The Geopolitics of Memewar

Excerpt from Narrative Machines.

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 What is French? This question cannot be answered by sounding out empty shells: Charles Martel, Joan of Arc, etc. On the subject of identity, the best distinction is the one Paul Ricoeur makes between idem and ipse identity. The permanence of the collective entity throughout constant changes (ipse identity,) cannot be reduced to something with the status of an event or of repetition (idem identity.) On the contrary, the former is linked to a complete hermeneutics of the self, to the whole work narration. This is the very condition of self-appropriation inasmuch as narration gives rise to a “place,” a space-time which configures a meaning. “It is the identity of the recounted history which makes the identity of the individual,” Ricoeur claims. To defend one’s identity is not to be satisfied with a little ritual vulgate. It is to understand identity as something preserved in the play of differentiations and to attempt to recreate conditions in which it is possible to produce such a story. — Alain de Benoist


We are never too far from the trappings of mythology in our daily lives. They are the substance of movies, books, our mutually created narratives on the Internet, even on television. They permeate our ideas about ourselves, our relation to the world, and our relationships with others. They may be insightful or vapid. Fungibility can even have an inverse relationship with quality. The very drive for people to make complete fools of themselves on Reality TV also attempts to fulfill a mythic need. To be famous is to be mythologized. What many of us find so repellent about these trends in pop culture is how utter reproducibility has leveled the “aura” of the sacred. Myth is not absent.

The ancient truth expressed by Heraclitus, that those who are awake have a world in common while each sleeper has a world of his own, has been invalidated by film — and less by depicting the dream world itself than by creating figures of collective dream, such as the globe encircling Mickey Mouse. — The Work of Art, Benjamin

Yet there seems to be something different about how we experience stories from those who lived in a world before iPhones, or computers, or televisions or typewriters, even though these are all merely more reproducible forms of their predecessors, and the analogy of campfire storytelling and Internet communication is occasionally drawn.

There is a liminality to our modern myths, much as we can say a movie is real, and yet also understand that there is a sense that this is not so. They don’t seem to strike their audiences as deeply as ancient rituals must have gripped their adherents. Even the fanaticism of fandom doesn’t invalidate this claim.

Human sacrifice, which Benjamin saw as the final form of traditional ritual, certainly takes a certain amount of commitment to narrative, one would think. Modern myths are seductive precisely because they pretend not to be myths, they are just stories, or movies. It would seem peculiar to sacrifice a newborn child to Harry Potter, no matter how big a fan you are.

Thus not only communication but the social functions in a closed circuit, a lure — to which the force of myth is attached. Belief, faith in information attach themselves to this tautological proof that the system gives of itself by doubling the signs of unlocatable reality.

But one can believe that this belief is as ambiguous as that which was attached to myths in ancient societies. One both believes and doesn’t. One does not ask oneself, “I know very well, but still.” … Myth exists, but one must guard against thinking that people believe in it: this is the trap of critical thinking that can only be exercised if it presupposes the naivete and stupidity of the masses. — Simulacra and Simulation, Baudrillard

The lights come up in the theater and the illusion is dispelled, we lose attention entirely mid-stream and surf to another channel or web-page, to take another fragment into the bricolage of our wandering consciousness. We tell ourselves those half-imagined worlds we binge-watch on Netflix have no real effect, no reality.

Do not be lulled into believing, that just because the deadening American city of dreadful night is so utterly devoid of mystery, so thoroughly flat-footed, sterile and infantile, so burdened with the illusory gloss of baseball-hot dogs-apple-pie-and-Chevrolet, that it exists outside the psycho-sexual domain. The eternal pagan psychodrama is escalated under these modern conditions precisely because sorcery is not what ‘20th Century man’ can accept as real. — King Kill 3, James Shelby Downard

There are many examples of modern myths embodied in media. Rather than saying that The Lord of the Rings is a modern myth, though clearly it is, it is more accurate to say that media contains and is at the same time built upon layer upon layer of myth, any of which implicitly requires context to be rendered coherent and accessible.

