Techno-Materialism As A Drowning Pool

I recently had that old reactionary adage running through my head, “technological advances mask societal decay”. What does this actually mean?

To expand, this adage is to say that people will be unawares of deep structural problems in their society, even as said problems metastasize to a choking largess, because they will be according undue praise to technological advancement as a measure of civilizational success. In other words, similar to how it is prophesied in the Hindu Doctrine of the Ages that the measure of men will become their wealth, the measure of the society at large will be its level of technological development.

During the Cold War, a distinction was made to divide the world into three camps.

1. First World countries: aligned with the United States and participant in capitalist economic structure

2, Second World countries: aligned with the Soviet Union and participant in communist economic structure

3, Third World countries: non-aligned typically adhering to what were perceived as lower, undeveloped forms of economic structure

Not many people actually know this is the origin of the ‘World’ classifications for countries, mainly because it has little relevance in the post-Cold War era. However, the terms remain in popular usage, particularly ‘third world’, which has simply come to describe any country that has lower levels of technological development. For example, Laos would typically be described as a ‘third world’ country, despite the fact that it has been second world since 1975. It’s one of the few states to remain (albeit as more of a title than anything else) a declared communist, and therefore second world country.

Increasingly, this is the metric for how functional and healthy a given society is. So it makes sense that if a country is experiencing greater technological advancements, this will overshadow any other problems that might previously have been recognized and addressed. So long as we’re not scraping in the dirt like those poor brown people, then our society must be a success with a positive trajectory going forward.

This is fundamentally wrong. The technological advancement of any society, beyond a certain point, is completely irrelevant to that society’s health, and to the degree that it does have an impact, it is that untempered it is a decay accelerant.

When all of man’s ills and petty desires can be cured and secured with the push of a button, the flick of a switch, or the swipe of a screen, he ceases to be engaged in any kind of struggle. Struggle is an essential part of manhood in particular and so without it, you end up with varying degrees of feminization amongst men. Why be an ascetic when you can just watch Deepak Chopra on DVD? Why be a hero when you can just play on the joystick with a predator drone? With no counter or substitute to the paths that led man to his true virility in these dual qualities, he simply doesn’t achieve them. The level to which he fails is largely determined by his socioeconomic status, with the faux Modern elite proving the best example of full wussification. In his article, Perry points out the popularity of sodomy and other sexual deviancies in the upper echelons of our society. This is a marker of the declining health of what was already an illegitimate aristocracy.

The more man is provided for not by his labors, duties, and a spiritual/mental sustenance, but by technological comfort, the more he comes to attach the meaning in his life to this telluric source, the material wealth that he can accrue. This does not only become the means by which he lives his life, it becomes his life in and of itself. We see a very direct warning of this in Scripture.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

– John 2:15-17

In the book by Marty Glass ‘Yuga: An Anatomy of Our Fate‘, the Hindu Doctrine of the Ages is examined, and the following is said about the Dark Age that we currently reside in.

“In the Kali-Yuga we ‘get the job done’, as never before; but ‘we’ are machinery, ‘Technique’, and a machinery has nothing to say about itself, because there’s no one left to know anything and to know: there’s no one there, it’s dead. Titanic, inexhaustible, ceaselessly moving, shaping, tearing down, building up, creating and achieving. But nobody’s home. In more than one sense.”

The soul of man is entirely absent in this age, as is any connection to its origin in the Divine Realm prior to man’s Fall. The society is now enthralled to “the world” and as such reaps the consequences with eyes wide shut.

Alas, the elite caste in any given hierarchy face the same peril. They must parry the fancies of the flesh lest they be consumed by materialism and the dedication to the finite rather than the infinite. If there be three divisions of the elite caste, then they must employ methods of combating the telluric urge, even in the face of great technological prowess.

1. The priestly class must suffer the grueling trial of the ascetic life, drained by a zealous commitment to the Divine forces that they mediate to on behalf of man. They must be forever aware of their subordination to higher realms of being.

(Undermined in our age by ‘health and wealth’ spirituality focused on the success of man rather than giving glory to God. Our priests, by in large, do not fulfill the Traditional priestly role and not only in the political sense of that role)

2. The warrior class must have an eternal heroic character, tested by external threats and the constant critical eye of the aristocratic class as well as the pressures of strict masculine meritocracy.

