Furthest Right

Qualitative Versus Quantitative Civilizations

In a time of indoctrination, basic facts shock and disturb the people around you. Most of them for example have no idea that there are different types of civilization based on the goals and purpose toward which those civilizations set themselves.

We live in a quantitative civilization. This is what some call demotism: we count votes, dollars of profit, positive responses to surveys, and people involved in social events. Our approach is inherently egalitarian in that it assumes the one warm body is equal to any other, so more warm bodies is better than fewer.

What would a qualitative civilization be, then? It would consider the quality of acts instead of the number of them. So it would matter less how many people like something, than who liked it; if a genius, or a number of geniuses, approved, that would be worth more than many non-essential people liking the idea.

Once upon a time, this was the ideal: a society based on elitism, or at least having standards, where those who most clearly exhibit these standards are raised up and others lowered. This civilization aimed for accomplishing ideas and disciplining itself toward a certain mental state, a process which gave it a qualitative nature:

True progress will always respect the line of formal development of man. It will give rise to qualitative civilization such as was the civilization of Greece in the fourth century BC and, in a higher degree, the civilization of Western Europe in the thirteenth century. If a people’s attention is diverted from things spiritual and turned to material conquests, to the cultivation of the useful, that is, of whatever serves as a means of furthering human intercourse and ministers to man’s bodily needs and comforts, the whole direction of life gradually changes. The means become the end. The civilization is quantitative instead of qualitative.
~ Denis Fahey CSSp, The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World (p 140)

In this passage, we see the fundamental agreement between Fr. Fahey (a Traditional Catholic), Rene Guenon, and Julius Evola, all of whom see the last of a Traditional civilization in the civilization of Western Europe in the thirteenth century.

…To be clear, we stand with Maurras and take the West as a single civilization: “The Western Tradition is based on the axis from Greece and Rome, and its prolongation in time to Paris”.

…Rather, we see that era as the incorporation of the Germanic and Nordic Traditions into Romanity; the incursions of the Northern peoples—who saw themselves as Roman—into Southern Europe brought political and economic disruption, but then led to the enrichment of Romanity and its continuation under a different form. The actual Fall of Rome, in the metaphysical sense, came much later.

Let us simplify this: a qualitative society decides what is good and acts toward it; a quantitative society sees how people are acting, and decides that this is good.

That fundamental divide cannot be bridged. A society is either one or the other because this is a question of direction and goal, not merely of method.

Qualitative societies embark on pursuit of what might be called crowdism or utilitarianism because its goal is to make sure that everyone in the crowd is happy. We think this is better than seeing if civilization is on the right path as it enables us to maintain power and what we perceive as stability because most people in the group are nodding happily that yes, they think this is the right way to do things, even if they have no way of knowing.

In qualitative societies, it is acknowledged that we are organs of society, and that we benefit only indirectly from it through greater stability, more meaningful existential experience, and the ability to build on the learning of the past and stable social order, including institutions. Knowledge and works are cumulative and require stable civilization to both occur and endure.

This makes us dependent on hierarchy, which means having the most competent at the top, the least at the bottom, and a spectrum in between. All benefit from having the competent in power, much like all benefit from having social order and stability. To have them in power, however, we must assign to them both wealth and formal power, which is not popular. Instead, the average human instinct is to want to evenly distribute the wealth and power, as in democracy.

History is showing us that these experiments in equality end badly much as they did in Cuba:

When asked whether the Cuban economic model could or should still be exported, Castro said: “The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us any more.”

…Authorities believe the success of the black market is one of the signs that a limited private sector could help to reverse the country’s fortunes.

…Cubans are aware of what happened in the former Soviet Union on the collapse of communism there — the rise of gangsterism, corruption and the oligarchic control of wealth and resources that followed attempts to kick-start capitalism — and do not want a repeat on home soil.

Not only are the extremes failing, as in Cuba and Venezuela, but the moderate plans are turning out badly even in wealthy Western Europe. People do not seem happy in these paradises, and as they become more bureaucratic, it seems that the joy is sucked out of life itself.

In addition, society has become twisted to favor parasites. The thinner we spread the wealth, the more we starve civilization, and lacking an actual core, it becomes a free-for-all in which parasites thrive. This is not capitalism that is killing us, but our tendency to hybridize capitalism with the welfare state.

In turn that makes us purely materialistic, since there is nothing to believe in but our own comfort, and any belief that we do have will be beaten out of us by the sheer amount of failure around us. This makes us cowards who are afraid to risk our convenience for anyone or anything except pure tangible results.

