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We Want Your Soul:
An Approximation of Cultural Sustainability
(Part I)

‘On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.’ -C. Palahniuk Sustainability has been described as the capacity to endure. ‘At the start of the twenty-first […]

‘On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.’
-C. Palahniuk

Sustainability has been described as the capacity to endure.

‘At the start of the twenty-first century, the problem of global sustainability is widely recognised by world leaders, and a common topic of discussion by journalists, scientists, teachers, students and citizens in many parts of the world. The World Summit on Sustainable Development confirmed that the first decade of the new century, at least, would be one of reflection about the demands placed by humankind on the biosphere.’  [1]

Yet how will we ever achieve the knowledge needed for sustainable civilization without first meeting the sustainable civilian? The physical world is a place where all things, regardless of station or preference, are subjected to entropy and chaos. Life, however, is different. Life is organized, and biological systems strive for order. It must be this way in order for life to thrive against chaos and entropy. This is indeed an age of science and technology, an age of global connection at the touch of a button, an age where science rules supreme.

It isn’t that humans are smarter now than we were centuries ago; it is that we are bombarded constantly by an influx of information. Yet, despite this digital age wherein more data is introduced to the human brain within a single day than ever before, not only have we failed to create a sustainable, symbiotic civilization for our species, but we have actually created an entire myriad of additional problems: we have embedded them into our culture like unfitting jig-saw puzzle pieces, and we have created a misfit collage as if in homage to our perpetual downward mobility. We are no longer bound to the land. We lack ties to cultural heritage. We are floating in space, rootless. Modernity, for man, means a life devoid of purpose.

It is not more information that we require; it is a better process by which to incorporate and understand this information which we need. This must become embedded into the very social fabric of our reality; we must strive to create a culture which is not simply a contribution to sick society, but rather, is sustainable and functions to enforce not morality but rather a value system hierarchy within the conscious lives of mankind. ‘All sciences are now under the obligation to prepare the ground for the future task of the philosopher, which is to solve the problem of value, to determine the true hierarchy of values.’ [2] Inherent within Nietzsche’s words is a message which scholars, philosophers, and social scientists alike have struggled to solve for ages. Yet this emotional algebra is far deeper in complexity than simply asking us to solve for X.

Without a sustainable culture, and without sustainable life, we are met with a deeply disturbing and pressing issue which plagues modernity in a far more insidious way than even the ancient plagues of long ago. Modern medicinal science may have cured us from many of these plagues and yet it is helpless when faced with the idea that life is not always alive; cures for biological sickness do not translate to emotional and cultural sicknesses, and unlike mortal diseases which plagued mankind yet granted a swift and final death, these modern ailments of culture and the human spirit offer no such respite. We are left with a world overcome by a systemic locust-like plague which eats at the very fabric of mankind. This host is undeniably distinguishable by many characteristics, yet none so obvious as its mindlessness, an emptiness of higher cognitive function, and its insatiable hunger: a parasitic horde of apparently undead enemies which at one point were living humans. ‘The truth is that zombies have no social organization to speak of.  There is no discernable hierarchy, no chain of command, and no drive toward any type of collectivization.’ [3]

Consider the metaphor:

‘The dead walk among us. These somnambulists are the greatest threat to humanity, other than humanity itself. To call them predators and us prey would be inaccurate. They are a plague, and the human race is their host. The lucky victims are devoured, their bones scraped clean, their flesh consumed. Those not so fortunate join the ranks of their attackers, transformed into putrid, carnivorous monsters. Conventional warfare is useless against these creatures, as is conventional thought. The science of ending life, developed and perfected since the beginning of our existence, cannot protect us from an enemy that has no life to end.’ [3]

We are approaching the point. Things which cause societal and psychological ‘abject terror,’ the stuff of nightmarish horror film legends, zombies, vampires, ghosts, demons, all of these are complex symbolic representations of what we already live in this modern age. Notably during the Dark Ages, when the world shrank after the falling of Rome and families huddled inside houses in the winter telling stories of monsters, witchcraft and demons, these stories have been generationally passed down as man is of course, a storytelling species. [4]

Mankind has long since possessed an innate terror of these immortal beasts, psychologically fascinating because each is perhaps an archetypal representation of man’s own manifestations of himself. The collective nightmares of humanity precede man’s individual life on this planet, and go on to exist far after individual man’s mortal death. ‘Does this mean the living dead are invincible? No. Can these creatures be stopped? Yes. Ignorance is the undead’s strongest ally, knowledge their deadliest enemy. Survival is the key word to remember—not victory, not conquest, just survival.’ [3] All of these monstrous creatures, can in fact, be found embedded in the reality of our unconscious collective.

Forget what you thought you understood about the underworld. It’s already here. From this angle we can examine the various ways in which we will ultimately never arrive at global sustainability without going deeper into the nebulous, maze-like definition of what it truly means to be human and to be conscious, for this is perhaps the only feature which separates us from the host of hungering undead. Anything hostile to the healthy instincts of life will undoubtedly be a decorating feature of the undead masses.

Before detouring a bit into the land of existentialism, let’s review the abstract.

The entirety of our sustainable future lies within (re)defining our socially skewed definitions of basic, core concepts such as ‘zombie’ and more importantly, freedom. It is as Goethe tells us: ‘none are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.’ Western Civilization itself has become a breeding ground for false symbolic interpretations, most profoundly apparent in misrepresenting definitions of what it means to be free and have freedom.

This isn’t about government, nor is it about politics. We are not going to try to take the ‘mock’ out of modern democracy. Instead the focus is freedom in the abstract sense. It is about relearning how to fall in love with an ideal, one which ultimately has the power to lead us into a future which doesn’t end with the cinematic Zombie Apocalypse. If we cannot kill the undead enemy, we must find a cure for it: if we are to survive. And like Mr. Brooks tells us in The Zombie Survival Guide, it is all about survival.

Let us begin by separating fact from fiction.

In a liberal age of rampant multiculturalism, those of us in possession of healthy instincts to life have witnessed the disaster which occurs when these very instincts bring a host of undead upon us. It is as if the simple act of breathing, of being alive, is the act which attracts the horde and calls them to us as they mindlessly seek to eat our brains so that we too, may become one of them. The hunger of course is primary, but the byproduct of this hunger seeks to assimilate all of humanity into its system of undead equality.

Against overwhelming numbers, many have seen good men fall to this plague. The modern social construction of reality is toxic. It is bound in cultural shame. Because it is undead, it seeks to sustain itself by consuming the cognitive higher-thinking processes of the living; it is completely codependent. It is the opposite of sustainable. Codependence itself is a form of addiction, and is a term coined by addiction experts to classify general, omnipresent symptoms displayed by the children of addicts. [5] What we are, what we inherit, is always passed down to us from the generations which precede us. This is the nature of legacy. This attributes much to the root cause—the heart of the issue. This is why it is not enough to kill the zombies; the plague is infectious, symptoms are erratic and often carriers of the mutation fail to manifest illness for decades or more.

The collective unconsciousness of mankind itself is sick. We exist in a world wherein a negative biofeedback loop broadcasts in constancy; we have created a culture which in itself is sick enough to infect generations which have not yet been born. So, how to begin an approach toward an illness so effective, so evasive, modern society has failed to detect it, submerging it instead into mythic stories of fantasy and fictitious milieu?

If man is to survive, man must find means to free itself from its addiction to the undead. It is in this way we must seek to understand and utilize the muddy conceptual phenomenon that is freedom.

1. Freedom from addiction leads to freedom from codependence and therefore toxic shame. This creates room for the undead man to begin to regain living function. So long as the individual is unaware, he is a locust, feasting on the flesh of the living as to sustain his addiction: soulless, he has an ever-present, deep-seated, instinctive hunger to consume. In moments of consciousness, when perhaps he awakens from the thrall of his disease, he is overcome by shame at what atrocious acts in his sickness he has committed. In seeing his violent and grotesque crimes against life, he becomes bound by shame, and with no thread to tie him to his conscious state, again he flees into addiction and codependent undead consumption.

2. Well-being: Freedom from dysfunction is the door which opens the freedom to be well, psychologically as well as physiologically. The consumptive culture in which we live is a byproduct of capitalism. That it is dysfunctional and not sustainable is an unintended consequence of the civilization of codependent children which built it to be a Pleasure Island of shortsightedness. Like Pinocchio, our civilization built by codependent children needed to stay too long at the amusement park to understand firsthand the price. Jackass or undead plague, the moral of this story remains the same. When one leaves the seductive embrace of the affliction, one becomes free to again regain living function. The functionality is the trademark trait of the living, as healthy instincts to life call at all times for order against dysfunction.

3. We live in an ever-changing society dominated by scientific phenomena and technological globalism. Science is fallible, and yet it is worshipped as if it were godlike in perfection.  Perhaps Nietzsche knew even a hundred years ago what the outcome would be when he told us that God is dead. It is not enough to seek for a singular deity worshipped by the masses because in such a changing, rootless world, man must seek instead to listen to his own inner determination of values—so long as he is not yet afflicted by sickness. In modernity, when man fails to do this, man is left with the choice to succumb to the worship of a long-dead religious deity. Failing this, man learns to cleave to modern science as if it were an adequate substitute for man’s inner divine consciousness. Failing these two choices, man succumbs instead to sickness, despair, addiction, and ultimately, un-death.

This path is preceded singularly by one’s inability to own oneself, as Nietzsche put it, ‘the individual has always struggled against the tribe. Try it, and you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no cost is too great to pay for the privilege of owning oneself.’  Eliminating the ways in which we worship the literal means freedom from fear-based definitions of what are ultimately only symbolic approximations of imagery. Goodbye, tacky mental jewelry. We must be visiting our self-inflicted illustration of scars with the freedom to wander the abstract.

4. Sick society is permissive, liberal, rootless, and devoid of purpose. It teaches consumption for the sake of consumption; it is Ourboros incarnated. It functions only because its peoples are ignorant of its existence. We need freedom from ignorance as well as freedom to obtain authentic existence, authentic experience, and authentic knowledge. Instead, man is born inundated by false social truth, littered by subjective knowledge which agenda-driven marketing companies wish to impart to further the sickness of rampant consumerism. Freedom from ignorance: it is infinitely more simple to discuss than it is difficult to achieve. The essence of this is freedom grants one the power to know oneself. In just the way our god is dead, we are as estranged from the champions and heroes of our ancestral lineage, and this emptiness creates a yearning for champions and heroism personified by ancient Greek civilization.