(Undermined in our age by the creep of affirmative action in the military, and the mechanization of war which first turned conflicts into an apocalyptic battle against crude machines where the gladiatorial heroism of the past was destroyed, and then later managed to turn the art of war into a video game in which the warrior became totally detached from combat)

3. The aristocratic class has the hardest trial of all. Lacking the inherent ascetic and heroic virtues of the roles given to priest and warrior, yet with the grave responsibility of high governance, these men are at the greatest risk of corruption by the materialist strain. This can be combated through intermingling with the warrior class, high sport and hunting traditions, as well as the universal rejuvenation brought through the ‘great threat’, whether imagined or real.

(Literally everything undermines this class in our age, in fact its safe to say this class doesn’t exist. It has been usurped and replaced with demotic powers (politicians) and a depraved artistic elite represented by the modern celebrity)

I challenge the notion that atheism leads to materialism in a society, rather I think materialism leads to atheism instead, in addition to other societally degenerative tendencies which unfortunately rot the head of the fish (the elite) first. The greater we become technologically, the more incapable we are of seeing the problems that surround us. First man becomes blind to the spiritual world, ceasing to harness its power against chaotic forces, and then he becomes blind even to common sense. Obviously terrible things are allowed to occur in the name of progress, because technology has become our metric, our material well-being the be all and end all, and it will indeed end all.

In becoming a society centered around the merely physical virtues of techno-materialism, man has ceased to struggle in almost every aspect of his existence. He has plunged himself into a drowning pool thats warm waters provide the comfort that his aching limbs and mind crave, it is in essence a return to the safety of the womb with these liquid confines bearing the hallmarks of the usurping feminine principle, but water is water and we are no longer unborn. Unless we somehow manage to surface, such depths will be the death of us.

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  1. (Factual Note: The GDP judgment between Nigeria and Sweden is nominal and going by the IMF metric as listed below. Other metrics such as the World Bank’s may vary. The point made however can be exemplified by Austria, which has a lower nominal GDP by all metrics.)

  2. It’ been my observation in following NRx since around 2008 combined with my travels, that there is a possible solution to this. I think there is a way to revive the aristocratic class – indeed, to revive the Optimates, but better than they were before! – and steal away the priestly mantle from the media and academic elites where it now very wrongly rests. I think there’s a way to rebuild a leadership that is vested with real virtue: one that could lead a community of the sort Anti-Dem mentions in his new Rhodesia article from a month back. A way to shield our young people, and the members of our Thede, from the pernicious attacks from the left when they hurl the insult “bigot!” I think there’s a way to rob their sails of its wind, and indeed, redirect it.

    It’s a plan I’d be happy to discuss with any who are interested. I believe its implementation could supply a social-technological backbone for real, resilient Exit.

  3. If I may ask, where do you think a new aristocracy might arise from?

    On a side note, I’d just like to thank everyone involved in the site. The articles are always thought provoking and I appreciate the time everyone puts into writing here.

    1. Well, the details are something I’d rather keep in one-on-one conversation (I have some sketches and charts for the concept, but I’m not a programmer and have reached a bit of an impasse – the last thing I want is for this to be another arrow in the SJW ‘Net/proverbial quiver), but I think there’s a way to… here, I’ll tease: weaponized Nicomachean Ethics. Metaphorically. Why not build a system through these fantastic exit-rich platforms that we have all around, and build a new meme-plex that people derive their sense of value, morality, indeed, virtue itself, from?

      There. That’s the tease. The whole thing very … err, GROK-able (!) for us Westerners once you take a look at the details, and the role that trust plays (good ole trust: no stranger to the best of the West, eh!?) means I’d take a stab at explaining it in further detail to any well-meaning NRx’er who cared to hear my pitch. Name your terms.

  4. pseudo-chrysostom April 22, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    mastery of techne hides decay in a more banal manner as well. namely, by raising the malthusian ceiling of a society, it can actually allow for its spiritual degredation to carry on longer and more intensively than would otherwise be possible, making its fall that much more spectacular and terrible.

