Tuesday, August 08, 2006

City Knights (5)

Why do they hate us? It's a matter of attitude. It's a matter of worldview, and that is both taught and learned. In the Modern West our attitude is one of self as individual, and it is an attitude of the city. The city is a marketplace, not merely of goods and service and cash but of ideas. The city culture requires ideas, more and better ideas all the time; the city requires innovation and experiment and failure and wild attempts at something else. The city requires of individuals that they do not repeat the past but try other ideas freely as persons with a stake in the success, in competition with others, the marketplace deciding the winner, right or wrong. And it all comes to man deciding for himself that he will attempt to control his own events to the best of his abilities. There are two opposing views of control of life, and each must be based on legitimate authority. In the Modern West one is the authority in oneself. In the primitive world the authority is not the individual but the group. The question is one of legitimate control of existence and the meaning of life. In the Modern West, one controls ones own meaning of life. That is not so with the primitive. We've looked at Skinner and Frankl in this regard, and next we'll look at religion and socialism to see if we might find further understanding of "why they hate us." In the primitive world Man has no legitimate right to control the meaning of life, not even his own life's meaning. That authority rests entirely and exclusively in the will of higher power, whatever that might be. there is a Great Chain of Authority, as a rule, especially in the Muslim world. The average man has no right to tamper with or to question the nature of meaning. Insh'allah, humdillilah, baksheesh. But no active decision is allowed on the part of Man. Life is set and the course of it is determined by absolute authority that cannot ever be questioned. It's hardly different with the social determinists of the Left. The worldview is that one is not free to make ones own life in the face of higher power and authority. To be an individual is to separate oneself from the authority of the Will. To witness one disobeying the Will by ones volition is to witness a cosmic rebellion. It's not simply one man doing his own thing: it is an affront against the Will and the nature of the meaning of life. For the committed believer there is likely nothing more horrifying than the sight of one who is free to decide for himself his own life. To see an entire city of individuals doing new and innovative things on a continuous basis, to see them excel, to see them gain power and control over the primitive himself, that is to witness the horror of rebellion against the Good and the triumph of Satan. And that is to see the greatest threat to life there could be in this life and the next: The triumph of evil.

If Man is free, then he is free firstly from God. Imagine the affront to the fanatic believer. It doesn't get any better for the fanatic. It only gets far worse. Free man is free from the set destinies of the ordered and set plan, from the way it is and must rightly be. Free man decides for himself, and that leaves God with a secondary role, if any. It threatens the order of the universe. It attacks the meaning of life itself. And once the authority of God is challenged and even defied or even-- worse-- dismissed as not being at all, then the authority of the lesser is sure to follow: the authority of the state, the authority of the leader, the authority of the nation, father, family. There will end in no authority, all life being chaos. And it is in the city that such chaos begins and grows and takes on the signs of outward success. Free man in a city is beyond control of the group. He is a threat to the emotional existence of the primitive. And as the free man is mostly freest in the city, and that in the city there are more free men, then the city itself, designed for apostasy and evil alone, then the city is the ultimate in evil, a collective evil in itself, a cold machine that devours the formerly righteous, a machine dedicated to evil and the destruction of God and His plan. where man is free he must be brought back to the fold and redeemed, meaning the city must be destroyed. The city is an obvious success, even to the primitive. What we must question is the worth of the success. To the primitive, the success is in defiance of God and order and meaning. The sophistication of the city is contrary to the simplicity of the life of the primitive. All success in the city is therefore a further movement away from the Good. All that is good in the city is bad. More individuality is more apostasy and atheism. More freedom to think and innovate and create is to remove oneself further from God's right plan. More power is more use against the primitive, a sign of the devil overcoming the forces of Good. The city must be destroyed to restore the order of the good and of God.

In The Rat: A Perverse Miscellany, Barbara Hodgson writes that the rat lives in a state of continuous and life-long fear, not only of outside predators but of other rats. That fear is the normal state of primitive man. The only relief from the fear is in the faith he has in god or the higher will to conduct his affairs by the authority of the higher power. The primitive does not take control of his own fate or his own life because to do so would be to lose the protection of the meaning of his life as guided by the higher power. The primitive has no faith in himself or other men to control Nature or even other men. The primitive is determinedly passive in nearly all aspects of his life and that of others. He follows the set patterns of the past as closely as he may. He gives up to the fear of living and allows himself to die as he dies, never trying to change or better himself or others for fear of making all things even worse. Man as defeated rat.