We justify this quantitative outlook by comparing it to science. In terms of historical events, the rise of mainstream science has been huge, because it allows people to do small experiments and then draw big conclusions from them, essentially using empiricism as a gateway to controlling others with language.

Science requires a linear outlook: select attribute A, measure trait B before and after event C, and use the resulting data to argue for a causal relationship that then can be extrapolated to have effects everywhere else in life. The theory goes in search of the data, and the data then creates a new theory that we view as a type of common law or proven historical fact, at least until we discover that linear thinking is broken:

But now all sorts of well-established, multiply confirmed findings have started to look increasingly uncertain. It’s as if our facts were losing their truth: claims that have been enshrined in textbooks are suddenly unprovable. This phenomenon doesn’t yet have an official name, but it’s occurring across a wide range of fields, from psychology to ecology. In the field of medicine, the phenomenon seems extremely widespread, affecting not only antipsychotics but also therapies ranging from cardiac stents to Vitamin E and antidepressants: Davis has a forthcoming analysis demonstrating that the efficacy of antidepressants has gone down as much as threefold in recent decades.

For many scientists, the effect is especially troubling because of what it exposes about the scientific process. If replication is what separates the rigor of science from the squishiness of pseudoscience, where do we put all these rigorously validated findings that can no longer be proved? Which results should we believe? Francis Bacon, the early-modern philosopher and pioneer of the scientific method, once declared that experiments were essential, because they allowed us to “put nature to the question.” But it appears that nature often gives us different answers.

…The most likely explanation for the decline is an obvious one: regression to the mean. As the experiment is repeated, that is, an early statistical fluke gets cancelled out. The extrasensory powers of Schooler’s subjects didn’t decline—they were simply an illusion that vanished over time. And yet Schooler has noticed that many of the data sets that end up declining seem statistically solid—that is, they contain enough data that any regression to the mean shouldn’t be dramatic. “These are the results that pass all the tests,” he says. “The odds of them being random are typically quite remote, like one in a million. This means that the decline effect should almost never happen. But it happens all the time! Hell, it’s happened to me multiple times.” And this is why Schooler believes that the decline effect deserves more attention: its ubiquity seems to violate the laws of statistics. “Whenever I start talking about this, scientists get very nervous,” he says.

Quantitative approaches to life require that we measure one detail on a linear numeric scale, yet as if our attention changed it, these details tend to erode over time because we are looking only at one part of a larger system. While this tells only part of the story, it also can be measured, which makes it ideal for explaining to groups of people.

While the same is not true of qualitative assessments, which seek to measure each thing by degrees of many details, these allow us to see depth, scope, and duration of effects and therefore avoid chasing after the wrong details. The qualitative way involves the connection between details, not the details themselves.

This provides an entirely different understanding of the human experience, one upon which tradition is based, in which nothing is inseparable from its context. Much like Plato’s study of the mathematics of structural patterns, or “forms,” the qualitative view consists of studying interactions over time through cause and effect, not objects isolated in the perpetual present tense of the laboratory.

Where the qualitative notices context, the quantitative imposes a human context to everything, as if being assessed and controlled by an individual with divine insight. This causes it to validate its own perceptions by how well they are understood by a group and not how accurate they are, leading to the problem of scientific data.

With rationalism, the process behind science, we set up a thesis and then find data to support it, then test to see if we can generate consistent results on that basis. This process runs into the problem of being essentially a filter, meaning that it sieves for data that conforms, not measures what is accurate by what fits all data.

In addition, it then imposes categories which tend to be either too broad or too specific. When we declare a category like “racist,” and test for corresponding attributes, we end up including both those who notice racial differences and those who hate another race. This leads to sampling errors that in turn doom any precision to the conclusion.

As a result of our sampling errors, we deny the uniqueness of most aspects of reality and the need for general principles which are abstract but related to reality, and instead choose universalism, or the notion that everything is basically the same, so our broad generalizations from experimental data can apply.

We can see the effect of this thinking on the collapse of linguistic accuracy which shows how our generalized approach, as opposed to the specific approach of the qualitative with the benefit of abstract principles, has turned us into robotic thinkers:

While there are over a million words in the English language, most readers of probably know some 75,000 words, 50,000 of which they will use actively, he estimates.

In comparison, Elizabethan English used approximately 150,000 words. Shakespeare used just under 20,000 in his plays, 12 per cent of the language.

…Vocabulary predominantly evolves through exposure to other languages. Island lexicons tend to be conservative in terms of progression, such as Icelandic. In contrast, our island’s language is innovative: its Germanic roots have been influenced by the Danish, Welsh and French spoken on our soil over two millennia, and Old English is now foreign to us.