Popular culture is literally littered with champions as a byproduct of this. Screenwriter Joss Whedon once expressed that ‘nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. It is harsh and cruel. That’s why there’s us. Champions. It doesn’t matter where we come from, what we’ve done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be.’ Sick society breaks the individual. It breaks the self, and after this there is no such luxury as a blank slate on which to rewrite, redefine the self. Freedom from ignorance grants the power to meet oneself, which is the prerequisite for what Nietzsche talked about regarding the privilege of owning oneself. In modernity this becomes a process of locating and collecting all the psychologically-fragmented puzzle pieces. This involves not only being free to pursue one’s fragmented parts, but also the freedom to reject the addiction, the impulse-seeking, ego-driven compulsions within man’s sickness, which cryptically, could be compared via contrasting wheat-grass versus soda-pop. Hint: while there’s a Coke machine on nearly every corner, it’s going to be more difficult and time-consuming, as well as more financially expensive and out of the way, to pursue what is healthiest.

5. Apparent now is that man’s undead affliction is, at least in the first physiological manifestation, a spiritual disease gone viral. The second stage of disease becomes a social disease, until finally it consumes the host entirely as it steals man of his life and the undead arises from the shell. We must catch the virus in its early stages, while it is still a spiritual sickness. This truth is written everywhere within culture; it is continually broadcast in a language only those still living can comprehend. Obviously, the afflicted undead are fixated on forty channels of American Gladiators, punctuated by commercial breaks for Presidents’ Day Sales featuring Lincoln selling Lincoln town-cars just before American Idol. One must wonder how many Americans watched Fight Club for its violence, for shirtless Brad Pitt, oblivious to its poignant satire meant to address those still living among the post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland. In the novel, Chuck Palahniuk’s message was summary: ‘we are the middle children of history. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War is a spiritual war. Our Great Depression is our lives.’

Man is the singular species evolved on this earth to be sentient; we have developed our consciousness and because of this we have built great cities, we have developed systems of philosophies and mansions of thought. It is the presence of consciousness which is definitive of what it means to be a human being. When the conscious life of man is healthy, it is a conscious life which fulfills him. Man becomes spiritually awakened; he is optimally functional, and he has found the crux of what Nietzsche prompted us to find when he proclaimed that God is dead, for he has found himself and is now free to navigate his own inner determination of values.

It is the above five elements which must ultimately and alchemically serve us in curing the social sickness before the pandemic escalates to outbreak. The missing caveat, our proverbial stone of Rosetta, is a symbolic definition of what ‘freedom’ really means at the end of the day. Hint: it is not what the western culture indoctrinates us to believe. For the sake of our mission, we’ll define freedom against spiritual slavery. There are shackles, iron bars and chains we’ve never even heard of, and for the sake of our mission, let us understand that at any given moment, we are barely aware of the ways in which our fortress became our prison. Machiavelli’s symbolic exploration includes an argument in which the fortress is only a prison in disguise, shrouded in some magic, for truly it isn’t a fortress after all but a prison, ‘a symbol of power’s isolation,’ [6] and in that way (as well as Goethe’s) we are metaphorically subjected to imprisonment by simply not being aware of the many ways in which we are lacking crucial data: it is not that we seek to define freedom for an abstract ideal of its own purpose, but rather, that we seek to define what it is that grants us the mirage of protection at the price of imprisonment. In this, one must stare into the void of what it is which causes one to not be free. Back to the point, then.

In order to live an authentic life, we must submit that the sustainability of the soul of this planet is intrinsically tied to a process wherein it is crucial to start at the location, identification and exploration of the individual. Yet it is not enough to stop there. This is a starting point and nothing more, and it is but the first step in the correct direction. It is only after one has lost everything that one is free to find anything: in this way the self is the most basic unit of what comprises the family, the community, the culture, the nation, and the sociological fabric of this planet. In many ways the self is subject to all of these additional spheres in which one is a part, and yet it is rational to surmise that if the basic building block upon which a culture is built, is in itself, sick, then this sickness will undoubtedly spread into the culture itself and begin the slow, insidious biofeedback loop of the current malignant order. After all, growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.

The self is the most basic building block of the unconscious collective. Additionally, mankind has possessed an ethical nature for roughly 10,000-12,000 years. [7] The purpose of man’s ethical nature is not to construct vacant temples nor is it to subject others to his muddled, murky, and malignantly moral sense of value. Man’s ethical nature serves the purpose of binding man to his tribe, to his blood, to his family, and to the traditions of his ancestry. There is a deliciously delicate balance between oneself and one’s relationships with others which must be addressed, and the answers are not yet a question of value for philosophers in a way which means hierarchy as Nietzsche meant: rather the journey of man’s spirit exists to travel an hermeneutic circle of meaning. It is immersive and it is the point of the journey itself which sustains the spirit; the abstraction is within what the symbol that represents the journey, comes to mean for the unconscious collective. For individual man the experience is concrete; it is solid; it does not disintegrate into vague approximation until it becomes assimilated into the culture via the unconscious collective.

The first part of the process is the self, and it is the self which must become sustainable if we are ever to survive the infringing masses of the undead plague. The point is to survive. Anything which has no use to us is proven to be systematically eliminated by evolution. We evolve not linearly, but in a differential manner, with increased opportunity for change to be detrimental but inextinguishable before an unsuccessful trait becomes generalized over the entirety of our species. [8] This is the way in which–unknowingly, perhaps—man creates a consumptive culture which values only its compliant pop-cultural constructs, beliefs and elements, honors dysfunction, supports the wasting of human life and caters to the only agenda known by the undead: feed the hunger. Fill the hollow.

Mmmmm, brains.

***

Part II of this essay addresses complexities regarding this issue, as well as seeks to delineate additional symptomatic features of the walking dead, so that prompt and swift diagnoses may take place. Further analysis of the potential solutions to its sick social phenomenon is also be discussed.

‘Voici mon secret. Il est très simple : on ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.’

[1] Adams, W.M. (2006) The Future of Sustainability Re-thinking Environment and Development in the Twenty-first Century.

[2] Nietzsche, Friedrich (1887) The Genealogy of Morality.

[3] Brooks, Max. (2003) The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead.

[4] Kieckhefer, Richard (1989) Magic in the Middle Ages.

[5] Pia, Mellody (1989) Facing Codependence.

[6] Greene, R, & Elffers, J. (1998) The 48 Laws of Power.

[7] Bucke, Richard M.D. (1969) Cosmic Consciousness: a Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind.

[8] Alcorn, P. (2003) Social Issues in Technology: a Format for Investigation.

[9] Storey, John. (2006) Cultural Theory and Popular Culture.

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[Mistral Archive] The Sahara of the Beltway

[This piece was originally posted on October 8th, 2009 at 12.45pm.] American society suffers a distinct lack of higher culture. Nowhere is this lack more dire, clear or embarassing as […]

[This piece was originally posted on October 8th, 2009 at 12.45pm.]

American society suffers a distinct lack of higher culture. Nowhere is this lack more dire, clear or embarassing as it is in the upper echelons of the political class, which are firmly enshrined inside the Capital Beltway.

Capitol Hill has, for the whole duration of living memory hitherto, been populated almost entirely by hucksters and frauds. All in all, there is not a man of talent in sight. After eight years of horrific ‘compassionate conservatism’ in the Oval Office, and a nine tepid months of Obama, the cultural destitution and lack of national self-assurance in the United States is painfully clear.

Inside the Beltway, one might as well be in a cultural desert, an intellectual wasteland for third-rate minds to shamble around in. One hears so much hot air, and nothing else. The seat of national government is a disgrace to any American with an ounce of dignity. It is devoid of any charm or merit which might otherwise redeem it.

Quite simply, the political class of the United States exists in a policy-maker’s paradise. Regardless of the realities of the outside world, laws are made by the chattering classes inside a bubble (no doubt designed by the same social-engineering geniuses of every federal policy), which reflexively vacates anything resembling (higher) culture. They live in a cultural Sahara found within the Beltway.

I cannot but be inclined to think that this has something to do with the United States’ complete lack of aristocracy, or anything which resembles it by any stretch of the imagination. The whole public, political discourse revolves around keeping everyone’s faces in their troughs. The Establishment accomplishes this by pandering to the very rich or the very poor, the very Christian or the very ‘New Atheist’, the very ‘urban’ or the very immigrant — this minority interest group or that. By instituting new programs for ‘social justice’, ‘economic growth’ and, most of all, the myth of multiculturalism.

In any case, this inclination of mine is not merely borne out by the fact that an aristocracy enriches the Nation, but also because the forces which oppose aristocracy inevitably end up dissolving what is cohesive and conservative in a culture.

Does aristocracy even have a history the United States?

The only native-born aristocratic society throughout the existence of the States was, as H. L. Mencken accurately commented on a number of occassions, the genteel landowning culture of the Old South (which he opposed to the plutocracy of his contemporary America). The outcome of the War Between the States and the era of Reconstruction which followed irrevocably annihilated the aristocracy of the Old South. The effects which the levelling Union had upon the Southern States in the aftermath of the War are actually suitable for comparison with the contemporary effects which U.S. foreign policy has upon the world as a whole, including the United States itself. The logic behind the intestine conflict between the States is the same as that which lurks under the neocon policy coupling prominently identified by Steve Sailer — namely (1) ‘invite the world’ and (2) ‘invade the world’.

Everyone with a historically competent understand of the bloodshed between the Southern and Northern states, the South’s Army were on the whole an overwhelmingly better and more professional fighting body, and in particular, their generals were spectacularly superior. This is not because they had God on their side, but because they had culture — enough, indeed, to discipline the great multitudes of Southern men into better footsoldiers than the even greater multitudes of the North. Supposing their Creator was on their side, he did not show it sufficiently well.

[Coincidentally, H. L. Mencken mentions this in a brief line of another book, his Treatise on the Gods: “in war, even when both sides pray to the same divinity, one is bound to win.”]

The North won due to numerous factors which the Northerners arrogantly attributed to their ‘moral superiority’ (a useless consideration), to ‘progress’. and to God’s favour for the Union. [Refer to the above note.] Nevertheless, the North’s victory was achieved through numbers, through its technology and its monstrous war-machinery, through ‘intelligence’, and ultimately through simple circumstance. Does their victory in the War Between the States vindicate the Union? Does it make the North’s a better culture than the Old South? Of course not. One does not judge a culture based on the wars it wins, but by the conduct of its warriors so to speak — that is, by the extent to which it breeds greatness.

