Amerika

Posts Tagged ‘fatalism’

Why Socialism Is Always Toxic

Saturday, September 17th, 2016

communism

Why is Leftism so obsessive? Because it represents a dream: that conflict can be eliminated for the individual, meaning that they are always accepted and supported regardless of the choices they make. Morality, reality and logicality thus are ranked lower than the individual and its desires.

Leftists are responsible for the greatest violence in history, the most deaths, and the greatest number of failed states. And still, whenever some credulous neurotic like Bernie Sanders or outright criminal like Hillary Clinton shows up, throngs of people are there willing to vote for them.

While benefits are a huge part of it, that is not the whole. No: people must undertake an inner process of detachment in order to vote for what they know in their hearts will end in tragedy. Leftism is moral corruption first, and only second, a convenient flow of money from the competent to the inept and parasitic.

For example, in Europe, people voted for politicians who promptly unleashed a flood of immigration on them. In theory, this was done to provide workers who could be taxed to pay for the benefits of existing citizens. But the support for the pro-immigration side remains fanatical, even in the face of mass rapes, crime, and vandalism. Why?

The answer is that many people have staked their personal identity on Leftism because it rewards their individualism. Under Leftism, they are “good” for not being good, and safe from being criticized or ranked in a hierarchy according to their accomplishments, which range from nothing to only the self-serving, like Angela Merkel or Bill Clinton.

This is the nature of the Crowd: they fear and doubt their own worth, and so they seek to destroy all who have risen above them, so that their own activity becomes the norm and social chaos camouflages their bad deeds. They want to be free of judgment, which means that all heritage, culture, standards, values and purpose must be abolished.

Unfortunately, there are two problems with this. First, it destroys civilization by turning it against itself and removing any sense of order, at which point people become depressed and self-destructive. Second, it destroys the Leftist, because in warring against a scapegoat they have skipped out on their real task in life, which is to find a purpose that fulfills them and to self-discipline until they can do so.

This is why Leftism leaves behind third-world societies. It destroys the good and makes everyone else miserable, at which point they fail to reproduce and people of different races must be imported, at which point all of the groups slowly merge — usually through trace admixture — and soon all that is left is a cultureless, purposeless grey race.

Leftist ideas form a spectrum of increasing intensity:

Social Inclusion
Equality of Rights
Democracy
Unions
Welfare
Diversity
Socialism
Communism
 

“Social Inclusion” deserves explanation; it is point where a society decides that it will no longer exile criminals, but instead will try to rehabilitate them with at first humiliating punishments, and then, increasingly, easier ones. There are several stages in democracy, each of which gradually increases the Leftist quotient of the society.

The point here is that the idea of Leftism, egalitarianism/individualism, creates a corrupting influence that leaves a backdoor for more Leftism to enter the society. Like an autoimmune disease, it paralyzes the immune system so that it can take charge and use the organism to nourish its reproduction, at which point it gains dominance.

Socialism in particular instructs people in fatalism. Whatever they do that is positive will have no effect; they will be rewarded the same if what they do is mediocre as if what they do is good, which makes the extra effort of doing good not only unrewarded but a sacrificial burden they take on for others. Worse still, because some do bad, there will be a punishment system to replace the reward-based system of reward-for-performance (RFP) systems. This means that it is best to not be noticed at all, and especially not to raise the ire of others by over-performing, as those others will then report the high-performer as a bad actor. The safest path is to do the minimum and then go home and invest real energy into hobbies.

In America, we are at about that point, brought on not by direct government intervention but by the effects of massive regulation, lawsuits, welfare and unions. At the average job, the person who gets ahead is the one who does the minimum but spends as much time as possible in the office. This makes people desperate, desolate and stunned into PTSD-like conditions by the futility of it all.

In Europe, socialist benefit systems have produced people who ignore all that is going on around them, sit around at jobs, and produce very little that is done to perfection. As a result, European products have plummeted in quality, and only succeed by virtue of how bad the competition is. This creates a case of suspension of moral and realistic caring, and people who are entirely withdrawn into themselves.

The Alt Right must be careful in its flirtation with socialism, including National Socialism. Any egalitarian thought, including — but not limited to! — class warfare, unions, welfare, benefits, free things from the government, regulation, safety, etc. leads to this state. The spectrum of Leftism is upon us, and we must entirely escape it, instead of trying to find the lesser evil and then watching as it takes over and the spectrum runs its course.

Morality Does Not Require God

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

the_lost_name_of_god

For some reason, many people of a traditional bent believe they are fighting against “nihilism,” or the denial of innate value and purpose to life.

They view life as having one of two options: either there is a plan which we must all obey, or all choices are optional, and we might as well do whatever.

That notion, as you will see in the forthcoming words, is an artifact of our time and its belief in equality. It is a false dichotomy and a pointless choice.

Here, for example, from someone who should know better, is a clear statement of their fear:

To take one example, if you say there is no God and then turn around and tell me I should not be a racist, or that I should help someone in need, and I say, “why should I?” how do you respond? If we are all evolutionary accidents, why can’t I believe and practice anything I wish?

Let us refresh our historical memories with a short insight from Friedrich Nietzsche:

“Where has God gone?” he cried. “I shall tell you. We have killed him – you and I. We are his murderers. But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained the earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not perpetually falling? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is it not more and more night coming on all the time? Must not lanterns be lit in the morning? Do we not hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not smell anything yet of God’s decomposition? Gods too decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves? That which was the holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we purify ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we need to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to be worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whosoever shall be born after us – for the sake of this deed he shall be part of a higher history than all history hitherto.”

Nietzsche’s point is that God did not die by his own hand, but by ours. We forgot how to value and notice God, and so He passed out of our consciousness.

In other words, choosing God is like everything else, a choice. Before we can make that choice, we must choose to choose, which means we must decide to be good, or that we value good more than its alternatives. Then we can discover what is good and pursue it, but not before we make the conscious election to want good and not any other option.

It is a narrow path, as they say.

It is the same with God. We must choose Him. Otherwise, we continue to live like the other beasts, limited in what they can do. And in fact, many humans have no choice but to be godless as they are unaware of many things. They lack the wiring to understand things more complex than cheeseburgers and the time period until the next paycheck.

We also do not need God for morality. We can choose to be moral the same way.

We need God for an entirely different reason: God is part of reality, and the only sensible answer to many of our questions. Reality without God is incomplete, but reality without being able to speak German is incomplete, too. This is not a binary choice, but an option to optimize our experience.

Pursuit of God is like the pursuit of any other transcendental — such as “the good, the beautiful and the true” — in that these are things above and beyond mere survival, but they enhance life from subsisting to thriving. Thus to those who reach a certain level of understanding, they become essential. This is the philosophy called esotericism.

A human needs food, shelter, and water to survive. Above that, life becomes better, but only when those basics are so well taken care of that the mind can look to other things. This is both Mazlow’s hierarchy and our own evolution. As we became more powerful, we turned to questions that required more power.

But in each individual, evolution is recapitulated: we must develop ourselves to the highest levels we can, and we are limited by what we are given to work with. Someone with an IQ of a hundred has far fewer options than someone with an IQ of 130.

Morality comes from realism. We are here to adapt to this world in all of its complexity and, once we become aware of an option, we must either choose it and rise or remain where we are. There is no Hell, only a knowledge of “what could have been” which is beaten into our heads by time. Foreclosure and regret and strong teachers!

All traditional morality consists of choosing the things that work out better than others. The family, culture, tradition, even religion itself — these things are important to us because like other methods of survival, they work better than the other options.

And yet there is no need to choose them. Not everyone can, and not everyone wants to. The human notion of rationalism — based in the presumed but unproven and illogical belief that all people are “equal,” an algebraic notion applied to a multi-dimensional space — demands that we see God as universal and therefore accessible to all.

But in reality, like understanding The Republic, God is not open to all. God is not a machine or a wonder-drug. God is first and foremost a state we must reach within ourselves to choose God.

There is no equality. Equality is the death of God because it assumes that what is shared between humans, the human form, is perfection and is therefore superior to God’s order a.k.a. reality. Egalitarianism is our arrogance and denial of God, but most insist that it is necessary so that God can be universal instead of optional.

But He is optional, like every other good thing. He is also “racist”: God made the different groups with different abilities, and they serve different roles. Race, too, is not universal. Universalism is the bigotry of humans against the complexity and unknowability (for everyone) of God.

And yet, we must beat back our raging human Ego. What is important is reality, including its transcendental dimensions if we can fire up the inner gumption to seek them out. And with that, we will rediscover God, and he will no longer remain dead.

Nihilism is the basis of conservatism

Monday, June 1st, 2015

crowdism_leaves_a_ruined_wasteland

Pity the poor conservatives. Historically, we are those who refused to join the Revolution and instead held that we should preserve what was best about the past and require that “new” ideas be tested before we adopted them. Not like anyone has listened to that of course.

Better than science, this is the past as it happened. It has zero conjectural component, including the idea that what can be reproduced in the lab will somehow occur in life. In 1789, as during the signing of the Magna Carta and the various peasant revolts, society split into two. One side took the “new” idea of equality of all people, which basically means do whatever you want short of murder, rape and theft, and the latter held to the idea that social order was necessary. Hierarchy was more important than individualism, in that view.

Over time the idea of do-whatever-you-want has proven, time and again, to be more popular. It is easier for the mind to comprehend and does not entangle it in any of the troubling details of reality. As a pure thought alone, removed from all else, it comforts us. Each person is important. No person must suffer for social standards, cultural values or something as arcane as identity. We are all one, because we are each the same. You can imagine zombies coming over the hill chanting that, sustained by the sense of being important by avoiding the twin extremes of unimportance and having actually achieved something. If we measure importance by achievement, some will win and the rest lose, but if we go egalitarian/altruistic, everyone wins some importance even if it is paltry and insignificant because everyone else has it. The human mind has not yet evolved to think as many steps forward as it requires to understand this.

In contrast to this stands the conservative idea. Composed of two parts, its first prong is consequentialism or the idea that “new” ideas should be tested and their actual results in physical reality found to be good, no matter how long it takes for this test, before they are implemented. The second prong suggests that instead of aiming for an average or lowest common denominator, we should target higher goals that are more excellent or good, beautiful and true beyond the average among which we wander in everyday life. These two prongs reveal the paradox of conservatism: grounded in nihilism, it rises toward the transcendent through an appreciation of the logic of striving.

Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. – Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Nihilism”

Nihilism states the bare facts of life: nothing can be known because we relate to the world remotely through ourselves; nothing can be communicated because communication is a process of negotiation, where each side attempts to understand the other and comes away with its own version of what is being said; values are baseless in that they do not exist in reality, but comprise our response to it. We can argue that objectively better results exist but people can choose to deny that fact, or deny that better is indeed what they desire, and choose something else instead. The human struggle is one between narcissism and realism, and when narcissism wins out, people choose illusions over realistic responses. This is the most common state of human existence, hence the use of the term “common” as a type of lower rank.

The good understand why good is important, but no one else does; genetics trumps reasoning as usual and only some have the raw mental ability to understand what good is and why it is preferable to bad. Most people in fact prefer bad, whether mediocre objects and services in life, or disorganized society so that they may pursue their own vices, desires and personal profit. It does not occur to them that there will be an equal and opposite reaction as life re-arranges itself in response. Nor does it occur to them that they mark themselves by what they choose because it indicates the limits of their understanding, and that social rank comes from this process. We can say that the argument for goodness is objective, and be correct, but that has no bearing on whether or not it will be understood. The reality is that we deal with human beings, and they are only able to direct themselves toward what they understand. Most understand very little and so are prone to error, which is the root of “bad.”

Nihilism affirms this emptiness. Much like Lewontin’s fallacy expected race to be written in a single gene, the average person anticipates that life itself will have literal writing on the wall. The illusion arises from the fact that our world simply does what it does, objectively, but that our response to it must reflect our own interests as a species bent on survival, and that these vary between individuals based on capacity. This violation of blank slate theory and egalitarian dogma requires us to accept, snobbishly or not, that not all people are the same. Human responses are between subjective and objective because they depend on what the individual knows and can process, with some succeeding more than others. But only those who were going to succeed anyway know to pay attention what thrives and what does not, and to select one over the other.

Much of human civilization remains a forgery because it is based on the idea of exotericism, or that we can create a single rule or truth and apply it to all people. Saying that is not to endorse the opposite extreme, relativism, where humans enforce approval of all responses in order to create altruistic equality. Instead, nihilism states that people simply perceive what they can, and it cannot be communicated to them. Nor it is an objective truth, because there are no instructions in the world of an absolute nature. There are no “values” shared in common. Individually, we must choose to rise above our monkey ancestors, and by making that choice, push ourselves on to understand as far as we are capable, but most people will refuse to choose this. This is why our ancestors created caste systems and told most people what to do all of the time. Otherwise, these people would screw it up by lacking the ability to understand it.

Conservatism contains both good and bad. The good is the insistence that we hold on to the learning of the past, namely that social order is necessary and positive. The more competent should have more authority and wealth, because wealth is power and giving it to anyone less than a person of noble outlook guarantees it will be used in destructive ways. Those who know nothing because they cannot biologically know much of anything need to be kept away from dangerous things like money and the vote. The bad is that conservatism by its basis tries to fight liberalism, rather than accepting that the type of person who wants liberalism would be unwelcome or oppressed in a traditional society, and will attempt to destroy such a society through ignorance or resentment even if it ultimately produces better results for them.

If conservatism has a basis, it is this type of social order and hierarchy. It finds its origin in the knowledge that only a few perceive what really must be done, and the rest exist in the mental cloud of their own self-delusion. Nihilism is realism. Outside of the human mind, the world has no objective purpose, even God. God is there for those who perceive him and can understand why His order is what it is; similarly, human thriving is there for those who choose to have it, but most people would rather have a beer, cheeseburger and double feature of nude wrestling instead. We are told that nihilism is horrible because it means giving up on the objectivity of life itself, but it is more accurately a recognition that objectivity requires us to choose a purpose first, and that cannot be enforced with logic. Instead, it is for those who rise above to discover, and then to oppress or exterminate the rest before that herd does the same to them.

Nihilism, conservatism and parallelism

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

the_isolated_path
From an interview several years ago…

Nihilism, in a nutshell, argues that life is without objective purpose or value. This philosophy is something that has always seemed to cause controversy, as it seems society has always a some sort of fear when it pertains to Nihilism. Briefly describe what Nihilism means to you, and its relation to Parallelism.

What is Nihilism?

Nihilism is a philosophy based on the idea that reality alone is important. It rejects belief, faith, wishful thinking, ideology, morality and socialization as in any way a form of reality and/or “inherent”; these are human projections. All potential actions are choices we can make. However, nihilists are not relativists. We do not say all choices are equal, because equality is also a human projection. All choices are simply whatever their results are, because intentions exist only within the human mind and are not important.

Most people want to read into nihilism the typical kiddie-rebellion fatalism that infects the industrialized nations: “Nothing matters, so do whatever you want!” This is broken, because nihilism eschews the yes/no question of “matters,” since even having something matter at all is a choice. Nihilism also avoids the “do whatever you want” because to prescribe that is to give it a value. The only statement nihilism makes is that nothing is real except reality. Human projections are irrelevant because they are unrelated to outcomes.

