Amerika

Posts Tagged ‘mass culture’

Entering The Age Of White Civil Rights, The New Counterculture Has To Decide If The Medium Is The Message

Friday, October 20th, 2017

It is no secret that the tables have turned, and former counterculture is now the Establishment, opposed by those who understood what the prior Establishment claimed to represent but never could quite achieve. The real question now is whether the new counterculture aims to become the next Establishment, which is any type of old dogma weakly defending itself, or to be something better.

This cycle of home team versus away team creates the sportsball nature of politics. Everyone sticks with their team because it fits their individual identities. Home team argues that they are winners, where away team portrays themselves as underdogs gunning for an upset. The people who think life is good “as is” join the home team, and people who are dissatisfied join the away team.

More than Left-versus-Right, this creates the seesaw nature of modern politics. When one side gets in power, it begins dismantling what the other side did, and then the process repeats again. Every few decades there is a fundamental power shift, usually provoked by an enemy which seems allied with either the Establishment or counterculture, and that puts the corresponding party out of favor.

In our case, the most recent enemy after the Soviets has been the globalists, who take a toxic mixture of Leftist ambitions and capitalist funding, amplify it through Keynesian tax-borrow-and-spend policies, and enforce it with the notions of “freedom,” “justice” and “equality” that sound like they should be good things, and so people are afraid to oppose them.

Domestic parties that support similar ideas, mainly the mating of egalitarian sentiments with culture-destroying international business, have suffered a bit of a hit as a result. When they were the counterculture, they promised the opposite of what now that they are finally fully in power, they have delivered.

In addition, their approach has taken on a decidedly Soviet character. Their neo-Communism consists of the same drive toward mass equality, similar attitudes toward censorship and declaring dissidents to be unperson, and a strikingly similar result: a mass culture of workers, living in small apartments, owning little and with no future prospect of escape, in this case because they are taxed to provide for a growing and hostile underclass.

Enter the Alt Right, which could be described as “traditional conservatism” in that it embraces aspects of the Right that were discarded by the mainstream Right in order to be able to compromise with the Left as it won the culture war and consequently, political dominance only occasionally interrupted by a moderate conservative like Ronald Reagan.

In particular, the Alt Right endorses nationalism, which is the recognition that diverse or multicultural nation-states lead to the destruction of the founding group, which in the case of Western Civilization is Western European people. Without this group, there cannot be Western Civilization, although mainstream conservatives would be happy with a mixed-race group upholding its Constitution, capitalism and Christianity.

The Alt Right also endorses a strong social conservatism, in defiance of the trend of the mainstream Right to be more libertarian or “classical liberal,” in response to the disaster of sexual liberation and divorce that has blighted the family and ruined the chances for happiness for many young men. It also seeks to differentiate itself from white nationalism, a movement which focused too much on race alone and ignored the bigger problem which is the real target of the Alt Right, namely the collapse of Western Civilization and our need to restore Western Civilization in order to survive.

Recognizing the success of the Left, the Alt Right sought a simpler goal than the political intrigues of the mainstream Right or underground Right like white nationalism. It sought to create a cultural wave of cynicism toward equality, and in the void created by that doubt, insert the idea of a redesigned and revitalized Western Civilization which would end white genocide and the ongoing consumption of our natural world.

Now that the Alt Right is the new counterculture, or the underdog confronting a calcified Establishment with new ideas that it claims will lead to a better way of life, it has to decide whether it will continue the cycle of in-power versus out-of-power, or if it will entirely upend the paradigm.

Upending the paradigm looks like this: we escape ideology entirely, and instead of imposing human order on the world, we study its order and learn to impose it on ourselves. Darwinistic adaptation instead of humanism. Tradition instead of individualism. In other words, we get over ourselves, transcend our fears, and accept life as not just logical but beautiful, optimal and glorious.

The Alt Right is coming to this place. It is not a political revolution, and not just a cultural one, but a philosophical upending of all that we have considered sacred for the 228 years since the French Revolution. It is the end of mass culture, mass politics and utilitarianism; it is the rise of realism, futurism and sanity.

Only one question remains: what path does the Alt Right choose toward cultural dominance?

Two options exist. First, we could follow the usual pattern and try to get as many warm bodies as possible. Second, we could aim instead for the head, and target the one-in-twenty people who are the natural leaders of humanity. These are the people in any office who always know what to do, understand the core of their tasks more than anyone else, or just can find a path where everyone else falters.

