27 October 2010

The important point...

... is that people are not monadic subjects. Your average human being consists of:

- a physical body;
- a consciousness (or awareness);
- various instinctual drives arising from the intersection of that body and consciousness;
- various subconscious "programmes" arising from the intersection of the instinctual drives and the Real World of Physical Laws and Other Humans;
- a rational mind;
- a self-image (created by the rational mind from on the basis of the subconscious processes - the purpose of this is to allow the individual to survive in the World-As-Is, and is the ego or at least what the individual thinks he or she is);
- and, in potential but only if worked on, a will capable of independent action, produced by the rational mind by the application of consciousness, which is capable of standing apart from all the above mental processes and making decisions based on principle.

Above that there's probably a Higher Self / True Will / Soul / God, accessible if all the above are working in co-operation, but about this it is not permissible to speak (because anything I could say would be asinine at best).

The essential crime of capitalism is that its ideology is based on the idea that the individual is nothing but a rational mind and instinctual drives (ignoring the deep interface between the two); and keeping the individual docile by deliberately trying to induce a gap between them. Capitalism and Schizophrenia, indeed.

The essential failure of leftist ideology is to believe that you can change this solely by an appeal to the rational mind. When rationality comes up against tasty treats offered to the animal brain, in all but those cases where an independent will has been developed, the rational mind loses every time.

Political radicalism must truly understand cultural theory, psychology, memetics, magick and mysticism if it has a chance of defeating the status quo this side of a total collapse of human civilisation. Because our enemies get it. They've turned it into an art, if not quite a science.

20 October 2010

γνῶθι σεαυτόν

There are two reasons anyone does anything, a good reason and the real reason; or, more precisely, a rationalisation and a subconscious motivation.

You can't stop unnecessary suffering unless you actually understand why you do things - i.e. what you really want, what your actual psychology and physiology needs but won't admit, and what prompted you to a course of action that led to suffering. The problem tends to be that if you don't get your subconscious needs met by your actions (and you almost certainly won't because the subconscious doesn't behave rationally), your subconscious will declare that the whole thing was a disaster and make you miserable. In contrast, if you admit to yourself what you were subconsciously trying to do, and that it was never going to work so no point beating yourself up over it, then you can actually rationally estimate the concrete advantages and the disadvantages of the action, and then try to turn the disadvantages to your advantage (even if the advantage is "now I know not to do that again").

In this way, you can minimise unnecessary suffering, to leave more time, space, energy and resources for necessary suffering. (Because, as the Buddha correctly said, life in this world is suffering, you might as well pick the most effective and useful form of suffering.) And part of that wisdom is learning that real fulfilment means acting in accordance with your own inner nature, and can't be found in any possession or symbolic capital. Aleister Crowley said "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law"; Karl Marx said that the essential nature of humanity was in labour (i.e. productive, creative work) rather than consumption.

12 October 2010

So we keep saying!

Instead of performing a rational cost-benefit analysis, we accept information which confirms our identity and values, and reject information that conflicts with them. We mould our thinking around our social identity, protecting it from serious challenge. Confronting people with inconvenient facts is likely only to harden their resistance to change.

- George Monbiot

What do you want - to change material reality or just give yourself a new identity, a new lifestyle, a new religion which says it's not a religion?

- Chaos Marxist Aphorisms II,43

11 October 2010

An apology

To date, this blog has pretty much been the equivalent of a person who's lived in the trackless desert her whole life, telling wayfarers: "Oh yeah, I totally know the way to the Silver City. Of course, I've never been there myself. But I've talked to people who know people who have! And based on that and on my own experience of the trackless desert, it shouldn't be too hard for us to put our heads together and draw a map..."

Yeah. The ego (including the intellect) is a booster rocket. You'll never get off the ground without it, but you'll never get into orbit with it.

10 October 2010

Arirang



Chaos Marxism aims to be a technology of ecstacy - or, more importantly, integration of ecstacy into the Real World of Horrible Jobs, of inner and outer worlds - which has always been the goal of mystical paths and dialectical materialist praxis. Capitalism generalises alienation, in which work is turned against the self; and, in the modern era, a "Chinese Wall" is erected between production and consumption, with the ideological apparatus of society actively encouraging a "split personality" (the dutiful worker always pushing for greater productivity suddenly transforms into a raging, impulse-buying party animal and sexual tyrannosaurus after 5 pm and on weekends).

In this sense, you could even make an argument that the Stalinist and fascist party-states had a slight edge, whereby officially promoted ecstatic states (generally in the form of leader worship, eg North Korean "mass games", or "compulsory social solidarity" events) were closely integrated into the daily grind of routine labour. "It's very chaste, but everyone has a good time," as James Church's Inspector O put it. Recent advances in the "creative workplace" in the capitalist countries are catching up, though - they're trying to integrate fun into work, but in such a way as to subordinate fun to work.

But Stalinist, fascist and capitalist technologies are simply safety valves - imposition of order leads to escalation of chaos, so there are clearly defined limits to "official ecstacy". When Saturnalia is over, the slaves go back to being slaves. So much "revolutionary" practice, unfortunately, fits into this remarkably well - political activism is something you do in your leisure time and lunch breaks, which is 100% compatible with the perpetuation of capitalist normality, as it's just another leisure activity. Assertion of workers' power and self-management on the job breaks the cycle, but of course that can't be done by isolated individuals - it needs social organisation, which capitalist normality does everything in its power to prevent.

So our problem is: how do we achieve ecstacy in a way in which something is disrupted in the system of the Black Iron Prison, rather than just letting off steam? Probably the answer lies in personality integration - that we should strive to become the same person on the job, in the sack, and communing with the Gods, rather than building barriers and compartments between experiences. They actually enforce something like this in Stalinist countries, but in the service of a closed, static, self-perpetuating social order - the people who talk about North Korea as "neo-feudal" are close to the mark, although I'd say it's much more like the Byzantine emperor+bureaucracy system than European feudalism, which if nothing else was radically decentralised.

Reactionary systems: workaday self and ecstatic self merged in a static loop.
Capitalism: workaday self divorced from ecstatic self.
Revolutionary systems: workaday self and ecstatic self merged in a dynamic loop.