Thymos Book Club Position Paper #2
About a year ago, I started this blog by writing: “The plan is to reclaim air superiority using testosterone & vision.”
And so I embarked upon a quest to find the Grail of Europe’s lost thymos. In strange and remote realms, far from the falseal lights of the cities, I drank from pure sources. Sacred honey healed my eyes and arms, and by the grace of Gnon the Allfadr, Kek’s One Thousand Pepes and the Holy Roman Thymos of Evropa, I finally beheld the form of their victorious Trinity rising out of the mists of time.
What did I see?
I saw the Cathedral forsaken and ruined.
I saw Europe put an end to the Great Replacement and withstanding the titanic waves of the Islamic conquerors and migrators.
I saw Europe make itself great again.
I saw the many small and less small männerbünde that acted with the tools at their disposal during the decisive years of Europe’s greatest peril. They went on paths unseen, they gathered and in silence forged bonds of trust and thymos, together building instruments of victory.
May the following three fragments of this vision inspire you to seek your own thymos in 2017.
Study objective reality and the laws of Gnon, unleash unrestricted philosophical warfare, conquer your opponents in the intellectual arena.
Only public intellectuals can fulfill this commandment in a straightforward and complete manner, because they are named men 1. Pseudonymous takedowns are possible, yet lower thymos, which is why we see less of them on the Internet 2. Pseudonymity entails lower stakes, though higher than anonymity, which worships content alone and ritually repudiates social capital to signal authenticity. Sola scriptura, let the memes speak for themselves.
Good predictions, even unattached to a name, are nonetheless both a direct and an indirect source of thymos. Good predictions are status-enhancing, starting at the basic individual level of self-esteem, and ending in public attention and economic demand.
Thus within the alt-right, various intellectual factions contend for status. This competition takes place to some extent in a spirit of “good Eris”, and to another in a spirit of purges and Internet drama. The TBC sees productive value in the first sort of agon. Factions will however continue to seek status gains at the expense of proximate factions as long there is no 0 to 1 type of victory. Such victories are hard to directly achieve on the pure level of analysis, because good predictions are extremely hard.
We live however in a world were the indirect impact of good predictions potentially outweighs direct status-gains, and easily so, because better predictions lead to better strategy, which leads to better everything via market value realization (superior capital management, superior entrepreneurship) — this is how you become the de facto go-to advisor of power 3. This is what Plato aspired to, and this is to a large extent what NRx aspires to.
Without doubt, Steve Bannon emerges as one of 2016’s most impressive operationalizers of analytical superiority. He shows us a way to capture the indirect value of analytical superiority.
What about 2017 and beyond? The TBC inclines towards the opinion that NRx potentially holds key resources needed to take this dynamic to the next level.
There is a lot of soul-searching right now within this camp. The natural temptation to assert intellectual leadership over the Alt-Right through sheer autism analytical brute force will always be there. But this is not where the best thymos lies. The question is: What would an NRx Steve Bannon do? — what would he build?
First things first: he would develop an objective predictive model of the world and of enemy behavior. Predictions about enemy behavior must be based on a general understanding of the universe. Where is the enemy weak, where is he strong? Equally important, he would produce an objective analysis of his own side’s strengths and weaknesses, or assets and liabilities.
The second step would be to formulate a strategic vision based on this model and invest resources to build instruments of victory (that leverage available assets and point them at the enemy’s weaknesses.)
The third step is the feedback from strategy to model building.
The first part only can be conducted to some fruitful extent in the public sphere. The Dark Enlightenment sphere contains high level discussions of this general nature. The emergence of this sphere is part spontaneous, part deliberate as platforms develop. Platforms are where people conduct exchanges, where they choose to share their thoughts. Many would rather post the equivalent of a blog post in the comment section or in the chat room of a good platform.
A relevant snapshot of prediction-oriented discussions within NRx is provided by the various recent takes on the matter of the enemy’s relative state of strength or weakness (Spandrell, PT Carlos, Dividuals for a sample.)
Such discussions are like sparring sessions: they provide exercise for growing analytical acumen, for a growing understanding of history. They flare up due to a shared immediate, intuitive understanding of the question’s relevance. But the growth itself would be better stimulated by a clear internal strategic vision. Higher stakes, higher thymos. Is there any way in which this question is operationally relevant? What strategically relevant functions does the enemy’s strength level factor into?
The next TBC Position Paper (ie the next post, WIP title Measuring Thymos) will take this subject matter further.
Once we embark upon this quest, Gnon will test us, will throw us into self-doubt. We need to be sustained by thymos to find the thymos Grail. We need mindset superiority.
