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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The Case For Cannabis: Cannabis Is A Religious And Spiritual Sacrament

We are supposed to have freedom of religion in the West, but in practice this only applies to certain favoured religions, in particular Abrahamism and its derivatives. Other religious traditions, particularly those that employ psychoactives as part of their rituals, are effectively discriminated against by the War on Drugs. This article will discuss the established tradition of cannabis use as a religious and spiritual sacrament.

The Indo-European peoples have been using cannabis as a religious and spiritual sacrament for thousands of years.

Cannabis is mentioned in Indian texts going back to 1,000 B.C., primarily for its use as a medicine, but also for its purported ability to facilitate contact with the divine. There is an age-old tradition in India of weed-smoking holy men known as sadhus. These are ascetics who have renounced worldly wealth and pleasure, and who use cannabis to get into touch with Shiva. Among sadhus, use of cannabis is especially popular when meditating, for the moments of tranquillity and serenity that it is capable of bringing.

The Nepalese smoke it publicly and ceremonially during the festival of Maha Shivaratri. The enlightenment brought about from the cannabis high is said to represent the coming-to-awareness of the first guru in the world. It is said that it was at this moment that the consciousness of the first guru transcended the material and the illusion of space and time, and the cannabis high is intended to replicate this.

In ancient China, cannabis was used by holy men in healing and early magical rituals. Early Taoist shamans systematically experimented with the ritual use of cannabis, with some declaring that smoking it was as good as climbing into the mountains for those who were physically unable. Their traditions began with burning cannabis as incense for the sake of smoking out demons and evil spirits, and soon evolved into inhaling cannabis for the sake of drawing in good energy from God.

Cannabis was also used by the Scythians in a ritualistic form that amounting to the hot-boxing of small smoke tents. The participants would gather inside these tents as part of funerary rites and cast buds onto superheated rocks, causing them to burn and to fill the tent with cannabis smoke. The change in consciousness brought about by these rituals were considered to bring the participant into contact with the spirits of the dead.

From there, it spread to Germany, and from there to Britain and Scandinavia. The Vikings came to associate its aphrodisiac effects with the fertility goddess Freya, and spring festivals sometimes involved the ritual consumption of cannabis. Viking herbalists were also aware of the pain-killing properties of cannabis, and they appear to have cultivated it in Southern Norway since 650 A.D. Evidence suggests that at least some of this cannabis was cultivated for ritualistic and shamanic purposes.

Therefore, cannabis use has been part of our natural spiritual traditions for thousands of years. The state of cannabis prohibition brought about by Abrahamism is an obscenity, the kind that comes from such false doctrines. It is not right for us Westerners to live in a state of cannabis prohibition, because it separates us from our natural connection to the divine, replacing it with a doctrine of women-hatred, gay-hatred, genital mutilation and ignorance.

Many modern people could tell you that cannabis use is still part of our natural spiritual traditions. It is the Western subcultures that smoke cannabis who are most likely to reject the obsession with materialism that has captured our culture. After all, the spiritual effect of cannabis comes from its ability to separate the user from the material. By inducing a state of physical and emotional calm, consciousness focuses instead on the spiritual. By pacifying the user’s base physical desires, they can concentrate on a form of living that pays homage to God.

Rastafarians say of cannabis that “The herb is the key to new understanding of the self, the universe, and God. It is the vehicle to cosmic consciousness”. Many Westerners who do not follow an organised religious tradition can likewise tell you that smoking cannabis gets you closer to God. There are millions of us who could tell you that we have had profound spiritual epiphanies from sacramental cannabis use, and that these epiphanies are worth gold.

Cannabis being illegal therefore amounts to religious discrimination. It’s essentially no different to a law that makes the Bible or the Koran illegal. If cannabis use is a means by which some people get closer with God, how can it possibly be anyone else’s right to say otherwise? The people who support cannabis prohibition would be appalled at the thought of Government agents going into someone’s house to take their Bible away, but they do much the same thing with cannabis without a second thought.

