Posts Tagged ‘bruce charlton’
Friday, December 9th, 2016
The important thing about the Alt Right is that — contrary to appearances — it shows the right growing up and merging its two threads, opposition to delusional Utopianism on one hand, and its resistance to “modern society” on the other.
Few are willing to mention the truth about the West, which is that it is soul-killing. Jobs are spirit subjugation; the cities are ugly; all of our products are designed to take advantage of us and deprive us of the function of that product. What kind of rising technological empire cannot make a refrigerator that lasts longer than ten years?
In the hands of the proles, the vote went to the people, and this seems to empower whoever wants to treat the population as a cash cow and milk it for all that it is worth. Governments are self-interested businesses, but so are regular businesses. All want to extract the most cash out of the population through deliberately broken policies, which then require more money to try to make them work, and planned obsolescence. The reason for this that these organizations are comprised of people, and each person wants a job forever and more money and power, and they are given an aegis of public interest behind which to engineer theft.
In social situations, people do the same thing. The name of the game is to take all that you can and externalize the costs. People are inept and do sloppy work, knowing someone else may have to clean it up. The ultimate modern symbol is litter because the citizen who enjoys his pleasures and then leaves behind a mess has externalized the cleanup, making him seem victorious for having taken more than he has given. All of these problems arise from a lack of purpose to society, which leaves it as a group of conflict special interests warring it out for power at the expense of the normal working population who just want stable lives.
We like to talk about how democracy freed us from insane wars and totalitarianism, but we live under “soft totalitarian” circumstances where the wrong opinion means losing jobs, home, family and friends; we also have under democracy embarked on two World Wars and many proxy conflicts in which nothing was permanently resolved. Our future is one of endless war in which those who fail to affirm the Narrative and its ideology are treated as enemies of the state, enforced through fear of collective punishment in which others shun the heretics in order to avoid being associated with heresy. Our modern life is more controlled than life under fascists or National Socialists, and seems to have replicated the conditions in the Soviet Union, albeit with better shopping and slicker products that nonetheless break after a few years.
In this modern totalitarian state, we live in misery. Jobs are jails because there is no focus on the end result, only appearances. This puts vicious manipulators in charge and marginalizes those who try to be efficient and do their job and get out with more free time. Those who spend the most time at the job succeed, even though this by definition implies inefficiency and ineptitude. The person who designs a product which is cheaply made and heavily advertised wins, because the highest margin of profit is achieved, while quality products are beaten out of the market because it is always easier to find ten idiots willing to buy junk than one person who values performance over price.
Most people are insane as a result. In order to handle a necrotic society of this nature, they must rationalize it as good, which means accepting dysfunction as function. This makes them prone to spend even more time on pointless activity and to resent those who do not, against whom they retaliate. Their search for some substitute for purpose and meaning causes them to become perverse and fetishize all sorts of broken behaviors just so they can feel important and that their lives are worth living, which furthers social decay.
The core of the revolution against modernity is realizing that our thinking is backward. Instead of finding positive goals and directing economics and society to achieve them, we work by attending to demotism — consumerism, democracy, popularity — and assume that it finds the right answers. Instead, it discovers inferior substitutes and makes them mandatory norms, which ensures that most of our time is wasted fighting back against the vast waves of dysfunction around us.
We need to discover values and purpose again. This requires identity, which is the core of Spencer’s speech: Amerika is not great because it is rotting from within, and the core of that rotting is the herd of cultureless, purposeless, and raceless grey lumpenproletariat that Leftism manufactures. We have no goals, nothing to strive for, and it is killing us. We either discover identity — which requires the most basic foundation of identity, which is race and ethnicity — or we are doomed to be nothing but servants to an ideological empire which values mediocrity and compliance over life itself.
In ideology, life is a means to an end, which is ideology. This circular reasoning turns us into “free” slaves toward the Utopian ends of our leaders, which are in public expressed as egalitarianism, but in private the profit taken from pitching an ideological product that people want, and from that, by achieving power and wealth as career criminals like the Clintons, Obama, Merkel and others demonstrate. Our leaders do not care about the results of their actions, only appearances, because like corporations selling planned obsolescence products, they are shilling a cheap substitute that the herd will buy in order to take profit out of the civilization.
We are ruled by parasites, and by our own hand. Who has sympathy for the worker? Any time a “free” government program, union benefit, or socially dysfunctional reduction of standards comes along, the workers vote for it because they perceive it to be in their interests. They are shocked and amazed when the free stuff turns out to have costs, and those costs make workers too expensive, so business offshores and outsources as a means of avoiding the parasitism. They blame business, but in this area, business is innocent; the parasitic nature of the voter/worker has driven them away in order to remain competitive.
Under the publicly permitted dialogue, we cannot say that we lack purpose and allow economics, politics and popularity to lead us around like a domesticated animal. After all, what is popular is perceived as us, but this fragments when we look around and see how we have little in common with others. That leads us to realize that we either choose values-first, or we end up with methods-first, which is the type of “means over ends” analysis that is favored by both the Left and people who fear that having goals will make them appear as having fallen short.
Spencer pointed out the root of this mentality:
America is not great because in my lifetime, America has lost an essence. It’s lost a people, it’s lost a meaning. You listen to presidential inaugurations, these are these times when presidents will go up and tell us “what this is really about” and get everyone fired up, they don’t talk about America as an historic nation and a people with a story, as the product of a race, of a worldview, they basically talk about America as a platform for all of humanity. They talk about America as an economic system, effectively.