The Rat-man's existence is out of his control. He must be in all ways passive and subject to the higher power that makes this life whatever it is, a test of some horrible kind. To resist by trying to control ones fate is to rebel against the Will. Rat-man doesn't, though others do. That others do is to bring down upon Rat-man all the ills of the uncontrollable universe that has always been a mystery and a terror. that the self-willed man is successful in his control is to show clearly the success of the counter-Will. The rise of the city and the success of independent man is only proof of the evil of the city and of free man.
Subsistence man is not one who merely lives in material poverty. That in itself is relative and relatively meaningless. The problem is in the subsistence of the mind. Communal man must hoard ideas and save them from others, doling them out sparingly and not allowing any to have more than his fair share. A new idea is not a net gain but a threat to the current store of ideas, a poisoning of the set that is what the communal man requires. A new idea is a bad thing in that it upsets the balance of the pie of subsistence. The meaning is clear in that it is not clear; and any attempt to clarify the meaning is to declare oneself in opposition to the meaning as it is. A book, a thought, a conversation with an outsider, a movie, all of these things can lead to a corruption of the meaning as it is; and that can only lead to confusion and chaos, to destruction. The city is endlessly new.

The greatest product of the city is in its being as the marketplace of new ideas, all of which are threatening to the primitive in and of themselves. Anything new is disruptive and destructive of the old and the valued. the new must be kept out or turned into the old. V.S. Naipaul in Among the Believers writes that Western technology is seen as Islamic, not as Western, regardless of its origins. One can in some cases assimilate new technology but not the ideas that create it. Even Muslims can have a city but they cannot have a marketplace of creativity and innovation that creates free men who further innovate creatively. Hence, Muslim cities become sprawling garbage heaps of primitives in densely packed communal areas, cities that are not cities at all. The primitive's city is a series of contiguous rat nests. The idiocy of rural living is brought home to the slum, and it is set in stone. All the insecurity of living a life of a passive man is then compounded by the press of poverty and the constant desire to work, all thwarted by the refusal of the culture of passivity to accept innovation and individuality. The limited pie of subsistence is continuously inspected for the first signs of diminishment. Then the rat-fear. Then the blame and the hatred of those who succeed. And the signal refusal to accept that one can act individually and personally as a free man to improve. Refusal because to act is to act against the Will. The only recourse is to react against the evil that is the city, that is Modernity and the West.

Why do they hate us?

The city is neither "natural" nor "organic." To proclaim oneself as a "child of nature" is to proclaim oneself as infantalised, to claim that one has no will or freedom to do other than what is in a state of resignation to the higher power. One disclaims ones volition in favor of infanthood. To go further and to claim that all are children of Nature is to infantalise the Human race itself. To strive for the "natural and organic" is to promote the dismissal of the Human volition. It is to dismiss and antagonise oneself against the city. To be an "ecologist" is to rebel against the city and against the primacy of Man. To do so is to promote passivity in the face of nature and to desire no control but that of the higher power outside oneself. It is primitive and infantile. And here we find two things seemingly in contradiction: The philobarbarist who proclaims the superiority of the primitive in touch with nature, as it were; and we see the philobarbarist also acting in loco parentis, acting as surrogate parent for the primitive who is incapable of taking care of his own life without the superior guidance of the enlightened parental gnostic from the Modern West, the typical Left dhimmi fascist.

The morally superior dhimmi fascist gnostic, like some latter-day Prometheus, is cast out from the heavens for helping Mankind better itself; and the punishment from the higher Will is torture unending. The dhimmi will never know the true bliss of ignorance as the primitive lives it in his state of noble savagery, but the dhimmi can take on the role he cannot lose in the saintly vocation of protecting the savage from those who would destroy him, those destroyers being the denizens of the city. the dhimmi, like a frantic and stern nanny, must control the bullies of the city who would ruin the pristine lives of the primitives, must forever watch to keep them in line and prevent them from harming the helpless, must forever defend the weak and the righteous idiots of primitivism. For the gnostic dhimmi there is only redemption in the making of all in the likeness, however inauthentic, of the primitive, the noble savage who is close to nature. To recreate the conditions of the communal farm in the city if the city cannot be destroyed is the highest goal. To make the city as "natural" as possible, to make life as "organic" as possible, and to keep the city from further encroaching on the natural is a high goal. For the gnostic, for the Philosopher King who sees beyond the limits of the Brass People, it is a sacrifice of self for a noble cause, that of protecting the children of nature. The only thing the city person can ever do is further destroy the organic and natural life of the primitive; therefore the best the gnostic dhimmi can do is stop wherever possible the Modernist in the protection of the primitive. The gnostic lives in a worldview that is learned and taught. It is not organic or natural.

