Posts Tagged ‘bruce charlton’

Charlton Converges On Notion Of Solipsism As Evil

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

At every other blog in the universe, you are told that shadowy external forces are manipulating you, 1984-style.

On this blog, you are told that instead you are your own worst enemy, and the things that seem good are often not. This is more like what was espoused in the book that inspired and provoked 1984, the Aldous Huxley sermon on the end of civilization by internal entropy named Brave New World.

We are self-deluding creatures who fear natural selection and loss of social rank. We see other things as positives, such as low-risk social participation. This drives us to mandate the latter by removing the former, a type of de facto Utopian thinking that is an inbuilt flaw in humanity. We cannot create perfection by denying the objects in which our fears are manifested.

This is why every human organization fails once it has enough power. It turns its methods into its goals. This happens because, in an attempt to remove what it fears, it regulates method instead of purpose, and in doing so creates a false purpose based on what it measures.

The classic example of this comes from American police departments. Officers are told they will be ranked according to the number of arrests they make. This means that to win the officer game, one must kick up the numbers. The successful candidates rush out and arrest all of the bums, winos, hookers and other known blight, and avoid the time-consuming task of identifying murderers and organized crime kingpins.

All of our societies in the West now follow this model. We lost purpose because we made methods more important than goals in a desperate bid to banish our fears, which then ensured that we would be ruled by the “game” set up by the regulated methods. The last two centuries of history show us in a paroxysmal spasm of trying to find the “right” methodology, and yet everything we do seems to fail.

That realization points to an internal evil, not an external one. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions… and what we consider “good,” at least as a group but probably in our thinking with very few exceptions, is removal of the appearance of bad that results in dystopian levels of dysfunction. The problem is us. Or rather, it is in our intellects and souls, an in-built “backdoor” that lets us hack ourselves.

On Amerika, writers have long identified solipsism as the root of the psychology of individualism, which is the pathology where the individual acts as if he is God and more important than reality itself.

Bruce Charlton, one of the insightful writers who move in parallel rightward through different threads of analysis, has endorsed the diagnosis of solipsism as the root of the failure of the West:

Solipsism is the belief, usually quite brief, that the thinker is the source of everything that is – my feeling that everything is just a product of my own thinking and has no independent existence: my life is a dream.

…We can really only go forward – indeed we must go forward because if we get stuck in solipsism – as so many modern people seem to have chosen to do – then nihilism and despair are inevitable. In solipsism we begin by regarding the world as our own thought, but soon (and inevitably) we begin to doubt the reality of these thoughts – after all, thoughts change, they are not solid…

The self in solipsism surveys the world paralysed by doubt – the thoughts are transient, the world a product merely of thoughts – everything slips away.

Solipsism is a refusal to make choices that involve scary things. Instead, we retreat into ourselves, which because these selves are closed-circuit feedback loops, results in a type of accelerated entropy leading to heat death: no decision particularly matters because the ultimate result will never change until the advent of death, which is impossible within our cognition because of its vastness.

The solution to solipsism occurs both within and outside the individual. As a civilization, we need to rediscover purpose and stop regulating ourselves through methods alone, which is the behavior formalized in Leftism. As individuals, we need to find transcendental vision of life in which we recognize the greater wisdom of nature and the cosmos relative to our own intentions.

Formalization creates dark organizations. The more we try to do what our brains see as “good,” the more we self-destruct, because we have forgotten to verify whether our internal conception of good actually matches results in external reality. This engenders solipsism in a perpetual cycle until it destroys us.

Theosis Is A Form Of Realism

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

As part of the Platonist vision of conservatism, articles on this site frequently speak of the vision unleashed by the intersection of Platonic forms and Germanic Idealism, namely that recognition that the underlying substance of the universe is thought or thought-like. This is why idea, structure, pattern and logic that corresponds to the outside world are more important than immediate material obstacles.

This ancient philosophy lives on through hermeticism, but also in Christianity through transcendentalist thinkers like Johannes Eckhart. Hermeticism finds its roots in Hindu idealism which, as expressed in the Bhagavad-Gita, roughly mirrored the Greek and German versions. All expressed the idea of an order of nature based not in material position, but logical order.

Plato even took this far enough to speak of healthy civilizations, which recognized this order, as contrasted to unhealthy ones, which were in the grip of hubris or the brew of individualism, narcissism, solipsism and socially-empowered boldness — in which the approval of the social group matters more than reality, and makes us feel safe in denying traditions — which modern people exhibit, especially with their smug and prim attention whoring at political events. Plato wrote:

In the succeeding generation rulers will be appointed who have lost the guardian power of testing the metal of your different races, which, like Hesiod’s, are of gold and silver and brass and iron. And so iron will be mingled with silver, and brass with gold, and hence there will arise dissimilarity and inequality and irregularity, which always and in all places are causes of hatred and war. This the Muses affirm to be the stock from which discord has sprung, wherever arising; and this is their answer to us.