He identifies the failing of the Right in America as occurring sometime over the previous century when it shifted from a perspective of “a people” to the notion of “an ideology,” but instead of accepting Leftist socialism, made capitalism the root of its belief. That created a permanent fusion between Left and Right because they both agreed on ideology over realism, and within that, wanted a hybrid of the capitalist state and the liberal social programs of Europe and the East.
That in turn represented a shift toward the herd mentality of the third-world and especially Asia, as exhibited to the West first by the Mongols. Third world societies tend to be defined by a lack of social order, and instead a need for strong power and granular power, usually a matriarchy. This enables them to hold themselves together despite having no unity, but the cost is that exceptional leaders and innovators are scarce if evident at all. This keeps them in the stage of doing the same things over and over, not improving.
This trend fits within the general path of the West for the past thousand years. With fixed civilization and excellence, people began to thrive, but this created a population bloom in which few had the aptitudes of the founders that enable them to collaborate. Western Civilization began splitting into different Special Interest Groups a thousand years ago, and with The Enlightenment,™ formalized this to the level of the atomized individual. With that, the roots of a rootless time were formed.
Modernity is thus not so much a technological level, but any time based on the intent of the individual instead of a collaborative will to thrive. Paradoxically, the intent of individuals forms a herd where collaboration does not, simply because groups of individuals converge on a lowest common denominator, which like the third world consists of everyone doing what they want except when it comes to whatever principle holds the society together like a fence around chickens, and that becomes sacred in a way that nothing else does.
That foundation of Control creates people who are incapable of independent thought and dependent on the herd for guidance, and creates an unhealthy focus on popularity and emulating others as a means of being included in the group. It is a pre-civilization state, not like hunter/gatherer wanderers, but like a civilization that has given up on the principle of civilization, which is working together to make life more pleasurable, intense and sacred. Not surprisingly, the flight from civilization ultimately manifests in a selfish mob manipulated by cruel parasites.
Americanization, in this worst possible sense of the word, this is what Hillary Clinton was talking about when she said she wanted a “hemispheric open market.” This is what George Soros and Mark Zuckerberg want. They want an undifferentiated global population, raceless, genderless, identityless, meaningless population, consuming sugar, consuming drugs, while watching porn on VR goggles while they max out their credit cards. Don’t deny that that is the kind of passive nihilism that so many in the elite class actually want. They want a world without roots, they want a world without meaning, they want a flat grey-on-grey world, one economic market for them to manipulate.
With this, he positions the Alt Right against Modernity, which is what Right-wingers have been wanting for centuries. We dislike the industrialization of the countryside, the concentration of people into cities, the loss of traditional virtues and knowledge, and the rootless modern city where people are dedicated to self-pleasure that makes them miserable through its lack of meaning.
Modern society can then be described as meaningless because there is no purpose to civilization, and without that, each person is an island in himself. This in turn reverts human behavior to that of monkeys, self-interested to the point of excluding everything else, and gives us with no way to “reach out” to things of importance, including excellence in the physical and metaphysical realms. People will not give up the pretense and rationalization that this is good, because it gives them a sense of power — think of the One Ring in Lord of the Rings — but become existentially miserable.
The Right has traditionally espoused time-proven types of social order, heritage/identity, hierarchy, transcendental visions of nature and religion, and a pursuit of excellence as means toward not just functional society, but human thriving. These give us firm guidance and a sense of some things as immutably important such that we do not mind sacrificing for them, even before we realize how important they are to our own happiness. This is how to build a civilization, and with our retreat from it, we have failed; however, we can rise above that state.
This leads us to wonder what the soul of the West actually is. Some say it is conquest and aggression, others piety, and still others mention a sense of order, balance and harmony within a natural golden chain of being. All of these are true, but in my view, the root of the West is that it is reflective: we stop to reflect on life, and require meaning from it, because that is how we motivate ourselves to survive the difficult and rise above challenges.
Western man, by virtue of being reflective, discovers all these other aspects of life as parts of a natural order which make life significant to us. It is more than “human nature”; it is the mathematical structure of life itself that requires a center, constant struggle to affirm principles, and a hierarchy in which those who are best rise to the top so all may benefit from their insight. This in turn leads us to an understanding of an order to life, the interconnection of its parts — structure, design, form — as being more important than material, and that leads us to spiritual and mythic understanding.
Spencer has in the past pointed to the root of our downfall as “individualism,” against which he posits an aggressive realism. We must not project ourselves onto the world, but accept it as is, and then we see what we can do with it, instead of creating fantasy worlds of Utopian ideology and then insisting that others treat them as real.
This leads to a riff from Bruce Charlton that is both not quite correct, and more importantly, a good guide for the future. In his view, the Alt Right must tackle spirituality:
I don’t see it as plausible that there can be any fully-Christian mass movement from where we are now – which is a situation in which public discourse does not admit the objective reality of anything at all outside the material realm – everything else is psychological, subjective, labile, and manipulable.
Thus a secular Alt-Right will inevitably be simply a different version of Leftism; a Leftism which has different materialist priorities, and panders to a different set of subjective emotions as a means to that end.
(Indeed, my impression is that most of the Alt-Right are exceptionally materialist, positivist, anti-altruistic and reductionist in their outlook – taking a positive delight in simplification of politics to their own power, security and well-being — only to be shared, grudgingly, with those who directly assist this agenda.)
The idea of the Alt Right as materialist only makes sense when one takes into account that political learning is an arc and not a binary where one steps over an exoteric threshold and suddenly understands everything. The Alt Right is a bewildered people emerging from the Utopian dream of Leftism to realize that they had been seeing the world in symbols alone, and realizing these are empty, attempting to find the hidden meaning in reality. This is why some of us suggest the black pill as a means of removing the illusion which is communicated like a virus through social contact, and from that position of absolute emptiness, rediscovering reality.
