Amerika

Posts Tagged ‘naturalism’

An Important Distinction

Saturday, November 18th, 2017

As we stumble through this modern age, ruled by an individualism that tells us both that we can be “me first” in all of our deeds and that the exterior impulses of our personalities like desires and feelings are more important than either our intuition or the external world, we find ourselves encountering many situations where people argue for the denial of reality in preference to what they wish were true.

We might rebut that proposition with the simple idea that feelings are real, but not necessarily true. To us, feelings seem more real than the rest of reality because they originate inside of our brains, and if we are not disciplined, we can mistake them for outpourings of intuition or even gestures of our souls. Some time spent on honest self-analysis reveals however that these are simply part of the natural human tendency toward solipsism that occurs because our impressions of the world are of a stronger signal than perception itself, and are more immediate to us, thus seem more vivid and important.

Some say that religion is important because it teaches us morality. For others of us, it seems clear that religion does something greater, which is reveal to us that we are insignificant parts of a much larger order, which naturally bunts that solipsism right out the door and sets us on a path of self-actualization by which we lose the external husk of ourselves and discover the kernel of a soul within.

That external husk is made entirely of the human: our feelings, the feelings of others expressed through social gestures, bodily desires and the objects we use to form a narrative of our lives that makes it seem as if we made the best decisions possible. The inner kernel consists of our intelligence, moral character, intuition and aspirations specific to who we are.

The outer kernel proves to be socially acceptable because it is equal; that is, it is under our control, and requires minimal intellect, so anyone can do it. For that reason, it offends no one in a group if we pursue desires or re-configure our appearance to make ourselves seem more important. But if we compare inner selves, then suddenly a hierarchy emerges, and that offends any social group where most people are not exceptional.

As Plato points out in Chapter II of The Republic, people are not challenged by those who are actually on the same level as they are; there is no tension or “inequality” between them. But when shown someone risen or rising above them, people reflect on their own status and become underconfident, which makes them revengeful in retaliation. People are fundamentally defensive regarding others because of competition, which makes people think that if someone else is rising, they themselves are falling.

This shows us the basis of the confusion between feelings=real and feelings=true. Feelings are mental impulses which we perceive with the same intensity as any observations about the world, but because they have an origin within the individual, the individual sees them as most reliable, important and relevant.

However, what we mean by “true” is that something corresponds to the external world, such that it is verified by something other than our own intellect. In this sense, feelings are not true… they exist within a person, and it is true that they are emanating from that person, but they have no claim to the wider world.

This shocks the solipsist.

Humanity is separating. There are those who thrived under the former order of individualism are finding themselves excluded from the future; those who were excluded in the past are finding themselves proven right and, as a result, inheriting the future order where feelings are real but not true, as opposed to the past where they were considered both real and true.

The species will separate into many groups, but within Western Civilization, two main groups are emerging.

Individualists comprise the first group. This consists of those who need to be part of a social group so that their individual needs can be expressed. They are both “me first” self-interested people, and those who need their external characteristics recognized by a social group so they can feel important. In groups, individualists form collectives, or little gangs dedicated to supporting their own members at the expense of civilization.

Naturalists form the second group. These are people who accept their relative insignificance and role as part of a larger structure, which cures them both of “me first” and thinking that having social recognition somehow changes the conditions of life. Instead of dedicating themselves to the self, they spend their effort on families, culture, race, heritage, civilization and abstractions like learning, fairness, honor, wisdom and realism.

Divisions between these groups are vast. Individualists believe that feelings are not just real, but true, because their entire worldview is based on first declaring what they want and later finding a way to rationalize it according to what they know of reality. Naturalists see feelings as real, but that it is necessary to consider them in a broader context where the individual is secondary to the order of nature, civilization and logic.

As humanity enters middle age, we are seeing that individualism always leads to failure, and that we need a naturalism which navigates between the zombie-like collective of the individualists and the blind obedience of those who make “the system” their only goal. It begins with recognizing that feelings are real, but that does not make them important beyond the individual.

Conservationism Summary

Monday, June 12th, 2017

For many of us, the primary issue is the environment. Not environmentalism, that neutered hybrid of the Left that destroyed every naturalist movement it got its greasy hands upon, nor any of the other Left-infused variants on that topic. But conservationism, or the idea of setting aside natural land so it can do what it must, for no reason other than appreciation for its beauty, that is conservationism.

The Left attacks naturalist movements because it realizes that these inherently drift rightward. The Left has one idea, which is mandatory universal inclusion or “equality,” and that means that each individual does whatever he wants… and no one says NO. Conservatism, which is based in order that is larger than the individual, can say NO and the Left fears it.

Conservationism sets limits on humanity. Instead of trying to police our every day acts, like whether we used more than 1.8 gallons for that last flush, it simply sets aside huge chunks of land, ideally over 50%, for use by nature only. In the past, this was done by making this land “hunting preserves” of nobles who hunted in it a few times a year and left it wild for the rest.

You might say that conservationism is anti-human, or at least post-human. Instead of looking at the world through the desires and fears of human beings, it simply looks at the world as a whole. It sees how interconnected the parts of ecosystems are, and how unequal they are, and desires to preserve them because they are a finer design than humanity will ever manage.

For those of us who have gone to the conservation side, the wisdom of ancient religion becomes visible: the battle is within us. We must decide to be good, and then do it, which means giving up the temporary in favor of the eternal. And we must be morally vigilant and attentive at all times, because an evil whether for a penny or billions is still evil, and opens the door to more.

Those of us who stay with the deep ecology viewpoint tend toward wanting a simpler life, where people live in small towns and own businesses instead of having jobs. We want families to be the center of our society, and to have eternal values that are more sacred than life itself, including defense and nurturing of our environment.

We are informed by the deep ecology mission statement:

We believe that current problems are largely rooted in the following circumstances:

  • 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. Correspondingly, the assumption of human superiority to other life forms, as if we were granted royalty status over Nature; the idea that Nature is mainly here to serve human will and purpose.
  • The prevailing economic and development paradigms of the modern world, which place primary importance on the values of the market, not on Nature. The conversion of Nature to commodity form, the emphasis upon economic growth as a panacea, the industrialization of all activity, from forestry to farming to fishing, even to education and culture; the rush to economic globalization, cultural homogenization, commodity accumulation, urbanization, and human alienation. All of these are fundamentally incompatible with ecological sustainability on a finite Earth.
  • Technology worship and an unlimited faith in the virtues of science; the modern paradigm that technological development is inevitable, invariably good, and to be equated with progress and human destiny. From this, we are left dangerously uncritical, blind to profound problems that technology has wrought, and in a state of passivity that confounds democracy.
  • Overpopulation, in both the overdeveloped and the underdeveloped worlds, placing unsustainable burdens upon biodiversity and the human condition.

This is the only way to avoid the core problem of humanity: Crowdism, or the tendency of individual needs to accumulate and overwhelm goals. These manifest in the tragedy of the commons:

The tragedy of the commons develops in this way. Picture a pasture open to all. It is to be expected that each herdsman will try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons. Such an arrangement may work reasonably satisfactorily for centuries because tribal wars, poaching, and disease keep the numbers of both man and beast well below the carrying capacity of the land. Finally, however, comes the day of reckoning, that is, the day when the long-desired goal of social stability becomes a reality. At this point, the inherent logic of the commons remorselessly generates tragedy.

As a rational being, each herdsman seeks to maximize his gain. Explicitly or implicitly, more or less consciously, he asks, “What is the utility to me of adding one more animal to my herd?” This utility has one negative and one positive component.

  1. The positive component is a function of the increment of one animal. Since the herdsman receives all the proceeds from the sale of the additional animal, the positive utility is nearly +1.
  2. The negative component is a function of the additional overgrazing created by one more animal. Since, however, the effects of overgrazing are shared by all the herdsmen, the negative utility for any particular decision-making herdsman is only a fraction of -1.

Adding together the component partial utilities, the rational herdsman concludes that the only sensible course for him to pursue is to add another animal to his herd. And another; and another…. But this is the conclusion reached by each and every rational herdsman sharing a commons. Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit–in a world that is limited. Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.

The only solution to this problem is purpose, which is the opposite of what democratic society offers. In a democracy, the purpose is the people, instead of the purpose being some goal on which those people unite and toward which they cooperate. As a result, they become selfish, and start to act for themselves alone at the expense of society and nature, leading to the runaway consumption we see.

