If you ever watch a show called “The Rising,” then you will encounter the Left’s newest pop-star journalist Briahna Joy Gray. She has a shtick where she gets the dumbest, most inexperienced conservative debate partner she can drag in off the internet and asks them to define in their own words the term woke. She undertakes this in order to flip the two-headed coin and call “Heads!” It works every time.
Should the conservo-pigeon launch into a coherent definition of woke, Briahna will ask for an example of some Leftist whom the conservative considers woke. Joy-Gray will “prove” said individual does not meet every single criterion. Suggest another woke Leftist and Joy-Gray will find another quibble. Can’t call that one woke either. Eventually, via induction, she will have “proven” that nobody is really woke. There is no true Scotsman. It’s all just a Rightist yelling “squirrel!” The conservo-pidgeon could also pull a Bethany Mandel and fail to define woke. At that juncture, Joy Gray would simply claim there was never any such thing as woke. It was just a Rightist yelling “squirrel!”
Rather than playing this stupid game, and pointlessly serve as Briahna Joy-Gray’s carny freak, let’s find out what woke is by going back to the intellectual tradition that effectively diagnosed Patient Zero suffering from woke. To learn about woke, study the malignant protagonist of Feodor Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground.
I am a sick man…. I am a spiteful man. I am an unattractive man. I believe my liver is diseased….anyway (I am well-educated enough not to be superstitious, but I am superstitious).
Woke is a psychological pathology. Dostoevsky knew woke at the very dawn of the existential well-spring of morally hateful progressivism. The sickness, spitefulness, and the revelatory physiognomy of his woke man are only the most obvious traits of the maladjustment that defines wokeness.
His description of the man’s liver could be metaphorical. Try spending an evening at the coffee house with the woke people in your life without them excreting bile through both their manner and their conversation. Dostoevsky’s greatness as a sarcastic and existential novelist is revealed in the end of the characterization. The most fundamental truth of this man resides in the parenthetical aside; almost as innocuous as the casual bystander would find Dostoevsky’s narrator.
The woke obviously know that they are corrupt, immoral, and evil. They just believe in symbolic ideology as a superstitious substitute for the absolute and fundamentally decent values they have purposively chosen to disregard. DIE, Equality, Marxism, ANTIFA, et cetera, are all fetishes in the same vain that Karl Marx claimed commodities were for the modern consumer. They represent what the woke wish true objective morality could be.
I did not know how to become anything; neither spiteful nor kind, neither a rascal nor an honest man, neither a hero nor an insect. Now, I am living out my life in my corner, taunting myself with the spiteful and useless consolation that an intelligent man cannot become anything seriously, and it is only the fool who becomes anything.
A prominent key to woke psychology is the deliberate conflation of their own circumstance with fatalistic inevitability that subtly underlies the words Dostoevsky puts in the mouth of his narrator above. A simpler version of this plays out after every NFL roster gets cut down from maybe ninety players to the allowable league limit at the end of every summer. There are around forty guys leaving every team facility unemployed and claiming that it is only the fool who becomes a Dallas Cowboy.
The woke live lives where their malfunctioning livers produce an overabundance of the all-consuming bile of envy. To avoid self-acidification, this corrosive envy is externalized via hostility to the people and the society around them. An ANTIFA meeting consisting of a few goofy guys munching Riot Ribs and killing brewskis utterly fails until another person’s property gets set aflame. It’s never a party for the woke until something winds up just as broken as they are.
The woke convict their society as an epitome of malice and abomination. They do this to properly justify the externalization of their internal spite and hatred via the projection of this hatred towards others. Dostoevsky’s philosophical pervert of a narrator embodies this principal via an awe-inspiring misappropriation of history.
