VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger IV

This reading continues on from here.

The tenth essay in Ride The Tiger is called ‘Invulnerability – Apollo and Dionysus’. Here Evola further describes his conception of an aristocrat of the soul as someone who feels very deeply and who is very moved by things. The modern man (the man of clay, essentially), only feels very shallow emotions, and quickly moves from one such shallow impression to the next.

In this essay, Evola touches on the truly aristocratic topic of deliberately exposing oneself to great trials and tribulations, for the sake of learning one’s true nature. Alchemists will recognise this mentality as the one necessary to burn away everything but the gold so as to learn to distinguish Spirit from Nature. The purifying fire is that which burns away body and mind and leaves one with one’s true nature – it is necessary because it burns away everything shallow, leaving only actions which arise from the depths.

A person who has done this may find themselves gifted with a “transcendent confidence” that is characteristic of the aristocrat of the soul. This is important because in purifying oneself down to the gold one also strips away all of the conditioned belief in life’s meaning. To proceed past this stage, the alchemist must find within themselves the will to assert a meaning to life independent of any outside source. Then one is invulnerable.

To open oneself without falling apart is not easy in an age of dissolution. Here Evola takes care to point out that it’s very easy to fall at the second hurdle. Just because mainstream religion is bullshit doesn’t mean that we should abandon it for wild paganism and barbarianism. There is more.

The eleventh essay is called ‘Acting Without Desire – The Causal Law’. Once a person discovers their true nature, they should also learn the ability to act without desire. This entails taking the correct action at any given time instead of becoming distracted by profit or loss, or by what other people might think of you. Doing what needs to be done.

This needs to be qualified, however. There are naturalistic desires, that arise from the biology of the human animal. These are generally to be avoided. There are also, however, heroic desires, that arise from something greater than the merely physical, from something transcendent. These may be acted upon.

An aristocratic person, then, thinks not in terms of sin but in terms of error. The concept of sin is impossible because God has long been repudiated; all that remains is adherence to standards that one sets from within as an expression of one’s true nature.

One ought to act with a mind to what is effectively a law of karma, in that actions have consequences, regardless of whether those actions conform to any conception of good or evil. Those consequences are real and should be regarded as such. This is fine because the real man of gold doesn’t just live, but rather manifests himself and his true nature in the world.

This is the end of the second part of the book. The next part is called ‘The Dead End of Existentialism’, and the first essay here is the book’s twelfth: ‘Being and Inauthentic Existence’. This deals with the two types of existentialism (as Evola sees it): the philosophical, academic tradition and the practical tradition exemplified by Jean-Paul Sartre.

Evola dismisses existentialism almost entirely, for the reason that the existentialist philosophers are too much a product of their times, and because they are not themselves interested in the world beyond. The existentialists are very materialistic and this disqualifies existentialism from being a philosophy that an aristocrat might be concerned with.

Despite this, existentialism can be credited with some things. For one, the idea that “existence precedes essence” serves to keep the existentialist in touch with the metaphysical and transcendent. It also helps to highlight the dual nature of the aristocratic soul, which, as described earlier, is much deeper than that of the pleb.

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The Four Ways to Destroy A Population

The people, united, will never be divided – but there are other ways to destroy them

Ruled as we are by a parasitic, incestuous cadre of abominations, it isn’t easy to get our minds around all the ways that we have been destroyed. So many underhanded tricks have been used to divide and conquer us that it’s impossible to list them all. This essay tries to make sense of them by grouping the tactics of the ruling classes into four major categories.

The first is to disincorporate the target population. This means to take action that prevents them from forming any bonds of solidarity. Interpersonal solidarity, if too much of it is achieved, will allow a group of people to form their own sovereignty without being dependent on the State. Therefore, the State has to smash it.

The easiest way to achieve this has been known for millennia – it is to enclose public space. This is where people meet and where people talk, and where that happens there tends to grow opposition to the State. From the marketplace that spawned Socrates to the beer halls that spawned Hitler, anywhere people can meet and share their discontent about the way things are run is a place where that discontent can fester.

Alchemically, this category is equivalent to clay, because that represents the masses coming together. Disincorporation, therefore, means fences, walls, blockades, moats, trenches and everything else that prevents the natural flow of conversation from taking place.