Amerika has a long history of conservationist writing, most of which is politically incorrect but still accurate. Many of the best writings were lost with the demise of various BBSes, USENET servers and early websites, but many live on in their twenty-first century format:

Modernity Is Killing You

Saturday, December 10th, 2016

As it turns out, modernity is not just crushing your soul with existential doubt, but also silently and slowly murdering you with urban life:

People whose homes are surrounded by the most greenery are 13 per cent less likely to die of cancer. Their risk of dying from respiratory disease also drops by 34 per cent, the biggest ever study into green spaces and health has shown…Overall mortality was 12 per cent less for people who had the most greenery within 250 metres of their homes during the eight year follow-up period.

…”We were surprised to observe such strong associations between increased exposure to greenness and lower mortality rates,” said Peter James, research associate in the Harvard Chan School Department of Epidemiology.

“We were even more surprised to find evidence that a large proportion of the benefit from high levels of vegetation seems to be connected with improved mental health.”

Shocking. Being near the detailed and interconnected order of nature provides mental health, where the square and blocky utilitarianism of the modern city makes us ill.

Capitalism

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

cucks

Is capitalism the root of our decline as a civilization? This question is vitally important: if we identify the wrong culprit, the decline will continue unchecked.

Normally it is best to ignore any trope of the Left, and the idea that capitalism is the source of all of our problems is a longstanding Leftist mantra. It seems like they say it in order to avoid looking at other problems we have.

And then there are some credible sources who say capitalism is a problem, or more clearly that capitalism and socialism are two sides to the same coin. Somewhere in here is a defense of Socialism and the assertion that the USA controls the world thanks to its victory in WWII, and that this is the root of most problems.

First, on Capitalism: (1) it is clear that this is superior to every other system of economics, and so to want socialism or any of the many variants thereof is insanity, but (2) economic systems are unhealthy substitutes for leadership, culture, morality and social order.

Capitalism substitutes for leadership through the democracy-trope that whatever creates jobs or brings in profit is worth pursuing. Thus we go off to war, or adopt brain-damaged social policies, merely because hiring might occur.

In the same way it is no substitute for social order. Western society was healthier when we choose good people and gave them the money and power, instead of noticing who had money and power and rationalizing that they must be the best. Economics is a test of randomness, luck and timing among other things, and excellence in it does not in itself signify competence as a leader.

When you have stiff-lipped upper classes running the show, comprised of the people whose instinct and intellect led them instinctually toward necessary acts in the past, a hierarchy exists that enforces high standards on its citizens by having a group of examples with discerning judgment.

In the same way, it is insane to have capitalism substitute for culture. Hollywood is not great literature, and Justin Bieber is not Beethoven. Classical music, art and literature thrived under the kings and have slowly faded away under democracy, just like genius.

What makes both capitalism and socialism dangerous is that people tend to use them as substitutes for leadership, morality, social order and culture. Why do they do that? There are two culprits that come to mind, with one evil hiding behind them.

First, democracy makes it impossible to choose a cultural path consistently. That is the point of democracy: it is constant disruption and compromise so that extreme action (Hitler!!!1!) is never taken. What is done for four years, then goes away, and so nothing timeless or optimal remains.

Second, diversity makes it impossible to have cultural standards because the many groups of the multiculture are warring it out, hoping their own standards win out, and the only strategy for the society itself is to “dumb down” standards to a “lowest common denominator” that includes all — notice how most people get wide-eyed at this word — different group, which is to say: no standard.

Finally we approach the hidden evil that exists at a lower level than even democracy. We cannot have social order at all because it conflicts with the idea of equality. Equality itself is a proxy for individualism, which is what happens when the human heart turns against reality from fear of the risk of being wrong in its conjectures.

He is correct when he refers to the governments of USA and Norway as Communist. Democracy is just an early stage of Communism; in fact, the first stage is the replacement of the rule by men with rule by laws which are then interpreted dishonestly by men, allowing the collusion of special interests that brings about full Communism. Communism is a spectrum, like infection with a militant disease, and any small amount quickly leads to a total takeover and fatal loss of the patient.

And this brings us back to what is actually wrong in the West. Capitalism is not it; socialism, as an egalitarian system, is part of it but not its only manifestation. The root of our problem is collective insanity brought on by individualism and the social pressures it creates.

The only counteraction to this is a strong reinforcement of realism, which produces a natural hierarchy. This scares people because it is beastly and lawless, without morality. The only way to survive is to adopt nature within ourselves, to recognize we are part of it and we need a “beast within.”

The following provides a great and simple example of integrating human order with natural organization:

A forest garden in the way this man and his wife created it is the opposite of equality, democracy and diversity; instead, it is many unequal things in unequal roles (where diversity is unequal things in the same role, like the “classless society” which invariably lives up to its name). This addresses the root of our problem, philosophically; we have exiled nature from within the human heart.

The cause of this exile is not capitalism but individualism, and the tendency of successful societies to produce brats. Brats are people who are both spoiled and feel their lives are pointless. The more power they demand, the more their lack of purpose haunts them. This is why brats always become abusive.

Modernity began with The Enlightenment.™ That in turn enshrined as the principle of the West the exact opposite of its founding principle, which was reality-based learning. Instead, categories and appearances — in the Asiatic way of thinking — dominated. Diversity is death and this early form of diversity cursed us.

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker

Friday, August 19th, 2016

stephen_pinker_-_the_blank_slate_the_modern_denial_of_human_nature


The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
by Steven Pinker
509 pages, The Penguin Group, 2002

This book brilliantly debunks an illusion, and then resurrects it through its unsourced emphasis on individualism as a solution to the questions raised. Pinker identifies “The Blank Slate” as a modern ideology, but really, it is the modern ideology: individualism. For that reason, his backpedaling mars the latter half of this book.

The Blank Slate begins by pointing out how prevalent the illusion of equality is throughout academia. The utter intolerance and demonization of any other viewpoint than biological equality is revealed, and then Pinker describes his own struggles with ostracism and professional attacks for daring to believe otherwise than that God created us all identically, just with different skin tones, gender, features and origins.

The thesis of this book retains the simplicity of common sense truth: we are not all equal in ability, inclinations or outlook because we are different in genetics, and that explains our differences. Instead of assuming equality because it makes us feel good, Pinker argues, we should look toward actual diversity, which is that humans are massively different from each other, including by race, ethnic group and family.

He backs up this thesis with extensive data from twin studies, genetic assays and logical analyses which take complex concepts and boil them down to simple language which branches like computer code. For example, Pinker on environmental effects:

A given practice would have to affect some children one way, and other children another way, and the two effects would have to cancel out [for environmental effects to be explained as an interaction between parents and children]. For example, sparing the rod would have to spoil some children (making them more violent) and teach others that violence is not a solution (making them less violent). Displays of affection would have to make some children more affectionate (because they identify with their parents) and others less affectionate (because they react against their parents). The reason the effects have to go in opposite directions is that if a parenting practice had a consistent effect, on average, across all children, it would turn up as an effect of the shared environment. Adopted siblings would be similar, sibs growing up together would be more similar than sibs growing up apart — neither of which happens. (388)

Pinker writes convincingly of the basics of Human Biological Diversity (HBD) by attacking the idea that humans are uniform. Expanding on that, he shows instances where genetic history was so predictive of personality, abilities and preferences as to seem almost magic and uncanny. This provides a convincing counterpart to the begging-the-question fallacy of equality, which asserts itself as true and then attacks any who question the assumption.

Although the vast majority of the book consists of scientific data and its analysis, Pinker necessarily mixes in critical thinking and philosophy to defend what was — at the time — an unorthodox thesis. In fact, the ideas in this book remain highly controversial, but Pinker astutely focused on families and individuals more than heritage-based groupings, which escaped the raging animosity that other books on this topic have provoked.

Some people have suggested to me that these grandiloquent arguments are just too fancy for the dangerous world we live in. Granted, there is evidence that people are different, but since data in the social sciences are never perfect, and since a conclusion of inequality might be used to the worst ends by bigots or Social Darwinists, shouldn’t we err on the side of caution and stick with the null hypothesis that people are identical.

