27 October 2007

Chaos Marxist Aphorisms

Today, this blog has existed for 13 months. (You know, I forgot all about the first anniversary. Never mind - the 13th lunaversary probably has more mystic resonance, or similar.)

In any case: let's attempt to sum up what we've learned so far. The Chaos Marxist Aphorisms (I stole the idea from Guitar Craft) are the 127 (number subject to change) sentences I've picked out of the past 13 month's entries which might give the newbie an idea of where I'm going - or even form the outline for the Big Book of Cultural Witchcraft. Note that in their current form they only make a very vague form of coherent unity. I welcome suggestions for refinement or expansion.

(NOTE: these aphorisms are not all original, though they are all appropriate. I have stolen from Lawrence Miles, V. I. Lenin, Terry Pratchett, Bobby Sands, Andrew Eldritch, Tony Cliff, the Redskins, Slavoj Zizek, Robert Fripp, and perhaps some others that I can't remember.)

CHAOS MARXIST APHORISMS


BASIC CONCEPTS


  1. YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO. If you want to be something else, do something else.

  1. Belief follows action.

  2. You are NOT a Beautiful and Unique Snowflake. Nor are you the Chosen One.

  3. Just because a friendly voice is muttering in your head that You Are The Chosen One does not mean it’s telling the truth.

  1. Nothing is more fatal to magickal success than a magical worldview.

  2. Politics, magick, psychology, advertising, propaganda are ALL THE SAME THING – attempts to describe and alter consciousness.

  1. The only true witch or Magus is she who realises that there are no cosmic forces.

  2. To be a witch or Magus, you’ve got to learn three things – what’s real, what’s not real, and what’s the difference.

  1. There are no mistakes except one – the failure to learn from a mistake.

  1. Destroy your own icons and enabling narratives. They will keep you safe and neutered. Most people would rather destroy life, limb or property than do this.

  2. The world doesn’t owe you jack, no matter how brilliant or unique you are.

  3. History will prove you right.

  4. There is no Big Other. Once you have figured this out you have grasped the central point of all revolutionary politics and magick.


THE GOALS OF CHAOS MARXISM


  1. Marxist revolutionary politics seek the coming to consciousness of the vast majority of people in the world – the goal of magick, the tools of politics.

  2. In this sense, the Leninist cadre party is – ideally - a magical order of adepts.

  3. The central goal of Chaos Marxism is to integrate chaos magick and dialectical materialism.

  4. You may have a wrong idea of what being a Marxist is about from the idiots who try to sell you badly-xeroxed newspapers. Being a “revolutionary” is, in most cases, a mass-produced consumer product, just like any other lifestyle. People can talk all kinds of revolution and yet still be completely harmless.

  5. The way you can tell a revolutionary from a political lifestyler is – are they trying to figure out how to engage the masses? Or are they just interested in recruiting to their cult?

  1. For both the Leninist party and the disciplined magickal order, by making yourself available to it you are also used by it. If this offends your notion of yourself as a Beautiful and Unique Snowflake, then you are in the wrong game.


THE ENEMY IS LIFESTYLISM


  1. Chances are, the "tribe" you cling to is a mass-produced consumer product.

  2. If you're entirely hung up on your own "lifestyle", so determined to surround yourself with a fortress of The Right Kind of Stuff that you're incapable of thinking beyond your own self-image, then you're part of the problem.

  1. Consumer culture is the opium of the 21st century masses.

  1. "I am the Chosen One" is the opium of 21st century niche markets.

  1. A lifestyle or a subculture is neither politics nor magick. It is a religion.

  2. People will believe any insanity if it allows them to belong to a real or imagined community.

  3. The logic of the “in-crowd” or the “enlightened few” is precisely what we are trying to destroy.

  4. Civilisation isn't about sealing yourself off from the rest of the world and your responsibility to it, and you don't get bonus marks just for being a nice or politically correct person.

  5. The only antidote to mass-produced identities is an Identity of Opposition which is combined with a practice of effective opposition.

  1. The proletariat” is not a mass-produced consumer product. It is more like a kind of industrial waste. No-one wants to be a wage-slave. But in wage-slavery there is the potential of power.