…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.

…Undoubtedly, he said, the form of government which you describe is a mixture of good and evil.

Why, there is a mixture, I said; but one thing, and one thing only, is predominantly seen, –the spirit of contention and ambition; and these are due to the prevalence of the passionate or spirited element.

The most important line can be found here, in plain sight because very few people can understand it: “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.”

To be virtuous is to live in a perpetual state of contentment, and to be free from “contention and ambition…the passionate or spirited element.” The ego is the root of the passions; the nature of being “spirited” is to be rebellious against what the evident order. Plato is pointing out that greed and rebellion are one and the same force.

Even more, he is showing how there is an esoteric path to wisdom, namely that only those with gold and silver natures are going to understand the value of “virtue and the ancient order of things.”

From this comes the root of traditionalist thinking: worldwide, there are many religions, and they all describe the same world, so they converge — unequally, idiosyncratically — on the same “truths” or accurate observations about the world, both physical and metaphysical. When we recognize this, we see that history is indeed cyclic, or the story of humanity in an optimal state, its fall, and its attempt to return.

In order to effect our return to this saner state of human being, and to force our evolution into silver and gold again, we must begin with an evolution of consciousness toward extreme accuracy:

When Owen Barfield described the evolution of consciousness, he used ‘evolution’ in a pre-Darwinian sense of a developmental change analogous to the fertilised egg ‘unfolding’ to become a mature, adult organism.

…If the evolution of consciousness has a unified purpose and aim (isn’t just a different purpose and aim for each entity), then this implies that there is a deity – as the source of purpose. Therefore, the evolution of consciousness is a consequence of some divine plan.

What could this divine plan be? For many Christians it will be ‘theosis’ – or the process of Men becoming more and more like God; aiming at becoming Sons and Daughters of God.

Realism demands that we understand our world as it is and adapt to it, which first requires that we make our minds more like the world, a process that in turn leads to transcendental wisdom, or appreciation for the logicality and sanity of our world in presenting us with the best possible existence. Normally humans do not understand their world and so view it as crude, threatening and disorganized.

Theosis is a subset of realism. If God exists, He is part of this world, in idea or at least as a cause of the effect that is this world. If we study the patterns of this world and come to understand its (realist + transcendental) wisdom, we can then grow closer to God by achieving greater mastery of adaptation to the physical world around us.

What this means, interestingly, is that the “religion-first” approach to traditionalism is not going to work. What works is to enforce self-discipline on ourselves so that we accurately understand and adapt to reality, and religion will emerge from within that process instead of the other way around.

Evidence Versus Logical Fact

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Bruce Charlton writes, as always, an insightful analysis of human mental self discipline. In it, he argues the following:

  1. Perception is regulated by conceptual understanding. What we know how to recognize in the flood of data coming in from our senses, we can mentally process. Everything else slips by into chaos.
  2. If true knowledge is possible, it must come from valid concepts. Because these can be shared between people, they must exist outside of people, or be in the world like neo-Platonic forms.
  3. Therefore, those who think purely in terms of concepts will be accurate, which means that we can think without evidence and achieve understanding of the universe.
  4. In essence, pure conceptual thinking is how we understand reality.

Charlton attributes this schema to Rudolf Steiner’s early philosophical book The Philosophy of Freedom, but alert readers here will recognize the actual root of this idea: Immanuel Kant and his idea of intuition as the basis of a priori understanding.

In my own writing, specifically the unpublished Parallelism, I expand on the basic concept of the black pill and how it leads to understanding reality.

Humans have big brains, and those receive stronger signals from themselves than the world, which is a problem especially because we know the world through our memories of it, encoded as tokens based on our conclusion of the relevant parts to us. This comes after we filter the world, as Charlton notes, through what we know to look for, living in “a representation of a representation” as Schopenhauer argues. We never come in contact with the raw data because it would be like trying to drink from a firehose and would paralyze our reaction times.

Consequently, any process of understanding involves separating what we know to be true from what is merely signal reflected back from our big brains. We have to navigate our assumptions, emotions, impulses, neurotic mental chatter and tendency toward quick absolute categorical judgments in order to do this, among other perceptual pitfalls and glitches.