This is similar to the demarcation of values between North and South. Their practical morality is, in Nietzschean terms, ‘Sklavenmoral’ and ‘Herrenmoral’ respectively. Indeed, Nietzsche says of the difference that “men of ressentiment will inevitably end up cleverer than any noble race, and will respect cleverness to a quite different degree as well: namely, as a condition of existence of the first rank,” — this certainly applies to the Union under Lincoln as much as to the Beltway Establishment and liberalism as a doctrine — “whilst the cleverness of noble men can easily have a subtle aftertaste of luxury and refinement about it: — precisely because in this area, it is nowhere near as important as the complete certainty of function of the governing unconsciousinstincts,” (Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals I, §10) — which means, in other words, that the inherited conservatism of the nobility makes intelligence something of an added bonus. The honest conservatism we strive to uphold is, for them, second nature.

What I have just stated is an important consideration for us to retain, as conservatives — genuine aristocracy and genuine conservatism go hand-in-hand, which I have established before (again, referring to Nietzsche where I did so). Unless we are ‘pro-aristocracy’ (even if only unwittingly), we are ‘contra-conservative’. I believe that an examination of the historical challenges which conservatives have faced will bear this out. Additionally, a cursory glance will show us that our self-appointed opponents are parvenu plebeians — compare the manners of late, (not-so-)great neocon no-goodnik Irving Kristol with those of the ‘later’, greater, paleo-con point-man [and, incidentally, man-of-the-South] Sam Francis.

In what we might call comportment, carriage, bearing, ettiquette or some such, we see that the North was once sorely outstripped by the South, just as neocons are now sorely outstripped by ‘paleos’.

What qualities did the South lack that enabled the Union to obtain ‘victory’ in the conflict and to attain a totalitarian hegemony in the 20th and 21st centuries?

We have already seen the entirety of the North’s ‘advantages’. All that was lacking in the South was the ill-humour, intemperateness, bitterness and overcast piety of the North. In short, they lacked the Puritannical bad nature of New England. Let it be clear: the Northerners opposed slavery for the same reason that they opposed States’ Rights.

Moreover, the ‘Emancipation Proclamation’, gilted and exalted by today’s scholarship, was merely a piece of bad pragmatism and presidential petulance on Lincoln’s part. The legality (or flagrant illegality) of the two executive orders notwithstanding, they were wartime measures against the Confederate states (not against all slaveholding states, but only those considered to be in a state of ‘rebellion’ against the Union). The first executive order was extortion; the second was punishment. Supposing these tyrannical decrees were taken together and designated a title, ‘Emancipation Proclamation’ seems a little loftier than is deserving, a little more idealistic than the political realities they addressed would allow, and categorically deceptive about Lincoln’s motivations. Rather, ‘Emancipation Ultimatum’ is the most generous one can readily allow. More accurately still, one must call them something like a ‘Total Destruction Ultimatum’ once the effects, cultural, economic and otherwise have been taken into account.

Today, an ‘Emancipation Proclamation’ might be more genuine. Only, under the Obama administration, it would be part of the insidious “health-care reform”, and it could be called the ‘Amnesty Proclamation’. [Obamacare is supposed to be fair, cost less and/or provide better value for Americans, even though around 12 million undesirables to wit, maybe considerably more, will be costing the rest of the roughly 307-million (at least) population. How it makes sense to have less people paying for more, escapes me — or anyone with even an elementary understanding of economics, statistics or ‘mere’ mathematics.]

Abolitionism is a manifestation of the spite which deliberately denies the conditions which make a high culture possible. Supposing that the do-gooders could be brutally and openly honest, they would have to acknowledge that their desire is and always has been to bring an end to all elevation and happiness.

We are utterly unprepared for the severity which results in a higher culture. It is the severity of honesty with oneself, and consistency with others. In North America, the only genuine, sustained glimpse of greatness existed in the antebellum South.

Revisionists on the liberal-democratic side characterize the antebellum period of Southern history as a period of barbarity, while all too many romantics on the racial-populist (and implicitly White Nationalist) side, characterize it as a period of incomparable prosperity for all white Southerners.

The fact is, that the South was more severe, more exclusive and more aristocratic than either could conceive of. The South was stratified on the basis of race no more than of class; conversely, we must understand that its structure was at least as deeply rooted in class as it was in race. The values embodied by the chevaliers of the South were, quite simply, the values of masters — that is, of creators and conquerors. A ‘Master Race’ of vulgar bigots, in the ‘classless society’ which Hitler envisaged in Nazi Germany, is almost a contradiction in terms. On the other hand, the men being bred in the American antebellum South were indeed becoming a race of masters.

The South was where “some attention was given to the art of living — that life got beyond and above the state of a mere infliction and became an exhilarating experience”,  H. L. Mencken tells us in his essay ‘The Sahara of the Bozart’, originally published in 1917, with a warmth rare in his mostly pugnacious punditry. “A certain noble spaciousness was in the ancient Southern scheme of things. The Ur-Confederate had leisure. He liked to toy with ideas. He was hospitable and tolerant. He had the vague thing that we call culture.”

These Southerners who flowered so briefly are but one achievement of the Western world, and they were driven to extinction by the merciless aggression and reformism of the highly industrialized North, another nation of vulgar bigots, needless to say. How was this accomplished? Mencken covers this in ‘The Calamity of Appomattox':

“First the carpetbaggers ravaged the land, and then it fell into the hands of the native white trash, already so poor that war and Reconstruction could not make them any poorer.”

What the Northerners did was to make the Southerners more Northern than themselves. The Reconstruction was the Northern logic of oppression taken to extremes, and enforced as an absolute and explicit organizing principle. It is categorically a worse crime against humanity than the accumulation of all the abuses which could possibly have occurred under the sensible, reasonable, traditional ordering of society in the antebellum South.

The negroes were no longer enslaved as a simple matter of course, but they became despised by the consistently mediocre politicians who greedily grasped for the levers of power. These bumpkins and bounders associated the negroes with their feelings of inferiority, and saw them as a demographic so base and servile that they could give themselves the illusion of importance by scourging them.

The stable, servile condition in which the negroes of the South had existed was obliterated, leaving them at the mercy of the incurable yokels who could only have wished for the shelter and sustenance afforded by bondage. Before the War Between the States, the negroes of the South had been secure in chattel slavery — I would risk poor taste by stating that they had a ‘job for life’ — and even a place in the family of their owners. Plantation life was demanding, but charming also. The yokel, on the other hand, does not understand the wisdom expressed in the words ‘protego ergo obligo’ (which Carl Schmitt calls “the cogito ergo sum of the State”).

The slaves were not hated by their masters, at any rate, but merely kept. Hatred came with the Reconstruction and the rise of the New South.

There are very relevant lessons here, for the student of cultural history. What do we learn from the Old South’s demise, the Civil War, and ‘Northern aggression’ in its various forms?

Foreign policy shows this perpetual moralizing in the world, America’s great ‘answer’ to a question no-one asked. The invasion of Iraq ( — for it was not a war — ) constitutes a sort of projection, an ever greater hubris toward the world, which contradicts sound sense about political realities. Of course, it’s not about political realities. It’s about moral fantasies. It is an expression of precisely the same Puritan (so-called ‘imperialist’) logic which found its dress-rehearsal in Cromwell’s campaign to overthrow the old social order, subdue Ireland and Scotland, and destroy men of breeding. Between then and now, it infected France and gave rise to the French Revolution.

An inversion of historical accuracy regarding these sorts of events is the very precondition for the deceptive ramblings of the Establishment (Left and Right). Un-doing this inversion involves, in this case, admitting that imperialism and proletarian revolution go hand-in-hand. Not as a sequence of ‘opposed’ world-historical events, but as a sort of collaboration. This is why, for example, the typical neoconservative remain consistent in one thing (if only one) throughout his political life — namely, the seamless progression from left-wing troublemaking to a hawkish imposition of neoliberalism around the world. Aren’t internationalism and globalization similar notions, after all? Their methods, too, remain the same throughout: in a word, rabble-rousing.

There is a sense in which this is Hegelian [like Fukuyama’s ‘end of history’  fad]; and, ironically, a sense in which history is happening behind their backs, in Hegelian fashion — they are deceived into believing their opposition. Unfolding before us is merely the successive stages of slave-revolt. What we are really seeing is the ‘history of an error’, so to speak.

Conservatives need to take heart in this, and commit themselves to the succor of a more elevated fruit, at once newer and older than the status quo. It’s finally time to deal the death-blow to wishy-washy, Wilsonian wistfulness. America will not be ennobled inasmuch she can democratize the world, but rather inasmuch as she can ‘aristocratize’ herself – that is, she will gain ennoblement on to the extent that she actually, literally ennobles herself. In North America, there has always been the potential — albeit squandered — for an aristocracy which is organic, original and proper.

Against what Mencken calls the ‘aristocratic impulse’, the bourgeois Establishment will always be, first and foremost, ‘The Enemy’ collectively. It is not for this simple fact that we hold contempt for it, but because it is a dishonourable enemy. The Establishment’s infrastructure — comprising both public and private institutions — is ‘manned’ by faceless bureaucrats, and governed by an elite who are merely the ‘managers of managers’. Regulated and reinforced by this infrastructure, the ‘moral majority’ — prohibiters and abolishers of strength, pleasure and happiness — frustrate cultural elevation at every avenue. Their fervent support for sorry fads like abolitionism and Prohibition are part of their wide-scale, long-term policy of unrestricted warfare against everything well-constituted. The Do-Good Brigade, thus assembled, are not only the world’s greatest organized horde of dangerous imbeciles. They are anarchic-tyrannical nihilists par excellence.

It is not the Establishment alone which we must defend against, however. They are bolstered in a demographic, rhetorical and outright democratic sense by the rabble. A system managing these blocs (and others) of American society is managing innumerable hordes of more or less willing victims. The anarchic-tyrannical system is made for a purpose no more dignified or dignifying than the driving of cattle and the inculcation of bovine instincts. It is this system which collects together everything to which we are opposed on a fundamental level.

Conservatives must get to grips with the severity which results in success. The managerial elite produces so-called ‘individuals'; we must cultivate a natural order of rank, the only organic ordering of the species. Whereas the philistine aspires to tame men, we shall breed them. The answer is fairly simple, yet excruciatingly difficult.

We must embrace aristocracy.

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CPAC 2012: "The Horror, the Horror!"