We can look at this somewhat poetically, as Tolkien was want to do, “When we can take green from grass, blue from heaven and red from blood, we have already an enchanter’s power — upon one plane; and the desire to wield that power in the world external to the mind awakes….In such “fantasy”, as it called, new form is made; Faerie begins; Man becomes a sub-creator.” Or we can consider its implications within newsrooms, boardrooms and war rooms. In all cases, this power of the word and fascination of the will is what centuries of occultists were aiming at perfecting, without necessarily recognizing it themselves. Faust requires no deal with the devil, he’s got video cameras.

The representation of human beings by means of an apparatus has made possible a highly productive use of the human being’s self-alienation. The nature of this can be grasped through the fact that the film actor’s estrangement in the face of the apparatus, as Pirandello describes this experience, is basically of the same kind as the estrangement felt before one’s appearance [Erscheinung] in a mirror — a favorite theme of the Romantics. But now the image [Bild] has become detachable from the person mirrored, and is transportable. — The Work of Art, Benjamin

In a capitalist society, myths too take on a capitalist bent. They serve its ends — consumed as if they are products, this does not mean that they do not leave their mark. All of this hearkens back to the absence of the sacred.

The formative or even subliminal effect of the media we’re steeped in is hard to say, but certainly the multi-billion dollar industries of marketing and advertising would be useless if it was not far-reaching. For instance, there are a variety of common myths which allow access to the viewership of a news broadcast with a particular political agenda. The broadcast further establishes its narratives, but it works upon existing expectations and preconceptions. We believe what we are already primed to believe, and experience resistance otherwise. So, you don’t find many polyamorous bisexuals watching Fox News in rapt attention. This is another example of myth acting both as amplification and sorting device, as part of our evolutionary selection processes.

We are untethered from any common shared myth, so that the task of simply creating a new mono-myth that possess the collective imagination is generally less fruitful than the artist may hope, as Bataille himself discovered in his rather ill-conceived idea of re-instituting human sacrifice. We may find in this deep desire for collective unity — whether in the Gardnerian pagan revival or nationalism.1 This is key to understanding both the common arising of nationalistic or fascistic tendencies within occultism or religion, and contrasting the fact that they can arise as a purely atheistic phenomenon — indeed that is often one of their defining characteristics, to replace All-father with Fatherland. Nationalism subscribes more to an aesthetic of primal kitsch, a desire to find that root of common unity in a form of patriotism,2 while fascism engenders a more occult aesthetic, even when its reality is entirely banal.

Further, this may only serve to distinguish between the character of American and European nationalism, irreverence for centralized truth in the blind worship of the cult of celebrity, and the egregious power of the spectacle. Time will tell.3

The Map is the Idea of the Map

The anxiety that underlies the wholesale exchange of the profane for the sacred can produce a nostalgic throwback to the “old time religion.” The yearning for sacred origins has long been a political tool of those who would wield it. The aura of a fondly remembered yesterday drives such cultural movements as we see demonstrated in the movie “Jesus Camp,” and this trend is evident in many revivalist, traditionalist, evangelical, and reactionary groups across the world, not just Christianity. It has a basis of an American mythos that sprang up about the paranoid 1950s, repainting it as a golden age of idyllic family values, “when men were men and women knew their place,” which reach from that time, and before, right up to the present. They were mostly fictional even in their time. Now, they are hyperreal. The Trump campaign’s call to Make America Great Again, strikingly similar to a defunct slogan of Reagan’s from the 80s, is in either event an appeal to an alternate history that never was. Authoritarianism is not an appeal to truth, it is an appeal to power, and fundamentally, the power that imaginal myth can have upon the real.