The city is the reified metaphor of Modernity. The city is only a serious problem of the primitive and the retrograde Modernist in the past 250 years, but now it is the most serious problem they, and therefore we, face. Europe suffers worse than most other places on Earth, the cities there being newer in relation to the past experience of the feudalist commune of traditional life, a memory not forgotten, though not well understood and often romanticised by fascists for their own phantasist purposes. The recent rise of the Modernist city is a blight on the fascist mindscape. The fact that it's real is a severe pain in the mind of the Left dhimmi fascist. It is a pain he struggles to rid himself of continuously. And it is a pain he cannot live without. The Left dhimmi fascist cannot be without not being the Modernist. To be against the city is to exist in his own mind. Thus, the world and the worldview of the Left dhimmi is set on a foundation of phantasy. The real metaphor laid in concrete is the metaphor of evil for the phantasist dhimmi gnostic.

The Modernist city begins in Britain in c.1750 and the reaction against it in 1789 with the French Revolution. Prior to those two revolutions, the Industrial and the French Revolutions, feudalism and communalism held sway over the majority of the world's people. At the time, America was far away and sleighted as degenerate. In Europe and Britain, the centres of the civilised universe, Modernity broke out in force and began sweeping away the past Marx sentimentalises so cloyingly. The infantalisation of the masses that is the process of feudalism was crumbling, and the cities opened and expanded to take in the now orphaned peasants of past communes and obligation, men and women who had then to live as they would and they could as free men in a free market in which they sold themselves according to their abilities on a block that paid little heed to their inherent worth as Human but cared only for their labour. People, shoved from the subsistence life of the feudal collective into the harsh new reality of the city, found themselves without the former ties of family and feudal bond. They were, like it or not, free-- and free to starve to death. No more sharing, not more giving back to the community, no more organic life close to nature: now only industry and factories and division of labour that made no natural sense to the piecemeal worker under-paid, over-worked, fined, and brutalised by Capital. Family, clan, tribe, God Himself, all disappeared from the life inside the city. Man was free, and he was alone, one of the mass of other free and solitary men alone.

With the build-up of industry in Britain and the violent overthrow of feudalism in France came man's parole papers, unwanted often, and perplexing more often. Man was suddenly free from the bonds of feudalism but free to die without protection by the lords and priests of yesterday's system. Man was suddenly a property owner, and the property was his own life, worth next to nothing in itself. And so man took his worthless life to the city to trade it for existence. Thereafter and till this day and beyond, set in the reaction. Man, cast out from the pitiful parody of Eden, found himself alone in the city ever-growing. And some, like retarded children, fought to return to his natural home, though the room was now rented out and he could not come back. The reaction was fought not just among the titled and the land-owning aristocracy but also by the peasants now proletarianised and atomic. The reaction was fought most successfully not by any of them but by the priests of intellect, by the gnostics, by the Romantics and the phantasists, by poets and intelligent consumptives. The rise of the city and of individualism within was fought by those who hated freedom from the order of Nature. The reaction was fueled and spread by the intellectuals who desired a return to the nature of the peasant in his rightful place on the land in a state of subservience, the intellectual in his rightful place as priest of gnostic wisdom, and Nature ruling all. The revolutions, the work of the French and the Jews, had to be stopped and reversed and destroyed to restore the natural order of the universe. That battle continues to this day.