There is a need for cannabis law reform so that religious and spiritual alternatives to Abrahamism can be explored. There is no valid reason for people to be forced to follow an Abrahamic tradition, and therefore no valid reason for the law to prohibit the spiritual sacraments of non-Abrahamic traditions. True spiritual and religious freedom requires that none of the established methods for coming closer to God are made illegal – this includes cannabis use.

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This article is an excerpt from The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, compiled by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

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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The Four Ways to Become Enslaved

Chains can be physical, mental, or spiritual

There are many different ways that a person can become enslaved to the will of another or to a group of others. Although people usually associate the term ‘slavery’ with the chattel slavery of the American South, there are as many different kinds of slavery in the human world as there are ways of exploitation in the natural world. This essay describes four distinct ways of being enslaved that accord with the four masculine elements.

The four ways to enslave are, effectively, the four different ways of introducing artificial scarcity. Only when a state of artificial scarcity has been induced will another person surrender themselves to the will of another. There are effectively four ways of doing so: two physical, two non-physical.

The most basic way of asserting dominance over another of your own kind can be observed in other mammals, especially other primates, when they fight over their food supply. To enslave another person in this sense is to deny them the peace and solitude to gather food from nature. The alpha primate will not allow any others to eat until he himself is satisfied. Disobedience is punished with violence.

To be enslaved in this manner is to wear chains of clay. This is because a lack of food is the most natural and immediate survival problem that faces life forms such as mammals, primates or humans. To not be able to eat when one needs to nourish oneself is slavery, because hunger will cause one to grow weak.

Chains of iron are what most people think when they hear the term ‘slavery’. This refers to iron manicles and shackles that prevent or hinder movement when fastened around a person’s wrists or ankles. It’s extremely rare to see a person enslaved by chains of iron nowadays, but it’s still common to see people who are more or less enslaved in the same way as a person wearing irons – i.e. by an artificial scarcity of security in that person.

What chains of iron refers to on a metaphysical level is control of another person’s physical safety, and their ability to remain free from wounding and physical harm. This is effectively how criminal gangs establish a presence in a neighbourhood – business owners are guaranteed physical security for them and for their business, but only if those business owners agree to pay for the “service”.

Chains of silver are frequently used metaphorically, usually to denote a person who has been enslaved by wealth. A person who has allowed themselves to become controlled by the physical objects and possessions they have hoarded could indeed be said to be enslaved by chains of silver, but there’s more to it than just that. Metaphysically, chains of silver refers to all tricks of the mind, which is all lesser magic.

In other words, chains of silver refer to an artificial scarcity of knowledge, in particular knowledge relating to the physical world. A person who has thousands of dollars in credit card debt that they can never clear, so that the bank regularly takes a hundred dollars in interest charges every month, just because they bought some crap they saw on television, could be said to wear chains of silver. In this case the term refers to the financial literacy needed to avoid debt traps like credit cards.

Likewise, a person trapped in a political ideology could be said to wear chains of silver. If a person’s social circle all think in a certain way, and their media organs all speak in the same way, and their courts and Police enforce it, a person might forget that there’s any other way of thinking. Many English speakers are subjected to so much capitalist propaganda that they are astonished, travelling overseas, to see other avenues of solidarity.

Very few people are enslaved by chains of clay and iron nowadays, and although most of us wear chains of silver to some extent, they are seldom a heavy burden.

However, the vast majority of people are enslaved by chains of gold, and many of those are so enfeebled by these gossamer bonds that the other forms of enslavement become virtually inevitable. A person enslaved by chains of gold is someone who is not aware of the fact that consciousness is the prima materia, and who consequently believes that the death of their brain means the extermination of their consciousness.

Chains of gold, therefore, refer to an absence of spiritual knowledge. It is the birthright of all humans to be made aware of the true nature of the relationship between consciousness and the physical world, and therefore anyone who does not possess that knowledge has been enslaved by chains of gold. This is something that has purposefully been done to enslave us by way of destroying our natural spiritual traditions, for example by prohibiting entheogen use.

Gold is the softest of all metals, and fittingly, chains of gold are also the weakest. This does not mean that they are the easiest to break. In fact, the opposite is true. These chains of gold are the trickiest of all, and not just because they are invisible. Those who wear them cannot conceive of them, by any sense. A person enslaved by chains of gold cannot be induced to believe in God.