The warm bodies option appeals most to us because it was the way to succeed in the era we have just come out of, The Age of Ideology. In that time — defined by the individualism that says what a person wants is more important than culture, nature or reality — whoever accumulated the largest mass culture movement won. But faith in democracy has shifted; people want results, not the warm feeling of participation.

In our new era, The Age of Organicism, hierarchy and standards have returned. These two go hand-in-hand because standards mean that each individual meets those to a differing degree, which creates rank not based on money and popularity, but ability to fulfill the needs and goals of culture. Organicism refers to the preference for innate tendencies like ethnic, cultural and religious identity as a replacement for the ideology, or motivation of the masses, preferred during The Age of Ideology.

If the Alt Right is the new counterculture but does not want to end up being the new Establishment, it must break free from the methods of the past entirely, which corresponds to an understanding of what the famous utterance by Marshall McLuhan that “the medium is the message” means; much like understanding that demography is destiny, it apprehends that changing behavior is more important than ideology:

McLuhan tells us that a “message” is, “the change of scale or pace or pattern” that a new invention or innovation “introduces into human affairs.” (McLuhan 8) Note that it is not the content or use of the innovation, but the change in inter-personal dynamics that the innovation brings with it. Thus, the message of theatrical production is not the musical or the play being produced, but perhaps the change in tourism that the production may encourage. In the case of a specific theatrical production, its message may be a change in attitude or action on the part of the audience that results from the medium of the play itself, which is quite distinct from the medium of theatrical production in general. Similarly, the message of a newscast are not the news stories themselves, but a change in the public attitude towards crime, or the creation of a climate of fear. A McLuhan message always tells us to look beyond the obvious and seek the non-obvious changes or effects that are enabled, enhanced, accelerated or extended by the new thing.

McLuhan defines medium for us as well. Right at the beginning of Understanding Media, he tells us that a medium is “any extension of ourselves.” Classically, he suggests that a hammer extends our arm and that the wheel extends our legs and feet. Each enables us to do more than our bodies could do on their own. Similarly, the medium of language extends our thoughts from within our mind out to others. Indeed, since our thoughts are the result of our individual sensory experience, speech is an “outering” of our senses – we could consider it as a form of reversing senses – whereas usually our senses bring the world into our minds, speech takes our sensorially-shaped minds out to the world.

But McLuhan always thought of a medium in the sense of a growing medium, like the fertile potting soil into which a seed is planted, or the agar in a Petri dish. In other words, a medium – this extension of our body or senses or mind – is anything from which a change emerges. And since some sort of change emerges from everything we conceive or create, all of our inventions, innovations, ideas and ideals are McLuhan media.

In other words, message is change and medium is what changes behavior, usually as a labor-saving device.

For the Alt Right, the medium is politics as an expression of hierarchy; that is, we listen to what is the most accurate depiction of reality, recognizing that only the top 2-5% of our population will “get it.” This conveys the message of traditional society: social order, above all else, represented by values, customs, ethnic identity, standards, hierarchy, principles, caste and norms.

We want social order back. We want to restore Western Civilization. But we cannot do that through the medium of mass politics because mass politics inverts signal and noise by choosing popular semi-truths over unpopular complex ones, which most people cannot understand and consequently, discard because they consider it insane or stupid.

The medium distorts the message, and this was the longstanding contribution of The Age of Ideology. By translating an idea into something that a mass culture can understand, we are forced to twist it until it no longer resembles itself, but is most like everything else, because everything else is attuned to the simple fact of what the crowd can understand and what it likes to think is true (once called “pretense”).

This fits with an ancient idea, derived from Plato and represented in the Bible, that only a small number of people make all the important changes in our world, while everyone else basically creates chaos through their individualistic behavior:

As the word masses is commonly used, it suggests agglomerations of poor and underprivileged people, laboring people, proletarians, and it means nothing like that; it means simply the majority. The mass man is one who has neither the force of intellect to apprehend the principles issuing in what we know as the humane life, nor the force of character to adhere to those principles steadily and strictly as laws of conduct; and because such people make up the great and overwhelming majority of mankind, they are called collectively the masses. The line of differentiation between the masses and the Remnant is set invariably by quality, not by circumstance. The Remnant are those who by force of intellect are able to apprehend these principles, and by force of character are able, at least measurably, to cleave to them. The masses are those who are unable to do either.

…Plato lived into the administration of Eubulus, when Athens was at the peak of its jazz-and-paper era, and he speaks of the Athenian masses with all Isaiah’s fervency, even comparing them to a herd of ravenous wild beasts. Curiously, too, he applies Isaiah’s own word remnant to the worthier portion of Athenian society; “there is but a very small remnant,” he says, of those who possess a saving force of intellect and force of character — too small, preciously as to Judea, to be of any avail against the ignorant and vicious preponderance of the masses.

