That's the movie poster cut-line from Sean Connery's classic film Zardoz. Too many of our own Western citizens feel that they agree with that line, and they love the thought of living in a silly B-movie remake of civilization as primitive kindergarten.
Our philosophers, from Rousseau to Nietzsche, Kierkegaard to Sartre, Sorel to Heidegger would feel happy to spout that line above. As would bin Laden and Chomsky. The modern world is empty of meaning and value, reduced to counting and sorting, degraded to profit and loss over fiscal quarters. There's no Romance left, no struggle for greatness, no supermen to become. We are boring. And worse, we wreck all that is good in the world in our search for natural resources to plunder, lives and traditional cultures to annihilate, Peoples to homogenize. We globalized for the sake of profits. The spirit of man is nothing. Yadda, yadda. Such is the popular public opinion of our time.
Below we have a short essay from American Thinker. The author asks questions that concern this blog, and perhaps our readers.
The return of the primitive
October 8th, 2005
According to multicultural myth there are no civilized cultures, and therefore no primitive ones. Like most leftist articles of faith, this one runs against the great weight of evidence. At birth, we humans are neolithic creatures. Biologically we need socialization before we can become full members of our families and cultures. And so every society has found ways to tame the neolithic primitive in us.
In every new generation, the possibility of regression to the primitive makes another try at revolution. Primitivism can be a creative force, because cultures do become stuck, like the great hierarchical empires of the Incas and Aztecs, which sacrificed children to ensure the next day's rising of the sun. The high Egyptian culture of the Pharaohs lasted for three thousand years, with only occasional invasions by more primitive peoples to force adaptation and change. By 1900 the Beijing Imperial Court had become so isolated in abstruse ritual that it simply refused to believe that the real China had sunk into anarchy and powerlessness. The word "civilization" does not always mean "good."
All around us we see the constant tug of war between the primitive and the civilized. The Hebrews of early Biblical history were warlike invaders, who slew their enemies to the last survivor. By the sixth century BCE they had produced high religious works that continue, contrary to the American Left, to shape our lives today. They developed a high ethical and moral code.
Beginning as just another warrior people, they produced Isaiah and a body of civilizing law, driven by a conception of Deity that was far more civilizing than the Roman gods Jupiter and Mars. For centuries European Christians conducted savage massacres against each other, and during the Crusades they destroyed civilized Islamic centers of culture in Spain and Portugal. What we call Judeo-Christian tradition today is the end product of twenty five centuries of struggle and debate. The Left, which often represents the primitive, would like to destroy it all in one generation, because in the mythology of Rousseau all revolution is good.
Radical Islamism is a kind of primitivism, as remarked by the President of Iraq this week, when he scornfully referred to the Saudis as "camel riders from the desert." As in every human culture, there is a struggle between primitivism and civilization within Islam. That struggle will determine the outcome of what some have called the Fourth World War --- the war of Islamofascism against the modern world.
Islam has a greater task because it is nominally an absolutist faith, insisting on total adherence to a creed written by a religious warrior from the Arabian desert. In fact, of course, Islam has produced a vast body of practical law, much like Rabbinical or Church law, which claims validation from the earliest sources, but which serves to tame the wilder precepts of the desert. Yet any Islamofascist can read Koranic verses that support genocide and slave-raiding against the infidel. In the Sudan and parts of Saudi Arabia those verses are still read literally. Some neighborhoods in France and Holland are out of bounds to police, because there, too, the words of the desert are read to justify war against the West.
So in the Third Millennium of Western civilization we are seeing a return of the primitive. Islamofascism is not the only face of regression today, just the most dangerous at the moment. On the other side of the world, in China, the government's "one child" population policy has allowed millions of male babies to grow up while female babies were aborted or allowed to die. That imbalance of the sexes will raise a generation of untamed young men, who will not have young women in their lives to soothe and civilize them.
In Europe, the native population has been seduced into a welfare stasis which represents the over-control of industrialized society. To pay for its pensions Europe must import immigrant workers who may lack the social discipline of Western culture. Airplanes and instant communication now allow the fanatical preachers of the desert to be heard throughout in the world.
America is hardly immune to a return to the primitive. We can see it in our movies over the last thirty years, in the out-of-wedlock birth rate, in the rise of cities where drugs and despair are the order of the day. Over the last two centuries the Anglosphere has generally managed to find a better balance between regression and civilization, without the traumatic injuries that still haunt Continental Europe and Asia. Nobody knows if the English-speaking world will continue to find a way - all we know is that the race between education and catastrophe will not stop soon.