…In the case of human differences, as in the case of human universals, the dangers go both ways. If people in different stations are mistakenly thought to differ in their inherent ability, we might overlook discrimination and unequal opportunity. In Darwin’s words, “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” But if people in different stations are mistakenly thought to be the same, then we might envy them the rewards they’ve earned fair and square and might implement coercive policies to hammer down the nails that stick up. (151)

This book represents the cutting edge of a social and scientific revolution, popularized without adulterating its factual and analytical ferocity. In this pursuit, Pinker adopts a Nietzschean outlook which sees the methods of nature as not random, but intelligent, and through them, shows us why the “cruel” aspects of nature are gentler than our pretense of individual removal from Darwinistic struggle allow us to see.

That outlook makes The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature a rebellion against the pretense of our age which holds that nature was stupid and destructive, and our “enlightened” ways are far superior. It rejects the idea of egalitarianism indirectly by showing that its assumptions are false, and then looks deeper into the evidence to find a logic of nature that approximates the Nietzschean desire for supremacy, competence and elitism.

When the predictions were combined with some basic facts about the hunter-gatherer lifestyle in which humans evolved, parts of the psyche that were previously inscrutable turned out to have a rationale as legible as those for depth perception and the regulation of thirst. An eye for beauty, for example, locks onto faces that show signs of health and fertility — just as one would predict if it had evolved to help the beholder and find the fittest mate. The emotions of sympathy, gratitude, guilt and anger allow people to benefit from cooperation without being exploited by liars and cheats. A reputation for toughness and a thirst for revenge were the best defense against aggression in a world which one could not call 911 to summon the police. (53)

In this way, Pinker foreshadows Jonathan Haidt and his discovery that people are wired for three or more of six concerns, all of which relate directly to group survival that benefits the genes of the individual. This perspective shows us inequality as not just natural, but beneficial, and from that paves the way for another way of looking at human differences which exalts the benefits for the species and civilization in lieu of concern by the individual for the individual exercised through constraint of society to recognize inequality.

Parts of this book drift toward utopianism and this constitutes Pinker’s apology, perhaps, for having discovered and majestically explained the natural reasoning behind a great social taboo. He caps off his analysis with the sort of good-will-toward-all-men language that Nietzsche would have chuckled at, but he does this after he has thoroughly demolished illusions and asserted sanity. For this, he is a hero of the human reinvention of what it is to be human brought on by knowledge of our inherent differences.

Emptiness

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

emptiness_of_modern_existence

I never realized that I was a religious person because my religion has never involved worlds beyond this one. Instead, like that of the ancient druids, it involves an order to this world in which ideas are the basis of reality. This order may extend beyond visible reality, but the rules do not change: physical reality is inherently logical, as is thought, and any other layers to reality play by those rules.

This ejects me from most religions. Or I should say: from most religious interpretations. As a nihilist, I recognize that writing something down — even writing it well — does not make it truthful or able to be communicated. It describes what one person knows, and other people in the way of humans immemorial will interpret it according to what they know, which includes looking for what they recognize which in turn includes both cognitive limits and preferences for what they already believe is true. With this in mind, even the most profound religion can be easily massacred by an idiot, neurotic or dishonest person and converted into its exact opposite, and this is the most common case in religion. All religions are interpretations of the same reality; all people are using interpretations of those religions; some of these interpretations make more sense than others. There is no single entity “Christianity” any more than there is a single recipe for spaghetti; people have different stuff in their fridges, different needs and different tastes. This is not to say, as Enlightenment liberals do, that every interpretation is different; like most things, they cluster around a few major points with variations. Even so, most religious interpretations find my approach unusual.

I came to this religious view from spending time alone in the forest with no hope for myself or humanity. Owing to unusual conditions of my upbringing, I was exposed to death, human denial and social posturing early on and was able to see through the “accepted” explanations for them, the consequence of a precocious development of verbal skill. In the forest, I found an order that while brutal never failed: it always kept moving forward and, in my experience, it moves forward to beauty. Higher levels of organization, greater unity of form/function, intensified gestalt, and elegance and efficiency in application all made nature to me seem far more graceful than the blocky, rigid and seemingly retaliatory human solutions. Unlike human logic, the logic of nature was not composed of a public layer and a private layer, only the latter of which approached honesty.

It was self-evident that nature addressed its purpose with finer granularity and a balance between all “details” that could not be achieved by humans, who approach all questions from a perspective of human interaction alone. As part of this, it became clear to me that nature contained a life-force that constantly worked toward greater efficiency, balance and beauty. The earth that supports both hummingbirds and eagles, mice and elephants, weeds and redwood trees clearly emerged from a more developed mind than what humans would do; we would design a concrete block of a building with booze at one end, porn at the other, and luxury goods in the middle, surrounded by dumpsters and tenements. Further, nature gave purpose to all through striving and self-betterment, such that a mouse might have real pride in overcoming its timidity and becoming an expert forager. This struck me as a wise and brilliant order that could only have come from some force geared toward ultimate good.

In contrast, humans seemed geared toward reducing the field of vision to what was immediately before them. They denied time, fearing death, and denied consequences of actions beyond the immediate in order to be less restricted. They used euphemisms recklessly to disguise unpleasant truths and then made social rules to prevent those truths from coming up. Everywhere was a sense of control or limiting what was recognized in reality to cause people to ignore it. No hawk would do this, nor any rabbit. But humans, ensconced in easy paper-pushing jobs and getting their food pre-cut from stores, had no need to face reality at all. Like children behaving badly when the teacher leaves the room, they “ran with it” and went into full denial, aware that a comeuppance was due at some point, but not right now. Parents became selfish and left insoluble problems for their children, all while treating those children as part of their own resume and denying the existence of those kids as individuals. It struck me as a sick, sick time.

At that point, I began to sense what evil was. It took many years to hone the philosophy. My first inkling came when I realized that many sources referred to sin as error, and to my mind, the root of error was failure to notice aspects of reality. As time went on, however, I saw that the root of this error was a compulsion not to notice; denial. With it came compensatory behaviors. Many people, such as liberals or religious fanatics, based their lives around denial and scapegoating. The denial allowed them to scapegoat, and that deflection removed their focus from personal improvement and doing right on their own to forcing the external world to compensate for their lack of self-improvement and hiding that fact with acts of public altruism which served their own goal of removing social rules, morality, standards and the noticing of reality upon which they are based. For them, the personal was the political, which meant that they used politics as a means to make themselves seem important and to distract from their actual agenda, which was always selfish, short-sighted, greedy, manipulative and generally cruel in effect (although not in appearance!). I also noticed how these people were chronically unhappy in ways that reflected their neuroses: liberals always talked about the suffering of others to disguise their own boredom and purposelessness, health food fanatics were always unhealthy, and religious zealots seemed to make every conversation about a coded reference to death.

For many decades, I have considered every theory I have encountered to explain this. Liberals argue that people are made miserable by their surroundings, but I find this not so. Dirt-poor people who knew no better made do and in fact seemed to have a lot of time, drink and smoke a lot and do exciting drugs, and not regret their lot in life. Did they want more money? Sure, but so does everyone else. They found ways for their lives to function and were usually highly social. The miserable people were white women in the suburbs and geeky men in dingy city apartments, railing at the world for not being what they wanted, instead of being willing to work with what it is. Some argue that the root of our problem is language, or grammar, or some fundamental defect in logic, but I found more often that it was a willful misreading of the rules of argument. Others said it was a lack of democracy, or of religion, but those did not seem to help and often led people astray. Over the years, I began to see the root as (1) what most would call “evil” and (2) its root in a type of error which we might call emptiness, or a lack of internal purpose and introspection, which required a solipsistic/narcissistic personality to support itself. For these people, everything they do is compensation (cognitive dissonance) for their own misery, apologism for actual problems and replacement in their consciousness of those with non-problems, and projection of their own desires onto others. They existed in a world of themselves, and saw any intrusion by reality as offensive, violating, victimizing and worth resenting. Most if not all human misery comes from this psychology.

Emptiness strikes when people disconnect from reality. When someone exists in a constant feedback loop with their world, noticing it and doing their part to increase order/good/beauty, they do not have this emptiness; instead, they have purpose, a place, and parts of an identity. For that to happen, they need a strong culture and strong leadership to reduce the billions of possibilities to a narrow but not artificially narrow range. However, most people rage against that under the impression that — much as they believe they will win the lottery — they need these billions of choices to feel a sense of personal power. That power however does not relate to changes in reality, but only in their own minds, and so like drug addiction or masturbation it is never satisfying because it never goes anywhere and pleasure must constantly increase to outpace its dulling through experience, much as any repetitive experience loses its intensity in our minds. Emptiness could be called “evil” but that is perhaps too mythological for this naturalistic Nietzschean, especially when evil is so commonly used to create scapegoats elsewhere. Instead, it makes sense to describe what it is: perpetual misery caused by a refusal to address reality and thus, a world created of the self which becomes a void as the self bores itself. Experience dulls over time, as said above, and so the self constantly chasing a way to stimulate itself becomes listless, entropic.

