Spinoza Ray Prozak
i did this interview with melita pagan metal music magazine some time ago, and was pleased by the intelligence and insight of these infoterrorists from malta
Hail! First of all, how is life?
Greetings - life is good; it often is. Thanks for sending this interview.
The American Nihilist Underground Society website (www.anus.com) has been arguably been one of the most controversial yet one of the best resources for underground metal music on the internet. How do you look at this achievement and what are the best and worst publicities you have ever received?
I view our achievement as what has been written on the site and the perspective upheld that metal music is part of a larger motion toward sanity despite modern society. Basically, society is a pragmatic, reductive impulse, but metal is the opposite. It's an affirmative, active impulse, and like other Romanticist genres of art, it embraces a number of things that society will find fearful. Therefore our society isn't going to study it on its own terms. Anus has tried to keep visible the perspective that metal is art, and art is a communication of meaning, and thanks to our loyal readership, that is to some degree succeeding.
Best and worst publicities?
It's hard to pick which are my favorites, but really it's the smaller ones that are the unsung heroes. Big magazines either loathe us or think we're funny, but smaller publications frequently make offhand references and occasionally, take us seriously. Bigger public exposure is a mixed bag; it's great to see people come in to visit and read, but they often do so with a linear, discrete conception of what is described on the site, and thus are entirely unready to see the whole of what it represents. What's nifty about all of them is how a small group is able to perceive what is said, and whether or not they continue reading, they often take those ideas with them.
How do you think the internet has changed over the years, and how useful is it in the dissemination of underground music? Were you involved with ANUS from the beginning, and if yes how did you make the transition from writing about 'How To Steal Blinkies' (!) (source: www.textfiles.org) to writing about serious philosophy and art appreciation? What part does 'trolling' have to play in all this?
ANUS originated as an organization in the days of dial-up bulletin boards, when getting on the Internet was a matter of finding someone else's access to borrow, and for that reason, those early files reflect a different world. Now anyone with a credit card who can follow several easy steps is able to get on the internet, and this populism has changed both the internet and the format in which one must write for it.
Our earliest works reflected resistance to a problem in society we could barely describe, but the initial concept of nihilism - of removing preconception, illusion and the drama of the individual, in favor of seeing literal here-and-now physical/moral reality - has been a cornerstone from which many systems of thought could be built. As the writers and artists in ANUS have grown, so has our scope; our focus was always philosophical, in that it targeted the abstract psychology of human belief, but now it is explicitly so, being able to converse with that section of society which still reads philosophy and thinks about ideas. In our view, the fundamental problem of the West is that, passively, we've 'agreed to disagree' and thus not have any unifying philosophy, and the consequences of this are constant internal strife and competition which produces not better humans but more broken, pacifistic, sterile ones. Our writings have always targeted the illogicality of modern society, first as people who had to grow up in it and now people who have to survive and resist it, but really, it's one contiguous path.
There are several offshoots of this which we could describe as 'cultural undertakings.' One is trolling, which is a frank admission that on the populist Internet, debate as a form of finding meaning is dead; people are acting out their roles for the aggrandizement of their own egos, and not to find solutions or spread knowledge. When one trolls, the point is to provoke other people into reveal that they know nothing and are essentially mentally masturbating for their own self-esteem boost, as this breaks the illusion that there is some agenda and reduces debate on the internet to the literal truth of what it is: animals illiterate in higher thought snarling and fighting each other on a personal level by throwing around concepts they don't understand. Another offshoot of this is our work with art that promotes classical concepts of Indo-European society, including metal, which is the only mainstream artform to preserve the virility and assertive motive toward holistic change of the original Indo-Europeans. The net was always appealing to ideologues because it offered the idea of discourse without paper, and promotion of ideology worldwide, but when you let in the hordes of the human mass, what happens is that they want their portion of this too, and instead of admitting they are unequal to the task or need to learn more, they simply fake it. The result is that the Internet is a mixed blessing: it's an ideal media, and a fecal storm of false positives which take hours, days, weeks, years... to sort out. Ezines (not webzines) such as exponentiation offer some solace from this, but they're hard to find, at least unless one follows a troll to its source. In the case of metal, the net allows bands to promote themselves widely, but they now have vast competition from fools, since it takes minimal step-following to produce 'metal music' via a home computer and guitar. Much as the proliferation of 7' pressings doomed hardcore music to being a crowd that pretends not to be part of the crowd, the Internet has made metal music a conformity of very similar bands, and has choked out much of the innovators by forcing them to compete with a far greater number of emulators. One solution to this is to not gear one's music toward simplistic, mainstream tastes, even if dressed up in the 'rebellious' clothing of underground metal. Similarly, when writing for the Internet, it makes little sense to try to 'fit in' and more sense to state with clarity what needs to be done, and let the work speak for itself. However, this fails without some kind of promotional agency to shout over all the voices shouting at once for attention, so we're back to exactly where we were in the time of the big labels: one requires an investment in propaganda/ publicity in order to get anywhere.