  2. The Real World of Horrible Jobs is everything that the Corporate Egregore sees as “chthonic” or even the Qlippoth. It’s the dirty underside which you’re not even supposed to look at. Here lies power, for those brave enough to grab it - but only collectively, not individually.


CHAOS MARXISM IS MATERIALIST


  1. The idea that “ideas shape the world” could only have been invented by people who earn a good living from creating ideas.

  2. If you believe in ideas as the highest good, you will find yourself incapable of effectively fighting actual material evildoing.

  3. Middle-class intellectuals fall harder for propaganda than anyone else – because their entire lives are based on propaganda.

  4. You can stay in your ivory tower and change your own reality infinitely. Until, of course, you need to go to work or deal with anyone but your immediate friends. That's the point where nasty reality cuts in. And nasty reality cuts in more and more the less money and internet access you have.

  1. Blind materialism always has a dirty idealist secret in the background – and vice versa.

  2. Dialectical materialism is the process of seeing which futures are possible, based on the contradictions of the present, and what kind of pressure on what kind of points right now will bring about which future.

  1. There are not two words with a bridge between. There is only one world.

  1. Meaning is material.

  1. Ideas are material.

  2. Ideas become real forces when they seize the masses.

  1. Chaos Marxism is interested in practicality above all.

  2. Your power lies in how much external reality you influence, not in how doctrinally pure you are.

  3. Where is the money and the surplus labour going? Who pays and who benefits? Those are the questions you have to ask in every situation

  1. There is no place for democracy and collective reality-tunnel-formation except in a materialist thought-system.


CHAOS MARXISM IS COLLECTIVIST


  1. The "individuality" you are so proud of is also a mass-produced consumer product.

  2. Once you accept that reality is individual rather than collective, you will never be a threat to the system.

  3. The more I looked at the mystics and the psychonauts, the more I realised that for them "Question everything” meant "Question everything except the idea that individual consciousness is a thing unto itself which can be worked on in isolation".

  4. If you start saying that people are not individuals - that they are created by their upbringing and the role they play in real, nasty, going-to-work-in-traffic society - then you open the door to the idea that only a social revolution can actually solve the real problems with humanity.

  5. Everyone has their own part to play, no matter who or where they are.

  1. No-one will ever be sane and healthy until we are all sane and healthy.

  2. If the subconscious, unseen and cultural levels of the world are the ocean, then magick is all about being able to dive, swim, and get back on dry land safely. Eventually, we should be able to become psychic and cultural surf-lifesavers – a role that will be integral to a new society.


THE NECESSITY OF ACTION


  1. Technology will not solve your problems for you.

  1. The Apocalypse will not solve your problems for you. Global civilization will not collapse in a friendly manner so as to leave you and your buddies unscathed.

  2. Since you are what you do, you will have to DO to BE. There is no substitute for doing.

  3. There is no place to run, and no place to hide. So you will have to fight.

  4. Socialism doesn’t fall from the sky. Nothing does, except rain, snow, meteorites, and airplane toilet droppings.

  5. Any course of action which can be summed up in the words “Wait and see” is the wrong one.

  6. As far as religion or magick goes, ANYTHING works if you do it enough. It might not work as advertised, though.

  7. Success breeds daring and failure breeds passivity.

  8. The proper stance for a revolutionary is: pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will. To know which is the winning side, and still join the other.

  9. To use Situationist jargon, détournement which remains on the symbolic can always be recuperated. The only thing which really can dissolve all magic spells whatsoever is the self-activity of the masses.

  10. A Marxist might call a picket line or a militant demonstration "an altered state of consciousness", since it takes place in an area not acknowledged to exist by the dominant paradigm of reality.

  11. This side of the revolution, the revolutionaries are a minority.

  1. Success comes to the strong. The struggle is hard and the struggle’s long.


THE PAINKILLER OF THE MASSES


  1. Religion, like any other painkiller or hallucinogenic, can be used for good or evil purposes. It can encourage you to lie around and stare at the ceiling, or kill your family, or it might take the edge off enough to allow you to accomplish something in the real world.

  2. The way cults operate is just a boiled down and spiced-up version of the way in which all authoritarian society operates.

  1. Some of the nastiest religions preach atheism and rationalism.

  1. Judge every school of politics or magick, every religion or subculture, as to whether it enhances and promotes conscious, rational thought and ability to shape the world, or the opposite.

