Critique of Palingenesis
Posted by Guest Blogger on Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 02:26 AM
by Potential Frolic
I want to explain my struggle with the idea of Palingenesis and what it has taught me about nationalism and myself. The desire to do this flows from frequent encounters here and elsewhere with “the Palingenetic Necessity”, which I define as the conviction that no other model of political action can support white survival in our times.
Understanding the problem
Seeing the destructive forces working upon our peoples presently, and fearing very much for his own survival and that of his people, the (folkish) nationalist turns his eye to Palingenesis, which presents itself as the opposite to today’s politics of ethnic suicide. The goal of Palingenesis is to renew the values of a supposed heroic and glorious past, these values being assumed to be real and contingent even if the past in question is only a myth, and to venture towards heroism and glory in the present.
GW has argued that advocates of Palingenesis are not necessarily good psychologists. They do not take account of the fact that the man is of the time in which he is born, decadent or otherwise, and carries only two possibilities within himself:
(i) to belong to that time and have no truck with, or even knowledge of, the truth of his Self, or
(ii) to seek out truth even at the cost of turning away - if someone tells him how - from time and place and artifice.
There is no special third option for the rebirth of the spirit as heroism and glory, according to GW. Heroism and glory are not characteristics of the true Self but of immersion in violence. They can only appear in time and place, therefore, and cannot be different to or better than the rest of the artifice. They are a beautiful deception - in fact, a bastardization for the purpose of reifying political violence.
As psychology, then, Palingenesis as it appears in fascism and revolutionary conservatism is a sham, albeit an alluring one. It answers the following two wholly utilitarian questions in the positive:
1. Is not violence done by the “heroic and glorious” to others in the world who create or support decadence and disorder a nett good?
2. Is not the violence done by forcing a one-dimensional model upon the man less harmful than decadence? After all, the violence returns to the man the capacity to make adaptive choices.
Both these questions require a cost/benefit assessment, some of the cost factors in which were claimed by GW, in the context of National Socialist Germany, to include these observable facets:
I am now going to abstract some of the underlying aspects of Palingenesis in history and examine them in a non-historical context.
My definition of palingenetic politics is this: a state that is ideologically committed to purifying the life and the blood of the people, and to freeing and aggrandizing them through actions predicated on zero-sum competition between in- and out-groups. This reduces to the state wielding the nation as a tool for competition in its own name.
Certain recognizable patterns emerge from this practice, as certain methods of control and propaganda (realization of the nation’s purpose, in the minds of the true believer) are found to be more effective than others. These patterns are:
? Moral order restructured around the goal of successful competition with out-groups. Society takes on a new moral order. External cues related to competition with out-groups now trump the internal processes essential to self-expression of the people. The life of the nation becomes hollowed out as it is refashioned as a weapon to guarantee nothing but its continued existence.
Palingenesis is thus made synonymous, by dint of a very simple reasoning process, with “survival of our people”, and this reappears in our time as the “Palingenetic Necessity”. Any action, thought, statement or feeling can therefore be evaluated in terms of its effect on such a distant, yet morally-loaded abstraction as “survival of our people”, by looking at its effects on the process/machine of palingenetic politics. To be for Palingenesis is to be for the life of our people, to be against Palingenesis is to be for the death of our people. This sharply polarizing moral divide empowers the worst part of white man, his Achilles’ heel: his tendency to submit to abstract moral imperatives. Given what weapons now exist and are coming into existence, it remains to be seen whether fanatical adherence to a zero-sum competition model would be more adaptive than fanatical adherence to the anti-racist non-zero-sum competition model of our present day. It would prevent race-replacement but could also trigger myriad catastrophes, just as this mental/moral model precipitated World War II quite directly. The last assertion isn’t to be rebuffed with the posting of allied memoranda or a relativization of the concept of responsibility in light of complex chains of cause and effect.
? Mythicization injected into the meme-stream and favored over rational thinking, especially touching matters of identity, national interest, history, and future goals. A mythically-exaggerated viewpoint touching these things is considered a moral necessity. The critique of this may be considered immoral. The nation demands protection, even against Truth.
? Centralization of narrative creating unity within society, while the moral directive drives this to excess in the form of group-think. There are denunciations of traitors, etc. It’s a similarly fractious atmosphere to some WN blog comments sections, or to Athens in the time of “professional accusors”. Weak-minded whites dogpile on top of each other trying to excel one another in the fulfillment of the moral directive with the same slavishness that they now pursue anti-racism. This slavishness in the name of serving abstract moral imperatives may be the white man’s specific particular ugliness.