Over the years, evil has visited us in many ways, but rarely the ones the media and government identify. Hitler and Stalin thought they had a better form for society, and almost certainly they are just as much not all wrong as not all right. The real evil is mundane, occurs in tiny doses, and ingratiates itself to us. Evil does not show up as a giant demon with huge breasts and a giant penis while breathing fire, but as a seductive force that shows us an “easier way” or encourages us to take pity on ourselves, and reward us with something instead. It argues that we can have power without the ability that merits it, that we deserve more importance and less responsibility, and other illusions of the solipsistic mind. In short, it is solipsism, and its devious trick is that by making a world of ourselves, it forces that world into decay creating constant emptiness which we try to fill by destroying and consuming things around us. Instead of making us full, that only widens the hole, creating an army of mental zombies who ruin everything they touch and still remain in misery. If any condition is more like Hell, I have not witnessed it.

Inspired by (short) Twitter conversations with Alice Teller.

Nationalism and nihilism

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

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The modern pretense is that everyone is equal and thus if given the right instructions, like little robots they will form an orderly society. This is better, we are told, because it is transparent and there is oversight, so if one of the little equal cogs steps out of line there will be an organized institution to swat them down and restore order.

“Modern” in this context means the end-stage of a civilization before its collapse. The actual level of technology doesn’t matter, so long as it is so far superior to the levels in nearby nations that the modern nation stands out as having more comfort, convenience and wealth. What really defines modernity is that the society has achieved all of its goals, made itself powerful, and now is drowning in excess and, in that void of direction, has become neurotic and internally self-focused and self-referntial.

As an angry realist, much like the anger of the waves of an ocean storm, I assert a contrary principle: You can’t make a nation out of laws. Just like you can’t make the average person into a brain surgeon by giving them the right instructions, and just like you can’t make a generic person into a friend, you cannot “shape” or “socially engineer” a nation by taking generic cogs and stamping them with rules and laws until they behave.

One simple reason provides why this is true. Nations are not formed from outward-in, but from inward-out. Outward-in utilizes coercion to make people work together; inward-out occurs when people decide to collaborate in order that they achieve a certain result. Coercive societies tend to be subsidy societies because when the goal is to force people to work together, someone who is obedient to the overall plan is more important than someone who is talented but not obedient. This is the basis of social control: a desire by the social group to have people who do not transgress its need for unity.

The opposite of a coercive society is a collaboration. These are formed through a pre-civilization consensus where a group of people find they agree roughly on what must be done, and pledge to work together toward that end. Originally this was simple: “Let’s have civilization!” said Ogg to Thak. “We can combine our hunts, have better cave defense, and greater efficiency from shared campfires.” They moved toward civilization through mutual benefit.

Collaborations can no longer exist when a civilization becomes static and self-referential. A goal is a referent outside of the self, or something to reach for. When civilizations lose this sense of reaching-for, they cease to become inward-out and become outward-in. They have established what they wanted, and now they plan to administer it and make its margins wider, so that there’s more wealth for internal affairs. From this comes moral government, big government and ideology.

Much like in life we need a constant forward goal or we stagnate, civilizations too can stagnate. They must always have this consensus, which is the basis of collaboration, or nothing compels them to hold together. Without this internal desire to hold together, which is created by culture and heritage, it requires increasing amounts of external force to compel them to play nicely with each other. In fact, society shifts from being a productive entity to being an enforcement entity. All of its focus goes toward maintaining order, and none toward creating new directions.

This realization clashes with one of our most cherished modern pretenses, which is that of inherency. It would be most convenient for us if society were inherent, if morality were inherent, and if our co-existing were a foregone conclusion (i.e. super-inherent) that we just had to accept and enforce on each other. Co-existence is the basis of business, of government having an easy job, and of us indulging in these fantasies of social engineering whereby we are somehow improving what did not need improving.

Of all the ideas you will read on this blog, the most heretical — to right, left and Other — is that of the total rejection of inherency. All things are a choice; the desire to have a civilization is a choice, based in an idea of consequences and not some inherent morality. There is no inherent morality, because the decision to be moral is a choice also. This offends our idea, or really our hope, that we can declare these things inherent and force people to assume them. That is the position of both liberals and lowercase-conservatives.

There is no “inherent” meaning. Meaning is something we draw from the situation based on our choices, which are based on our comparison of the consequences of each possible potential action. Nothing in the universe says that we must inherently always choose life, or always choose good. Rather, it is the choice that defines us. We can do anything, but since every act has consequences and we are aware of those, sensible people tend not to choose to do an act for its own sake, but for its consequences. The choice of consequences then defines that these people are made of, and how they forged their own character. Meaning, in other words, comes from the struggle first inside and next outside to achieve order, purpose, balance and harmony.

Imagine a table with two wineglasses on it. One has wine in it and the other is filled with a mixture of wine and cyanide. It is our choice which one to pick. There is no inherent meaning to either choice, only consequences. It doesn’t matter which glass of wine the media says you should choose, or which is popular with your friends, or even which your textbook says is right. What matters is what result you intend. And who you are will be defined by the choices you make. That is what gives meaning to life.

For this writer, the choice will always be the glass of wine alone (barring some terminal disease). I just enjoy life and find it an amazing gift, probably by divine forces. What else would produce this perfection? In my experience, most of the complaints and crises we have are of our own making, through disorganization, perversity, stupidity, laziness and other forms of error such as evil.

But here’s a secret: most people will choose the poisoned wine if told to do so. They are basically negative, since they have no purpose in life since their society has no purpose. To their minds, meaning is inherent, thus if their friends or government or media says to drink the fatal wine, that’s as good as writing on the wall from an absent God. They view that meaning as inherent and that’s easier for them, because it doesn’t require them to forge in their souls the struggle to define themselves through difficult choices.

Most of these people just want an excuse to drink the poisoned wine. That lets them off the hook for consequences. Go down the path of destruction… now there are no expectations. Nothing but do-whatever-you-want. And both before civilization, and during the dying days of civilizations, do-whatever-you-want is the dominant rule. It is seen as a good thing, an inherent right, a divine commandment. And yet what it really is, is the absence of any desire to create meaning.

Right now our world is again facing the issue of nationalism. With the birth of our specific form of liberalism in the French Revolution, we needed everyone to be an equal cog and so the new liberal movement has waged war against religion, heritage, culture, values and even language. But now we are realizing that was a misstep. We need a nation formed from inward-out by culture and heritage together. You cannot make a nation out of rules, because what is created is without meaning.

Futurist Traditionalism: Deep Ecology, Traditionalism, Naturalism and Paleoconservatism

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Our civilization has fallen. It is clear that we must restart, and do so from a point before where our error began. We must find a healthy model for civilization that has existed through the ages and presented the fewest inclinations toward terminal decline. This is not a Utopian view; it does not aim for perfection, and accepts humans as they are, but seeks the best possible option.

Futurist Traditionalism is the philosophy of such a time. It consists of three parts:

  1. An aggregate view of philosophy. As detailed in my book Parallelism, we must view any philosophy through the filter of both time and transmission, which means that every idea erodes until it is the simplest possible expression of itself, even if this does not resemble the original intent. For example, “equality” was intended to mean “equal treatment,” but ultimately comes to mean “equal outcome” because otherwise it appears as if unequal treatment has occurred.
  2. A cyclic view of history. Evolution seems to be linear, starting with unicellular organisms and developing into humans, but this is an artifact of us viewing ourselves as an ultimate state, and not a recurring state or branch of an ongoing tale. In the cyclic view, civilizations move from a position of balance through times of varying degrees of conflict before hitting rock bottom, and either rebirth themselves or die out, and the cycle then happens elsewhere. This means that we do not have “progress” at all; we are either in a state of balance and harmony, or in the process of decaying, but that we can return to that state of balance by adopting its methods, principles and goals.
  3. Recognition of non-inversion. Perhaps the patron saint of conservatism, Plato wrote of the origin of decline as a spiritual shift from thinking toward-goals to thinking from-money:

    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.

    In a Golden Age, humans strive to what is right — not through personal morality as in good/evil of the modern time, but in the sense of acting according to balance and harmony so as to maintain a state of those, in a honor/hubris division — but when a society becomes wealthy, it loses its sense of purpose and starts to think backward. Instead of acting toward purpose, it does what is convenient, and rationalizes or justifies this through arguing it as pleasing to individual humans. From this comes individualism, and from that comes collectivism as the individualists use each other to form a mob and suspend accountability, and from that comes egalitarian ideas including Leftism and consumerism.

Putting these together, Futurist Traditionalism consists of two concepts mirroring the two parts of conservatism, a radical realism and a qualitative purpose or transcendental outlook, which aim to create the conditions in which a Golden Age can emerge: a restoration of harmony and balance, coupled with a spiritual renovation so that we think in a forward manner again.

A Futurist Traditionalist society would resemble those of the past in social structure and outlook, but would retain modern technology and the impetus to use technology to fulfill the principles and goals of each society. It would be culture-driven and not government-driven, which as a prerequisite demands it be strongly nationalistic or excluding all individuals not from the founding ethnic group, but it would also have an aristocracy, a social caste hierarchy, free markets where applicable, and a union of culture and transcendental outlook to provide a philosophy and metaphysics (or “religion” if you will) that sustains, nurtures and guides that specific population.

Where Futurist Traditionalism differs from most Right-wing philosophies is that it is nihilistic, meaning that it does not recognize universal, absolute or innate truths. In fact, it views all of life as choices that are both up to us and take the measure of us, including the choice to be realistic instead of individualistic, humanistic, solipsistic or otherwise more concerned about human thoughts and feelings than their degree of accuracy in reality.

Nihilism takes the form of a naturalistic, Darwinian and transcendentalist philosophy of extremist realism coupled with a fundamental idealism, or the view that the cosmos operates in thought-like pattern orientation, similar to Platonic forms but in a less literal sense:

Among the possibilities that scare humans the most, the potentiality of no meaning — no inherent values, no innate truths, and no possibility of accurate communication — unnerves us the most. It means that we are truly alone with nothing to rely on but ourselves for understanding this vast world and what we should do in it. This belief is called nihilism.

Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence.” – Alan Pratt, “Nihilism,” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, retrieved from http://www.iep.utm.edu/nihilism/

In the 20th century, nihilism encompassed a variety of philosophical and aesthetic stances that, in one sense or another, denied the existence of genuine moral truths or values, rejected the possibility of knowledge or communication, and asserted the ultimate meaninglessness or purposelessness of life or of the universe.” – “Nihilism,” Encyclopedia Britannica, retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/nihilism

Nihilism rejects the ideas of universalism, rationalism and empiricism which have ruled the West for centuries. These ideas arise from our social impulses, or the desire to include others as a group and motivate them with what is perceived as objective truth.

Universalism holds that all people are essentially the same, and therefore that values are a matter of respecting the choices of each person, truth is what can be verified in a way a group can understand, and communication relies on words which have immutable meaning. Rationalism supposes that the workings our minds can tell us what is true in the world without testing, and implies universalism, or that the workings of our minds are all the same. Empiricism, now linked to its cousin logical positivism, states that truth is only found in observable and testable, replicable observations.

The essence of nihilism can be found in biology. In the tendency of human minds, many identical pieces work together to form agreement, and then act as one. In biology, abundant unequal pieces serve different roles without knowledge of a centralized plan but work together because they are united by very basic principles which cannot be deconstructed further, such as the need to feed, defend oneself, find shelter, and reproduce. Nihilism follows the organic model of different pieces of a larger puzzle working together because they share principles, but not form or the translation of those principles into specific methods. It adds a layer of abstraction to our understanding of how systems — groups of parts producing an output together — function.

This biological framework reveals a “pattern language,” or index of patterns that match functions, to both human thought and human individuals. We are not all alike, nor do we think alike, and many humans have unique roles they can serve where their proficiency makes them ideal candidates. Within the mind, we can identify patterns at a level below language or even consciousness that reveal our thought and how comparable it is to the reality in the external world. This allows us to use self-discipline to become better able to understand reality.

Without universal truth, we bypass the proxy of socially-defined goals and standards, and instead must judge our potential actions by their likely results in reality. This escapes us from the ghetto of human intent, where we judge our actions as if they were communications to others designed to show our value, instead of actions toward a purpose. We lose self-consciousness, which is really an awareness of ourselves as we appear to the social group, and replace it with world-consciousness.

The most difficult part (for modern people) involved with leaving behind universalism is that we now navigate between two poles: first, the wrong idea that there should be one rule and motivation for every person, and second, the wrong idea that avoiding the first pole means that everyone should do whatever they want. Nihilism is the death of “should.” Instead, there is merely “is,” as in each person is what he is and has the wants inherent to being that person. This means that people have different roles, of both vertical (proficiency) and horizontal (specialization) measurements, like animals and plants in an ecosystem. There is no universal role, only a shared mission, and the knowledge of what actions have produced which results in the past, from which we can derive general principles that fit our roles in the civilization ecosystem.

With this, we return to the Traditionalist idea of cause and effect with the cause being informational instead of physical. Pattern and idea dictate outcome more than the particular material elements or particularities of a time period. Consider the knowledge of man trying to start a fire:

Action Result
1. Rub sticks Weak fire, takes a lot of strength.
2. Await lightning Starve (usually).
3. Strike flint Stronger fire, but flying sparks can cause forest fires.
4. Pray to Xu’ul Nothing so far.
5. Bark rope friction Good, but hard to find the right bark.

Society would insert a third column between those for moral judgments, social feelings, personal desires and other chatter from the incessantly rationalizing mind, which seeks to find a justification for its feelings in the world and remove from itself the need to make hard decisions which remind it of existential questions like death, purpose and meaning.

When Bra’agh the caveman thinks about how he should proceed, he inverts the order of the two natural columns. He knows what he wants, or quickly will have to find out, and so he chooses the outcome that will fit his circumstances, and based on that, chooses the method he will use.

If Bra’agh is strong, he may choose to rub sticks. If he has not eaten and is tired, he may take a little more time to look for bark or flint. As a practical person, he may pray to Xu’ul because it makes him feel better, but he will nonetheless seek his own method of making fire (Xu’ul helps those who help themselves). Having bad past experiences getting very hungry waiting for lightning, he will discard that.

When his circumstances change, Bra’agh makes different decisions. If a thunderstorm has just passed over, he might take an hour to wander around looking for burning trees. If he is in a valley where there is abundant flint, he might go right to that method, almost bypassing choice entirely, which can be risky as he will then be oblivious to the downside of possible forest fires. If he is standing next to a tree with the right bark, the decision also seems to complete itself.

All of us have these columns in our mind, and varying degrees of the third column comprised of social and emotional thoughts. The strongest among us can balance the third column so that it fits in with the advantages and disadvantages of methods, like the possibility of forest fires. The weakest among us will think first of the third column, and then use that to choose the method, and will then rationalize from there that their choice is the best, a process called cognitive dissonance.

Nihilism rejects the third column by recognizing the emptiness of shared experience. Some experiences unify us, like love or comradeship in war, but for the most part, we are alone. What we know cannot be communicated unless the other person is willing to analyze it and us enough to know what we are nattering on about. As far as truth, there are accurate perceptions, but these are not shared among people, not in the least because most people do not care about accuracy.

Suppose that Bra’agh becomes a member of a troupe of cavepeople. They wander the fields and forests, foraging for food and hunting what bush meat they can conquer. Then they retreat to their cave where they feel safe. Bra’agh wants to make a fire, but the others either do not or are apathetic. He cannot argue with them, objectively or subjectively, that fire is needed. After all, they have fruits, berries, roots and bush meat which they can dry in the sun and eat, and they will be just fine.

But Bra’agh, he has a dream. In this dream, there are big hunts once a week and then the food is cooked and preserved, so that they will have more free time and do not have to go foraging every day. Perhaps Bra’agh wants to write the great cave novel, or dream of gods in the sky, or otherwise discover the world. For him, time is more important than convenience. This is not so for the others, and nothing he can say will logically compel them to share his vision.

If he demonstrates his idea by slaughtering a caribou, making a fire and roasting the meat and handing it out to others, they may partake. They might not, however, see the utility in this approach, because it is harder and riskier than gathering roots and killing squirrels with rocks. There is no universal standard for all of them.

