In Nothingness and Eternity, your author explores the possibilities of leaving behind the path to death and choosing the new path instead. This cannot be approached directly, because the path is an effect of a cause, which is our willingness to abandon the solipsistic tendencies of our minds and strive for something greater. It appeals to the Bra’aghs of the world, and not those whose skulls were smitten by his rocks.
Through the course of essays composed in the wilderness over the course of two decades, Nihilism unearths the first steps toward the wisdom of the past. It shows a path to clearing the mental confusion of this time from the mind, and seeing the value of nihilism as a gateway to re-understanding the world in a new light. While it is not for all, if humanity has a future, it is through a thought process like the journey on which it takes its readers.
In contrast to accepted doctrine, this book shows that the lack of meaning in modern society came not from the fall of gods and heroes, but from the insatiable human ego and its collectivized counterpart, “peer pressure” or social control. What remains of the old religion is only the idea of universal truth, and that has been reconfigured into an assumption that all that is human is good, and that nature and metaphysics are irrelevant.
Nihilism remains a terrifying topic because it removes the illusions on which our current worldview is based, but that outlook is rapidly failing. In this alternate view, the tripartite illusion — universal truth among humans, equality-based values, and exoteric communication based on universal tokens — has broken and died, and those who wish to rebuild civilization can use nihilism to detach from it and form the groundwork of a new era.
Touching on ideas from both the occult and mainstream religion as well as philosophies ranging from Germanic idealism to perennialism, Nihilism: A Philosophy Based In Nothingness and Eternity explores nihilism as a fully-developed philosophy instead of the melange of anarchy and self-centeredness by which it is portrayed in most literature. In doing so, it discovers a way out of our landlocked modern thought, uniting both wisdom of the past and possibilities for the future into a single vision.
Futurist Traditionalism takes its influences from several existing genres of thought and philosophies:
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.
What constitutes knowledge: Naturalism as a worldview is based on the premise that knowledge about what exists and about how things work is best achieved through the sciences, not personal revelation or religious tradition. The knowledge we have of ourselves and our place in nature is the achievement of a collective effort to construct a consistent view of the world that permits prediction and control. This effort proceeds by experiment and rational inquiry, and the knowledge gained is always subject to further testing as understanding matures. Wanting something to be true, or having the intense personal conviction that something is true, are never grounds for supposing that it is true. Scientific empiricism has the necessary consequence of unifying our knowledge of the world, of placing all objects of understanding within an overarching causal context. Under naturalism, there is a single, natural world in which phenomena arise.
The causal view: From a naturalistic perspective, there are no causally privileged agents, nothing that causes without being caused in turn. Human beings act the way they do because of the various influences that shape them, whether these be biological or social, genetic or environmental. We do not have the capacity to act outside the causal connections that link us in every respect to the rest of the world. This means we do not have what many people think of as free will, being able to cause our behavior without our being fully caused in turn.
The self: As strictly physical beings, we don’t exist as immaterial selves, either mental or spiritual, that control behavior. Thought, desires, intentions, feelings, and actions all arise on their own without the benefit of a supervisory self, and they are all the products of a physical system, the brain and the body. The self is constituted by more or less consistent sets of personal characteristics, beliefs, and actions; it doesn’t exist apart from those complex physical processes that make up the individual. It may strongly seem as if there is a self sitting behind experience, witnessing it, and behind behavior, controlling it, but this impression is strongly disconfirmed by a scientific understanding of human behavior.
Responsibility and morality: From a naturalistic perspective, behavior arises out of the interaction between individuals and their environment, not from a freely willing self that produces behavior independently of causal connections (see above). Therefore individuals don’t bear ultimate originative responsibility for their actions, in the sense of being their first cause. Given the circumstances both inside and outside the body, they couldn’t have done other than what they did. Nevertheless, we must still hold individuals responsible, in the sense of applying rewards and sanctions, so that their behavior stays more or less within the range of what we deem acceptable. This is, partially, how people learn to act ethically. Naturalism doesn’t undermine the need or possibility of responsibility and morality, but it places them within the world as understood by science. However, naturalism does call into question the basis for retributive attitudes, namely the idea that individuals could have done otherwise in the situation in which their behavior arose and so deeply deserve punishment.
The source of value: Because naturalism doubts the existence of ultimate purposes either inherent in nature or imposed by a creator, values derive from human needs and desires, not supernatural absolutes. Basic human values are widely shared by virtue of being rooted in our common evolved nature. We need not appeal to a supernatural standard of ethical conduct to know that in general it’s wrong to lie, cheat, steal, rape, murder, torture, or otherwise treat people in ways we’d rather not be treated. Our naturally endowed empathetic concern for others and our hard-wired penchant for cooperation and reciprocity get us what we most want as social creatures: to flourish as individuals within a community. Naturalism may show the ultimate contingency of some values, in that human nature might have evolved differently and human societies and political arrangements might have turned out otherwise. But, given who and what we are as natural creatures, we necessarily find ourselves with shared basic values which serve as the criteria for assessing moral dilemmas, even if these assessments are sometimes fiercely contested and in some cases never quite resolved.
We believe that true ecological sustainability may require a rethinking of our values as a society. Present assumptions about economics, development, and the place of human beings in the natural order must be reevaluated. If we are to achieve ecological sustainability, Nature can no longer be viewed only as a commodity; it must be seen as a partner and model in all human enterprise.
We begin with the premise that life on Earth has entered its most precarious phase in history. We speak of threats not only to human life, but to the lives of all species of plants and animals, as well as the health and continued viability of the biosphere. It is the awareness of the present condition that primarily motivates our activities.