  5. First the invention of the machine has phased out the need for ascetic focus. Now the invention of computers is phasing out the need for spiritual focus. Both focuses are essential when humans themselves monopolize the position as the fundamental unit of power within a social structure. A culture that focuses on the ascetic and spiritual can turn peasants to the plow, and inspire men to storm castles. Now we have machines to plow our fields for us, and our armies no longer rely on heroism but on smart bombs. Muscle and mind are being replaced by motor and silicon chip. This process doesn’t so much as mask societal decay but destroy the fundamental motivations for people to so rigorously maintain societal standards. The world as it is no longer rewards aestheticism or spirituality in a society as it did in the past. Cultures that retained aestheticism and spirituality as their primary focus have been outmatched with the technology that techno-materialistic societies can produce.

    I think this process will continue until we hit one of three scenarios. The first is collapse of civilization. Whether it is from social decay, nuclear war, or the environment is irrelevant- that would set back the process and reward older behaviors, perhaps even turning opinions against scientific progress negative for thousands of years. I see this as a negative outcome simply because of the widespread damage causes to our populations regardless of the results.

    The second scenario would be in the reaching of the end-game for technological advancement. The creation of God in the form of an artificial intelligence. This would be tied up in the pseudo-spiritual idea some people have about the “singularity”. In this scenario some super-computer in a lab somewhere surpasses human intelligence and becomes the doomsday AI that recent movies have featured (Transcendence). There is no guarantee in this scenario that humanity would survive at all, much less be catered to and made happy, so in my opinion this is a negative outcome.

    The third scenario is a bit like the second, but if cybernetics and biotechnology develop before the creation of a stand-alone strong-AI then we could see a reverse in the trends against our individual value in muscle and mind. While this certainly wouldn’t be applicable to the vast majority of the population the achievement of being able to melt human minds and technology would enable us to incorporate the machines and computers into our being instead of having the function of our beings be replaced by their existence. Then again, this scenario does go off into trans-humanism and doesn’t solve the issue of depravity. Perhaps the problem is that we have become fat and lazy because of our success, and the only solution is create our own wolves in order to pick the weak from the herd. Or perhaps genetic modification can solve this problem for ourselves- but god help us if those who decide the traits of the next generation are progressives.

    1. I find the first option to be the most likely, and even transhumanist Michael Anissimov seems to agree on this point. After all, the reason he is a NeoReactionary is because he thinks that non-authoritarian anti-civilizational policies coupled with the whirlwind technological advancements in the next few decades will lead to Armageddon. The two are on a collision course.

      I welcome this turn of events. Yes, the losses will be tremendous, but this ascendancy theory that I have called ‘Prophetic Catastrophism’ is fully in line with the predictions of the Vedic Tradition concerning the end of the Kali Yuga and the renewal of the cycle. ‘Re population of the earth” is even specifically mentioned, hinting at some kind of mass scale disaster. In such a condition, Reactionary politics will be the only viable option. Liberal outposts may exist, but like many maladaptive cultures in the early years of civilization, they will be swiftly overrun by those that realize the Traditional ideal in heroism and asceticism. Modernism’s technological advantage ripped from its heart, it will be exposed for how weak it truly is.

      The greater the power of technology becomes, and the more diffuse and easy to obtain that it becomes (3D printers are really revolutionary in this regard), the pool of people who could bring cataclysm to civilizations expands. There was a time when virtually no man held such power, then with the advent of nuclear weapons, a minor handful of heads of state. Not so anymore. The development of defensive technology has never kept up with offensive technology, and in the Modern world, offensive technology has left defensive technology in the dust. It’s sprinting ahead towards its own immolation.

      It’s just the end of a cycle. Things naturally do not continue as they are forever. They terminate at a point, and something new comes about. When Aleksandr Dugin gives the prime directive for his Eurasianist movement as “uprooting the accursed Tree of Knowledge” and realizing in Russia “the last thought in the mind of God, that of the end of the world”, he views this in a Messianic sense of the final apocalypse. I view it differently, as the beginning of another age, bleak and forbidding in many senses, but rich and beyond our wildest dreams in others. Over half the ancient writings we dismiss as legend, fable, and myth. But soon enough, we will see this age again, we will live in the age of legends, the age of Solar man, the age of heroes, the World of Tradition. That is… if we can just survive what is coming.

      1. I think it really depends on how things play out. It would only take one nuclear event by terrorists to dramatically alter the political spectrum. The main problem I see is that a future where populism no longer translates into power we will at some point have to reorganize society away from the progressive tenets they have been built upon today. The idea that all people are created equal. The idea that we should allow people to behave as they please within society. These policies translate into power when machines remove the need for mass manual labor, and the highest economic output can be achieved by liberally educating the most amount of people- humans being the most capable being for technological and economic growth. If instead technology renders people unequal, and makes it extremely dangerous to allow people to develop behaviors independent of the tribe because of their ability to create havoc with easily made weapons of mass destruction, then societies that embrace the new reality will become more powerful than those that don’t.