A person enslaved by chains of gold will not believe in God, and consequently they will not believe in chains of gold. No-one enslaved by chains of gold is aware of it; as soon as a person becomes aware of chains of gold they are broken.

It could be argued that a person can only be enslaved with baser elements if they are first tricked into wearing chains of gold. For instance, a spiritual person might be better able to resist the temptation of loaning some money to satisfy a short-term urge. They might also be unafraid of death, and therefore willing to choose death before submitting to chains of iron.

Alchemically speaking, these are the four ways that a person can be enslaved. Although chains made of the baser forms of clay and iron are rare in the modern world, it’s important to remember their historical role, because a return to them is possible if we get weighed down enough by chains of silver and gold.

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We’ve Had the Great Financial Depression, Now We Have the Great Spiritual Depression

We’ve got all the money and stuff we ever wanted – but it’s not making us happier

Tyler Durden in Fight Club told Generation X that “Our Great War is a spiritual war.” This is the truth, and we have been too slow to see it. The narrative has changed since our parents’ and grandparents’ time: the major struggle of human life is no longer physical survival, but making sense of our lives.

Durden was speaking directly to Generation X because ours is a different story. The Great Depression that our elders endured, while terrible, was ultimately a financial one, and we were guaranteed to get out of it once the markets reset. What we have to endure is also worthy of the epithet Great Depression, only what we have to endure is spiritual.

This Great Spiritual Depression has been caused by a perfect storm of factors.

The first major factor is the rottenness of what passes for spiritual tradition in our culture. It’s obvious to any outside observer that the Christian rituals are empty and meaningless – this can be determined simply by speaking to the average Christian and hearing his hatred of other religions, of homosexuals, and of drug users. It’s apparent from that that Christians do not have any privileged access to understanding the mind of God.

A person who enters a Christian church to hear a sermon from a learned man is far more likely to hear something political about the need to obstruct progress on gay rights or drug law reform. If that person stays to talk to those who think they understand the nature of God, those people will say that a women’s place is subordination, and that anyone who doesn’t worship the Magic Jew will be condemned to an eternity of hellfire.

If there was ever anything spiritual in the Abrahamic tradition it has rotted away centuries ago.

The second major factor is that all of our cultural and political narratives are entirely materialistic. It’s materialist capitalists versus materialist socialists. Whichever side wins, we get materialism. Neither side has a solution to the problems of human existence that goes beyond accumulating more physical resources or power.

This materialism has arisen as a reaction to the fact that religion, in the guise of Christianity, retarded progress in the West for over 1,000 years. Because of this, the people and societies that developed an interest in discovering the truth naturally came to distrust anyone who spoke about non-materialist concepts. Moreover, most of the advances in alleviating human suffering made in recent centuries have come through materialist sciences such as medicine, engineering, biology, chemistry and physics.

The problem with this materialism is that people have been thinking in these terms so so long that most of us have forgotten that any other terms are possible, or even sometimes necessary. Emotional, intellectual and spiritual paradigms have all been forgotten in favour of who controls the most stuff. Even psychiatrists – supposedly doctors tasked with healing the soul – can only think in terms of chemical imbalances and pharmaceuticals.

As Terence McKenna was fond of saying, “the way out is back”. Westerners have historically shown themselves capable of exceptionally sophisticated metaphysical thought – one only need read Plato for ample proof of this. The solution is the revival of the perennial philosophy and the perennial, universal, cosmic religion, in a form that suits the world of today.

This will have two major benefits.

The first will be the return to each human being of their birthright to be initiated into the spiritual truths. Instead of being brainwashed from birth with some horseshit story about being specially chosen by God, virgin births or last prophets, and how God’s love is conditional upon obeying the moral dictates laid down by the political authorities of the time, people shall be instructed truthfully from the beginning.

This means that something like the Eleusinian Mysteries will have to be reinstated, and the ceremonial mass public consumption of psychedelics encouraged, but in a highly ritualistic and orderly manner. This will mean that the public at large will once again be connected with God, and all will know the truth. This will lead to our spiritual elders transmitting useful information to the youth instead of old Middle-Eastern stories that justify genital mutilation and slavery.