Every action we undertake on earth is a choice. Do I eat the red-spotted mushroom? The utilitarians will say that if most people like eating them, you should do it; the formalists will say that if it’s socially approved, you should do it; the instrumentalists will ask if the goal of eating the mushroom is moral; the materialists of course will say that it depends on what comforts or wealth it gets you. A nihilist says to use the scientific method and look at what the whole of the results are. Will it poison you? Will it mislead others? Will it harm the forest? Will it bring about any gain of any kind? These are all choices, and must be considered in turn.

Nihilism is not a morality. Morality is what comes between humans and making choices. I can choose to commit crimes, but if morality exists, I will be reacting to the moral judgment of right/wrong instead of the consequences of my actions. This puts us back to measuring our acts by intentions, when we really should instead look at what the results will be. We then have to confront those results and say, “The result of this crime is that I’m going to force this person to work another 40 hours to pay for what I took, and my reward will be 10% of the purchase value, and it’s likely that more people will follow my example and commit crimes.”

That sort of measurement is emotionally heavier than saying some action is bad or good. If an action brings about good results, we can talk about those anticipated results by looking at past similar actions and pointing out the similarity. In the same way, if a proposed action is likely to bring about bad results, we need to only compare it to past events. “Last time we lit our cigarettes off the propane tank, we blew up three houses and a dog. Is that the result we want again?”

Nihilism is not negation. If there is religion in a nihilist world, it is esotericism, or the discovery of religious principles from patterns in our environment. If there is morality in a nihilist world, it is unceasing awareness of consequences. These things can exist, but they, too, are choices. However, as mentioned above, nihilism is not relativistic, so “it’s a choice” doesn’t mean “it’s accepted” as it does in pluralist moralist societies. It means instead that the burden of consequences is upon the person who makes a choice.

Nihilism is also not anarchy. Anarchy is a moral judgment that a leadership structure should not exist. A nihilist will reject the idea that a State is necessary, but by recognizing that leadership is a choice, forces us to consider the consequences of types of leadership versus no leadership. Nihilism does not choose what “ought” to be; it chooses what works. And so the first nihilist question to an anarchist would be, “Where can I find a successful anarchist community?”

Unlike ideological political systems, nihilism does not view wishful thinking — what “ought” to be, what society “should” do, or a moral jihad for equality — as useful. It questions causes->effects and by looking at effects, chooses to pick the corresponding cause (action) that can be undertaken to achieve those effects. As a result, it is pragmatist, or non-utilitarian consequentialist. This makes it more like the paleoconservative right and less like modern post-1789 state/ideology-based systems.

As a philosophy, nihilism recognizes that rejection of all values negates itself because it is in itself a value. Instead, nihilism views all values as choices. When these values are based on aspects of reality, they are nihilistic, but the creation of values like morality is dangerous because it removes us from thinking about reality and instead has us thinking about the words, symbols and relationships that comprise those values. A nihilist would suggest that the healthiest human system is one where we look at consequences alone.

Nihilism is ultimately a philosophy of affirmation. When we clear the human projection out of our heads, we are like children again, and can instead of reacting blindly to social projections, choose what we want out of life. As a conservative nihilist, I choose what Plato found to be the apex of human existence: the good, the beautiful and the true.

Why society fears Nihilism

I no longer believe that society exists. I should say instead that it’s a moving target. Societies have a life cycle just like humans. If you take care of your society, it can last for a really long time. If you do not, it self-destructs quickly. The remnants of destroyed societies are what we call third world nations. In each of these, there was once a prosperous society led by intelligent and noble people. These people pitied others, and so made life more hygienic, safer, abundant and easier for them, which resulted in incompetents outbreeding competents and dooming the society to failure.

During the early days of a civilization, there is no need for formalization. People recognize a shared purpose and set of values to achieve that purpose. It can be as simple as adaptation to a geographic area, but only if it includes an added dimension, which is the desire to not just survive but to thrive. Essentially, the best human value is laziness, because it causes us to want to improve our knowledge and self-organization such that we have more time to relax, ponder, create music, wage war, fall in love, etc. You know of Mazlow’s pyramid of needs; in my view, civilization begins in the upper parts of this pyramid where emotions and the need to use the mind like a weapon are found.

Unfortunately, over time, the aforementioned process of “helping others” leads to a proliferation of incapable people. These people do not mean badly, but they have a fatal flaw, which is that they are thoughtless. They will either overpopulate their geographical area or cause some other tragedy of the commons (an event where a public resource is exploited unto destruction because its cost to each individual is free) and as a result, will find themselves starving, diseased or in wars they can’t win. At that point they turn on their leaders, who are usually the people who had been trying to stop the decay and getting beaten back by the crowd of people who want to believe in what they wish were true, not what they can discern is true.

As a result, wishful thinking predominates up until the very end, where there is a sudden and conclusion confrontation with reality itself, and the civilization falls apart. It doesn’t just explode, but all the levels of civilized behavior drop precipitously until it is corrupt, dishonest, whorelike, ugly, dirty, commerce-ridden, violent, and directionless. It is usually ruled by warlords or a military junta because such disorder requires authoritarian government to keep it in line.

During this process people attempt to enforce their wishful thinking because (a) they want to stay in denial about the collapse and (b) this enables them to control others and get ahead through manipulation. As a result, they invent the myth of inherency. These words we use to describe things are not just token symbols we exchange in their view, but are the actual names of things. Our religions are not interpretations of metaphysics, but the whole truth. Government and collective approval are the only legitimate ways to make decisions. Good is a certain list of things; bad is anything that opposes it. Soon we are living in a world of “inherent” symbols that are human-created and often either arbitrary or deliberately controlling.

This is the origin of modern control. Unlike ancient control, which was cooperation based on having a hierarchy, or a decent authoritarian state, which is essentially paternalistic pragmatism (a form of consequentialism — the idea that we measure our actions by their results, not their intent — that, unlike utilitarianism, is based on reality for society as a whole and not the approval of a majority of its members, a subjective…or should we say “wishful thinking”….measurement), modern control is individuals controlling one another to keep any of us from upsetting the fragile balance created by a civilization dedicated to equality. In practical terms, “equality” means pluralism or that there is no right/wrong except for what is proscribed by the dominant ideology which we see as giving us equality and thus “freedom.” To a modern person, freedom and equality mean the same thing, which is pluralism or no social standards, which is naturally extended to diversity/multiculturalism/internationalism (these terms mean the same thing) and approval of every underdog group that doesn’t violate social/political norms.

Nihilism shatters this control by attacking inherency. As a nihilist, you realize that everything is indeed a choice. You can choose to deny reality. You can choose to eat feces. You can choose to shoot yourself in the head. All of these are possible choices, and there’s only two ways to make such choices. The first way is wishful thinking; the second way is reality-based thinking. Since we know wishful thinking varies with the quality of the individual, and it can be easily observed that most individuals (I’ll add the Southern hybrid between good-will and pity, “Bless their hearts!”) make most decisions poorly, it makes zero sense to pick wishful thinking, or a subjective standard. Instead, it is logical to pick a reality-based standard. The prole has trained themselves to say “but who decides?” and the answer to that is obvious: we pick the best among us. However, to a non-nihilist, that answer seems dangerous. Someone is more than equal? There are differences between people? But you can’t say that in polite conversation! You will never get laid!

This is why nihilism is controversial. It destroys control, but unlike anarchy, does not affirm the necessity of control through picking an opposite model. Instead, it tells us we have choices. We can choose a rising society, or by making a different decision, choose to have a dying one. The results of our decisions are clear because similar types of decisions have been made in the past, and we can compare cause->effect and see what effects our actions are likely to have. Most people get freaked out by that “deterministic” view of life, so choose to believe that they can choose an effect, and then assign to it any cause they want, thus they can do whatever they want and claim they “intended” to have a certain effect. Tee hee, aren’t they clever! Logicians will know this as a B->A error: If all A->B, then all A are B, but not all B are A (B->A). Mistaken cause->effect reasoning is the foundation of our declining society today.

On a simpler level, nihilism is controversial because people prefer pleasant/easy lies to complex/difficult truths. They want to hear absolute and universal guarantees, like the talismans of an ancient religion: just slaughter a lamb to Baal, and you will get rich. Don’t worry about your decisions, and trying to figure out if you do the right one; get the right symbol on there, and everything will be OK. Social decision-making works this way, interestingly enough. If I say nice things to my friend, and then answer with wrong information when she asks me a factual question, I don’t get blamed or seen as having failed because the link in the friendship is the social kindness, not accuracy. People want that level of acceptance-without-challenge extended to all portions of their lives.

What is Parallelism?

Parallelism is a solution to linear thinking. Nihilism has us thinking in terms of choices; parallelism has us realizing that to make these choices, we need to compare more than one factor out of many to consider the before-state and after-state of our decision. Humans tend to project their own arbitrary choices onto situations by choosing one factor out of thousands or millions to look at when evaluating a decision.

For example, “Will this new car produce more or less carbon output than my old car?” If you look only at that one factor, you’ll go buy a Prius, but then there’s the question of what environmental damage is caused by the batteries in the Prius and the energy required to make it. There are other questions to be asked as well: am I more likely to be in a wreck, and thus send both cars to the junkyard? Will this be as reliable as a “regular” car? Is a better use of the money required to pay for its higher cost to simply purchase a few acres of forest land? Can I drive less with my existing car? These questions involve the assessment of environmental impact only.

Parallelism suggests that decisions are made according to indicators found in parallel between multiple factors. This reduces the arbitrary nature of linear decision-making. As a corresponding notion, parallelism also suggests that structures exist in parallel throughout the universe. This includes the vertical dimension of complexity and the possibility of metaphysics. “As above, so below,” would be an expression of parallelism; another way to view it is that there are no structures in the cosmos which are radically incompatible with any others.

As such, parallelism is an attack on how most people conceive of religion. The average person is either (a) a materialist, believing that there is nothing but physical matter and thus enhacing physical comfort for people is the best goal (utilitarianism), or (b) a dualist, believing that there is some “other side” where all things are pure and clear and people will live in perfection in the order of God or gods. Parallelism suggests instead that any additional metaphysical dimension will resemble what is here, because in all aspects of reality, nature uses mirrored structures to create an architectonic or self-balancing order. The greatest is found in the least and vice-versa. It is a perfect design.

In addition, parallelism points out another structure in nature, which is a natural selection-like mechanism that is found in nature, but also in mathematics and thought. Roughly speaking, for any possible action there are many parallel impulses, and each one reflects a certain degree of maturation toward completeness of organization. The most organized tend to form a parallel harmonic level — imagine the parallels themselves as verticals, and a horizontal line being drawn where completeness of order occurs — and thrive, while others go away. Our thoughts are like this: we have many impulses in response to stimulus, and our brain selects those which are the most complete and which do not trigger any negative feedback loops.

Parallelism also has political implications, notably that it’s nonsense to base a society on a single arbitrary idea (equality, finance) when many other things need to be considered. We need to consider happiness, and more importantly, being a rising society where we’re constantly getting better at what we do, instead of a declining one. Physical health needs to be considered as well, as does environmental impact, as does social consequence. There is no “freedom” from any of the consequences of our actions.

Further, parallelism suggests that different civilizations go through the same patterns if they use similar forms of organization. This ratifies Plato’s “civilization cycle,” by which nations are born, age and die. Every nation that undertakes the attitude and organization typical of a senescent nation will become senescent; any nation that adopts the attitude and organization typical of a new nation will be reborn. Further, parallelism suggests that the fortunes of our societies are not caused by geography, but by where in the cycle we choose to put our effort. In addition, parallelism would have us thus separate these societies so that each can evolve according to its choices.

A parallelist worldview also includes that idea that we cannot divide leadership by separating it into different subject matters. For example, financial decisions have effects on the same things that legal or social decisions do, but so also do non-government actions like those of the media, religions, social groups etc. It makes more sense to organize government by the things upon which we are having effect, than by the flavor (religious, economic, social, political) of activity undergone.

As such, parallelism is an entry point to the birth stage of the cycle of civilizations, called Tradition, and is utterly incompatible with modernity. However, since parallelism is reality-based, it explains the consequences of choices rather than formulate an ideology toward their ends. For this reason, it is a useful tool for diagnosing modern stumbles and finding ways to work around them.

What are some important figures in history that have shared the same viewpoint, to some degree?

Every great leader in history has recognized these principles to some degree. Nihilism belongs to strategic realists like Niccolò Machiavelli and Kautilya, but also to clear-minded thinkers like Siddhartha and Eckhart. Parallelism has to my knowledge never been articulated as such, but was an understood (which is better than written down — it lives in the culture and, as culture shapes its population through natural selection according to Race-Culture Theory, becomes part of the genetics of that population) part of ancient cultures.

Because these viewpoints are more descriptive (analysis of cause->effect decisions) than prescriptive, or ideological and moral values imposed on a population to control it, they do not comprise an ideology per se but are methods that can be applied by anyone. Josef Stalin can be said to be a nihilist with his pronouncement “no man, no problem”; then again, Bill Clinton also displayed nihilistic thinking when he adopted the practice of creating his current political platform by reading the polls and selecting any idea that polled highly as something he would support. However, none of these consciously adopt a nihilistic or parallelist viewpoint.

I would imagine that artists share a good deal of these philosophies because artists are naturally outsiders, since their job is to notice what society cannot. Further, artists are naturally realists, because in order to portray life accurately, one must notice how it functions and not the type of social statements that can be made to gloss-over that or make it sound appealing. Finally, art is inherently meditative; meditation is the root of all understanding, since it calms the mind and allows exploration of all factors at once. To be an artist, you must find what is hidden in plain sight and style it so that it and any solutions needed to it are appealing, making people want to engage with it. Artists fight back against numbness induced by social conformity of behavior which in turn exhausts the mind of any possibilities other than obedience and reward.

Belief in Nothing

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

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Nihilism confuses people. “How can you care about anything, or strive for anything, if you believe nothing means anything?” they ask.

In return, nihilists point to the assumption of inherent meaning and question that assumption. Do we need existence to mean anything? After all, existence stays out there no matter what we think of it. We can do with it what we will. Some of us will desire more beauty, more efficiency, more function or more truth — and others will not. Conflict results.

Nihilists who aren’t of the kiddie anarchist variety tend to draw a distinction between nihilism and fatalism. Nihilism says that nothing has meaning. Fatalists say that nothing has meaning, so nothing will have meaning for them personally. It’s the difference between having no authority figure to tell you what’s right, and giving up on the idea of doing anything since no one will affirm that what you’ve done is right.

What is nihilism?

As a nihilist, I recognize that meaning does not exist. If we exterminate ourselves as a species, and vaporize our beautiful world, the universe will not cry with us (a condition called the pathetic fallacy). No gods will intervene. It will just happen and then — and then the universe will go on. We will not be remembered. We will simply not be.