For this reason, the next generation of innovators are avoiding metal entirely, and working in genres where they can get such publicity and not be doomed to the crowd of the discontented, who will complacently slash out soundalike metal in abundance while not realizing that it is they, and not some corporate or religious conspiracy, that is choking metal and condemning it to obscurity. Our immediate method of combating this is to calmly and steadily promote quality music over quantity of emulation, and to attempt to create communities so that people can over time be exposed to what makes great metal stand above the crowd, and thus can carry on that belief to others who have the mind to perceive it. What is clear from this process is that Internet promotion alone is a failure; for metal to have a resurrection, it will need another voice outside of the digital (and thus easily 'faked') realm.
Nihilism is probably best defined as the absence of man-made absolutes and the avoidance of creating material values for immaterial objects and constants, which is what moralism and judeochristianity strive to achieve. How much do you agree with this?
No belief system can be summarized in whole; at best, one can offer an entry point, or starting assumptions which can stimulate further thought, and you've done a great job of that. Nihilism is the removal of static artefacts of perception, and replacement with a realtime quest to perceive reality 'as it is' to the best of our ability. It thus avoids the dual poles of absolutism, in which one believes that there is one correct path of thought for all people regardless of innate ability or inborn character, and relativism, which assumes that we are each absolute in our own private worlds (relativity says we can only know what we experience, or are genetically conditioned to be able to perceive, but relativism assumes that our own worlds are absolute, and derives its proof of that from the concept of an overall absolute; it is a complex but vital difference). For this reason, nihilism is at odds with the beliefs popular in society now, least of all for its denial of 'king individual,' which is the relativistic belief that we are each absolute in our beliefs. Our current time is one afflicted by many philosophical errors. These two poles, absolutism and relativism, are dimensions of the same error, namely that an absolute exists and we can perceive it, fix it once in writing or law, and thus base all of our actions upon it. That's basically an excuse not to think, and it exists so that those who might be unable or unwilling to have any kind of philosophical perception can pretend they do. It makes them equal to those who could think up such things, in their minds. This is the origin of our philosophical disagreement, and the fact that in the West, egomania and ego-drama rule over the simple concept of wanting to find solutions and move forward. Basically, we're divided among ourselves, and the origin of that division is the mass of 'those who cannot' wanting to have what 'those who can' do, without having gone through the process of being ready for it. It's very silly, but this is the origin of fracture in the Indo-European spirit, and its results are widespread and devastating.
Both nihilism and existentialism can lead to fatalism. What ways are there to avoid this pitfall? Can or cannot suicide ever be genuinely seen as the solution?
The solution to what? If one has a fatal cancer, or faces execution by an enemy, suicide is a viable option. Relativity, not relativism, here too, I suppose. Fatalism is what occurs when one is both trapped in one's own ego-world and is able to see the depth of problems surrounding the individual; because one sees only the conception of self, the warlike impulse turns not outward but inward, and the individual self-destructs. It's a form of passivity. Passivity results from caring too much about what the crowd thinks, and is the means by which the crowd neutralizes those who are more capable than the average.
The solution to fatalism is to recognize it for what it is - pacifism - and to instead be warlike about solving problems and asserting the triumph of that which is more refined, has better character, is stronger and of better design, over that which does not have these traits. By 'warlike' I don't necessarily mean violence, although I have no argument against violence as a means to solve problems - what matters is that the problem is solved and thus we can move on, not that the means involved might have transgressed the 'rights' of some member of the crowd. By warlike I mean willing to act on the world to achieve something regardless of personal cost. It's the antithesis of fatalism. Basically, while we can toss around 'isms' all day long, both nihilism and existentialism are properties of the active principle of life: that we are each parallel agents of nature, and according to our abilities, we create. Those that have higher motivations do great things, and those with lower motivations regress. If one feels fatalism, changing motivation will pit the individual against its own fears, and allow whatever higher motivations exist to become predominant; over thousands of generations of this process, one produces heroes, who never encounter fatalism but have a moral and spiritual compass toward reality, toward nature, and thus toward the process of ever-increasing evolution. 'Moral' in this sense refers to holistic morality, or the morality of the world as whole including nature, and not 'moralism,' which is the belief in censoring the means of accomplishment so as not to offend members of the crowd - moralism is an expression of fatalism by those who fear those more competent than themselves.
