VJMP Reads: Ted Kaczynski’s Unabomber Manifesto II

This reading carries on from here.

The next chapter in Industrial Society and Its Future is ‘The Power Process’. The next few chapters relate to this. Here, Kaczynski outlines his take on Nietzsche’s concept of the Will to Power. He states that “in order to avoid serious psychological problems, a human being needs goals whose attainment requires effort, and he must have a reasonable rate of success in attaining his goals.”

Consistent failure to achieve goals throughout life leads to depression and low self-esteem. This is a particular problem in modern society on account of that we have a lot of leisure time – all that is necessary to be wealthy is to learn some simple skill and then to hold down a job. As a consequence, we have developed surrogate goal-seeking activities.

Kaczynski was able to point out, even back in 1995, that many leftists support their pet political cause by means of finding a surrogate for their need to partake in the power process. These surrogate activities can be dangerous because they aren’t as satisfying as taking care of actual survival needs. As a result, they tend to be performed without end.

In the chapter ‘Autonomy’, Kaczynski points out how a sense of being able to operate autonomously is important for a satisfactory resolution of the power process. Individuals need to feel like they have had some input into how things are run, or at least need to be able to have some autonomy in how they carry out their orders. Absent this, we get “depression, anxiety, guilt, frustration, hostility, spouse or child abuse, insatiable hedonism, abnormal sexual behavior, sleep disorders, eating disorders, etc.”.

‘Sources of Social Problems’ is where Kaczynski relates all the previous to the problems currently plaguing our society. Acknowledging that “the world today seems to be going crazy”, he argues that primitive man was free of many of the stresses that currently plague us. However, he is not a Rousseau follower – he acknowledges that primitive life was tough in many regards. The main point is that human beings evolved to adapt to a radically different from the one we now live in.

Here Kaczynski is extremely insightful. He pinpoints the origin of many social problems as excessive population density, alienation from nature, speed of technological change (what Alvin Toffler called “future shock”) and breakdown of the normal small-scale communities like the family and village. The crowding and isolation from nature follow naturally from technological advancement. A modern industrial society has to tame and emasculate people in this manner in order to function.

Modern people feel like all change is imposed in them from the outside – this is the origin of their frustration and discontent. “the most important cause of social and psychological problems in modern society is the fact that people have insufficient opportunity to go through the power process in a normal way”. Leftism is a symptom of this deep malaise.

In the chapter ‘Disruption of the Power Process in Modern Society’, Kaczynski gets down to the evolutionary psychology behind our current malaise. Essentially the problem is that all of our physiological needs are easily met: all we have to do is to be obedient at work. This means that the power process is not being met. We have very little autonomy at work with which to achieve our goals.

Capitalism is partly to blame. “Advertising and marketing techniques have been developed that make many people feel they need things that their grandparents never desired or even dreamed of.” We put a lot of effort into chasing meaningless things, and consequently life feels meaningless. The power process can only be fulfilled by external goals, not concepts like “fulfillment”. This is hard because “Today people live more by virtue of what the system does FOR them or TO them than by virtue of what they do for themselves.”

Frustration also arises from the fact that only 500 to 1,000 people have any real power, and the rest just get things done to them. Primitive man, although his life is shorter, is better off in this regard because he is not helpless. Modern man can do anything he likes as long as it is unimportant; our behaviour is tightly regulated in all other matters. Primitive man has fulfilled his need to participate in the power process and therefore avoids many pathologies that affect modern people.

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Why Slave Morality is the Future of the World

Master and slave morality is not much more than the alpha/beta positioning of primates on a dominance hierarchy. Master morality comes naturally to primates at the top of a dominance hierarchy, and slave morality comes naturally to those at the bottom. This essay makes an argument for the inevitability of a horrific future world, in which slave morality has come to dominate.

The relentless growth of our societies has led to a problem, and it’s getting worse. Increasing medicinal technology means more people survive to reproductive age, and the world population has swollen. The larger the dominance hierarchy becomes, the greater the number of subordinate positions – but the number of dominant positions doesn’t really increase, because ultimately there is only one of those. This means that, as a dominance hierarchy grows in number, it gets extended past the bottom.

If you are in a war party of 15 men, you have a small but real chance of being the ultimate authority yourself, and if you are not then you could easily become such by displaying greater competence or courage than the other 14. If you are in a tribe of 150 people, you have less than a 1% chance of being the ultimate authority, and now it’s probably not just a matter of fighting ability but also of intelligence, which you may or may not possess. If you are in a clan of, say, 1,500 people, you have essentially no chance. The clan will have a chieftain, and that position is probably hereditary.

Groups of 1,500 people were extremely rare before agriculture enabled large populations to settle down. When this happened, however, it became possible for there to be people who had essentially no chance of ever being at the top of the dominance hierarchy – no matter their personal qualities. Once there were city-states of 15,000 people or more, contesting the dominance hierarchy became so complicated and so sophisticated that it became its own specialised endeavour, and we called this politics, and the people who practiced it politicians.