The second is to disintegrate the target population. This is essentially Plan B, for when disincorporation fails. Here, disintegrating means to literally take away sources of order from within the body of the target population. The result of doing so is to render into chaos the bonds of solidarity that hold the people together, making them less able to take action.

This involves schemes like the War on Drugs, in which half of the population is demonised and persecuted for no good reason while the other half of the population keeps their mouth shut lest they be the target next time. The people don’t need to be literally split apart by force (although that’s an option), because it’s easier to split them apart by turning their own natural greed and cowardice on each other.

Alchemically, this strategy is equivalent to iron, because it’s the sharp edges of iron that cause bodies of clay to disintegrate. Although bullets are definitely one method by which this can be achieved, it’s mostly about forcing people apart by legal boondoggles and trickery.

The third is to disorientate the target population. This is where actual lying comes in. This is Plan C in the sense that the ruling class only uses it if their target population form bonds of solidarity that resist initial attempts to break them. Here they have to spin a web of deceit, confusion, misdirection and pure bullshit.

In the West, which has generally high levels of freedom of movement, association and speech, it’s not easily possible for the ruling classes to prevent the population from forming strong bonds of solidarity. Therefore, the ruling class has to direct the natural rage of the target population somewhere else.

Mainstream media such as television and radio does an outstanding job of this in our societies. There are new, shiny and loud distractions every moment of the day, blasted into our brains in the ever more frequent gaps in the programming. These are the alchemical equivalent to silver, in that they shine things at us to distract and one risks becoming blinded by it all.

The fourth is to demoralise the target population. This is the plan of last resort, and the ruling class only try it if the previous three methods have failed. It’s a question of the will of the people: if they are many, united and well-organised, they will win unless their will to be free can be sapped.

Alchemically this relates to gold and is therefore primarily a question of spirituality. It can be seen that, in the modern West, all spiritual traditions are attacked and persecuted while corrupt and empty religious ones are allowed to thrive. Our natural spiritual relationship with God has been destroyed and replaced with a pathetic McDonaldsisation of old Hebrew myths.

This absence of genuine spirituality has sapped our wills to live, and our ability to feel joy. Instead of being united with our birthright, which is to know spiritual truths about the survival of consciousness beyond the death of the physical body and the laws of karma, we are told that we are merely accidents of chemistry. Consequently, fear of death pervades our every waking moment, and we are thus paralysed.

Demoralisation is arguably a more powerful tactic than any of disorientation, disintegration or disincorporation because it can destroy a population at any level of intellectual advancement or physical organisation. This explains why so many of the problems and stresses we encounter in everyday life exist – they are placed there, deliberately and maliciously, to demoralise us.

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A Technoshamanic Update to the Perennial Philosophy

The perennial philosophy comes and goes, all throughout time and space, being a reflection of the mind of God in the Great Fractal. In every new age it updates itself, taking a form that makes sense to the people of the time, depending on the characteristics of that age. Because technological change has been so rapid over the last 150 years, the perennial philosophy has not been able to keep up. This essay makes an attempt to do so.

The metaphors of the former age were the crucifix, the fish and the crescent, just as they were the pyramid, the bull and the sacrificial brazier in the age before that. The age that we are now entering has its own zeitgeist – perhaps it is time for a technoshamanic update to the perennial philosophy?

The perennial philosophy is informational gold and is more fundamental than language and therefore cannot be described in words. However, we can predict what some of its teachings are going to be, by applying the axiom of “As below, so above” to the modern day.

In its earlier incarnations, through the writings of Hermes Trismegistus and others, the perennial philosophy explained the metaphysical world by analogy to the natural world. “That which is above is from that which is below, and that which is below is from that which is above, working the miracles of one,” reads the Emerald Tablet, “Its father is the Sun and its mother the Moon.”

This remained an extremely effective metaphor, until today. The world of today is so bizarre, so surreal and impossible that distinguishing it from a dreamscape is no longer easy. Moreover, modern people are almost completely out of touch with the natural world – many of us haven’t so much as looked at the Moon in years.

We need a new metaphor for a new age, and virtual reality seems like the obvious replacement.

Following this line of reasoning, one might expect that the creation myths of the new century will be based around the same binary division as always but with a modern twist; in other words not of yang and yin, fire and water or Sun and Moon but of 1 and 0. The hardware is the brain, the software is the mind, and electricity is the Holy Ghost.