James Lewis is a frequent contributor.
Are we sick of ourselves? Are we bored to death? Do we want to give up and die out because our lives are so trivial and meaningless that it's not worth going on for more than the bare minimum, and we live on for now just because we're too nervous about the dark void ahead to shoot ourselves? And yes, we're busy. We work day in, day out to pay the bills and keep things in order, and for what? Is it despicable to live these boring lives? For many in the West it surely is. Death is preferable to boredom. But not just yet. Not till we finish the latte.
There is, according to this blog, a bifurcation in Humanity, a splitting in two between Modernists and primitives, and as the gap grows the violence and the frenzied rage of the primitives will grow. Only one group can survive. There cannot be a mass of Humanity living in relative wealth and exploring the universe in space ships while another mass of Humanity lives in physical squalor and ignorance of the very shape of the Earth, believing it to be flat. Such a division cannot co-exist in one species on one planet indefinitely. And the gap widens daily.
But, as we in the modern West become more advanced in our technologies, as we gain more creature comforts and live longer lives thanks to medical discoveries, as we have more time in which do do next to nothing of importance in the greater scheme of things, we also have the time and space to ponder the emptiness of our existences as atomic creatures. We move further away from the hard struggles for life in a harsh environment in which a wrong move might end in painful death between the jaws of a predator, and we lose something important in that lack of struggle: we lose our exultation. We live long lives, and we spend them at Starbucks. We are seldom elated by the thrill of having survived a close call. We don't worship death, and neither do we celebrate our daily lives. It's just more living till payday. We move further and further from our primitive cousins, and so to do we remove ourselves from our natural vitality as survivors who sometimes don't. Life is too easy, and it's boring. Maybe we're dying of boredom. And who cares? Why should we care?
One of the central themes of this blog is the question of how we deal with atheism. We have asked why the life of a man is more important than that of a chicken. Aside from outraged comments we did not get a clear answer. Perhaps in today's world of Modernity there is no answer. We live with atheism, that in its broadest defintion, and we live in bankruptcy in spite of our great material and intellectual stores. Most of us live in a state of emotional emptiness and boredom. We don't believe in anything very deeply, and those dwindingy few who do are despised as Rightwing religious bigots and fanatical neo-cons, as if that's meaningful itself. We make lots of money, we have lots of things, we live a long time, and we die of boredom.
We focus here on three things most people don't understand clearly: the Left, dhimmitude, and fascism. In some ways we are strongly in favor of those three things. We certainly hold dear the precepts of the French Revolution's demands for universal liberty, equality, and brotherhood: Left wing issues. We also find that living in peace with our miserable Muslim cousins is important due to the simple fact that they are as Human as we, and that they, like us, deserve life for its own sake by virtue of their existence, even if we have to compromise with them to some greater extent than they are willing to get along with us: dhimmitude. And we do appreciate the primitive urge to triumph and conquer and rule as rulers and strong men and women over a world of rough and violent death, commuity-minded and family oriented and social: fascism. We feel it's reasonable to live and let live, to accept that there are differences between people, and that we must rule fairly if we are to survive. We can live happily with that standard of Left dhimmi fascism.
We cannot stand the mediocrity of counting and boredom and atheism that is the Modern world. It is a slow death. We find some real sense in Sorel's vision of the Myth, the belief in the great and spontaneous struggle to use force to exert our wills over the world. We like to exult and triumph over hardship, and we don't mind losing in a battle well-fought. We reject Reason when it is sterile. We like roaming in the world of brutal nature, risking our limbs and lives for the sake of mastery. Being primitive is very exciting in some circumstances.
And for all that we are committed to Modernity, to reason over magic, to individualism over collectivism, to life over death. Our Left dhimmi fascist friends have all that backward. They see primitives as superior to our modern selves, as authentic and free and natural. They hate our societies, our boring lives, our mediocrity, our atheism. They side with the primitives of Islam. We, too many of us, agree with that, and we are losing our very lives to apathy. We can't figure out what makes our lives more important than the lives of chickens. So, before we roll over and die we'd better come up with some new myth to give ourselves some reason to live and to excel. We must take the initiative to succeed and move ahead to progress and further Modernity, either that or be swept away by fascist Islam, a fascism that has myths no end.
If we are to live we must take a new path to Modernity. If there is to be a future for Modernity we must make it work.
A gentle reminder that my book, An Occasional Walker, is available at the link here:
And here are some reviews and comments on said book: