Futurist Traditionalism begins in Guillaume Faye’s concept of metapolitics, or the notion that cultural change is spurred on by ideas, and this leads political change.
None of the parties available in politics today represent anything other than established demographics with their voting standards already set and defined by social forces; for example, most people vote liberal in an attempt to appear educated, intelligent and gregarious.
What remains is to analyze the ideas behind political orientations, and choose which one could form the basis of a culture which is not moribund as year 2011 “the West” is.
Conservatism is about learning from the past, and from nature; it is the natural law and natural selection viewpoint, and because it embraces those sometimes scary things, it is the outlook of transcendental wisdom or finding reasons why bad and good are both needed to produce the “meta-good” that is life itself.
Liberalism is a rebellion against natural law and a desire to supplant it with humanism, or the idea that human moral choices — preferences that respect the equality of all human beings — before the literal world of cause/effect logic. In other words, exercise choice, not study of reality.
As conservatives note, however, the order of reality is within. It is within us, and it is within the world around us. The mathematics of it pervade our thinking. Trying to outwit it is a short-term game, because even as we crow in victory, we find that what we thought were details conspire to defeat us.
Traditionalism is a form of conservatism that acknowledges that our one world succumbs to study, and successful strategies are those time-honored and eternal methods that adapt successfully to this world. In addition, traditionalism points to a parent state to the transcendental state, where mind and matter are joined by patterns and organization.
In other words, beyond time and space, energy and matter, there is a precursor state which encloses all we know; we can derive this knowledge through relativity (time and space create each other, and matter and energy create each other — energy is change in matter, matter is storage of energy — which suggests that a larger enclosing state exists).
As such, Traditionalism is a philosophical concept which dovetails with conservatism, transcendental and monistic mysticism, and the doctrine of realism which suggests the external world is “mind correlative” or works like a thinking process.
This returns us to the oldest value and voice for conservatism, Plato:
Plato’s view is also sometimes called the “Theory of Forms,” and “form” rather than “idea” better conveys what he meant.
Take the example of a triangle, which has a form that distinguishes it from a square or a circle. In Plato’s usage, this “form” includes not only its shape, but all the properties that make it the thing it is: the length of its sides, its area, the fact that its angles add up to 180 degrees, and so forth. Now any particular material triangle (such as the ones drawn in geometry textbooks) is going to have certain properties that are not part of “triangularity” as such, and will also lack certain properties that are part of triangularity as such.
For example, it will have a specific color — green, say — and lack perfectly straight sides, even though greenness is not part of triangularity and having straight sides is part of it. So in Plato’s view, when the intellect grasps the form of triangularity, it is not grasping something material, since nothing material manifests triangularity in the strictest sense. But neither is it grasping something mental. For there are certain facts about triangles — the Pythagorean theorem, for example — that are entirely objective, and discovered by the human mind rather than invented by it. Moreover, these facts are necessary and unchanging rather than contingent and alterable: the Pythagorean theorem is true eternally, whether or not any human mind thinks otherwise or would like it to be otherwise. “Triangularity” is therefore something that exists apart from either mind or matter, in a third realm of its own: the realm of Forms. And the same thing is true, according to Plato, of the Forms of everything else — squares and circles, plants and animals, human beings, beauty, truth, and goodness.
It is important to understand that talk about the Forms existing “in” a “realm,” and so forth, is purely metaphorical. Literally they don’t exist “in” anything, since “in” is a spatial term and the Forms, being immaterial, are outside time and space.
“Realist Conservatism,” as we might call it, affirms the existence of an objective order of forms or universals that define the natures of things, including human nature, and what it seeks to conserve are just those institutions reflecting a recognition and respect for this objective order. Since human nature is, on this view, objective and universal, long-standing moral and cultural traditions are bound to reflect it and thus have a presumption in their favor. – Ideas in Action
Realism is the study of reality, which does not limit itself to the study of material.
In mind, matter and energy, we find similar patterns. These patterns arise from the interaction of objects over time. However, their consistency makes them inherent to the nature of existence itself, which is why we call them natural law. Like rules of gravity, or even the shape of water droplets, this order pervades all invisibly and does not “exist” in time and space; it either exists objectively, even if only as an emergent order, or it exists solely in the minds of human beings.
It is from the latter that liberalism is born. If our thought-impressions of the world are the only place that patterns exist, we think, we can change those thought-impressions arbitrarily because they are arbitrary.
However, it is the repeated instantiation of form that suggests its existence is more pervasive, more like a boundary to reality itself, than mere human thought:
Shunyata is a key concept in Buddhist philosophy, more specifically in the ontology of Mahayana Buddhism: ”Form is emptiness, and emptiness is form.” This is the paradox of the concept .
Emptiness is not to be confused with nothingness. Emptiness is non-existence but not nothingness. Also, it is not non-reality. Emptiness means that an object, animate or inanimate, does not have its own existence independently. It has its meaning and existence only when all the elements or components it is made of come into play and we can understand and impute its existence clearly.
Plato held the view that there is an ideal essence in everything that we have around us, whether animate or inanimate. After all, ”the essence of the cup ultimately exists in the realm of the mind.” The Dalai Lama says that Shunyata is the absence of an absolute essence or independent existence. If a thing exists, it is because of several other factors. – Times of India
Plato’s argument does not campaign for the idea that forms exist in and of themselves, but that they are emergent patterns based on the interaction of objects and events, which means that they exist in some form although not perhaps their final form. A triangle, as used as example in the article above, exists because of the logical concept of a three-sided two dimensional figure.
The point of Plato’s argument is that our reality is consistent, over the years, and that we adapt to consistent phenomena. Whether they exist in a independent of time and space (in an enclosing space, not a dualistic fantasy world) or merely emerge from the coincidence of events, natural laws and objects, the fact is that they “exist” in that they repeat over time and similar circumstance.
In turn, that knowledge implies two vital things: first, their consistency means we can design optimal responses to them that will be as eternally successful as coping strategies as the patterns/forms themselves are eternally re-appearing; second, that as we study cause->effect logic, we should start with the pattern and not the material form it takes.
From this awareness, we derive a passage of consciousness: if there is a single reality that all must face, and a single set of natural laws that determine which actions succeed or fail, and this consistency in turn brings us life and choice, we must be reverent toward it; this means, in turn, that we become consequentialists or those who are concerned with end results, causes and goals more than whether their methods are moral, appear compassionate, are socially popular or fiscally rewarded.
While most people think of conservatism as backward-looking, what this affirms is that conservatism is forward-looking, but unlike the mental health cases out there, conservatives choose their forward direction based on their knowledge of the consistent laws of the universe. Conservatives think from cause->effect, and replicating that in their own thought process, from method->goal; liberals think from effect->self.
The reversed logic of the modern time relies on this sleight-of-hand: instead of looking at reality as something we must adapt to, we look at ourselves and figure we will act as we feel or desire, and we ignore the consequences in reality. We make a model of the world in our minds and we manipulate those thought-objects instead of changing reality so that causes lead to effects.
Since we started the chain of logic with ourselves, we have cut out any notion of cause->effect logic; we assume we and others in our social group are the cause of all things, and try to manipulate words, symbols and social events to make that happen.
Naturally, this is a path to entropy. The context and details we cut out of the picture by creating isolated thought-objects in our minds, because they are integral to understanding how events will transpire, come back to strike us with “unexpected” consequences. Over time, these build a foundation of instability under all that we do, and we become schizoid shuttling between our mental image and dealing with the reality we cannot anticipate.
The furthest manifestation of this mental error is ideology and dogma. These are political concepts which supplant the study of reality; instead of trying to figure out how nature works, and then formulate a plan to fit in with that process, we project a moral or social “truth” and force others to obey it, thus making it “real” at least temporarily.
Eventually, it leads to a state of total neurosis, in which the person decides reality is optional, values are pointless, there is no culture, religion or cause worth supporting. This state is mis-identified as nihilism (a rejection of human-imposed meaning) but is more correctly called fatalism: a belief that no activity has efficacy, so why not act for oneself? The ultimate extreme of individualism, narcissism, results:
If narcissists were just jerks, they would be easy to avoid. The fact that they are entertaining and exciting as well as aggressive and manipulative makes them compelling in the real world and as subjects of psychological scrutiny.
A cross section of the narcissist’s ego will reveal high levels of self-esteem, grandiosity, self-focus, and self-importance. They think they are more physically attractive and intelligent than just about everyone, and would rather be admired than liked. They are enraged when told they aren’t beautiful or brilliant but aren’t affected much if told they are jerks.
Narcissists thrive in big, anonymous cities, entertainment-related fields (think reality TV), and leadership situations where they can dazzle and dominate others without having to cooperate or suffer the consequences of a bad reputation.
Narcissists’ language and demeanor is often geared toward one objective: to maintain power in an interaction.
In the sexual realm, promiscuity is a key strategy that allows narcissists to maintain control. Think the “principle of least interest,” in which the partner with the least interest in a relationship has the greatest power.
It appears that narcissists seek out people who maintain their high positive self-image, at the same time intentionally avoiding and putting down people who may give them a harsh dose of realism. “Seeking admiration is like a drug for narcissists,” notes Back. – Psychology Today
The furthest extreme of liberalism is this type of obsessive individualism.
People of this nature tend to form groups around themselves in which people reinforce each other’s elevated self-esteem, which is in itself a compensation for a lack of purpose in life.
When those groups are challenged, or break down, vindictive and insane behavior results.
Mr. Rea is suffering from what one might call Too Much Positive Reinforcement: The belief, against all available evidence, that one is meant for Special Things.
TMPR has now officially reached epidemic proportions. How else to explain the legions of the talent-free who wait in line for days for a chance to show their stuff to Mr. Cowell and company-then are stunned to be told they don’t make the grade? After decades of upper-middle-class parenting designed to shield Junior from all possible failure, and from any honest judgement of his talents, it’s no wonder we need television shows like American Idol and its fellow showcase for TMPR victims, The Apprentice . These shows are delivering the spanking-sorry, the time-out -that our culture of bloated self-evaluation is subconsciously craving. Their success signals that we may be reaching the end of a long national delusion. There is simply not room enough at the top these days for everyone raised to believe they belong there-and, deep down, we all know it. – New York Observer
The end result of reversed logic is that individual humans believe they are more important than anything else, and that everything else should be a means to an end.