Slave morality, as Nietzsche recounted in The Genealogy of Morals, came about when some of the people who had no hope of getting off the bottom of the dominance hierarchy became so resentful that they started to extol the personal qualities that had landed them there. There is no slave morality in a war band of 15 men, because anyone sufficiently strong can get to the top. In a city of 1,000,000 – especially when many are literal slaves captured in war – slave morality is commonplace, and this is why degeneracy inevitably follows.

One problem with the modern world is that this basic dominance hierarchy is now so extensive, being global and comprised of billions, that it’s no longer contestable.

If I, as a New Zealander, wanted to overturn my local dominance hierarchy, I would be presented with a number of great problems. First of all, I would have to overcome the power of the local Police forces to keep the peace and to maintain their version of order. This would require at least a dozen men armed with automatic rifles who were willing to use them in defence of whatever ideology I was offering. Finding a sufficiently persuasive ideology would be extremely difficult.

Even if one succeeded here, another task would arise. The problem with overwhelming the local Police is that the New Zealand Government, upon recognising that the Police were insufficient, would send in the Army. This would involve, potentially, a regiment of riflemen with machineguns and close air cover. Defeating a force like this would require a vast amount of territory and population. An area at least the size of Canterbury would be necessary.

Even if one succeeded here, i.e. even if the New Zealand Army was unable to bring you to submission, your actions in fending them off would be considered a civil war. It turns out that the British armed forces are constitutionally obliged to intervene in the case of a civil war in New Zealand – New Zealand is, after all, ultimately a possession of the Crown (like Britain itself).

So getting that far up the dominance hierarchy would mean that you have to come to terms with a naval power that has submarines that carry over a dozen intercontinental ballistic missiles each. Outside of a fantasy novel, this has no chance of happening.

Therefore, more people inevitably means more resentment, as it means more people who can never get to the top. In a system the size of ours, the prospect of any self-direction is minimal, and therefore resentment has become the natural state of affairs. Some moral values, in particularly the value of inclusiveness and diversity, have become normalised on account of this shift to slave morality.

What this has meant is the rise and rise of slave morality. Where there used to be a small and resentful underclass, the proportion of people who effectively have no chance of rising to the top of the dominance hierarchy now comprises the vast bulk of our society. The actual rulers are selected from a minuscule sliver of the population, and the number of people that these rulers actually listen to is also tiny. Encompassing this tiny number are heaving masses who essentially have no say at all in the destinies of their group.

As the populations of cities continue to surge, this wave of increasing slave morality will only grow in fervour. Already we have seen the socially corrosive effects of mass resentment on our culture. Current trends suggest that the human population will continue to expand, and cities will continue to absorb the excess, which means that slave morality will become ever more the default way of dealing with things.

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VJMP Reads: Ted Kaczynski’s Unabomber Manifesto I

Having completed our reading of David Seymour’s Own Your Future, we now turn away from neoliberalism and have a look at anarcho-primitivism. The next subject of the VJMP Reads column will be Industrial Society And Its Future, otherwise known as the Unabomber Manifesto, by Ted Kaczynski.

Sent to the Washington Post in June of 1995, alongside a threat to kill more people with mailbombs if it was not published, the 35,000-word manifesto is broken down into 232 numbered paragraphs. These are grouped in short chapters, each with a subject heading.

The first of these groups is the Introduction. Kaczynski wastes no time shocking the reader: the first sentence is “The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race.” This section pulls no punches: Kaczynski is adamant that the effect of industrial society has been to increase the amount of human suffering, and that it will only get worse as society develops. The only solution is a revolution, which may or may not be violent.

Kaczynski then moves on to the psychology of modern leftism. He writes that “One of the most widespread manifestations of the craziness of our world is leftism,” which is curious if one thinks that this was written in before 1995, when ‘trans’ meant transvestite. What underlies modern leftism, Kaczynski states, are feelings of inferiority and oversocialisation. This ties in with the idea, expressed elsewhere by Nietzsche among others (such as VJM Publishing), that leftism is essentially a slave morality.

To elucidate further, these feelings of inferiority are a group of qualities such as self-hatred, low self-esteem, defeatism etc. that are not only shared by modern leftists but which have collectively come to shape the course of history. Kaczynski is extremely insightful when he points out that the people who most angrily take offence at politically incorrect statements are those from privileged families. Leftists are also dishonest. They are outraged when a Western country performs a certain action but are indifferent when a Third World or socialist country does so.

Leftists identify intensely with anyone weak, repellent or otherwise inferior, hence they take offence on their behalf. They hate anything good and successful. This makes them feel like losers, so that they have no faith in their own personal ability to provide. As a consequence, they become collectivists. They hate science and rationality because these mindsets consider some ideas superior and others inferior. Leftists hate that, because of their fear of being judged inferior. They hate IQ tests for similar reasons.