Because the spiritual elders will no longer be lying, there will no longer be cause for the men and women of silver to respond by going in the other direction. Thus, being a freethinker will no longer correlate highly with being a materialist (as it has for the past three or four centuries). People will be free to discuss metaphysical subjects without the assumption that they are dangerous fanatics.

The second major benefit will be to cause the coming of new political ideologies that are not based on materialism. These will transcend the ancient capitalist-communist paradigm. In other words, they will not be grounded in settling arguments about who gets what stuff, and who can extort what labour, taxes and rent out of who. These ideologies will be much better suited to meet the challenges we face because they will reflect reality more accurately and faithfully.

What exact form they do take is not clear, but it is likely that they will be grounded in reducing the amount of suffering in the world rather than the redistribution of resources. This specifically means reducing the suffering of sentient beings, through all of their thwarted desires.

It’s certain that cognitive liberty will play a central role here, as it has been the lack of cognitive liberty that caused this Dark Age in the first place. We can guess from this that the social sharing of consciousness-altering sacraments will flourish – not merely alcohol and cannabis, but psychoactives that are capable of a wide range of desirable effects.

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Alchemical Iron, Iron Magic and Iron Magicians

A medieval knight in plate mail armour was the foremost iron magician of his time

A previous essay looked at alchemical silver, silver magic and silver magicians. This essay does the same for alchemical iron, iron magic and iron magicians.

Iron represents the masculine, in contradistinction to the clay of the feminine. It arose as an adaptation to scenarios in which clay was too soft, although like the clay, and unlike the silver and gold, iron is also base. Iron is heavy, like the clay, but unlike the clay it is hard and unyielding. This makes it an ideal substance from which to shape tools – and weapons.

This metaphorical use of iron is everywhere. Iron is used almost universally as a metaphor for men who are firm, determined, strong, protective – the kind of guy who would win the Hawaiian Ironman. This is why a person will say to a young man that he needs to “harden up” if he should adopt an attitude appropriate to war. Ozzy Osbourne, revealing his occult education, described things well in the lyrics of Iron Man, a song about a being that doesn’t seem to be alive and doesn’t seem to think (i.e. it lacks clay, silver and gold).

Iron is best found on the outside, protecting the three softer elements within. This is necessarily the case, except for very simple forms of life, in the biological world, which has evolved to reflect these fundamental principles. In creatures such as crabs, the iron forms an exoskeleton, on the outside. In humans, the iron takes the form of bones and muscles, which serve to protect the clay (in the torso), the silver (in the head) and the gold (the spinal column).

Even on the macro level this is the case – as below, so above. Groups of early proto-humans and even of primates are capable of organising themselves so that strong young men are on the outside, facing other iron magicians in the form of enemy warriors or dangerous creatures, and leaving the women and children on the inside. More notably, it is the instinct of almost every man to step in the way if he observes a physical threat approaching his wife or children.

In some ways, this is a tragic position, and a thankless one. It could also be considered an honourable position that demanded sacrifice, in the sense that it is the duty of a man to protect his wife and children from wild animals and from the elements etc. In this sense, iron is synonymous with masculine strength and virility.

A person who can be described as ‘anaemic’ is one who is physically weak and lethargic, and this condition arises from an absence of iron. So above, so below. A doctor might note that a person’s body lacks iron, but an alchemist might point out that a person’s spirit might also be lacking iron.

The elementary action of iron is to divide. This starts by dividing the clay. A lion that tears up the body of a zebra is essentially acting as iron naturally acts – to divide the clay. Iron is so good at this that it can also divide silver and gold – which is a point long understood by the creatures of silver and gold, who prefer to stay well out of the way of creatures of iron.

Iron magic, therefore, is the magic of dividing, of bringing chaos to order while preserving one’s own order – otherwise known as the art of war. After all, war is little more than maintaining structure while weakening or breaking the structure of the enemy. Indeed, the first time a group of natives saw a firearm discharged in their direction they usually thought it a form of magic.