? Zero-sum competition as dominant paradigm makes the relationships to out-groups and neighbors deliberately fractious. This attitude makes militarization “inevitable”.
? Extrapolation of psychological zero-sum competition model demands that arms races in every aspect of existence be seen as “inevitabilities” which must be paranoiacally pursued. The dominance of this attitude does not require much before it leads to white-on-white violence.
? Cretinization of the ‘tough-boy’ class. When it becomes socially lauded (i.e. one can get praise points) to develop an aggressive tendency within oneself, such as is demanded by successfully rigorous zero-sum competition with outgroups, the morally cowardly goody-two-shoes types begin to become ‘tough guys’. Following the logic that this toughness is good and uniquely essential, the question then becomes “How tough can you be?”. Arms races take place within palingenetic white society, favoring those who can outwardly signal the existence of these mental states more unambiguously than others. These dynamics already play out in the comments sections of our own blogs.
After the first intellectual sets the stage for the moral necessity of being a ‘tough-boy’, the next memetic generation propagandically patterned after this model suffers a degradation in quality, as the caveats and fine tuning present in the original ‘prototype’ intellectual are not accurately reproducible within the tough-boy. As the first propaganda-inspired tough boy inspires others, quality begins to degrade until we have this personality module being run in excess, when cretinism is the inevitable result. A cretin is a morally-empowered idiot zealously carrying out the supposed will of the collective.
? The “palingenetic necessity” is not arguable through science, since our understanding of social and political process models can’t be said yet to have achieved the objectivity and predictive power necessary to constitute a science. It should be obvious to readers of political and social critiques or treatises, the extent to which everyone who is analyzing these extremely complex phenomena is more an artist, indeed an artiste, than a scientist.
In other words, you can argue that immigration hinders EGI by using science. You can’t (yet) use science to argue that the best way to obviate race-replacement is Palingenesis. Our understanding of gene flow in populations has reached the level where it can be described as “scientific”. Even at a primitive level, our understanding of this is sufficiently free from subjective bias - since apart from certain career research scientists, no one has any great emotional stock in a certain model of gene flow winning out over another one. But the extremely personal nature of political opinions, being immediately and rather obviously tethered to one’s self-concept and self-assertion, would have to make us suspect a subjective bias in the advocacy of any political model. Therefore, political process-modelling remains pre-scientific for at least two reasons:
(i) because the phenomena it attempts to understand are some of the most complex in existence (i.e. more complex than gene flow), and
(ii) because it links more directly to human self-concepts and emotional self-management, thus giving to assertions pro and contra an emotional resonance which hinders objective abstract reasoning processes.
In short, any assertion of “Palingenetic Necessity” rests on the authority of your own mental ability to internally model complex political and social processes. Yet a moment’s reflection will reveal how poorly humans are able to do this. A look at the image-calculation algorithm being employed by those arguing in favor of this shows the ‘cartoonish’ nature of these “understandings”: one sees goose-stepping Nazis and infers ultimate commitment and psychological sincerity in the service of a grand ideal. The loyalties of other nations, not being obscenely painted in terms which none can ignore, are presumed not to exist or presumed wanting. This is a reflection of the dullness of sensibility which requires great cinematic effects to produce any acknowledgment of something non-tangible existing. Absent the theatrics, non-tangibles are presumed nullities. In certain, not uncharacteristic instances, palingenesis advocates have such a feeling of mistrust towards fellow whites that nothing less than the alienating clarion call of Nazism will reassure them of the existence of some substratum of loyalty. However the crudest psychological masks are always the most easily donned, and the crudeness of the requisite shows of loyalty births the problem of informers.
An argument could be made that the desire for Palingenetic nationalism amongst western whites is actually a reflection of their having been culturally Judaized in the post-war period. It is my belief that a palingenesis advocate is a Judaized white, seeking to throw off his yoke in the most violent manner possible, and thus rebelling in the most extreme terms, but still operating within a Judaized mental framework.
The palingenesis advocate has ‘bought’ the interpretation that the West fought for tolerance against intolerance in WWII, which is a Jewish manipulation of historical interpretation; he has succumbed to pop-culture’s alienating influences, losing his traditional cultural mooring – the resulting alienation is what makes a swing towards revolutionary eschatological fantasy possible; and he has accepted the moralistic lie, that Hitler represents some uniquely potent Shaman figure, made to stand for the negative dipole of the Judaized moral universe which the young rebel is trying to invert. Hollywood will have cultivated in him a taste for great cinematic effects – and the inevitable result of this thoroughgoing process of Judaization is that, when one wants it to stop but has no external reference points, one cries out the name of its central bogeyman: Hitler! The equivalent of Milton’s fallen angle saying: “Evil, be thou my good.”