Recently, this author left his ancestral New England abode and journeyed south to America’s ‘Great Wen’ in order to attend this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference. Organized by the American […]

Recently, this author left his ancestral New England abode and journeyed south to America’s ‘Great Wen’ in order to attend this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference. Organized by the American Conservative Union since 1973, this conclave serves as an annual powwow for America’s much-vilified conservative movement. Steeped in paleoconservative theory, sympathetic to Continental Neue Rechte positions, fascinated by the Jewish Question and deeply distrustful of the Beltway Right, I nevertheless sought to put aside my own prejudices and enter the conference with an open mind. I emerged at its conclusion fully contemptuous of American conservatism and confirmed in my own traditionalist, rightist beliefs. Sam Francis was too kind when he referred to Beltway conservatives as ‘beautiful losers’; they were distinctly neither that weekend! Woefully inadequate on intellectual, ideological and aesthetic grounds, they represented the best that Middle America offers against Judeo-liberal, New Class elites. It proves small wonder that American whites face increasing political and social dispossession with such mediocrities resisting our alien masters! If rightist whites desire to build a viable future for themselves, they must abandon their necrophilic adoration of a Brylcreemed, B-movie actor and advance distinctly identitarian politics for the twenty-first century. This necessarily entails the recognition of serious flaws and a committed desire to rectify them.

Firstly, the conference attendees displayed a distinct lack of serious education and vulgarly demonstrated their own provincialism and class limitations. Being in my twenties, I conversed with many other young people and was unimpressed. The attendees displayed a conspicuous lack of awareness and serious reflection on the issues of the day. Raised by Republican parents, they seem to have absorbed political theory in the form of easy soundbites from such Murdoch shills as Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly. When asked about their political beliefs, they responded with such vagaries as ‘liberty’, ‘democracy’ and ‘religious freedom’. One wonders if they could be persuaded to adopt the slogan ‘Truth, Justice and the American Way’ and thus regress into puerile assurances provided by childhood fantasy heroes. Certainly, Ronald Reagan appeared to be their ‘Man of Steel’ and one of the most popular attractions on the conference floor proved a booth where you could have your photograph taken with a cardboard cut-out of the Teflon President. Bemused and desiring entertainment, I did so and the resultant image is no doubt now floating in cyberspace and waiting to embarrass me later in life.

None of these people present displayed any real grasp of rightist political theory and seemed to blindly follow neoconservative propaganda. In fact, in a earlier age, they would easily be classified as Cold War Democrats along the lines of Scoop Jackson. Their lack of serious intellectual qualifications and political awareness proved to be alarmingly sophomoric and convinced me of their ovine natures. Awakening them is a Herculean task and one which authentic rightists must devote themselves while fully aware of the exertion involved. This will not be easily considering the steady stream of pap fed to these attendees by Republican pied pipers who run direct-mail campaigns to scare old ladies and live richly off the resulting proceeds!

So engorged with this poison of false conservatism supplied by the Beltway Right, those present proved incapable of differentiating authentic right-wing ideology from what they’ve known since childhood. Desiring to be little briefcase-toting Alex P. Keatons and save America from the ‘Demmy-crats’, and ‘Islamofascism’ they have unknowingly accepted much of the Left’s shibboleths to the extent that a copy of National Review circa 1963 would genuinely frighten them. At that point, Buckley actually ran articles discussing human biodiversity and stated the obvious fact that any doctor in Africa can identify a Caucasoid from a Negroid skull by simply looking at them! In our degenerate times, these evident truths are denounced as ‘racism‘ and considered unpalatable in polite society. In my examination of the conference’s display booths, I came across the Human Events table, which confirmed the degeneracy of today’s right-wing politics. Currently the managing editor of this magazine is a young Puerto Rican, who appeared to delight in alienating his fellow countrymen by favoring welfare reform. Additionally, since David Keene’s tumultuous departure from the chairmanship of the ACU, his position is currently occupied by a Cuban! While certainly anti-communist, this Hispanic gentleman cannot by his essential nature represent the legitimate group interests of white Americans. By promoting such affirmative action individuals into positions of authority, the conservative movement ceases even to pretend it cares about the continued viability of European-Americans as a distinct population.

Regrettably, this repression of legitimate identitarian politics by conference organizers expressed itself in the treatment meted out to two friends of mine. Mr. Robert Vandervoort is a fine gentlemen of Midwestern stock who serves as the executive director of a PAC called ProEnglish. This excellent organization seeks to make English the only official language throughout all of the states and preserve its primacy as the lingua franca of America. In repeated polls, this position resonates with ordinary Americans who are tired of having to press 1 for Spanish or of watching their children turned down for service jobs because they are not bilingual. Mr. Vandervoort served as the moderator of a CPAC panel discussion on the deleterious effects of multiculturalism. One of the discussants was another friend and stalwart rightist named Peter Brimelow. A former senior editor of Forbes and National Review who currently edits the website VDARE, Mr Brimelow forthrightly denounced the absurdity of multiculturalism and argued for immigration restrictions and a strong English-only policy adopted into law. The Left offered its predictable riposte and just as predictably, the ACU distanced themselves from the sensible views presented at the panel. Chairman Cardenas meekly responded that he was completely unaware of Mr. Brimelow’s existence prior to the uproar! This comment demonstrated either his cowardice or his complete ignorance of the conservative movement’s history since the Eighties.

What proved most disturbing to me was the unwillingness to support political views that are far more important than flat tax schemes or prayer in schools. The preservation of American’s historic majority is by its essence a fundamentally conservative goal and yet CPAC couldn’t lift a finger in support of either gentleman! The Beltway Right is by no means static and does change its positions. However, any change is always to the left and towards neoconservative sirens, who inwardly despise the goyim Babbits whom they influence. By defending the ‘Dispossessed Majority’, both Vandervoort and Brimelow are marginalized despite being two of the few genuine rightists actually attending the conference.

While walking through the conference, I found it relatively easy to spot members of the far-right. Firstly, we’re a distinct fraternity who know and work with each other all the time. Secondly, we display faster response times, less prominent brow ridges and superior sartorial sensibilities. I was amazed at the lack of fashion sense among the other attendees. For men, suits were obviously off-the-rack and baggy with occasional loud houndstooth patterns. One man walked by in a dated, Eighties double-breasted suit with enormous shoulder pads, huge peak lapels and a loose fit. The effect was of a Gordon Gekko type circa 1986 but the pattern was far too loud for Wall Street. The young people favored loosely fitting shirts and unflattering baggy trousers. One of the popular accessories displayed were Adam Smith neckties with repeated images of the economist across them. These were incredibly vulgar and an example of the sort of unreflective bourgeois triumphalism found among College Republicans. As a test to amuse myself, I remarked to a young ginger-haired man at the Heritage Foundation booth that I liked the side vents on his suit jacket. He stared uncomprehendingly back at me and I believe that if I’d said I liked the side castratos or the side tarantellas on his jacket, he would have thanked me just the same!

This ignorance of tailoring also applied to the women present. Fortunately, there were few noticeable pantsuits and most women appeared to understand the proper application of makeup instead of laying it on with a trowel. Despite this, the uniform appeared drab with mauve being the dominant color of many outfits. I longed for Mrs. Thatcher’s Aquascutum demi-couture and instead found J.C. Penney’s women’s department. Bizarrely, an attendee named Melissa Clouthier wrote that the women attendees appeared ‘whoreish’ in their dress and behavior. I found them to be Peoria’s finest, with a distinctly American aesthetic that could never compare to the glacial beauty of Catherine Deneuve. Perhaps there’s a PTA, Young Republican sexual appeal to them but it’s one from which I would flee in horror! Provincial, unaware and ripe for seduction by false leaders, these people are not going to serve as leaders of America’s dwindling white population.

Essentially, it proved the lack of anyone with an IQ over 115 among the majority of the attendees, which most concerned me. This became apparent at a Saturday night event with the dubious name of ‘Reaganpalooza’ held at a Dupont Circle nightclub. It proved to be just as ghastly as the moniker initially suggested. Drunken low-level Republican staffers drank cheap beer, ate dreadful hors d’oeuvres and danced/ground with each other while bad remixes of Eighties light rock songs wafted through the air. I left the nightclub several times because I couldn’t stand the ‘bad air’ stifling any creative impulse. Catching a taxi back to a friend’s house, I felt glad to escape such an environment that reminded me of the Bratpack movie St. Elmo’s Fire.

It is this fascination with the popular culture and political obsessions of the Reagan years that effectively demonstrates the conservative movement’s sterility. Bereft of ideas and careening from the arms of one political mediocrity to another in search of a leader, they do not recognize their own political, cultural and ethnic dispossession. Beltway conservatism simply cannot be changed and redirected towards a distinctly racialist and Judeocritical position. The only alternative is to halt any association with it and refocus all efforts on building up the far-right with new ideologues, European connections and a resolute defense of adamantine principles.

Currently, the American authentic right found in small organizations constitutes the only mental firepower against forces which oppose our continued existence. Our task now must be to free those few CPAC attendees capable of comprehending the higher principles which animate us. If we do so, we could extricate ourselves from the absurd carnival funhouse of Beltway conservatism, where floors shifts and angled mirrors distort realities. Stepping out of this demented environment and onto reality’s solid ground, we can built an ordered house for ourselves and our children to defend in an increasing alien nation.

Edward Gilman
Bangor, Maine 2012

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The Political Anthropology of the Divine Beast (Part IV)

6. THE PROUD AND TERRIBLE KING

We have witnessed the imagery and concepts of sacrifice throughout this article. This is not entirely accidental. Even so, if this were not altogether deliberate (and where, in particular, it was definitely not consciously intended), it is even more apt. This only exposes the necessity.

In the most blessed ages, men understand that sacrifice — including literally the ritual shedding of blood — is necessary. In fact, it is not merely the preserve of recalcitrant savages, but the precondition of higher culture. Only severity is profound; pity is only prosaic and pernicious. No, it is severity we treasure. A cosmic balance is observed, the stability of long, painstaking setting-aright, by generation after generation. So, for everything there is a price, which is taken most seriously. Supposing the scales have been upset, only an earnest effort returns them to balance, harmony and order. Naturally, this means an act of terrible and excruciating significance.

Perhaps it was Kierkegaard who plumbed this terrible thing most clearly, to its most overwhelming depths. At this point, it is better to merely refer to his account of the Binding of Isaac here en passant, rather than vainly attempt to reproduce it here, with the excellence of the original. Suffice it to say, that Kierkegaard understands most clearly what is at stake in sacrifice and the profound courage of the sacrificial act.

We too must face this like men. However, we must go beyond Kierkegaard. We must find the most extreme — that is to say, supreme — form of devotion that is actually carried out.

Sacrifices must be made.

The sword of vengeance expresses the principle most clearly. An avenger expiates the wrong which lingers over his kin; for it is his kinsmen who are avenged, his ancestors who are honoured, his gods who are appeased. He himself is vindicated, as the very blade of his blood. It is blood, after all, which matters. Everything carries the weight of blood. The lex talionis is the real lex sanguinis.

So, this shall be the whole of the law: all matters are ultimately reckoned in blood. This is the Law of the World. Every line of this law-code is a line coloured by blood.