A professional boxer or soldier is an example of a top-class iron magician. The boxer can throw his fists and cause chaos to a their opponent’s physical structure – a soldier does the same but with bullets. In either case, the methodology used to get past to opponent’s defences and take him out with a shot to a vital area is iron magic.

The Conceit of Iron is that might makes right. It’s easily possible for a man of iron to think that, just because he’s capable of beating everyone up if they disagree with him, that he must therefore be the right one to be in charge. The danger of this conceit is that it can reduce human interaction to an essentially chimp-like level, where power is little more than a matter of force.

Iron can clash with clay, and with silver, mostly because of the Conceit of Iron but also for other reasons. The hardness of iron can feel like fire to those it touches, and this can lead to extreme agitation. It’s common for iron to unwittingly cause discord with the softer elements through a lack of subtlety or caution. For its part, iron can easily become paranoid, and afraid of revenge for past brutalities.

Silver can intimidate iron with its brilliance, which is the main way iron loses to the precious elements. Furthermore, silver is not immediately yielding like clay and gold, and this resistance is usually enough to cause iron to think twice. As any seasoned fighter knows, simply having to think twice is often enough to cause a man to lose the will to fight, and in this sense silver magic can trump iron magic.

For fear of counterattack or future reprisals, iron tends to be wary about moving into silver or gold. If iron is capable of learning, it will quickly learn that silver is capable of anticipating its actions and accounting for them. Therefore, risking a direct attack is unlikely unless the silver already looks weak, or tarnished for some reason. It will also quickly learn that attacking gold invites massive reprisals from all quarters.

When it does, silver tends to become very resentful, because they may be forced to harden up in order to deal with the aggressive intrusion (and, in hardening, become more material and therefore less intelligent). Silver likes to think that iron serves it and works according to its direction. When the opposite happens it feels like a violation.

Traditionally speaking, men of iron were associated with the colour blue, because iron swords and armour have a blue tinge. This is the reason why Police forces in Western countries that have followed the Western alchemical tradition have blue uniforms – the Police are the wall of iron between the soft elements of women, children and the elderly ruling class against the criminal element.

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Alchemical Silver, Silver Magic and Silver Magicians

Silver is brilliant and dazzling, and its magic can pacify the man of iron and bring peace and order to the world

The elementary masculine division is into precious and base, into good and bad. The secondary masculine division is the further division of the precious into silver (colourless precious) and gold (colourful precious). This essay describes more closely the paradigm of silver and the phenomena associated with it.

In biological terms, silver represents intelligence. It is the quality that arises from finding the correct balance of masculine and feminine to suit the situation, instead of the masculine extreme (represented by iron) or the feminine extreme (represented by clay). This means that silver does not win by violence, as does the iron, but rather by deception. It’s no coincidence that spiders spin silvery webs.

Characteristic of silver is that it shines or dazzles – hence the metonymn “silver screen” for the cinema screen. Silver is so amenable to polishing that it can be made into a mirror. This is symbolic for how a man of silver can be highly educated – to the point of being able to shine in oratory, scientific achievement, philosophy or letters. People of iron or clay cannot be polished so brightly on account of their inherent baseness.

Science, knowledge and social status is the paradigm of silver. This is its own hierarchy, entirely different to the hierarchy of iron, which is all about who can beat who in a fight. A college of men of silver would frown most heavily on the use of iron magic within their group. The hierarchy of silver is who knows the most about something. More esoterically, it refers to whoever can see physical reality the most accurately.

This is the basis for the power that silver magicians have over iron. It isn’t obvious how a physically weaker person can dominate a physically stronger one, and in a state of raw, primal nature it’s extremely difficult. It’s not necessarily enough to be more intelligent, because the physically stronger man might not respect that the man of silver is more intelligent, or they might simply not care. One must make use of that intelligence by performing silver magic.

Crucially, iron may be harder than silver and dominate it when it comes to physical battle, but silver will dominate it on all other occasions. Therefore, peace, order, civilisation and goodwill are all cultivated by the man of silver. Inventing alcoholic beverages, by means of which the muscle advantage of the man of iron can be neutralised, is an example of silver magic.

