Furthest Right

Slowly the West Confronts the Abyss

This site has always dedicated itself to essays more than blog posts because blog posts are fundamentally social and deflect from depth of meaning rather than explore it. However, we will not give up on the promise of the web: the ability to remotely cite any of human learning or opinion and build arguments upon it.

People were doing that back before the days of gopher, even, when ancient Greeks cited works by others by name and then quoted them in discussions. Probably cavemen, gesturing at another cave on a distant ridge where smoke could be seen, exhorted their fellows to develop fire the same way.

As a side effect, this approach makes it look like these citations are here as the ideas on the site; in fact, they are here as supporting data for what we argue elsewhere.

Few people understand this because they are raised in an age of influencers and stans, a citizen media imitation of celebrity culture. When an article here cites multiple sources, all these poor fools care about is whether they can knock down the credibility of that source so they do not have to take in new ideas.

In fact, generally the opposition to this site comes from two groups, the appeasers and theocrats. The appeasers want to make friendly with crime, corruption, foreign invasion, rape, and genocide. The theocrats are apologists for the decay and want to preserve business by using religion as a proxy for what needs to be done.

Both groups should be shot, of course.

However, as we continue our exploration of what has gone on in the West, it is interesting to see mainstream sources echoing stuff that we told you decades ago. For example, Scientific American just discovered the denial and anxiety at the root of the West since we are all forced to be apologists for the decline and appeasers for our enemies:

Academics use terms like “polycrisis” and “postnormal times” to describe the breadth and scale of the issues we now face.
Welcome to the new normal, an age where many things that we used to deem unusual or unacceptable have become just what we live with. Concerningly, though, “living with it” means tolerating greater suffering and instability than we used to, often without fully noticing or talking about it. When authorities tell us to “resume normal activities” after an on-campus shooting or give guidance on how to increase our heat tolerance in an ever-hotter world, we may sense that something is awry even as we go along with it.

But what happens when overlooking and tolerating greater levels of harm becomes a shared cultural habit? Like the proverbial frog in boiling water, we acclimate to ignoring more and caring less at our own peril. In the short term, living in a state of peak denial helps us cope. In the long run, it will be our undoing. Because the danger here is desensitization: that we meet this unprecedented litany of “wicked problems,” from climate change to the rise of fascism, with passive acceptance rather than urgent collective action.

Why would anyone be in denial and have anxiety? Only one answer fits the slot: they are living insecurely.

For humans, living insecurely means living in illusion, since generally we are able to fix anything else if we figure it out in time.

However, if you are on a boat steered by the insane, you will live in anxiety and go into denial to suppress that anxiety. You will become an appeaser and apologist for the decline and claim that, instead of a rudderless countdown to death, having someone else crew the boat is a convenience and a sign of your wealth.

That is what Western democracy has been doing since we kicked out the kings.

Now after two centuries of horrible decisions made by our rudderless USS Democracy, we are facing a “polycrisis” caused by democracy, which is what Guillaume Faye referred to as a “convergence of catastrophes.” Make enough bad decisions and eventually the whole pile of tinder blazes in your face.

Everyone has known this point was coming for a thousand years. After Rome, we had a chance to go back to sanity, but people chose individualism instead, a repeated pattern that starts the decay by denying transcendentalism as Plato noted:

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

The path diverges: individualism or transcendentalism. We can choose a goal of ourselves and people like us, which forms a herd since individualists need others to reflect back their own power, or we choose a goal that is intangible which reflects the potential beauty in our world that can be had if we accept reality as good.

When we think about the world outside of us, and look deeply into it, we can see that it is not “pure” or “perfect” or “equal” but instead reflects logical necessities and is the best possible option for an existence that could provide us with consciousness and independent choice. We are formed from this world.

Our minds want to reject it because we cannot control it. The path diverges: we either accept reality and find a way to share its wisdom, or we reject reality and retreat into human minds, both our own and that of our social group. This other way “feels” better at first but fails over time, so it must be repeated more frequently to get the same effect.

This path leads to gradual insanity. As it turns out, after a few centuries of this nonsense, most people are depressed and alienated because they cannot trust anything to be real:

You can find a summary of it on page 5 of this year’s World Happiness Report, a survey of thousands of people across more than 140 countries. “Between 2006 and 2023, happiness among Americans under 30 in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand declined significantly [and] also declined in Western Europe,” the report says. But here’s the catch: In the rest of the world, under-30 happiness mostly increased in this period. “Happiness at every age has risen sharply in Central and Eastern Europe,” the report says. “In the former Soviet Union and East Asia too there have been large increases in happiness at every age.”

Smartphones are a global phenomenon. But apparently the rise in youth anxiety is not. In some of the largest and most trusted surveys, it appears to be largely occurring in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. “If you’re looking for something that’s special about the countries where youth unhappiness is rising, they’re mostly Western developed countries,” says John Helliwell, an economics professor at the University of British Columbia and a co-author of the World Happiness Report. “And for the most part, they are countries that speak English.”

Developed countries have the wherewithal to successfully deny reality. If something upsets you, it is time to go shopping or consume media that reflects your biases. People sure do drink a lot of wine now, it seems. If that fails there are movies, drugs, and self-help books.

Almost no one can snap out of this depression because the path to wellness leads through greater darkness. First we must accept that our civilization has failed, then we can find out where we went wrong, and then we can fix it. The only path to light is through darkness. We must dive into the abyss to come out the other side.

As it turns out, this can begin with small concrete steps designed to both maximize mental health and stop endorsing the decline:

As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.

Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society — things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.

Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.

Fred Nietzsche wrote about people who were sensitive in the sense of being more precise instruments for measuring reality. If you are reading this still, you are probably a sensitive. Sensitives build civilization by noticing details and correlating them into larger patterns, then tweaking those into functional solutions.

For many years we have labored under the assumption that functional solutions are impossibly huge, far away, or simply impossible. However the range of possibility opens up greatly if we simply talk honestly about civilization decline and the deleterious effect it has on our mental states.

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