Different lives could be seen as nothing more than differing sets of sensory impressions upon consciousness. As long as these impressions could be accurately recorded and reproduced, there’s no reason why they couldn’t be accessible for any conscious person to experience at any time.

My own The Verity Key twisted the ordinary perception of consciousness through a machine that could replace the consciousness of another person with that of the operator of the eponymous device. The idea was to play on the usual belief of the reader that their consciousness was directly connected to their physical body, and could never be separated.

This played with the idea of the Great Fractal, which is conceptualised as an immense algorithm that calculates all of the possible combinations of senses that make up the illusion of the material world. This is a modern way of expressing how all things flow from one, i.e. “all created objects come from one thing, an undifferentiated primal matter”.

In other words, all of the contents of consciousness ultimately flow from consciousness itself, because nothing more than consciousness is needed to create them all – a fact known to all who have managed to purify their consciousness to the level of gold and thereby completed the Philosopher’s Stone.

Other ancient alchemical or hermetic beliefs can likewise be transliterated into a modern context.

The laws of karma can be expressed in terms of frequency, which no-one understood before the days of widespread radio, and which now everyone does. If one can imagine such a thing as a frequency of consciousness, a higher frequency would produce a more harmonious tone and joy among those who heard it, whereas a lower frequency would produce a discordant tone and fear among those who heard it.

A technoshaman might contend that, upon the expiration of one’s physical body, the frequency of consciousness that one had cultivated is the only thing that passes into the next world. They might even go as far as to contend that this frequency will attract those of a like frequency, and therefore that, post-death, one’s frequency dictates which part of the Great Fractal one’s consciousness becomes attuned to and the frequency of those who populate it (until, of course, one dies there as well).

One’s “frequency of consciousness” can here be likened to an analog television or radio signal. The more pleasurable frequencies are not necessarily the first ones discovered, or the most popular ones, and they certainly aren’t the easiest to tune into. In order to tune into higher frequencies one must know where to find them on the dial.

The alchemical quest of transforming lead into gold is a physicalist metaphor for the mystical quest that, in modern language, could be said to be about tuning a low frequency of consciousness into a higher one.

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The Four Ways to Impress Another Person

People have historically put a lot of effort into figuring out ways to impress each other

To make an impression on another person is to instill in them a minor sense of awe, which is very useful because it tends to make that person more willing to be helpful. This minor sense of awe, if reflected back upon the awestruck, closely relates to the phenomenon of charisma. The tricky part is that what impresses another person depends on that person’s own level of alchemical development.

Impressing someone at a raw, biological level is fundamentally a matter of strength and natural vigour. This is primarily the basis on which dominance hierarchies are formed among social creatures in nature. Basically, creatures pay respect to any other creature powerful enough to fuck it up. These creatures probably evolved to do so, because the alternative to doing so was often death and therefore a failure to propagate one’s genes.

In an alchemical sense, this responds to the level of clay. In other words, it’s the natural state. People who have not been raised well – i.e. people who have been either neglected or abused as children – tend to not move past this stage. This is also the stage at which prison logic runs. The motto of this stage could be “Might makes right”.

What’s crucial to note here is that a person who is themselves at the level of clay will not and cannot be impressed by a person’s level of silver or gold, because they simply will not be able to perceive those elements. Even perceiving when a person carries significant levels of iron is difficult.

Being strong and vigorous will not impress any mature adult person, of course, for the reason that they only consider it impressive to be strong if one also has that strength under control. Wilding out and demonstrating raw physical dominance by fighting might impress some people, but it won’t impress those of a higher grade.

What will impress people of iron is being strong and having that strength under control. Respect is thus only given to those who are able to impose order upon their own bodies. At this level, it’s common for people to pay respect to people who are good at fighting, but to not respect people who are good at applying their intellects at the expense of martial prowess.

Alchemically, this level of control reflects the presence of iron, which itself implies a heightened degree of order. To have a will of iron is to have the ability to impose one’s will on one’s body no matter what it is telling one to do. The most impressive thing one can do here is to die on the battlefield by charging valiantly into the enemy and making them remember you.

Being strong and having that strength under control isn’t necessarily enough once one starts climbing the social hierarchy. Here, we enter the realm of silver, and here what impresses is not having strength, and not having that strength under control, but having that strength easily under control.