…In the 18th century, however, certain European philosophers spread the notion that the mass man, in his natural state, is not at all the kind of person that earlier authorities made him out to be, but on the contrary, that he is a worthy object of interest. His untowardness is the effect of environment, an effect for which “society” is somehow responsible. If only his environment permitted him to live according to his lights, he would undoubtedly show himself to be quite a fellow; and the best way to secure a more favorable environment for him would be to let him arrange it for himself. The French Revolution acted powerfully as a springboard for this idea, projecting its influence in all directions throughout Europe.

The Age of Ideology was the age of domination by the masses; The Age of Organicism will be dominated again by the Remnant through the principle of hierarchy, by which we place those who have “force of intellect” and in parallel also “force of character” above the rest, and entrust them with wealth and power, because they will conserve it — keep it out of the hands of the insane — and use it well.

From elsewhere in The Republic:

When discord arose, then the two races were drawn different ways: the iron and brass fell to acquiring money and land and houses and gold and silver; but the gold and silver races, not wanting money but having the true riches in their own nature, inclined towards virtue and the ancient order of things. There was a battle between them, and at last they agreed to distribute their land and houses among individual owners; and they enslaved their friends and maintainers, whom they had formerly protected in the condition of freemen, and made of them subjects and servants; and they themselves were engaged in war and in keeping a watch against them.

The “true riches in their own nature, inclined towards virtue and the ancient order of things” is what we need. Mass culture has ruined Western Civilization, even though this decline had its origins far earlier when corrupt merchants began using lesser aristocrats and fallen churchmen as a weapon against the kings. The goal was always to seize wealth and power from those who would not abuse it.

The Florida demonstration constitutes a victory for the Alt Right. The Alt Right went in saying that the masses are delusional, that they hate any ideas they cannot control, and that they are violent Communists who use diversity as a weapon to destroy white people. Antifa and other Leftists promptly showed up and proved the Alt Right correct, for the third or fourth time in a row.

America and Europe are looking at this and thinking, “Holy mackerel. We let these people — the Left — rule us?” Not surprisingly, a wave of populist victories in Britain, America, Hungary, Germany, Austria, Poland and The Czech Republic are showing us that people are in fact rejecting the Leftist idea in its ultimate form as globalism.

Globalism expresses the single idea that the Left really has — human equality, which is the individualism legitimized during The Enlightenment™ — by removing any borders and standards imposed on human behavior. It creates the one worldwide mass culture, unified by consumerism and socialism, which like the French Revolutionaries which are its ideological ancestor, demands more for the individual from society and in the name of equality.

Most people find it hard to reject the idea of equality. Like pacifism, it seems to make sense when you take it for granted that civilization will always be there, and that your immediate need to transact business and socialize is more important than goals above the individual, like values, philosophy, heritage and purpose. But when “equality” reveals itself to be a path to neo-Communism, censorship, third world levels of disorder, constant ethnic violence, corrupt governments, and racial replacement by foreign populations, people oppose it; even more, they have realized that the roots of globalism were formed of democracy and equality and proceeded inexorably from that seed, eventually flowering into its final form, which suspicious resembled Communism with consumerism.

But to the Alt Right, equality is a false god that replaces the need to strive for virtue. Egalitarians of course will insist that equality is the only virtue, which is a popular message because it is easier to be politically correct in one area than to be morally upright in every area of life.

How a message of virtue became contorted into a message of upholding only one presumed virtue shows us the medium as the message. When we simplify for the herd, corruption and inversion of the message occurs, and that always reverts to the most base instincts of humanity. Those boil down to a desire for “anarchy with grocery stores” and free stuff paid for by other people, as propelled the French Revolution.

In Florida, the Alt Right triumphed. It has revealed its enemies to be the Establishment. Its strength is rising, and at this point, the only enemy that can defeat it is the Alt Right itself, if it does not heed the lessons of history and focuses on pandering to the lowest common denominator instead of looking toward informing, inspiring and revitalizing the Remnant.

How To Conquer The Herd

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

Equality brought an age of mass politics: to get anything done, it requires finding a “personal army” of warm bodies to support that idea. This in turn meant that ideas became simplified and more emotional.

Many have focused on the problems of democracy as a system for achieving sensible ends; few have focused on what democracy does to people. Because the message must be simplified, people in turn resort to simplistic thinking.