Take Napoleon—the Great and also the present one. Take North America—the eternal union. Take the farce of Schleswig-Holstein…. And what is it that civilisation softens in us? The only gain of civilisation for mankind is the greater capacity for variety of sensations—and absolutely nothing more. And through the development of this many-sidedness man may come to finding enjoyment in bloodshed. In fact, this has already happened to him. Have you noticed that it is the most civilised gentlemen who have been the subtlest slaughterers, to whom the Attilas and Stenka Razins could not hold a candle, and if they are not so conspicuous as the Attilas and Stenka Razins it is simply because they are so often met with, are so ordinary and have become so familiar to us. In any case civilisation has made mankind if not more bloodthirsty, at least more vilely, more loathsomely bloodthirsty.
I scorn the woke as a man of the Right for the very same reason that Leftist Briahna Joy-Gray wishes them away through calculated argumentative fallacy. They are both a disgrace and an existential threat. When Thomas Jefferson described the true purpose of the socialization and acculturation of young adults through higher education, he posited the hypothesis that such an individual would be an ornament to society. The world would be better and more beautiful after this beatific process for the refinement of human potential had been accomplished.
What happens when such a process produces a finished human being that exhibits the fundamental hallmarks of a societal sarcoma? What do you do with an educated person that still exudes the fever-swamp methane odor of ideological superstition? If you are wise, you don’t do anything with them. Unfortunately, the nature of democracy descendent into demotism does not allow us to completely ignore or avoid the existence of the woke. These people are loose in the wild to our occasional demise.
Another characteristic of the woke makes them even more malevolent. The fact that they are phenomenally wrong, doesn’t preclude them from having an occasional point. Dostoevsky’s vile and bureaucratic maggot of a narrator describes the existential dilemma that drives the hatred that the woke feel for their average fellow-citizen.
With the ant-heap the respectable race of ants began and with the ant-heap they will probably end, which does the greatest credit to their perseverance and good sense. But man is a frivolous and incongruous creature, and perhaps, like a chess player, loves the process of the game, not the end of it. And who knows (there is no saying with certainty), perhaps the only goal on earth to which mankind is striving lies in this incessant process of attaining, in other words, in life itself, and not in the thing to be attained, which must always be expressed as a formula, as positive as twice two makes four, and such positiveness is not life, gentlemen, but is the beginning of death. Anyway, man has always been afraid of this mathematical certainty, and I am afraid of it now. Granted that man does nothing but seek that mathematical certainty, he traverses oceans, sacrifices his life in the quest, but to succeed, really to find it, dreads, I assure you. He feels that when he has found it there will be nothing for him to look for.
So the wokest hide behind their ideological motivations the way Dostoevsky’s spider of a narrator hides in the underground. The wokest seek to destroy and undermine. The wokest behold human achievement as privilege and ableism. The wokest embody the social entropy athwart the commonweal of average, non-ideological people attempting to survive well enough to look after those that they care for.
The woke can never abide that average person. They deride them as pismires crawling aimlessly around a hill. They see this content with normalcy as a mark of evil in others. Dostoevsky’s narrator describes his feelings for those around him.
Of course, I hated my fellow clerks one and all, and I despised them all, yet at the same time I was, as it were, afraid of them. In fact, it happened at times that I thought more highly of them than of myself. It somehow happened quite suddenly that I alternated between despising them and thinking them superior to myself. A cultivated and decent man cannot be vain without setting a fearfully high standard for himself, and without despising and almost hating himself at certain moments. But whether I despised them or thought them superior I dropped my eyes almost every time I met anyone.
This malignancy towards others is what is worst in human nature. It fundamentally describes all those who are woke. By the end of the book Dostoevsky’s narrator has lived a life dedicated to retribution against all others for existing in a manner far better than he himself. The curse of the woke is not that they subsist underground. It is that they exist for the vile purpose of also burying you.
It is thus that to embrace the progressive principles of the woke is to worship the zero.
It is only at the zero where the true equality sought in the progressive religion will ever occur. When all is ruined, no one will feel inferior or unequal. Dostoevsky’s great genius manifests in that he can drive this harrowing point home in the mere hundred or so pages of Notes From Underground.
Tags: fyodor dostoyevsky, leftism, woke