A person of iron will be impressed by the ability to bear great physical trials, but a person of silver will only be impressed if these trials are born with grace. This represents a softening, in the sense that the emphasis is no longer on killing like Rambo but rather preserving one’s humanity under duress.

The captain of a sports team always has to be a bit more of silver than the players under them, and it is on this basis they are judged after the match. Can they take a loss with good grace, and acknowledge the ways in which the opposition were superior? Can they take a win with good grace, and acknowledge that the opposition challenged and tested them despite the scoreline?

If they can do so while smiling, and while physically exhausted after an extended period of strenuous exertion and probably running on adrenaline, then they might impress the man of silver. This sort of behaviour will be considered noble or gentlemanly by any onlooker who are themselves sufficiently cultivated to appreciate it.

Of the fourth way to impress people very little can be said, as is usual for matters pertaining to alchemical gold. In the context of this essay it’s enough to say that it pertains to impressing people – and knowing that one has impressed people – without letting it go to one’s head and becoming egotistical.

In other words, it’s not enough to be strong, and it’s not enough to have that strength under control, and it’s not even enough to have that strength easily under control. If one wants to impress a man of gold, one has to be able to do all that without becoming too impressed by oneself, because it’s there that gold will not be.

This is extremely difficult for a number of reasons. The primary one is that it represents the apotheosis of the philosopher, which is an experience reserved only for the rarest of persons. Another major reason is that the temptations of the ego are evil in every possible application of the concept; they are multifarious enough so that evil can tempt one in any situation.

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VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger III

This reading continues on from here.

The sixth essay in Ride The Tiger is called “Active Nihilism – Nietzsche”, and continues to deal with the problem of the Death of God. Also continuing with the esoteric theme of this book, Evola appears to insist that the solution is alchemical. The negative is overwhelming and ascendant; it cannot be resisted. So the question becomes “how far the negative can be transformed into something positive.”

Here we are concerned with “the transition to the postnihilist stage.” Modern man is free, free from the strictures of Abrahamism – but free for what? We have striven against our enslavement for so long that we don’t know what to do with freedom. We invented God to assuage our existential anxiety, and, now that we are “free” from this God, that anxiety has rushed back with a vengeance. Evola cites Sartre here: “We are condemned to be free.”

Evola contends that Nietzsche’s conception of the Superman is not sufficient to avoid this nihilism. His reasoning is that the Superman theory is not sufficiently different from the other eschatologies, such as the Marxist one, and therefore cannot be more than a pseudosolution to the problem of nihilism.

As was true for Marxism, the Superman theory could potentially be used to justify all manner of horrors in the present by promising paradise in the future. However, Nietzsche’s theory of eternal recurrence strikes much closer to what might be described as a perennial philosophy.

The seventh essay is called “Being Oneself.” It seems as if that, once the pseudosolutions and outright false philosophies are abandoned, what one is left with is oneself. This something is beyond morality (indeed, morality is considered something to be liberated from), and internal, instead of imposed from without as if by God or King.

Nietzsche comes in for some criticism here. Evola considers his attitude to the human spirit “materialistic”, but concedes that Nietzsche must have seen beyond because he is capable of distinguishing the “Self” from the “I”. Other thinkers, such as Guyau, are considered, but dismissed for not offering anything truly new, merely “restrictions that more or less return to one οf the systems οf the old morality.”

Evola concludes that the answer, as ever, is to “Know Thyself”. However, there’s a caveat. In the past, it was easier to know thyself because one was defined by strictures of class, religion, nation, caste and many other things. Modern man is free, so he cannot fall back on these now-abandoned strictures.

Modern man is, in fact, so free that it is as if he has been shattered to pieces. His soul “contains multitudes”. This shattering, Evola contends, can be most easily observed in remorse, which is an emotion that mostly affects divided people and which is characteristic of our time.

The eighth essay is called “The Transcendent Dimension – ‘Life’ and ‘More Than Life'”. The man who gets it, Evola contends, is one who possesses a transcendental dimension, a spiritual dimension. Here he distances himself further from Nietzsche, who for Evola was more of a vessel that history acted through than a genuine actor in his own right. Nietzsche’s great error was “confusion of the sacred with the profane”.

