Socrates tells us that the philosopher, having exited the cave, can be confused a second time when he mistakes reflections of truth in water for the things which cast them. What hobbles our ability to see truth is the underlying desire which calls conscious, symbolically abstracting reasoning into service. If it’s in the service of philosophy and is employed purely to satisfy our curiosity, then it’s a desire that is experienced, not merely understood. We feel it the way we feel love or joy in any activity that we might undertake, not for money or for social rewards, but simply for its own sake, because it’s play rather than work.
Philo, of course, means love and sophia means wisdom. So philosophy isn’t a job description or identity, it’s an emotional and psychological state, one that all of us experience to one degree or another. We all know what it feels like to have our imagination inspired, to feel as if our minds were blown, to know awe and wonder or the excitement of chasing this or that line of inquiry down whichever intellectual rabbit hole. And we aren’t necessarily conscious of the experience of philosophy. The intellect looks outward, or even looks inward as it tries to understand itself trying to understand itself, but in that process we always forget ourselves, becoming what we are rather than stepping outside of ourselves and contemplating ourselves.
We all understand that feelings often stand in the way of our ability to reason, and yet “the love of learning” is the love of reasoning itself. It’s a contradiction if we can only conceive of reason in opposition to emotion, if one competes with the other, but now we might consider the possibility that they are capable of complementing one another. It’s not a question of reason or emotion, but of which emotion calls reason into being for reason’s sake and no other. Which underlying desire will lead us closest to the truth? Curiosity, pride, or hunger?
But what happens to us when we return to the cave, when the intellectuals “turn around” yet again and see the prisoners, who are where he was in the beginning? Plato tells us the philosopher would “rather die than live as they do.” The prizes the prisoners award to one another for who best can predict the shape of the shadows which pass before them are, to the philosopher who knows the shadows’ true origin, meaningless. Now we can see why Plato would tell us to take our old seat and look at the shadows again so that we can see the world through the eyes of the prisoners of ignorance. In doing so, we’re invited to experience that lack of knowing. In experiencing it, we feel not contempt for them, but empathy.
Why empathy? Because we recognize our commonality with the prisoners and find for the first time our obligation to them. They’re blind and we can see. To look at the shadows and experience rather than understand them, to remember what they looked like to us before we made our journey out of the cave and finally understood them to be false, is to negate irony and in so doing become the thing we contemplate. The trick here is that we reconnect with the other parts of the soul, with appetite and spirit, in experience rather than abstraction and contemplation. It’s identical to the reason Buddhists meditate, because they recognize that reality appears to us as it actually is the moment we stop trying to understand it. To quiet the mind is to remove that shroud of abstraction which makes images and representations of the world and to experience the thing that is represented by them directly.
So if there is any way to overcome ego, or spririt, which separates us from the prisoners, it’s in negation of philosophy, of reason, in order to open the door to experience of ignorance. In that moment we discover our commonality with the prisoners and we remember how we once were before we separated ourselves from them. We don’t understand but experience the “bronze” nature of our souls. We’re reminded that the myth of the metals is just a myth, one that was intended for the spirit, not the intellect.
If we should come to rule the prisoners, or if reason comes to rule the other parts of the soul, we can only do it for their benefit, rather than our own. All the power is ours since they can’t see that it is us who now makes models of the forms we encountered outside of the cave. We are “the stronger,” by Thrasymachus’s definition. We’re the authors of what they interpret to be reality. And we make our models in the closest possible accordance with truth because, if it were up to us, they would all be freed from their bonds, they could all see the sun and know truth as we do. But it isn’t.
They remain where they are as a product of their natures just as we were compelled to chase curiosity and follow the investigation or rabbit hole to the end because it was in our nature to do so. If we can’t make this realization, if the one who risks becoming the cosmopolitan trapped in atomized irony can’t find his way back to the beginning, to the volkisch and identity experienced rather than identity contemplated, if intellect can’t turn around a second time and make contact again with the part of us that is spirited and appetitive, then we will never know this empathy, since reason alone can’t reveal it.