? Because arguments for Palingenesis make more assumptions about political processes and outcomes than can be supported scientifically, they cannot use the appeal to reason which is the basis of European social consensus-building. They are left with an emotional appeal, to those who have actually internalized a visceral feeling of danger at the prospect of being race-replaced.
Thus, Palingenesis limits its appeal to those who are recovering from the emotional shell-shock of confronting the reality of race-replacement. People who build this feeling of violation and desire for vengeance into their personality structure believe that the strength of their feeling will be enough to inspire them to override the traditional European consensus-building process, and radically take control (presumably of the government) as a radicalized minority driven by zeal. They see themselves as achieving a post-rational domination of society based on the strength of their emotive convictions.
This is how advocates of Palingenesis understand or see the future political process unfolding. One very important consequence flows from this paradigm:
? The steering of a political community based on the emotional drives of a ruling clique implies authoritarianism. This is because much of what they do will be seen as arbitrary, and suppression will be seen as the immediately available solution. In this sense, the Palingenesis advocates will come to understand why ruling cliques generally excel at “doing nothing” (i.e. maintaining the status quo while using their influence to quietly accumulate personal wealth), because they will come to learn the difficulties imposed by ever actually trying to “do something” (i.e. the resistance offered by anyone affected negatively by their actions - and there is always someone). Since Palingenesis advocates see themselves as revolutionizing society largely pro-actively through their own actions, this stirred-up resistance will be quite large. The inevitable logical implication in a mind which has acceded to “the Palingenetic Necessity”, is that these resistances must be put down with whatever force will do the job.
? In their model, this is considered a plausible outcome. I believe that the mental models of Palingenesis advocates do not include realistic evaluations of the likely reactions of non-advocates to their political plans.
Palingenesis has difficulty avoiding excesses in all these areas, because as a model it acknowledges no other reality besides that of zero-sum competition. In misunderstanding how obsession with ” the Palingenetic Necessity” obscures other realities and ways of viewing politics/oneself/the nation, one habitually views white society from the zero-sum frame, and cuts oneself off from experiencing anything else. Having admitted the absolute moral imperative of zero-sum survivalism, one’s relationship to one’s nation is effectively stuck in this paradigm.
Memetic uptake of palingenetic ideas debarred by emotional repulsion
The motivation structures which underlie the genesis and absorption of memes are just as important as the memes themselves. This is especially true when considering philosophies of white survival which are ultimately graded in terms of effectiveness, truth value and virality. NS has a maximum putative effectiveness in theory, a minimal effectiveness in practice, and a virality index that goes far into the negative. Today that philosophy exists, outside of the prison system, primarily as a rehabilitating way-station for those shell-shocked by the realization of race-replacement. The difficulty in memetic transfer of palingenetic philosophies is related to the motivation structure driving the adoption of these philosophies.
In out time, Palingenesis is essentially a racial revenge fantasy. Advocates can be seen to wallow in ego identities corresponding to one who feels robbed, wronged, and in danger - but who resolves triumphantly to squash his enemies, regardless of the cost. Thus, Palingenesis knows how to be the victim, how to be the make-believe triumphant conqueror-hero, and how to be the ruthless denizen of its own self-interestedness.
The problem is that these psychological states are repulsive to all but those who think they have no other choice but to inhabit them: in other words, those who are:
(a) deeply self-identified as whites,
(b) viscerally perceive the imminent downfall of whites, and
(c) react to this in the strongest personal terms.
This is an idiosyncratic combination of identities and reactions, and one of the long-shot hopes of Palingenesis is that as we are continually inundated with non-whites, everyone will take upon themselves this psychological profile. This does, in fact, show constant signs of coming about, but perhaps not to the extent required for Palingenesis to become viral. This assumption forces passivity on those who hold it, until a putative future tipping point at which the “inevitable” logic of Palingenesis will become manifest to everyone.
The difficulty, as far as meme uptake is concerned, is that these emotional states are not attractive to human beings. Once the requisite psychological state (basically, in our time, terror at race-replacement) has been induced in a white person, he or she may take up these ideas. Yet the emotive content of these ideas and the channels they are broadcast on make their uptake a net negative for any normal, balanced mainstream white person. It is the emotional ugliness of the obsessively zero-sum competition model that whites react to, not its logical consonance with observed reality.