In the same way, I accept that when I die, the most likely outcome will be a cessation of being. I will at that moment cease to be the source of my thoughts and feelings. Those feelings having only existed inside of me, never did “exist” except as electro-chemical impulses, and will no longer be found when I am gone.

Even further, I recognize that there is no golden standard for life. If I note that living in a polluted wasteland is stupid and pointless, others may not see this. They may kill me when I mention it. And then they will go on, and I will not. Insensitive to their polluted wasteworld, they will keep living in it and suffering under it, oblivious to the existence of an option.

A tree falling in a forest unobserved makes a sound. The forest may not recognize this as a sound because a forest is many life forms interacting, not organized by some central principle or consciousness. They just do what they do. In the same way, playing Beethoven’s Ninth to a bowl of yeast will not elicit a response. The insensate remain unobservant, much like the universe itself.

Many people “feel” marginalized when they think of this. Where is the Great Father who will hear their thoughts, validate their emotions, and tell them with certainty what is true and what is not? Where is the writing on the wall, the final proof, the word of God? How do we know for certain that anything is true, and if it is true, that it’s important?

Meaning is the human attempt to mold the world in our own image. We need some meaning to our existence, but feel doubt when we try to proclaim it as a creation of ourselves. So we look for some external meaning that we can show others and have them agree that it exists. This forces us to start judging every idea we encounter as threatening or affirming of our projected external meaning.

This distanced mentality further affirms our tendency to find the world alienating to our consciousness. In our minds, cause and effect are the same; we use our will to formulate an idea and it is there, in symbolic form. When we take that idea to the world and try to implement it, however, we can estimate how the world will react but we are frequently wrong, and this causes us doubt.

As a result, we like to separate the world from our minds and live in a world created by our minds. In this humanist view, every human is important. Every human emotion is sacred. Every human preference needs to be respected. It is us against the world, trying to assert our projected reality where we can because we fear the lack of human-ness in the world at large.

Nihilism reverses this process. It replaces externalized meaning with two important viewpoints. The first is pragmatism; what matters are the consequences in physical reality, and if there is a spiritual realm, it must operate in parallel with physical reality. The second is preferentialism; instead of trying to “prove” meaning, we pick what appeals to us — and acknowledge that who we are biologically determines what we seek.

In rejecting anthropomorphic pathetic fallacies such as inherent “meaning,” nihilism allows us to toss out anthropomorphism. The idea of an absolute morality, or any value to human life, is discarded. What matters are consequences. Consequences are not measured by their impact on humans, but by their impact on reality as a whole. If a tree falls in a forest, it makes a sound; if I exterminate a species and no human sees it, it happened anyway.

Your dictionary will tell you that nihilism is “a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths.” It’s not a doctrine; it’s a method, like the scientific method, which starts by crawling out of the ghetto of our own minds. It is a quieting of the parts of our minds that want to insist that our human perspective is the only real one, and the universe must adapt to us, instead of the sane alternative of adapting to our universe.

In this view, nihilism is a gateway and an underpinning to philosophy, not a philosophy in itself. It is an end to anthropomorphism, narcissism and solipsism. It is humans finally fully evolving and getting control of their own minds. As such, it is a starting point from which we can return to philosophy and re-analyze it all, knowing that our perspective is closer to that of the reality outside our minds.

Spiritual Nihilism

Although many interpret nihilism to negate spirituality, the only coherent statement of nihilism is that there is a lack of inherent meaning. This does not preclude spirituality, only a sense of calling it inherent. This means that nihilist spirituality is exclusively transcendentalist, meaning that by observing the world and finding beauty in it, we discover a spirituality emerging from it; we don’t require a separate spiritual authority or lack thereof.

It is incorrect to say that nihilism is atheistic or agnostic. Atheism is incoherent: claiming an inherent meaning to the negation of God is a false objectivity just like claiming we can prove there is a God. Agnosticism makes spirituality revolve around the concept of uncertainty over the idea of God. Secular humanism replaces God with an idealized individual. These are all pointless to a nihilist.

In the nihilist view, any divine beings would exist like the wind — a force of nature, without moral balance, without any inherent meaning to its existence. A nihilist could note the existence of a god, and then shrug and move on. Many things exist, after all. What is more important to a nihilist is not inherent meaning, but the design, patterns and interconnected elements of the universe. By observing these, we find a way to discover meaning through our interpretation.

This in turn enables us to make unforced moral choices. If we are relying on another world to reward us where we don’t get rewarded here, we are not making a sacrifice. If we believe that a God outside of the world must exist in order for it to be good, we are slandering the world. Even if we think there is an inherent right way of doing things, and that we may get rewarded for it, we are not making moral choices.

Moral choices occur when we realize there is no compelling force on us to make that decision except our inclination to care about the consequences. That in turn is contingent upon us being hardwired with enough intelligence to revere nature, the cosmos and all that has brought us consciousness. Indeed, the only way we will have such respect for the world is if we view consciousness and life as a gift, and therefore choose to enhance and complement the order of nature.

In a nihilist worldview, whether we live or die as a species has no inherent value. We could stay, or blow away like a dead leaf, and the universe doesn’t care a bit. Here we must separate judgment, or caring about consequences, from the consequences themselves. If I fire a gun at someone and he dies, the consequence is his death. If I have no judgment of it, that means nothing more than his permanent absence.

If the universe has the same absence of judgment, there is nothing more than his absence. No cosmic conclusions, no judging by gods (even if we choose to believe they exist), and no emotion shared by everyone. It is the event and nothing more, like a tree falling in a forest when no one is around to hear its crash.

Since there are no inherent judgments in our universe, and no absolute and objective sense of judgment, what matters is our preference regarding consequences. We may choose not to survive as a species, in which case insanity and sanity have the same value level, since survival no longer has a position of value for us. Our survival is not inherently judged to be good; it’s up to us to do that.

In nihilism, as in every sufficiently advanced philosophy, the ultimate goal is to make “everything just what it is,” or to decipher enough of our consciousness that we do not confuse the instrument (our minds) with its object (our world). To a nihilist, the greatest human problem is solipsism, or a confusion of the mind with the world; our solution is to point out that the human values we consider “objective” and “inherent” are only pretense.

Nihilism conditions us instead to actualize ourselves. It denies nothing of the lack of inherent meaning to existence, and does not create a false “objective” reality based on our perceptions of what we wish did exist. Instead, it charges us to choose what we wish existed, and to work toward making it occur in reality.

The fully actualized human is able to say: I studied how the world works; I know how to predict its responses with resonable success; I know what cause will create what effect. As a result, we can say, I am going to pick a certain effect I desire that is coherent with the organization of our world, so it will succeed.

This returns us to the question of whether beauty is discovered, or invented; some suggest that beauty is inherent to certain approaches to organization of form, while others think we can invent it of our own accord. A nihilist would say that the patterns that define beauty are not arbitrary, therefore have a precedent in the extra-human cosmos, and that our artists create beauty by perceiving the organization of our world and then transposing it to a new, human form.

Through the embrace of “ultimate reality” — or physical reality and the abstractions that directly describe its organization, in contrast to opinions and judgments — as the only inherent constant to life, nihilism forces humans to make the ultimate moral decision. In a world that requires both good and bad for survival, do we choose to strive for what’s good, even knowing that it may require us to use bad methods and face bad consequences?

The ultimate test of spirituality in nature is not whether we can proclaim universal love for all human beings, or declare ourselves pacifists. It is whether we can do what is necessary for survival and improvement of ourselves, as this is the only way to approach our world with a truly reverent attitude: to adopt its methods, and through an unforced moral preference, choose to rise and not descend.

We must make the leap of faith and choose to believe not in the existence of the divine, but in its possibility through the merging of our imagination with our knowledge of reality. Finding divinity in the venal and material world requires an epic transcendental viewpoint that finds in the working of an order a holiness, because that order provides the grounding that grants us our own consciousness. If we love life, we find it to be holy and become reverent to it, and thus as nihilists can rapidly discover transcendental mysticism and transcendental idealism.

From this viewpoint, it’s easy to see how nihilism can be compatible with any faith, including Christianity. As long as we do not confuse our interpretation of reality (“God”) with reality itself, we are transcendentalists who find our source of spiritualism in the organization of the physical world around us and our mental state, which we can see as having parallel and similar function. When people talk about God, a nihilist thinks of the patterns of trees.

Practical Nihilism

How does a nihilist, or one who is beyond morality and the sanctity of human life and illusions, apply these principles in everyday life? The short answer is “very carefully.” Human history provides one story after another of how a few smart people started something good, then parasites encrusted it, and eventually formed a political movement to murder those who knew better, thus plunging that something good into disrepair.

The essence of nihilism is transcendence through eliminating a false “inherent” meaning that is a projection of our minds. When we have cleared away the illusion, and can look at reality as a continuum of cause and effect relationships, we can know how to adapt to that reality. This gets us over the fear of reality that causes us to retreat into our own minds, a condition known as solipsism.

This in turn leads to a kind of primal realism that rejects everything but the methods of nature. These are inherent to not only biology, but physics and the patterns of our own thoughts. We need no inherent meaning; we need only to adapt to our world and, from the palette of options offered, choose what we desire. Do we want to live in mud huts, or like the ancient Greeks and Romans strive for a society of advanced learning?

Most people confuse fatalism with nihilism. Fatalism, or the idea that things are as they are and will not change, relies on an inherent “meaning” being denied for its emotional power. Fatalism is a shrug and a wish that things could be different, but since they are not, we will ignore them. Nihilism is the opposite principle: a reverent acceptance of nature as functional and in fact genius, and a determination to master it.

This is not a philosophy for the weak of heart, mind or body. It demands that we look clear-eyed at truths that most find upsetting, and then force ourselves past them as a means of disciplining ourselves toward self-actualization. Much as nihilism removes false inherent meaning, self-actualization removes the drama of the externalized self and replaces it with a sense of purpose: what quest makes meaning out of my life?

Unlike Christianity and Buddhism which seek to destroy the ego, nihilism seeks to remove the groundwork that makes the ego seem like all we have. It negates both materialism, or living for physical comfort, and dualism, or living for a moral god in another world that does not parallel our own in function. Any spiritual realm will parallel this one, because since matter, energy and thoughts show parallel mechanisms in their patterning, any other force would do the same.

Further, ego-negation is a false form of inherent meaning. A meaning defined in negative terms flatters the object as much as its positive counterpart; to say I’m anti-vole is to affirm the need for voles. The only true freedom from the ego consists in finding a replacement object, or ur-consciousnessness to reality, to replace the voice of personality which we often mistake for the world.

Our human problems on earth do not distill to simplifications like the narratives offered by the press because they are popular: we the people are exceptional, except when oppressed by kings, government, corporations or the beautiful people. Our human problems begin and end in our inability to recognize reality and enforce it upon ourselves; we instead opt for pleasant illusions, and generate the negative consequences one might expect.

If we do not get rid of our fears, they rule us. If we have created a false antidote to our fears, like a false sense of inherent meaning, we have doubly enslaved ourselves to those fears: first, the fears persist because we have no logical answer to them, and second, we are now indebted to the dogma that supposedly dispels them. This is why human problems have remained relatively unchanged for centuries.

As a philosophical groundwork, nihilism gives us a tool with which to approach all parts of life and make sense of them. Unlike merely political or religious solutions, it underlies all of our thinking, and by removing false hope, gives us a hope in the work of our own two hands. Where others rage against the world, we rage for it — and in doing so, provide a saner future.

What is Nihilism?

Friday, September 25th, 2009

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“Civilization is a disease which is almost invariably fatal.” – Dean Inge

This article attempts the impossible. It seeks to explain, in small form, a belief system that is at its heart not very complex, but to which the path from our current belief systems is complex and fraught with confusions, whether linguistic, or conceptual, or even image-oriented. There is no way it can succeed. However, all things must start somewhere, and so, for the sake of doing something where otherwise doing nothing is a path to certain failure, we sally onward in an attempt to provide another starting point for those seeking nihilism.

What Nihilism Is Not

After all, why believe in anything? – nihilism, like any form of organized thought, is a belief. You could be like so many five-cent sages and proclaim identification with a mainstream political belief, or consider yourself “cynical” and say nothing can be done, so turn on the TV, pop a beer and be through with it. That way, at least you’re personally insulated – you’ve declared a lack of a will to fight – and you can feel OK about being whatever it was before. Wiser observers might say you’re in the grips of a very complex but at heart mundane form of cognitive dissonance; you’re pointing to a difference between ideal and reality as a justification for inaction.

You could even take on the junior form of nihilism, which is a lack of belief in anything, otherwise known as fatalism, but really, it’s a developed form of the above. And don’t you feel silly buying into any of the ready-made political identities that are out there, and swearing your ideas match those of Michael Moore or Rush Limbaugh, who are basically two different versions of the same fat “just sign here and it’ll all be okay” product? Maybe you take refuge in religion, but it’s about the same; instead of picking a path, you’re following one. This isn’t to say that all paths are wrong, and you should be some kind of “individualist” who concocts a “unique” formula of unrelated fragments of belief, and then proclaims everything would be OK if that impossibly self-contradictory regimen were followed.

Yet none of these are satisfying, because at the end of the day, you’re no closer to a coherent vision of what would change that which ails you. It’s naive to say it doesn’t bother you, either, because it’s clear that this society is what we call in business a “deathmarch”: a fundamentally flawed approach that immediately isn’t visible, and therefore is demanded by higherups, so we the workers apply it as best we can with the knowledge that someday, the shit’s gonna hit the fan and we’ll all suffer, but we’re not to blame because someone else is in charge. Of course, no one is really “in charge” here, as we’re just following mass trends and opinions, media and political constructs passed along for so many generations that it’s impossible to find someone who is definitively to blame, for whom we can have a comforting execution, then dust off our hands and proclaim the problem solved because we yanked out the bad guy.

Nihilism is a different sort of belief because, unlike almost all beliefs, it’s a conduit and not an endpoint. Most belief systems lay out a series of static objectives and claim if these are achieved, everything will be as peachy as it can be; the most dangerous are the Utopian ones, which promise an absolute near perfection that has little to do with reality. “Some day we’ll eliminate all war” and “free markets make free souls” both fall into this category. Believing such homilies is akin to thinking that if you buy the right guitar, you’ll be able to automatically create the best music ever, et cetera ad nauseaum. Nihilism does not claim a Utopian solution, and is in fact contra-Utopian: by the nature of its being a philosophical viewpoint, and not a mass trend around which you’re expected to rally, it defines itself as a way of viewing the world including such political mass trends. There is no ultimate solution, no absolute Utopia, only a better mental tool for perceiving and analyzing whatever situations arise. Unlike political rallypoints, it is a highest level abstraction, and one under which all other ideas form a hierarchy assessing their degrees of logicality.

Trendwhores and savvy political manipulators will try to group issues under any belief, including nihilism, thinking that a bullet point list makes it easy for the proles to agree on a course of action (so far, history suggests this is either outright lying or wishful thinking). It’s unlikely that such a thing could occur. Nihilists embrace “extreme” viewpoints because they have seen past the cognitive dissonance, and thus have no problem looking at the world analytically. It’s not extremity for extremity’s sake, which is almost always a psychological device for creating an impossible goal and thus, by claiming to labor toward it, removing responsibility of actually doing something pragmatic. One reason to detest extreme rightist, leftist and green communities is that this is their modus operandi: suggest something insane, then accuse all who don’t agree of selling out, and continuing to labor on with the attitude “only I know the truth, and the rest of you are pretenders, therefore, I’m better than you.” Can we be honest and refer to this as defensive egomania?