Evola, through quoting Nietzsche, gives us a prescription for a man of gold, although without using alchemical terms: a many who has great passions (clay), but who holds them in check (iron), and who hold them in check with apparent ease (silver) and who, last of all, does not draw any particular egoic satisfaction from doing so (gold). Here, the highest sort of man is one who overcomes great dangers, for it is only in doing so that all these qualities can be expressed.

Evola mentions the common interest in Zen philosophy among the Beat Generation that was heavily influenced by the existentialists. Here, religious belief (of any kind) is rejected as a failure of the human spirit, of the sort of person who did not have the character to survive the tension of the Age of Nihilism, and who hence surrendered to easy answers.

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Smart and Dumb Are Best Measured Not On One Spectrum, But Two

The usual way for people to think about intelligence is as a single spectrum, where we start dumb and – if we’re lucky – grow to become smart. This seems to fit neatly into the dominant thought paradigm, which is that of materialist, empiricist science. This paradigm contends that single-celled organisms evolved to become intelligent and the more intelligent the better.

This is certainly one way of looking at things and it’s a valid perspective. It’s just a little simplistic. Intelligence is so multivariate and nebulous a concept that trying to reduce it to a single number is like trying to rank all of the world’s great works of art along a single scale. It might make some kind of sense, but it’s not really meaningful.

A better way to think about intelligence is that there’s a smart spectrum and there’s a dumb spectrum. The two have some overlap, but it’s minor. These two spectrums have been generally considered to overlap entirely, in that the more dumb a person is the less smart they must be and vice versa, but anyone who has met a decent range of other people in their life will know that this isn’t true.

The most obvious counterpoint to the single spectrum of intelligence argument is the large number of hopeless nerds and autists out there. There is an archetypal absent-minded professor who knows everything about their area of expertise and nothing about any other aspect of life – someone who could lecture a class of a hundred postgraduates but can’t change a lightbulb. Always these people dominate IQ tests, but it’s not as simple as declaring them intelligent.

These people, usually men, exhibit a high reading on the smart spectrum as well as a high reading on the dumb spectrum. So they aren’t intelligent in the same way as people who are high on the smart spectrum and low on the dumb spectrum.

This is not a dig at the university sort. A majority of smart people have made themselves less dumb for the reason that they have realised how much suffering their own dumbness causes and have acted to mitigate it. After all, what other use is being smart in the first place?

Another type of person who exhibits a high reading on both the smart and dumb spectrums is someone who wastes the intelligence they were born with. Being high on the smart spectrum isn’t by itself enough to succeed in life – there are all kinds of personal qualities like perseverance, diligence and honesty to consider.

People who are high on the smart spectrum and low on the dumb spectrum are rare, and are also difficult to recognise. After all, the average person is fairly dumb, and are therefore prone to assume that truly intelligent people are themselves dumb if they disagree with that average person on anything.

In many ways, these people are compelled to hide away, because being high on the smart spectrum isn’t necessarily a good thing, especially if someone else becomes envious of it and wants to challenge you.

Likewise, being low on the smart spectrum isn’t the worst thing either, because as long as one is also low on the dumb spectrum one can often just chip away at goals until they were completed, especially if one has been taught the right methodology. Being high on the smart spectrum can lead to distractions, and can lead to a person becoming impractical.

People low on the dumb spectrum and low on the smart spectrum might be the old-fashioned kind of person who never had a full education available to them, but who is nevertheless wise and not easy to fool. They can’t really fool others because they’re not smart enough to spin bullshit quickly enough, but it’s hard to fool them because they’re not greedy or gullible.

You could find a lot of this sort of person among farmers and agriculturalists, as well as members of traditionalist religions, and especially among old people.

The last sort of person is one who is low on the smart spectrum and high on the dumb spectrum. These people most effectively embody the chaos principle, because they are not as passive as people who are low on the dumb spectrum.

People high on the dumb spectrum have the tendency to do impulsive, mindless and destructive things, but if they’re also low on the smart spectrum they don’t tend to learn from their errors and gladly commit them over and over again. Driving drunk is a classic behavioural expression for a person in this quadrant.

These four personality types can be mapped onto an elementalist framework. The high-smart, low-dumb person can be thought of as gold, the high-smart, high-dumb person can be thought of as silver, the low-smart, low-dumb person can be thought of as iron and the low-smart, high-dumb person can be thought of as clay.