We will falsely see only the difference between ourselves and them, concluding that our souls are made of gold, while theirs are made of silver and bronze. We will have confused the myth of the metals for the truth just as surely as they confuse shadows for the models of the forms which cast them. Who are we if we’re doing this? Are we the philosopher whose only real motivation is satisfying curiosity? Or are we the spirited who confused himself with the philosopher? It’s the spirited part of us that feels this contempt for those who are not as capable as us, for those we deem as below us in whatever way. It’s a kind of sheepishness, or shame and embarrassment one feels when they default to irony, isn’t it?
It’s not curiosity, awe, or wonder that compels us to make a joke about love in order to express love as in Johnson’s example, is it? It’s not want of the base and material pleasures that money buys or the fear of discomfort that comes when we fear we can’t afford them. It’s clearly the spirited part of us at work but because we’d forgotten ourselves, we didn’t recognize it. It’s the part of us that knows pride and fears shame, not the part of us that simply wants to chase the truth for the sake of truth alone. To be confused in this way means we will have forgotten ourselves yet again. We had mistaken an abstract idea of ourselves for our actual selves in failing to recognize our own underlying motivations for employing reason. As Socrates reminds us,”know thyself.”
So the philosopher’s adventure doesn’t end on the opposite side of the divided line when he finally sees the sun, or form of the Good. It ends where it began, in the old seat we once occupied when we ourselves were a prisoner, before we’d eaten the apple and left Eden, before we’d opened the box, etc. The real object of philosophy, its true aim, the answer that it seeks, is hidden in the last place we would look for it if we were the spirited who falsely believed himself to be the philosopher. The cosmopolitan who feels contempt for the volkisch can never make practical use of what he knows. And if we refer to Plato’s metaphor of the ship, we could say that he is, at best, the stargazer who was never compelled to steer the ship by the soul’s other desires, the intellectual whose knowledge could never be put to use to help avoid beaching the ship on this or that rock.
Return to the original question now just as the philosopher must return to the cave: What is justice? If we’re the ones who know, “the stronger,” then we’re the ones who are “invisibl” like Gyges of Lydia. Do we “practice justice for its own sake?” There are no rewards for practicing it since it’ll never be known or seen by the prisoners facing the wall.
Socrates was compelled by the interlocuters just as those fighting over the wheel must commandeer the stargazer and make use of him. Socrates has no use for winning debates, he just wants to get on with his investigations just as the stargazer wants to cloister himself with his study of astronomy. Both want to satisfy curiosity, that is their desire, not to rule or do anything that is practical whatsoever.
As Socrates explains, “the common people will conclude that the philosophers are either vicious or useless.” The curious part of us is a vice, just like the part of us that might be a glutton, or the part of us that is driven by pride to lie to others or ourselves. Philosophy if it can’t made practical use of is really masturbatory, like smoking pot or playing video games all day. People don’t do those things because they will be rewarded socially or financially, they do them because they are their own reward, like any vice. There is really nothing exemplary about it. Like Kafka’s hunger artist, even if what we do amazes those who can’t do it themselves, even if they falsely believe our ability to do this thing is the result of discipline or some otherworldly talent since they themselves couldn’t bring themselves to do it, the truth of it is that we’d do it anyway, even if there were no financial or social rewards. It isn’t work for us, it’s play.
To return to the beginning and “contest about the shadows of justice with those who have never seen justice” is work. All of us know what this feels like when we, after having spent some years chasing understanding, find ourselves arguing about rudimentary and introductory topics with somebody who is still blue pilled. It’s not fun, is it? There’s no intellectual stimulation in it, no awe and wonder, no excitement. It’s drudgery and potentially dangerous. But it’s also necessary. This is what Socrates meant. In order to do it, we would have to rouse the spirited, disciplined, courageous, and soldierly part of us for the benefit of the appetitive part. The spirited desire has to compel the rational part to come back down to earth, return to the cave, and make use of what he knows. The philosopher has to grow up, cease to be a useless sperg, and make practical use of philosophy, or else it’s just a vice like any other. Only the philosophical part of us can make a rational account of justice, but this account is just an abstraction. It’s only the spirited part of us that can uphold justice once the philosopher has defined it, turning a blueprint into something tangible and real. Its only the spirited part that can turn philosophy the vice into philosophy the virtue.