        It would only take one military grade nuclear weapon going off in a major Western city to sweep away any public tolerance and drive politicians to legislate democracy’s death alongside the 24 hour news coverage of radiation burn victims being dragged from smoldering buildings. If this trend of destruction continues, as you predict it will, then states would be driven to genocide to re-establish order. This alone wouldn’t reestablish virtues of honor and courage, but it could easily destroy progressive politics. Times of crisis and war tends to drive people to the right out of necessity, and the technological crisis does not inherently have to be a one-off event of global destruction.

        1. I doubt it would be a one-off, but rather a series of cataclysms. One of the problems for Modernists is globalization itself. Everything is interconnected. It’s hard to jettison a lifeboat of Modern civilization because everyone is entangled in a web of economic and geopolitical interests. We saw this on a relatively small scale when Eurozone countries started to implode and the world economy was dragged into a ditch.

          The aspects that fascinate me are hacking, virus attacks, and EMP detonation at a high altitude. Crippling electronics in the Modern world would cause mass chaos overnight. I read an article somewhere about what would happen if the electrical grid of the United States was shut down, and a prediction had the number of deaths in the first two weeks alone in the millions. I assume this is a conglomeration of hospital shutdowns, inability of police and fire departments to respond to anything, and perhaps heating/cooling failures where the elderly are concerned, plus of course riots and looting. Just look at how certain African American precincts react when the SNAP card system is down for a day.

          The electronic aspect, as well as globalization of economics, and what I would predict would be opportunistic military actions in certain places around the world, would create an ongoing catastrophe unparalleled in human history. I wouldn’t rely on current regimes becoming Reactionary (perhaps a couple, Hungary and Russia, maybe a few others), most regimes will simply die as the politicians run to hide in their chosen ‘safe places’ with plundered loot.

          Someone once speculated as to why we had never picked up a signal from alien lifeforms. He said that once any such species got to around where we were technologically, they soon after saw either their worlds destroyed or such a disaster occurred as to send them back to square one technologically. They hit a kind of ceiling that will always render Star Trek a work of fiction.

          “If instead technology renders people unequal”

          It’s a possibility, but society is unequal anyway. It always has been and always will be. Technology I don’t think can scrub away ideology. Take the example of Consumer Capitalism which, on average, made people more wealthy, but less equal. The gap between what we consider poor (which isn’t really poor I know) and the rich is widening every day because rich people are really really good at making money while average wages are stagnant. The stock market is a massive cash cow for corporate CEOs and they don’t even really have to do much to make millions and millions every day.
          In spite of this… the ideology remains. We are all equal. We must be treated equally. There can be no aristocracy. There can be no monarchy.

          Communism met its end on the deathbed of entropy. Compounding problem after problem, things got worse and worse until the ideology itself saw a kind of spiritual death, and in tandem the Communist states started to fall apart. The caveat was, they had the rich and bountiful West to rush in and make big investments with their Capitalism, just look at Poland’s transformation.

          If we see the implosion of Liberalism, there’s nobody there to come to the rescue. All the other players, even authoritarian ones like China, will go totally bust as well.

          What I have put forth as the Ascendancy Theory for Reactionaries is to prepare for this and be ready, be organized, be intellectually sound with an iron foundation, and have an inquisitionesque zeal for seeing Liberalism gone for good. Evola advised in Ride the Tiger to wait, let the tide rush over you and when it is at its lowest ebb, then and only then is the time for action. The Tiger burns itself out. That is the time to strike. Our task will be to remove the shriveled vestige of tomorrow, not the monolith of today which by then will lie in a ruin of its own making.

          I think we may be surprised how weak resistance is at the end of it all.

  6. Yes, the interconnected nature of modern civilization does present an increasing vulnerability. However that is not entirely new- the great depression was a global event as well… I guess the difference now is that we have more destructive weapons for our next world war.

    The ability to take down the electrical grid doesn’t really raise the stakes from what they have been since the stockpiling of nuclear weapons. Opportunistic military actions would result in the same catastrophe if they went to far. Mutually assured destruction has been, and still is the only thing preventing global conflict.