This defensive reaction, to look backwards in times of chaos, cannot be restricted to one ideology. It is one of the forms of modern mythology that we most frequently encounter. According to Samuel P. Huntington in his (in)famous book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, the coming world conflicts will be driven along ideological and cultural fault lines, even if underlying motivational factors in some cases include more material concerns, such as territory or overburdened resources, the interests of individual actors, or even blind organizational output.4

Perception of conflict driven by these factors itself can be a veil, as we see further afield in Russia’s apparent insistence on following the mythology of Mackinder’s Geopolitics,

Russia’s push into Georgia in 2008, into Ukraine in 2014, and its recent campaign in Syria, as well as its efforts to consolidate a sphere of influence in the inner Eurasian heartland of the former USSR called the Eurasian Union, all are eerily foretold in geopolitical theory. Mackinder held that geography, not economics, is the fundamental determinant of world power and Russia, simply by virtue of its physical location, inherits a primary global role. Under President Vladimir Putin, the slightly kooky tenets of Mackinder’s theory have made inroads into the establishment, mostly because of one man, Alexander Dugin, a right wing intellectual and bohemian who emerged from the Perestroika era in the 1980s as one of Russia’s chief nationalists. — “The Unlikely Origins of Russia’s Manifest Destiny,” Foreign Policy

If we accept the conjecture that Mackinder’s Geopolitics is central to current Russian foreign policy, and this is no certain proposition, then we must also accept that a purely mythological story about the world is informing what happens in the real world.5 The map is, literally, the idea of the map. We must also come to terms with the fact that Dugin’s interpretation of this ideology explicitly uses the methods of postmodernism to attempt to strike at the West, or as he calls it, “Atlanticism.”6 Perhaps what is most interesting about Duginism is not that it actually directly describes Russian foreign policy, but rather that it invents a myth out of cobbled together parts — a very postmodern gesture — and thereby attempts to retroactively take credit for actions that happen to fall in line.

Though everything else about Dugin’s critique is regressive, a fun-house mirror inversion of theories developed mostly by the Left for decades, he is right about one thing: Liberalism, or specifically the moderate Rightwing neo-Liberalism and Benthamite utilitarianism that has increasingly taken its place, fractures innate community — constructing it instead through reducible and reproducible acts, and individual identity is then lent us purely through our external function and esteemed value.

Not even rebellion is safe from this process, but in light of current events, we need to dig deeper into the political repercussions of a 4th estate based on principles being co-opted by the far Right. Dugin’s prevarications are precisely in line with how myth and ideology collude to instruct, or rather construct, geopolitics, and we can also see in this a glimmer of our methodological objectives. Through the imposition of a mythology, we thereby shape the world in its image. We mustn’t confuse the one for the other, merely because the methodology may have similar foundations. Consider,

Also striking are attempts to identify the continuity of ‘unreason’ in fascism and poststructuralism. In an effort to combat the ‘philosophical anarchism’ of modern social theory, intellectual historians such as Wolin (2004) suggest obliquely that because both fascists and poststructuralists question the premises of occidental rationalism and American cultural leadership, there is an equivalence between the right-wing assault on democracy in fascist and neoconservative ideology and the poststructuralist critique of the democratic basis of western culture. Not only do arguments of this kind ignore the obvious substantive distinction between radical right-wing and radical left-wing criticisms of liberalism in an attempt to implicate the ‘soft totalitarianism’ of the left as an amoral betrayal of Enlightenment universalism, but are oblivious to the real and present danger implicit in neoconservative, neofascist and right-wing fundamentalist attacks on emancipatory politics.” — Fascism and Political Theory, Woodley

Postmodernism as “skepticism toward all meta-narratizes” (Lyotard) claims to expose the flaw in both centered and de-centered worldviews. But what does an absolute skepticism toward all frames of reference do but create an unending regress of deconstruction in the hands of academics, while the powerful institutions in society use those same techniques to create a corporatist state that appears in-assailable to traditional methods of cultural subversion? We mustn’t forget that the methods of post-modernism are available for appropriation to any end, as we can see in their use not only by the neo-liberal or centrist corporate power structures but also the authoritarian Right, and in some cases this use is quite explicit, as we see in Alexsandr Dugin’s inversions, subversions, his theoretic propaganda.