If we’ve understood what justice and the Good is and have seen its form by way of reason, we’ll have no choice but to return and take up this task, even if it’s the last thing we want to do. The philosophical part of the soul, having seen the sun, now turns around and seeks, not the source of the light, but its absence, the shadow. Only once he’s taken his old seat can he once again become identity rather than contemplating it from far away across the gulf of ironic distance.
Greg Johnson at Counter Currents recently opened up this interesting dialogue about the relationship of identity to irony which can be found here.
Unless I’ve misunderstood Heidegger, his criticism of Socratic irony which identifies it as a symptom of liberal modernity and decadence was already resolved by Plato, but to understand and accept the rebuttal, you would have had to uproot the unconscious axiomatic assumptions of democratic modernity and egalitarianism and accept that the best of all possible states is the dictatorship of reason and that, no, we don’t all have equal capacity to be rational.
This is Plato’s critique of democracy (and therefore of the pretensions of the enlightenment, egalitarianism, etc) in a nutshell: Democracy assumes the possibility of a rational polity but polities only exist because perfect rationality is impossible. It’s a contradiction in terms if it can be argued that in a perfectly rational world there would be no politics, no states, no polities of any kind because these things would be unnecessary and therefore unknown entirely. Politics and power emerge out of the interaction between those who are more rational and those who are less. It is only because the rational polity, and therefore the democracy, is impossible that states or power of any kind exists at all. If politics is inevitable, then irony is inevitable.
Plato resolves the problem of knowledge, or philosophy, cutting us off from culture and identity in the return to the cave in the allegory. The philosopher, meaning the one who knows more, after having seen the form of the Good (the sun), returns to the cave, lit by the Good’s man-made and imperfect facsimile or imitation in the form of the fire. Plato’s fictional Socrates tells us that he must “take his old seat” in front of the shadows of ideology and see the world through the eyes of the prisoners of ignorance who confuse ideology with truth.
In other words, there is in nature a natural hierarchy with respect to intellect and those whose natures incline them towards philosophy and those who don’t. Our institutions, if they’re to be the best of all possible, should give formal institutional expression to this natural hierarchy, in as much as institutions should always seek to reflect nature via tradition (rather than attempt to change nature through “progress” and the destruction of tradition, as the left believes is possible). Otherwise knowledge of self and of society leads to the decadence of irony and all we can do is critique or analyze social convention from outside of it because we ourselves can never be part of it. We’re like Adam and Eve cast out of Eden and unable to find our way back, or like Pandora who can’t close the box once it’s been opened. The philosopher’s goal, according to Plato, is not to be the one who exposes convention as convention, but to be the author of convention, or ideology, for the benefit prisoners. If he were a priest, it would be his job to create a layman’s version of the truth in the form of a myth since the layperson’s nature hobbles his ability to grasp the truth by way of reason. If every layperson could grasp it, they would no longer be laypeople. There would only be priests. In other words, the rational polity would be possible and polities of any kind would cease to exist.
The philosopher can’t do this if he himself is a prisoner. He must step outside of identity to understand what identity is and he must return to those who possess that identity in order to author the myth on which their limited understanding of that identity is based. They too will, from time to time, step outside of themselves and reduce the self to abstraction. It’s up to the philosopher to supply the image they will see when they look at themselves. If we don’t do it, someone else will, and that’s especially dangerous if the ones doing that myth making are members of a hostile and competing tribe. The philosopher is the one who makes the models which cast the shadows the prisoners mistake for truth. He tends that fire which casts them, the man-made facsimile of the good whose symbol is found on the flag of the state. The fire is the axiomatic basis of a community’s moral reasoning, the popular conception of the Good, and this, like the myth of the self that the philosophers provide for them is necessary since the prisoners will never see the form of the Good, even though we try to get them as far along as their natures will allow.
Plato tells us outright that the reason all people can’t exit the cave and see the truth is simply that their “desires pull them in other directions,” and this is why they’re incapable of irony. It just isn’t in their nature to care enough to see the investigation through to the end and they will, at some point, simply fall back on conventional wisdom rather than seeking actual wisdom for themselves. So the question on the table here that Plato is answering is one related to the political economy of knowledge, or the proper relationship of the intellectuals to the rest of society that they stand outside of and apart from. If we’re confused by the paradoxical relationship of elites or intellectuals to populism, this is as good an answer as any.