These are all thoughts for the future. As Spencer pointed out, the Alt Right arose from the Leftist assimilation of the Right, causing those focused on sanity to reject the Right and Left alike and look toward a new beginning. That new beginning means that the Alt Right is nascent even as it appears to have certain conventions graven in stone, and that it has a future to discover through recapitulating the history of reaction, ancient conservatism and traditionalism.
On our way back from the event, we stopped in Brenham, Texas to visit the tobacco barn and enjoy some of the local scenery, despite discovering how much modernity has ravaged this isolated outpost of beauty. Of course, no Texas road trip is complete without a stop at Whataburger (pronounced roughly as “water burger” by locals). One does not have to believe in signs to imagine that the universe was winking at us.
Thursday, December 8th, 2016
Bruce Charlton writes an interesting analysis of the use of so-called “hate facts” and their utility:
The systematic and official process of suppressing hate facts began in the middle 1960s (focused on intelligence testing). With the internet, it has never been easier or faster for people to access hate facts – and this outcome was anticipated twenty years ago – but they just don’t.
The public are worse informed than ever before about the basic realities; and the reason is that they are addicted to the mass media, such that it structures their reality.
One view of humanity is the universal, in which all people are basically the same. Another, which is both cooperative and naturalistic, is the ecosystem, which I have been banging on about for years: there is a natural hierarchy of humankind. Those on the bottom emulate those on the top if they are rewarded for performance over appearance, and do the opposite if otherwise.
The big secret to humanity is that about 20% of our population does all of the meaningful activity, and the rest are their employees. Among that 20%, there is a smaller group, probably 5% of the population, who are the natural leaders who everyone else looks up to as examples to emulate or at least defer to as information authorities.
At the back of any office, there is a Suzanne, as there once was at one of my many jobs. Suzanne has made it her quest in life to understand in detail the paperwork the office requires. If you have a question about any one of the many forms in the office, Suzanne can answer it. She still retains the same title she had when coming into the office, and has not gotten a raise, but she spends over half of her time helping others do their jobs and the office has organically shifted — lowering her expected personal work output — in order to allow her to do this.
Suzanne acts the way she does because she can do nothing else. She values doing the job right in part because it means that the uglier labor of fixing botched jobs can be avoided. She likes having a sense of power over her future, and being rewarded. And materially speaking, she will always have a job and be informally valued, at least as long as her superiors are sensible people (this is why Suzanne will be the first to leave if her new boss is an idiot).
There are many types of Suzannes. Some are clerks, like the Suzanne in this story. Others are “people persons,” or social experts. Some have specific domains of knowledge. And some are natural leaders, the types who could be CEOs, but may choose lower-impact roles to have more time with their families and selves, which also reflects greater leadership vision (rest the troops). Those natural leaders are the ones that most people unconsciously emulate, if doing things well is rewarded.
This leads us to hate facts. The natural leaders are aware of these. You cannot be a successful leader and deny what Richard Spencer calls “human nature” but we might say is the mathematics of being human, namely that traits must be unequally distributed in order to encourage internal competition and thus evolution. There is more to it than that, but that is a larger topic for another time.
In my view, what is more important than hate facts is logical fact, such as the idea that diversity can never work because each group has ethnic self-interest and these naturally clash when different to any significant degree. That is why Western Europeans could come together to form America and work together, and why white suburbs work naturally, but diverse societies are insane.
An important mode of focus for the Alt Right is this: we recognize logical fact and this reveals to use that civilization is a genetic construct, that diversity can never work, that equality is an impossible Utopian dream, and that we need hierarchy and social order (including caste, the original topic of Charlton’s that caused him to see the PC brigades at work). These are facts of life not because of data we have collected, but the structure of reality based on its internal needs, such as competition and leadership.
We often talk about “red pilling normies” but what we really need to do is black pill the natural leaders. Put them into a nihilistic frame of mind where they are no longer thinking of success in social terms, meaning appearance, but as success by making groups work together by accepting people as the sums of their inherent capacities. With that mindset, natural leaders avoid the insanity of Utopian visions.
This is why the Left adores what most call “relativism,” which is simply the equation Bad = Good. When there is no difference between bad and good, right and wrong, realism and human intent, then anything goes, and this allows the parasitic Left to hide within the chaos. It is their camouflage and uniform.
The correct way to beat them is to avoid the trap they have laid, which is the temptation to attack specific groups. Instead, we should look at the structure of civilization and ask, what works? With that, we have escape the pretense of human intent, and can start talking about ourselves as we are, and find social orders that function better than the current rule by chaos.
Monday, November 21st, 2016
Bruce Charlton writes a plan for ending the decline in the West:
The implication is clear – which is that no constructive change is possible until after there is an ‘us’, as well as a ‘them’. We first need to undo the corruption of spirit which pervades almost everybody in The West. We need to make an ‘us’.
We don’t need to undo Leftism in everyone all at once (which is anyway impossible) – but there does need to be a start made; there needs to be a substantial number and proportion of people, a cohesive group, who actually have repented and reformed themselves sufficiently; who have identified their own key errors and sins, and repented them; there needs to be a group of (more or less) spiritually enlightened people.
…This is why I keep banging-on about the absolute necessity for Spiritual Awakening – and that this must come first. It must come first because if it does not come, then we will just be having Left-versus-Left office politics, and Establishment infighting – jostling for power to impose various rival brands of Leftism.