Whichever has the most value depends on what one is trying to achieve. If the important thing is to avoid errors, then the priority is to be low on the dumb spectrum. If the important thing is to be creative and to react quickly to changing environments, then the priority is to be high on the smart spectrum.

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Should New Zealand Legalise Cannibalism Out of Respect For Maori Culture?

In recent years, people have been asking hard questions about the effects of Western colonisation on the New World. Many moral values that were taken to be universal are now being re-evaluated in the new light of Western oppression. Eventually, New Zealand will need to ask itself: were the British wrong to abolish cannibalism?

In British culture, there is a massive taboo around cannibalism. The act is considered even lower than barbaric, more befitting of an animal than of a human being. Famous cases such as the Sawney Bean family horrify British people even to this day. The taboo can be traced back at least as far as Homer and is universal in the West.

In Maori culture, before British contact, there was no such taboo. Cannibalism was rife. The act of cannibalism was, as it has been all around the world, an extremely effective black magic ritual, in which the cannibal convinced themselves that they had absorbed the power of their victim. This ritual is effective for the simple reason that it increases the ego of the cannibal and makes them more formidable in the realm of iron magic. Moral considerations didn’t come into it.

So a couple of questions have to be asked: if cannibalism was an accepted part of Maori culture (in that it was practiced by many tribes over the whole country), did the British really have the right to suppress that particular cultural expression? And, if they didn’t have that right, are we obligated to re-legalise cannibalism out of respect for Maori culture?

After all, cannibalism may have been an effective method for keeping the tribe strong. Because it was mostly the old, children and those defeated in battle who got eaten, it could be argued that this practice served to keep the Maori genepool free of weakness. If so, who are white people to impose their own moral framework over a useful practice?

The major objection to cannibalism is that it is almost never consensual, and arguably could not ever be with someone of right mind, for the simple reason that it goes against basic self-preservation instincts. Getting cannibalised in New Zealand usually meant that one’s brains were first dashed out with a patu or taiaha, and it’s hard to legalise this for obvious reasons.

Another major objection is that many Maori tribes actually opposed the practice of cannibalism, and were happy to welcome the British settlers, who not only also opposed it but who had muskets to make their opposition count. The Ngati Porou of the author of this piece is one such example. Thus is could be argued that cannibalism was never a universal Maori practice and therefore not an integral part of the culture.

However, these objections have to be considered in the context of modern technology. As Sir Apirana Ngata said: “Ko to ringa ki ngā rakau a te Pāhekā” (“Your hands to the tools of the Pakeha”). Well, now ngā rakau a te Pāhekā include machines that can grow animal flesh in laboratories, and cheaply enough so that a lab-grown steak can be produced for $20. It won’t be long until we can cheaply grow human flesh in a lab.

If human flesh can be grown in a laboratory, this would get around the problem of people having to be killed into order for cannibalism to be possible. This would get around the moral objections so far presented against the legalisation of cannibalism. If there are then no remaining objections to legalising cannibalism, one is forced to conclude that the balance of liberty ought to fall on the side of established precedent.

Because cannibalism has been practiced in these isles for much longer than English has been spoken, it seems natural to conclude that it ought to take precedent over British settler values like not practicing cannibalism. Therefore, the New Zealand Government ought to take action that clearly demonstrates its respect for Maori culture, and make the practice of cannibalism legal.

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The Tyranny of Mercury is Control of Information and Free Expression

Mercury was known as the “Messenger of the Gods”, and alchemically represents the information that is immediately below transcendental

Mercury comes inbetween silver and gold in the hierarchy of alchemical substances, which is one reason why it was given the name “quicksilver”. As the tyranny of silver is control of intellectual perceptions and the tyranny of gold is control of spiritual perceptions, so is the tyranny of mercury control of information and truth perceptions. This means controlling who is allowed to say what and when.

All tyrannies have an interest in controlling information – a lesson best taught by Orwell’s 1984. As Stalin said, “Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We don’t let our enemies have guns, so why would we let them have ideas?” Ideas are how people organise themselves, and without ideas they are unable to position themselves to strike against the tyrants, never mind whether they have guns.