By contrast, we have the reactionary ‘justice’ system of the courts, which only exists (outwardly) to protect sentimental abstractions like present-day private property, ‘social justice’ and the other ‘Rights of Man’ — and now there are courts to protect nothing more than ‘human rights’ as such!

The law of the courtroom loses its vital connection to its natural jurisdiction, precisely when it normalizes and mechanizes its procedures. When ‘targets’ are more important than upholding the law which binds the nation in an orderly body politic, decisions are no longer judicial, but purely technical rationalizations. The advent of private prisons, the transformation of the penitentiary (which is expiatory) from an exaction of the public debt to an enterprise for the extraction of private profit (i.e. a wholesale transubstantiation of a public function into a private one) is an accompaniment and guarantor of this development. The courtroom thus becomes a sanctimonious playground for rarified moral phantasies and insidiously fallacious excuses.

“The known way is an impasse”, Heraclitus cryptically tells us, in a fragment; this is especially accurate in the institutions of Law. Thus, when the law of the court hollows out and abolishes itself, the laws return home to the nation, as if beasts unfettered, returning to their habitat. So, when the necrotic court ‘justice’-system is purged and utterly destroyed, the path of tradition opens up once more and the Law of Blood bursts through.

The Law of Blood, in which the terrible price is known, demanded and paid in full, often with interest, is the mode of this principle which is clearest in actual practice.

However, the principle is present in every sort of sacrifice. (Vengeance is simply the most understandable.)

Sacrifice is not merely an act of atonement, but one of gratitude. Indeed, it is not only a positive deed, but an affirmative one. It confirms everything. This is why, as a religious ritual, it is a totalizing act, exemplifying and embodying the totality of the mythological worldview. The ritual in which the sacrifice is performed is a mysterium tremendum et fascinans, which reveals — even while still in a meaningful way concealing — the irreducible richness of life. It seems on the face of it, to the faithless apostates of our own day, to be an irrational and negative act. It is irrational, perhaps, but not negative. Even if we do not believe that the gods actually partake of the offering (and so the sacrifice is ‘wasted’), the whole communal life of men is reaffirmed and underlined in the most decisive way. It is affirmative in nature. In this sense, it is not even mostly destructive. The destruction of the sacrificial animal or object is of only marginal importance.

The Nordic pagan’s offerings made on the winter solstice — even today — are of a similar nature. The edible and imbibable portion of the offering is not left so as to perish, but to be absorbed again into the natural world. We have, to symbolically represent this, the story of Odin’s wolves devouring what men offer up.

Only in the moment of slaughter — and the reaffirmation of all that to which one belongs — is it that the principle is seen (albeit obscured) at its highest. In the terrible seconds preceding the lethal bloodshed, with the dagger held aloft, one anxiously comes to grips with oneself. Doubts must be reckoned with in the anticipatory moment, if at all. Nevertheless, the principle ascends to its zenith, precisely in the fateful instant when the blade descends, meeting its mark — and cleaving its way through cleanly. In that instant, one knows one’s heart. The terror of the moment before is maddening; the horror which follows, merely sobering. It is the curtain-call which brings to a close the absurdist play of the binding. The deed must be done. Only the faithless and the ungrateful can turn from this.

O, dira necessitas!

One must not wait for all Neptune’s oceans to wash one’s hands; one must be the equal of one’s deeds. Only the convinced can kill honestly, even if they are wrong.

We must become lion-hearted, like the narrator-protagonist of the song ‘Rabbit Heart‘ by Florence + The Machine. At long last, we consumate the tremendum fascinosum. The eternal mystery unfolds and exposes itself in the instant, only to the Initiate:

This is a gift,
It comes with a price!
Who is the lamb
And who is the knife?

It is the great paradox of human nature, that we must not be unwilling to suffer or die; or, for that matter, to cause suffering and death. We do not question or posit any hereafter (for that is not gratitude), but merely offer up to the gods their due. Hesitation is ungrateful and — naturally — the highest crime against one’s gods, one’s race and oneself.

What, then, can we infer from this? Surely, we can rediscover the wisdom which was old when the greatest civilizations on our planet were young.

Gratitude is the most genuinely telling human feeling. When presented with a boon, it is the obligation of the grateful to seize it. This is their joyful right but also their sorrowful responsibility.

“We raise it up, this offering”, the bridge of ‘Rabbit Heart’ reiterates. This is sacrifice — honourable, holy and open-handed. It must ever be thus.

Notice how the hunter who lives off his kills respects his prey. He is careful with how their lives are taken, he thanks his gods and goes through many unannounced rituals with which he does himself no dishonour. When his quarry is obtained, he must only kill them thus, skin them thus and gut them thus. It must be so. Surely, too, however, his duty must be to kill them in the first place, when they are sent to him by the cosmic winds.

The great mystery yields, then, an even greater clarity.

No norm can exist within chaos, Schmitt rightly observes (in Political Theology). There can be nothing apprehensible within the indescribable, inexplicable, unfathomable tempest of anarchy. There is nothing normal, let alone normative, so all is permitted — and the distance between man and man is not only unknown, but unravels, expands and returns to its ‘original position’, where it has become infinitely remote and hostile. All proximity is done with and finished. Approximation is gone as if it never was. Sacrifice is again loosed from its customary bounds and begins the offering-up of the not-I, the not-we, the sacrificial Other; even sacrifice within is permitted. In short, human sacrifice.

There are the obvious examples when we think of societies which practice this kind of sacrifice — the excesses of the Aztecs, Incas and Mayas — and in Europe we had the Druids. However, this is not where it ends. Even peoples not widely known for human sacrifice practised it; with some, like the Germanic and Nordic pagans, we get to see all the more clearly how important the sacrifice of a human being is. They understand it in precisely the political-mystical terms I have described. Our loosely Schmittian framework can therefore remain.

Within the context of a prevailing order, we can have the auguries, offerings of goats, rams, oxen and even the slaughter of horses. (The Celts even threw away old and battered weaponry, so that their new weaponry would be stronger and favoured by the gods.) In ordinary times, this is proper — and it is enough. However, more desperate times require more desperate measures; more extreme circumstances demand more extreme offerings. The hecatombs, bringing together great numbers of offerings, might also lead to more singular sacrifical offerings of  greater import: people. The intensification brings about a change in the ritual.

The Germanics were largely against this most extreme form of ritual killing. We should nevertheless not allow ourselves to be fooled into thinking that this is because the sanctity of life prevents this. Rather, the sanctity of life inheres in human sacrifice and precisely what makes this practice coherent. The instinctual (and, as Hume points out, not at all rational) perception of cause-and-effect is a natural and necessary superstition. The offering is both (1) the grateful acknowledgement after-the-fact (propitiation-as-effect) and (2) the anticipatory entreaty for continued propserity — or even just continuity itself (oblation-as-cause). The relation goes both ways and is, of course, murky, because its relation is intuitive but not strictly rational.

The ritual slaughter of humans may be the great taboo now, but it was ubiquitous. Indeed, offerings seem to have been treated similarly by all Indo-European peoples.

The Aryans in India practised this same kind of oblation. Their priests can truly be called sanguinary, for they consumed the blood of sacrificial animals. What power or worth lies in the blood, they consumed. This entered into the reckoning of sacrifice.

One of the most important, but also rarest, Vedic rituals was the purushamedha — literally, Man-sacrifice. Despite being rarely discussed, it is also highly and contextually necessary. In this ritual, the man is ritually slaughtered much in the same way as the horse in the ashvamedha. Notice that there must be something distinctly human in the former ritual, just as there is something distinctly equestrian in the latter; in the same way that, during the latter, the gilt and adorned chariot is drawn in with the horse, to symbolize the military strength (specifically horsemanship and charioteering) which allowed the Aryans to prevail everywhere. So, the blood can be surmised to carry the distinctly human divinity.

Why make such extreme offerings? Because it is portentous and necessary.

Now that the words have been spoken — that the very sacrifice of human beings is carried out — we must look beyond our shock. What makes this necessary? Life makes this necessary. Life and Death are not truly opposites; the final fact of a life is Death, but Death is merely a Part of Life. Sacrifice, moreover, is a much more intelligible form of death. Today, we see this reversed. Sacrifice makes very little sense to us, for the same reason that maintaining order makes very little sense to us.

Sacrifice is the renewal of order.

What the Finnish ecological philosopher Pentti Linkola advocates, for example, is really just a recent (and ecological) variant of this primitive worldview. ‘Can life prevail?’ he asks, even making this the title of one of his books. A re-formulation is in order — and so we ask: ‘Can we prevail?’

Humans are sacrificed for the human order. Blood is met with blood, force with force, terror with terror and the man capable of the most terrible things prevents the most terrible plagues by comparably terrible treatments. It is like a physician excising a tumour, that the ascendant, dominant man removes threats which are inimical to the legal, social and political order. This is how he keeps his throne and why he deserves it.

The metaphor can be made literal: medicine itself is of roughly the same nature. Cures work because they are ruthlessly effective, not because they are pleasant. Clearly, the discipline we call medicine is as unspeakably morbid as the maladies which it cures — but it is so largely by necessity.

It was supposedly the Ksatriya, not the Brahmin, who performed the solemn purushamedha. This, of course, makes sense, since the Ksatriya caste is the class of the warriors, also that class from which the kings are drawn — namely, the caste which maintains order. Human blood propitiates the human political order.

Invariably, that which one is willing to subdue and sacrifice determines one’s existential reward.

In decadent times like our own, when nothing reigns but anarchy; in places where the blind automaton of the managerial state rolls endlessly on into eternity, punishing impotently, discouraging not a single crime, while encouraging all kinds; when we are in that topsy-turvy void which Sam Francis called ‘anarcho-tyranny’. The arbitrary confidence required to make distinctions and determinations of justice must again be infused into the system, by a temperament like that of the Lawgiver and Sovereign, through deeds like his. When the gavel of justice has been cast aside, the sword of justice may be taken up again.

So, the challenge of the exception must be addressed. We put a stop to our material, physical, existential destruction in its own terms. For the answer to force must be force; it is with fire that we must answer fire-bringers; the murderer must be slain; we destroy the destroyer. A single drop of the best blood shed, das heiligste Blut, must be avenged with torrents of common blood. This is simply how men in concreto are. Supposing we were not this way, we would not be at all.