This in turn shows us how pandering to the herd distorts the message and ensures that no actual idea will be transmitted:

But without following up this suggestion, I wish only, as I said, to remark the fact that as things now stand Isaiah’s job seems rather to go begging. Everyone with a message nowadays is, like my venerable European friend, eager to take it to the masses. His first, last and only thought is of mass acceptance and mass approval. His great care is to put his doctrine in such shape as will capture the masses’ attention and interest. This attitude towards the masses is so exclusive, so devout, that one is reminded of the troglodytic monster described by Plato, and the assiduous crowd at the entrance to its cave, trying obsequiously to placate it and win its favor, trying to interpret its inarticulate noises, trying to find out what it wants, and eagerly offering it all sorts of things that they think might strike its fancy.

The main trouble with all this is its reaction upon the mission itself. It necessitates an opportunist sophistication of one’s doctrine, which profoundly alters its character and reduces it to a mere placebo. If, say, you are a preacher, you wish to attract as large a congregation as you can, which means an appeal to the masses; and this, in turn, means adapting the terms of your message to the order of intellect and character that the masses exhibit. If you are an educator, say with a college on your hands, you wish to get as many students as possible, and you whittle down your requirements accordingly. If a writer, you aim at getting many readers; if a publisher, many purchasers; if a philosopher, many disciples; if a reformer, many converts; if a musician, many auditors; and so on. But as we see on all sides, in the realization of these several desires, the prophetic message is so heavily adulterated with trivialities, in every instance, that its effect on the masses is merely to harden them in their sins.

Even where the group is intelligent, mass culture selects for those ideas which are lowest common denominator, and thus unite some large group of people behind them, even if the original intent is lost. This is how you win, get the A+, succeed at the job of politics, etc., and it means that any complex or long-term ideas are filtered out before the point of decision.

Democracy makes people insane. It combines the lottery with the type of social reasoning that groups use in choosing where to go for dinner, and the result is that whatever flatters the most and offends the least will win, which by its nature excludes anything truthful, realistic or relevant. The herd chases after dreams and ignores realities.

Much as we talk about “peer pressure” influencing teens to engage in risky behaviors, democracy institutes peer pressure as a means of making decisions. What will win is more important than what is right, so the task becomes the cultivation of the audience instead of being accurate, which brings out the type of thinking common to entertainment or socialization, but not leadership.

The alternative is to do what the Alt Right is attempting: to reach the 2-5% of civilization who are still capable of analytical thought, convince them to think toward a goal that is immediately impractical but offers a long-term future, and then by inducing these natural leaders to have an idea, convince others to emulate them.

This process of emulation works unconsciously among people, and consists of imitating what is perceived as successful rather than an analytical process of questioning what is right, efficient, appropriate or helpful:

In new research that appeared Sept. 29 in Psychological Science, they find that focusing on how norms are changing can help people alter their behaviors.

…The researchers also conducted an experiment involving conserving water during the recent California drought. They posted signs in laundry facilities at high-rise residences of Stanford graduate students with static messages (“Most Stanford Residents Use Full Loads/Help Stanford Conserve Water”) or dynamic messages (“Stanford Residents Are Changing: Now Most Use Full Loads/Help Stanford Conserve Water). While the number of laundry loads were unaffected in buildings with no signs over the next three weeks, there was a 10 percent reduction among those who saw the static message, and nearly a 30 percent reduction for those who saw the dynamic message.

…“Dynamic norms may play a large role in social change,” Sparkman said. “Just learning that other people are changing can instigate all these psychological processes that motivate further change. People can begin to think that change is possible, that change is important and that in the future, the norms will be different. And then, if they become persuaded and decide to change, it starts to become a reality.”

Left to its own devices, the group imitates itself, with people seeing what others have done and then doing the same. This herd behavior proves damaging because it is entirely self-referential, which means that realistic concerns are ignored in favor of social concerns, namely keeping up with what the other monkeys are doing.

Luckily, this provides an option for future change, in that instead of reaching the masses, we need only to reach those who the masses imitate, which does not require simplifying the message. With this approach, the full questions can be presented, and those who can understand will pick up on those, with the less thoughtful imitating.

This knowledge clashes with the idea by many of the Right that we must create our own herd. They suggest that instead of tackling difficult truths, we should present a simplified version as a means-to-the-end of acquiring a large audience. But as research and historical evidence suggest, this approach will fail as it will simply destroy the message, where presenting a clear idea to the naturally capable has a chance of victory that is denied by mass culture cultivation.