Resistance to a tyranny must first begin with an idea, because the resistance will need to rally around an idea if they are to be coherent enough to succeed. The usual case is for that idea to be expressed in terms of information, as a memeplex, and therefore counter-resistance must first begin with denying accurate or meaningful information to the people, because otherwise the people will provide and share the necessary information to each other.

Thus, in order to control information you have to first control free expression. There are two major ways to do this.

The first is through legal consequences. This means to forbid a range of opinions or means of expression and then to punish anyone who proceeds to express them anyway. The best-known examples of these methods are the Soviet Union and East Germany. In the latter country it is believed that, at one time, one in five of the adult population were Stasi informants.

In the 21st century, tyrannical attitudes to free expression can be observed in the ever-increasing prison sentences handed down to people for what are essentially blasphemy charges – blasphemy against the religion of political correctness. This has been happening in Britain for some years already and it looks likely to get worse.

Some of the most egregious examples are the sentences for social media posts criticising Islam. Freedom to criticise religion – especially the mindless, violent, supremacist cults of Abrahamism – has been an integral part of Western culture since the Enlightenment.

This could be equated to “hard power” in the sense that transgressors run the risk of getting locked into a cage of iron by direct force. It’s essentially no different to giving someone a backhand across the mouth for saying the wrong thing. The ultimate purpose is to discourage the transgression by applying immediate physical suffering.

The second way to control free expression is through social consequences. Although this is similar to the first category in the sense that the idea is to modify behaviour by punishing that which is undesired, this method uses more subtlety – although it can be equally as brutal.

Humans have a deep, instinctual fear of being excluded from the tribe. In the biological past, getting banished from the tribe for some kind of moral transgression frequently meant death. Even though starving to death is nearly impossible in today’s age of plenty, the raw, primal fear of it remains – and can be manipulated by those who can see the wiring of the human brain.

One of the consequences of this pattern of human instinctual behaviour is that people with social influence can wield this influence as a weapon against those without it, by threatening to destroy the community reputation of those with low social capital. The way to destroy another person’s community reputation is to suggest that they are not moral on account of some belief they have or action they have taken, thus leading to distrust.

Such threats frequently evoke fear and acquiescence, and could be equated to “soft power”. This is similar to the sense that countries like Britain are believed (by some) to possess a cultural influence that goes much further than their military one. A perception exists that one risks being shunned from the clique of cool nations if one goes against them.

It can be readily observed today that the West is falling into a state where freedom of expression can no longer be taken for granted. When a tyranny begins to fail, the first thing they are tempted to do is to restrict free expression, because the free expression of a people who have been failed by their leaders will involve criticism, and this criticism threatens the continued rule of the tyrant. Understanding the tyranny of mercury gives us clues as to the tyrant’s next moves.

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Why Spirituality is Represented Elementally by Gold

In terms of elementalism, it can be said that clay represents health, iron represents courage, silver represents intelligence and gold represents spirituality. But why should spirituality be equated with gold in particular? This essay examines the question.

Gold is the cornerstone of the economy, because it’s ultimately what backs debt (even if that’s no longer as apparent as it was when we were on the gold standard). Everyone knows, intuitively or otherwise, that other people will always accept gold as payment for goods and services, and therefore that the substance always has value. This means that material things can be valued in terms of gold.

In alchemism, gold represents spirituality, for the reason that spiritual treasures are the most valuable of all. The universal appeal of gold is similar to the universal appeal of a genuine connection with God. Much as the value of gold is obvious to anyone who can sense it in the material plane, so is the possession of metaphysical gold obvious to those tuned into it.

Gold is the rarest in physical terms, and its the hardest to create in alchemical terms. Like genuine spiritual wisdom, there simply isn’t very much of it. Although clay is everywhere and iron can easily be found, silver and gold require more effort, and gold twenty times more so than silver.

The intellectual traditions that give value to silver might be hard-won, but it’s possible to develop them in a formulaic manner through the education system. There is no such thing as formulaic development of spirituality. Every consciousness takes its own path back to God.

Without spirituality, people are terrified of their own deaths, because they tend to drift into materialism, and therefore the belief that the brain generates consciousness, and therefore the belief that the death of the physical body means the extermination of this consciousness.

This reasoning causes them to think more short-term. After all, if long-term thinking means having to face up to fact that one will die, it’s best to avoid it entirely. Best just to live for immediate gratification, and the less guilt the better.