It’s necessary to note here that silver itself has no moral sense. For a person of silver, any non-violent way of gaining power is legitimate, including fraud. After all, fraud can be considered a battle of intellect, in which the person defrauded lacked the wit to defend themselves against the fraud attempt.

That doesn’t mean that silver is immoral, per se, rather that morality belongs to the paradigm of gold. Silver is perfectly capable of reducing the amount of suffering in the world. Indeed, it must do so to some extent, because it must bring peace and civilisation to all in order to counteract the physical dominance that the men of iron have.

Also characteristic of silver – and this is the crucial way in which it is different to gold – is a cold, ruthless elitism. This elitism is capable of manifesting all as kinds of narcissisms and resentments. This is otherwise known as the Conceit of Silver – it is bedazzled more than anyone else by its own reflection, by its own glory.

Neither does silver have any sympathy for the resentment caused by its apparent brilliance. In the mind of a person in the paradigm of silver, it’s simply natural for beings of clay and iron to understand that they are of lesser value to the person of silver. The conceit of silver is such that it cannot countenance the thought that everything has its own value, in its own niche.

Having said that, much of the self-regard that silver possesses is fair. The man of silver knows that if it had not been for his predecessors, the human animal would still be much like a monkey – it was he who mastered fire, he who developed the flint axe, he who understood the military advantage of a spear. That the man of iron has resented him ever since is due that the baseness inherent within iron.

It’s common for men of silver to identify with this as their primary characteristic and to eschew bonds of nationality, race or religion. Voltaire once wrote “When it comes to money, everyone is of the same religion”. Indeed, to the men of silver, being wealthy (in the sense of possessing alchemical silver) makes you part of an elite inner circle of initiates.

This can easily be observed in places of heavy concentration of silver, such as universities or the CBDs of major financial centres. In such places, it’s rare for anyone to express a will to enforce the rigid divisions between groups of people that the man of iron loves to enforce. No-one cares if you’re black, or gay, or from a religion that worships goats – as long as you have class.

To the silver magician, bonds of blood and solidarity are for plebs. All that matters is wealth. If I am wealthy and you are wealthy, then you are part of my ingroup, even if we are of different races, peoples, cultures etc. The man of iron sees this as a betrayal of blood, which helps to fuel his resentment and chagrin.

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A Closer Look at the Four Masculine Elements

The masculine is to go upwards, outwards and onwards; to shine without burning

Previous essays here have discussed the difference between the four feminine elements and the four masculine elements, and the four elementary perceptions. This essay looks more closely at the four masculine elements and, more specifically, how awareness of them arises in perceptual space.

According to one manner of thinking, masculinity is judgment in the place where femininity is perception. Where feminine divides into light and dark (where both have equal value), masculine divides into good and bad, where one is prized and the other despised.

Thought of in terms of elements, the basic masculine division is into precious and base. This means that applying the simplest possible masculine lens to the world will divide it into things that are valuable and things that are not valuable. Those things that are already valuable don’t need to be (or ought not to be) acted upon, because they are good as they are. That which does not have value can be freely acted upon, because such actions do not (or ought not) destroy value.

The elementary masculine action is to impose order upon chaos. This means to impose order upon the world. Before this can be done, the masculine perception must be adopted, so that the world can be divided into precious and base. The precious does not need to have order put to it; it has value inherently. The base, however, can freely be worked because in doing so one cannot damage anything valuable, and can in fact improve the value of it if the correct order is imposed.

Regarding the base, the natural masculine question is to ask: can some of this be shaped into a tool? If a blob of clay – which is simply an ordinary part of the natural world – can be shaped into an object that is useful as a tool, then the crafter has performed an act of basic alchemy: through an application of will he has turned clay into iron. This he has done by imposing a useful order upon it.

Imposing useful order upon clay makes it more valuable than mere clay, because it is possible for information to have value, and if that information is encoded into the shape of an object then that object also has value. A worthless blob of clay can be thrown into a pot, and a pot has value as a tool because it can be used to store things. A stick can be fashioned into a spear; rocks can be melted to produce copper and iron, which can themselves be formed into tools.