Oversocialisation is an extreme form of the process that psychologists describe when they explain how children learn to conform their behaviour to the demands of society. The difficulty with the current world, Kaczynski has it, is that has become so complicated that no-one can act morally anymore. Oversocialisation is the process whereby leftists, “In order to avoid feelings of guilt, […] continually have to deceive themselves about their own motives and find moral explanations for feelings and actions that in reality have a non-moral origin.”

Oversocialised leftists tend to be intellectuals or members of the upper-middle class. What they like to do is to take accepted moral principles, declare them as their own, and then accuse society of violating them. Leftists do not rebel by violating society’s principles, but they express their hostility by accusing society of not living up to them. Their hypocrisy is evident when they claim to support black people, but then insist that these black people live up to the values of the industrial-technological society that imprisons them.

Today’s society seeks to socialise us more than any previous society. As a consequence, oversocialisation has affected us more than ever before. These problems of the leftist are problems of our entire society in microcosm.

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Alchemical Gold, Gold Magic and Gold Magicians

In alchemism, the Elementary Masculine Perspective divides reality into four elements of increasing value: clay, iron, silver and gold. Previous articles looked at alchemical iron and alchemical silver, what they represent, and what sort of person embodies them. This article looks at the fourth of the four masculine elements: the radiant and enigmatic substance known as gold.

The primary masculine division is into precious and base. The secondary masculine division is the further division of the base, as well as the further division of the precious into silver (colourless precious) and gold (colourful precious), with the latter more precious than the former.

That gold is shiny and colourful means that it represents the highest frequency of all, namely that of God, that which makes all things possible. The chemical symbol ‘Au’ comes from the Roman word aurum, which shares a root with the modern word aura. It was believed that the substance possessed an aura such that it was holy, or from God.

Elementary alchemy has it that the division between yin and yang can be represented as the division between clay and iron, with the first passive and soft and the second active and unyielding. Silver relates to a balance of iron and clay that is more correct for the current situation than either extreme, and represents how according with the World of Forms is more valuable than simply being an animal.

Gold is a second order of balance, between and beyond all of silver and clay and iron. What this means is that gold is unafraid to act as pure iron or pure clay, should the situation demand it. This makes it different to silver, which attributes value to the middle ground between the feminine extreme of clay and the masculine extreme of iron, and which is reluctant to act as either.

Silver is prone to a particular form of the balance fallacy called the Conceit of Silver. Essentially this means that silver always believes that it’s of the highest value (i.e. that it is of gold). Gold is willing to place itself below silver – and that is precisely why it is more valuable than silver. Gold is without ego.

Gold represents a kindness that none of the other elements are capable of. Silver is too conceited, iron too harsh and clay too soft. This kindness is something extremely valuable, because without it this world is something of a hell. It is why Aleister Crowley was impelled to write “Love is the law, Love under Will.”

Kindness given of the free will of the giver, and not to secure some future advantage, is real gold, and invaluable. Without it, nothing else in this world can have any real value, for gold gives meaning to things.

Being the most malleable of all metals, gold is softer than both silver and iron. This relates to the fact that it is also the most expansive. One gram of physical gold can be beaten out into a sheet a square metre in size; by similar means, a tiny amount of alchemical gold is enough to make a tremendous number of things possible. Therefore, gold is pliable enough to achieve things that silver cannot (much less iron or clay).

Gold relates to the widest, broadest, most fundamental and most deeply hidden knowledge. It is the esoteric to the exoteric of silver. Knowledge of gold is knowledge of the metaphysical fundamentals, what Plato called the World of Forms. Silver is knowledge of the material world; gold is knowledge of the immaterial. Silver is knowledge of the current state of affairs; gold is knowledge of the eternal.

Metaphorically, gold refers to that of the greatest value. No element is more valuable than gold: therefore, gold is perfection. Gold also relates to God, which is to say that it cannot be described, on account of being more fundamental than language. It is consciousness to the intellect of silver, the muscles of iron and the viscera of clay.

Gold magic relates to a person’s frequency of consciousness. If a person can overcome suffering and come out the other side neither pacified nor cruel, then it can be said that they are in possession of spiritual gold. A human being that has never suffered will be something like the silver. One who has suffered and become cruel as a result is like the iron, and one that has suffered and become meek is like the clay. To remain kind even when one has suffered is like the gold.

Psychological and spiritual healing fall under the rubric of gold magic. Successful gold magic will induce a depressed person to be more happy, an anxious person to be calm, and a despairing person to find meaning. Silver cannot do any of those things because its nature is cold and austere. Silver cannot impress with warmth of kindness. Gold causes those suffering in its presence to feel that everything is going to be okay.

This an esoteric quality possessed by gold magicians. You could never trust a person who said that they were a gold magician, and any gold magician would know this, and therefore they would never say it. Anybody claiming to be a gold magician could be confidently said to actually be a silver magician, because a real gold magician wouldn’t go around bragging about how wonderful they were – they would be content that their behavioural example was such that they would be sufficiently rewarded.