The Germans, the German Romantics, took the lead in the reaction against our triune revolution. Others across the world joined in, and today continue to do so. They are all united in a hatred of Modernity and man as owner of his own life as his own property. The modern man is free from the blood and soil of the feudal past. Many see that as a bad thing. Many see it as something so bad it must be destroyed entirely and order restored so Nature again holds sway. Man who is atomic and living in the city is not part of the group any longer. Man in the city outside the control of the commune is free to choose, and he often chooses a woman who is not of the same commune. The blood is mixed, and the purity of the blood is lost. Man, choosing himself to leave one city for another, loses his language and adopts another, leaving behind his organic ties to his family and his people, losing his organic thoughts in a cosmos of Babel. Not being within the realm of his communal soil he is alienated from the volk. He has no boundaries to identify himself as one of them or one of us. He is cosmopolitan. He is not a part of Nature, and he is therefore inauthentic, a phony man. He lives in an unnatural setting, and he pollutes the purity of Nature by his existence as he is now. He is the city, and the city is corrupt. Man is no longer the colorful peasant working in his rightful place: he is now a part of a teeming mass of drab and unhealthy creatures fed daily into machines for the sake of mere profit. He no longer takes his place in a decorative tableau on the local manorial estate, he is a thing like the other things swarming in the city. The Romantic individual sees him not as a free man and owner of a private life of worth but as a part of a mass of aliens crawling and swarming and devouring Nature for the sake of cash rather than for the sake of purity and Nature and high feeling among sensitive people. Today the mass man is the city man, and the peasant left is the primitive. It is the primitive the sensitive Romantic must preserve to recreate the phantasy of the tableau of the Golden Era. To the Left dhimmi fascist he city is a marring blight on the vision of perfection of the utopia that was and should again be.

In our previous look at the intellectuals and the masses we saw DH Lawrence and TS Eliot and others hoping for the extermination of the masses to make way for the revived esteem of the intellectuals. We've seen similar or worse in Pianka, some kind of cartoon character in the field of ecology. And we have seen full-blown Nazi Party officials such as Darre and Heidegger sentimentalising about Nature and Man's place somewhere in its embrace as another minor part thereof. Let us turn briefly to Buruma and Margalit for their view of the city and its critics, first Engels, a premier Communist and hater of Modernity and the masses.

The following quotations from Engels' work are from Conditions of the Working Class in England in 1844, who "saw something 'repulsive' in the city crowds of Manchester and London.... The city is where people of 'all classes and all ranks crowded past each other,' indiscriminately, promiscuously, and, above all, indifferently. What repelled Engels was the lack of solidarity in this society of "atomised" individuals, each going after his own 'selfish' interests." [Buruma and Margalit, Occidentalism. New York: Penguin, 2005; p. 25.]

Most of us would call that individualism and privacy and really not our concern. but most of us aren't Communist philosophes. Those see man as a thing to be managed and determined by his alterable environment. The city is a sore on the body of Mother Nature, and they mostly see it as something to be done away with where possible. The lot of them, from von Herder to Marx to Nietzche to Heidegger to Pianka are fascists who hate Humanity as a collection of individuals and who in turn reduce men to mass. They do this mostly in reaction the the French Revolution and the revolution of Industry. Where and when man is a private being he cannot be managed as a farm animal. The city is not a farm, and man, not a child, is hated for displeasing his would-be masters. When man is the owner of his own life he doesn't quite want the gnostic Philosopher King telling him how to live and why. The gnostic knows this quite well, and his resentment at having lost his place of privilege is deep and dangerous. Our intelligentsia, then, fall away from the past project of saving the working classes to now saving the primitives in the Third World. Abandoned by the working classes in the West, the intelligentsia now lurch toward the Muslim world for candidates for their superiour wisdom and leadership. The hatred of the intelligentsia is still the same, the hatred of Man as private being, and the cause, Modernity and Capital, are still the same enemies. The centre of all is the Modernist city. Betrayed by the ungrateful working clases who make a living and don't care about the gnostics, the latter now flock to save the noble savages, particularly The! Palestinian! People!, from the hated Jews and other cosmopolitan people of Modernity. What really is not our concern obsesses the anti-Modernist counter-revolutionary Left dhimmi fascist. They hate the city because it allows for individuals to own their own lives as private possessions without regard for the gnostics, without homage, without respect for the intellectuals and the idiots who claim themselves as such anyway. The intellegentsia now promote the cause of those who will follow them, the primitives of the world and the local reactionaries of our Modernity. Hence, we arrive at philobarbarism in search of a community of farm animals they can lead and emote about. the primitives will likely kill them. Perhaps it's only a hope.