The two precious elements – those which are perceived to be good and valuable instead of otherwise – are silver and gold. Both of these are very bright in comparison to the base elements, which is how their essential masculinity manifests – as light. Because these elements manifest themselves as light, and because light is associated with valuable things (like warmth, the Sun, daytime etc.), these elements have inherent value.

Ultimately, the reason why gold is more valuable than silver is because it is richer. Gold is shiny like silver, but where silver is colourless, gold is a vibrant kind of yellow. In this sense, gold contains all of the range of colours that clay does – all the colours of life. Thus, it is easier to distinguish gold from iron than it is to distinguish silver from iron, which means that the gold is more obviously valuable.

Metaphysically speaking, this arrangement of the world into four elements of increasing rarity and value tells an entirely different creation story to the seemingly random appearance of the feminine elements of earth, water, air and fire. It tells a story of order emerging out of an ocean of chaos by means of an act of will, first hardening itself, then polishing itself, then finally refining itself to become something immensely valuable that somehow stood as an avatar for all of life – a God.

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VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger X

This reading continues on from here.

The 27th essay in Ride the Tiger is called ‘Relations Between the Sexes’ and seeks to cover a different range to the essay about marriage. When the order of the world is dissolving, men and women are naturally separated. Our sexual prejudices have contaminated our ethics. Nowhere is this more evident that in the idea of sexual revolution.

Processes have worked towards a freeing of sex, but not a freeing from sex. The sexual revolution has not liberated us from the suffering caused by sexual desire; to the contrary, we are now intoxicated by it. This is contributing to the collapse of society, but we can use the space afforded by the chaos to assert higher values. Bourgeoisie values, being materialistic, cannot conceive of woman in anything more than her anatomical capacity as instrument of reproduction – in reality, she has a spiritual value.

Sexual liberty therefore leads to materialism, and thereby away from spirituality. Incredibly for the 1960s, Evola is already able to anticipate how widespread pornography has affected the “polarity” between men and women. Nowadays a naked woman doesn’t stir much more interest than the sight of a cat. This is a tragedy because the sexual union is capable of acting as a bridge to higher consciousness via “an existential rupture of planes”. Making love can be Dionysian.

Part Eight of Ride the Tiger is where Evola finally gets to the spiritual side of things. This final section is titled ‘The Spiritual Problem’, and consists of two essays. The first of these is called ‘The “Second Religiosity”‘.

In this essay Evola decries what he calls “neospiritualism”, which he describes as an attempt to lead people beyond the material without giving any credence to the old, dogmatic religious movements. He has no time for the “movements, cults, sects, lodges, and conventicles” of the modern day, and considers them also a phenomenon of dissolution. In fact, things have gone so far that we are now in the rigor mortis stage, and all that awaits is the decomposition of the corpse.

When man closed himself off to the higher, transcendent world in the 19th century, this did not liberate him from superstition but merely opened him up to the lower, primitive emotional world in the 20th. We are now in the “soulless, collectivistic and materialistic phase corresponding to the closing of a cycle of civilisation”. All of these neospiritual movements thus represent an excess of the feminine. Evola is highly cynical and dismissive of these movements.

It’s difficult to correctly discriminate between all the garbage thrown up by neospirituality and the wisdom of genuine value. The emphasis ought to go on the deconditioning of the spirit. Here, Evola is at pains to emphasise that a person cannot achieve initiation by themselves, in contrast to the belief espoused by many. One is either born initiated, or one achieves initiation by way of spiritual emergency or ordeal, or one is initiated deliberately by someone who is part of a tradition and who knows what they’re doing. This is hard to achieve because the organisations that do so hardly exist any more.

The 30th and final essay is titled ‘Death – The Right Over Life’. Evola begins here by talking about the common belief, held by Heidegger (as well as by Socrates) that life is in some way a preparation for death. Death appears to be the end of the “person”, and atheism and materialism have made this simpler to deal with. Contemplation of death is a noble endeavour, as it can lead to a heightened state of appreciation of one’s life.