Nihilism needs no justification. It follows the pattern of nature, which is evolution: successive replacement of previous forms of organization (“order”,”design”) with better ones. There is no moral imperative to do any given act, only a practical one, in that if a proposed design works better even in some small way, those design details can be incorporated into the status quo, thus forcing it to the next level of evolution. Of course, making any changes introduces new powers and new problems, so the process of evolution continues ad infinitum, unless (as in the case of French and Italians) an evolutionary “harbor” is reached, by which adaptation balances adequately enough to an unchanging environment. If one is, for example, the remnants of a fallen empire, there is not much to do except to live well and not worry too much about greatness receding slowly into memory so far removed it is mythic legend and not a part of current reality.

Background

I was arguing once with a fellow who, when I proposed a high-level abstraction, said, “But isn’t abstraction a Judeo-Christian thing, and therefore, bad?” He fell into the same trap that many at our universities have, in which they assume that language misleads us, therefore we must deconstruct and “go beyond” language, essentially creating incoherence. Look at it this way: some sentences are true, and some are not. Some abstractions make sense, and others do not. How do we tell? How well does each stack up to reality, and by that we mean the process through which reality is created and not its persistent objects, should be our yardstick. An abstraction of some fanciful world where a benevolent unicorn in the sky will sort good from bad, right from wrong, and lead us to a place called Heaven is an abstraction that has little to do with the world in which we live. It is a solipsistic abstraction: it applies to the desires of the individual human, and does not take into account the world in which all humans live. (Nihilists are brave enough to recognize the obvious: individual humans have different strengths and intelligences, and thus, not everyone can perceive or understand such an abstraction, and those who cannot will invent abstractions of a solipsistic nature to compensate – see “cognitive dissonance” above.)

If you take a highly abstract view at the real-world problems of creating a conscious creature, you will see rapidly that the major threat to such a being would be the possibilities of its own mind. Our strengths are our weakness. Because such a creature can imagine, and can predict, and can create in its mind a partial replica of the world to use in guessing what the potential outcome of any action might be – “sun and rain always come in spring, and things don’t grow in winter, so I’ll plant in spring, assuming that this pattern is consistent” – it is also susceptible to conceiving an inaccurate notion of how the world works, and/or becoming emotionally unstable and thus creating a solipsistic version. “When I bless the gods, winter ends and the spring comes” is such an example; a more insidious one is “If I do not harm others, no harm will come to me” (tell that to a band of raiding looters or pillaging Vandals). Still more developed is the root of cognitive dissonance: I will think on how things should be and content myself with that, since I cannot or do not believe I can effect change in reality. Each of these errors is formed from the fundamental mistake of assuming that what exists in the individual human mind is higher than reality as a whole, or can be used to compensate for tendencies in the whole. We die; it sucks; let’s invent “heaven” and perpetual life. Would not it be more ethical, more honest and above all else, more realistic, to simply admit we have no idea what follows death – if anything? (Add to this the complexity of a world we know through the progression of time, yet which might encompass additional or fewer dimensions in some other view, and you have a formula for endless unprovable conjecture taken as fact because well, we’d all like to believe we don’t die; to this I rejoin that if we’re all immortal, this means that the morons who afflict us daily are as well, which might make us reconsider the wisdom of “life eternal.”)

Humans, being highly abstract creatures, are prone to creating abstractions which make sense only in their mind. These are “dead end” or “ultra-discrete” abstractions, in that their only error is a failure of realization that the individual human is part of a larger world, which goes on with or without them. If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to witness it, does it make a sound? Of course, but the forest won’t call it a “sound,” and no one will note it or talk about it. We can play definition games all day, and claim that either a sound only exists in the human mind, or that it’s external, but this is a case of redefining the word, not the phenomenon it describes. We might as well call a leaping predatory animal a tiger, and then be shocked and surprised (awed?) when groups of people fail to respond to our urgent warning, “Butterfly!” Similarly, we can call death “life eternal” if it makes us feel better, but that causes zero change to the phenomenon itself, which remains unknown to us. Thinking creatures have a great strength, which is their imaginative and analytical facility, but it is their greatest weakness: they can create “artificial” thoughts which do not relate to the world around them, and thus mislead themselves based on what they’d like to believe, not what they can know from an inspection of their world. There’s much talk about the scientific method – experiment based on conjecture, observe, conjecture, repeat – but isn’t it the same process we use in less formal incarnation to discover our world, from our time as babies nibbling on different objects to test their solidity, to our last moments on earth? In this sense, debugging a computer program or exploring a new continent or taking LSD is the same task as a scientific experiment. We observe the world, make theories about how it works, and then test those theories. Of course, the ones about death cannot be tested, and this opens a giant loophole for us to make a foundational theory about God or “life eternal,” and in order to support it, to invent many other illusions so that it seems like a realistic, complete system of thought.

This human problem – distinguishing the internal world from the external – is not unique to humans, but as they’re the only creatures with “higher” logical functions on earth, they are our only example. It is magnified as a problem when the question of civilization arises, because for the first time, groups must be instructed in organizing principles they cannot directly experience, e.g. “you grow grain, he’ll make bread, and that other guy will distribute it to the people at large.” Where individuals err in assuming their internal worlds are more real than external reality, civilizations err by finding popular assumptions that become law because people act according to them; whole civilizations have perished by upholding the rules that, in theory, will lead them to external life, but by denying reality allow crops to wither, invaders to intrude, decay of internal discipline to make people ineffective. Not everyone must be deluded, but when enough are, the future of the civilization becomes a deathmarch. If you want a working definition of nihilism from a political-philosophical perspective, it is an affirmation of the structure and process of reality, in dramatic contrast to the appearances of objects and the seemingly-real perceptions that turn out to be phantasma of our internal minds, and have nothing to do with external reality. Nihilism is facing facts: whether or not we get eternal life, we have to keep the crops going and invaders outside and internal discipline high, or we will collapse as a functional entity. “Structure” in this context would be understand of our world as it operates, including that people need grain to eat and need to act on realistic principles, or invaders, disease, and internal listlessness will condemn us all.

Currently, our society is a linear construction of opposites that do not exist in nature – they are purely perceptual within human minds: good/evil, profit/loss, popular/unpopular. The best product is not always a necessary product (iPod), nor the best product (SUVs), nor even a good idea (cigarettes), but, well, it’s popular and all that money goes back to its creator, so it is Good according to our lexicon. Similarly, we pick our leaders according to those favored by most people, and therefore, our leaders become those who make the biggest promises and find a way to duck the followthrough; since most people relying on such delusions are not rocket scientists, they quickly forget and go about their lives merrily assuming that because promises were made and the election was won, they’ll come true and everything will be A+ from now on. Some might argue that in nature there is profit and loss, but a quick study reveals that be false: in nature there is success or failure, and it has nothing to do with popularity, or all animals would be immortal. Similarly, some will argue that there’s good (heterosexual intercourse) and evil (anal intercourse) in nature, but when one sees the function of anal intercourse in nature (among apes, appeasing intruders) it is clear that no such judgment “exists,” except in our minds. In our minds… well, that’s not a logical test, according to any methods scientific or otherwise. It’s wishful thinking, in the common parlance.

What is most disturbing about this view, which invariably becomes popular in the later stages of civilization, is that it imposes a singular standard and form-factor upon each person and his or her desires, ambitions, needs – as well as what that person requires to stay alive and live well, a quantity often quite separate from what they think they desire (people, like lab rats, will often pick pleasurable sensations over long-term benefits, thus drink instead of investing their cash in future returns, u.s.w.). In such a mode of thought, we are all form-stamped by a bureaucratic, mechanical or social machine, according to what is popular, and therein we see the origin of this thought process: it selects what most people want to believe, over what is real. Through this mechanism, civilizations move into a senility formed of acting according to internal assumptions, and thus eventually coming into conflict with cold hard reality, whether it’s invading Vandals, crop failure, or internal discohesion. While that end in itself may be far off, the intermediate problem is that living in such societies is, at the lowest and highest levels of our perception, disturbing. Not only is there illusion taken as reality, but it is an illusion created out of what ideas are popular and therefore (because most people are not wise) contra-wisdom and contra-realistic. In later civilization, we all serve the whims of popularity and the illusions of the crowd, awaiting that future day when the shit finally hits the fan and we are forced to acknowledge our reliance on illusion.

What Nihilism Might Be

Solvents separate matter into its component parts. Nihilism could be viewed as a mental solvent which divides illusion from a realistic perception of individual and world as a continuous, joined, inter-reliant process. When one sees the world only in terms of appearance, and has no knowledge of structure, illusions and good idea look similar: death and “life eternal” are simply opposite extremes, not logical results of radically different processes. To someone dwelling in illusion, a fern is a green thing that appears in forests and sometimes, lawn gardens; to someone concerned with design and structure, a fern is a plant of a certain shape, genetic background, and place in an ecosystem whereby it appears when the right conditions – sunlight, soil, water, surrounding plants and animals – exist, and serves a certain role in its processing of sunlight to water and oxygen, strengthening the ground with root mass, and providing homes and food to other plants and animals. While to someone dwelling in illusion human societies may be measured in terms of how little they harm the retarded and infirm and insane, to someone grounded in reality, the only measure of a society is its long-term survival – whether they murder the retarded, or keep them in gilded cages, is completely irrelevant to that final determination (although resources expended on the non-productive is part of what determines success or failure). We can live in our own mental worlds, perhaps, but the world outside of us keeps going, and our interaction with it is the only determination of success or failure; the rest is entirely cognitive dissonance.

(A great and practical example for young people especially is the difference between music quality and hype/presentation. Many artists will be presented to you as “new”,”unique” or even “brutal,” but this has no bearing on the underlying quality of the music. Similarly, neither does production; if the music is well-composed, using harmony and melody and rhythm and structure well, it should be excellent music if played on a single acoustic guitar, a Casio keyboard, or as presented by the band on their label-financed heavy-production debut. Stuff that “sounds good” often is insubstantial, but has excellent production and an enigmatic image, but over time it fails to reward in the way that art does, by creating a poetry of life that enlightens and compels. It may not even hold up to musical scrutiny, when it is pointed out that behind the flutes and sirens and wailing guitars and screaming divas, the song is essentially a variation on a well-known and tedious ballad form or blues form. Hype and production are excellent ways to get people to buy a zero-value product, that is, a repetition of past successes, while getting them to convince themselves that they have found something new and enlightening. If you are a nihilist, you look past whether it “sounds good” or feels right or you like the image or it makes you feel like you’re part of some kind of revolution in behavior, and analyze the music: if it does not stand out from the usual patterns enough to be expressing something not new or unique but particular to its ideas, and demonstrative of those ideas, it’s hype and not reality. It’s “art” and not art. We can play word games here, too, but if you value your time and are not brick-stupid, you’ll see why it’s important to find the real art.)

Another way to view nihilism is transcendence of what we call, in the modern West, the “ego.” Egomania occurs through cognitive dissonance when, reality not being to our liking, we invent our own; at this point, we can either invent it and recognize it as unreal but symbolically evocative, something we call fantasy, or we can invent it and claim it as either a higher reality than the real world, or a reality that supplants existence. Egomania is assertion that our internal worlds are more real than the external world, which is paradoxical as the latter includes the former (we are necessarily accurately represented in the external world, but there is no assurance that it is accurately represented in our internal world). When we think egomaniacally, as most people in the West do, we see the world as limited to our own perceptions and desires, and ignore the continuity between self and external world; we also think according to the form of ourselves, meaning that we see all decisions, ethical and otherwise, as limited to individuals. This cuts us off from a holistic morality by which we might for example see our environment as an extension of ourselves, both as a parent and a process upon which we are dependent; it cuts us off from considering unpopular decisions that nonetheless are right, when we consider the direction of our civilization. Our modern conception of morality is one that regulates the rights, survival and treatment of individuals, but it has no capacity for a holistic morality which sees individuals, environment and civilization as interdependent entities and thus makes decisions at the level of what is best for that convergent nexus.

This brings us to the crux of a philosophical dilemma in the West. The separation of mind and body creates a duality in which we see thoughts and external reality as discrete, isolated entities. One is either an idealism, or a realist, in this view, and never the twain shall meet. From a nihilist perspective, idealism explains realism, in that reality is not simply physical appearance but a structure and process; a “design,” even if we decide there is no Designer (and for our daily lives: does it matter?). This conversion is accomplished by taking idealism, or “the philosophical doctrine that reality somehow mind-correlative or mind-coordinated-that the real objects constituting the ‘external world’ are not independent of cognizing minds, but exist only as in some correlative to mental operations” (Cambridge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Second Edition), to its extreme, which is to assume that the external world and thoughts operate by a single mechanism; in that context, the world operates as an idea, and what is important in the world is not physicality or appearance but idea – design, concept, structure and process. Matching that supposition is an extension of realism, or a belief in the preeminence of external reality, which hyperextends to a study of how reality operates, and from that, a focus on its abstract properties. To analyze reality is to see that it operates like thought; to analyze thought is to see that the world operates much as thoughts do, and therefore, that putting thoughts into flesh is the supreme form of thinking.

Nihilism is a joining of these two extremes through a focus on the practical study of reality and a rejection of preconceptions brought on by anthrocentric viewing of the world, which is necessarily confined to the physicality of individuals and objects as they appear to humans. It is not an attempt to create an obligation, or an ideal, in and of itself, but a reduction of things to their simplest, most real elements so that higher ideals can be created, much as the creation of new civilizations produces a collective focus on the forging of something better than previous civilizations. F.W. Nietzsche wrote of the necessity of “going under” in modernity, and one interpretation of this is that one cannot create “higher” ideals when our concept of higher/lower is linear and predefined; one must remove all value and undergo a “reevaluation of all values,” focusing only on those which survive the test of a his “philosophical hammer,” much like knocking on a wall to find hollow areas. Nihilism is a going under in the form of removal of all value, and construction of values based on reality instead of potentially internalized abstraction. In a nihilist worldview, nothingness is as important as somethingness, as only nothingness can like a midnight predator carry away the somethingness that has outlived its usefulness, is illusory, irrelevant or fanatical. Nihilism is a mental discipline which clarifies outlook by disciplining the mind to understand the structure of reality, and exclude anything which regardless of appearance is not true to that understanding.

In this, it is possible that nihilists witness civilization as it actually is: an eternal process of birth, growth, and an aging brought about by self-obsession, leading rapidly to a distancing from reality, thus irrelevance and death. To remove all preconceptions of value is to have to re-invent value that is relevant to things as they are both right now and eternally, in that throughout history the basic rules of civilization have never changed; either there is a system of organization that makes sense, or there is illusion and ruin. Civilizations start out young and healthy, unified by whatever ideals made their members come together in the first place with the intent of building something new; when succeeding generations take this for granted, they drift into illusory ideals, at which point no “higher ideals” can overcome the illusion, because one cannot get “higher” than the notion of individual self-interest. One must instead go lower, to the state before civilization reformed, to re-design its ideals.

What Nihilism Does For You

If you live in a time when illusion is seen as reality, and reality is an unknown continent, nihilism can on a personal level save you time by removing illusion and leaving only what is honestly relevant to your life and existential happiness. A simple version of this is undergone by many in corporate America who, finding it relatively easy to succeed, then find themselves wanting less time in the office and more spent on those things that are eternally human to desire: family, friends, local community and increase of wisdom and balance in the self. The illusion is that money is more important than anything else; the actuality is that if you have enough, and you have the ability to do the things in life which are more important in the long term (imagine seeing your life from your deathbed) than money, it is not only sufficient but superior to a hollow existence where life is secondary to jobs and payment.

Further, nihilism drives away fears through illusion. If one believes public rhetoric, it will seem necessary to cower under the bed as if hiding from a host of fears: public ridicule, global warming, nuclear war, the Wrath of God, fascism, sodomy, drug users, hackers, Satanists. These vast apocalyptic fears operate for the most part as distraction, keeping our minds off the emptiness of modern life and the inevitability of our society facing consequences of its reckless action. What is important are not fears, but real threats and most importantly, how to fix them. Much like people who hide behind cynicism, most moderns fixate on “raising awareness” of problems, and rarely do anything to address them practically. This creates a culture of fear where in the name of amorphous fears, or balkanized infighting between political and ethnic groups, we miss the point: we can fix our civilization, but we’ll have to do it at a more basic level than politics, economics and social popularity afford.

Nihilism helps many lead better lives. When they cut out the meaningless garbage that infiltrates from television and other neurotic people, they can see their actual needs are simple and easily satisfied. From this, they can see how the larger unaddressed problems – the tedium of modern society, the pollution of nurturing environment, the degeneration of culture and heritage, our loss of wisdom as a civilization – can be important not only for the fragile individual but for future generations; nihilism leads people to holistic moral thinking.

(If you want it in boring, everyday terms, nihilism is a bullshit eliminator. If someone tells you something, look at it with eyes abstracted from everyday life and what people think and what is profitable; look toward what is real, and then find what ideals maintain that status. You like being alive, right? – If not, consider suicide. If you like living, you believe in life, and you’ll do what furthers life. Garbage is not life. Illusion in religious form, political form and social form is one part of this; another is overhyped garage bands, or oversold commercial rock, or trendy books that tell you nothing of importance. It is better to sit in silence and contemplate the universe than to fill your head with garbage. Do you need to watch the mundane movies and pointless TV shows, and entertaining commercial messages? Do you need a sports car? Will owning one more DVD, video game, or CD of not-that-great-after-all rock music help you? When you pull aside the curtains, the truth is there, naked like the contents of your lunch on the end of a fork – apologies to William S. Burroughs.)

The Doctrine of Parallelism

We’re going to make a sizable leap here. As said before, this is an introductory document, a toehold into a philosophical system, and not a complete explanation. When you accept that there is a structure behind reality that acts in the method of thoughts, and when you observe natural surroundings and see how consistent this is, you then are ready to think in parallel. Put simply, parallel thinking is the ultimate refutation of the linearity and binary morality of modern society. If we are to construct right and wrong, they are specific to the situation at hand. Some will condemn this as “situational morality,” but holistic morality is a form of thought that is best applied in specifics; after all, a different rule applies to the wolf than the dove, and different standards apply to the behavior of plumbers, computer programmers, and political leaders. Some will see this as relativism, but under analysis, it’s clear that relativism is one standard of morality applied with forgiveness for disadvantages to certain situations or experiences of individuals; the morality of thinking in parallel says that there is no one standard except reality itself, and that many different types of things acting in parallel create this.

One area where this can be seen is homosexuality. For most heterosexuals, having homosexual behavior occur in neighborhoods or other areas where children are present is not positive; they would rather raise their children according to heterosexual role models and behavioral examples. However, homosexuality occurs, and the best data available suggests that in most cases it is inborn; obviously, some are induced into homosexuality much as many heterosexuals are brought into forms of deviant sexual behavior, through sexual abuse or conditioning in youth (hence the desire for normal, heterosexual role models; most heterosexuals also do not want promiscuity, coprophagia, BDSM, etc. occurring around their children even if solely in a heterosexual context). So what to do with homosexuals, for whom being raised in a heterosexual society can be oppressive, and heterosexuals, for whom having homosexual behavior around can be equally oppressive and deleterious? We think in parallel: some communities will choose to be heterosexual, and others homosexual, and when they meet on neutral ground, it is likely that neither will assert its morality as a dominant, inviolate rigid code. Morality after all is not something we can prove exists, but something we derive from natural structure in order to establish a civilization of the type we desire. Some civilizations will endorse promiscuity and coprophagia, but in doing so, they miss out on some opportunities granted to civilizations with a more disciplined moral code. The converse is also true. There is no one law for the ox and the raven; to do so is to commit tyranny.

Another area where this can be applied is that of recreational chemicals, which is our modern shorthand for perception-altering drugs. Some communities will deny alcohol and cigarettes; some will embrace LSD and marijuana and mushrooms and perhaps even go further. It is likely that the two will never find common ground except where the question of drug use does not arise (Wal-Mart?). When we see experiments in drug legalization, like British Columbia or Amsterdam or Christiania in Denmark, we see an artificial gold rush toward hedonism caused by the fact that, worldwide, there are few relatively safe places to go take drugs. Were it such that in every continent there were some area where the rules on such things were relaxed, it is likely that those who seek drugs could go there and pursue them at a fraction the cost of illicit use. This would not only curb crime, but keep drug use out of normal (heterosexual and homosexual) neighborhoods where such things are not desired as unintentional role models for children, and the cost of drug use – including, let’s be honest, increased laziness and pizza consumption – is considered funds misspent that could otherwise be directed toward bettering other aspects of the community. There is no one rule. We cannot “prove” that drugs are good, or bad, but we can see how in some places they would be helpful and in others, destructive. Do the Hindu communities where marijuana is a sacrament have greater crime and pizza consumption? Would Amsterdam have as many problems if it wasn’t the world nexus of marijuana tourism?

The area most controversial where this could be applied is the taking of human life, and the enslavement of others. Some communities, such as a community formed by those who live according to the doctrines of black metal music, would not have any prohibition on honor killings, death in combat, or even brutal removal of ingrates. In their worldview, honest combat produces a survivor (“winner”) and one judged less able, the dead (“loser”). Most societies find this concept reprehensible, and would never permit it, so it makes sense to have communities where combat to the death, duels and other honor violence, are seen as a way of selecting the more capable citizens. Further, in many communities, it would be seen fit to work by the old Texas standard, “Judge, he needed killing,” whereby bullies, cattle thieves, morons and other undesirables could be removed with tacit consent of community. While many communities would prefer intricate and expensive legal systems, in some areas, if a person was known as a child molestor or cheat or thief, it would be cheaper and easier to look the other way while a local hotblood challenged that person to a fight and attempted to murder him. Cormac McCarthy describes such places in his book “Blood Meridian,” as they are also described in Burroughs’ “Naked Lunch”: lands where there is no law except strength, and as a result, where all citizens are ready for combat and by process of evolution, over generations become more apt at it. Are all peoples warrior peoples? Clearly not. Would all communities tolerate this? No. But much as we need plumbers and computer scientists, we need warriors, and if some greater threat manifests itself, it is probable that the people of these warlike communities would be esteemed as valuable combatants.

Another controversial area where localization – the best thought from the leftist side of things has emphasized this theory under that term – becomes preeminent is that of race. Even mentioning race, or that there are physical differences between races, is currently taboo in the West and will get you fired, removed from office, drummed out of volunteer capacities, blacklisted in industry and crucified in the media. History tells us that human races evolved under different climates and different pressures, and therefore have different abilities. We cannot “prove,” objectively, that any one collection of abilities is superior to another. Communities are united by common belief, and some communities will opt for this to be a unification of culture, language and heritage. Some communities will opt to be cosmopolitan, mixed-race communities like New York City. Others will choose to be ethnocentric and to defend their ethnic-cultural heritage as necessary to their future; this preserves their uniqueness, and is the only realistic basis for true diversity. Without this bond, you have Disneyland-style fake communities which give nods to heritage but are basically products of modern time. Let there always be Finns, Zulus, Germans, Basques, Cherokee, Aztec, Norwegian, and even Irish – this is diversity; this is multiculture; this is all of the good things that exposure to different cultures can provide. This is the only mature attitude toward race, instead of trying to produce, as the Bush administration has, one global standard of liberal mixed-ethnic democracy that essentially destroys culture and replaces it with malls and television. The race taboo is propelled by those without a clear cultural heritage who want to revenge themselves upon those who do, much as in high school those with low self-esteem tried to antagonize both nerds and class leaders.

Still another area where localization saves us from our current civilization’s misery is that of intelligence. A nihilist has no use for social pretense that says we are all equal; some are fit to be leaders by virtue of their natural intelligence, and no amount of education or government programs can make someone else be able for that position. Some prefer to correlate this with race, but a nihilist has no use for this, either: even within what George Santayana calls the “favored races” there are many completely stupid people, especially those with the worst kind of stupidity, which is a combination of cowardice and bad leadership skills. Few people mind a dumb person who is humble and follows orders well, but dumb people who agitate for change that benefits dumb people quickly destroy any civilization. Some localities may opt to admit anyone without regard to intelligence or character, but others will wish to only accept those of a commensurate mental level to the best of their populations, and will therefore exclude morons, blockheads, fools and ingrates. This conflicts with the idea of universal rights, and shows us why the concept is illusory: if morons have the “universal right” to move anywhere, what about people who want the right and freedom to live apart from morons? Modern society tells us that the way to do this is to earn enough money to live in an exclusive neighborhood, but even then, one must interact with morons daily for goods and services, in addition to dealing with those morons who inherited money or earned it through stupid means. Social Darwinism, or the idea that those who are the best and smartest earn the most money, has two holes: first, not all intelligent people opt to chase the money wagon and second, most morons are greedy, and many of them succeed through luck or persistence. A nihilist naturally laughs at the idea of correlating money to intelligence, and would prefer to live in a community where morons are excluded.

There are numerous issues that divide communities which can be resolved through this model. Anti-abortion devotees might need their own community, as there’s no way to make a law that both pro- and anti-abortion people will find fair. The constant combat between different groups, whether divided by sex or race or preference of values, exhausts our current civilization because so much of its time and energy is spent on internal conflict. The major reason that we choose this insane method is that it enables us to believe we are united by the form factor of being human, and therefore, that there is no need for belief beyond that. It enables us to ignore nature. However, as Carl Jung observed, by nature humans are of several different personality combinations, and those serve a role in the larger social construct (for example, a Meyers-Briggs “INTJ” personality will be a philosopher). There is no single archetype of human, but different types which match different roles in nature, much as there are different ecosystems for which there are specific combinations of host species. Our environment creates a pattern, and we evolve in a form that matches its unique contours; in the same way, humans have adapted to a self-created environment, civilization.

Paul Woodruff, in his book “Reverence,” pointed out that in modern times we have lost the ability to revere nature and our world. Part of our loss of reverence is this insistence on one-size-fits-all rules for civilization; we are so unstable as individuals that we want a solid, clear-cut, and absolute rule, but nature does not fit this pattern and so we override. One step to regaining reverence is to stop judging objects, actions and people by a linear binary (yes/no) rule and to start thinking in parallel. In some places, there should always be debauchery, and in others, there should always be quiet conservative living. Communities will shed people from newer generations who do not find that type of locality valuable, and those will in turn have to find their own living elsewhere, and define their own path. In this, we escape the illusion that a perfect social construct can be engineered for us all, and that by forcing us through it, something Utopian will emerge. Such illusions convince us to be passive, and to think solely in terms of governmental solutions applied by rote force, which limits our perspective on the manifold options available in almost every situation.

Nihilism in Politics

We define politics as the process of convincing large numbers of people to do something. No belief system can escape politics, unless it deals with the individual outside of civilization, at which point writing it down is hypocrisy. For this reason, although nihilism is a mental discipline and not a political platform, there are some areas in which nihilism will influence modern politics. The first and most obvious is that, unlike most who are either bought off or blind to the inadequacies of the status quo, nihilists will recognize that it is a deathmarch: an illogical path that will ultimately lead to failure, but because saying so is taboo and unprofitable, we all go along with it even though we march to our doom. Look into the future. Our earth will be more, and not less, polluted, because no matter what we do there will be more people than ever using technology and producing waste. A consequence of our population growth will be a lack of natural spaces to enjoy, because every single continent on earth will be divided up into salable land and covered in fences and concrete to the degree that unbroken wilderness will not exist. Nations will no longer convey a cultural identity or heritage, so we will all be citizens of the world and have what is offered in default of culture, namely Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola and re-runs of “Friends.” Bred for jobs and obedience, we will lose the best of our people because they are no longer relevant in a world that prizes money and docility over leadership, wisdom, and independent thinking. Endless commercial messages will adorn our cities and, because there is no culture, most will spend time watching television or engaging in equally debasing virtual entertainment. Since leadership will be useless, most people will have such flexible spines that they will be utter whores, and conversation will be worthless and friendship a meaningless term. Won’t be much to live for, so instead, we’ll survive, and hope “someday” it will get better.

The cause of all of this disaster will have been a fundamental inability to deal with reality. Our society, wealthy and powered by cheap fossil fuels, grew at an exponential rate with an inverse relationship to the quality of intelligence, leadership ability and holistic moral outlook of its population. We’ve bred a horde of fools and bred out the quality intelligences, replacing them with “geniuses” like Jay Gould and Bill Clinton. Since consumption is the only logic we understand, we have consumed much of our planet, and focus on symbolic factors like global warming in order to avoid looking at the enormity of the problem. Our governments get better with their computers, cameras and social security numbers in order to ensure that dissidents are more quickly quashed, and they’ve found better methods than locking them up; instead, they proclaim them as taboo-breakers, and let the rest of the citizens boycott them as dangerous to future business. All of this comes too much attention paid to the popularity of ideas, and a denial that what is popular rarely corresponds to an intelligent response to reality. We’ve had leftist governments, and rightist governments, and neither have dealt with this underlying problem.

Nihilism is not a bullet-pointed list, but there are some clearly definable ideas that nihilists will embrace while others do not. Extreme ecology makes sense if you wish to preserve your planet’s life, which directly contributes to maintenance of its climate and land. Localization makes sense if you wish to spare us all from having to find one rule for diametrically opposed ideologues. Preservation of national identity, and granting local communities the right to exclude or murder morons and perverts and other unwanted detritus of the human gene pool, also makes sense. Giving the individual greater existential autonomy than a society of products to buy and jobs at which to serve is more realistic than assuming we can all be crammed into the same mould and out will come perfect, uniform citizens. Realizing that commerce as a motivator does not address the subtle and long-term issues of our society liberates us from having to constantly manipulate each other through money. Finally, recognition that popularity of an idea has no bearing on its fitness for our collective survival frees us from the tyranny of the crowd, and lets us have leaders again, who instead of finding out what is popular and espousing it, find out what is practical and pursue it. Nihilism ends the society of illusions by shattering the power of the Crowd. Societies age and die when popularity becomes more important than pragmatism, and nihilism offers us a way to “go under” this process by removing value and discovering it anew. In this sense, nihilism is immediately political, although it is unlikely that an organized nihilist political presence will be seen.