Why do they hate us? They are the primitives living in a poverty-striken state of the mind in which nothing can come or go without severe loss to the group. No idea can enter and no thing can leave without the poverty of the mind being left in a state of shock followed by rage, hatred, blame and violence.

Why do they hate us? Because we are private. We do as we do and we succeed or fail regardless of the poverty of the mind of the primitives. They really don't count for much in our world. But we do in theirs: we are the harrowing of the Will that the primitives fear will provoke a retribution that might affect them, more than likely postivily when our arrongance is crushed by the gods in revenge for our rebellion against Nature and the meaning of life as the primitives understand it.

Why do we hate us? We hate our own because we are free to think for ourselves, and we just don't need a load ot frilly Romantics telling us how bad we are. Our intelligentsia hate us because they have empty lives and empty minds and they are fatuous and pretentious and stupid, and they don't like it when we don't take them as seriously as our mediocre intelligentsia feels we should take them. They turn instead from our laughter and scorn to the primitives who are too stupid and ignorant and crazy to know our intelligentsia for what they are. Yes, our intelleigentsia hate us because we laugh at them. In turn, our intelligentsia support those who destroy our cities and our buildings and our Modernity.

They hate us because their attitudes demand it. People are taught and people learn attitudes. Today our intelligentsia teach and learn that the West is a bad place and a bad concept. People hate us because that's what they learn. It's still a marketplace of ideas, and ours are obviously not selling so well as one would expect them to. Perhaps we should innovate and try new ideas to bring out those buyers who have sense and decency and intellectual capital. If we do so we will create in our lands and across the world a new Revolution. It all comes to man deciding for himself if he will attempt to control the events of his own destiny.


truepeers said...

I really like how this is coming together, Dag. I can see the synthesizing of so much of your earlier writing here, and it works.

The one reservation I retain is in your handling of the God-man relationship. You don't do much to differentiate the very different nature of this relationship in the Judeo-Christian tradition from the more primitive forms of relationship to Gods. The Judeo-Christian soul - what Voegelin calls the sensorium of the transcendent - enters into a personal conversation with the "divine" guarantor of the transcendent in a way that does not hinder the progress of knowlege but, quite the opposite, expands it by allowing the faithful more clearly to differentiate the worldly and pragmatic truths of society from the more fundamental and transcendent truths behind the emergence of *all* language, ethics, and religion. Thus, Judeo-Christian traditions, in tandem with the Socratic, provide the means for us to discover the truth of society and also the western truth that transcends all the particular forms of society that are its historical incarnations.

My fear is that you risk drifting too close to the Gnostics on the God question. Their arrogant belief in their own supermanhood stems from their rejection of the humility in our culture that comes from the Judeo-Christian soul's relationship to God. There is something in this relationship that I think you admire and something I think you also wish to transcend.

One need not be a believer but whether you are or not does not address the question of how you are to relate to the transcendent domain of language and representation which is at least an anthropological fact if not also a theological one. You are basically a humble person but have yet fully to articulate the basis for the humility of your faith, the humility and faith that city man needs in order to invest well in a future with millions of others. Instead, you simply dismiss the primitive relationship to the Gods. But this is something that the better minds of the anti-sacrificial "religion" of Judeo-Christianity have long done, making it into a "religion" quite unlike the others (though perhaps Islam can be read as stuck halfway between the primitive and the light of a truly anti-sacrificial monotheism).

dag said...

Atheism is no prize. When Human individuation results in atomic personal isolation, it can also result in either a charge to the falsity of belonging or to a nihilism of despair or to a gnostic hubris. All of the above are varients of fascism. It's no prize.

How does the average rational man live as a man with other men in an empty universe, one peopled and animaled and environmentalised but incoherent? What authority? It's a frightening track to follow.

However, I fall back on the foundation of aporia, the leaving open of the question. We can rationally have faith in an objective morality and then know with certainty that we do not know what it is, only that our incremental steps are leading us somewhere through the steps of elenchus, through some rigorous examination to find better from worse.

People aren't all stuck in the dichotomy I present above, of tribal collective or of atomic nihilists; but without the authority of Theos, then where does the average man stand? I am stumped indeed.