The traditional doctrines had the correct approach to death. The truly differentiated man cannot believe that his being began with the beginning of his physical body. He must solve the problem of nihilism by “displacing the I towards the centre of ‘being'”. Here Evola is talking about consciousness: “the human condition οf earthly existence is only a restricted section in a continuum, in a current that traverses many other states.” This eternal truth is not easy to grasp in an age of dissolution like ours, but it is much better than the lies of theistic creation myths.

A truly differentiated man, much like the Stoics and the Pythagoreans, could never take his own life, no matter how poor his conditions. This is because to do so would acknowledge that he was not strong enough to overcome the irrational part of his being. However, one always has the moral right to exit the world, should one decide that remaining ordeals are not meaningful. The differentiated man would be extremely disinclined to take this option in any case, right or otherwise. This is because of the possibility that one has chosen and said yes to – whether before or beyond this life – all of the ordeals in it.

In the final analysis, one can say that, no matter how degenerate and dissolute the world, it can still have value. It might be that, in order to achieve the highest state of being, consciousness must challenge itself as intensely as possible. To that end, there’s little more challenging than existing in a world where everything is contrary to one’s nature.

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VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger VIII

This reading continues on from here.

The 22nd essay in Ride The Tiger is called ‘Dissolution of Modern Art’. Much like everything else, Evola contends that art has also degenerated. In the case of art, it has degenerated into a feminine subjectivity that is too afraid to say anything. Now we can no longer even speak of traditional art because no-one has any idea what that even is.

In this essay Evola echoes Plato’s description of the degeneration of political forms, only applied to the world of art. Modern art would be best served by achieving maximum craptitude, because that would provide the clean spiritual slate upon which something authentic could be written. Literature is also criticised as “fetishising” human relationships and merely documenting them with full banality.

As in many previous essays, Evola concludes that art has been given too great an importance, to the detrimental of the spiritual. What gives meaning to life can exist “even in the virtual absence of art”. Art has, in reality, undermined idealism, especially in the modern world. Positive realism lies in the assertion of values such as truth and spiritual courage. That which truly has value needs no consensus to agree.

The 23rd essay is ‘Modern Music and Jazz’. Evola has a keen interest in music and understands its development over the course of recent centuries. Perhaps weirdly, Evola writes here about the “preponderance of dance music over vocal and emotional music” – a sentiment shared by many today. He considers that the drift towards nihilism in philosophy and art has been echoed by one in music.

Music has, according to Evola, developed in ways that mirror the development of all other social movements. Therefore, the advent of jazz is no surprise – it is merely the democratisation of music, something “primitively ecstatic”. This doesn’t mean that jazz is crude, though, or that jazz players are unskilled musicians. It simply heralds the return to the world of fundamental, elemental forces.

This “Negro music” is associated with “dark forms of ecstasy” in Evola’s reckoning. He compares the feelings that arise from dancing to rhythmic music to the frenzies of the dervishes: “possessions of savage ritual”. Despite frequently being paired with drugs, these occasions cannot be compared to the ancient rites of Dionysus etc. because there is nothing sacred about them – they are mere escapism.

On the subject of drugs, the 24th essay is ‘Excursus on Drugs’. Evola considers drugs to “most visibly have the goal of an ecstatic escape”. Some of the people who choose such an escape are those who have perceived the meaninglessness of human existence. Others are “neurotics and psychopaths”. Part of the danger of drugs is, like rhythmic music, they can be used to open up awareness to a suprasensible world, such as in initiatory ritual.

Despite this caution, Evola gives due credit to the use of various drugs in sacred ritual. The Taoists considered even the use of alcohol to have a kind of magical effect, and he mentions the Central American shamanic traditions that made much use of mescaline, peyote and psilocybin mushrooms. However, he also points out that no-one really understands how to use these sacraments anymore, because no-one is capable of the necessary spiritual preparation. This leads to the risk of “possession by dark powers”.

If used correctly, nonprofanely, drugs offer the possibility of coming into contract with a superior dimension of reality. Stimulants and depressants can more or less be ignored for these purposes. Hallucinogens are excellent but have many drawbacks; their ancient use involved guiding the trip with symbols and a preliminary catharsis of emotion, two things that are seldom done today. Narcotics can be useful for the sake of dissociating from the mundane but the experience is hard to control.

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