The great debate of history is fundamentally literary. While intended to level the playing field and put power under critique, this approach can have unintended effects. All tools can be a weapon. Decentering can also be an implement of the state — one world, apprehended by pure logic. This is how one Gnostic-Transhumanist narrative of the future runs: if we can just find the optimal equations and frameworks, the world will run itself. One of many possible “ends of history,” its true meaning is “the end of progress.” We will have Arrived.

Yet, there is a growing anxiety about how this sort of appropriation is having real effects on our ability to agree on the basic facts. We are, increasingly, not even operating in analogous maps. No longer “Left” and “Right,” it is “Universe A” and “Universe B”.

The Singularity has yet to appear, and the darkness of the past beckons. Latour’s “Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern” engages with this concern directly,

…In which case the danger would no longer be coming from an excessive confidence in ideological arguments posturing as matters of fact — as we have learned to combat so efficiently in the past — but from an excessive distrust of good matters of fact disguised as bad ideological biases! While we spent years trying to detect the real prejudices hidden behind the appearance of objective statements, do we now have to reveal the real objective and incontrovertible facts hidden behind the illusion of prejudices? And yet entire Ph.D. programs are still running to make sure that good American kids are learning the hard way that facts are made up, that there is no such thing as natural, unmediated, unbiased access to truth, that we are always prisoners of language, that we always speak from a particular standpoint, and so on, while dangerous extremists are using the very same argument of social construction to destroy hard-won evidence that could save our lives. Was I wrong to participate in the invention of this field known as science studies? Is it enough to say that we did not really mean what we said? Why does it burn my tongue to say that global warming is a fact whether you like it or not? Why can’t I simply say that the argument is closed for good?

We are instructed how to read the world through our “texts,” and in this sense, we are indebted to the postmodernists, though as we’ve seen this can be taken too far. Myth is neither pure fantasy nor a true material force. For as central as narratives are to human life, gravity is not merely a matter of interpretation. According to DeLanda, only by looking toward a method implied by emergent non-linear systems can we even hope to find a way out of this maze.

One of the ideas that I attack in my book is precisely the primacy of “interpretations” and of “conceptual frameworks.” Ideas and beliefs are important, and do play a role in history, but academics of different brands have reduced all material and energetic processes, and all human practices that are not linguistic or interpretative (think of manual skills, of “know-how”) to a “framework.” The twentieth century has been obsessed with positioning everything. Every culture, given that it has its own framework of beliefs, has become its own “world” and relativism (both moral and epistemological) now prevails.

But once you break away from this outmoded view, once you accept all the nonlinguistic practices that really make up society (not to mention the nonhuman elements that also shape it, such as viruses, bacteria, weeds, or nonorganic energy and material flows like wind and ocean currents) then language itself becomes just another material that flows through a much expanded picture. Language, in my view, is best thought of as a catalyst, a trigger for energetic processes (think of the words “begin the battle” triggering an enormous and destructive process). — Roy Christopher interviews DeLanda

Observant readers might recognize that there is a philosophical quandary here: do we prioritize the myth, or the mind, or the body? Where is the line between mythopoesis and logos, does that “frame” of myth even have an end? The nested holarchy of models, (models all the way down), seems to be a theme with this line of inquiry, but how does one make a model with nothing “real” to base it on? As Nietzsche recognized, philosophy, whether epistemological or ethical, often amount to juggling this hierarchy of values, and that is nothing more than the power struggle which has always defined human societies.

Even resource-driven conflicts are likely to be conceptualized in ideological terms, especially to the people who make up the backbone of any military. The US as a “global peacekeeper saving the world from itself” is such a myth as well, piggybacking on the overarching myth of American exceptionalism. This sort of myth is in no way exceptional. We paint in-groups and out-groups in mythic terms. We might see an echo of this in such disparate times as the crusades of the middle ages. After Richard the Lion-Hearted captured Acre in 1191, he ordered 3,000 captives — many of them women and children — taken outside the city and slaughtered. Some were disemboweled in a search for swallowed gems. (Spoiler: they didn’t have gems in their bowels.) Rather than being a classic example of the removed brutalities of the past, this is not so different from the rhetoric that is used to embed fear of the immigrant Others of today.