At this point, we must consider “evidence” versus “logical fact.” Evidence is what we can derive from our perception, but as illustrated above, it is already heavily filtered through our conceptual outlook. Further, it is based on material factors, such as how parts of reality interact, but blind to pattern which represents the organization of reality and its structure (analogous to Platonic forms). Evidence therefore is best for figuring out how to do things like make gasoline engines or grow crops, but not so good when it comes to questions of understanding reality under the surface formed of the interaction of material objects, like seeds plus water equals plants.

Logical fact, on the other hand, consists of looking at the organization of these material parts and deriving principles about how they work. Mathematics and philosophy are the closest to this field because they analyze patterns and their transformation, but these become difficult because we are unsure that what seems logically true corresponds to reality, which is wily and has twists and turns and emergent complexities. Enter parallelism: the idea that patterns occur in parallel across multiple domains, including thought, energy and matter.

With parallelism, we can see what patterns recur in multiple places in our world, and use these as the basis for understanding new input. This works through a type of metaphor that is more exact than what we expect from language. It requires precision about the nature of each pattern and why it works as it does, animating the structure with an understanding of purpose.

At this point, we are starting to get somewhere. We have a way of knowing what is true beyond any immediate circumstance because we can see the pattern in multiple places and its function or role is consistent. At that point, we are able to discipline our thought to being like that of the universe, and in so doing, realize its logical basis. As discovered by the German Idealists, the universe behaves in a thought-like way, and appears to respond at the level of structure as we would expect thoughts to do so.

Now we have moved beyond materialism. We see first the world as a function of order or pattern, and next, that structure as resembling thought, which works by having multiple impulses and selecting whichever one is compatible with everything that already exists, or is parallel to the rest of structure. This enables us to see the universe as having an inherent mode of operation and intent, one that is initially foreign to the world of human intent, which reflects our interests within the structure as we perceive them without knowledge of that structure.

This in turn requires us to look into what the intent of the universe might be. It seems to specialize in making beauty out of nothingness, but also, by holding to a hard line of logical fact that punishes that which deviates from compatibility with its order. Through processes like natural selection and entropy, it destroys that which is disorganized and reshapes the rest into greater degrees of order, balance and efficiency.

From this vantage point, we can see the nature of a divine force or something like one: benevolent in intent, rigorously logical in method, and focused on urging us upward toward greater order, versus our tendency as human monkeys to scatter in divergent chaotic directions in pursuit of our personal illusions, desires and other artifacts of having a lack of focus toward the divine. We are evil not because we mean badly, but because our thought and thus behavior is not disciplined.

Since we have ventured into metaphysics, we might take a look at an old theorem of Plato’s. We can see cause-effect relationships in everyday life, but now we know that these are a product of a thought-like structure to the universe, which like a computation seeks to resolve a problem constantly in order to refine itself; think of a self-programming computer, always testing its own code to find what works better, and replacing the old code with the new, more precise algorithms.

This means that in addition to regular cause-effect relationships, there is a bigger cause-effect relationship formed of compatibility between patterns and a steady pressure toward upward organization. This no longer acts like self-interested material objects, but a purposeful Designer who is starting us as dust and working us toward a god-like level, or as close as we can get.

In addition, we know that this causal space of pattern is much larger than the physical objects in which it manifests, meaning that our material world is the smaller part, and the world of thought much larger, implying not a dualistic “second world” but an extension to this one formed of the patterns as the universe intends them, not our perceptions of them. In this space, which is so large as to be infinite, information matters more than material, and here we see that the presence of our minds as information agents can have applicability beyond our physical selves.

None of this was unknown to the ancients, but then again, instead of checking Twitter every thirty minutes, they were sitting in darkened caves in deep thought guided by regular breathing and a suppression of the chattering monkey creating a background hum inside our heads. Clarity of thought, and eventually metaphysical experience, came naturally for them.

As we look toward peeling back the layers of the onion that is modernity, realizing that it started from a lie and that the only way to beat it is to head in a contrary direction, it makes sense to return to this focus on meditative understanding of structure. It does not contradict the realistic imperative that we adapt to material reality, but shows us a stage in which to go once we achieve basic sanity, and a basis for a spirituality which does not — like almost all existing forms of religion — lead us further into the illusion of ourselves.

Further Thoughts On The Richard Spencer Speech At TAMU

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.

Spencer elaborated:

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.

Understanding The Human Ecosystem

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.

How To Restore The West

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.

Thought Prison: The Fundamental Nature Of Political Correctness by Bruce Charlton now a freetext

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.

Mythic Imagination

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.

Understanding The Traditional, Or Eternal, Civilization

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.

The Black Pill: Communication

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.