As usual, you're sending me to sit on a bench in a dark room to ponder this. It's something we must address rightly if we are to avoid future collisions with reality that so often result in horrors the past century showed us previews of.

I have to think about this a while longer. I'd like more input. This problem is getting worse, as we see from daily living, and some clear course of right reason will save at least some pain if we begin to make our responses better. But I need to give it more thought.

truepeers said...

Your Socratic method works, up to a point. But what are its limits? Can we judge, say, by looking at our professional philosophers in the academy today: able to tear anything apart in very sharp analyses, but not so able to provide much ethical content to guide us along with their analyses?

What about the leap of faith you take when you declare your belief in an objective morality? It is a sign that some problems are solved only when you develop a faith that they are solved and live accordingly. So, in communicating with others who don't yet have much (good) faith, how can we justify this sign?

Well we are perhaps more familiar with the justifications provided by religious faith groups. What about in the secular domain? In part, we justify our need for leaps of faith by looking empirically at the results of those who move on in faith that some fundamental existential problem is solved, and in part by looking theoretically at our anthropology to explain better why this leap of faith is necesary; and hence we make it easier for others to take the leap with us, to put togerther with us a faith in our social and economic and scientific systems, along with a faith in our ability to transcend when necessary the obstacles and conflicts that inevitably appear in these systems.

So why is this leap of faith necessary? Maybe because this is how our socio-cultural system works, and must work, because this is how it has always worked, from the beginning. Maybe because "the logic" of transcendence must always be beyond a strictly worldly or pragmatic logic, because humans must attach themselves to a mystery that cannot be all figured out in dollars and cents and bullets. If it were all figured out, we could have no free market trading in uncertainties. All knowledge would be discounted and we would be slaves to the truth.

I return to the question of how we render transcendent signs from out of our worldly experience. THat we do, there is no doubt. That we have to put our faith in our ability to unfold new signs, new form and content, in the transcendnt domain of representation, I think is clear. Exactly how we do this can never be all spelled out. How does a story that moves us come out of worldly experience, exactly. We can never completely spell this mystery out. We can analyze it to death and raise so many doubts as to rob the story of its ethical content. Or we can take a leap of faith...

It seems to me our job is to make it easier for people to take this leap of faith, not by dumbing things down like the Gnostics, but by providing more and truer and timely revelations into how all this works, historically and anthropologically, and to do so in a way that allows also for, but does not make necessary, religious justifications for the leap of faith. There will always be many who prefer those religious justifications or heuristics to more strictly secular ones. But i think there need be no inherent conflict between the religious and secular leap of faith, if we are talking about that kind of anti-sacrificial or Abrahamic (maybe there are also other paths, e.g. Buddhism) religion that makes the de-divinized secular world possible in the first place.

Pastorius said...

First thought: This is a great summation of all that went before. Is this your last chapter?

Second thought is a criticism. The end is weak. We don't need to come up with new ideas to sell in the marketplace of ideas, we need to re-brand. We need to figure out how to market our ideas better.

And, you know what? Just as is true of any product, our product is not for everybody. There are losers in this world who really do need a "hand-up" more than the average Joe. Well, if they need the help, let them go somewhere that doesn't put so much of an emphasis on rugged individualism. That's how the marketplace works. You go where you can get what you need, or, at least, what you think you want.

We will never be able to satisfy all those who would rather resent than forge out on their own; those who are trapped in fear, and create a world within which is a monument to their fear, and then project it onto the real world. We can not do anything to integrate these people, because they create their own reality which has almost nothing to do with the objective reality of individuals working towards creating their daily bread.

Pastorius said...

What? No thoughts on my thoughts?


dag said...

What's the matter with me? I've been thinking about things for weeks and haven't made any progress, nto even enough to make comments on soe of the posts I make. Please bear with me til I arrive at some kind of conclusion about my current thoughts. I'm still trying to bang out the final parts of my topic on Left dhimmi fascism here, and I'm confronted with a mountain of printed pages I hope I can condense and revise into something readable for the mass market. Lots to do, and then there's making a living. Still, all of this wil ocme together soon, I think, and I hoipe the time and effort will have been worthwhile. I do appreciate the comments, they giving me suggestions I can't come up with myself, and they being constructive and important to twhatever success I might have in the writing here.