Suppose that Bra’agh is a burly caveman who instead of arguing for his idea, simply forces others to do it by beating senseless the dissenters. Soon the troupe of cavepeople are hunting and following his path, and he heaves rocks into the skulls of those who thwart the activity. Over time, the survivors are those who share his vision, and the genes for those who are otherwise inclined have passed into history.

In ten thousand years, a civilization may arise in the place where Bra’agh bashed skulls. It will be based on the idea that some risk and effort that achieves a better result (second column) is worth enduring the harder activity (first column). Applying that principle, the cavepeople will start domesticating caribou and planting crops, giving them even more free time. They will invent language, writing and early technology.

After another ten thousand years, the civilization will encounter its first troubles. The people will take for granted that they will always have civilization and stop bashing in the heads of those who cannot direct themselves toward that purpose. Those, who by nature are less focused, will devote their time to the pleasures of the flesh, and become fruitful and multiplicative. Over time, they will outnumber the others.

The civilization will now take a dark turn. It will abandon the original nihilistic principle, which is that some are of the caliber of Bra’agh and must lead by bashing skulls, and instead turn to the principle of universalism. Everyone is welcome and all are celebrated; in fact, they like to say that they are all one. Quantity replaces quality. Realistic vision is lost. The civilization begins to die.

A strange thing will have happened to the people in this civilization. They will live almost exclusively in the third column, thinking about what others think of them, with the world beyond the ego and the human social circle unknown to them. If someone explains nihilism to them, using the language which sprung up as if out of the ground once it was needed, they will retreat in fear, like monkeys flinging faeces at a feared totem. To them, there can only be one rule for everyone — the rule of the third column — or life has become bad and evil.

Nihilism remains controversial for this reason. It connects us to the nothingness in life, and the necessity of sacrifice in order to achieve quality-enhancing results, which naturally brings up the question of mortality that almost all people (except pasty Goths in black) would rather not discuss. People would rather decrease quality and increase quantity, meaning that all actions would be seen as equal, because this is more emotionally convenient for them. Nihilism erases any importance granted to this emotional state.

The modern West finds itself at a crossroads. The path we are on leads to eventual death and a form of entropy that returns us to the state of the cavepeople before Bra’agh and his vision of fire. A new path beckons which will take us higher than the greatness of the past, continuing the idea that seized Bra’agh as he was wandering the veldt. For us to accept the possibility of the new path, we must first strip away the human-only mental prison in which we exist because of social influences and “peer pressure.”

Nihilism leads to idealism for this reason. When we remove the over-dominance of the methods we use to interact with the world, we see the importance of pattern and arranging ourselves and material according to the idea we seek. This connects to a primal idea, which is that existence itself is biological, and that life extends past the physical into the metaphysical. In short, idea is all; material — including the third column — is a false goal that causes us to rationalize and become confused.

In this sense, nihilism shows us the value of transcendental thought. By facing the darkness of life directly and allowing the cold wind of the abyss to lick our faces, nihilism creates acceptance of the world as it is, and then embarks on a search for meaning that is not “social meaning” because it is interpreted according to the individual based on the capacity of that individual. Nihilism is esoteric in that it rejects the idea of a truth that can be communicated to everyone, but by freeing us from the idea that whatever truths we encounter must include everyone, allows for lone explorers to delve deeper and climb higher, if they have the biological requirements for the mental ability involved.

For this reason, nihilism is transformative. We go into it as equal members of the modern zombie automaton cult, convinced that there is objective truth and we have subjective preferences. We come out realizing that our preferences are entirely a function of our abilities and biology, and that “objective” truth is as much an idol as the Golden Calf of Moses’ time: a fiction and consensual reality created to keep a troupe of slightly smarter than average monkeys working together. Nihilism transforms us from human into beast, and from that, to something which can reach for the stars.

***

In Nihilism: A Philosophy Based In Nothingness and Eternity, your author explores the possibilities of leaving behind the path to death and choosing the new path instead. This cannot be approached directly, because the path is an effect of a cause, which is our willingness to abandon the solipsistic tendencies of our minds and strive for something greater. It appeals to the Bra’aghs of the world, and not those whose skulls were smitten by his rocks.

Through the course of essays composed in the wilderness over the course of two decades, Nihilism unearths the first steps toward the wisdom of the past. It shows a path to clearing the mental confusion of this time from the mind, and seeing the value of nihilism as a gateway to re-understanding the world in a new light. While it is not for all, if humanity has a future, it is through a thought process like the journey on which it takes its readers.

In contrast to accepted doctrine, this book shows that the lack of meaning in modern society came not from the fall of gods and heroes, but from the insatiable human ego and its collectivized counterpart, “peer pressure” or social control. What remains of the old religion is only the idea of universal truth, and that has been reconfigured into an assumption that all that is human is good, and that nature and metaphysics are irrelevant.

Nihilism remains a terrifying topic because it removes the illusions on which our current worldview is based, but that outlook is rapidly failing. In this alternate view, the tripartite illusion — universal truth among humans, equality-based values, and exoteric communication based on universal tokens — has broken and died, and those who wish to rebuild civilization can use nihilism to detach from it and form the groundwork of a new era.

Touching on ideas from both the occult and mainstream religion as well as philosophies ranging from Germanic idealism to perennialism, Nihilism: A Philosophy Based In Nothingness and Eternity explores nihilism as a fully-developed philosophy instead of the melange of anarchy and self-centeredness by which it is portrayed in most literature. In doing so, it discovers a way out of our landlocked modern thought, uniting both wisdom of the past and possibilities for the future into a single vision.

Futurist Traditionalism takes its influences from several existing genres of thought and philosophies:

  • Traditionalism

    At the core of the Perennial Philosophy we find four fundamental doctrines.

    First: the phenomenal world of matter and of individualized consciousness–the world of things and animals and men and even gods–is the manifestation of a Divine Ground within which all partial realities have their being, and apart from which they would be non-existent.

    Second: human beings are capable not merely of knowing about the Divine Ground by inference; they can also realize its existence by a direct intuition, superior to discursive reasoning. This immediate knowledge unites the knower with that which is known.

    Third: man possesses a double nature, a phenomenal ego and an eternal Self, which is the inner man, the spirit, the spark of divinity within the soul. It is possible for a man, if he so desires, to identify himself with the spirit and therefore with the Divine Ground, which is of the same or like nature with the spirit.

    Fourth: man’s life on earth has only one end and purpose: to identify himself with his eternal Self and so to come to unitive knowledge of the Divine Ground.

    Aldous Huxley, “The Perennial Philosophy”

  • Naturalism

    What constitutes knowledge: Naturalism as a worldview is based on the premise that knowledge about what exists and about how things work is best achieved through the sciences, not personal revelation or religious tradition. The knowledge we have of ourselves and our place in nature is the achievement of a collective effort to construct a consistent view of the world that permits prediction and control. This effort proceeds by experiment and rational inquiry, and the knowledge gained is always subject to further testing as understanding matures. Wanting something to be true, or having the intense personal conviction that something is true, are never grounds for supposing that it is true. Scientific empiricism has the necessary consequence of unifying our knowledge of the world, of placing all objects of understanding within an overarching causal context. Under naturalism, there is a single, natural world in which phenomena arise.

    The causal view: From a naturalistic perspective, there are no causally privileged agents, nothing that causes without being caused in turn. Human beings act the way they do because of the various influences that shape them, whether these be biological or social, genetic or environmental. We do not have the capacity to act outside the causal connections that link us in every respect to the rest of the world. This means we do not have what many people think of as free will, being able to cause our behavior without our being fully caused in turn.

    The self: As strictly physical beings, we don’t exist as immaterial selves, either mental or spiritual, that control behavior. Thought, desires, intentions, feelings, and actions all arise on their own without the benefit of a supervisory self, and they are all the products of a physical system, the brain and the body. The self is constituted by more or less consistent sets of personal characteristics, beliefs, and actions; it doesn’t exist apart from those complex physical processes that make up the individual. It may strongly seem as if there is a self sitting behind experience, witnessing it, and behind behavior, controlling it, but this impression is strongly disconfirmed by a scientific understanding of human behavior.