Have you read any works by Voltaire or Camus? What comments do you have upon them?
Camus, Voltaire - yes, but they're not very relevant; Voltaire has many parts of the picture, but he became deceived by the false absolute of 'freedom' and thus became an agent of destruction. Camus reminds me of a blog.
What literary works have influenced your worldview and your opinions about art? Literary works?
In America, the best literature was in the 1920s and 1930s. These people wrote about reality, but did it in an artistic and spirited way, addressing not only physical reality but mysticism and personal psychology. Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald... other writers of note are Joseph Conrad, Mary Shelley, Tom Wolfe, Ferdinand Celine, Georges Bataille. Most influences regarding art come from Schopenhauer and Plato, here. Music? Listen to more Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and Immortal.
Would you feel comfortable talking to people who have a completely different worldview from yours, for example belief in a benevolent judeoXtian go, people who are in favour of miscegenation and homogeny, or perhaps retards who live continuously looking forward to the next shot of heroin?
Yes, and I regularly talk to such people, absent the heroin folks (I choose a happy and full life, and rarely associate with people whose lifestyle is a predicate to suicide). In my view, all belief systems are descriptions of the same truth, which is reality itself, and thus even those who believe themselves opposed to me are my allies, in that they are still striving to interpret reality and act upon it. Those whose motivations are degenerate - self-importance, power of the mass of followers over the few leaders, money, sex, power - are not ideologues but pretenders, and with those, there is no point conversing, as they are literally not listening. For them, ideology is a means to a material end; for me, ideology is a means to a transcendent end, and I think all people of healthy psychology share that outlook in varying degrees according to innate character, intelligence, strength.
What were the five most impressive albums you ever heard in the metal genre? How do you relate to their philosophy (when applicable)? Do you think will metal develop in the future into perhaps some totally new form, or will it be absorbed by other genres? Five most impressive?
There are others, as it's hard to distil to five, but this will work. The philosophy of these albums is one of contemplative, active/ warlike belief in nature, and a rejection of human preconceptions which please the crowd of followers at the expense of leaders, but in effect, of leadership itself. They do not attempt to level human experience into simple terms like good/ bad, but embrace its mixed nature, and in that nature, find a reason for constant conflict to produce better aspects of reality. They are emotional, but not in the soppy way that mainstream rock can be. And there's a joy in the creation of music itself.
As for metal, it has always been struggling to resist absorption by rock music. It started at the height of the second generation of rock, as a protest to the happy and careless and ego-obsessed nature of rock culture; metal was instead dark, and affirmed what was heavy (eternal; larger than the individual). It took over where church music left off, and gave that now-impotent genre the energy and youthful lust for life of rock, but also took over where rock left off, and transcended social values in order to assert reality itself. Right now metal is just about dead, as it has been absorbed by followers, and musically, is closer to rock music than ever before, even though its aesthetic (distortion, howling vocals) is distinctive. Nu-metal will absorb even what is called 'black metal' now. When that happens, remember that every fan having his or her own band/ label/ zine is what caused this to occur.
How do you think the Norwegian black metal scene had changed from the release of Mayhem's 'Deathcrush' until Emperor's 'Prometheus'? Did Immortal lose the plot after 'Blizzard Beasts'?