This is the phenomenon underlying modern society, liberalism and consumerism. We call it Crowdism around here, because it is a paradoxical condition by which narcissistic individuals form Crowds out of cognitive dissonance, and then force their dogma of equality and self-importance upon the rest of us.
Crowdism is inherently unstable because it is a false reality, and whenever a collision with the “real” reality occurs, the individual doubts the Crowd. For this reason, Crowds tend to compel their members to constantly seek out false enemies and crush them.
The Solution: Futurist Traditionalism
Futurist Traditionalism reverses reversed logic:
These traits fix the reversed logic which grips our modern world.
Futurist Traditionalism arises from paleoconservatism, or pre-1945 conservatism, as hybridized with modern movements like deep ecology:
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.
What separates deep ecologists from environmentalists is that (a) deep ecologists are conservationists, or people who believe we should set aside nature rather than try to limit our own impact through products, and (b) deep ecologists recognize that for conservation to become a priority in our society, our civilization must re-orient its values and imagination toward reverence for nature, tradition, culture and the eternal.
Unlike modern politics, which is based in ideology, Futurist Traditionalism recognizes that the human problem is eternal — selfishness, oblivion, deception and criminality based in narcissism — and that the solution is to sort the good people from the bad, and avoid situations where the individual chooses what is convenient for them and then forces that result onto society and nature.
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. Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all. – Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons”
In other words, where modern society is about individual rights to individual behavior, Futurist Traditionalism is about the right of the individual to choose a social standard, and thus have a more stable and less delusional experience in which, unlike in modern society, they are rewarded for doing good deeds and shunned for doing bad.
A rough outline of Futurist Traditionalism beliefs:
Schopenhauer believed that a person inherits one’s level of intellect through one’s mother, and personal character through one’s father. Schopenhauer quotes Horace’s saying, “From the brave and good are the brave descended” (Odes, iv, 4, 29) and Shakespeare’s line from Cymbeline, “Cowards father cowards, and base things sire base” (IV, 2) to reinforce his hereditarian argument. On the question of eugenics, Schopenhauer wrote:
With our knowledge of the complete unalterability both of character and of mental faculties, we are led to the view that a real and thorough improvement of the human race might be reached not so much from outside as from within, not so much by theory and instruction as rather by the path of generation. Plato had something of the kind in mind when, in the fifth book of his Republic, he explained his plan for increasing and improving his warrior caste. If we could castrate all scoundrels and stick all stupid geese in a convent, and give men of noble character a whole harem, and procure men, and indeed thorough men, for all girls of intellect and understanding, then a generation would soon arise which would produce a better age than that of Pericles.
Or more kindly – “The final aim of all love intrigues, be they comic or tragic, is really of more importance than all other ends in human life. What it all turns upon is nothing less than the composition of the next generation.… It is not the weal or woe of any one individual, but that of the human race to come, which is here at stake.”
In another context, Schopenhauer reiterated his antidemocratic-eugenic thesis: “If you want Utopian plans, I would say: the only solution to the problem is the despotism of the wise and noble members of a genuine aristocracy, a genuine nobility, achieved by mating the most magnanimous men with the cleverest and most gifted women. This proposal constitutes my Utopia and my Platonic Republic”. – Wikipedia
Futurist Traditionalism offers a better future than modernity.
Modernity offers a union of leftist beliefs and commerce, a type of anarcho-totalitarianism where the reckless pursuit of individualism incurs huge socialized costs, which then require a massive Nanny State to enforce laws and keep self-destruction away. It is soft tyranny, enforced as much by status-climbing individuals who want the “right” opinions as by big media broadcasting constant propaganda, and commerce offering further degrees of venality to increase the anarchic component. Modernity ends in slow decay, and third world status for those formerly rich first world nations, while commerce goes international and finds new hosts to parasitize. In the name of individualism and personal choice, we empower the marketers, merchants and demagogues. The worst part is that the individual has to guess at what will be rewarded behavior; they know what is accepted, and that money is seen as success, but beyond that they must pander to the Crowd opinion and yet, find it hard to distinguish themselves by truly good deeds as so much false image-making exists.
Futurist Traditionalism offers a clear sense of order because it is goal-oriented. It establishes values held in common, and uses those to emphasize role, responsibility, reverence, virtue and purpose. As such it is in any age the right way for us as a species to adapt to our environment, and not only survive, but thrive by choosing more elegant and graceful behaviors over the lowest common denominator. Where modernity values inclusiveness, Futurist Traditionalism values transcending ourselves and becoming better people. As a result it offers a rising social order, a greater stability, and a chance to be rewarded for what we do right, instead of being subsidized for being human. In addition, by granting society purpose, it streamlines our activities and removes our most destructive tendencies.