Looking at this from a more abstract level, what we need is a sense of Us and a will to do what is excellent, instead of what merely accommodates human feelings.
Spiritual outlook is undeniably part of this, but before on can undertake a quest to understand metaphysics, there must be a will toward survival and with it, a desire to understand life as a pleasure, not an obligation.
In the view of life as pleasure, one sees obligations — food, shelter, water — as “means to an end,” with that end being the experience of life. Similarly, one wants to have the best experience of life possible, which requires a drive beyond utilitarianism, such as an impulse to excellence.
From this moment, one finds oneself asking the question: What would ideal life look like for me?
Our immediate answer involves peace, security, plenty and other items of material comfort. Let that one float in the air for a few moments, and doubt starts to appear. We already have those things, and they are not difficult to achieve.
Out of the silence comes a more nuanced and disturbing answer: we also want greatness, and with it, some prospect of adventure. The cozy suburbs are only meaningful once you have seen the chaos of the world and fought with it. We need mountains to climb, enemies to vanquish, and things to fix and improve.
Think of the people you know. How many of them go nuts for old military movies, Westerns and re-runs of This Old House? People need challenges. They need something to rise to. They crave difficult tasks, even if — at first mention — they claim otherwise.
The spiritual revolution of the West begins with the realization that we need an Us based not on the backward-looking notion of “doing good” as the Left describes it, but on aspiration and soaring to new heights.
That in turn begins with identity. Nationalism serves a cultural and spiritual role through identity: creating existential framing and self-esteem. From that we can say, “We, all of us, like to do these sorts of things.”
A nation or civilization is at heart nothing more than a collaboration. People come together on shared values and mutual ability to contribute toward making them happen. When the West lost its purpose, this declined.
The reason the West lost its purpose is simple: we succeeded at our first purpose, which was to form a functional civilization. After that, we fell into boredom and depression. Then the decay came, and it has been gaining on us for a thousand years.
Now, as the Kali-Yuga ends, people are again discovering purpose. With that, they rediscover life is a pleasure, the need for nationalism, and the utility of spirituality. Only together as a bundle do these things have meaning.
The long years of horror are ending. Modernity is a horror not because of technology but because in the absence of purpose, we filled the void with our own egos. “Me first” became more important than excellence, beauty and goodness. To hide that fact, we created ersatz versions of those things through Leftism.
But for this renewal to continue, it requires our effort. As Charlton points out, it starts with a conception of Us that includes positive, forward logic. In this thought scheme, we think of what we desire as ideal and make it happen, instead of reacting to what exists now and using it as an argument for what we should do.
This is a fundamental revolution in thought the likes of which has not been seen for many centuries. It will unnerve most people. Now is the time for all of us to unite on this simple concept, and push it further toward existence.
Thursday, November 10th, 2016
Bruce Charlton has made available a freetext that consists of excerpts of most of his book Thought Prison: The Fundamental Nature Of Political Correctness (2011). This is a short read which diagnoses the psychology of the politically correct and suggests a counteraction.
Wednesday, September 28th, 2016
Writing with characteristic insight, Bruce Charlton writes a comprehensive metaphysics of knowledge:
The hierarchy of knowledge…From highest to lowest…
Imagination — attained by Intuition
Rationality — attained by Reasoning, including Logic ( ‘Philosophy’)
Empirical Evidence (‘facts’) — attained by Observation, including Experiment (‘Science’)
…What, then, validates ‘Imagination/ Intuition’? The further assumption of divine revelation – which needs to be both internal and external – we need to have something divine within in order to respond to divine revelations from without.
Some time ago, your author (writing under the pseudonym Vijay Prozak) crafted a an essay titled “Philosophical Essence of the Northern Traditions” for the first volume of Norther Traditions (now re-booted as Mimir: Journal Of North European Traditions) in which the concept of mythic imagination features heavily.
The essential idea of mythic imagination comes from Immanuel Kant, who wrote of the root of knowledge as being intuition; combined with other notions of the “acausal” or “synchronous” nature of metaphysical structure, this suggests a situation in which object and subject influence one another under certain conditions, possibly reifying the object through a convergence of both entities. In this way, the ancients were able to awaken a metaphorical style of imagination which connected them to intuition, and in doing so, brought about a world which came alive with the supernatural.
That disturbs our modern notion of material causes. For the modern person, gods must exist in some tangible form in order to be real, instead of being observed through a combination of insight and creativity. If we need to know why God has died and we have killed him, it is that our method of understanding precludes any possibility of the supernatural which rests on an informational “lattice of coincidence” perceived in the patterns found in objects more than their material order itself. This view is consistent with Germanic idealism, which holds that all of existence is information-based or thought-like, and therefore, that hermetic principles of attraction can render things incarnate — even those removed from us by time and space.
When we say that the universe is “infinite,” this applies to more than material dimensions; it is also informationally infinite, suggesting that possibilities which exist may not be directly present but can be induced to manifest. In this sense, the patterns of thoughts which match up to patterns of information can attract those, and bring them from non-existence into daily presence. This makes the ancient focus on honor and clarity of thought come to life as what it was: a method of maintaining connection to a metaphysical world which did not exist removed from our world, but immanent within it, like another dimension discovered through a qualitative improvement in thinking.
This concept was described in some detail as a leap of faith but also, an evolution in cognition:
When we get past the modern mindset of linear logic, called rationality, we can begin to think clearly again. The energy spent forcing complex data into simple data structures is over. Instead, we join it all at once. The process called “mythic imagination,” by which we use our imagination to construct metaphorical narratives around the whole of reality, comes from this.