Immortal made a tough decision; they saw that they would be unable to make music forever owing to physical (wrist) problems with one guitarist, and they realized that black metal as it was had been absorbed by the mainstream underground of metal music, thus they decided to carry the values of black metal into a more mainstream form - essentially, leaping over the heads of all the pretenders who wanted to make 'extreme metal' that was basically rock music (Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Pantera, Cannibal Corpse, etc). I think it was a brave and wise decision, as they passed on their values by sacrificing their art form in its original state, denying the idea of 'progress' but pointing out that content and not form is what defines truly epic metal. Interestingly, they went back to this heavy metal style after renovating death metal with 'Blizzard Beasts,' which in my view is a companion album to Deicide's 'Legion.' Mayhem's Deathcrush - what a waste of time. That album sucks, as it existed before there was any theory to what the newer generation of black metal was doing. They were clumsily imitating Celtic Frost, Sodom and Bathory, injecting in the populist strains of Venom, and the result is only useful if you like boring, inept music or are deluded by visions of 'the origin' of black metal. Black metal has the same origin as death metal, but it took a melodic approach (Bathory) instead of the rhythmic/ chromatic approach of death metal. But really, there's not a huge difference between 'Maze of Torment' and 'A Fine Day to Die,' except perhaps that black metal was more explicit about its inspiration in classical Indo-European culture. What happened to black metal was that it became popular and thus, at the behest of labels and fans, black metal bands began pitching their music toward the popular taste. The result was that black metal was absorbed by the generic underground music that has existed since hardcore (mid-1980s), a style which emphasizes rhythm and aesthetic novelty over writing meaningful music like the epic melodies of early Emperor, Immortal, Burzum, Enslaved, Gorgoroth, Ancient, and Bathory. Really, is there any substantial difference, besides aesthetics, between today's 'black metal' and hardcore bands like Minor Threat and Discharge? There isn't. Black metal has been absorbed. I respect Immortal and Burzum and Beherit and Bathory for bowing out respectfully and going to other styles/ genres instead of trying to keep flogging a dead horse. If there are villains in this genre, it's Cradle of Filth, who were always a heavy metal band pretending to be black metal, and post- Euronymous Mayhem, for marketing something they couldn't deliver. Oh, and Dimmu Borgir, for always being fakers and finally for succumbing to the internal, crowd-pleasing whore - a crowd loves nothing more than a whore, as while praising it they can each feel superior to it for not being whores themselves, but when you look at it existentially, to be with a whore is to be a whore yourself.
Why is classical music so unpopular today, and why do so many people fail to realise that Burzum, Immortal, Incantation, Beherit etc. are related to classical music theory?
The crowd wants everything to be rock music, because they can dominate it. On to the first part of your question: classical music is popular with those who can understand it, but these are a dwindling minority, because the crowd - which does not think and make its actions exact, but repeats motions - always outbreeds the fortunate few. Classical music needs a thriving culture to exist, as musicians of that level of intellect otherwise avoid culture; today's classical musicians are Unabombers and Linkolas, not musicians. Art has become effete, because there is no culture to praise - a consequence of lack of cultural unity brought about by mass revolt.
What is the latest band that you liked? What value do you find in more modern forms of metal-influenced music such as 'noisecore' and 'funeral doom'?
Doom metal has never interested me all that much. I like Skepticism, early Cathedral, and Winter from that pseudo-genre; it's not really a genre, more like a style, and the best practitioners of it are death metal bands like Asphyx, Incantation, Infester, Amorphis, etc. I like some of the indie metal out there, but it's hard-pressed to compete with Kraftwerk and Beethoven, Wolfsheim and VNV Nation. Beherit, Darkthrone, Burzum and Danzig all went on to make electronic music, because when one gets past guitars/ vocals/ drums as the basis of one's sound, there's a lot more flexibility - and a lot less popular appeal, thus fewer followers in the audience. Noisecore has promise, but nothing that's lived up to the first few works by My Bloody Valentine, and really, even those are somewhat tedious rock music underneath it all. I listen to a lot of Robert Fripp (King Crimson project) - he contributed much to metal, back in 1969-1975, and has since been making epic and thoughtful ambient music with his guitar. As far as recent metal, I like Averse Sefira's output, many of the works from Krieg (who have become an 'art hardcore' band and thus escaped most of the drudgery of contemporary black metal) and that's about it. It's really a dead genre. From noisecore, I'm fond of Jesu, a project by Godflesh's Justin Broadrick and Prong's Ted Parsons.
What is daily life like in America, or more specifically Texas? If you have ever visited Europe how would you compare the lifestyles here and there? Incidentally, what do you know about Malta? (if anything at all- one American person I spoke to not so long ago thought Malta was an alcoholic beverage, to my great annoyance of course)
That American person (sounds like a euphemism) never heard of The Maltese Falcon, one of the greatest works of detective fiction ever, did he / she?