The drive behind fanaticism, and fascism — which is an affliction not unlike fanaticism — is psychological, not material. William Reich explored this in The Mass Psychology of Fascism. And this, taken from a chapter appropriately and perhaps ironically named “Ideology as a Material Force,”

Those who followed … the revolutionary Left’s application of Marxism between 1917 and 1933 had to notice that it was restricted to the sphere of objective economic processes and government policies, but that it neither kept a close eye on nor comprehended the development and contradictions of the so-called ‘subjective factor’ of history, i.e., the ideology of the masses.

The fascism of the state is the fascist within. This alchemy produces poisonous splinter factions, fundamentalist groups that cause many of the pathological habits our cultures otherwise exhibit, in concentrated form. Though always a sort of mass movement, it is contained in miniature within each individual psyche, since after all, the center of the circle around which all turns is only a product of the collective imagination. The extremists at the front lines of ideological conflicts hear the echoes of myths originating thousands of years ago, catalyzing the existential fear, hate, or desire latent in a culture, and more pointedly, within the individuals that comprise that culture. Fascism is, in a striking sense, an art movement gone horribly wrong.

The literalization of a mythical aesthetic can be the first step of this process. Here Lacan’s observation that the unconscious is structured like a language is key.7 This has bearing on myth as mass dream, most crucially at the times revolution strikes, or at the point of any state change.8

Politics or even religious ideology shouldn’t form the only lens to gaze at myth in modern culture. Military memetics is itself congruent with notions of the epidemiology of ideas, and the level of scrutiny in this direction has already been considerable.

Using the analogy that ideologies possess the same theoretical characteristics as a disease (particularly as complex adaptive systems), then a similar method and routine should be applied to combating them. Memes can and should be used like medicine to inoculate the enemy and generate popular support. — “Memetics: A Growth Industry In US Military Operations”

According to a memo spread in 2006 written by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the “long war” against terrorism is a war of ideas,

“Today the centers of gravity of the conflict in Iraq and the global war on terror are not on the battlefield overseas. Rather, the center of gravity of this war are the centers of public opinion in the U.S. and in the capitals of free nations. The gateways to those centers are the international media hubs and the capitals of the world. Zawahiri has said that 50 percent of the current struggle is taking place in the arena of public information. That may be an understatement. Osama bin Laden, Zawahari, Zarqawi had media committees that consistently outpace our ability to respond.”

The propagandic methods of ISIS follow precisely from this observation.9There are considerable risks contained in the future synthesis of mythology and psychometrics — the measure of personality through scientific means, as we’ve seen in a nascent form in the rise of Trump and other populist long shots, who leaned quite heavily it seems on Cambridge Analytica, and other data firms who have become quite adept at interpreting and manipulating mass narratives. This news story follows what was ‘fictionalized’ before the fact, in House of Cards’ 4th season, where the Underwoods rely on advanced psychological models to structure and simplify their narratives, and ultimately, to win an election.

The age of polling as the leading edge in political analysis may be through. (Or perhaps, our attraction to such narratives drives their own propagation in an economy sculpted by the ad value of a click.)

Trump’s conspicuous contradictions and his oft-criticized habit of staking out multiple positions on a single issue result in a gigantic number of resulting messaging options that creates a huge advantage for a firm like Cambridge Analytica: for every voter, a different message. Mathematician Cathy O’Neil had already observed in August that “Trump is like a machine learning algorithm” that adjusts to public reactions. … The granularity of this message tailoring digs all the way down to tiny target groups, Nix explained to Das Magazin. “We can target specific towns or apartment buildings. Even individual people.” — Das Magazin, translated to English by Antidote zine

Suddenly our “fanciful stories” are anything but coffeeshop talk, and we’re paying a little more attention. Myth is on the lips, minds, and knife-points of those in the midst of active revolution, as well as those working in the media.

