Some like to characterize the West as “Faustian,” a term inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust who metaphorically sells his soul to the devil in exchange for power beyond what he could otherwise obtain
This story, based in medieval myths, re-envisions the classic morality tale as one with another dimension. In the classic tale, the anti-hero sells his soul to evil for power, then becomes destructive, and eventually either returns to good or self-destructs through hubris. In Goethe’s re-styling of it, the anti-hero rebels against the categorization of good and evil, which are actually proxies for realistic versus dysfunctional.
For Western Europeans — up until the 1960s this was the group we meant when we said “white people” — the idea of Faustian has appealed because we have for a long time wanted to reach beyond the nu-Christian “good and evil” toward reality, and since that has been demonized by the herd, we see ourselves as wanting to reject morality itself. However, the Faustian legend points us toward something else: perhaps evil is merely misidentified.
The Western Europeans might be more properly referred to as Infaustian, or that which is the inversion of Faust: we do not seek power, but we seek order. We require a transcendental goal in order to motivate us to live, and this is only found in the type of order that is both natural and extends into human society. We need something more than proxies for what is real, such as truth or morality, because we need an understanding of the real itself.
The Faust story could be viewed as a re-statement of the Garden of Eden mythos from the Bible. The serpent offers power without wisdom, or in other words, power beyond our state in the golden chain of hierarchy which constitutes the actual natural order. However, this has always been the antithesis of the West; our method is to make ourselves powerful not through fantasy, but by understanding reality.
Infaustians have both Faustian and anti-Faustian characteristics. They are unconstrained by good and evil, because they view reality as good and any deviation from it as evil, so they do not need the proxies. Instead they seek power through knowledge, including the knowledge of how to apply it, so that power becomes a means to an end and increases power in the future, rather than having it now.
The story of Faust is that of an ingenue who stumbles into the world of supernatural evil by wanting more than he should have according to natural order. The Infaustian mythos is one in which a potential Faust instead makes himself the source of power by negating himself, and discovering reality, and through it finding a way to perpetuate power by making it the cause of itself, instead of a cause in itself.
As with any rising society, Infaustian societies seek not the Soviet-style legitimization of hubris through personal power, but the source of power, which is found in understanding the invisible portions of reality, namely the methods that work in any situation because they appeal to an underlying mathematics and structure to our universe. This will always be the opposite of the Faustian as well as the insect-like standards of the third world, where people seek neither power nor knowledge.
Tags: evil, faust, hubris, johann wolfgang von goethe, morality