Posts Tagged ‘collectivized individualism’

The Pretense That Makes I Into We

Monday, June 27th, 2016

A recent article at the unironically named Man Repeller covers the history of the “midi” skirt, which many of us have never heard of. It contrasts the mini-skirt and is more like a normal calf-length dress.

But, long ago, since someone found the 1960s miniskirts to be crass and immoral, and pushed the midi hard instead, the article reframes history as a social justice issue: the struggle of women to, er, find miniskirts in every store. It follows the usual French Revolution narrative:

Actual boycotts erupted and soon newspapers were calling it a “hemline war.” The length of women’s skirts became a feminist issue: how dare anyone tell them how to dress? How dare a man define decency?

Rags, a counterculture fashion magazine out of San Francisco, called the push of the midi a conspiracy in a 1970 exposé entitled, “Fashion Fascism: The Politics of Midi.”

By 1974, the forced resurgence of the midi was proclaimed a failure. The New York Times reported that “women stayed away in droves, forcing several couture houses and small manufacturers into bankruptcy and the apparel industry into a tailspin.”

In other words, some people having an unpleasant time of life scapegoated the shocking condition that there were any limits on their personal autonomy. They see limits as a personal affront, or a criticism of themselves, much as they see life itself as an affront because it does not do exactly what they want it to.

This human fantasy begins with the idea that the person having the fantasy is perfect or at least, does not need to change at all to adapt to reality or even confront their own self-discipline problems. Rather, they assume that they are perfect and, as in all fantasies, good things come to them without effort or change.

That is the essence of fantasy: reality is inverted. Instead of being a nobody, they become the focus of the fantasy and the center of attention. Other people who are famous or important come to them, instead of the other way around; perfection is redefined in their image, instead of the reality of their form being an inferior variant of human perfection.

In human minds, this kind of fantasy narrative is the norm through daydreams and sexual fantasies and escapist notions. The average person barely interacts with reality at all on an analytical level. Their job tasks are simple and repetitive, and everything else they must do to survive in life consists of ordering people around. Tell them what you want at the restaurant, choose the products at the grocery store, yell at the lazy service person or flatter the customer. In this world, individual fantasy and group behavior overlap because they are composed of the same thing, which is the idea of personal authority asserted through control as a means of reducing risk and the personal affront of otherwise ambiguous reality.

For this reason, attempts to move aside the miniskirt met with rage. Not just consumer revolt, but rage as if a moral transgression had been committed. The attempts to limit the miniskirt threatened to invert the fantasy, or remove that focus on the self at the center of all things and replace it with the more complex calculus of the relationship between the individual, civilization and world. On that level, one needs to think about principle, consequences, responsibility and the like, where in the me-at-the-center-of-the-universe fantasy, all that one needs to think about is — as when ordering at a restaurant or store — personal desires, which are inevitably used as a means to calm, placate and make confident the self.

Through this neurotic process, “I” becomes “we.” A group of neurotics, each personally offended and determined to strike back for entirely personal reasons, joins together because these individualist reasons overlap in a single task: tear down the affront to the illusion of personal perfection. This is how abstractions, universals and ideals become corrupt. Instead of operating on the level of principle, they symbolize all of us through a single mystical icon of the human individual. That in turn becomes our focus, making us robotic and monomaniacal.

That, in turn, leads to the founding idea of Leftism:

If the midi debacle of 1970 achieved anything, it proved that even the most influential voices can’t sway the public if they don’t want to be swayed.

Good news: trends and progress and freedom lie in the hands of the collective.

Ah, the collective. If we are to assume that we as individuals are good, we need to assume the same of others, or we risk disturbing our fantasy by having standards — and those can be used to judge us, or even worse rank us, so they crush the suspension of disbelief required for us to find our fantasy plausible. Instead we choose to validate everyone, and have no standards, and use that group as an example of “virtue” because it does what we want, at least for now.