Memes influence ideas, ideas influence and form beliefs. Beliefs generate and influence political positions combined with feelings and emotions, eventually producing actions, which inform and influence behavior. Using this logic progression, any attack upon an ideology must consider an assault on a central or transcendent ‘idea’ or group of ideas as means of achieving success. Memes as ideas are then ‘in play’ as tools (or means) to attack ideologies. — “Memetics: A Growth Industry In US Military Operations”

Group narratives are always being re-purposed, whether we speak of the selective use of scripture by religious fundamentalists, or the more bizarre relationship between National Socialism and occultism, which underlined the rise of the Third Reich despite Hitler’s professed abhorrence for the occult. Fringe elements are at most times culturally inert, but have the potential to overcome the whole of a culture during crisis points, as the Nazis did after World War I. Some of the recent concern over the rise of the loose conglomeration of alt-Right, paleoconservative, and various openly white nationalist groups has been along these lines, though the shape it will take is unclear.

However, myth as a whole cannot be considered at fault for such misuse. Religion is not to blame for witch burning or terrorist bombings. Nor can the instinct behind myth be “killed,” in any event. We can replace people’s myths, but we cannot take them away. It can be a healing, as well as destructive, force.

Mythemes and Mimesis

“For there is always going on within us a process of formulation and interpretation whose subject matter is our own selves.” — Mimesis

This much is certain: misappropriation is one of the many powerful propagandic tools available to anyone with a mind to find a new use for an old idea. Symbols have no one single specific meaning, no one specific purpose, but they can have many guises and uses. They’re like a coat-rack for personal and collective identity. Memes like Pepe The Frog demonstrate this perfectly clearly. The cartoon was put to use by racists much as the Swastika was re-purposed by the Nazis, but that does not make cartoon frogs or Swastikas inherently racist. Symbols aren’t just ripe for appropriation, they are a means for it. Yet, at one and the same time, symbols refer to something, and the meaning of the whole can be changed as we collectively wrestle over what the significance of that reference actually is.

So we might see culture as the fundamental struggle between unconscious complexes, all vying over the meaning of the signs that we toss back and forth. Who is really in control of their symbols? Certainly, it is we who are under their thrall. Myth supersedes us. For instance, the self is a narrative, by which we narrate to ourselves our memories and relationships with one another, and ourselves. We live in relation to the narrative, as much as any real world that dwells beyond. There is reason to believe that each time we call a memory to mind, we edit it slightly. We draw over it, lightly in watercolors or etched in broad ink strokes.

If at this point we have any lingering doubt about the centrality of myth in our extended, communal, and personal lives, one need only to witness how, without changing our behavior, someone can change you from hero to villain, friend to foe or back again. Imagine if everyone who knows you suddenly had their memories of you erased. Your wife, your friends, perhaps your children. What would have changed? Whatever you are independent of their stories would be the same. And yet, you would find yourself a stranger in your own home, in a sense, a stranger in your own skin. You would be forced to rebuild yourself anew.

This is precisely why breakups can be so excruciating. Perhaps your partners memory of you isn’t erased, but it has been overwritten. Ten years of shared memories, a collectively built identity, and now you are simply “the crazy ex.” Our relationships and identities are stories. The dimensions of this process are endless, and try as we might to extricate ourselves, it is our investment in one particular narrative over another that defines the ethical sphere. This may be a choice, or it is habitual, but it is always an added layer, not something drawn from an axis mundi such as transcendental reason.

Who’s pulling your strings? Now that’s a really good question. One of the things Jung said, was: “People don’t have ideas, ideas have people.” Think about that for three months. It should make you afraid for the whole time. Because as soon as you get that, you think “Uh oh.” Let’s say you’re an ideologue of some sort: socialist, fascist, environmentalist, something that has ‘ist’ on the end. You think those are your ideas. They’re not. You’re their tool. And that’s fine, if you want to be a tool of those ideas, go right ahead. But you don’t know where those ideas are leading, and they could well be leading somewhere you do not want to go. — Dr Jordan B Peterson, Professor of Psychology

To his initial question, we can only pose a further question of our own: Does an organ exists to serve a purpose, or did it arise coincidentally out of specific contexts, only later to develop to available uses as the context changed? We are the same, organs adapted over time in relation to the demands of a changing world — without intrinsic purpose, but not without use.