If Plato were to weigh in on the question posed by Marx and Hegel as to what the engine of historical change is or on what foundation are the structures of power erected, he might have said that it was the struggle of those who are more rational to those who are less rational, whereas Marx believed it was the struggle of economic-social classes. If we’re racial nationalists who believe that the true engine of historical change is the struggle of racial groups and further believe intelligence is limited and determined by biology, then we can see how Platonism provides a foundation for modern National Socialism: To argue that the relationship of those who are more rational to those who are less rational is the foundation of social reality is to argue that the relationship of races with greater biologically inherited capacity for higher order abstract thought and those whose biology has left them with less facility for it is its foundation.
In any case, this is what irony is: It’s just those with greater knowledge or greater recourse to reason who don’t yet recognize that it’s their job to make use of that knowledge in order to author the culture or identity that they’ve been cut off from and stand outside of. How could they recognize this if they still assume that the rational polity is possible, as virtually everyone who can’t reason their way out of the assumptions of democratic liberal modernity does? They instead argue and try to convince people of the truth, always expecting people to at some point come around and exit the cave while despairing that they never do. If, by contrast, we accept natural hierarchy and jettison the assumption of the possibility of intellectual equality, then we can see that the answer to the problem of social convention that irony has cut us adrift from is to become the authors of convention, not to simply bang our head against a wall while trying to get others to see the origin or falsehood of existing convention.
In other words, the solution is for the intellectuals to get control of the state and use the military to impose rationally designed institutions which are justified and explained by way of myth that those who are most rational designed for the benefit of those who are less rational. That solution is possible when we recognize that power is and will always be nothing more than the relationship of those who are more rational to those who are less.
And this is how the one with knowledge reconnects to the prisoners, how he escapes being cut off from identity and his society and therefore overcomes irony. It’s through taking his proper place as the myth maker, or the one casting shadow puppets which the prisoners confuse with truth on the wall of the cave, that he becomes a part of that society again rather than simply its interpreter and critic. Is he going to smugly critique and sneer at his own myths? He would have no reason to do so, since they are in the closest accordance with the form they imitate if they are truly the products of philosophy rather than its imitation.
For non-Jews, our choice is the Jewish left, that promotes mass immigration because they’re afraid of white people and want to wield immigrants as weapons against a scapegoated white society, or the Jewish right, which, while reasonable about things like immigration and many culture war issues, wants us to fight Israel’s disastrous multitrillion dollar wars.
Why should we have to make this choice? Neither of these things are in our interest. They’re in the interest of Jews. How is it that we have to make such a choice when Jews are only 2% of the population? Can you explain that? Nobody else can. You all just cry “anti semitism!” and pretend you don’t understand the question and then fully expect us to witch hunt everybody you accuse of Nazism, prostrate ourselves for the Holocaust for some bizarre reason, and pony up another 3 billion in military aid for Israel this year when we’re not propping up factions in disastrous, barbaric civil wars in countries Israel regards as an enemy and producing a refugee crisis that is destroying the EU.
None of this happening because scary Hollywood boogeyman Hitler? Or what? Y’know, maybe Jews would stop getting so much criticism and maybe people would stop with the anti semitic conspiracy theories if you would just address it in good faith. Every other ethnic group in the U.S. has a politics particular to it and a set of perceived ethnic interests. The only exception here are Jews and whites, since Jews pretend they have no ethnic politics, and since Jews regard whites’ interests as “nazism” and persecute anyone who suggests we have them at all.
And I guess that is why violent “anti fascist” leftists feel they have the duty and obligation to beat working class people down in the street for the crime of wanting safe neighborhoods for their children and a sane immigration policy after 30 years of wage stagnation. And I guess that is also why the mainstream media ignores, spins it, or cheers it on, yeah?
Do you have a better explanation? If so, then what is it?