How to Apply Nihilism

The underlying control level which supports politics is public attitude. If the public is “educated” to expect a concept as positive, and another as negative, it is a trivial matter to associate political issues with one of the two and thus to manipulate them. This creates a metapolitical battleground where ideas and their valuation determines the future means of gaining intellectual currency for ideas; this translates into political power. While nihilism applies to political viewpoints, as shown above, it is primarily efficacious as a change in attitudes and values to those within society, and can be used from that level to later alter political fortunes.

More importantly for those who see to what degree our civilization has become stagnant, nihilism is a guiding force for analyzing the task of creating a future civilization, whether a breakaway colony or a restarting of life in the ruins. Such an outlook is not favorable to a need for instant gratification; unlike conventional politics, which prescribes highly polarized immediate actions which do not change the underlying structure, nihilist thinking proposes enduring changes made slowly through individual rejection of garbage values.

To apply nihilism, start by viewing the world as a nihilist: reject that which has no value in the context of the whole, or the structure of reality, and replace it with things of solid demonstrable value, as found in biology, physics and philosophy. Do what is necessary to have a quality life, but go no further down the path of luxury and materialism, because it is meaningless. Use nihilist principles wherever you are given a choice; if even a tenth of our population refused to buy junk food, its longevity would be limited. Contrast nihilist principles to the “normal” illusory view that most of the population prefers, using short and friendly but insightful statements to point out where null value can be replaced by something of meaning. When people bring up “problems,” give a few words that show where nihilism reduces the illusion to garbage, and suggest a better course of action. Abstain from all of the idiotic things people do, and apply yourself toward constructive tasks. Those who cannot both reject garbage and create better are unworthy of any accolades; they are passive and deserve whatever slavery this world will throw at them.

What is Nihilism?

Having discussed the modes of thought through which an individual passes in being a nihilist, it is now appropriate to use the dreaded “to be” construction to describe nihilism: nihilism is an affirmation of reality so that ideals based on the structure of reality can be applied to thought and action. Like Zen Buddhism, it is a form of mental clearing and sharpening of focus more than a set of beliefs in and of itself; this is why nihilism is a belief in nothing, being both a belief in nothing (no inherent belief outside of reality) and a belief in nothingness (applying nothingness to useless thoughts, in an eternal cycle that like our own thinking, balances a consumptive emptiness against a progressive growth and proliferation of idea). It is a freedom, in a way that “freedom” cannot be applied in a modern society, from the views that others (specifically, the Crowd) apply out of fear, and a desire to use this freedom to create a new and more honest human who can view life as it is and still produce from it heroic ideals. When Nietzsche spoke of the “super-human,” this was his concept: that those who could accept the literality of life and fate and yet still do what is required to create a braver, more intelligent, more visionary human, would rise above the rabble and become a new standard of humanity. While our current definition of “humanity” applies more to pity and blind compassion for individuals, the super-human would think on the level of the structure of reality as a whole, both thinking in parallel and holistically, doing what is right not to preserve individual life but to nurture overall design.

The best thinkers in all doctrines have reached this state of mind. While they may not call it nihilism, and many rail against the form of “nihilism” that is essentially fatalism, or a decision to declare all thoughts and actions impossible and thus to relapse into mental entropy, all have accomplished this clarity of mind and transcendent state of seeing structure and not appearance. Plato, in his metaphor of the cave, describes humanity as imprisioned in a cave of its own perceptual dependence on visible form, and portrays philosophers-kings – his “super-humans” – as those who leave the cave and, while blinded by the light of real day for the first time, find a way to ascertain the true nature of reality and then to return to the cave, to explain it to those who have seen theretofore only shadows. This state of mind is heroic in that one sees what is important to an overall process, and is willing to assert that higher degree of organization whatever the cost, thus combining a realism (perception of physical world “as is”) with an idealism (measuring the world in contrasts between degrees of organization in thought) into a heroic vision, in which life itself is a means to an end, and that end is a greater organization or order to existence as a whole. Nihilism is a gateway to this worldview.

The Crowd serve death because through their great fear of it, they create rules which do little more than restrict the best among us, who they fear because they cannot understand them. What defines a crowd is its lack of direction, and its need to be led, and if it is to be led, a preference for one among it who will throw out a popular idea and thus congeal its unformed will into some lowest common denominator which is actionable. Reality does not play by this game, because to adopt a constant lowest common denominator is to descend in both ideals and evolution, because that which applies evolutionary pressure is a striving for larger goals. The humans who were content without fire remained little more than apes; those who needed fire were driven into the northern climates, away from the easily nourishing jungle, and eventually thrust themselves forward toward other goals which supported the need for fire: organized civilization, language, learning, and the concept of ideals versus materialism, or a simple assurance of comfort. Evolution forced them to consider “reasons why” and therefore, the develop themselves in such a way that those who could understand reasons why could compel themselves to do what was otherwise inconvenient and uncomfortable. From this is the root of all heroism that produces the best of what society offers: philosophy, art, architecture and morality.

The Crowd creates a reality to serve its fears, and by imposing it, crushes realism, because to point out that the emperor wears no clothes is to offend and disturb the crowd. Why might a nihilist insist on accuracy in taboo matters such as eugenics, race and environmental needs to reduce population? — because the Crowd will go to its death before it will ever do such a thing. To notice reality is to point out that Crowd reality is a complete lie, an illusion, and a sick farce designed to supplant the flagging egos of those with low self-esteem and relatively low intelligence (attributes necessary to be a member of a crowd, and not an independent thinker or leader). Those who create civilizations are succeeded by those who could not do the same, and by virtue of this opulence, societies soon breed crowds that through their greater numbers demand to control reality. One either illustrates the lie of their artificial reality, and points society in another direction, or drowns in the weight of lowest common denominator demands; all societies perish this way. Before the invader at the gates can conquer, or the disease can enfilade the population, or internal strife can tear apart a nation, there must be a failure of organization and even more a failure of will toward something higher than that which is convenient and materially comfortable, commercially viable, popular, etc. Dying societies inevitably create a Satan or Osama bin Laden to which they assign blame for their failing, but it is within; this is why while a nihilist may recognize the truth about race or eugenics, it is impossible to logically blame Negroes or the retarded for the downfall of a society. Blame is not useful, but diagnosis is, and an accurate diagnosis suggests that ordinary capable people become misinformed and accept mediocre ideas, at the behest of the Crowd, and thus condemn themselves to doom. The Crowd will always exist, but in healthy societies, it is kept in check by the wisdom of others.

Much as there is a “super-man” possible in our future, in our past and present there are Undermen, who are those with no higher goals than philosophical materialism: a denial of all value outside the physical world and its comforts. Those who take this lazy attitude to the form of a political agenda are Crowdists, and they can be found in Left and Right alike, supported by those who are emboldened by pity, or the feeling of superiority one gets for helping someone of lesser ability or fortune. Nihilism addresses such illusions and negates them, using nothingness as a weapon to clear the earth so that somethingness can again take root. A nihilist has no use for pity or the kind of low self-esteem that needs the response of others in order to feel good about itself. Like Zen monks, or European knights, a nihilist acts according to what is right by the order of the universe, and does so independently of consequences, including personal morality. To be thus independent from social conditioning, which is not as much a process of evil governments/corporations (“Satan”) as by the neurotic concerns of peers (“the enemy within”), is to crush the worthless and destructive opinions of the crowd, so expect retribution wherever one of them has power. Yet to have this state of mind is not to blame them, or those who wield pity, as they are misinformed rather than malevolent, and with better leadership – achieved, in part by acting independently and thus putting the lie to their false “reality” – they will act in a better state of mind. It goes without saying that such people are incapable of becoming super-humans but, while thus obsolete for our optimal future, will be the parents and grandparents of those who, if bred according to rigorous evolutionary standards, will become superhuman.

To distill this to a simple equation: one can either accept negativity (death, defecation, loss, sorrow) in life, or one can use cognitive dissonance to create a pleasant-sounding reality which denies it while asserting only the positive comforts of life, but to do so is to miss out on the challenge of life. To accept good and bad together as a means toward the continuation of life, and as a necessary part of the evolution that shaped us from mice into apes into humans, is a fully mature attitude and one that only a small portion of the population can understand. Most of you reading this will not understand nihilism and physically cannot; breed well and hope your children are smarter.

Transcendence

“Reverence is the capacity for awe in the face of the transcendent.” – Paul Woodruff
When one is philosophically mature enough to look past good and bad and see them as component parts of reality which work in opposition to create a larger good, or “meta-good” as we might be tempted to call it, good and bad lose moral value in and of themselves. They become a means, where the end is the continuation of reality. Much as humans respond to nature in parallel structures, the destructive and the creative are balanced forces that maintain equilibrium of a sort; without forest fires, forests choke; without predators, species overpopulate and deplete food sources and become extinct; without war and predators, humans become fat, lazy and useless (whoops, no idea how that last one got in there). In this context, we leave behind binary, linear morality and see the world as a nihilist: a vast functional machine which permits us the experience of consciousness.

In popular lore, there is frequent mention of “mind over matter,” but this is usually interpreted to mean using the mind to convince the flesh to do things it would not ordinarily do, like run marathons and lift cars from runover children. The concept of transcendence is an evolution of this which harmonizes with the nihilist emphasis on structure over appearance as well as the idealist concept that thoughts define reality more than physicality. Transcendence occurs when, acknowledging all that is destructive and uncomfortable in the world, we take a greater delight in the idea of what we are accomplishing, not as much what it means in the anthrocentric valuation, but an appreciation of its design in the greater working of our universe. While we are a small part of that whole, transcendence has us find a place in it and to appreciate its design and significance in that context, even to the degree of “forgiving” the world for our suffering and eventual death, and thus lightening our burden by recognizing that physicality and demise are secondary in importance to achievement of idea, whether that is a moral concept, a symphony, a painting, or even a life lived normally according to moral principles in which there were intangible rewards like learning, time spent with family, and personal betterment achieved by facing fears and surmounting them, gaining new abilities.

It might be said that the ultimate process of idealism, in which reality is “mind-correlative” or composed of thoughts or thoughtlike phenomena, is transcendence, or the achievement of valuation of idea over all physical comfort or discomfort. It is not asceticism, per se, in that it is not gained through denial of physical existence, but on the contrary, asserts the importance of organizing physical existence according to idealized design. It converges with heroism in that the idealist in this context acts regardless of personal consequences, because if the world is idea, the only way to truly express that idea is by putting it into action in the world. This form of belief unifies the previously divided mind and body, and raises the human from the level of a reactionary animal to a planner and a creator who is also undivided from his or her natural role. Historically, two of the most important philosophers in European canon, Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche, are united in this belief: Nietzsche sought a “pragmatic idealism” while Schopenhauer was a “cosmic idealist,” yet both appreciated the role of heroism in creating higher degrees of order. While Nietzsche derived his greatest inspiration from the ancient Greeks, Schopenhauer found great meaning in an ancient Indian text known as the Bhagavad-Gita, which introduces its view of philosophy through the viewpoint of a warrior concerned over the death and destruction he is about to unleash on his fellow humans. Through that question, the text explores the idea of placing idea over physical consequences by explaining that all reality is continuous will originating in a mystical source, and thus that while lives come and go the eternal order of reality remains, and creating a more organized harmony with that force is the goal of any heroic individual. As if proving parallelism through history, the ancient Greeks lauded similar concepts in their worship of heroic death and tragedy, in which triumph is found through assertion of higher ideal even when death and ruin inevitably follow. Praising what is right in a holistic sense over what is advantageous to the individual is the primary trait of all heroic, idealistic and nihilist philosophies.

In such modes of thought, the human being unifies imaginative and analytical facilities, using a method not dissimilar to science to interpret the world, and a method not far from art in projecting a next evolutionary stage, driven by such non-linear thought processes as informed emotion and calculated creativity. In the great transcendental thinkers of the West, most notably Ralph Waldo Emerson and Johannes Eckhart, the desire to merge these two seemingly disparate mental operations was the foundation of a spirituality based, as is Buddhism and ancient Christianity, on a quietude of the soul and a mystical state of mind in which one was “in” Nirvana or Heaven, a state of clarity both regarding life as suffering and a purpose and vision of what can give life meaning. All Romantic philosophies and art have this basis as well, and are equally mystical, as such states of mind cannot be achieved through linear description. Nihilism can be seen as a spiritual device for achieving this quietude of soul by abrading the meaningless and insignificant facts of physicality in order to clearly see the Idea, much as a philosopher leaving Plato’s cave would stand in reverent silence at the first glimpse of the sun. It is thus despite its primal origins as a “going under” through removal of meaning, a reevaulation of meaning and value, and a dramatic opposition to philosophical materialism, or the doctrine that the physical world and individual comfort are of overriding importance and thus outrank thought and idea.

Materialism is the essence of every destructive action taken by humanity, even though most who practice it would have no knowledge of it by that name. Most people, being well-meaning but misinformed and physically unable to undergo the cognitive process of holistic vision, drift toward materialistic ideas and strive toward what gives them personal physical comfort and wealth. In the modern time, materialism manifests itself in three primary fronts:

  1. Democracy
  2. Social popularity
  3. Consumerism

Commerce is the picking of the most popular product; oversocialization the organization of society according to who is most popular (usually he who promises alcohol, sex, and money); democracy is leadership not by what is right but what is popular. Materialism encourages the individual to think only of their own preference, and to limit thought at that which directly impacts individual comfort, and thus is blind to thinking for the whole of humankind and environment. When one thinks on that level, self-interest replaces finding the right answer according to the structure of the external world, and humans become solipsistic. Further, because materialism is an opposite to idealism, it causes the Crowd to gather and tear down whatever idealists dare rise among them. Only such a misinformed and dysfunctional thought process explains humanity’s ongoing attempted genocide of its environment, its contentment to labor in horrifically boring jobs, its seeming satisfaction with petty interpersonal strife and a lack of reverence toward humans and other life forms alike, and its reliance on a world of illusion whose empty values render individual souls empty, causing neurosis and anomie at all levels of existence.

(Many humans are so divided between mind and body that they prefer ideas of a solipsistic nature to physicality, much like some drug addicts prefer intoxication to reality. Nihilism allows us to see reality as the one and only expression of both life and thought, and therefore, to see the true stakes in our dilemma, especially regarding our environment, whose destruction – a process not of complete obliteration but of disrupting its complex internal mechanations, which require more land and sea and air than humanity – will not only be the greatest tragedy of our species, but an unforgivable offense.)