In The World Wars, There Were No “Good Guys”

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Viewing historical events not as clashes of “sides” as in a football game but as complex interactions of cause and effect achieves a greater clarity than one can have with the “political” view that selects for good guys versus bad guys. The latter view will always be more popular in democracy because of its need to create emotional motion among the masses in order to get anything done.

Looking more closely into these wars, it is easy to see that principles were the essence of the conflict, which imitated the Napoleonic Wars and ensuing disruption of European history through the fallout from the French Revolution. It is also easy to criticize some events, such as genocides, but more important to view those as inevitable consequences of decisions made to mobilize masses. National Socialism, for all of its appearance of being totalitarianism, required the same mass-culture mobilization as the democratic West did, and this required simple symbolism such as attributing all the problems of the world to a race of oily hook-nosed creatures. That in turn set into motion events that compelled the seemingly autonomous leadership to act out policies which helped defeat them.

At the same time, looking into the supposedly “good guys” reveals that the same type of demonization occurred, and resulted in a tacit acceptance of everyday war crimes:

”You didn’t have to go down the street and enroll in some courses at the University of Pennsylvania to know what he meant,” Sheeran explains. ”It was like when an officer would tell you to take a couple of German prisoners back behind the line and for you to ‘hurry back.’ You did what you had to do.”

When seen through this lens, the world war period — since the two wars were continuations of the same conflict, itself arising from the instability brought on by the French Revolution — indicts not one side, but mass culture itself. Wherever groups of people must be emotionally manipulated for political ends, things end badly for humankind.

Alt Right Thinking Provides A Path Past The Trouble With France

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

The way to saving the West will not come through elections.

The Alt Right never stated an official platform and never ran a candidate. Yet, like the Tea Party before it, it won by triggering a social wave. Even if its candidates collapse, it has created an attitude of defiance toward not just the political orientation of our time, but toward the system itself and beyond it, the essence of modernity itself.

We deny equality. Equality means that the “wisdom of crowds,” which is always idiotic, wins out over sanity, every time. And so the Alt Right built a cultural wave based on massive suspicion of the motives of those in the system, and extended it to faith in our way of life itself. Combining the best of Right and Left, the Alt Right said that our modern life is horrible and needs to die.

Relying on politics means that we are choosing options from off of a shelf in a big department store labeled WE THE PEOPLE. These options have already been made toothless, with any risk removed, and super-simplified so that the herd can choose one without any thought or feeling like they will be criticized for that choice.

The Alt Right takes a different approach: any decision within modern society is a bad option and a betrayal. The only solution is to clear out the dead wood and start over.

Like our politicians, we recognize that the West is dead and has been so for some time. The World Wars were when the final insanity became accepted as normal, and since then our people have been staggering about in a stupor borne of shock and excess.

Our politicians know the West is dead, and are focused on carving up the corpse so they can become super-rich and flee to remote tropical islands with private security.

The biggest stumbling block facing the Alt Right is articulation of what it desires instead. Many of us have suggested the simplest possible option: we wish to go back to a Golden Age, using the systems that worked then as updated for technology.

A Golden Age, however, has two parts. The first is a type of social structure that emphasizes hierarchy, order and values. The second is a spiritual conviction toward doing what is right instead of what is convenient, which we later rationalize as right, much like the outcome of an election.

For us to get there, the Alt Right needs to continue building its cultural wave of discontent against the way things are done now. Modernity is awful and soul-killing; civilizations exterminate themselves through this kind of obligatory misery and frustration, in which all good things are destroyed and the weak-minded always win.

We can continue our campaign of mockery of all things that exist and are approved of now, and extend it to comparing ourselves to the societies of ancient times. Imagine pre-democratic Athens with space travel, or pre-democratic Rome with artificial intelligence.

Sane people desire a society where every good person has a place, and the bad are driven away. Equality creates the inversion of that by legally mandating the inclusion and acceptance of those who are bad, simply because they are equal. This must die before we will get anywhere.

But after that, what would a good society look like? In all likelihood, a place where technology and wealth are in the hands of our best people, the morally good who are also intelligent, and in which each person owns a small business or farm and contributes to the whole not with taxes (alone) but through pushing civilization toward its purpose: excellence, beauty, wisdom, strength, and love for this Earth.

That ideal is many steps down the road, and it does not make sense to try to fully visualize it now. We will discover its details by taking the path that leads to its door, learning as we go, as is the case with all journeys. But for now, we must reject all of modernity and its legalized entropy that we know will eventually destroy us all.

Modern Society Is Destroying First World Peoples

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Most conservative writers will not accept the fact that European decline is the product of modernity; that is, the modern lifestyle and the future it offers us turn people into self-destructive, sadistic, controlling, passive, deferential and retributively oblivious agents of destruction.

This applies to all first world peoples; the existential misery is strong in Japan as well:

This finding, part of a survey of 540,000 15-year-olds in 72 countries, indicates a worrying pattern throughout the world: Advanced economies have lower levels of well-being than might be expected from their material prosperity and freedoms — particularly among young people.

…Related to this, it was also clear that the top countries for well-being tended to be emerging economies. It may be that perceived opportunities for expansion has a positive impact on well-being. Meanwhile, in advanced economies like Japan’s, there may be a dimly discernible sense that the economy has “peaked” and that there is little room to advance.

…Japanese teens reported that “working hard/helping myself get on in life” was their most important value — and more chose this than in any other country except South Korea (also low in the well-being stakes).

Japanese teens were also the least likely of all 20 countries to think that making a contribution to wider society was important. It is easy to see how these beliefs, in combination with a lack of opportunity, could produce a pessimistic state about one’s chances of leading a successful or meaningful life.

In other words, what makes teens miserable is (1) being in the current first world (2) believing that they must join the system and (3) having Leftist beliefs.

The most interesting point is that despite its material wealth, the first world crushes people by forcing them into a lifestyle with several crushing problems:

  • Jobs are jails. Workplaces are showrooms for bad human behavior; competition is based on appearance not competence or efficiency; self-important sociopaths get ahead while the competent and decent are left behind; all but a few jobs are non-essential and because of individuals competing for attention and to justify themselves, composed of make-work and pro forma activity.
  • People are insane. Under intense pressure, with none of the social order that nurtured them in the past, and suffering through a time that is existentially miserable but physically comfortable and therefore cannot be criticized, people have become ugly in the spirit and mean in their treatment of one another.
  • Sexual degeneracy. People are whores because egalitarian sexual practices encourage having few standards. This means that the chances of a life-long bond are greatly diminished, and that people can expect sexual competition and one-upmanship to be the rule. Those who are not having sex all the time are written off as losers.
  • Consumerism. Low-quality, low cost, high margin disposable products fill our shelves and litter our streets. Very little lasts, and the constant mania to have new stuff and pursue entertainment or other consumption makes people into hollow zombies with nothing to talk about who deny any deeper connection to life itself.
  • Ugliness. Our architecture consists of boxes, our homes are filled with plastic, modern art and pop culture are reductionist garbage, graffiti and vandalism and advertising cover every surface, filth is ever-present, public messages are snarky and cruel, and even people themselves are being twisted into bloated, greedy, snarling, beige race mutts who look like nothing from the past.

These add to a society that no one with an IQ of above about 115 wants to live in, and yet because the vast majority of people are oblivious to these things, those of higher taste and intelligence are voted out.

High-IQ groups are the most susceptible to both Leftism and existential misery because they are the most prone to self-doubt, for the simple reason that they are aware of more ways in which they could be wrong, have longer memories and tend to be more aware and better at self-criticism.

In pursuit of the ultimate lifestyle, while our leaders drool over power and obsess themselves with death, the people of the first world have doomed themselves through a utilitarian approach to existence — arising from democracy — that favors the crassest and most simplistic of our tastes, creating a repellent and alien world in which we are miserable in our souls.

Trends

Sunday, May 28th, 2006

no_fun-no_core-no_mosh-no_trends

Science suggests that socialization has an evolutionary effect on animals: it makes their brains more complex, perhaps bigger, to deal with the infinite interdependent details of manipulating other individuals. All things in nature however fit onto a kind of bell curve where too little is not enough, but too much becomes not enough of other necessary things, and leads to a collapse of the system. It is not unprecedented to assume that too much socialization might make individuals oblivious to anything but socialization.

Those who are familiar with this balance come to distrust trends. A trend can be defined as any behavior which is transmitted on the basis of its popularity, and not its inherent value. People select it by proxy; because others do it, it must be smart. Some trends are not destructive: if one sees a crowd fleeing a predator, it is not entirely unwise to follow, but a crowd fleeing an imaginary fire will trample those who join it. For this reason it is wise to suspect any trend which has no corresponding stimulus in reality. We who have grown up among the socialized look for smoke when someone calls “Fire!”

Most trends are simple behaviors that keep those with no capacity to think or lead busy, and the worst thing they generate is landfill (piles of Emo CDs, “Baby on Board” signs, Kewpie dolls dot the nation’s garbage heaps). However, in a socialized system, trends tend to pile up and while it is easy to recognize the new ones, it becomes hard to see the more pervasive ones — these tend to be the broadest and most fundamental assumptions of those one meets on the street. The greatest trend of the last two thousand years has been utilitarian individualism.

Utilitarian individualism is the idea that we must please ourselves with what exists instead of striving for an abstraction that not all can see; like all forms of government or social principle, it is a control mechanism. It starts from the principle that material obligations liberate the individual, and progresses to the idea that the individual pursuit of pleasure is more important than the pursuit of an accurate abstraction of reality and the tendency to master it such as to create an ascendant civilization: art, philosophy, science, religion and heroes of a higher level than would be expected from the simple material needs of life. Descending civilizations concern themselves with what exists right now, and how to divide it up, where ascending civilizations direct themselves toward conquest through creation.

From this materialistic individualist perspective comes a morality of the physical such that we judge actions by their potential material consequences on individuals, and are blind to the impact of individual actions upon the whole; the individual has become sacred, and what inconveniences an individual — even if a higher state for all of civilization is to be gained — is viewed negatively if not outright made taboo. Our morality is materialistic in that we think it “exists” as an absolute categorization, where the ancients saw morality as a matter of motivation and the significance of acts in the physical world. To an ancient society, to intend evil was the same as having a poor philosophy of the world, and intent naturally led to acts which would be seen as evil. The modern view of the world sees only the act, classes it as evil, and therefore attributes an evil mindset to the doer. Ancients believed evil was mental error, but now we believe it is an inescapable category and thus refuse to see how our ideas might be mediocre and thus destructive — evil.

In the ancient system, evil and good were like heaven states of mind, and the gods were personificiations of nature, not some powerful deities existing in a space that like technology acts on our physical world from an abstraction and is mechanically consistent. Modern people think of religion and morality like machines: the act originates from a desire toward a function with no necessary mirror in reality, a pure arbitrary “evil” that can have no worth in life. Gone is the idea of evil as an extension of predation or parasitism. We in our modern wisdom need to make up reasons for the fundamental categorical altering of the evil individual, so we see them as motivated not by logic but trauma from child abuse, financial gain, etc. We believe to do evil is to intend evil, or to be of an evil machine-function, but choose not to notice evils which may arise simply from bad logic.

All of this supports the over-arching trend of looking away from the world as a whole, and accepting time as a series of moments with cause and effect, to instead see it as a matter of what already exists and how individuals will exploit it. Translated loosely through the filter of motivations, this can be seen as a desire to back away from rising above our fundamental obligations — eat, sex, sleep — and to legitimize them as goals. The modern trend is a shattering of goals beyond function and the pursuit of the comfort of the individual. Translated from the perspective of the single human to that of all humans, it is utilitarianism: that which most people consider in their interests is right; forget all those abstractions like better art or ideas, or even comparing ideas at all. Everything is an arbitrary choice.

Of course this trend has its defenders. “It’s simply human nature,” they say waving a hand in that dismissive coffeehouse gesture normally reserved for mention of Republican candidates. Or: “But it’s what I want.” Even worse is the moral argument, which is utilitarianism translated to religion — the only moral right is allowing most people to pursue what they see as the fulfillment of their interests. And what if they’re wrong? Well, no choices are wrong you see… it’s all machine function… unless you disagree, in which case you’re evil (abused child, mental illness, drug addiction, service in Viet Nam, or even greed are to blame).

Where the ancients saw a world of both positive and negative attributes, and determined to accept those as method so they could transcend them in order to achieve the greater positives — art, culture, religion, learning, heroism — that life has to offer, the modern trend-person is stranded at acceptance of negativity. We don’t want to accept it. We want only the positive, but since we cannot accept the positive, we achieve only the material positive, the here-and-now, the limited to the individual… we forego the greater positives that can be had by accepting the negative as part of the mechanism of life, and thus using it for the purposes of achieving those higher positives. We just don’t want to see the dark side, whether it’s death, aging, fatness, baldness, hemorrhoids, war, chaos, sodomy.

The ancients did not have a science of mechanical logic, or acting upon the world to produce uniform results. Their science was inseparable from the world, as was their religion. This bonding with the world and acceptance of its nihilism (one must kill to eat, other things may kill you, some are stronger/smarter than others, some ideas are wrong because they conflict with reality) was what enabled them to stop struggling against the darkness in reality and to start looking past it toward transcendence and the creation of greatness. In their view, this entire world is a machine, and it enables those who understand it — like a paintbrush, a musical instrument, logic and martial skills — to choose what they wish to render. In that was the spark of transcendence, or a rising above material circumstance to see the creative aspects of life and to embrace them. Modern trend-people remain stranded in material circumstance, and consequently have no culture to speak of.