Build your Männerbund, praise Kek and hold high the memory of past heroes when composing your own sacred narrative.
Take Spandrell. He built a mini-platform entirely based on the value of his analytical and historical insights. He wants a new religion that restores the thymos balance in our societies: who doesn’t, in theory?
The disconnect between what he wants and what he actually built is due to the fact that he blogs spontaneously from a strong intellectual foundation. He knows he doesn’t have a strategy, but this is fundamentally congruent with the pessimism that provides him with the strong cognitive pillar on which he built his prolific and excellent blog. He has his own enduring thymos.
Although he praises Kek, he exhibits the telling reluctance of intellectuals in general to engage in activism and bro-culture, tokens of sympathy notwithstanding. This reluctance is telling because it makes explicit the unthought, unreflective reluctance of the whole established system, of the whole non-intellectual mainstream, to take a brave step outside of the dominant narrative and face the consequences of calling bs on the naked emperor. The entire emergence of an active and bonding reactionary intelligentsia is in itself a predictor that the whole social system is standing not that far removed from an “Emperor’s New Clothes” moment. There are many little signs of this, Jordan Peterson’s recent rise in prominence certainly being one of them. How far from an active epochal change are we, then? The risk is that we’ll never know. The East Germans decided to find out, a generation ago. Back then, one predictor was the Samizdat.
Compared to the old Samizdat that saved the soul of the East, the Internet has one big drawback: less skin in the game, less thymos. Russian dissidents wrote epic novels to “speak for those who lie under the earth”, to express what they really thought of the regime behind compliant facades, to write the untold and suppressed history of their people. Illegal copies of banned works written in blood would circulate under the mantle 4. The bonds of trust this creates are powerful.
Some complain that Spandrell is depressing and that he leads his readers astray. Hasn’t he suggested that European conversion to Islam is an option? I write this picturing to myself the boiling blood of some of my high thymos readers. But Spandrell and Houellebecq are right: Islam is one way to solve the thymos imbalance in Europe. If being European kills you from inside, if it means death by progressivism, you are ultimately justified in deciding to stop being European. That is the merciless law of Gnon.
But it’s one or the other: Europe | Islam 5.
Our main risk today, particularly in Europe, is to merely suffer catastrophic collapse without putting up a fight. High thymos guys sense that, and this is where Kek comes into play. The best understanding of Kek I’ve seen so far lies in Dividuals’ post (which I already linked to), specifically the following bit:
“The Alt-Right is playing a dangerous game. Essentially they are betting the era of the Allies, of the United Nations is dead in 2016. That that era of history is over, the power coalition that won WW2 is no longer in power, its threats are empty and can no longer rally support by portraying its opponents as one of the Old Enemy. So basically they ironically roleplay being Nazis and watch whether the ass-kicking is coming or not. Sort of calling an “the emperor is naked” on the Allied elite, betting that it doesn’t even exist anymore or no longer powerful.
It’s a bullshit call. When the French Revolution accused the Ancien Regime of being “feudal” it was of course bullshit, but dead serious. It was a threat and they delivered on that threat pretty rough. But if in 1945 some guys would dress up in knightly attire and ride around in Paris yelling “we are totally feudal!”of course all that would happen is a laughter. Being seen as feudal did not imply getting the guillotine anymore. And this is why the Alt-Right is dressing up as Nazis today, figuratively speaking. It is that kind of bullshit call, testing if that era of history is over, testing of the powers that be no longer identify as Allied. They are checking if being seen as Nazis does not imply the Nuremberg necktie anymore. Well, it doesn’t, it didn’t imply anything like that in 1980 either, but it was still social suicide. And if it still is, I think that is being tested.”
That is indeed, and inevitably so, the game of the Alt-Right. Because people want thymos, because they want to experience winning, and because activism will give this to them. Defeats are nothing, because the sacrifices of heroes will be remembered, and because this is the true source of all sacred narratives and of all asabiyyah. Think Thermopylae, Masada, Roncevaux, Igor’s Campaign 6. Think epigones deciding the sacrifice of their fathers and forefathers was not in vain — this is how it always will be. And men have the freedom to choose their spiritual ancestors. Leadership by example, by thymos, by skin in the game and sacrifice, is irreplaceable. The earth and the dead are irreplaceable.
Thymos is irrational, but there is no reason to assume that it always leads to suboptimal results. To the extent that Moldbug’s axiom that non-State-sponsored activism is doomed to failure is true, and to the extent that Alt-Right activism scores thymos points, it must be posited that “pro-Trump” sponsors exist within the State. In any case it seems safe to assume the internal USG divisions already apparent in relation to Syria haven’t dissipated in the past couple of years.