The presence of alchemical gold is felt on such a fundamental level that it causes its possessor to radiate warmth. Unlike silver, which can be measured in IQ tests and university achievements, gold cannot be measured. This is a feature of its divine origin. It can only be sensed – and some people sense its presence where others do not, which is another reason why it defies description.

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Why There’s Nothing, Fundamentally, To Be Afraid Of

Some people wonder why the great sages, such as Buddha, are always depicted smiling. It seems like there’s some great and uplifting secret that they are privy to, knowledge of which has liberated them from all the suffering in the world. Buddha knew a great many things. One piece of knowledge he shared with Alan Watts: that there’s nothing, fundamentally, to be afraid of.

Essentially there is no reason to ever worry or to feel bad about things that might happen in the future. This seems like an article of faith, and perhaps an irrational one, until one looks at the philosophy behind it.

Most people think that they know what lies in store for them as a human being on this planet. That they will die, and suffer as they do so. What lies in store is growing older, more tired, more decrepit, and eventually more sick, until a major organ fails and one dies painfully. Probably this death will be preceded by several decades of increasing pain in joints and muscles, as well as eyesight, hearing, bowel and bladder failure, and maybe even a stroke or two.

It follows from this that life itself is suffering, and increasingly so as one ages. We can conclude that we know we’re going to die, and that this death is going to be painful. Therefore, we know that an attitude of apprehension and even fear towards the future is rational. This is why almost everyone has one – we know that the future brings immense suffering.

But do we really know this?

One knows that one is conscious. Thinking about it, it’s possible to realise that this is all one really knows. This is the one and only single fact that one can ever state with certainty. Everything else is a matter of probability, even questions like “Will the Sun rise tomorrow?”. It’s not certain that the Sun will rise tomorrow, because the Earth could be destroyed at any time by a comet, rendering the question of sunrise meaningless.

Because nothing else can be known, nothing else can be stated as an eternal fact about reality. Only the fact that one is conscious can be stated as such. All else belongs to the category of contents of consciousness, which is to say that all else is merely “things that one is aware of”. These phenomena are not facts in the same way that one can state “I am conscious” as a fact. Rather, they are probabilities.

Let’s say that life is suffering. Fair enough, life is suffering, and it gets worse until the physical body dies. So what? There is no reason to think that one will still be aware of the suffering of one’s physical body after its expiration. One is conscious now, and one is conscious of a physical body, and this physical body suffers – so what?

There is no reason to think that consciousness is still aware of the suffering of the physical body after death. Indeed, consciousness might then become aware of a new body, or might dream up something else entirely. Therefore, any physical suffering can never be any more permanent than any other phenomenon of Nature, such as the ebb and flow of the tides. Birth, death, doesn’t matter: all is just an oscillation from pain to pleasure, with high points and low points.

For this reason, there is no need to fundamentally be afraid of the decay and death of one’s physical body. There’s every reason to think that on the other side of death is the absence of all suffering, and all pain is just a shadow of death. All suffering is an effect of material phenomena, which are all transitory in nature. If there is no reason to fear death, then there is no reason to fear pain either. All suffering will pass.

Note that the argument here is that there is nothing fundamentally to be afraid of. There might be plenty of things to be superficially afraid of – death and pain being the foremost of these. It makes sense to be afraid of getting hit by a train, not because the consequences of getting hit by a train would be permanent, but because one has a role to play here in this dimension of reality in which we find ourselves, and one’s role is (in all likelihood) one that avoids getting hit by trains. Not to be fundamentally afraid does not imply that one ought to behave recklessly or without regard for one’s physical well-being.

There is no reason, fundamentally, to be afraid of anything, because all suffering is a phenomenon that will pass. We do not need to be afraid of pain merely because pain is painful – this is sufficient reason for pain to be avoided, but not for it to be feared. We can appreciate that pain, like all natural phenomena, comes and goes, and that we remain the observer of it, as we remain the observer of all material phenomena.

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The Four Elements of Health

Alchemism holds that the metaphysical world is comprised of four masculine elements of clay, iron, silver and gold. Because we can apply the maxim as above, so below, we can reason that there are patterns within the physical world that reflect this. This essay look at personal health through the prism of the four masculine elements.

The first element of clay relates to eating well. There are two aspects to this.

Fundamental to physical health is simply getting enough food. This fact has long been forgotten in the West on account of our centuries of abundance, but it’s still a biological reality for all creatures. The primary survival challenge for creatures similar to us in a state of Nature is to gather enough food resources to meet their metabolic needs. If this is not possible it will lead to hunger, then weakness, then death.

Another important aspect is that one gets the right food. It’s not simply a matter of filling one’s stomach: one must eat food that is actually healthy. Acting correctly at the level of clay will see a person avoid sugar and fatty cheeseburgers in favour of fruits, vegetables and home-cooked meals. Someone who has mastered life at this level will act as if food is medicine.