Nihilism is the soft earth at the start of a wooded path toward seeing life in a more developed way. Before this path, life seems to be suffering and boredom punctuated by horror (paraphrased from H.P. Lovecraft), without meaning or direction, even when one creates an absolute God and corresponding Heaven where things are otherwise. This state of depressed mind must be like that of the inhabitants of Plato’s cave, who find themselves bored at an endless procession of shadows yet unaware of another way. A nihilist is annointed with knowledge, and must return to the world at large to speak of the sun which filters through the woods toward the end of the path. There is hope; there is meaning; there is reason and purpose to life. Whether one is a Christian, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Hindu, or a Muslim, this truth can spoken in a familiar language, as it has been discovered by the best thinkers of all religions and cultures. It is universal not only to humanity, but to all thinking beings. From nothingness comes everything, and when the two are seen as continuous, we are finally aware of the infinity of life and the great continuous gift that consciousness must be.

Says Who?

I am a writer. Therefore, I compile ideas, and write about them. This is my contribution in the great world in parallel. Yours may be different. We do not need a society solely composed of writers. You can understand these ideas, if you’re brave enough, and put them to work for you in whatever it is that you do: teaching, roadwork, computer programming, plumbing, soldiering, journalism, drug dealing, politics. It is important that you understand them, as nothing is worse than appearance without structure, as it has us chasing the ideals of our memories in a context in which they no longer apply. I am a writer, and so I write. Find your own path. If you follow any path of thought to its full logical conclusions, you will discover what is enumerated in introductory form in this article, and you will be ready, if you have inner integrity and a love for being alive, to take a stand for what you now believe: Bring your sword, bring your censure, bring your Cross – I have found it; I am ready.

(Inspired by conversations with Todd Spivak, lowtec and g0sp-hell. Dedicated to Anton Bruckner.)

Introduction to Traditionalist Thought

Friday, January 16th, 2009

nightsky_transcendence

As our modern society continues to implode on both an organizational and emotional level, many of us seek other answers. One popular one is Traditionalism, which posits that a universal integral order exists between nature and man based on role and context more than “thing-in-itself” logic including individualism and materialism. While this is a great start, it also opens a doorway to great ignorance for those who partially understand these concepts. Such people, called “Tarditionalists,” have hopelessly confused the genre for most by making it into metaphysical drama and theatre.

The solution to ignorance is not to fight it, but to construct a counter-ignorance platform, and so here we introduce several resources that can quickly and easily get you up and learning traditionalism.

While you read, I suggest you keep in mind a single principle: that the scientific method implies that reality operates by consistent principles, and that if we create adaptive responses to these that are accurate to the consistent principles of the world, we fare well; if we do not, we fail. In this light, we can see how all of history is a process of smart people sticking to reality, and others following a fashion or trend to deny reality in favor of a “social reality” which seems to work for awhile then fails because, having drifted far from a response to reality, it is unrealistic. The natural order is not just outside of us, but within us, much as patterns emerge in diverse media with similar but not necessarily visually similar configurations.

TRADITIONALISM

Traditionalism is the original idea: that our actions correspond to adaptations to nature both within and without, so there are eternal truths to life. This is in direct contrast to the view that morality or technology have changed the rules of the game. Anyone who has ever been in a relationship, or faced a great fear, knows how eternal the real experience of life can be.

  1. The Essence

    Aldous Huxley – The Perennial Philosophy

    This book is the best all-around guide to all philosophies other than modern. Huxley took his favorite resources, and quoting from them, wrote a narrative that stitched together all the pieces. He also gives a great prismatic view, as fans of the ancients tend to like to, by picking multiple points of view and showing their commonality. This is one of the drier resources on here, but if you read it first, everything else fits into place.

    Plato – The Republic

    In a famous remark, A. N. Whitehead said that the development of Western philosophy could be seen as a series of footnotes to Plato. Like the Hindus, Plato got there first, and put down his ideas in a concise form through dialogues between arch-provocateur Socrates and people who represent psychological archetypes you can represent today. In particular, Plato showed how the world of appearance and the world of structure are incompatible, with only the latter approximating reality as the product of interconnected natural/physical forces, and methodologically debunked the “wishful thinking” that underlies the illusions politicians still use to pander to us. Master this, and you’ve mastered the game.

  2. The Masters

    The Bhagavad-Gita

    Long ago, the ancient Hindus formulated their versions of the truths that every other society before or since has discovered, at least where there are smart people. Technically, Hinduism is “transcendental idealism,” or the belief in striving for abstract goals as a way to achieve good as an end and get over fear of good/evil as methods or conditions of life. I find it very cheerful, but unlike most holy books, it doesn’t pander to the sheep who want to hear that love will save the day. It’s about spiritual war to better yourself and save your society from intellectual entropy, commonly known as “stupidity.”

    Evola – The Doctrine of Awakening

    When most people think of Traditionalism, they think of Evola, because he was the first to unite Nietzschean pragmatic idealism with the ideas of the ancients in an intelligible form, and he was savvy enough to defer religious thinking in favor of psychological and epistemological depictions of reality. This book is about Buddhism, but in it, Evola articulates his basic thought at its clearest.

    Friedrich Nietzsche – On Truth and Lies in a Non-Moral Sense

    At a time when most Western philosophy had become irrelevant, fighting over definitions because social pressures prevented discussion of actual issues like, say, the ongoing parasitism of Western civilization, Nietzsche sliced in with a dual attack: one one side, he was passionate realist who saw how social reality obscured truth just as Plato’s world of appearance replaced intelligible design; on the other, he believed that life was best lived in striving joyfully for something difficult, and that complacency was both the enemy of sense and of fun. In this formative writing, Nietzsche separates human “knowing” from reality and points out how our desire to pander to others with socially succinct synopses dooms us to exclude the vital “mythic imagination” that allows us to bond creativity with analysis and appreciate life in a poetic, yet realistic, fashion.

    Max Weber: Readings And Commentary On Modernity

    Where others looked at society through a critical eye, Weber analyzed its mechanisms and mathematics, and used them to derive a clear view of its psychology. In creating this new sociology, he showed how psychology in a demographic sense determines the “behind the scenes” operation of society in a way that tangible institutions, laws, bureaucracies and public statements could not.

  3. Manifestations

    Gottfried Leibniz – Discourse on Metaphysics and Other Essays

    Through this collection of both early and mature analyses, Leibniz argues for a redirection of our thinking from the categorical to the descriptive as a means of perceiving a whole reality. Radically simple as that sounds, it sparked dissent for centuries. In these thoughts, Leibniz invents the methodology that Traditionalists later used as a framework for their ideas.

    Rene Guenon – The Crisis of Modernity

    Basing his work on the arguments of Gottfried Leibniz, Guenon argued that modernity is divided between external manifestations and an inward state of mind that seems to correspond to Nirvana. Thomas Pynchon told us similar things, but then made an error by insisting the division was between symbol and idea; Guenon points out that the division is between judgment and experience. Heavy on bloviation but has good content.

    Evola – Revolt Against the Modern World

    Making explicit the promise of his more abstruse works, Evola targets modernism as the clueless reliance on external appearance and denial of interconnected, polycausal reality that it is. He shows how the mechanistic material outlook of modern society not only dooms it internally, but also causes a proliferation of problems externally that cannot be addressed because the very constraints of modernist logic exclude such thinking.

    Frithjof Schuon – The Essential Frithjof Schuon

    Shorter essays allow Schuon to target specific examples of what he believes and avoid the bloviating vagueness common to many neo-Traditionalist dilettantes (we call them Tarditionalists) who like to throw around abstract language as a means of excusing their inaction and or inability to find meaning in life. Schuon systematically analyzes medieval and earlier values and points out their scientific value from an informational and sociological context, showing the mathematics of human populations and the contrast between dogma and demography.

  4. Literature

    Mary Shelley – Frankenstein

    In the allegorical dream-language of literature, Shelley portrays modern man as what he is: a creation of technology now trying to discover his origins in order to find meaning in the continuation of life itself. Carefully disguised as a horror story, this novel also innovated the format used by horror movies today, which is a situation in which the individual must see technology fail him in opposing the supernatural or super-organizational, and also, fight others who refuse to recognize the obvious, before he can face an enemy he has no knowledge of how to defeat.

    Conrad – Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness

    The first of these books is a meditation on courage and how retreat from facing the need for courage creates emptiness that is worse than death; the second describes how the obsessive compulsion to pursue social symbols of power has weakened Western civilization by making it unable to recognize reality which is, in contrast to our neatly quantified social systems, a chaotic and lawless place designed to make the most realistic prevail.

    Tom Wolfe – I am Charlotte Simmons and A Man in Full

    Wolfe’s characters discover themselves in a modern time ruled by competition for status, since caste structures no longer exist, in which the essential values that can make people like themselves are forgotten. In confronting their own fear of being inadequate, these characters shuck the modern neurosis that had them worrying in the first place, and bond exoteric to esoteric by acting instinctively — and to their surprise, that turns out to be a wiser course than the ethic of convenience which dooms other characters in these insightful novels.

    Michael Crichton – Congo

    Humanity confronts its nearest ancestors in this book about how the pretense of knowledge that separates us from apes in fact makes us inferior to them in situations where realistic action is called for. In addition, Crichton assaults all forms of socially-accepted but delusional knowledge, targeting scientific arrogance and mass media with the same motion he uses to assault people who place personal careers and pretense of importance over collective and realistic action.

RADICAL TRADITIONALISM

The insurrectionary (but not revolutionary) arm of Traditionalism, radical traditionalists are those who believe we can put Traditionalist principles in practice and reverse modernism. They tend to have less use for the bloviation that marks theoretical traditionalism, and focus more on the design-level practicality of the Traditionalist idea.

Tyr defines Radical Traditionalism by the following ideals:

  1. Resacralization of the world versus materialism.
  2. Natural social hierarchy versus an artificial hierarchy based on wealth.
  3. The tribal community versus the nation-state.
  4. Stewardship of the earth versus the “maximization of resources.”
  5. A harmonious relationship between men and women versus the “war between the sexes.”
  6. Handicraft and artisanship versus industrial mass-production.

Michael Moynihan and Joshua Buckley – Tyr: Myth-Culture-Tradition

Radical traditionalism gained a new voice with this collection of essays that rediscover the ancient world through modern methods and an open-minded, liberal study of the past that does not seek to condemn it for the convenience of our mechanistic, commercial and populist empires. Topics range across the board but articles all seek to explicate through concrete example the dual spiritual and practical benefits of a radical Traditionalist outlook.

Deep Ecology – Mission Statement

This radical environmental movement blames “The loss of traditional knowledge, values, and ethics of behavior that celebrate the intrinsic value and sacredness of the natural world and that give the preservation of Nature prime importance.” They then give us practical solutions: localize, downsize, and lower population.

Stephen Flowers – The Woodharrow Institute

If your ancestors are from central Europe, the UK or the United States, chances are good you have a German in the family. Flowers explores traditional thought and iconography through a study of traditional Norse-Germanic practices and emphasizes the wholesome, spiritual and intellectual values of this approach. In his view, as that of many other scholars, organic cultural preservation is the one force that can restrain the reckless expansion of commerce and by its hand, mass culture.

ANTI-MODERNISM, NEO-TRIBALISM AND ANTI-GLOBALISM

Ever since ancient philosophers observed that as soon as sea trade was established, and the polyglot language of cities solidified into a single language — commerce –, culture failed and with it institutions became corrupted, the idea of opposing the common factors among commerce, modernity, single-factor thinking, and what we now call globalism has been on the tips of many tongues. While these philosophies are not labeled with the Traditionalist category, they use the same logical foundation to point out how far we have drifted from reality — by drifting away from our inner selves.

The Prince of Wales – The Modern Curse that Divides us From Nature

Start here for a simple and forthright assessment of how a lack of harmony with our world has made us into monsters who hate themselves. Assaulting architecture, pollution, culturelessness and commerce at once, one of the last surviving members of the aristocracy points out in clear and enigmatic language how foolish and misleading the modern dream is, and how it has brought us into increasing disorder with promises of “freedom” it has not delivered.

Brad Blanton – Practicing Radical Honesty

Dishonesty, like cracks in a wall, can only spread as the convenient practice of telling partial truths or outright misleading is applied to everything, even our knowledge of our world and ourselves. This book provides a battle plan for stopping the practice of gentle lying in your life, and as a result, conditioning your brain to face each situation honestly without necessarily submerging itself in negativity and depression.

Paul Woodruff – Reverence

The question of how to connect our knowing, judging minds with a reality that passes before we can parse it remains the focus of most esoteric religions. In this short and informal philosophical discourse, Woodruff shows us more than tells us, through a process of saturation in anecdote and observation, how rediscovery of our ability to revere nature and the beauty of life by putting off our fear of it can, through conditioning us to see the whole picture, re-sacralize the reality which we inhabit and escape the smaller, boxlike world creating by our judging minds.

Love and Nihilism: A Parallelism Primer

Written by the same author as the piece you are now reading, this philosophical treatise invents parallelism, which is a way for us to learn to appreciate the interconnected forces that render reality, and stop paying attention to appearance so we can start paying attention to Plato’s “intelligible” or design-based view of reality. If you like what you’ve read so far, this short piece may direct you toward other areas of practice through its information-based analysis of reality.

Nihilism

Wednesday, December 15th, 2004

solitary_moon

Much has been written about nihilism, most because for any great good in life, one needs an opposite, and that is the belief in nothing: that nothing is worth striving for, that nothing can have any meaning, that the individual and the world together are nothing. I refer to this as fatalism because, quite honestly, if one believes that little – not even in the pleasures of being alive, the basest of joys – then death is a gift and a deliverance. If your fate is so terrible, embrace it, and die well. Perhaps you can bestir yourself long enough to strap an explosive device onto your person and, running into some commercial orgy such as a mall during Christmas shopping, detonate yourself, clearing others of a subtler fatalism from amongst us.

Nihilism, in my view, is the removal of all value to things except what I will call the inherent, leaving that term for later definition. When people wail about Satan, or the war against terrorism, or the great quest for equality, you can look those straight in the eye and say, “These have no value except what we impose upon them.” By the same token, when people tell you how important it is to see the latest movie, go to that exclusive party, or own a fancy car, you can similarly dismiss the concerns. Nihilism is a removal of all except the inherent.

It is a gateway philosophy, as I see it, meaning that it is the initial realization on a course of learning. In contrast to the “devotional” philosophies such as Christianity, where all who come and recite an oath are considered to have received wisdom, the philosophies of life that are not a charade embrace esoteric views. Esotericism says that wisdom comes to those who seek it, and in varying degrees; there is no magic threshold to cross after which one can write the holy sign on one’s forehead and be considered knowledgeable. Infinite learning and infinite potential pitfalls instead await. When one embraces nihilism, one has undertaken the first step of this initiation, by removing all value externally imposed, including by other humans. Herein begins discovery.

Most philosophies of our time either enshrine some absolute, universal wisdom as the One True Path to righteousness and power, or de facto do the same with the individual, stating “reality is anything you want it to be.” These aren’t philosophies as much as extreme approaches to the question echoing through eternity, “What is real/true/meaningful?” Nihilism offers a way out of this paradox, by affirming life itself as the answer to the question of life: what is meaningful? renders to “life is meaningful,” and leaves us to realize that life is an ongoing process that cannot be quantized into some devotional answer, or even a finite technological answer such as “money.” To have a good life is to have beauty, truth, and meaning.