Kek says let’s bang, but NRx has better things to do. How can NRx overcome the relative disadvantage of not being able to worship Kek directly? One thing is for sure: not by staying on the level of pure us vs them group dynamics. NRx will never generate great quantities of asabiyyah directly in this manner. Its only available source of mythopoetic-thymopoetic energy lies in building things, starting with small book clubs (we need more of those.)
On the activist, disciple-of Kek level, you tend to end up with high thymos cretins with no strategy aside from crashing and burning. Exceptions are the result of a careful articulation strategy between metapolitics and politics — something I see in Germany but nowhere else in Europe really.
On that note: Foreign Powers seeking to influence European politics need to stop picking antisemitic cretins that end up reinforcing the system they’re trying to undermine.
But I digress. Let’s return to the question of the state of strength or weakness of the enemy. Let’s say that the enemy is the Cathedral (see the above link if you’re not sure what that means.)
Progressivism took a few undeniable hits during 2016, there’s no way around that. The Cathedral enters 2017 worried about further defections from its narrative, searching for fascists to vanquish, and desperately ignoring the increasing swell of contradictions beneath its geopolitical rug. As no signs of adaptation can be detected on its surface, it seems safe to assume that it has, once again, decided to double down on its falseal narrative 7.
I remain unimpressed by antifascists. Back in November, I didn’t even notice their protest action outside of the congress hall in Schnellroda, a place close to Leipzig, where the antifascists control an entire city district. And that’s in Europe, where the antifascists are supposedly worse than in the US… Frankly, I get the feeling there’s just not much to discuss here. Chances are, Trump will directly or indirectly lead to a phasing out of the institutional double standards that have been the antifascists’s main advantage so far. I’ll check back when we get there or something noteworthy happens.
The mass-impact stuff is really going on elsewhere. Among the Cathedral’s operational priorities, more effective policing of the Internet continues to rank highly. Democracy must be shielded from the twin threat of “Russian bots” and the ominous threat of the new “post-truth” mindset. In some places, this mission is rapidly turning into a caricature of old Eastern Block style police states.
Such a focus is understandable, because the Internet provides dissidents with a space to establish bases of operation. IRL, the Cathedral’s grip on established mass communication platforms remains formidable 8. On the Internet, dissidents can hope to easily evade, and even survive, the enemy’s otherwise crushing, debilitating communication might. There are even numerous and expanding online zones within which the progressive narrative won’t fly — ever wonder why the comment sections of most German newspapers are permanently shut down? These virtual no-fly zones are in themselves a sign of strength, and strength is a source of power and status, both on an individual and on a political level, because strength comes from thymos. These zones of control must be held.
The next step is the equivalent of conducting ideological air-raids into enemy territory. Already we see named mavericks leading small incursions. But once again, this is an outcome, not a strategy. The question is: what instruments, what platforms must be built to generalize desired outcomes? 9.
I see new Crusades on the horizon.
Finding the Grail of lost thymos is not a simple seek and destroy mission. Gnon always wins, but Kek cannot prevail without the Holy Roman Thymos of Evrope — true victory requires metaphysical victory.
Above the sacred there is the holy: use the reflexive, hyperborean power of Holy Thymos to grow roots in the transcendental air of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful (luftwurzeln).
Ultimately, Spandrell asks the right question: Who has the psychopathic status-maximizing drive? Who wants victory more? Who is driven by the greater thymos?
Spandrell notes that being a Rightist means having something to lose, to be conservative, to care, which is a disadvantage in a fight. Aristotle notes something similar, but Aristotle goes further. True courage is when you have something to lose, when you are a virtuous man. This courage is even more beautiful. And tragic. Tragic: the good perishes, often together with another rival good. Ulysses goes to war reluctantly 10.
Spandrell then goes on to discuss fascism. His discussion complements Dividuals’ (fascism eliminates the intelligentsia middleman). But Spandrell focuses on one key aspect: fascism is high thymos. Fascism decides it has nothing to lose. It won’t fight for the dynastic lines and the bourgeoisie. But it will fight for itself, for the new race that was born in the trenches. The sons will make good the sacrifice of the fathers.
You could say: there is no Right, no Left, there is only Power. Perhaps that is what Spandrell is saying.
But no. It is axiological realism that is true. There is the perennial, and there is the self-destructive.