    I’ve heard about that theory before, that it is fundamentally impossible for intelligent species to escape their planet or solar system. There are also other explanations, but it could certainly be one of them. I like to hope that we are simply the first, however naive that is it seems like the best thing to bet on.

    By “technology rendering people unequal” I did not meant to say that they were not unequal already, but that it would become impossible for anyone with the name “scientist” to ignore the reality unless the government was actually dissapearing people who made contrary claims. Impossible for the public to ignore either. This wouldn’t change the mind of the fanatics, but it would be no longer possible to hide behind the idea that because we are all human we are all equal- or at least equal enough that it’s not worth causing trouble over the issue.

    Even if countries “go bust” as you say, and there is a massive die-off, this does not inherently mean the end of civilization. Governments can revert to older methods of population control, or dissolve into more regional powers, and still retain a semblance of control. Once the shock from global economic collapse is overcome they can rebuild as long as there is no widespread nuclear war or some other mass destruction event.

    Regardless, we can still be prepared. History has shown that in the case of an economic upset fringe elements have the chance to grab the reigns of power. I severely doubt they will go without a global military struggle.

    1. “History has shown that in the case of an economic upset fringe elements have the chance to grab the reigns of power.”

      Precisely. Some consider this a third rail so to speak, which is probably wise considering (in the wake of the Snowden revelations) that almost all activity over cyberspace is monitored by someone. Of course, to keep it vague is the key, until the hour approaches.

  7. “Evola advised in Ride the Tiger to wait, let the tide rush over you and when it is at its lowest ebb, then and only then is the time for action. The Tiger burns itself out. ”
    Well, just a little bit off, but…if somebody answer me this . We can’t wait. I’ve read the book years ago, in my youth. Many of its ideas and postulates, i could see myself related to. However things have changed. These days, in the crisis striken Europe, living an approach to a tradicional lifestyle, the most possible apart from modern world decadence and turbulence is no easy task. A southern european like me, is someone who struggle with immediate things like unemployment, living on the verge of misery and even this web connection where i am writing from, is on the house of a friend. I know a few traditionalists and identitarians that are struggling with this and precarious jobs, living in fear, and i know one that is under enormous pressure of being fired from work, so he is a real slave to his boss, here in the hellish, impovrished South of Europe. He is humilated everyday and he cannot emigrate because his wife is sick. How can this man not feel hateful and thinking of beating the boss and end his humiliation? This guy just CANT ride the tiger. These people cannot ride the tiger. The tiger is biting them hard. In the form of a violent vampiric labour market that is using people while they feast. How cann they wait for the tiger to get tired? They just cant! The pain is harsh, the tiger is eating them …they just cant jump. They feel the urge to the impossible: kill the horrible tiger. The modern world cancer is entering their houses and ruining their lives right now. Can they be standing among the ruins when they cant pay electricity and the cops come and shut it off. How can they live a traditional spirit when they cannot even pay gas to get out of the ugly suburb /gheto-like place where they live. When they have to seel books to buy food? Isnt this living or standing too virtual? This question urges to be answered.
    On the opposite (or so) I’ve seen young norwegians and swedes claiming “riding the tiger” primal quotes, but…for a young norwegian man is way easier to get things on the right path. Of course Norway is a modern country and globalization and culture decay affects it but…Since norwegians are mostly employed mid-class people, the basic is assured (housing, food, etc), not to speak about their amazing nature, free for all (unlike in southern Europe)and much more guarantee, so the traditional life can somehow be translated into something REAL, at least, in their time off work. Its urgent to have a overview on how can a unemployed, almost homeless south european traditionalist, not feel urge to join a lot of others and destroy those companies and vampiric CEO’s? Maybe is not right way, but…this is being too much either way. It’s being brutal and it can take decades – we will age and die, in misery. The guy who makes me starve, deserves being punished. Now. How wait when there is literally no food on the table?
    When humiliation and exploitation on us grows exponentially, feed by our despair to accept any job to pay our food and small bills…how can we ride the tiger? The corrupt and agressive companies here are growing, and will just grow and get big and fat on our suffering and slavery, its happening now, in my home in my life and they feast, on their big houses and cars …the years will go on and on and the tiger will not be tired, and when he is, we will be to old and poor and sick. This has been one of the great questions for me and others here, these last years. we are dying – we can’t wait.

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