What is your response? “Jews are just like everybody else! You just hate Jews, not because of any legitimate political grievance or difference, but because of some bizarre, nefarious, inexplicable pathology!” Well every other damn ethnic group has its own interests, so if you’re saying Jews don’t, then that would make them quite unlike every other ethnic group on the planet and indeed in human history, now wouldn’t it?
So which is it? Are Jews magic and special? Or are they like everybody else?
And if they are like everybody else and do have a particular set of political interests, is it possible that Jewish interests might be in conflict with our interests? No? That’s not possible?
Let’s say we do have opposing interests, what possible criticism could I make of Jewish politics that wouldn’t automatically be disregarded as antisemitism and potentially get me defamed, run out of my job, have my life destroyed, and potentially be assaulted by drug addicted trust fund communists who have decided I’m a skinhead and that they’re going to save the “marginalized” from the boogeyman because they think they’re in some dopey civil rights movie? If you can’t answer the question, then what you’re saying is that Jews – quite unlike every other group – are above criticism. Does that sound right to you? Because it doesn’t to anyone else.
This is utterly intolerable. What can’t go on, won’t. Now cry “nazi nazi nazi hitler protocols of the elders of zion pogroms nazi nazi scary evil!” and avoid every question or criticism I made here.
Have a wonderful day.
The state is a product of spontaneous order inasmuch as market rationality is.
If there is no state, power simply becomes private. Trade is a substitute for force. Those who lose in the economic competition or merely fear losing in the economic competition will always make recourse to force. So if you get rid of the state and people have to defend their own property, it’s really just a matter of who has greater capacity for force. Since it will never be you with your ar 15 who is going to win against the Mad Max biker gang that’s decided it’s going to take what it wants because it has nothing of value to trade, I guess you and the rest of the John Galts will have to form an ad hoc militia. That is until your ad hoc militia is beaten by a professional standing army. I guess if you want to protect your private property rights, you’ll need an even more powerful standing army. And on and on it goes until eventually one superior military power wins, neutralizes all possible threats, and claims a monopoly on violence in a given territory while we yoke that power to the public interest.
Oh wait, that’s a state, isn’t it?
“The size of economic pie isn’t finite. The competition isn’t zero sum.” That may be so, but the size of the military power pie is. Capacity for force most definitely is a zero sum game, is it not? Libertarians always do this weird thing where they refuse to see that force produces its own invisible hand, its own spontaneous order. There is an economy of power that precedes any economy of tangible goods.
Force is the most tangible good of all for that reason.
It’s there before anything else because markets depend on private property rights and private property rights aren’t possible without recourse to superior capacity to force which enables us to uphold them. In the real world, people will always make recourse to it for the same reason self interested economic actors will compete and trade in a market. There is no NAP in the real world, nor will there ever be one and that is why there will have to be a state. The state isn’t antithetical to markets, it is their basis. If the state didn’t already exist, the most rational economic competitor would create it for his own benefit.
It isn’t a false equivalence. Men compete to produce economic surplus and win social status for the same reason the antler’s get bigger. From the male perspective there is no difference. Small antlers, no ability to win social status/produce economic surplus = reduced breeding opportunities. If the antlers keep getting bigger and we keep producing more and more economic surplus, technological advancement, etc., we destroy our environment and virtually guarantee that resource competition which becomes military competition threatens to destroy us. WW II killed 60 million people and that was with 1940s technology. Can you imagine what a 21st century world war would be like?
Sexual competition becomes social competition which becomes economic competition which becomes political competition. Political competition, of course, becomes military competition. Species seek to find a harmonious niche in their environment, which means finding balance. Individualist social Darwinists and free market apologists often fail to recognize this because they only see how competition and change is advantageous. They fail to recognize that change also entails risk. No species benefits from needlessly introducing change because it increases the risk of extinction. The socially conservative and religious right has always understood this, even if the cuckservative neoliberal free-trade right forgot it (or never understood it).
That is why they seek to leverage stability over and against adaptability to change and it is why human beings develop and depend on traditional institutions, like monogamous marriage. For humans it’s no different. Are r selected stone age tribes or K selected people in industrial civilizations more likely to survive? It’s an open question, isn’t it?