The West degenerates anywhere the collective is active. In fact, for several thousand years, the collective has been gaining momentum. But it is essential to remember what is at the core of the collective, which is the individual. The individual wants to feel safe from harm, and to make life something it can control. From that desire we get both rebellion and tyranny.

People fear the ambiguity in life, so they try to control it by putting it into a form that the human brain finds safe. This is like a giant grid of identical boxes covered in warning labels where all food and drink are medically approved and come in hermetically-sealed containers. In their fear, the herd sucks the joy out of life. But they do it as individuals, acting as a group only from mutual convenience.

That is no basis for a society, and it explains our steady decline from perhaps the world’s most excellent society to a plastic trash consumer wasteland littered with broken dreams. But at least we — I mean, “I” — have miniskirts.

The Self-Inventing Totalitarian State

Sunday, May 8th, 2016


Watching mainstream Neoreaction and outside-Right sources walk the same path as cuckservatives evokes visceral pain in the experienced observer, but it is our fate, because the same power that subverted mainstream conservatism has triumphed in the underground Right. You can tell where the divide is whenever people speak of “the Cathedral.”

To those who are still trapped in the Leftist paradigm, the Cathedral is a group of shady people who magically seized control of the West, and if we just dethroned these bad people, the good times would resume. This fantasy resembles the storyline of a 1980s film where the outcasts unify and beat back the arrogant popular kids!

And yet, if we dig deeper, that fantasy can be found elsewhere, such as in West Side Story or even earlier, in a relatively unbroken line going back to the dawn of time. Stories which invert reality — telling us what is plainly true is not true, and that there is an easier way to success, glory and moral good than what is evidently necessary — are always popular because they play to the fears of insufficiency that individuals have.

Reality-inversion may be the oldest successful non-essential product. Once there is food, and the plague and famine are not raging immediately nearby, humans turn to distractions: over-indulgence of wine, prostitutes, and fantasies about how they are succeeding by failing. In fact, they are failing by succeeding; their society has beaten back nature enough that Darwinian rules no longer seem to apply, and humanity has failed to adopt a corresponding quality control standard.

What is ironic is that the Cathedral gains its power by offering reality-inversion fantasies (RIFs), much as mainstream outside-Right movements gain their audience by doing the same. The RIF for the Cathedral is pacifism, isolationism and freedom; for the mainstream underground Right, it is gated communities without minorities and feminists so that everyone can easily commute to their entry level tech jobs. Both are the same fantasy retold in different forms.

The audience defines the product; whoever offers that product will be rewarded, unless held back by those with more mental power. This means that like weeds and parasites in nature, a new Cathedral springs up wherever human society is established — unless it is suppressed. Other self-organizing forms of parasitic human behavior like gangs, prostitutes/pimps, beggar colonies and hobo camps create themselves the same way. People want these things, or at least, some people do.

Self-organizing power structures and “dark organizations” — anti-patterns for success that come about as a result of organizing humans in groups — are little studied compared to the patterns which reflect how we like to think of ourselves, which involve formal organization and bureaucratic success. But these are the key to the human species: wherever we go, the civilization pattern goes, and it eventually kills civilization. This tells us that there is an inherent pitfall to the civilization process that must be counteracted to make it work, much like rhubarb needs to be cooked thoroughly or it is poisonous.

If conservatism has a virtue it is that it understands civilization beyond the face value formal definitions issued by civilization itself, because conservatism distrusts civilization. Is the rhubarb cooked enough? a cautious cook might ask; similarly, the conservative asks whether civilization has been suppressed, oppressed, beaten down, trimmed back and subjugated enough for its payload — a human group — to survive. Civilization invents pretense, which is the form these “face value” (i.e. deceptive) notions take, but all face value notions are like the speech of a salesman: designed to obscure faults, and induce the buyer to succumb to the various pitfalls of human mentation that allow us to see what is not there, and ignore what is.