We believe that current problems are largely rooted in the following circumstances:
- The loss of traditional knowledge, values, and ethics of behavior that celebrate the intrinsic value and sacredness of the natural world and that give the preservation of Nature prime importance. Correspondingly, the assumption of human superiority to other life forms, as if we were granted royalty status over Nature; the idea that Nature is mainly here to serve human will and purpose.
- The prevailing economic and development paradigms of the modern world, which place primary importance on the values of the market, not on Nature. The conversion of nature to commodity form, the emphasis upon economic growth as a panacea, the industrialization of all activity, from forestry to farming to fishing, even to education and culture; the drive to economic globalization, cultural homogenization, commodity accumulation, urbanization, and human alienation. All of these are fundamentally incompatible with ecological or biological sustainability on a finite Earth.
- Technology worship and an unlimited faith in the virtues of science; the modern paradigm that technological development is inevitable, invariably good, and to be equated with progress and human destiny. From this, we are left dangerously uncritical, blind to profound problems that technology and science have wrought, and in a state of passivity that confounds democracy.
- Overpopulation, in both the overdeveloped and the underdeveloped worlds, placing unsustainable burdens upon biodiversity and the human condition.
The tragedy of the commons develops in this way. Picture a pasture open to all. It is to be expected that each herdsman will try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons. Such an arrangement may work reasonably satisfactorily for centuries because tribal wars, poaching, and disease keep the numbers of both man and beast well below the carrying capacity of the land. Finally, however, comes the day of reckoning, that is, the day when the long-desired goal of social stability becomes a reality. At this point, the inherent logic of the commons remorselessly generates tragedy.
As a rational being, each herdsman seeks to maximize his gain. Explicitly or implicitly, more or less consciously, he asks, “What is the utility to me of adding one more animal to my herd?” This utility has one negative and one positive component.
1) The positive component is a function of the increment of one animal. Since the herdsman receives all the proceeds from the sale of the additional animal, the positive utility is nearly +1.
2) The negative component is a function of the additional overgrazing created by one more animal. Since, however, the effects of overgrazing are shared by all the herdsmen, the negative utility for any particular decision-making herdsman is only a fraction of -1.
Adding together the component partial utilities, the rational herdsman concludes that the only sensible course for him to pursue is to add another animal to his herd. And another; and another…. But this is the conclusion reached by each and every rational herdsman sharing a commons. Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit–in a world that is limited
In order to make ourselves more powerful, we act so we appear altruistic, but we also act to appear independent and unique so we attract others to our personalities. This causes us to act entirely through social thinking.
Through this method, individualism creates a “social reality” or a conspiracy between people to manage reality with social factors. Since we need others, thanks to specialization of labor, we use this more than reality itself.
This has two effects: first, we become neurotic because we see reality in the details but are encouraged to ignore it; second, since social reality ignores secondary effects, disorder spreads and the cost is passed on to us.
This in turn encourages us to try to break away from social obligation, since we feel it is parasitic to us, and so we break away using more individualism. This does not work, so we turn to our leaders and ask for more control.
Control is the external imposition of what some people agree is true. Unlike an organic order, or one arriving from agreement and cooperation among people, it requires force and small rewards to function.
In this way, we can see how individualism leads to disorder which requires more control, in a process and cycle that gains intensity over time, causing civilization to collapse.
Imagine human beings living in an underground den which is open towards the light; they have been there from childhood, having their necks and legs chained, and can only see into the den. At a distance there is a fire, and between the fire and the prisoners a raised way, and a low wall is built along the way, like the screen over which marionette players show their puppets. Behind the wall appear moving figures, who hold in their hands various works of art, and among them images of men and animals, wood and stone, and some of the passers-by are talking and others silent. ‘A strange parable,’ he said, ‘and strange captives.’ They are ourselves, I replied; and they see only the shadows of the images which the fire throws on the wall of the den; to these they give names, and if we add an echo which returns from the wall, the voices of the passengers will seem to proceed from the shadows. Suppose now that you suddenly turn them round and make them look with pain and grief to themselves at the real images; will they believe them to be real? Will not their eyes be dazzled, and will they not try to get away from the light to something which they are able to behold without blinking? And suppose further, that they are dragged up a steep and rugged ascent into the presence of the sun himself, will not their sight be darkened with the excess of light? Some time will pass before they get the habit of perceiving at all; and at first they will be able to perceive only shadows and reflections in the water; then they will recognize the moon and the stars, and will at length behold the sun in his own proper place as he is. Last of all they will conclude:— This is he who gives us the year and the seasons, and is the author of all that we see. How will they rejoice in passing from darkness to light! How worthless to them will seem the honours and glories of the den! But now imagine further, that they descend into their old habitations;— in that underground dwelling they will not see as well as their fellows, and will not be able to compete with them in the measurement of the shadows on the wall; there will be many jokes about the man who went on a visit to the sun and lost his eyes, and if they find anybody trying to set free and enlighten one of their number, they will put him to death, if they can catch him. Now the cave or den is the world of sight, the fire is the sun, the way upwards is the way to knowledge, and in the world of knowledge the idea of good is last seen and with difficulty, but when seen is inferred to be the author of good and right — parent of the lord of light in this world, and of truth and understanding in the other. He who attains to the beatific vision is always going upwards; he is unwilling to descend into political assemblies and courts of law; for his eyes are apt to blink at the images or shadows of images which they behold in them — he cannot enter into the ideas of those who have never in their lives understood the relation of the shadow to the substance.
Plato, The Republic, Book VII
To most people, the word “traditionalism” conjures up ideas of reverting society to a previous time; in the cyclic view of history, it is in fact acting out the society of a future time, which is why it pairs well with futurism. This invokes other philosophical doctrines as expressed above.