Myth is the battlefront of the future, as well as the past. It determines who we are to one another, who we are to ourselves. The culture war is innately occult: he who controls the Word (logos) controls the world.10

While current US military practices may view ideologies as diseases, they do not acknowledge the emergent properties of memes as the disease vector…to amplify this disparity, there is a nexus at the crossroads of sociology, anthropology, cognitive science, and behavioral game theory that can help us to intentionally persuade (inoculate) large audiences (or hosts) through subtle or overt contact. — “Memetics: A Growth Industry In US Military Operations”

The social realm is always dictated by forms of performance. But despite how this may seem, it is not a role we choose. This has always been the failing of systems such as Peter Carroll’s early approach to Chaos Magick in Liber Null, or Robert Anton Wilson’s “reality tunnel manipulation,” that we can simply jump from one internal narrative or belief to the next, like flipping a switch. This presupposes not only complete psychological agency but control of the narratives we have already been cast in by fickle fate. As Jung wrote in Psyche & Symbol, “…just as our free will clashes with necessity in the outside world, so also it finds its limits outside the field of consciousness in the subjective inner world, where it comes into contact with the facts of the self.” We cannot merely remove how others perceive us and replace it with another, as if identity were a simple mask, with a single True Self lurking beneath it.

1 A methodological but not moral equivalence

2 Yukio Mishima’s “Patriotism” is worthy of consideration in this light. The analysis given in John Nathan’s biography in particular highlights the aesthetic metaphysics of Mishima’s artistic and then literal commitment of body to a kind of literary perfection, even in the failure of his final “performance.”

3 There is some blurring bound to occur between “nationalism” and “fascism,” especially outside academic use, and the latter has been so colored by Godwin’s Law that Fascism has gained a sort of fascination precisely because of its inscrutability. Our reference to it is in the sense of its etymology, “strength through unity,” as well as the proto-religious/occult power of the myths that emanate from this imagined source. To the extent that both evoke a yearning for a common origin, a doctrinal and even ontological center, they are similar, though there are considerable differences that have already been well established in the extensive literature now available on fascism.

4 Ideology is generally a distillation of power relations rather than the other way around, so we shouldn’t seek to distinguish our myths and ideology from the real dynamics that they arise in.

5 “Drawing on the extensive twentieth-century literature on geopolitics — and especially on the interwar German school of Karl Haushofer — Dugin posits a primordial, dualistic conflict between “Atlanticism” (seafaring states and civilizations, such as the United States and Britain) and “Eurasianism” (landbased states and civilizations, such as Eurasia-Russia). As Wayne Allensworth noted, once one penetrates below the surface of Dugin’s seemingly rational and scholarly language in Foundations of Geopolitics, one realizes that ‘Dugin’s geopolitics are mystical and occult in nature, the shape of world civilizations and the clashing vectors of historical development being portrayed as shaped by unseen spiritual forces beyond man’s comprehension.’” — Aleksandr Dugin’s Foundations of Geopolitics, Dunlop.

6 “Ideologically the problem is liberalism as the unique and only ideology imposed on the Europe and the rest of humanity by anglosaxon world. The liberalism affirms only individual identity and prohibits any kind of collective or organic identity. ” — Aleksandr Dugin, “What’s Wrong With Europe?”

7 “You see that by still preserving this ‘like’ [comme], I am staying within the bounds of what I put forward when I say that the unconscious is structured like a language. I say like so as not to say — and I come back to this all the time — that the unconscious is structured by a language. The unconscious is structured like the assemblages in question in set theory, which are like letters.”

8 Analysis of mass narratives, with the aid of technology, can bear fruit in this direction, though as we will see, it is not an endeavor without its difficulties and dangers.

9 Though it is a notable irony that they also follow a historical path that Rumsfeld shares some personal responsibility in paving.

10 These forces act through us like lightning rods, via culture. If there is some kind of higher order hive mind, that’s a part of the cultural matrix as well. Our cultural consciousness, the “hive mind” is a crucial and yet ignored component of the total human being.

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