In pain, we find not only the answers but the affirmations of great questions. Nietzsche is correct on the wisdom found in pain. “There is as much wisdom in pain as in pleasure: like pleasure, pain is one of the prime species-preserving forces. If it weren’t, it would have perished long ago: that it hurts is no argument against it — it is its essence. In pain I hear the captain’s command: ‘Pull in the sails!’ The hardy seafarer ‘Man’ must have learned to adjust the sails a thousand ways; otherwise he would have gone under too quickly and the ocean would have swallowed him too soon. We have to know how to live with reduced energy, too: as soon as pain sounds its safety signal, it is time for such a reduction — some great danger, some storm is approaching, and we do well to ‘inflate ourselves’ as little as possible.” (Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Cambridge: CUP, 318.) There is a conservatism in this, which applies to most men, at most times.

Still, we have the colloquial expression ‘No pain, no gain’. So, what do we gain from pain? Simply, by its operation, pain imparts instruction. It teaches us about the differences between men — and it even teaches us about ourselves. What kind of man am I? What will I endure? What am I willing to inflict on myself and others? Who am I — and what is this ‘I’?

Pain is the determiner of whether men rise or fall. Indeed, we see that pain is a great separator in this way, also. Nietzsche continues — and we must let him speak the greater part of pain’s wisdom: “True, there are people who hear exactly the opposite command when great pain approaches and who never look as proud, bellicose, and happy as when a storm is nearing — yes, pain itself gives them their greatest moments! They are the heroic human beings, the great pain-bringers of humanity, those few or rare ones who who need the same apology as pain itself — and truly, they should not be denied this! They are eminently species-preserving and species-enhancing forces, if only because they resist comfort and do not hide their nausea at this type of happiness.” (Nietzsche, The Gay Scienceibid.)

Pain is no objection whatsoever to the most needful and sacred pursuit of order. Rather, in fact, pain can be indicative of a life-affirming, life-preserving, life-enriching experience — hence it is associated with sacred necessity.

The greatest of men not only know how to endure pain, but how to use it to achieve the most invaluable effects. The men who meet pain with laughter, who can thank their torment and are grateful for the brutal vividness of life, these are the men without whom our conquests, our riches and even our civilizations could not be, even as these men may themselves be retainers of the most joyously barbarous or savage temperaments.

One can see throughout Jünger’s writing that he understands pain, sacrifice and exile. This is, in some way, shape or form, present throughout Jünger’s entire oeuvre. It matters not whether the evolving beast is called the Frontsoldat, Arbeiter, Waldgänger or Anarch — a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. We see him draw taut like a bowstring, between the typical and exceptional. What emphasizes the grateful yet forlorn longing for belonging more than painful affirmation, more than the anonymous (or perhaps anomalous) sacrifice?

The individualist does not understand this, for individualism is an abstraction and active theoretization of the fearful, over-weaning instinct for hoarding, retreating, reasoning and bargaining one’s way out of danger. The individualists (of all stripes) abuse the strands of sensible non-interventionism and pragmatic allowances to fabricate a fanatical creed out of whole cloth and call it a rational plan for history. There is more than a touch of strychnine in this. The axis from themselves to ‘the individual’ is the umbilical cord — that is to say, we can trace their ‘individuality’ through their longing for the womb. In this dried out womb of denial, we find that the injunction ‘Laissez-faire!’ really necessitates the laisser-aller! The crawling, snivelling, conceptual retreat of these invertebrates shows their visceral commitment to cowardice and indecision. Even the Sadean wish to throw open our prisons to prove our virtue is really the puss that oozes from the burst boil of bourgeois morality, that now-festering sore of soft-stomached, soft-hearted, suburban sponge-life society, whose intermittent secretions up until the point of bursting were senseless flashings of violence in a decadent world. It is the end not only of Man, but of men — and we are thenceforth ‘individuals’ and die letzten Menschen.

It is for this reason that gratitude is to be restored. We must be existentially grateful for materially manifest gifts — but not all gifts are pleasant. Indeed, even (and perhaps especially) the best among them are bittersweet, are they not? Even les fleurs de mal can be beautiful — and they are.

The sacred and the profane are present in the same world. They are consubstantial. In our world, specifically our place within it, we find the unity of the natural and supernatural. It is a similar thing Maistre addresses when he speaks of the perfect parallelism of the physical and moral worlds, albeit he speaks as both Catholic and illuminist and that of which he speaks is two worlds and not one. The nuance for a thinker like Xunzi is much more apparent, so it is to him that we turn. Concretely, man is the completion of a triad with Heaven and earth, says he. To this Chinese, however, Heaven is rather more immanent — the governing principle in natural affairs, existing as the principle of order does to the principiate of order; the latter being the earth in its proper relation to Heaven. Man is always the inaugurator of the conjunction of principle-principiate. It is his mindful good conduct which holds Heaven and earth in their proper position and keeps all aright.

So, the man who finds his place and is thankful for it, is blessed. Again, we find that centre around which the wheel turns is—gratitude! It is the ungrateful who are truly forsaken. They damn themselves to their own hells. Gratitude is the compensation and correction of all deficiencies in life. Rather, it is the fierce who make prosperity possible. What is authentic and affirmative to life? We can answer: Pain is preservative! Sacrifice is salutary! Adversity is enriching!

Kierkegaard says that the man who loves himself becomes great in himself and he who loves others becomes great through his devotion to them, but the man who loves God becomes great than all others. Why is this? It’s because we find self-overcoming in what we love. What the Dane is really saying is that the man who loves himself overcomes himself; who loves others, overcomes his society; and — which he completely forgets to say and, in fact, lets fall away altogether — he who loves God, overcomes the Divine itself, to become divine himself.

Can we subscribe to this more extreme view? In some form, yes.

The man who overcomes himself, not only finds himself, but earns himself. “I am done with my graceless heart / So, tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart!” the singer resolves in Florence + the Machine’s ‘Shake It Out‘.

The highest castes of the divine beasts maintain order. Holding firm the sacred circle in which each nation is invisibly bound and blessed, policing the frontiers of our awareness like stallions protecting a herd of horses; their unhesitating hands raining thunderbolts on the forces of chaos without hesitation, these are honestly the best men. He who strikes is rightly called blessed before all others; he who strikes as the gods strike, is called sovereign. Here we see the impenetrable, yet profoundly palpable, order of rank, the pathos of distance contained and made approximal in quality, in the gradation of the Divine Beast from highest to lowest and vice versa.

The lotus unfurls its petals and the riddle unfolds. Authenticity is found, then, not in some static Truth, set apart from its bloody roots, but rather in ἀλήθεια (‘ālétheia’ or unconcealedness) and the alethetic process of sacrifice as disconcealment and utter, illimitable affirmation. Only the brave among us will stare into the beating heart of human life! In all honest heroes — and specifically all primal heroes — we find the anima naturaliter religiosa.

Simply, we are left once more with the bloodied but brilliant figure of our political anthropology: the divine beast, made whole in the sacrificial act. He has gained himself — and the world — through his gratitude.

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The Political Anthropology of the Divine Beast (Part III)

Part Three of the Political Anthropology. (3 of 5)

5. MEN AS THEY ARE

Men who first find human fellowship experience epiphany. They are not so profoundly overawed by this because human beings are united, transcendentally or otherwise, by some over-arching concept ‘Man’, but rather precisely for the opposite reason, because they are not so united. Granted, he is not born alone, as Rousseau’s man strangely is. Man before genuine political organization is still social, still born of a mother, nor is his conception in any way immaculate in the sense of virginity, but only in the sense of sinlessness.

*[This is why the pre-modern Christians speak of the “statu innocentiæ”. The first men were born without sin, because they were born without the concept. So, why make use of their work, when it hinges upon the doctrine of sin? For in them we see the first and proudest European Christianity, which is at first only paganism turned on its head and little else modified ( — to wit, many gods become one God, the flesh and the spirit are pried apart, men are sinful, etc. — ), and so we make use of their completed labours, by putting them aright again, without undoing them altogether.]

We must take a view of men which is, at the very least, a place-holder for our political anthropology. There must be a number of ‘regulative hypotheses’ (to paraphrase Nietzsche) or ‘philosophical fictions’ (to use Hume’s expression instead), i.e. provisional arguments to serve as a heuristic for sketching out the behaviour of men, both individually and collectively.

There are various things we can infer about men as they are. This is similar to how we infer things about the world. For example, we learn from astrophysicists and cosmologists that there is residual heat in the universe — and this has been used as circumstantial proof for the Big Bang theory. It is, in fact, the evidence which was championed as it gained widespread acceptance. Ernst Jünger makes a similar point in his essay ‘The Tree‘ (recently translated and posted on the Jünger blog): “The forest grows vigorously in biomass, returning more to the earth than it asks of it. Flourishing anew each year, it casts off its leaves and branches and ultimately its trunks too, entrusting them to the humus, in which the heat of mighty summers is stored. We still warm ourselves with the surpluses of forests whose riches no human eye ever saw.” This remarkable point returns, incidentally, to men. It applies both figuratively and literally. What we get, again, is the notion of a background heat, from a specific source (in this case, the forests of the earth), but also quite literally the background — and the very ground — of human existential continuation.

Where would we be without forests? Without fire? Without the skins we garbed ourselves in? Without the abundance of the earth? Without other men?

It does not matter that we seem not to need forests, fire, skins, the abundance of the earth or other men. All of these, to some degree or other, are needed for the way of life we enjoy. Supposing they grow more distant from view, it is not because we have progressed so far from needing them, but because they lay at the foundation of our complex, politically organized societies, much like the building and lighting of the common hearth within a city’s walls chronologically lay at the foundation of a Greek polis; their fittedness to our bare necessities lays dimly half-remembered because the providential supererogation of their divine superabundance has allowed us, through varying economic distributions and stratified political organization, to build up our societies — in short, precisely because they are so necessary.

Where would we be without bloodshed?

[Jefferson let more slip than he ever intended, if he truly wrote that the tree of liberty must be watered from time to time with blood. Nietzsche understands that our whole ‘moral world order’ as it were, is a gigantic piece of hypocrisy. Our entire construction of a flawed and slavish morality leads not to less cruelty, but to more, because it is morbidly self-mortifying and destroys others ‘for their own good’, truly a richly portentous monstrum of monstrosities to come; so “the moral conceptual world of ‘guilt’, ‘conscience’, ‘duty’, ‘sacred duty’ originates – its beginning, like the beginning of everything great on earth, has long been steeped in blood.” (II §6, Nietzsche, [trans. Smith, D.], On the Genealogy of Morals [1998], Oxford: OUP. p.46.)

The difference is that, in slave-morality, this becomes more intense and more genuinely, harmfully destructive in proportion to how stringently it is denied by the moralists. However, in the former moralities which may be comprehended under the appellation of master-morality, this is not the case. In these moralities — which are manly and masterly in their conception and sentiments —  blood, sweet, toil and tears are accepted and embraced; sacrifices of every kind are permitted, in the proper place at the proper time, under the proper circumstances.