As neoreactionaries know, Carlyle expressed the idea that the Left is death, disorder, chaos. Fundamentally, this is true. There is a transcendental asymmetry.
The thing is that it’s not always the conservatives who are on the side of order. Appearance vs. reality, all that.
Let us not be deceived by the thymos of revolt. To the extent that a revolt is driven by pure resentment, by pure negation of the existing order, it is Left. This sort of revolt always speaks of revolution and of the future just social order, without specifying what that order is (there’s a famous video of Foucault and Chomsky that illustrates this point, I can’t be arsed to desecrate this blog by linking to it. Æstheticism über alles.)
Leftists think they are more clever because of their negativity. In reality, they are just more random (randomness is a kind of complexity, is it not?) The proof lies in their weak narratives. But they really think they are smarter, and they manage to impress the naïve with this notion. Leftists are good at deceiving themselves, they are often true believers. Normal, unsuspecting people can’t imagine that the whole point of Leftism really just is to destroy, that destruction is its own justification for leftists, that this is what makes them feel good and holy inside.
To the extent that a revolt connects with a higher continuity, a higher order, and to the extent that this revolt really creates more total order at the cost of some local disorder, it belongs transcendentally to the Right.
The Left can be useful when one hierarchy absorbs another. Useful idiots are useful.
Revolt in the name of a higher continuity, in the name of a vertical narrative 11, in the name of eternal principles, is something real and absolutely not self-destroying in itself. The self-destruction criterion is Carlylean in spirit (it is also Kantian, very charitably speaking). But applying this criterion requires deciding on a unit of analysis: and that unit is not the individual, but the group. Collective identities based on sacred group narratives are real.
In a sense, the madness of Merkel is an ontological revolt and manifests the will to self-destroy. The system judges itself unworthy of existence: apoptosis via thymoleptic implosion. A revolt on so many levels, this woman. Will we have to visit the ruins of Germany in pilgrimage one day?
But let’s get back to making predictions. Where is thymos? Not with today’s Left. Today’s Left wants to be domesticated and just shit tests. The Left has become feminine. The Left wants to live like a protected child, because that is what it has become (old-school marxists were different, antifascists are a desperate, abortive attempt to restore thymos). The Left is ready for Sharia.
The Left is a bunch of clucking hens and we are the spinning fox that will drive it insane 12.
The Left must be given a choice between apostasy of Progressivism, and clinical insanity.
Thus to truly defeat the Left we must get inside it’s head and under its skin.
Beyond air-raids on enemy territory, you have psychological operations. Conversions. Helping people make their existential transition. In France, Éric Zemmour is our prototype, our precursor.
Our challenge is to make this process scale.
The neoliberal bubble the EU has lived in for so long is about to pop completely under the thymotic pressure of all the surrounding zones, and it has no thymos of its own to speak of.
Something has to give.
Either Europe drinks from the Grail of thymos or it becomes our Jerusalem.
- In anonymous board parlance: “namefags”. ↩
- Recent example of progling online evisceration / preying on the weak: Heartiste vs. Scalzi. ↩
- How did Patrick Buisson land his grey eminence job, back in the days of the Sarkozy presidency in France? One thing is for sure, like him or not: He was good with getting surveys done and brought proprietary data to the discussion table. In comparison, what did Heidegger bring to the table when he went to Sicily? ↩
- “Von allem Geschriebenen liebe ich nur Das, was Einer mit seinem Blute schreibt. Schreibe mit Blut: und du wirst erfahren, daß Blut Geist ist.” Nietzsche ↩
- This is where I disagree with Houellebecq (see TBC Position Paper #1.) ↩
- What is the sacred narrative of French technocrats? They love reading Jean Moulin’s Premier Combat, that’s for sure. ↩
- France update: Emmanuel Macron is now the anointed torch-bearer of progressivism following Juppé’s elimination in the Republican primaries. The progling snowflakes infesting the media are working hard to carry him past François Fillon. ↩
- Indeed so formidable that many dissidents tend to be skeptical of critical voices allowed on these platforms. Such skepticism is sometimes, but certainly not always, justified. ↩
- Sure, it helps if high-profile bros step into the arena. Pewdiepie if you read this get in touch, I can hook you up with the good stuff! ↩
- I found echoes of Götz Kubitschek in Tom Barghest’s tale of Ulyssean reluctance (and home-coming!) ↩
- Hobbes would disagree here (vainglory!), but does he provide us with anything to explain how men really go from bellum omnium contra omnes to unity, I mean with their guts and hearts? ↩
- Stolen from Philippe de Villiers. ↩