    Responsibility and morality: From a naturalistic perspective, behavior arises out of the interaction between individuals and their environment, not from a freely willing self that produces behavior independently of causal connections (see above). Therefore individuals don’t bear ultimate originative responsibility for their actions, in the sense of being their first cause. Given the circumstances both inside and outside the body, they couldn’t have done other than what they did. Nevertheless, we must still hold individuals responsible, in the sense of applying rewards and sanctions, so that their behavior stays more or less within the range of what we deem acceptable. This is, partially, how people learn to act ethically. Naturalism doesn’t undermine the need or possibility of responsibility and morality, but it places them within the world as understood by science. However, naturalism does call into question the basis for retributive attitudes, namely the idea that individuals could have done otherwise in the situation in which their behavior arose and so deeply deserve punishment.

    The source of value: Because naturalism doubts the existence of ultimate purposes either inherent in nature or imposed by a creator, values derive from human needs and desires, not supernatural absolutes. Basic human values are widely shared by virtue of being rooted in our common evolved nature. We need not appeal to a supernatural standard of ethical conduct to know that in general it’s wrong to lie, cheat, steal, rape, murder, torture, or otherwise treat people in ways we’d rather not be treated. Our naturally endowed empathetic concern for others and our hard-wired penchant for cooperation and reciprocity get us what we most want as social creatures: to flourish as individuals within a community. Naturalism may show the ultimate contingency of some values, in that human nature might have evolved differently and human societies and political arrangements might have turned out otherwise. But, given who and what we are as natural creatures, we necessarily find ourselves with shared basic values which serve as the criteria for assessing moral dilemmas, even if these assessments are sometimes fiercely contested and in some cases never quite resolved.

    Naturalism.org

  • Deep Ecology

    We believe that true ecological sustainability may require a rethinking of our values as a society. Present assumptions about economics, development, and the place of human beings in the natural order must be reevaluated. If we are to achieve ecological sustainability, Nature can no longer be viewed only as a commodity; it must be seen as a partner and model in all human enterprise.

    We begin with the premise that life on Earth has entered its most precarious phase in history. We speak of threats not only to human life, but to the lives of all species of plants and animals, as well as the health and continued viability of the biosphere. It is the awareness of the present condition that primarily motivates our activities.

    We believe that current problems are largely rooted in the following circumstances:

    • 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. Correspondingly, the assumption of human superiority to other life forms, as if we were granted royalty status over Nature; the idea that Nature is mainly here to serve human will and purpose.
    • The prevailing economic and development paradigms of the modern world, which place primary importance on the values of the market, not on Nature. The conversion of nature to commodity form, the emphasis upon economic growth as a panacea, the industrialization of all activity, from forestry to farming to fishing, even to education and culture; the drive to economic globalization, cultural homogenization, commodity accumulation, urbanization, and human alienation. All of these are fundamentally incompatible with ecological or biological sustainability on a finite Earth.
    • Technology worship and an unlimited faith in the virtues of science; the modern paradigm that technological development is inevitable, invariably good, and to be equated with progress and human destiny. From this, we are left dangerously uncritical, blind to profound problems that technology and science have wrought, and in a state of passivity that confounds democracy.
    • Overpopulation, in both the overdeveloped and the underdeveloped worlds, placing unsustainable burdens upon biodiversity and the human condition.

    Foundation for Deep Ecology

  • Hierarchicalism

    The tragedy of the commons develops in this way. Picture a pasture open to all. It is to be expected that each herdsman will try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons. Such an arrangement may work reasonably satisfactorily for centuries because tribal wars, poaching, and disease keep the numbers of both man and beast well below the carrying capacity of the land. Finally, however, comes the day of reckoning, that is, the day when the long-desired goal of social stability becomes a reality. At this point, the inherent logic of the commons remorselessly generates tragedy.

    As a rational being, each herdsman seeks to maximize his gain. Explicitly or implicitly, more or less consciously, he asks, “What is the utility to me of adding one more animal to my herd?” This utility has one negative and one positive component.

    1) The positive component is a function of the increment of one animal. Since the herdsman receives all the proceeds from the sale of the additional animal, the positive utility is nearly +1.

    2) The negative component is a function of the additional overgrazing created by one more animal. Since, however, the effects of overgrazing are shared by all the herdsmen, the negative utility for any particular decision-making herdsman is only a fraction of -1.

    Adding together the component partial utilities, the rational herdsman concludes that the only sensible course for him to pursue is to add another animal to his herd. And another; and another…. But this is the conclusion reached by each and every rational herdsman sharing a commons. Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit–in a world that is limited

    Garrett Hardin

  • Independence from Groupthink

    In order to make ourselves more powerful, we act so we appear altruistic, but we also act to appear independent and unique so we attract others to our personalities. This causes us to act entirely through social thinking.

    Through this method, individualism creates a “social reality” or a conspiracy between people to manage reality with social factors. Since we need others, thanks to specialization of labor, we use this more than reality itself.

    This has two effects: first, we become neurotic because we see reality in the details but are encouraged to ignore it; second, since social reality ignores secondary effects, disorder spreads and the cost is passed on to us.

    This in turn encourages us to try to break away from social obligation, since we feel it is parasitic to us, and so we break away using more individualism. This does not work, so we turn to our leaders and ask for more control.

    Control is the external imposition of what some people agree is true. Unlike an organic order, or one arriving from agreement and cooperation among people, it requires force and small rewards to function.

    In this way, we can see how individualism leads to disorder which requires more control, in a process and cycle that gains intensity over time, causing civilization to collapse.

    Vijay Prozak, Parallelism

  • Nonduality

    Imagine human beings living in an underground den which is open towards the light; they have been there from childhood, having their necks and legs chained, and can only see into the den. At a distance there is a fire, and between the fire and the prisoners a raised way, and a low wall is built along the way, like the screen over which marionette players show their puppets. Behind the wall appear moving figures, who hold in their hands various works of art, and among them images of men and animals, wood and stone, and some of the passers-by are talking and others silent. ‘A strange parable,’ he said, ‘and strange captives.’ They are ourselves, I replied; and they see only the shadows of the images which the fire throws on the wall of the den; to these they give names, and if we add an echo which returns from the wall, the voices of the passengers will seem to proceed from the shadows. Suppose now that you suddenly turn them round and make them look with pain and grief to themselves at the real images; will they believe them to be real? Will not their eyes be dazzled, and will they not try to get away from the light to something which they are able to behold without blinking? And suppose further, that they are dragged up a steep and rugged ascent into the presence of the sun himself, will not their sight be darkened with the excess of light? Some time will pass before they get the habit of perceiving at all; and at first they will be able to perceive only shadows and reflections in the water; then they will recognize the moon and the stars, and will at length behold the sun in his own proper place as he is. Last of all they will conclude:— This is he who gives us the year and the seasons, and is the author of all that we see. How will they rejoice in passing from darkness to light! How worthless to them will seem the honours and glories of the den! But now imagine further, that they descend into their old habitations;— in that underground dwelling they will not see as well as their fellows, and will not be able to compete with them in the measurement of the shadows on the wall; there will be many jokes about the man who went on a visit to the sun and lost his eyes, and if they find anybody trying to set free and enlighten one of their number, they will put him to death, if they can catch him. Now the cave or den is the world of sight, the fire is the sun, the way upwards is the way to knowledge, and in the world of knowledge the idea of good is last seen and with difficulty, but when seen is inferred to be the author of good and right — parent of the lord of light in this world, and of truth and understanding in the other. He who attains to the beatific vision is always going upwards; he is unwilling to descend into political assemblies and courts of law; for his eyes are apt to blink at the images or shadows of images which they behold in them — he cannot enter into the ideas of those who have never in their lives understood the relation of the shadow to the substance.

    Plato, The Republic, Book VII

To most people, the word “traditionalism” conjures up ideas of reverting society to a previous time; in the cyclic view of history, it is in fact acting out the society of a future time, which is why it pairs well with futurism. This invokes other philosophical doctrines as expressed above.

The Eternal Circle

Monday, September 19th, 2005

the_eternal_circle

People in modern times are conditioned by buying products. First, you invest nothing in the product but your money; you are not required to thrust forth energy into understanding it or comprehending its context. You need a vacuum cleaner – locate; buy; read instructions. Second, they are accustomed to selecting from interchangeable philosophies. A vacuum cleaner does not demand that you re-interpret your other philosophies of cleansing, or that you find a broader framework of understanding why to clear. You match problem (dirty carpet) to solution (cleaning machine) and plunk down the credit card, ready to go.