Americans are ruined for world history by (1) the ahistorical nature of America, e.g. its only history has been one of popular revolt and increasing 'freedom' at the expense of culture and (2) our concept of 'states,' which are bigger than most European countries, and cause us to look at continents rather than countries. As North America is divided into Canada, USA and Mexico, we see the rest of the world as continents divided into major industrial nations and then semi-industrial outlands; for example, Europe is seen as Scandinavia-Germany-The Netherlands, the UK, Eastern Europe and Southern Europe. Beyond that, there's not much perception of the national identity of those places, which fits perfectly into the American 'melting pot' ideal, by which everyone in the crowd is an individual and that's more important than heritage. Europe is fucked if it thinks it is any different than America in this regard; with the embrace of liberalism and democracy, Europe is now on the same path as America, and more's the pity.
Daily life in America is a mixed bag. The natural beauty of the land amazes me - where it's still left. Jobs are viewed as a duty, and because so many people are competing for the same resources, you have to fight hard to keep your head above water. Every service exists in abundance, but you have to look hard and pay well for quality. It's more of a third world existence than Europe. Oh, and our cities are completely ugly - rows of concrete, plastic, steel buildings with giant glowing signs, endless traffic, moronic designs and seas of wasted people drifting around with no real agenda except immediate gratification. In short, if you are able to achieve an inverse neutron bomb, which destroys buildings and humans but spares natural surroundings, please use it on America - post-haste. All forces of sanity and decency thank you.
Are there any remedies for middle east conflicts? Since the USA is the source of Israel's funds, would withdrawal of financial help or embargoes be of any use?
No. The middle east has to solve its own issues. I support Israel, which some find ironic. It's a National Socialist state which should be a paradise for all Jews, who as history proves, have values that naturally come into conflict with every other ethnic population. Israel for Jews, and the rest of the middle east to rule it as it sees fit. Unlike many, I don't have a problem with Islam, and I believe all Muslims should be in the middle east and should rule it without interference from the West. While I support Israel, for this reason I believe US aid is interference and should be stopped. Regarding conflicts in other lands - well, don't take this personally, but if Malta was wracked by civil war, I would recommend American non-intervention. Let every people - a term for any population group of both ethnic and cultural commonality - rule itself, and let nature decide the outcomes. Does that make me callous? I don't think so - with intervention, they are like people on welfare. Without, they know that all they have achieved is their own, and they owe it to no one else. Also, my experience with American intervention has been that it produces one disaster after another, so the last thing I'd do would be send the Americans to intervene somewhere. Better to die a natural death.
If you had the chance to bring to life any fictional character, whom would you choose? What is your favourite period in world history?
Favorite period in world history - ancient India, with ancient Greece a close second. Our own history is literally predicted by what happened in those times. Fictional character - well, Krishna, but that is not a fictional character.
Would you want people to remember you when you are dead?
Kind of indifferent to this question, sorry! I don't matter; I'd like to leave behind positive change in harmony with nature, but whether it's attributed to me is of no importance. In fact, I'd rather be forgotten, with anything I produce that is worthy being preserved anonymously. Remembering my name or face would be worthless, as a person is more than an ikon.
Interpret these questions in any way you like - what are your:
Ammonia, miscellaneous proteins, acetic acid. Did you mean 'chemicals' as in pharmaceuticals? If so, the answer right now is chocolate. I had a small preference for marijuana with English tobacco, but at this point, I am not concerned with chemical use. Part of this is simply experience, but the largest part is being interested in larger things.
All of them are symptoms of the ideological problems above.
A grey, empty, desolate earth. Humanity has neither faced its own fears, nor found a philosophical direction, thus it has destroyed its planet and itself. In doing so, it never took to the stars, because it couldn't sort things out on earth, and before that, in its own mind. It was afraid of difficult decisions, of breaking someone's hopes in order that our collective hope might live, of leaving behind the simple comforts of 'freedom' and money and ego-drama... well, that's not a nightmare, it's a prophecy, unless some things change.
Well, I think I have exhausted most of the things I wanted to talk about. The last words are yours. What should readers do immediately after reading this interview?
Great interview. Not much else that needs asking, unless one gets into the philosophical details, in which case it'd be a book. If a reader has paid attention to this interview, and thought about the content therein, enough has been done; if there is fertile ground, things may grow. These ideas are not 'mine,' but inherent to reality itself. I don't exist. I walk among you, I interact, but really, I am at best a vector for ideas that I did not create but, finding them meaningful, was of presence of mind enough to translate into words. If you want more reading suggestions, check out Pentti Linkola, Ted Kaczynski, Julius Evola, and Edward Abbey.
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