Mythic imagination beats scientific analysis for anything but materials science. It allows us to see patterns, and not just in isolation, but across time and beyond even the material world. At this point, we see how linear causality is only part of the story, and a complex causal system must underlie all that we see and feel.
Joseph Campbell wrote most convincingly about mythic imagination and the possibilities it exposed, explaining both why those are inaccessible to us today and why the ancient experienced a world with more balance and purpose than modern people hope to experience. Fred Nietzsche describes this condition as being dreamlike and inspiring the greatness of ancient civilization more than need:
Pascal is right in maintaining that if the same dream came to us every night we would be just as occupied with it as we are with the things that we see every day. “If a workman were sure to dream for twelve straight hours every night that he was king,” said Pascal, “I believe that he would be just as happy as a king who dreamt for twelve hours every night that he was a workman. In fact, because of the way that myth takes it for granted that miracles are always happening, the waking life of a mythically inspired people — the ancient Greeks, for instance — more closely resembles a dream than it does the waking world of a scientifically disenchanted thinker. When every tree can suddenly speak as a nymph, when a god in the shape of a bull can drag away maidens, when even the goddess Athena herself is suddenly seen in the company of Peisastratus driving through the market place of Athens with a beautiful team of horses — and this is what the honest Athenian believed — then, as in a dream, anything is possible at each moment, and all of nature swarms around man as if it were nothing but a masquerade of the gods, who were merely amusing themselves by deceiving men in all these shapes.
Under this view reality becomes sychronous, or composed of manifestations which have not a single cause but a similarity of structure which makes them manifest independent of which is subject and which is object. This finds compatibility in another Kantian vision, in which he described our knowledge of reality as the product of a mental filter which reduces vast formless chaos to recognizable objects. Somewhere in that blaze of intensity are things we have overlooked, and with mythic imagination, we can give them metaphorical form and render them into existence as we know it.
While the modern world is based on reducing reality to symbols that make subsets of the whole stand for the whole (synecdoche), the ancient world is based on an integrative ideal where all parts of reality work in parallel and the patterns between them are the actuality, as opposed to the material substrate in which they are expressed. It is no surprise that this worldview leads to the discovery of forces beyond our “control,” or ability to force our intent on the world by reducing it to equal bite-size portions, and that these threaten the empire of the Ego which currently controls the West.
Friday, September 16th, 2016
Bruce Charlton proves worth reading for anyone who is not onboard with the mainstream-sanctified descent into social breakdown. Even if his words do not resonate as true, his centering of the issue will, in a time when almost all news sources, including underground blogs, distract from the actual issue.
He takes on the Alt Right by proclaiming all material politics to be Leftist, and suggesting an Orthosphere-style root of society as religion:
A nation is either run with a religion as the bottom line, and politics, economics, law, the military and police, education, science, health the media etc – all other human activities are ideally and ultimately subordinated to that goal. Religion is the organising principle…
Or else there a nation is run on Leftist lines with ‘mortal utility’ as the bottom line – that is the utilitarianism of mortal life under the assumption that nothing else exists, or matters.
A nation can be run on Religious lines (as all nations were in the past, and many still are); or else it can be Leftist – which means it pursues mortal utility
Another way to view this problem is through the transcendental lens that has been applied in this blog: there are not separate dualistic worlds, but one world spanning the natural and the supernatural, and therefore, both metaphysical and physical concerns are parallel in importance.
That concept of parallelism, about which I have written a hopefully-forthcoming book, applies to many areas. Parallel castes, working toward the same goal. Parallel nations, each with its own standards. Parallel measurement of truth, so it is consistent across all factors and not a cherry-picked few as in rationalism.
In the transcendental view, societies exist in through parallel implementation of the same truths. That is, a union of race, culture, religion, values, philosophy, economics and leadership; this occurs instead of the modern method of linearity, or choosing one to lead the rest: a democratic society, a capitalist society, or a theocracy as we see in the Middle East.
This is not to say that Charlton is wrong, because his statement as translated into parallelism states that civilizations must have a goal above the material; in the philosophical lexicon, we call this idealism, which refers to the idea as being more important than the matter in which it is found as a pattern, and therefore, that civilizations thrive by organizing themselves using better ideas (quality) not more material (quantity).
However, that transcendental goal is not limited to religion, but must be found in all areas. The natural and supernatural are parallel; so must our approach be. The idea of a mass religious revival alone is impracticable, but “bootstrapping,” or using political power to strengthen culture and religion alike so they can then grow in parallel, is realistic and desirable.
Only through this bootstrapping process can we rise to end the decline and fall of Western Civilization. We must address politics and the supernatural together, but as Charlton suggests, do so in the name of a transcendental goal, or looking toward a long-term improvement by arranging ourselves according to patterns that are eternal, or have worked since the dawn of time and will work in any age of humankind or other intelligent species.
Around here, we call the plan for bootstrapping the four pillars and show how it will nurture the type of society in which religious thought can shine. First we must awaken our will to survive and thrive by achieving excellence; next, we must remove obstacles; and finally, we can march into an ideal state where all institutions march in parallel to the same eternal truths.
This parallels the fundamental idea of Traditionalism, which is that history is not linear but circular, because some methods are eternal and any society that uses them will rise to greatness. In the Traditional view, all religions and philosophies describe the same Reality with varying degrees of accuracy, and so improving the quality of our perception leads us to these eternal truths.
Charlton brings up an important point: that we cannot solve problems of idea with material. The rejoinder to that is that in our existence, ideas are expressed in material, and we need that expression to parallel our metaphysical understanding so that all works in unison, harmony and balance as classical civilizations did.