Iron relates to physical discipline in the pursuit of health. There are also two aspects to this.

Most obvious is exercise. The body has to be used, otherwise it will fall into decay. Humans were very active during the biological past, and this is reflected in the biological present. Properly applying the element of iron to one’s health means that one will get up and stay fit, whether through walking, running, swimming or biking. thereby one becomes physically hard, like iron.

Iron is the masculine element, and as a consequence it is the element that imposes boundaries. Therefore, part of the realm of iron is preventing unwanted substances from entering one’s body. This is obviously true in the case of poisons, but become trickier when applied to drugs and medicines. Acting correctly in the element of iron will see a person keep harmful things out of their body.

Silver relates to intellectual exercise. This shares elements of both clay and iron, and like clay and iron there are two distinct aspects to silver.

The former relates to what you put into your head. This relates to quality of information. A person acting at the level of silver will take care to not read low-information sources. They will tend to avoid gossip mags and FaceBook. Someone succeeding at this level will read full books from start to finish, and will cross-reference claims made in the media with other sources before believing them.

The latter relates to the discipline necessary to keep using the mind. The brain is like a muscle: you will lose it if you don’t use it. It’s important to keep reading everyday, and thinking about what one has read, as well as challenging what one thinks is known. Part of the realm of silver is intellectual debate, and a healthy individual at the level of silver will be able to do with words what the man of iron does with a sword.

The element of gold relates to spiritual exercise. Again like the previous elements, this is achieved in two ways.

The first is to keep incorrect thoughts out of one’s head. Gold is different to silver here because the realm of gold deals with frequencies, and not information like silver. So this does not relate to keeping bad information out of the head, but rather bad frequencies. Correct application of gold to health involves avoiding people and situations that cause bad energies, as well as patterns of thought that lead to same.

The most important spiritual exercise, of course, is meditation. Only through meditation does an individual arrive at the peace of mind and self-knowledge necessary to make correct decisions. Meditation is the final transmutation of the previous three elements into the gold of enlightenment. This brings what is usually referred to as “mental health”, involving a calm acceptance of things.

These four elements combine to create a complete picture of health. An individual who succeeds in applying these four elements to their health will be physically, mentally and spiritually healthy.

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The Bogan-Faggot Spectrum

This essay introduces a new concept in psychology: the B-F spectrum. This is short for Bogan-Faggot spectrum, which is a way of measuring maladapative personalities on a scale from 1 to -1, with a score of 0 a good healthy medium that will allow for well-adjusted behaviour in most instances.

At one far end of the B-F spectrum is the Bogan Pole, represented by the extreme value of 1. This is essentially the pole of maladapted masculinity, or an excess of masculinity. This is so named after the hyper-aggressive, low-intelligence bogans that make life really hard for working-class people, by causing society to think of them when they think of the working class.

Here we find a masculinity so stubborn and unyielding that parents regularly hit and verbally abuse their children, reasoning that the children need to grow up “hard” in order to cope with the challenges of life. At the Bogan Pole, all emotional expression is for faggots. Expressing an emotion is a sign of weakness because it is evidence that one has lost one’s self-composure.

At the Bogan Pole, there is to be no similarity between men and women. Men are hard, women are soft, end of story. There are a set of actions and displays that are only permissible for men, and there are others that are only permissible for women. Any man or woman who performs an action or display characteristic of the other gender is subhuman.

At the other end of the B-F spectrum is the Faggot Pole, represented by the extreme value of -1. This is the pole of maladapted femininity, or excessive femininity. It is named after the hyper-passive-aggressive, overly sensitive faggots that make life really hard for homosexual people, by causing society to think of them when they think of homosexuals.

This is a kind of toxic femininity that demands that everyone and everything be forced to be equal. It is a kind of slave morality, in that it demands that everyone be meek and self-effacing, lest they be shamed into it by the collective. At the Faggot Pole, all assertive expression (such as the setting of boundaries) is for bogans. Anyone who has a high self-esteem has to be ripped down the level of the collective.

At the Faggot Pole, there is to be no difference between men and women. An individual can possess any characteristic whatsoever, or fail to possess any characteristic whatsoever, and still assert that they are either man or woman (or anything else). Anyone who claims otherwise is a filthy bogan, because they are setting boundaries and that is masculine.

Also at the Faggot Pole is a relaxed attitude to sexual abuse of children. In much the same way that people at the Bogan Pole, being hyper-masculine, don’t consider violence against children to be a bad thing, neither do people at the Faggot Pole, being hyper-feminine, consider sexuality towards children to be a bad thing. People at this pole are far more likely to believe that they are doing children a favour by molesting them.