  1. Most people do not base their actions on rational thought related to material reality. They base their action on stories which they partly pick up from their culture and partly make up themselves.

  1. People who base their lives in images and narratives expect those images or narratives to be “morally true” – or “truthy” - not physically true or even logical.

  2. Even if I know on an intellectual level that X is bullshit, if I act like it's real it becomes real for me at least.

  1. People will happily swallow lies if it enables them to maintain the narratives that they live by.

  2. Addictions, whether to chemicals or to abusive personal relationships or whatever - are a natural reaction to the World-As-Is.

  1. Basing your life on images and narratives rather than the hard facts of material existence is much, much, much easier. And it will virtually ensure that you don't ever change anything.


CULTURAL REVOLUTION – A DO IT YOURSELF GUIDE


  1. To put it in magical jargon, we start with the memes and thoughtforms which arise spontaneously from anti-corporate activity, transmute them magically to give them the best chance of survival and replication, and then release them back into the infosphere of the activity where they were born.

  2. Metaphorical, narrative language can help people understand real although intangible forces better than intellectual jargon.

  3. An effective political or advertising slogan has all the same characteristics of a meditative mantra.

  1. The most effective advertising does not say "Brand X has qualities Y and Z"; instead, it presents a meme which associates X with Y and Z and leaves it up to the recipients to connect the dots. All the most virally infective memes require that the readers/viewers/listeners do some work to make some sense of what they are given – they are “pull” rather than “push” marketing.

  2. Make your memes open-ended in possible meaning.

  1. If you’re not being misunderstood, you haven’t been properly understood.

  1. If you’re not being attacked, you won’t be supported.

  1. Leave it noncommercial for as long as possible.

  1. If you don’t have a party, a mystic order or a scene, you have to start one.

  2. A meme will spread if it fills a niche in the materially existing noosphere.

  3. A successful memetic operation will work backwards in time - in other words, pick a possible future, and attempt to make it a real present.

  1. Invoke often.


HACK YOUR OWN PERSONALITY


  1. The rationality you were taught to survive in this world is often diametrically opposed to the rationality you will need to change it. Drugs or religion may create the “altered state” necessary to build an alternative rationality. Or they may screw you up.

  2. Engaging in hostile banter is not politics or magick. It’s a kind of sado-masochism.

  1. Keep your recreational activities separate from your work, or one will begin to substitute for the other and both will suffer.

  1. If you're not hated by a large group of people when you die, you didn't do it right.

  2. Seek out mystical enlightenment, then subject it to the most merciless skeptical examination.

  3. Arguments over what is ‘good’ rest on arguments about reality, even if they seem not too. ‘Ought’ does rely on arguments about what ‘is’.


THE WORLD AS IS


  1. The Devil (however defined) owns this world. It's his. You can either sell your soul, fight the power, or be irrelevant.

  2. Propaganda and consumer culture fills the gap left by the decline of traditional forms of religion in modern society.

  3. Capitalism destroyed all the old myths, but then had to create new myths to continually expand consumption and win our consent to the system.

  4. An egregore is a magickal term for an ideological construct with a will of its own. We can see corporate capitalism in these terms.

  5. It's no accident that psychology was born at the same time as mass consumer society and universal suffrage.

  6. Corporate Psychology wants to make us functional, not to make us well.

  7. The corporate egregore creates the needs it survives by supplying – including the need for meaning.

  8. Our culture promotes isolation, alienation and paranoia as not only an ideal, but the highest ideal.

  9. The “Green Zone” in Baghdad is the most effective microcosm of the World-As-Is.

  10. Less bread means more circuses – the less food and shiny consumer items there are to hand out, the more lies and spectacles must be provided.

  11. Corporate politics and management are memetics combined with brute force. Memetics are generally cheaper and have less unpleasant side effects than brute force, but need to be continually updated to remain effective.

  12. Corporate (or Black, or brute-force) Memetics works through a barrage of constant mutually reinforcing impressions.

  13. When corporate capitalism had succeeded in fulfilling the basic physical needs of its workforce, it then had to create new needs and desires in order to perpetuate itself.

  14. The corporate egregore will stop existing the instant that the masses stop believing in it. That will only happen once the alternative begins to make sense to them. Your work is judged on how successful you are at making an alternative to the World As Is a real thing to real numbers of people.