But all of this is beside the point. The basic mechanism is women’s sexual selection for breadwinners. It’s not about impressing females so much as it is about avoiding being weeded out of the gene pool. It’s no different than the antlers. Men produce economic surplus because they risk not being able to breed if they fail to. It’s really that simple. I mean I know we’d all love to believe that guys engineering nuclear weapons or nano technology are doing so purely for altruistic reasons, but it’s disingenuous of us not to consider what happens to those men if they fail to win professional and economic success.
Do you really believe that has nothing to do with their career choices or the culture/value system from which they derive their identities? That’s what’s driving all this, for better or worse. All historical, political, and economic roads lead back to the magic vag, the inherent value of women’s reproductive capacity and the questionable value of male labor utility to secure it.
The point here is that you need to restore monogamy because without the opportunity to breed, your industrial civilization is done for. That’s just reality and will be true regardless if I call for it or approve of it or not. But since you mention it, I am not calling for a revolution, but a counter revolution. Is that right wing enough for you? Or no? Fight extremism with extremism or you lose.
What do “conservatives” who roll over for cultural Marxism at every opportunity rather than rolling it back and smashing it once and for all think they are conserving? Men who have no opportunity to start families have no reason to play along. In my opinion, if it can’t be reformed, then they should burn the whole thing to the ground because that’s the only shot we’d have of replacing a failed system with one that works. Do what is necessary to survive or perish. It’s not rocket science.
And that is exactly why it’s time to do away with classical liberalism and wanking off about “rights” and “fairness,” as if we even have the luxury of worrying about this bullshit anymore. It’s like polishing the proverbial door knobs on the Titanic.
All we should be concerned with is what is necessary for us to survive.
You could restrict your welfare state to the subsidization of intact families. Why not? Why is it only the mystical magic free and efficient market which makes family formation possible? Or do we not care about family formation? You’re right that the existing welfare state destroys families, but then again so does 30 years of stagnant wages because we bent over backward for corporations and “free trade” while destroying the ability of men to adhere to the breadwinner role which virtually all women still expect.
So no, I don’t think tough guy individualism and chanting “personal responsibility” is going to solve the problem any more than showering single mothers with beta bux courtesy of the tax payer so they can go ride the cock carousel will. If you can use the state to destroy families, you can use it strengthen them and pave the way to establishing them. The left attempts to control the state, the non-nationalist right tries to limit or get rid of the state. In both cases you’ve destroyed the foundation which would make family formation possible and return fathers to the home. The left destroys it by breaking the contract between husbands and wives in the social sphere, the free-trade-privatize-it-all-and-let-god-sort-them-out right destroys it by breaking the contract with employers and employees in the economic sphere.
Where does that leave men since women will always expect them to be breadwinners? Where does that leave them if the only way to win women’s all-important approval for marriage/children is to successfully adhere to that role and if the only means of doing that is to earn sufficient income to support a family? Why shouldn’t the right control the state and use it for our benefit? There’s no free market John Galt ancap utopia coming and all the free market is going to do is either automate breadwinning jobs away and create jobs for the Chinese unless you think you’re somehow going to compete with robots or people who make 4 thousand dollars a year.
Meanwhile, the boot of the state will always be there. You’re not going to get rid of it. The question is whose foot will be in it, ours or theirs. The question is does the state destroy the family by providing both employers and women a perverse set of incentives which break their contract with the men of this society, or does it impose the necessary foundation which would make the rehabilitation of the traditional family structure possible? You’re talking about returning fathers to the home, how do you expect this to happen in a society in which people couldn’t give a flying fuck about “family values” since men can’t afford to start families in the first place? What kind of politics and culture did you expect from a country full of NEETs?
You think they’re going to care about the institutions necessary to foster family formation when they are sexually invisible to women and have no hope of starting families themselves since Goldman Sachs used “free trade” as a ruse to run off with all the gains from economic growth and increases in productivity over the last 30 to 40 years?