A glyph is a mark on a piece of paper. Thinking of glyphs, for me a picture comes to mind of a metallic square with a ‘g’ or an ‘s’ protruding out from it. These things were aligned in rows to create a line of print on the page of a book.
A glyph is also a word that I use to mean something represented as a simplified symbol, when the act of observation has ceased and the detection of stereotyped characteristics triggers the insertion of a representative label into one’s stream of thoughts. A glyph is the label, and the image triggered in your mind by that word or label which you abstracted from experience.
We know that the glyph simplifies the reality, and even by its presence, signifies that the wonderment at that reality and the observation of it has ceased, and it has been mined, to some extent whored, for its usable thought-Gold: a glyph.
Glyphs are amenable to manipulation in the service of an ego, and every day in comments sections of white survival message boards, imaginary white glyphs do imaginary battle against imaginary non-white hoards: this is what people do when they strategize. Essentially, these glyphs are pawns on a chessboard - there with the express purpose of expanding into the other half of the board while defending our own, and knocking out the opponent’s pieces. If some pawns have to die, or be sacrificed for the collective, with a ridiculous overzealousness we welcome that possibility. We think of our people as pawns, as simple units in a struggle between forces.
Someone wrote once in the comments section of this blog:
This conundrum puzzled me as a young man, and I sat one day on the Aachener Weiher reading Joachim Fest’s biography of Hitler, and wondering to what extent Adolf Hitler could be said to love the German people. I was quite astounded by what I found: he barely even knew any Germans. All through his formative years and until he reached power, he hardly had any intimate friendships of any kind with anyone. When he began to have any social experience beyond the flop house and his artistic patrons, it was in the military and the political parties. When and on what basis then, was this love conceived? Was it his flop house comrades he loved (though he later had his best friend of those times killed)? His icy and distant Austrian father? How does any of that get extrapolated to the German people, honestly?
There is no actual way to love an entire nation, you simply extrapolate a feeling you have towards certain specific people and acknowledge that it is shared uniqueness and shared descent which contribute to the feeling. My question, then, is: where did Hitler experience this love?
My discovery was, that he didn’t. He “loved” Germans as glyphs in a cataclysmic mental war-game, where they represent the forces of good - for him connected to Wagnerian opera, architecture, “civilization”, and military success (read: marks of improved social standing), all enacted in the service of a racial/national revenge fantasy and driven by such paradigms as “the humiliation of Versailles” and “the impending Communist take-over”. There is no deep experience of the German people, unless we posit that one can get that from attending Wagner’s operas. I would like to point readers to the real difficulties which this man experienced in German society before he became the first Mega-Star of mass media entertainment: absent the stage and centrality, he by no means could bring loving relationships into being with the Germans of his time. That was very problematic for him, and he was looked on as a peculiarity until he could be turned into an apocalyptic showpiece.
Hence the formulation Weltmacht oder Untergang - world dominion or downfall - which, in some form or another, constantly reappears throughout his speeches leading up to the war. Hence the willingness to sacrifice men. A man who loved would have not allowed the possibility of Untergang. Unfortunately you cannot love a glyph, and those entrapped in fantasy cannot see the world except through glyphs, while being certain that they have grasped the entire phenomenon.
There is another way of experiencing your countrymen or brethren. As you remove more and more pre-conceived understandings from the experience of them, people can distend into something that has a significance beyond one’s own idées fixes. Instead of being experienced as categories, i.e. “German”, “Englishman”, people can be experienced without interspersing political meaning or any sort of meaning. Viewed in this way, people appear more as fountains of energy than as discrete role-players in this or that drama connected to your conception of self, and there emerges a shared feeling with them.
Knowing people who are sprung from a common blood, you can perceive that a peculiar frequency seems to come from them. If you are sprung from a similar source, you can perceive how their energy reverberates in you consonantly and dissonantly, and that you can share in it more easily than when you were among more alien peoples. In moving amongst them and perceiving this, you can feel a way of relating to them that brings you closer to yourself. You can have experiences with them that bring you nearer to yourself, and absolve your discreteness, your particular isolation, into a shared continuity with them. And these may be some of the most meaningful experiences of your life.
After that, sending them off to die for a fetish or thinking of them in terms of categories becomes impossible.
Its my contention that the palingenetic dream ... the heroic and the glorious ... is an ego-game using whites as glyphs, and the philosophy that loves… is not.