But while English is expanding, the loss of linguistic diversity is rapid. There are said to be between 4,000 and 6,000 languages, though that is falling.

The more universal things become, the less variety there is, and the simpler the result is. Standardization brings a reduction in pattern but a greater uniformity and therefore safety to the individual; nothing changes when they travel, for example, and risk is eliminated through ambiguity being reduced.

Our rationalism demands that we go through this process of selecting by utility, meaning that instead of seeing the importance of context, we eliminate it by making things roughly the same. This allows our individualistic egos to feel safer but destroys the complex structure which renews our world through variation.

The same can be said of our desire to eliminate “racism”: people want to simply make the problem go away, instead of understanding that equality as a universal concept is in fact war against human variation and Darwinism itself, which allows some groups to break away and evolve toward their own ends.

The more diverse something is, the more quantitative it is, because qualitative thinking requires choosing a specific and localized direction. Diversity means uniformity, and that creates a group that refuses to choose a direction, and instead subsidizes people so that they can choose their own direction within a limited set.

With that, all order vanishes, having been replaced by boundaries like law and taboo. Since there is no shared purpose, there can be no positive incentives, only punishments for transgression. At this point society enters a managerial state where the only goal is to keep people conforming and obedient.

That stage, known as control, represents a death cycle. Positive momentum is lost since there is no shared purpose; to keep the society together bureaucrats, administrators, and managers force people to conform at threat of punishment, which drives people farther from loyalty to the civilization.

Globalism and diversity both arise from control. Diversity is the notion that if we indoctrinate random people in our politics, economy, and legal procedures, we can produce our civilization without our genetic strain of people being there to be us. Globalism is the notion that we can then conquer the world by exporting our dogma as a form of diversity:

Both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton took a similar view that globalization and free trade would serve as a vehicle for the export of American values. In 1999, two years before China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, Bush argued, “Economic freedom creates habits of liberty. And habits of liberty create expectations of democracy.… Trade freely with China, and time is on our side.”

There were two important misunderstandings buried in this theorizing. The first was that economic growth would inevitably — and fairly swiftly — lead to democratization. The second was that new democracies would inevitably be more friendly and helpful toward the United States. Neither assumption is working out.

Globalism failed because other people were not already brainwashed into accepting diversity and so have retained autonomy in their nations while we have sacrificed ours. This is a win for them and a loss for us.

With the failure of globalism, as seen by the savaging of the American economy by foreign powers who did not adopt our stance of goodwill, diversity also fell, because people saw that each group acts in its own interests only. This means that Black Lives Matter is not about grievances, but advancing black power through identity politics.

As a result, we as a people are doing what your image editing program does when you hit CTRL-Z for “Undo”: we are reversing course, going back to each step that we took to get to the present time, and losing faith in it. Those steps are: globalism, diversity, Leftism, equality, individualism, and finally, quantitative thinking itself.

At every level — spiritual, moral, intellectual, practical — we are rejecting modernity by reversing the past thousand years of “new” thought, and going instead toward what is true in any age by the nature of reality itself, whether or not people like it.

This shows us as a population reacting to the large changes that have come our way over the past two to three millennia. We succeeded by pursuing a qualitative path, and developing the ensuing hierarchy and principles that guided us well for centuries. This exposed us to brand new problems that others had not encountered.

A struggling society has a clarity of vision, namely to beat back famine, poverty, filth, disease, predators, warfare, and disorganization. A successful (organized) society lacks this clarity because it has beaten all of the external foes, and now must focus on internal ones, namely the moral and intellectual chaos of individualism.

With the external foes slain, people turn to internal drama because they no longer have a sense of purpose to unite them into a group.

“Racism” is ridiculous because we cannot unite this group on race alone. We can unite on the idea of having a qualitative society and aspiring to great things, like the “spaceships and fields of wheat” of the Alt Right. We may be able to unite on the traditional society of Julius Evola, or the deep ecological existence of Pentti Linkola.

Our society across the industrialized West finds itself in decline because we tried to please everyone as individuals, instead of picking a purpose and form of organization that benefited all of us by providing the most stable and ascendant civilization possible. Individuals require civilization to thrive.

When Nietzsche famous railed against “good” and “evil,” he was not saying that we should make the two equal, only that by trying to expand those concepts to be universal, we interpreted them in a human form as something akin to financial loss, and forget about the damage to context and order.

As a new era dawns with the failure of liberal democracy and its associated ideas, people are turning away from binary categories like good and evil just as they are turning away from the notion of individualism. In the place of these illusions, we see rising the notion of the qualitative society once again.

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