Slave moralities, modern-day ideologies and utopian dreams are enormous lies. They can simply not be honest on this point, because they are incapable of living up to the genuine unity of life — which is not at all kumbaya, but rather a molten, tectonic shifting, a sacred and structured hiearchy utterly inextricable from the celebration and augmentation of thriving life — which that demands that offerings of all kinds be given up as the very precondition for social order. How many scores of bones lay broken on the field all around us, waiting to be ground underfoot by the ceaseless (and perhaps ultimately aimless) march of History through the world?   How much blood nourishes the roots of the Tree of Life?

In the great edifices of human civilizations, there are always bodies in the foundations. Blood always nourishes these roots, because many must bleed so that some may be free. Many must toil so that culture can even exist. The maintenance or even intensification of a rigid class/caste structure leads to what Nietzsche calls “higher culture”. Countless masses must produce, so that a tiny handful of truly great men can create.]

We must understand the lesson of the Sceptics, that men (like any other natural phenomena) cannot be considered in isolation — that is, rationalistically — separate from their situations. Nevertheless, just as we can discover background radiation throughout the whole universe, in different parts at different times, which lead our scientists to believe in a Big Bang, we can learn things about men from what we know of their similar natures in different situations. So, where do we go from here? Well, we create a cosmology of man, showing his place in his world as a whole! Let it be termed a political cosmology, to go neatly with our political theology and, of course, our political anthropology. Moreover, it will be yet another direction from which to approach this political anthropology.

To this end, we shall take a number of varying and widely contrasted theses, which nevertheless form a complex (and much more life-like) picture of a man. A living being, after all, exists multidimensionally; he has more than one aspect.

(Thesis 1)
Man is a singular creature. It is his mortality which makes him so — even as it makes him live with others, to give meaning to his life. He is being-toward-death, as Heidegger says, and none can die in his place. The greater the danger, the greater the awareness of mortality and its profound riddle (albeit all must be aware, to some extent). Let us treat the singularity of what we call the strongest and proudest of men — the warrior. He is a singularity and is all too aware of the risk of physical destruction.

Since it is this ‘singular-ness’ (not singularity per se) that we are interested in at this point, rather than call the condition in which he exists a bellum omnium contra omnes, we will be better to call it a bellum unum contra omnes. He can stand by himself, in fighting all of nature, all hazards and animals, and even all other men. He makes his war (or what passes for war) by his own choice. He very consciously could die by himself, which shapes how he lives. Encounters with other men mean conflict, even if they do not have to. It is his choice to be the lone frontiersman, the outlaw or the lord — as is a permanently dangerous situation his choice.

This is the sort of man Robert E. Howard envisioned, fully formed in his mind’s eye, when in The Phoenix on the Sword, he wrote the famous lines: “Hither came Conan the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jewelled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.” This calm, lean, pantherish (anti-)hero captures the very physical quintessence of these men almost perfectly.

There are countless examples throughout the Western tradition — and it is perhaps a good omen that they are still, half-unconsciously, drawn upon even today.

A more contemporary example, the idiosyncratically written song ‘Amaranth‘, by Nightwish, opens with these lines:

Baptised with a perfect name
The doubting one by heart
Alone without himself

His is a grim joviality which is so rigidly natural as to appear to us perverse. What can we say of his moods? He is implacable at his worst, indomitable at his best, and inscrutable at all times.

This man, as we find him, is a fearsome skirmisher. His hand, like Ishmael’s, is against all men, as theirs are against him. He shelters himself from them when he sleeps; when he eats, it is apart from them and perhaps at their expense. They huddle together, for warmth, while he skins wild beasts for his adornment and lean comfort. Once the stag is dead, its antlers become his weapons, too. Soon, he will fashion weapons inspired by wildest nature or have others in his power (women, children or such like) do so.

It is natural for him to dictate in this way, for “each one is the law for his own wives and children, and cares nothing about the others”. (The Odyssey of Homer, trans. Richmond Lattimer, London: Harper-Perennial, p.140) The power of the lawgiver, the sovereign and the supreme justice must be derived from his arbitrary imposition — this and nothing else must be its basis. So, a man must make this imposition and a woman must surrender herself to it. Notably, in Roman law, the closest corresponding concept of marital and sexual consent was affectio maritalis (literally the marital feeling or inclination), a man’s and woman’s consideration of one another and themselves as husband and wife respectively. The woman must consider herself “swept off her feet”, as it were.

Nevertheless, this is merely the refinement of a more primitive, primal practice. We see this with the sort of man in question.

A woman becomes his and solely his when he carries her off and takes her in hand, to behold her for himself. Either that or she is given to him by her father or a (male) relative who has precedence and power over her. Thus the Greek marriage ceremony was a giving-away. The woman’s consent, in such times, was the effect of their union, not the cause. In this second case, the man and woman are bound in the home and will be bound by blood, with the wife’s bearing and rearing of his children, whereas the man and his father-in-law are bound by their tacit agreement and their families brought closer together. The laurels of amity thus grow around strength.

Now, she will be safe, but protection and possession are, in this case and at this point, indistinguishable. Man protects what is his, protects what he adores, protects that which becomes part of him. He is not the weak little individualist, bound only to the epidermal limits. The man and his young family grow together in the sweet symbiosis of inequality. Family is a condition of intimate dependence (thus we see the etymological root of ‘family’, in ‘famulia’, and the whole development of the family concept, bundled neatly together). Even so, he has a dignity which can only be maintained in self-reliance.

This is why he makes the law in the home. Even as it is the woman who both obeys and enacts it, through her enforcement, his domicile is in his dominion, in which he is supreme. It is woman who rules the hearth, but she does so in her relation to her man, she serves at his pleasure, only the further to honour his rulership of the household.

This, however, is the case of a few men, but not all. We can see this in how this man sets himself apart from others.

(Thesis 2)
Others might find peace in the so-called ‘state of nature’, but it is a cowardly contentment, it is a demeaning condition of timidity. However, men of the most frighteningly ferocious temperaments exist and must find community with their own or be checked by their fellows — sometimes both. The timid, who like to live in prideless peace, may vainly try to avoid such beings, but this does not at all mean they will not be followed by his depredations. So, they will be protected by one pugnacious protector, against the pugnacity of another — or they may be destroyed, in absence of such protection. There is, at a stretch, a third option: that they could even eke out an existence quite undisturbed and plod aimlessly through life so long as their natures permitted this, as Nietzsche suggests, but it does not. Supposing it did, then in any case, no matter how close they live together, they can never become or join a people. Without a protector and without leaving their places of comfort to awaken and acknowledge that they are surrounded by dangers, they will never become a political community. They will never know walls to shelter them or sanctuaries to worship their own gods or marketplaces, let alone free ones. These are risks such men cannot stomach. They are a poor parody of nomadic warriors: these pitiful creatures are nomadic cowards.

Nietzsche’s point is, of course, quite different (but clearly related): namely, that men are not like this, for survival is not their most fundamental instinct. How many such communities exist — and, indeed, how many fewer last, if they exist in the first place? They will kill for nothing and die for nothing — and so they will be nothing.

So, it is possible that men could be peaceful, but it would be an absurd and un-noteworthy existence, not life. There is no danger Here we have the demonstration that men do not live merely to survive, but to thrive — and, if necessary, sacrifice blood, toil and life itself for this purpose. It is not a will to life which drives them, but a will to power.

Perhaps there is an effeminate ‘state of innocence’, in which men rather prosper, without struggle, without contest. It is possible that, given the arrangements among men, and their natural fearfulness, they might somehow avoid dangers. They might even avoid the animals, so far as that is possible. Fire, the Promethean gift to men, may have been a way of warding them off. One could grant that men might be content in the enjoyment, so far as it goes, of such a state.

In any case, we can for the sake of fascination at least entertain Aquinas’ musing in the Summa, that “homines in statu innocentiæ non indigebant animalibus ad necessitatem corporalem, neque ad tegumentum, quia nudi erant, et non erubescebant, nullo instante inordinatæ concupiscentiæ motu; neque ad cibum, quia lignis Paradisi vescebantur; neque ad vehiculum, propter corporis robur. Indigebant tamen eis ad experimentalem cognitionem sumendam de naturis eorum. Quod significatum est per hoc, quod Deus ad eum animalia adduxit, ut eis nomina imponeret, quæ eorum naturas designant”.

[Translation: “Men in the state of innocence would have no need of animals for his person: for they did not need their hides for clothing, as these men went naked without shame, since they had no inordinate impulses to concupiscence; nor for food, since they ate of the trees of Paradise; nor for carriage, since he was strong enough for this himself. Man needed, however, to acquire an understanding of their natures. This is signified by the fact, that God to him led the animals, so as for him to give them their names, which designate their natures.”]

In the last instance, the point in considering this counter-position is immanent critique. Let us consider, that is to say, how this counter-position ramifies — and how, dialectically as it were, this counter-position is changed and absorbed by our general zoological understanding of Man. So it goes: the earth was very likely a great boon, like a planetary nature preserve which needed no efforts for preservation! It is, then, most probably accurate that men had things much easier in this condition — but they did not make things easier; they do not want things easier.

This is in no man’s nature; in any case, nothing could be further from the nature of the stronger specimens.

Remarkably, Xunzi makes the contrary assertion that this prosperity and ease of living exists where men form hierarchical societies, in accordance with Heaven, and are thus able to subdue other creatures. “Fire and water possess energy but are without life. Grass and trees have life but no intelligence. Birds and beasts have intelligence but no sense of duty. Man possesses energy, life, intelligence, and, in addition, a sense of duty. Therefore he is the noblest being on earth.” (Xunzi, Basic Writings, trans. Burton Watson [2003], p.47) Notice that Xunzi does not give the credit for man’s greatness to his intelligence, but rather to his social instinct and his ability to form stable, stratified societies — or ‘sense of duty’. “He is not as strong as the ox, nor as swift as the horse, and yet he makes the ox and the horse work for him. Why? Because he is able to organize himself in society and they are not. Why is he able to organize himself in society? Because he sets up hierarchical divisions. And how is he able to set up hierarchical divisions? Because he has a sense of duty. If he employs this sense of duty to set up hierarchical divisions, then there will be harmony. Where there is harmony there will be unity; where there is unity there will be strength; and where there is strength there will be the power to conquer all things. Thus men can well in security in their houses and halls. The reason that men are able to harmonize their actions with the order of the seasons, utilize all things, and bring universal profit to the world is simply this: they have established hierarchical divisions and possess a sense of duty.” (Ibid., pp.47—48.) Inequality, order and prosperity are inseparable.

Why is it important to organize in this way?