But how to define a good life? If we look for absolutes, such as the best comfortable living, or the most power, or the most money or popularity, we find externally-defined things that do not reflect much of satisfaction, except of material want. It makes more sense to look to the ancients and to say that a good life is fulfillment of destiny, or of taking one’s place in the inherent. Nihilism removes the sense of a good life as something that can be created outside of the individual, but also acknowledges the frailty of the individual: none of us will always see “truth” in the sense of what is accurate given the external world around us.

To say this is not to endorse a shallow “objectivism,” such as that of Alissa Rosenbaum (“Ayn Rand“), for whom materialism became a philosophical object in the tradition in which she was raised, that of Judaism, which despite its dualistic faith-character sees nothing of supernatural or ideal value above material comfort: power, wealth, stature in community. These philosophies of “objectivism” become a parody of themselves, as they have replaced meaning in life with the means to life, bypassing the question of life in actuality. The objectivism of nihilism is closer to that of science or the ancient religious traditions of the Vedas: we are all enclosed in the same space, which operates according to consistent rules, and it acts predictably upon all of us, whether we perceive it or not.

Another way to say this is that when two people play catch, the ball is thrown and follows an objective course, regardless of whether the catcher has her hands in the right place to receive it. If the thrower misjudges her throw, the ball will land afar from the catcher, but the catcher can also compensate, having seen the ball move, and thus catch it. The motion through external reality is “objective,” while the thoughts and perceptions of thrower and catcher are “subjective,” and the two do not always come together; the game of catch is a fun way to calibrate one’s internal sense of reality to reality the external, which operates much as a machine does, predictably according to its structure and the mechanisms therein.

Marcus Aurelius gives us part of the puzzle:

Surely it is an excellent plan, when you are seated before delicacies and choice foods, to impress upon your imagination that this is the dead body of a fish, that the dead body of a bird or pig; and again, that the Falernian wine is grape juice and that robe of purple a lamb’s fleece dipped in shellfish’s blood; and in matters of sex intercourse, that it is attrition of an entrail and a convulsive expulsion of mere mucus. Surely these are excellent imaginations, going to the heart of actual facts and penetrating them so as to see the kind of things they really are. You should adopt this practice all through your life, and where things make an impression which is very plausible, uncover their nakedness, see into their cheapness, strip off the profession on which they vaunt themselves.

– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VI, 13

To dwell in the physicality of life is to be obsessed with the signs of meaning, and not meaning itself. In a game of catch, what is not important is the quality of the ball or the sensation of seeing it whiz by, but the ability to match hand with ball and thus connect the motion of thrower to receiver. A nihilist, initiated in the value of no-value, thus recognizes that while neither objective nor subjective is supreme, bringing them together is a value in the inherent, as it makes the individual stronger as interacting with “ultimate reality,” or the physical and very real world that we all share. Similarly, to get too far into symbolism is to create a “dual” world, in which symbol is more important than meaning to life itself; either dwelling solely in the physical, or solely in the symbolic, is an error of reason (these roughly correspond to Judaism and Christianity, respectively).

However, this type of thinking is beyond all but a few, hence the hordes of people who criticize this site for being nihilistic and yet daring to believe in anything more than fatalism. The most educated of this type are the Russell-Wittgenstein devotees, who are victims of essentially the most advanced 419 scam in philosophical history; told that language is frail and thus error, they are asked to invest their belief fully in subjectivism, and through that to achieve objective proof of the truthfulness of non-truth. Zen philosophy offers a more benevolent take on this insight, one that is wise enough not to express itself in language, but to rely on raw experience – and sometimes, a Zen master’s slap – to reinforce that reality, itself, indeed, is real.

Nihilism is a gateway to appreciating the inherent. Being thinking machines isolated in ourselves, we are contra-intuitively isolated from the reality of life, and our most common error is to be the catcher expecting the ball in the wrong location or the thrower, blinded by the sun, throwing to the wrong place. It is not a linearization or a moralization to state that the expectation of the ball is at the wrong place in both cases; literally, the humans involved have been deceived into believing their own perceptions higher than external reality, which is the force responsible for space, and time, and indeed all other natural tendencies which make the game of catch possible. This is the ground of the inherent.

Life itself is indefinable, except when we constrain the parameters of definition to be very narrow. Existence might be a better term, but eventually even existence is predicated upon natural law and “reality” coming to being in the first place, at a level lower even than physicality: that natural laws exist such that matter is even conceivable, or that regularity or logic even existing, predicates the being of matter. What Aurelius endorses above is an acceptance of the nature of existence, but a realization that meaning does not exist, except in our minds: it is an abstraction based upon the inherent, which includes life itself.

Another way to phrase this is to say that we find life good when we perceive that life has meaning, which is a factor of life being lived well, or being “good,” in the first place. It’s a giant loop if one approaches it linearly, but from natural terms, it makes sense. Our environment grants us existence, and either adapt to it or drift off into our own little fantasy worlds, and where we are able to adapt to it, we derive pleasure from having matched our own desires with its tendencies – much like catching the ball thrown by another perceiving being and conveyed according to natural forces through space and time to our hands. This is the nature of the inherent, and there is nothing higher or lower than it.

To get to this stage, however, one must first undergo the cleansing rite of nihilism, by which all “meaning” as told to us by others or “seeming” to us by physicality, is removed. Sex is not what gives meaning to life; the relationship between the two is what does, as pleasure is transient and cannot by itself hold off pain (indeed, as any thinking pothead can tell you, even the absolute bliss of being gloriously stoned loses its luster over time, as the agenda never changes). To counterbalance that, however, the symbolism or love or purity or chastity is equally not what is real; it is a shared perception of the inherent, and not the inherent itself. Only the inherent matters, and each of us can see it to varying degrees depending on our ability.

Additional definitions of the inherent can be found in transcending the “mind/body dualism” of life; most embrace either mind, and the abstractions we consider real such as “good” and “evil,” or body, and the material comforts of life as highest value. However, it is more sensible to avoid a mechanistic approach to analysis of life, and recognize that the value of the inherent is “value to whole and self-as-part-of-whole”; we cannot separate ourselves from the whole, nor view it as something independent of us. It created us and equipped us with all that we know, and even in nihilism one recognizes a refutation of fatalism: we are its agents, and what we do changes the course of the future, in varying degrees according to our abilities.

Thus we come to the thorniest realization of nihilism: no, dear hearts, we are not all “equal,” either in some cosmological sense or in ability. Some are smarter, some stronger, some of better character, and to realize this is to cast aside the great social illusion that blocks nihilism. The crowd of people who cannot perceive the inherent, or because of their own undifferentiated state in it deny it, would like us to think in terms of equality, such that we could partake in a devotional “truth” where repeating a few simple words would raise us – equally – to the level of holy knowledge. Nature is real, and in nature, many are born and a few survive; this is a failsafe method of producing better versions of the organism each generation, which means that for those who will live in the future, life will be better than in the past.

Nihilism is a gateway, and it is unwise to attempt to summarize it in a tidy essay that one can read on the Internet during lunch, doubtless before returning to a stimulating task such as sending faxes, fixing cars, making speeches or cleaning toilets. Philosophy for those concerned with accuracy is an esoteric task, and reveals itself slowly, through experience, and any attempt to shortcut that is devotional egalitarianism and thus illusion. But for those for whom the normal “meaning” of life is ashen and formless, an invitation to a gateway is issued in this essay; believe in nothing, so that you may find the something which has actual meaning.

How does a nihilist live?

Sunday, November 14th, 2004

how_does_a_nihilist_live

I’m very thankful for the thoughtful emails I get. Most people want a handout (please review my mediocre, undistinguished, pathetic metal band) or want to attack me in the guise of posing questions to me (how can you claim you know anything when you don’t believe in anything?). The latter think their cleverness is tearing down someone above them, and that makes them happy, since deep inside they know they’re mediocre. The former are just welfare cases in disguise, and deep inside they know that the reason they’re not getting anywhere is that they suck.

However, some thoughtful questions really cut to the chase and point out that people have questions about things that are second nature to me now. Such a question arrived today: How does a nihilist live? I’ll try to answer that in a conversational form so that we don’t get lost in the intricacies of philosophy, because the pragmatic effects of nihilist belief are more important than detailed philosophical “proofs.”

First, you do not ask others how you should live. All of the answers are before you.

Nihilism is discerning what is real from what is unreal. We do exist in reality. In it, some things actually exist and others are phantoms of our mind. Strip away the latter and focus on the former. If you have trouble figuring it out, go spend time in a forest. Buddha meditated under a tree, Jesus had his woods for 40 days, Nietzsche had his mystical trances and Arthur Schopenhauer had long nights ignored by his family. Take advantage of boredom, and natural surroundings, to decipher your world.

Truth doesn’t exist. Truth is our perception of what does exist; our assessment of it. You will have to find the truth that’s appropriate to your own life. Note that I did not say “your own truth.” Individualism is the greatest con job ever. You are the product of those who came before you in your bloodline, and the factors of your life. You do not exist separately from the world and you cannot escape this state. Furthermore, there’s no point. Pursue truth as it is evident to you. If you’re insane, your role in the universe is to be the insane failure that others mock and later, kill.

Not everyone can do this. In my view, there’s no shame in saying “Look, I’m not a leader – show me a right path and I’ll get to work.” Even that however requires an evaluation of reality and acceptance of some of its basic traits. Your bloodline will be serving the commands of others until it evolves otherwise. I’ve accepted that I’ll never be a Brad Pitt or Andres Segovia, but I’m not really bothered by that; I’m too busy being what I am. For that reason, I’ve got some general suggestions here.

The single most powerful weapon you have is your own preference. People can force all sorts of shit on you, but they can’t make you accept certain things except as necessary. For example, if the government decrees that everyone must have a morning enema on pain of death, you’ll submit to it, but even if every other person you know then chooses to have an afternoon enema as well in order to show their patriotism, you can reject that behavior by not doing it. You’ll stand out in a crowd. Big deal. It’s not like most of these drones are paying attention to anything.

You will have to have some kind of work. Pick something that’s inoffensive. There are plenty of good jobs, for example, in helping environmental agencies. Apply and rise. You won’t get the same salary or public respect, but you’re a nihilist now, and you recognize that public respect is as meaningless as it is fickle. Create a life for yourself instead and don’t commit the same transgressions that make society odious. Affirm reality. Cease destruction of nature. Nurture your own culture. Reject modernity.

As becomes obvious, the people around you are tools; that is to say, they are grateful followers who passively lap up the rancid semen of industrial society and are grateful for the “opportunity.” While in a just world they’d get a hollowpoint to the forehead, that’s not going to happen for a few decades, so content yourself with this: create a better example of humanity and leave them in your dust.

Most of your toolish coworkers, neighbors, people you meet on the street, etc. are capable of two modes of conversation: entertainment and personal situation. They’ll discuss endlessly the “important” movies and television they see, not noticing that these repeat themselves on a three-year cycle, and they’ll talk about the weather or their hemorrhoids or other “important” issues of personal comfort. They cannot talk about ideas. Therefore, reserve ideas as the grounds on which the few smart people meet.

If you talk to normals, talk about basic aspects of life, namely events in our time. You don’t have to take a side as long as you express an intelligent opinion. Make it clear you don’t watch TV or movies. Talk about the good things you see in life, like something great a person did, or something you observed in nature or perceived about life itself. But don’t fall into their trap. Seinfeld and Friends and ER are transient garbage that will not matter at all, and these fools are wasting their lives on this stuff. Don’t let them pull you into the same trap.

Normals also have a tendency to express groupthink sentiments, and then test others with them. Such things as “Isn’t it terrible about that genocide in Darfur?” are probes to get you to either conform or be identified as a lone wolf. If you respond with “I think it’s funny” or “We need fewer people” the wailing and lashing out by the crowd, which HATES lone wolves, begins (the lone wolf has what the crowd never will: integrity, and for this reason, they hate it). The best response is indifference. “I didn’t hear about that” will get you a lecture, but “I think politics is made-up crazy stuff” will leave them baffled. They ask you about something “serious” in their world; show them it’s not serious in yours. Don’t even take the issue itself seriously.

NORMAL: DID YOU HEAR HOW BUSH STOLE THE ELECTION?

NIHILIST: OH, THEY’RE STEALING ELECTIONS NOW. HOW FUNNY. DID YOU KNOW BELL PEPPERS ARE A GOOD SOURCE OF VITAMIN C?

NORMAL: OMFG I HEARD AL-QAEDA IS PLANNING TO ATTACK US!

NIHILIST: YOU KNOW, VAN GOGH REALLY CAPTURED THE ESSENCE OF SUSPENSE IN HIS SURREALISTIC PAINTINGS. MIGHT BE A GOOD TIME TO CHECK THEM OUT.

NORMAL: GASOLINE IS TOTALLY EXPENSIVE THESE DAYS.

NIHILIST: MONEY EVERYWHERE. I MADE AN INTERPRETIVE SCULPTURE OUT OF MY COMPOST HEAP.

This drives normals nuts because it plays into their basic fear, namely that someone else knows something they don’t know and thus is not subject to the laws of the crowd. However, if you do this without being aggressive, they have no way to justify lashing out at you and no way to handle what you’ve said. Let them keep discussing their “entertaining” TV (entertainment is for people who cannot find a purpose of their own in life; it’s like slavery, but it’s “fun”) while you spend your time on more interesting things. Their unease will grow as they watch you, and it will help destroy them.

Be careful with your money. Some idiot comes around the office asking for birthday donations, or money to help the children in Sudan or whatever — blow it off. “No thanks,” is all you need to say, and if they start asking more questions, they’re in the wrong socially and nonsense replies are appropriate. “I’m saving up to buy a nuclear submarine” or “The price of ice cream and motor oil just went up” is an appropriate response. If you feel like you’re talking to kindergartners, well, you are. These people are mentally immature and should be treated accordingly.

When you shop, don’t buy garbage. You will be tempted because who isn’t? But recognize what’s crap and avoid it. You may have to pay $2 more for the metal version of some everyday object over the plastic one, but then you won’t need to replace it for thirty years. Morons fear people with this kind of wisdom, because it reveals morons in contrast as unable to make such decisions. Don’t spend your money on idiotic entertainment, flashy cars, or houses in trendy neighborhoods. Pick a good place and live independently. You don’t need any of that crap (if you’re a nihilist).

Finally, don’t accept their view of reality. They’ll blather on about “progress” and other inventions of the human mental phantasm, but if you recognize these ideas are basically junk food for the mind, you can bypass it and focus on other things. If after two years have passed, you’ve learned a language and an instrument while they’re still watching TV, they’ll start to revere you. Then, profit from their idiocy and put the money to a good use, like buying up the remaining free forest land out there or translating Pentti Linkola into English. Nihilists bypass illusion and work on reality, and from it they get stronger while the herd stagnates. Most importantly, they laugh while doing this. And who wouldn’t?

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