Thursday, August 18th, 2016
A researcher discovers Schopenhauer and The Black Pill in an essay about Systems Theory:
Systems Theory is a formalisation of the usual view of science – for example that we know about the world via senses which detect signals. The things ‘out there’ are detected by light, sound (etc.) communications; and in response to these communications our minds make ‘representations’ of the things.
Systems theory clarifies that communications cannot actually communicate – and our ‘knowledge’ of things is actually a representation which arises in the mind – and which indirectly interacts with the environment. By this account, we never actually know things, but only our models of things; and these ‘internal’ models are never more than un-disproven in our interactions with (what we cannot help but regard as) the outside world.
We might instead call Systems Theory by a rightful name, such as Upanishadic or Schopenhauerian information science. Schopenhauer after all wrote extensively about how humans interact with the world only through a “representation,” as he expressed in his monumental The World as Will and Representation. It seems a hard concept for most, but the world we know of as solid and real is in fact in our heads, a mental model based on data from our five senses (as William Blake reminded us: “How do you know but ev’ry Bird that cuts the airy way, Is an immense world of delight, clos’d by your senses five?”).
This was a revolution in thought which ultimately brought about relativity, which Einstein found in Schopenhauer and amplified with some clever mathematics. What upsets people about this line of thought is that it is pure Black Pill; it refutes the idea of a single, innate and knowable world and replaces it with a massive ambiguity which can only be deciphered by those who are diligent, and only then partially. In Schopenhauer’s view, there is an objective world, but humans will never know it. This leads back to the impossibility of communication.
Let us read together an insightful definition of nihilism, which is the root of The Black Pill:
Nihilism is the belief that (1) all values are baseless and that (2) nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence.
…In the 20th century, nihilistic themes–epistemological failure, value destruction, and cosmic purposelessness–have preoccupied artists, social critics, and philosophers.
Under the Red Pill and Blue Pill, an illusion still holds sway: that the world is how we perceive it. Under the Black Pill, we see that the world is not as it appears, and that choices cannot be made on anything but a semi-arbitrary basis. At the end of the day, we choose our paths, in the hermetic sense. This then leads to the second point: nothing can be known or communicated, because knowledge is specific to the individual, and language is deceptive.
This reveals to us the Black Pill world: humans have no “writing on the wall” which they must obey or be cast out from the sight of God, but endless choices and options which reveal who we are by our goals and what we hope to achieve. This seems counter-intuitive, but that is only the human intellect being placed in its proper role, as the brain of an animal and not a supernatural world that is more real than reality itself.
Monday, August 1st, 2016
The question incumbent upon every red-blooded person manifests as, “What is the health of my civilization?”
A confident person knows that he or she can succeed according to just about any parameters, but if the civilization is failing, that success will become hollow and quickly erased by a history of incompetence, corruption, lies and dysfunction.
For this reason, the most “alpha” among us are concerned with the health of our civilization and whether it is heading in one of two directions: toward the default of decay, or toward an ascendant possibility of something greater, perhaps approximating what ancient Greece and Rome achieved.
Reading Bruce Charlton’s Decline of the West Explained, one must confront some vital questions about civilization itself, and in that is found the great value of this work: a highly articulate inspection of the way that high intelligence societies delude themselves and fail.
Charlton’s basic thesis: Western Civilization departed from Christianity, and thus lost any sense of purpose. In analysis, this does not hold up because the wave of liberalization, which represents hubris/evil, was the cause of this effect. Christianity had to depart because it implied a hierarchy first with God on the top, and second based on how well people fulfilled the moral mandate, and so the tendency of individualism wished to abolish it alongside with culture, values, standards and other hierarchy of behavior that could make people “unequal” as they naturally are.
However… he makes some excellent points about how de-sacralizing (removing the sacred) has contributed the decline of the West, and how what we face now is evil in the form of our decline, which comes at least from rejecting good and replacing it with a motive to destroy all good, since good reveals the emptiness of evil.
The point, in essence, is that living for worldly gratification stimulates the sin of pride and indeed regards it as a virtue. Pride and the search for gratification combine to *invite* evil into one’s life and into the world.
Here we have individualism, revealed and naked in its grotesque perversion hiding behind a veneer of social acceptability. What is evil, more than prioritizing self-interest above that of the order of nature and God? Evil sneaks into everything we do because humans are fundamentally evil, or at least fundamentally monkey, and this leads to the kind of short-term logic that rewards individualism.
This creates an economic model based on hedonism of the least interesting variety, that which is normally termed as “bourgeois” because it is an avoidance of risk and conflict. Charlton makes the point that those who seek individualistic pleasure will turn their backs on the needs of civilization and any higher goal.
So a society that values nothing higher than a pleasant life and which will seek the pleasant life whereever and whenever possible will be morally flaccid in face of opposition, will appease rather than resist, will submit rather than fight, and will therefore end-up being ruled by its most relentless and long-termist enemies – and by having an extremely un-pleasant life.
He points out the utter futility of democracy, which rewards the mass delusion at the expense of truth, which is found through individual dogged pursuit of truth against all convenience and comfort. Like Nietzsche, he defines it as a sort of mass insanity, a reliance on known impossible methods that then requires we doctor our thinking to make it seem as if the unworkable is working:
I believe that majority vote decision making is one of the most damaging aspects of modernity. As a system, it is quite simply insane – knowing what we know, knowing from experience its unpredictability, randomness, un-wisdom, distorting effects on human psychology…
He also targets other aspects of modernity:
Socialism is paradoxical, nonsensical, therefore intrinsically dishonest (in order to make sense of itself to itself).