For this reason, when people schooled in a modern way of life attempt to approach philosophy, they almost always make a mess of it by falling into a kneejerk pattern of trying to match “issues” to solutions that are disconnected from a systemic approach and therefore, as philosophy, fail. In fact, most of what people would call “philosophy” is a grab-bag of caveats, self-conceptions and homilies; there is nothing that unites metaphysics and epistemology and ethics within it, for example. It is this type of person who approaches the writings here and, not wanting to admit the logical connections are lost to them, declares them to be “ranting” or “incoherent” or that old standby of the embittered, “it’s just a bunch of big words to make you seem smart.” Crowdism there, indeed.

However, if one is willing to not read between the lines, but look at these philosophies as logical tools much in the same way different pieces of software make up an operating system, it reveals the function behind what otherwise seem as rootless pronouncements coming out of the void. In this article, we look at four major components of the beliefs expressed here, and illustrate how they are connected and thus what implications for the whole can be drawn from their presence.

Idealism

The initial confusion here is that idealism in the populist vernacular means any kind of belief in a progressive or utopian sense, and when we speak of “idealism” we generally refer to someone who screws up reality for some starry-eyed optimal ideal. In the philosophical sense, “idealism” means a belief system in which the cosmic order is composed of, or acts as if it is composed of, thoughts. The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy expresses it well:

“The philosophical doctrine that reality is 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 way correlative to mental operations.” – Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, Second Edition

There are two components to this belief. First, we understand the world only through the process of thought. Second, the world acts much as our thoughts do, and because all of our actions thus affect the design of the external world, our actions are like thoughts: a series of reasonings which are by process of elimination filtered into an answer. This answer is the working hypothesis upon which the next level of thought is built.

Idealism is important because it navigates a path between materialism (belief only in material value) and symbolic-literal thinking, in which individual thoughts are more important than reality. Idealism joins human thought and the working of the world by pointing out they have a common mechanism, and thus a common end. It is not dualistic, nor is it solipsistic; idealism is like a highest-level abstraction that explains the motivations of both humankind in world in evolving the design of their thoughts to greater levels of discipline, clarity, and interconnectedness.

Realism

In other words, for the world to think, it is required that we act; our actions, by changing reality, change whatever thoughts correlate to or cause changes in our physical environment. In this sense, much like an inventor with a blowtorch, our actions are the process of designing or redesigning our world, and the reason we act is to achieve change in the design of external reality, or an abstraction of its function. The design may actually exist, like DNA does, or it may merely be our method of understanding how the world can be predicted through consistent tendencies inherent to its operation (some call these “natural laws”). By altering reality through our actions, we alter the design of our world and if we do so in accordance with natural laws, enhance its function or our position within it.

What is essential for perceiving this design and its changes is a sense of “realism,” or a taking of changes in our physical world to be the totally of existence. This separates our thoughts and feelings from our recognition of changes in our external world, and allows us to point clearly at something known as “reality,” even if we later interpret it as a process of thought which we change with our deliberate actions. Since this later interpretation will be exacting, and will require us to perceive patterns in our world and then anticipate them with our actions, we call this belief in the primacy and consistency of the external world “realism.”

Nihilism

If we are to act on our world and change its design, we must do so with a clear understanding of how it works, and not act on thoughts which are solely confined to our internal design, and are not shared by the external. This requires that we clear our minds of illusion and tighten the correspondence between our perception of events and the actuality of what occurs, so that we might predict as exactly as possible our actions to manipulate our world. Nihilism is the process of clearing away all belief and preconception from the process of perception, so that we see simply what is and do not encumber ourselves with illusion, or emotionalism, or other pitfalls of consciousness.

Nihilism is controversial for many as they confuse it with an utter lack of belief in anything, or in the effectiveness of anything. This highlights the difference between a belief that colors interpretation, and a belief in value, in that values beliefs do not affect how we see the world but they influence the choices we make as to how we change it. A nihilist may hold deeply-felt beliefs, but will cease to be a nihilist the minute he or she allows these beliefs to intrude upon a realistic perception of the cosmic order. Values are not to be used to interpret the world, but are something that we act upon it so that in the changing of its design we bring them closer to manifestation.

Integralism

These philosophies imply a framework that embraces all of them. Nihilism allows for perception of reality, and realism means that we accurate see its design, while translating that into a thought process of the cosmos through idealism. All of this so far has been operational, in that it describes the workings of the world and our means of interpretative it; none of it has been prescriptive, or instructive of a values system which suggests what we should do with this system. To address this need we have integralism.

Integralism posits a unity of human and external events and thoughts. From comparison of our own intentions to the operations of this cosmic order, we determine how well-adapted our ideals are. This allows us to understand what a higher value might be: a more elegant, greater adaptation which increases the quality of our lives in harmony with the order of the cosmos. It is the achievement of these higher values that is the core belief of integralism, and its prescriptive goal as passed on to any adherents: discover your world, get a clear picture of its design, and work to complement that design, as the same language which describes external design also describes internal adaptation, e.g. the beauty found in thoughts and imagination.

Continuity

William Blake once said that “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” When we unite our imaginations to the process of the universe, as is found in the belief system of idealism, we have opened up that continuity and are now closer to accepting our mortality as part of that larger plan. In this we have found perhaps the one bliss that exists for thinking creatures, and we have done it by entangling ourselves with that which we fear most (nothingness) and finding a sense of order not within it but that includes it. It is this inclusion that forms the basis for our believe in turn in continuity, as we see that all dark things lead to light, and vice versa.

Philosophy does not succumb well to a product-oriented outlook. It is something that does not mix and match well. Regardless of the point of entry chosen, the beliefs of the individual must eventually resolve into a comprehensive worldview, or be seen for what they are: scattered borrowings with no unity. While this makes it difficult to initially comprehend the worldview espoused on this site, it makes it far easier, once one has accepted its genesis in ideas, to explore its breath and find from it an explanation of and response to our world.

Feral

Friday, July 15th, 2005

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You’re reflexive; you live for the animal within. Right away, you’re looking for some cover, because you understand that you and the tribe have split paths long ago – and you suspect their “evolution” might not be a way up, but an invisibly slow descent.

Only time will tell.

You relish your bloodlust. When it is time to fight, as will be necessary, you should enjoy it like anything else, the fire in you awakened to the possibility of conquest. Your fear of death is in a distant place. You know that if you are the one eaten, lifeless, glassine eyes staring everywhere and nowhere, it will not matter. You will already have moved on. Such is the knowledge of deathless eternity in the feral mind.

Claiming your own space is a ritual, and one that is serious for you; you need your area alone, that you control, so if anything goes wrong, it is yours alone to inherit. You don’t want the meddling of others. Sometimes, you break this rule, and invite over a friend or maybe a possible mate. But then the rulebreaking is delicious, a type of forbidden that is made rational in the breaking: it is well because I do it. The absolute rule does not apply here, as I am the only absolute rule for myself.

All of your friends have something you want, but could never take, so you study, and in good nature, fight them. That which does not kill me —

Your mother, in your mind, had every head in town turned; she was beautiful. You don’t like to think that she gave it away, however.

You like to think that your father merited her, and somewhere in that distant past, he took a stand and earned her love.

Anything that wears a suit you automatically distrust, because in allowing itself to be so controlled, it has become a submissive animal. You know from experience that submissive animals are the first to rebel, and always fight dirty, because they are never satisfied. That is okay; once you know what they are, you have no problems fighting dirty either. And unlike those half-willed creatures, you’ll fight for the throat.

You give a wide berth to any talk about what “ought” to be, and find refuge in acts making something in your mind what is.

Music and art with a bloodrush of energy, of masculinity and assertiveness, is essential for you. The open forest makes a mockery of the paltry pacification hymns of folk rock and grunge.

Your own tribe is your family; you live in them and with them, as you trust them to think as you do. You like this network, because it means that slowly, the will that contains yours is expanding.

You cannot imagine what good a priest would ever do you, since more than books – books! – your guide is your own mind, and you know it can be sharpened like a sword.

When the hunt is on, you will crush unthinkingly, putting young and old alike to death for the completion of your task. And then you will relish the completion, knowing the forest, too, forgets the dead.

After your death, you expect to have left no mark on the earth, nor to have mattered, except to yourself. You like it that way. You are both your world, and only a doorway into the larger world, a place you delight in exploring…

You’re a feral animal, and society wants you dead.

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