The B-F spectrum is an alchemical triangle in the sense that the healthiest behaviour lies in the middle. Both the Bogan Pole and the Faggot Pole represent extremes of behaviour that are not well adapted to the challenges that our society offers. The central position, represented by 0, refers to behaviour that is neither hypermasculine nor hyperfeminine – just balanced, intelligent, appropriate behaviour.

It could be that some situations genuinely demand the taking of a particular position on the B-F spectrum, or at least one close to one of the poles. If an individual goes to war, it makes sense to take a B-F position closer to 1 on account of the violence and deprivation that they will encounter. If an individual makes love, it makes sense to take a B-F position closer to -1 on account of that one is in a situation where boundaries are dissolved.

It’s worth noting that the poorer a person is, the more likely they are to approach the Bogan Pole, and the wealthier a person is, the more likely they are to approach the Faggot Pole. This is a long-observed phenomenon. The most common downfall for any man mighty enough to make himself into a king was having a son who becomes effeminate as a result of the wealth and comfort in which he lives, and who thereby becomes too weak to maintain his position.

There is, as of yet, no questionnaire that will estimate where an individual is on the Bogan-Faggot spectrum. Future research will have to identify variables that correlate with excessive masculinity or excessive femininity, and from there it will be possible to develop a set of questions. In any case, intuitive estimations might still have some use.

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Why You Can Never Know if Another Person is an NPC, And What This Means

Much recent interest has been devoted to the idea that a significant proportion of other human beings might be “NPCs” (non-player characters). What is meant by this is that “the lights are on but nobody’s home” – that the person is not conscious, despite appearing to be. As this essay will discuss, this philosophical problem has a number of chilling interpretations.

When people decry others as NPCs, what they are really saying is that these people are not conscious. There might be bodies moving around and saying and doing things, but there is no conscious observer that pays attention to the lived experience of such bodies. Individual NPCs might just as well be androids of some kind, machines that replicate the functions and actions of conscious beings without actually being such.

The reason why recent interest has attached to this idea is that some people seem to be utterly incapable of thinking for themselves.

Certain political issues have made it apparent that a large proportion of voters do not think about reality at all. They are happy enough to adopt wholesale a Weltanschauung from the television and from their peers. This is especially true if a person adheres to one or the other side of the mainstream political spectrum, but a political allegiance isn’t necessary. Many people’s heads seem to be more or less empty: they simply repeat whatever has been pumped into them from the outside.

This has led others to wonder if there’s anyone really in those heads at all. These apparently unthinking people might be NPCs: essentially meat-puppets that look and sound like humans but which have no conscious will, and who therefore are incapable of creative direction. They can only follow orders like drones, whether those orders come from other humans (PCs or NPCs), the Government or the television. They are therefore categorically different to those of us who are conscious.

But this line of reasoning opens up some extremely thorny philosophical questions.

Primary among these is that you can’t measure or detect consciousness empirically. Consciousness is a state of being aware, and this is impossible to measure because awareness cannot be detected by any instrument. A materialist will object that it is possible to measure responsiveness, and this can be done with (for e.g.) EEG machines that can tell whether a person is awake – but these measures are always of purported correlates of consciousness, not consciousness itself.

We seem to intuitively believe that being “awake” is somehow linked to being conscious, but the simple fact is that we are also conscious of experiencing dreams, and are therefore also conscious even when asleep. Therefore, our intuitive perceptions about who is conscious are not necessarily accurate. It may be that the common perception that all humans are conscious is erroneous.

One can be aware of one’s consciousness, of course. This is logically trivial: if one is conscious of anything at all, then one is conscious. Therefore, if you’re even aware of yourself asking the question of whether or not you’re conscious, you must be. Although, because one’s own consciousness cannot be measured any more than that of other beings can, its presence cannot be proven to anyone other than oneself.

It really seems that the only way consciousness can be sensed in others is by means of some intuition. It certainly seems as if consciousness can be detected in others; at least, this seems intuitively true to most people. This is the basis of the NPC phenomenon: by whatever means this intuitive decision is made, a person decides that another person is either conscious or not.

The difficulty then arises: is it true that all other humans are conscious, or only some? Because not everyone necessarily agrees. Some argue that only their race is conscious, and that others are some kind of ‘bugmen’. Others argue that only members of their religion are conscious, because only these have been “infused with the light of God” or similar. Yet others argue that only members of their class are conscious, and that the poorer someone is, the more like an animal.

The obvious problem with this way of thinking is that it leads to asking questions like: if other races/religions/classes are not conscious, why not just wipe them out for the sake of securing a better position for our own? It’s clear to anyone who has studied World War II that the dehumanisation of other people, by way of declaring them less conscious, can easily lead to bloodshed and genocide. This is why the vast majority of people have adopted the unspoken assumption that all other humans are conscious.

Even if all humans are declared conscious, one must then ask if all other beings are conscious, or only some?