Still not all have joined the trend. It is encouraging to see a Kraftwerk record or Tom Wolfe book join the bestsellers, because it means those who understand the eternal philosophy of life are still out there. These are the people who see the genius in nature and let that override their fear of becoming prey or dead; these are the people who live not for what exists now but for what creativity, hard work and genius can provide. They are transcendents, like the ancients, and although there are fewer of them every year they persist in the knowledge that illusion always leads to a downfall, and that this modern world has a clock ticking over its head like the culled characters in the video game “Lemmings.” Their transcendence is the mark of a higher culture, like that of the ancients; as a whole society, we have abandoned this worldview, and our fortunes have waned in consequence even if it has taken 2,000 years to see.

Preconceptions

Monday, December 19th, 2005

tinfoil_hat

One hilarious aspect of a world where people cannot tell the difference between appearance and structure is the tendency of our “civic-minded” folk to rail against values from the past, claiming they are “preconceptions” or antiquated values that are untested against the present time. The past is bad, the logic goes, and our “progressive” notions will escape antiquated beliefs and lead us to a golden future. It’s all about escaping those preconceptions, folks, and moving to the new.

Like all good lies, this has a grain of truth to it. When something stops working, you have to reconsider the most basic assumptions about the task that have guided you, and then start again from a new angle. However, there’s a pitfall here as well, since you can throw out good data with bad, and if you cannot find a place to start, you will forever be reconsidering your assumptions and will never find a solution. In other words, you need to have some kind of preconceptions in order to make decisions at all.

In fact, if we look at those who wish us to do away with our “antiquated” preconceptions, and use our philosophical minds instead of looking at appearance, we will see that the basic concepts they bring to us are as old as any other ideas we could propose. The core idea of all “progressive” logics is that by nullifying conflict, and focusing on greater individual comfort instead of finding an outcome to the conflict, we can have perpetual peace and greater happiness. Only problem with this is that the original concept of society ran along such lines, and it was only after individuals made sacrifices and strove toward collective goals that civilization arose.

We like to believe that our natural preconceptions are bad too. We might resent someone for doing something we see as destructive or cowardly, but our social chaperones tell us we must fight that inner impulse to violence. They see the absence of war as peace, and believe the only way to end conflict is to pacify all parties and explain away all possible reasons for war. They tell us that they are overcoming our preconceptions of violence, but aren’t they doing this with some very unproven preconceptions that make no sense, such as the idea that conflict can be eliminated? Conflict is beneficial; when you stifle it with pacifism, none of the important changes get to happen!

In our world order right, the idea that consumerism and multiculturalism and democracy and entertainment culture are our inevitable future is a preconception that most people are trained to use to replace our other “preconceptions,” namely that all of those neat ideas are illusions that might take some time to collapse but inevitably will. As events in Paris, Denmark, Germany and Australia are showing us, this future society – which overcomes our “preconceptions” – is not working so good.

Yet because the world is run by masses, we need something they approve. If our message is that all conflict is unnecessary, and that all people should continue pursuing selfish ends without tempering them for collective or long-term goals, we will be popular. Our current corporate superstate rests on this cornerstone. The greed of the masses propels consumer industry which, supported by an ever-expanding democracy and entertainment culture, controls the world at the behest of the crowds, who want its products. No one oppresses us except ourselves. And to justify this world of inaction (and thus, because stagnation is death, steady decline) we invent this “progressive” idea by which we overcome natural and historical “preconceptions” to move into a better more altruistic time.

We are told the past was horrible and to forget it, yet we do not have great thinkers as once existed. We are told that ancient cultures were oppressive, yet it seems people then had more free time and challenged themselves more as people, thus had more meaning in their lives. Our preconceptions are based in this past, and while they can be attacked from the perspective of the present time, that perspective is unproven as a workable model of reality over time. And when we see that it is not only unproven but based on emotion, and individual desires, and not fact, it becomes clear that which is to replace our “preconceptions” is the worst kind of preconception itself – an arbitrary one.

But the crowd rushes forward, liking its self-conception of multiculturalism and consumerism and democracy and entertainment culture, not concerned about reality. By denying that their preconceptions are wrong, they will postpone recognizing the problems of society until they become a snowball of rage that can only end in brutal violence, and they will at that point be unable to stop it. They will deny all conflict and all ideology until the pressurized situation overheats and detonates. It will overwhelm them, unprepared, and will be far worse than all of what they feared. That’s the danger of preconceptions.

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