Hadding Scott said,
I don’t buy it. I don’t believe that the occult refers to anything supernatural, but only to what is often misinterpreted as supernatural by people who don’t understand how what seems impossible can be possible. It’s the reaction that most people have to natural or spontaneous order, the reason that people assume Fibonacci numbers appearing in nature is proof of intelligent design. Spontaneous order, it seems, is impossible yet they’re looking at the evidence of it, so it has the quality of the magical or miraculous. Plato might have said that it’s order or patterns which are seen and recognized but whose meaning is not understood. “Esoteric” refers to hidden meaning, but why do we assume that what is hidden is supernatural? Nor is there any reason to believe that meaning is hidden deliberately by conspirators. It can be hidden simply by our inability or unwillingness to understand it.
All of this calls to mind Arthur C. Clarke’s observation that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Consider that any sufficiently advanced social or psychological theory which could predict and explain somebody’s interior psychological experience would be indistinguishable from prophecy to somebody unaware of social theory. To what extent is theology simply yesterday’s social theory?
In any case, I don’t believe that the U.S. government ever successfully trained remote viewers or that remote viewing is even possible. What’s more likely is that Cold Warriors floated or encouraged such rumors to spook the Communists.
I get where this stuff comes from though. Like post modernism on the left, it’s a revolt against modernism’s rationality, only it seeks to roll modernism back to a period before it existed rather than push it towards its ultimate conclusion in which it transcends itself. By beginning with its assumptions and using its language, science laid waste to the mysticism that came before it and which spawned it, so now the mystical will, in the same way, lay waste to science. It’s like Theozoology and Ariosophy in the late 19th and early 20th century, an attempt to escape the spiritual and social dead-end of nihilistic materialism and positivism that swept over Europe in the wake of the industrial revolution, democratization, and the popularization of Darwin’s theories and find our way back to mysticism and faith which could give the world meaning and order again.
It’s precisely this sense of paradise lost which animates Heidegger’s philosophy as well as Liebenfels’ absurd racial theories. It’s clearly at work in Jorjani’s thinking and probably mine as well.
Order and meaning are key and, in the human world, meaning, or belief, gives way to conventional order. We may believe that God created the universe and mankind, but man is charged with the task of creating his own political, economic, and social universe to whatever degree he is able. He either does this or he perishes. If we’re idle, we’re dying by default; to live is an active process. We either confront the world directly and bend it to our will or we’re washed away by entropy. To impose order on our environment, we have to make a value judgment as to what kind of order is necessary and desirable. Our notion of order depends entirely on what we believe is meaningful.
Post Enlightenment philosophy makes a fetish of reason but has very little to say about its limitations in this respect. Reason can explain how the world works and why it works that way, but it can tell us nothing about how it should work. To make that determination we have to adopt normative ethics and make choices as moral agents who are responsible for the changes we make in the world rather than clinging to the safety and cynicism of the bugman’s positive analysis which only demands we be rational interpreters of it. That requires faith, or “the evidence of things unseen,” belief without evidence. The is part is easy, any sperg can manage it. It’s the ought part of the equation that takes balls.
Making or remaking the political and social world seems like it would require reason, but nothing could be further from the truth. We can assume that it’s of little importance if we recognize that nobody is omniscient. Nobody has perfect knowledge of the world, which is always more imagined than it is known, yet we act in it without understanding it anyway and always have. Ideology, or the abstract map of our social universe, is always “our imagined relationship to our actual conditions of existence,” to quote Althusser. Our institutions have never accurately reflected nature, but only what we believed was true about nature. If we successfully employ reason, we can get closer to the mark than if unsuccessful, but we’ll build those institutions either way because we have no choice. We build because it’s perpetually crumbling all around us. If the music is playing, you have to dance, even if you don’t know how.
If this is all that anyone has ever done, how important is reason really? If people believe something and act on their belief in it, so long as their expectations are within the confines of what is possible, it is as good as real. That’s the political dimension to faith, its ability to create the self fulfilling prophecy, so I suppose you could argue that it doesn’t really matter if people hold right beliefs, but only that they appear to be right when they inspire right action.
It’s like a political Gettier problem and, in truth, is probably the closest thing to actual magic there is if somebody can through words inspire both belief and action which turn ideas into apparent reality. I’m not going to argue with those people if it leads them to the right politics, even if I myself don’t believe in the supernatural. What’s the point?