This has repercussions, many of which are denied by the men of silver and iron. The men of silver delude themselves into thinking that the spiritual side of life is childish nonsense, in contrast to the hard, adult sobriety of their scientific materialism. The men of iron, for their part, consider gold to be soft and therefore a weak element, not particularly more valuable than clay on account of its lack of immediate application to warfare.

Both are grievously wrong, and wrong in a way that causes immense suffering. The men of silver find that, no matter how many books they read, they cannot solve existential questions without an understanding of the true nature of God. Absent this, the pin is pulled from history and it no longer has any meaning. The men of iron don’t even know what they’re missing out on.

Another way in which gold represents spirituality is that it cannot degrade. Clay can rot, iron can rust and silver can tarnish – but there is no such equivalent for gold. One can leave a gold coin out in the elements for ten years and it will be as shiny as the day one left it there. Like spirituality, gold is not temporal in this sense.

Metaphysical gold works in a similar fashion. The health and strength of every person fades early in their life, and their mental powers fade late, but all of these temporal powers must fade. Spirituality relates to that which endures beyond the death of the physical body, and value earned early in life tends to endure.

A final way is that gold is extremely malleable: one gram of it can be hammered out into a sheet one square metre in area.

Spirituality, too, is extremely malleable. It is useful everywhere. Whereas big muscles are seldom useful and big brains are only useful where there is information to be processed, an appreciation of the fact that this is it will pay off in all domains of life.

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VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger II

This reading continues on from here.

Part II of Ride the Tiger is called ‘In the World Where God is Dead’, and deals with the ever-present problem of the nihilism that arises when one abandons traditional values. This part consists of nine essays.

The first of these (the third essay in the book), ‘European Nihilism – the Dissolution of Morals’, sets the tone for this section. The subject matter will be familiar to any reader of Nietzsche, and indeed Nietzsche is mentioned in the first paragraph. This essay also mentions Doestoevsky, in the context of “If God is dead, everything is permitted.” It promises to be heavy stuff!

“Rational”, or atheistic morality, has no firm basis, Evola contends. Without an appeal to a higher power, any moral philosophy will eventually be chipped away at by critics until it disintegrates. Moral taboos cannot be justified, and therefore we can’t move past “everything is permitted”.

Perhaps more worryingly, it’s possible that, even if God did exist and inform us all, nothing would really change.

The fourth essay is ‘From the Precursors of Nihilism to the “Lost Youth” and the Protest Movement’. Existence has become absurd, Evola contends, because there are no longer any restraints. Here he traces the advancement of nihilism in the years post-Nietzsche. As Nietzsche predicted, the problem of nihilism only intensified as we entered the 20th century.

Movements such as punks and beatniks are drawn under the wider rubric of nihilists. The counter-culture becomes, for Evola, a “destructive, voiceless rage”. It’s isn’t necessarily that things are bad in and of themselves, but that a quiet, peaceful, mediocre life evokes this rage. Natural man feels little difference between the modern cornucopia of manufactured goods and slavery.

Citing Paul van den Bosch when he wrote that “When we were born, the gold was already transmuted into lead,” Evola makes another appeal to the perennial philosophy and its esoteric nature. This is necessary because the left-wing revolution has “betrayed its origins” with “a new conformism” – a statement that echoes in 2018.

The fifth essay is ‘Disguises of European Nihilism – The Socioeconomic Myth and the Protest Movement’. To Evola’s mind, there are two great socioeconomic myths of our time: the myth of Western prosperity, and the Marxist-communist myth of oppressor versus oppressed. Both myths are predicated on the same falsehood, namely that the signs and markers of the dissolution of society represent “progress”.

One severe problem exists with both of these myths: neither has any room for any conception of a higher world – the realm of gold in alchemism – and so both myths, while they solve the problem of nihilism, introduce unacceptable problems of their own. Both ideologies are predicated on a gross, fundamental error: that solving questions of material suffering will also solve questions of existential suffering.

Perhaps the last words here are “there is no correlation between material and spiritual misery.” This lays out the futility of trying to find absolution through materialist avenues. One is left with the impression, in Evola’s words, that “The time is near of the most despicable οf men, who can nο longer despise himself.”

Are we now in the time of the Man of Clay?

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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).