This is why socialism unwinds into moral inversion.
One major theme in this book is how modernity requires we accept illusion that we know is destructive, and as a result, make our minds twisted and become robotic little Leftist zombies instead of whole people who can actually think:
The distinction is one between that of living under physical constraint or persecution, and that of living under a system dedicated to annihilating the soul and replacing it with political propaganda.
Charlton explains this evil and its accompany psychology very well and makes a compelling case that the West cannot arrest its decline until it decides to be moral again, and he argues that it requires a restoration of Christian faith to understand this morality.
He analyzes society as the flight away from an ethic of convenience, and instead an adoption of a compulsion toward morality: doing what is healthful for the civilization instead of what is personally flattering, profitable, easy and familiar. This moral root of civilization requires the consciousness of good and evil that is present under religion, but missing with materialism and relativism.
The anti-individualistic nature of such a morality requires the individual to deny their impulse toward self-centered decision-making, and to think of principles and ideas in terms of their effect on the civilization and surrounding world instead of in the echo chamber of social opinion, in which the egos of individuals and the group unite in agreement on what is safe, unthreatening and flattering.
It seems that our literate ancestors (such as the ancient Jews) all spontaneously recognized that for a person to live according to their spontaneous desires – living primarily for seeking gratification and avoiding (or minimizing) suffering – was morally wrong.
Where this book could expand and be refined is to look practically at the process of liberalization: the tendency toward individualism is present in all humans, and per Dunning-Kruger it is most prevalent in those who can understand nothing beyond themselves.
With that in mind, collectivized individualism stands revealed as the hubris-based initiative that unmakes civilization. This leads in a Leftward direction because “equality” is the principle required to group people together into a mob. At that point, the mob inevitably tends toward atheism.
The reason for this materialistic drift is not a rejection of religion in itself, but a taboo on what it requires. Having a god and a moral standard means that we are not all equal, because God implies hierarchy, and a moral standard also creates social rank. That offends the egalitarians, and so they attempt to destroy religion alongside culture and race so that they can create their control-oriented egalitarian paradise on earth.
The main problem is, I think, that mandarins are expert at ignoring common sense reality and focusing on abstraction.
Charlton does an excellent job of showing how human reason betrays us as soon as we go down the path of arguing from material logic. The Cathedralists or faux elites — whom he calls “mandarins” — are in his analysis the people who excel at this type of thinking, and it makes them civilization destroyers.
The greatest taboo in this time appears to be acknowledging that Western Civilization is not only far from healthy, but headed to doom, mainly because there is a huge market for distraction and denial products to make people feel better about living in a failing social entity. Mandarins are the priests of the cult of denial.
Decline Of The West Explained does an excellent job of explaining evil as the folly of human reason pointed toward the individual. Although its thesis argues for a restoration of religion, it also explains the need for a precursor in the form of a return of anti-individualistic thinking, which acknowledges the source of our decline and the relatively easy mental step required to fix it.
Sunday, July 24th, 2016
If Plato is the origin of conservative thinking, then we might construe conservatism as the discipline of failure studies: looking at how human groups and ventures fail in order to avoid that path and in fact go the other direction toward not just avoiding failure, but achieving excellence.
To some of us, this study takes precedence over all else because of the historical fact that civilization has a zero percent survival rate over time. Societies fail by succeeding, and this means that we are looking at a counter-intuitive problem, or one for which conventional methods will fail.
Bruce Charlton has been for many years a theorist of this and other issues, and a hidden hero of the post-1990s (“boomerpocalypse”) conservative revolution. When the Left assumed total control after the fall of the Soviet Union, those who were not Leftist found themselves struggling to keep up with a rapidly changing world.
Charlton’s most recent book, written with Adjunct Professor of the Anthropology of Religion and Finnish Culture at Oulu University Edward Dutton, tackles this ancient problem with an entirely new view: that whether as cause or effect of our decline, our civilization is hurtling toward disaster through the elimination of genius.
En route to that explanation, The Genius Famine also convincingly looks into the psychology of genius and corrects several pop culture misconceptions through careful deconstruction and re-assembly of key terms used to describe those of high intelligence, genius and creativity. This part alone makes the book worth reading, since other than Maurice Bucke’s Cosmic Consciousness, there are few insightful analyses of the mental state and activity of genius.
Most importantly, the book states the seemingly obvious — geniuses are biologically altruistic, meaning that they help their tribe stay motivated to work together, and their innovations provide a means by which a society (especially Western Civilization) can overcome the challenges thrust at it. Charlton and Dutton establish a unique role for genius.
The benefits yielded by genius are not obtainable in any other way. (229)
This book has been previously reviewed on this site by a highly competent writer who did an excellent job. What follows after the brief introduction above is an exploration of some of the many insightful moments in the book, which is available online as an etext.
Perhaps a favorite moment for readers of this blog can be found in the following savagely accurate analysis of exactly why modernity is so miserable and unbearable for anyone remotely intellectually awake:
In a society of declining intelligence, we would expect: rising crime and corruption; decreasing civic participation and lower voter turn-out; higher rates of illegitimacy; poorer health and greater obesity, an increased interest in the instinctive, especially sex; greater political instability and decline in democracy; higher levels of social conflict; higher levels of selfishness and so a decline in any welfare state; a growing unemployable underclass; falling educational standards; and a lack of intellectualism and thus decreasing interest in education as a good in itself. We would also expect more and more little things to go wrong that we didn’t used to notice: buses running out of petrol, trains delayed, aeroplanes landing badly, roads not being repaired, people arriving late and thinking it’s perfectly okay; several large and lots of little lies . . . (185)
This passage explains the “death by a thousand cuts” of modernity: every day, things get a little worse and less competent. We start seeing the intricate web of inter-reliance by institutions falling apart. And then, we reach third world conditions, where everyone is selfish and foolish and society as a whole falls apart.