Another thorny philosophical question is moral: if another individual is an NPC, and therefore not conscious, is it immoral or not to exploit that individual? One the one level, it seems like nothing should be different, but on another, it could be argued that if nothing is aware of any injury caused to the physical body then it isn’t really suffering. Therefore, harm done to beings that are not conscious is not immoral (unless those beings are the property of someone else).

Because you can never really know if another person is an NPC, the default response seems to be to assume that no-one is, i.e. that all other people are conscious and that their suffering is meaningful. This is certainly the approach that a courtroom will take if you beat up someone because you think they are an NPC. But you can’t ever really be sure.

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Folksjälvmord

On my first visit to Sweden, from 2001 to 2003, I found occasion to coin a word in the Swedish language. They already had a word for genocide (‘folkmord’) and they already had a word for suicide (‘självmord’), but they didn’t have a word for the sociological phenomenon, widespread at the time, that combined both. This essay discusses ‘folksjälvmord’ and the reasons for it.

If you have 1,000 crowns in one bank account at 6% interest, and 100,000 crowns in another bank account at 2% interest, inevitably the first account will become larger than the second (assuming no withdrawals or changes to the rate). This is a matter of mathematical certainty, and can be proven true in every case where a smaller balance has a higher interest rate than a larger balance. No-one disputes this.

By similar reasoning, we can see that if the population of a minority group is increasing faster than their host population, then the minorities will eventually outnumber their hosts. Assuming no withdrawals (i.e. deportations or genocides), then a population that has a fertility rate of 3.0 plus 50,000 immigrants per year will eventually grow to overwhelm a population that starts out a hundreds times larger, but which only has a fertility rate of 2.0 or less (and no immigrants).

This process is known straightforwardly as “conquest” in any other context, but when the host population has an overwhelming military advantage compared to their invaders it isn’t so simple. If the hosts are willingly paying tax money to import these minorities, and then paying again to have those minorities breed while on welfare, then they’re effectively paying for their own ethnic cleansing.

This process can only be likened to a collective suicide, or suicide at the level of the population – folksjälvmord. After all, politics is little more than the expression of power, and the expression of power is mostly a numbers game, particularly in a democracy. If the host population stops being the majority then they give up power, and giving up power within your own country to a foreign entity that you imported can only be analogised as stabbing oneself in the leg or stomach, perhaps harakiri style.

Swedes didn’t think much of my witty neologism. The thought that it might happen to them seemed to be so unpleasant that it simply couldn’t be countenanced. It didn’t seem to matter to them that the same process of inevitable mathematical conquest was precisely what happened in the New World, where I came from. Better to simply blindly believe that all would be well than to ask how the Africans and Muslims would behave when they comprised 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%+ of the population.

This wilful, oblivious ignorance about the state of their situation might be likened to a delusion-based psychiatric illness, in the same way that someone who is obviously dying but who refuses to admit it.

A man addicted to heroin doesn’t want to hear that the drug will soon kill him; a nation addicted to virtue-signalling and self-righteousness doesn’t want to hear that the mass importation of foreigners with incompatible values will soon destroy them. In either case, a well-meaning observer might be well aware that the behaviour in question was effectively suicidal.

Sixteen years after this first visit of mine, it’s possible to observe the results of the practice of folksjälvmord. Although the decay of the country is yet to reach the elites – and therefore, yet to be officially acknowledged – the Swedish people are certainly aware of it. They responded by giving 18% of their votes to the far-right extremist Sweden Democrats in a General Election last month.

In Germany, which has also recently imported a large number of low-IQ immigrants, a similar phenomenon can be observed. Opinion polls for the next German Federal Election show that the far-right extremist Alternativ fuer Deutschland is now polling higher than the Establishment social democrats. This phenomenon is likely to spread to other nations that let in large numbers of “refugees” against the better judgment of the more sober of their citizens.

Folksjälvmord, then, doesn’t simply refer to a declining population, because populations (historically speaking) tend to resist conquest with as much violence as they can muster. It can also refer to the coming to power, within a nation, of groups of people who are patently unfit to rule, and who wreck the place. Folksjälvmord could, in that context, be considered a symptom of a dark age, or Kali Yuga. The destruction is as much internal, and spiritual, as external and physical.

The state of the world has notably changed since first coining the term ‘folksjälvmord’. The national suicides of the European nations are continuing apace – but now the Far East Asian ones have joined them. Indeed, the fertility rate in Far East Asia is now lower than Northern Europe (China 1.6, Japan 1.4, South Korea 1.2, c.f. Sweden 1.9, Netherlands, Denmark and Norway 1.7), and is continuing to fall there.

Perhaps the most frightening realisation is that folksjälvmord is far from a uniquely Swedish, European or even Western problem. It seems to be a natural part of the ebb and flow of empires and the golden ages of various peoples: as before, so after.

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Why Science, Correctly Performed, Will Lead To A Belief In God

Nobel Physics Prize laureate Werner Heisenberg once said “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.” Something that Heisenberg understood, but which most lesser scientists do not, is that a belief in God will arise from doing science correctly. As this essay will examine, atheism is not necessarily the correct attitude to take into the natural sciences.