If conservatism has a vice, it is that often conservatives confuse the beating-down of tangible objects with having beaten the intangible disease within; this process — like scapegoating, talismans, devil dolls, neurosis, superstition and other Vodoun-style symbolic projection — allows the human group to “cast out” its own disease and project them onto something else which can be defeated. But the real defeat must occur within our souls, which is what Nietzsche and Evola chide us with each time someone comes up with an easy externally-based solution for human ills.

The paradox of this human illness is that it infects individuals, but takes effect in groups, a process called Crowdism which is a form of collectivized individualism. Individuals want the right to deny reality, but that right can only be granted by the group, so those individuals organize a breakaway group. This group becomes more popular that the over-group because it has lower standards for membership, namely “demand the same thing we do and you’re in the gang.” This cult or gang-like dark organization then pervades and dominates the host over-group.

Where my own writing is unique is that I join this Darwinian/Nietzschean view with a classic Homeric/Christian view of evil, namely that human hubris or pretense leads to self-delusion through the Burroughsian method of “control,” and I tie it into a Pynchonian idea, which is that we can see this process as part of entropy. This sounds like a lot of buzzwords, but in fact it unites a number of themes we have seen time and again in human society: many options presented, society pulls itself apart, and our response is to impose more stern standards and punishments, at which point the opposite of what we intended occurs, like pouring water on an oil fire.

Entropy occurs as a process of life. The more possibilities exist, the less predictable activity is… to a point. When too many options exist, the differences between them are erased in a process called heat-death where any option produces about the same result as any other. This explains the arc-like or circular pattern of most things in nature; at first, they expand; then, their growth flowers in every direction; then, they die or at least most of them dies; finally, they are reborn in a reduced form consisting of those which flowered in a realistic way. There is a Path after all… it is not obvious to all.

Naturally this provokes in our minds the thought that to limit entropy, we need to limit the number of options available. Very true, but also wrong, because limiting options alone will not work in the same way stern authority does not. Unintended consequences arise, which is that people work around strong authority. This is why Darwinian natural selection works: centralized order based on before-the-fact censorship fails, but order united by principle and applied in after-the-fact selection always works. Conservatives hate socialism and tyranny alike for this reason because they are before-the-fact selection, which means that they are as easily gamed as any other form of face value order.

The only solution that remains is internal order. This is much like the self-discipline that athletes use to reach Olympic status, or the self-control of a sniper, the deliberate forceful thinking of (good) writer, or the contemplated movements of a craftsman that allow him to achieve immense precision, even timing the motions of his tools between breaths to avoid jarring. Self-discipline allows us to see reality and then to act toward the best possible options that present themselves to us, which generally consist of that which has been tried and observed before and the best results conserved.

Here however we encounter a bootstrapping problem. Unlike the self-organizing chaos of Crowdism/the Cathedral, making civilization arise — or return, in our case! — requires both inner and outer force. That is, some with inner force must gain control of the rest, beat back the individualism and its collective, and then implement standards which make people rise to their best possible level of performance. All good leadership and management consists of this process, and yet it is not popular among humans because it tells each of us that we do not know what is best for us in all cases, and therefore, “freedom” and “liberty” are not solutions but distractions. That rankles the Ego.

To solve our bootstrapping problem, we need strong leadership that can nurture the excellence within us. This shows us that in civilization there are only two options: either the best oppress the rest (Rightism), or the rest oppress the best (Leftism). Leftism is a method of the latter, which is actually Crowdism, much as Neoreaction is a method of the former; both are intellectualizations designed to explain the core principle behind each direction. Like most symbolic realities, they do not translate literally; this is why Leftism always changes when in power, and why Neoreaction is mostly talking points to get us to compare possible other options to the present monolithic Leftism ruling the West.

I write this down in a handy form in case I get squashed by a bus or die of the Zika virus or some other inglorious and yet all too normal end. It is here as a precursor to a forthcoming book which explains these ideas in more detail, and serves as a warning against the Crowdism within, especially in Right-wing movements. There is a reason it has subverted every institution it has attacked, and Right-leaning ones are especially vulnerable. The Cathedral is us, like the enemy is us, until we apply discipline to our inner choices and head toward the light instead.

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