Charlton has described “the now,” or at least the time since about 1990, perfectly. We are in a declining society which will end up a third-world state, in which people are selfish and few are competent. The voices we relied on to give us direction and reveal the meaning in life — the geniuses — are gone.
How we got here, in his view, was through a process of dysgenics:
In other words, until about 1800 only the minority of people with (on average) the ‘best genes’ (i.e. the lowest mutation load) would be able to survive and reproduce; and among the great majority of the population only a very small proportion of their offspring (averaging much less than two, probably less than one, per woman) would survive to a healthy adulthood, reproduce and raise children of their own. In this context, which was for almost all of human history until about two hundred years ago; both new and inherited deleterious mutations were filtered-out, or purged, from the population every generation by this very harsh form of natural selection. (39)
He covers both sides of the equation: first, deleterious mutations accumulated through a lack of natural selection process based on competence and second, owing to the misery and bureaucratic nature of modernity, the intelligent ceased to reproduce at high numbers. This reversed the gains of previous centuries in which the lower intelligence portions of the population had few children survive to breeding age.
This view presents a new spin on ancient wisdom. As societies grow more powerful, they save everyone from natural selection, and in doing so impose their own form of unnatural selection, which rewards those who breed recklessly. This leads to a population in which intelligence declines, and soon, the intelligent become marginalized.
Even more importantly, and more relevant to the “It’s a trap!” perspective on civilization and progress, Charlton and Dutton identify the bureaucratic nature of an advanced society as responsible for elimination of genius. It replaces those with Head Girls, who are sort of like British honor students and over-achievers, who are good at everything on the surface back lack depth in their approach.
According to these authors, what distinguishes genius is its Endogenous approach, or a self-starting mentality that finds fulfillment in beating difficult tasks and by doing so, increasing the health and prospects of the civilization around them. Head Girls do not do this; they act in self-interest alone, and conform to what others expect of them, which is exactly what bureaucracies and commerce desire:
Indeed modern institutions are not even trying to select primarily by intelligence – the reality of which they often deny; but instead are implicitly – by the nature of their evaluations – and also by explicitly-stated policies – selecting on other grounds, especially for the ‘Head Girl’ personality – the conscientious, empathic, socially integrated all-rounders. Modern society is, of course, run by Head Girls, of both sexes (plus a smattering of charming or charismatic psychopaths), hence there is no assigned place for the creative genius. Modern colleges aim at recruiting Head Girls, so do universities, so does science, so do the arts, so does the mass media, so does the legal profession, so does medicine, so does the military. And in doing so, except insofar as they make errors; they filter-out and exclude even the possibility of creative genius. (189)
The civilization that has succeeded moves from being a cooperative venture to an inclusive one. At that point, it begins to focus on control, or making people follow a centralized agenda rather than interpreting general principles in specific ways. With this, society finds it more useful to have obedient people than genius ones.
This not only deprives society of an essential function, that of genius, but also puts it into a tailspin as intelligence declines and consequently, it begins to approximate a third-world state:
Working with Charlton, Michael Woodley discovered an already-published survey of historical reaction time data that demonstrated a striking slowing of sRTs from the time of Francis Galton in the late nineteenth century until the late 20th century.
This data carried the strong implication that there had been a rapid and substantial decline in intelligence over the past hundred-plus years – and opened-up a new field of research which Woodley has been actively pursuing ever since. (167)
These researchers have used reaction time as a proxy for intelligence, since faster nerve response correlates with higher intelligence. Through that lens, they can see what IQ tests — which are normalized to a control group — cannot, namely that over time, Europeans have been declining in ability exactly as the eugenicists predicted.
Charlton and Dutton take a nuanced view of IQ testing and other intelligence proxies. They explain the utility of these assessments, but also, how genius is measured differently: a collection of traits, explained in greater specificity than the usual modern methods, that make a self-directed, highly creative individual who is focused on abstract thinking in lieu of the social thinking with which most of us burn our time and energy.
These unconventional creative geniuses offer more to society than mere innovation. The Genius Famine theorizes that artistical/cultural geniuses serve to unify the tribe, giving society a leg up in endurance and depth, while technical geniuses are responsible for the big breakthroughs that later are explored through “micro-innovations” by those who expand upon the original notion.
Without these contributions, society self-destructs:
But as intelligence continues to decline, then growth in productivity will reverse into decline and inefficiency, as the ability of people to sustain, repair, even to maintain, the highly technical, specialized and coordinated world civilization will be lost, just as occurred with the fall of Western Roman civilization; when agricultural and industrial production and trade all collapsed, the standard of living and population plummeted, and general technical and organizational levels took more than a millennium to recover. (181-182)
The Genius Famine ranks as essential reading for anyone concerned with the fall of civilization and how to resurrect it. Expertly written, in a seemingly offhand but intensely analytical style, it does not grow old or slow as a reading experience but instead offers new revelations on nearly every page. This makes it an exhausting read, best sampled in small doses, but a highly rewarding one.
As Western civilization awakens from its slumber, the postmortem on its failure will be vast. The Genius Famine offers an important part of the picture, although as others have written, there are non-biological causes as well. In any case, it shows us how progress leads us away from the organic power of intelligence and in that choice, to our doom.