The scientific method begins with determining what we know for sure, and from there reaching out to what else can be stated with some degree of certainty. For instance, if a particular chemical reaction has transpired in a particular way a hundred times, we can predict with a high level of certainty that it will transpire that way one more time. From there, we can make alterations to our methodology in order to learn more.

What do we know for sure?

As it turns out, there is only one thing that a person can know 100% for sure: that they are conscious. Everything else is necessarily a matter of faith. Every belief, apart from the belief that one is conscious, is a matter of faith, because it is a statement about the material world.

All phenomena within the material world are known to be transitory, and therefore they contain an element of chaos that precludes total understanding of them. One might declare with certitude that “The Sun will rise tomorrow,” but even this is an article of faith – the Earth could be struck overnight by a gigantic comet that reduced the planet to cosmic rubble, thereby proving one wrong.

Although one might be 99.9999% sure about such predictions, one can never truly be certain, in the way that one can be certain that one is conscious. No prediction that depended on the permanence of some aspect of the material world could ever be made with 100% certainty – Heisenberg himself expressed this understanding with his Uncertainty Principle. It is certainly possible to predict that things will change (i.e. that you will die), but it is seldom possible to predict precisely when.

If one doesn’t know for sure that the material world exists, but one knows for sure that consciousness exists, then it doesn’t make logical sense to assume that the material world is the basis of reality. Consciousness can easily create the impression of a material world – it does so every night in our dreams. But there is no scientific explanation, no plausible explanation, that can demonstrate how the material world might develop consciousness. All talk of “emergent properties” is merely materialist dogma, special pleading.

Ockham’s Razor tells us that it’s more likely that consciousness dreamed up the material world and Planet Earth, in much the same way that it dreams worlds at night (an explanation that requires one step), than that the material world spawned from nowhere and evolved to be conscious (an explanation that requires hundreds, if not thousands of steps).

Therefore, there is no reason to assume that the death of the physical body ought to affect consciousness. If the material world is simply a set of phenomena that are dreamed up by consciousness, then there is no reason to assume that the death of one’s physical body ought to affect that consciousness. Therefore, there is no reason to assume that consciousness “disappears” or “dies” or even so much as changes form when the physical body dies.

The real question, then, is: of what does one become conscious upon the cessation of the temporal patterns that corresponded to one’s physical body? It isn’t easy to speculate about such things, because it depends on how laws from this world translate to the next. One thing can be said for certain though: of the next world, one will be conscious.

Ockham’s Razor can also be applied to the realm of biology to support the contention that consciousness is the prime materia.

Evolutionary science tells us very clearly that organisms do not evolve unnecessary appendages. None of limbs, organs, or parts of the brain will come into existence unless there is an evolutionary pressure that favours them. This will only be the case if those limbs, organs or parts of the brain (or early forms of them, at least) confer some kind of selective advantage. Without this advantage, there will be no selective pressure in favour of that appendage, and without that pressure it will not come to exist.

Consciousness confers no survival advantage. The human animal does not need to be aware in order to carry out any of its survival functions. All of the thoughts and calculations that the human brain performs over the course of a human life could just as well be made without consciousness. After all, a computer or android could be programmed to scan its physical environment for the sign of predators or food sources. It wouldn’t need to be conscious to do so.

If consciousness confers no survival advantage, then it cannot have been selected for by natural selection (i.e. by biological or material means). If it was not selected for by natural selection then it cannot be biological and attached to, or arising from, any part of the brain. To the contrary – the material world, including the brain, arises from consciousness.

If consciousness can dream up this world, and if it can dream up the fantastic nightscapes of our dreams, then it can dream up an infinitude of other world, realms and dimensions. And indeed it has – the entire rest of the Great Fractal is currently being explored by consciousness, in an infinitude of realms that you cannot even hope to perceive (yet).

Anything within the Great Fractal (i.e. everything that it is possible to perceive) can be dreamed up and explored by consciousness. Consciousness is infinitely creative. Consciousness can find a way to perceive anything that is perceivable. If it’s perceivable, then there’s a path to it through the Great Fractal from where consciousness currently is.

This effectively means that consciousness is omnipotent: after all, it is capable of conjuring anything from all the permutations of what’s possible.

It is often said that belief in God is a question of faith. Indeed it is. There is no possible way to prove that any being apart from oneself is conscious. All other beings could be conscious like you, or they could be programmable meatbags – and you have no way to prove otherwise. If they are conscious, that consciousness cannot be observed or measured. There is no instrument that will detect its presence or absence.

If consciousness is eternal, has the power to create anything possible, and whose presence in others is necessarily a question of faith, then consciousness is therefore God. It fulfills all of the criteria commonly attributed to God by Epicurus and others. This understanding can be arrived at scientifically, by logic, without need for faith.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).