“Men, once born, must organize themselvesi nto a society. But if they form a society without hierarchical divisions, there will be quarreling. Where there is quarreling, there will be chaos; where there is chaos, there will be fragmentation; where there is fragmentation, men will find themselves too weak to conquer other beings. Thus they will be unable to dwell in security in their houses and halls. This is why I say that ritual principles must not be neglected even for a moment. He who can follow them in serving his parents is called filial; he who can follow them in serving his elder brothers is called brotherly. He who can follow them in serving his superiors is called obedient; he who can follow them in employing his inferiors is called a ruler.” (Ibid., p.48.)

So, Xunzi ties together traditions, rituals, inequality, order and feudal relationships between all men. What is it, exactly, that men enjoy, once they organize in a society with hierarchical divisions?

Xunzi lays these out with a beautiful description of ancient China’s wealth in natural resources:

“In the far north there are fast horses and howling dogs; China acquires and breeds them and puts them to work. In the far south there are feathers, tusks, hides, pure copper, and cinnabar; China acquires them and uses them in its manufactures. In the far east there are plants with purple dye, coarse hemp, fish, and salt; China acquires them for its food and clothing. In the far west there are skins and colored yaks’ tails; China acquires them for its needs. Thus the people living in lake regions have plenty of lumber and those living in the mountains have plenty of fish. The farmers do not have to carve or chisel, to fire or forge, and yet they have all the tools and utensils they need; the artisans and merchants do not have to work the fields, and yet they have plenty of vegetables and grain. The tiger and the leopard are fierce beasts, but the gentleman strips off their hides for his personal use. Thus, wherever the sky stretches and the earth extends, there is nothing beautiful left unfound, nothing useful left unused. Such goods serve above to adorn worthy and good men, and below to nourish the common people and bring them security and happiness. This is what is called a state of godlike order.” (Ibid., pp.45—64.)

Men only enjoy ease when it goes perforce hand-in-hand with dominance and exploitation.

A man will perhaps, in a situation of plenty, with a group to call his own and a vast array of possessions, enjoy a certain ease of living, due to the protection of his property — but the apparatus of protection, with all its historically developed mechanisms, is coercive. It is occasioned precisely by the precariousness of possessions which prevails in the quarrels and clamour of chaos. Moreover, his leisure, his ease of living depends upon the ruthless and guiltless exploitation of others* and not at all upon a peaceful disposition.

*[Notice that the bourgeoisie attempt to justify such exploitation, because they do not really believe in it and must expiate their guilt.]

Regardless, no man begins with brotherly love in a powerless and equal condition. We can comment, if nothing else, that brotherly love, derives from the specific form and content of a relationship between brothers. Note, though, that the relation between brothers inherently requires a specific relation and also that non-brother relations exist. In other words, for brothers to be possible, there must exist those who are not brothers. We may, in a poetic sense, stretch this meaning to include comrades-in-arms. However, we may not so extend it that there are no longer men we do not call brothers — that is to say, of course, that we may not extend this universally. A brotherhood of humanity is therefore impossible — or worse, it implies (as detailed above) that some (e.g. the counter-revolutionary classes!) are excluded from this brotherhood, in order to be the target of an absolute and eternally unrelenting enmity, until they are simply wiped out.

We find this not simply in the relations between concepts, but in the affirmation of practical experience. We find comrades only in great struggles, on the march to battles and war, where we face a common enemy. This is where the strongest of friendships, camaraderie and brotherly oaths are found.

(Thesis 3)
The class of men who rule and fight differ from the rest somehow — and we have just reaffirmed this principle.

So, we are once again brothers, under the gods of our race; our gateway is marked clearly on either side — like the great arcaded entrance-way to the Doge’s Palace in Venice — by two gods, Mars and Neptune, whose dominions seem distinct. The former, the war-god, is he who overturns a vat of fire onto the land; the latter is god of tempests and of the deep. For as surely as warriors drill and march and feast with Mars, the greatest of them surely dwell in the House of Neptune, enduring the long tides and plumbing the depths of themselves and the world. They sup and discourse with the great Lord of the Oceans. It is only from the flux of the seas that they learn that things shift from one condition to another, but they do so constantly — and so Neptune teaches them the paradoxical principle of impermanent permanance or permanent imperanance. The only way to overcome the antinomic contradiction, between the metaphysical extreme of Permanence and the other of Impermanence, an antinomy well known to the Buddhist philosophers, is with a third position: Continuity. Great pantheons of elemental energies and forces preside over the divine-bestial fury which binds us in clans, fiefs and nations: the elemental divinities of war and thunder; fire and the forge; the oceans and the underworld.

What is most ungodly in men comes from the gods.

It does not matter where we find him: Man sooner or later reveals himself, red in tooth and claw: whether feral and free; barbarous and brutal; or, civilized and sybaritic. Everywhere, at every stage of refinement, one finds the specimen that is still primal and proud. Still, even now, he is self-reliant. All that is conducive to his continuation, he arrogates to himself; all that he wants, he acquires. He takes exactly what he needs, like Stirner’s egoist. All things are nothing to him! Nothing but what he makes of them!  Himself he adduces to the innermost meaning of life. He is the most dreadful son of the divinities, the ungodly beast who reaches up and snatches the golden bough, to fashion for himself a godly weapon and symbol.

Why is his gaze so far-seeing? Why does his eye glint with something we have never seen before?

The world he sees is different, because it is a different man seeing it, through different eyes. He welcomes the world into a different heart. It can even be said that his phenomenological perceptions are completely different from the rest of herd-like ‘humanity’ and are exclusive to his kind: his awareness begins with himself, his happiness, desires, drives and his symbolic meaning to himself, which is central, radical, immediate and first in order. To himself, he is ontologically primary; all else, secondary — and a distant second at that. Since there is only so much variety in the biology of men, we may say that this self-experience is a recursive phenomenon (or suite of phenomena). It is, for once, a clean-cut either/or proposition, a binary opposition: either a man is strong and self-reliant or he is not. Following on from this, he must be conscious of his strength, if nothing else, and this consciousness shapes his perceptions, especially his self-perceptions. Conversely, the weak and dependant perceive themselves only upon a distant and indirect reflection, as secondary, as derivative, as an after-effect, as merely an object in relation to a more powerful being. It is the strong who become their masters, because it suits both.

The master gives meaning; the slave must be given meaning.

It is the master that must be venerated.

The man of this kind, since he is strongest, does not need to change. Naturally, therefore, he is the most unselfconsciously conservative of beings. He is the most genuine remembrance of our origins. In him, we have a reminder not only of our own ontogeny, but of the very ontogeny of the political community. These are, quite simply, the men who prevail.

There must be a focal point for lesser men — and it is he. Once they have someone to look up to, they honour in him “the fruit of long ages” (Nietzsche, The Gay Science§40, p.57), as Nietzsche says, and obey happily.  He is their lord and they follow him. When more men such as him appear, with their own dependants and bonded inferiors, we have the whole array of noble and hierarchical phenomena, from the Greek πόλεις (‘poleis’ or cities) with their χῶραι (‘chorai’ or territories) — e.g. Athens with Attica — and the military-aristocratic republics, to the feudal monarchies and the whole feudal-tenurial order of Europe in the Middle Ages.

Accordingly, the war of all against all will only end with the man — and all such superior men — who, alone, combats and destroys all comers.

(Thesis 4)
Man is a social creature. Men can live alone, but they do not. This does not suit man’s natural strengths. (This is to say nothing of his later strengths, whether infrastructural, technological or rational, since these come later.) The strongest man at the dawn of his kind is a warrior; if he lives close to his fellows, albeit solitary and self-reliant, he might be enticed to protect them. This engages both his natural talent and lust for war, as well as his predisposition towards dominance.

Despite his proud self-reliance, the enjoyment of his solitude and the mortal danger posed by other men (as he perceives them), he is even at the beginning of his species social, as thinkers from, say, Aristotle or Xunzi to David Hume have recognized. Men are at their best when they find kinship with their fellows.

The social nature of men is often compared with the perfect social union of insect colonies. The sociobiological term for this form of organization is “eusocial”. It is characterized by a hive mentality, perfect coordination, a complete loss of individuality (cf. Bernard Mandeville’s The Fables of the Bees).

Marx compared the social organization of insects with that of men, when he observed that though bees may build a hive more perfect than any structure built by men, yet the architect is superior to the bee, for he can conceive of the thing before it is built. In other words, men are set above by the faculty of imagination. (Notably, this same faculty is the one Hume regarded as most important for human thought.) This divine gift, the human brain, is the same organ which Schmitt believes makes us capable of distinctively political organization in the face of our beastly nature, despite also being the source of our fame futura famelicus, which only makes us more monstrously bestial.

(This is what Confucius addresses when he says that men seek to feed the eyes, when they should be content to feed the stomach.)

However, that which makes men behave in such a destructive, self-seeking, “asocial” way, is the same thing which allows him to overcome these difficulties: the brain. His destructiveness makes his compliance with a strict and severe social order all the more important and all the more apparent to the operations of a healthy intellect. He is able, unlike the insects, to achieve a form of social organization (in his case, political organization) without sacrificing personality or gender differences. This is also precisely what allows women to dwell happily in the power of men and leads to the “godlike order” of the happy household.

The most apparent question to modern thinking is simply this: Why would demons want to be angels? Why would men — selfish, acquisitive, wrathful, covetous beasts — wish to be divine? It is the question which is wrong, because it already presupposes its own answers to the issues we have raised. Needless to say, these answers are utterly wrong. Why? Again, it is more simple than we might expect: we seize the sacred, we are divine, precisely because we are the most terrible of all beasts on the face of the earth.

Xunzi says that men pursue the good, precisely because their “original nature” is evil. “Now is it the nature of man that when he is hungry he will desire satisfaction, when he is cold he will desire warmth, and when he is weary he will desire rest. […] Every man who desires to do good does so precisely because his nature is evil. A man whose accomplishments are meagre longs for greatness; an ugly man longs for beauty; a man in cramped quarters longs for spaciousness; a poor man longs for wealth; a humble man longs for eminence. Whatever a man lacks in himself he will seek outside.” (Basic Writings, pp.163—166) This is why men must consciously and dutifully obey sagely advice and ritual principles, according to Xunzi — and why a rigidly structured society must be inaugurated and maintained.

Somehow, somewhere and at some point, all scattered groupings of men realize this and come together, eventually arrange themselves in communities. It is a mysterious mixture of conflict and cooperation which ultimately results in lordship, hierarchy and established inequalities. These are enshrined in convention, customs, habits, rituals and traditions, in conformity with the instincts — and a stable political community ensues.

It is, in short, the beginning of the divine beast’s political life.

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