  15. Diversion of consciousness into impractical reality tunnels is one of the prime means by which the Corporate Egregore maintains its power.

  16. Sometimes in the World-As-Is, you’ve got to shake the hand that feeds you. There is no virtue in starving. If you have a job, then you are at a point in the belly of the beast where it is possible to wound it – with help.

  17. There is change in the World-As-Is, once you accept that the World-As-Is exists.


DON'T CONFUSE THE LEVELS


  1. The struggle has to be carried on on three levels at once: industrial, political and ideological. Don't confuse these.

  2. The map is not the territory - that symbols are only useful in so far as they serve the actual purpose on the ground. Ideology is an imaginary solution to a real problem – an attempt to “live in the map”.

  1. If you try to live in the metaphor you constructed, rather than using it as a guide to action, you will at best create just another religion, and at worst, create an internet subculture that people will laugh at.

  2. The most powerful magic of all is what causes change on the level of the subconscious mind; on the level of Industry; on the level of the reality which doesn't go away when we stop believing in it.


THE FUTURE


  1. The main indication that the future will be different from the present is that the present is different from the past.

  1. Believing that there is change, that the future will be more than the present with faster cars and smellier air, is in fact a revolutionary act in itself.

  2. Will the corporations collectivise humanity? Or will humanity collectivise the corporates?

  3. Revolutions are not predictable. People don't wear nice colour coded symbols in a real revolution. They get drunk and smash shit up and in all other ways go over the top.

  4. We adopt a reality-view that maximises our effectiveness in causing change-in-accordance-with-will in the real, physical, material world.

  1. The revolutionary organisation must organise counter-hegemonic cultural movements.

  2. We are not initiators of the New Culture - we can only hope to be its midwives.

  3. Culture-from-below is always free, and often illegal – mainly because it subverts the intellectual property laws. The new world will have different definitions of property and reward.

  1. Revolutionary commercial culture is ideally a kind of virus in the system, but sustained on the same logic as the system itself – the ideas contradict the commodity format.

  1. Don't blame the media - become the media. Turn readers into writers, consumers into producers, buyers into sellers.

  2. Propaganda and agitation are transitory, art is eternal – but they can have the same effect.

  3. There is no future for small, independent capitalism. The only way to defeat the corporates is to go through them.

  4. To defeat an enemy you must become symmetrical to it - then we need some kind of "egregore" (or cultural metaphor for struggle) equally strong on our side.

  5. We will make sure the Ghost Point never happens. The 21st century is where it all starts – or stops.



4 comments:

  1. Very nice. Just woundering are you in agreement with the complete anihalation ofthe monetary system? To be replaced with something similar to thevenus project?

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  2. Firstly, like this guy, I think the Zeitgeist movies are a huge scam - an ersatz substitute for real revolutionary ideas which aim young radicals at precisely the wrong targets, i.e. shadowy "conspiracies" and "money power", when all that crap is secondary to the very capitalist system of exploitation which is right in front of everyone's eyes all the time. So screw this technocracy "Venus Project" bullshit.

    But we are in favour of the complete annihilation of the system of wage labour and commodity production, which goes far, far deeper than the monetary system.

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  3. I still don't know what you would replace capitalism with. What is the plan and structure you wish to sell the people whom you need for revolutionary action?
    I'm all against property, but I do like eating and my water clean. So no advanced use of techonoly to make eveyones Life more comfie? And why not?

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  4. Oh, don't worry, man, I agree with on clean drinking water, comfy living arrangements, and broadband internet access - for everyone on the planet. Marxists are not primitivists - we LIKE a globalized high-tech society, we just feel that capitalism's going to wreck it within forty years top if we don't stop it.

    What alternative model? Well, one problem is that we're not elitists - the new economy is going to be built by ordinary workers and peasants from the ground up, no matter what master plan clever intellectuals come up with, so any plan we come up with can only be a tentative suggestion at this stage. However, here's a very good suggestion - Michael Albert's "Parecon" model. What do you think of that?

    (It's interesting that, although he's an anarchist, Albert sees some similiarities to Parecon in the social projects being put in place by the current government of Venezuela.)

    ReplyDelete