What follows is a brief synthesis of the topics I have been dealing with recently, and a good indicator of the direction my next book, Idols of Civilization, is taking. I am posting it here as a guide to the direction my thought since Repent has taken.
In the book of I Kings the prophet Elijah challenges the prophets of the pagan god Ba’al to a duel of divinities: both sides would build an altar, fill it with wood, and pray to their respective Gods to start a fire that would consume their sacrifices. In accordance with his firebrand character, Elijah even poured water over his altar — and when he won, he slaughtered the prophets of Ba’al.
And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is on a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awakened.
And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.
The story is already captivating, but it becomes most interesting when we delve into the prophets’ minds. Their whole lives they have polemicized for a god who was viciously mocked and even more viciously murdered right before their eyes, and then their own deaths.
Of course, Elijah could have just killed them — but he found it more important to smash the idols in their heads first. Why? Interestingly, though the prophets are numbered as 450 at the beginning of the story, we are never told the precise number that Elijah slaughtered. Could it be that some repented?
— Notebooks, Aug. 23
Nietzsche distinguishes between two moral modes: master and slave. Slave, beneath, is ruled by “thou shalts” and transcendent value; morality is seen as “objective.” Master, above, is ruled by “I will,” acknowledging that ultimately, all values reduce to the individual’s choosing to value them. He creates the morality that the herd takes as objective, and thus gains the power to string the herd along. The creation of a “moral aristocracy.”
Stirner’s egoist is essentially Nietzsche’s master; and the social relations of the moral aristocrats are essentially the social relations of Stirner’s union of egoists. Stirner, though, asked the question: how might we extricate the individual from the herd?
“Civilized, though not quite domesticated.” Stirner outlined the process of becoming an egoist as a process of abolishing “spooks” in the mind. This is an essentially psychoanalytic process: freeing the id from the hold of the superego, and bringing repressed desires of the id into consciousness. The psychoanalyst’s conscious individual is essentially Stirner’s egoist.
The cause of the id-superego conflict is the civilizing process, re: Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents. Culturally this is done through the extension of childhood and the creation of a teenage class; the abolition of primitive initiation, or coming of age rituals. Elias on the creation of manners in The Civilizing Process, vol. I.
Freud argued for the necessity of the superego, but the more insightful of the psychoanalysts recognized its negative function, re: Reich’s “Negation of the Irrational Superego.”
The psychoanalytic process — psychoanalytic initiation — from the latter school is the same as human rewilding, or decivilizing the self. Cf. Eliade, Gennep, Evola on initiation.
This process does not only liberate the psyche, but has corresponding effects on the body, especially muscular tension. Reich’s Character Analysis and my own biological data in Repent to the Primitive (esp. pp. 77-81) point to it.
The psychoanalytic initiatory process will require three phases: psychic collapse, id-release, and reconstitution of the psyche guided by will rather than superego. Essentially the same as Nietzsche’s process of revaluation of values and the following creation of values; but Jung and Campbell make necessary revision, noting the creator is more a discoverer of values.
See Anthropological Man.
The politic, however, requires more than individual healing. Root of psychic problems is essentially technological, alienation from our natural condition and the corresponding requirements to closely regulate our natural desires for the sake of technological efficiency. See again Elias (“Taking Rewilding Seriously”); also Marcuse, Kaczynski; Century of the Self. So long as technological environments exits, psychic problems will be reproduced. Insights from ecopsychology, Paul Shepard, developmental psychology on importance of nature and primitive social conditions for proper human development.
See Word Vomit.
Psychic tensions building. Nazi Germany a characteristic case of id revolting against superego in sick way; Third Reich as the shadow of the modern world. Hitler as Wotan, re: Jung. The anti-civilization roots of German nihilism, coopted and mobilized by Nazis. The mechanical nature of fascist revolutions. Reich’s Mass Psychology. Marxist and fascist revolutions as attempts to confront prevailing nihilism, touch on important needs unsatisfied in modern society.
Cultural initiation: collapse, id-release, and reconstitution into more natural societies.
Rebirth: a child being born only says “no!” to the womb that carries him, not knowing what lays outside; similarly, the nihilist politic says “no!” to the civilized womb it inhabits, not expecting any particular social arrangement after:
It is membership of society, and not isolation, Stirner suggests, which is humankind’s “state of nature,” in that it constitutes an early stage of development whose inadequacies are, in due course, outgrown. Elsewhere, he describes the developing relationships between the individual and society as analogous to that between a mother and her child. As the individual (the child) develops a mature preference for a less suffocating environment, it must throw off the claims of society (the mother) which seeks to maintain it in a subordinate position. In both cases, Stirner draws the lesson that the individual must move from social to egoistic relationships in order to escape subjugation.
Nietzshe tended to believe always there would be herds in need of a shepherd. Probably true as a political reality. But as a political project, the nihilist politic must also be anarchist in character: reiterate Stirner’s question, how might we extricate the individual from the herd? In this way the politic is the most extreme confrontation with nihilism, aiming for a rebirth of the individual and civilized man in general, rather than any specific social group, like the nation or race. The anarchist character necessary in order to avoid the fascist and Marxist nihilism of the 20th century.
Rewilding is, at its core, about rebirth: rebirth into the land, and a cultural rebirth. The latter, however, will only occur with an uncompromising and total dissolution of our culture’s technological base. It is in the wake of this crisis of destruction that new cultural formations will take hold, based on the material afforded by nature and whatever vestiges of civilization remain.
But this urge toward rebirth cannot be motivated by a desire for any particular social formation. When a child is leaving the womb, does he know what the world outside will hold for him? No! He only knows that he must say No! to the womb that holds him. Similarly, the rewilders must be nihilist in orientation: only saying No! to the civilized womb that carries them. All programs of nationalism or any kind of cultural unity must be rejected. To the contrary, rebirth will only occur when those formations have been broken to pieces, left for whoever comes after to put the pieces together as they wish.
In order to prepare for this period of renewal we must engage in a two-pronged approach, both preserving the elements necessary for survival in wilder conditions: on the one hand we must preserve the nature on which we will necessarily be dependent; on the other hand we must prepare the individual person for his own endeavors in the territory of the uncertain, indeterminate, wild. These individuals must graduate from dependence on any particular social formation and have the ability to enter into many different social formations, as individuals; not carrying with them any particular collection of social norms, but able to establish social norms with others, also individuals, not through transcendent values standing atop them, but through the constant conflict of individualities engaging with each other — the rewilded individual.
— Notebooks, Dec. 1