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Nihilism, Futurist Traditionalism and Conservationism

Interviews with Vijay Prozak

15 05 10 - 11:05

Questions, they arrive in email, and I try to answer them:


What are some past civilizations you would say were closest to your ideal civilization?

Ancient India and ancient Greece, specifically the early years of Athens. These were idealistic, warlike civilizations that believed in ignoring no lies and always sought to make their surroundings better.

Among other things, you and the other writers made me more interested in studying history. Can you recommend me any books that describe the demise of democratic civilizations as well as multicultural/multi-ethnic ones? I'm especially looking for texts that provide a comprehensive view of world history in general.

The big ones:

1. Plato, The Republic
2. Spengler, Decline of the West
3. Toynbee, A study of history
4. Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
5. Herodotus, Histories

History is repeated patterns, like wallpaper but with more variation. Learn those patterns and surprises decrease.

What is your basic assessment of Japan, China, and other East Asian countries, past and present?

Japan: recovering from WWII like the Germans, still very strong, needs to re-connect with traditional values or they will end up 4chan memes forever.

China: very varied nation that never really solidified itself as a caste/racial hierarchy, therefore I expect it to implode soon.

Korea: the other contender. North Korea is like a perfect counterpart to the South: ideological purity that can merge with modern know-how to create a nationalist superstate, which will happen as soon as China implodes.

Why do you consider Theodore Kaczynski to be an important thinker? More importantly, why do you think his views are in line with yours? I've read his Industrial Society and Its Future a few times and, as far as I can tell, his primitivist vision precludes civilization and culture, and is concerned only with the basics of life, i.e., food, water, shelter and the work involved in acquiring these things as well as the considerable amount of leisure that comes from the simple primitive lifestyle. His idea of the �power process� does not appear to extend to high culture, as he seems to believe that �surrogate� (i.e. superfluous) activities include composing music, writing literature, creating sculptures, making scientific discoveries, and so forth (though I've read that he loves Shakespeare and Thackeray).

Kaczynski takes an engineer's eye look to Nietzsche's historical/biological look at the direction of humanity. I think he's the first to really throw out the idea that technology is a virus that may take us places we don't want to go, building on the ideas of W.S. Burroughs and the deep ecologists like Arne Naess and more importantly, Garrett Hardin and Oswald Spengler.

I think his analysis of the modern condition and prospects is excellent. I like his writing, and the style in which it is done, as a great way to introduce modern people to the concept of a society which has a decentralized totalitarian system of control that is more absolute than centralized totalitarian systems. I think it's interesting how he shows us that the more control we have, the more easily we drift away from paying attention to reality because it's so much easier to just buy into and repeat the dogma (Vaclav Havel's essay "The power of the powerless" comes into play here as well).

However, I think the basic human problem is error and incompetence. These arise, as Kant tells us, from not asking the right questions, e.g. not paying attention to and correctly analyzing physical reality. If we get physical reality wrong, we're lost at metaphysics, since the two exist in parallel. Kant created a category for wrong analysis of reality by calling some questions "hypothetical," meaning that they did not directly correspond to the reality that's out there -- instead, we stayed in our heads. Plato analyzes the human problem in a similar way, suggesting that the social setting of civilization which so resembles what's "in here" (in our own heads, or personalities) makes it easy for us to confuse appearance and the underlying structure of reality. Even more, society provides an ideal mask to mislead with generous gestures hiding a private selfishness.

When we get to Nietzsche, he shows us that "morality" is rapidly adjusted from "how do I do what's right?" to a utilitarian sense of "how do I please others?" -- and that this, by its egalitarian nature, works against the natural selection that made us this intelligent and in fact causes society to disintegrate as illusion replaces reality. As Plato shows us, civilizations have a life cycle that is healthiest when we have an aristocracy, which includes a relatively strict social order that places its best decision-makers at the top. In that kind of social order, individualism is secondary to a social role, or duty that one fulfills with honor because it is what defines the individual as good, helpful and all that. There is no sense of individuals deferring to others to please them; individuals defer to role, consensus values system, culture, heritage and other abstract but omnipresent (decentralized) ideals.

Kaczynski wants us to think that our society turned into a douche bag overnight because technology came about. Maybe so, but only if the first act of technology was to make utilitarianism, or "what is (in the eyes of the masses) best for the most is best for all," our new holy grail. More likely, since we evolved as a species through technology (fire) and societies like Ancient Greece and Rome failed without having much technology, the real problem is this egalitarianism. We're not all equal in abilities. You wouldn't go to just anyone for neurosurgery, and you wouldn't be friends with just anyone. You want to pick the best, and this is the underlying principle of natural selection: reward the best, destroy the worst, ignore those in the middle.

However, our modern state is based on the idea that we are all equal, so we take a vote and see what The People want. The problem is that the masses are easily swayed by promises, or benefits/entitlements, and so they're constantly deceived. They like to think of themselves as all-knowing and "involved," and the manipulators play right into that, set up two teams ("red" and "blue") and keep a big charade going. This enables the masses to consider themselves educated and wise, while playing further into their own solipsism, which results in even greater error. Democracy, equality and "freedom" are just justifications for modern egomania. They don't actually mean anything other than that the mob runs wild, and those who service the mob (in exchange for power) run roughshod over smarter people.

That right there is in my view the root of our problems -- not technology. Technology is misapplied because society is misapplied. Fix society, and technology becomes a tool again instead of a goal in itself. All things in life are means to an end, including ourselves. In modern society, we like to think that we are the ends, as individuals, and that in the name of "freedom" and "equality" we can ignore the consequences of our actions. Those consequences? Ongoing ecocide, a shamefully moronic and parasitic place to live, and a lack of doing the things we should be doing, like space exploration. Oh well -- there are billions of galaxies out there, and in one of them a species might grow up that beats the solipsism rap and inherits the universe.

I'm intrigued by your �politically incorrect� comment on Hitler (�Why I am not a neo-Nazi or a 'White' Nationalist�). What is your estimation of this man? To what extent do you agree or disagree with his ideas and actions?

Hitler was a modern attempt to bring back traditional societies. He got everything right except a restoration of aristocracy, and as a result, his party was run by people performing outside their rated specifications. I am not a big fan of the Holocaust, since Israeli Nationalism (Zionism) is part of the same ur-quest as German Nationalism. We cannot afford to lose any nationalists and should enlist all that we can in the fight against dogmatic societies, with liberal democracy on one hand and socialist anarchy on the other. Even more, I think the Nazis created a horrible war that they then lost because of confused objectives and a hasty, emotional, impulsive response to existence.

If you look through history, Hitler isn't an exception. Even the Holocaust occurred elsewhere, different only because of scale (Germans are efficient and direct). Strong leaders who are willing to sacrifice the retarded, the criminal, the perverse and the stupid for a society which is heading upward -- we owe our intelligence and abilities to these people. They seem horrible, but they produce good results. Does Hitler compare to Ghenghis Khan, Leopold of Belgium, or Chairman Mao? In such company, he was a lightweight in terms of horrors. Still, the Holocaust was awful and projected a stain of self-hatred over Germany, and for that I can't be thankful.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with Theodore Kaczynski and Pentti Linkola?

I think we should go ahead with technology, and fix the real problem: our society is unable to guide itself because it insists on the Flat Earth-style theory of human equality.

In �Houston Residents Show Frustration With Crowd-Inspired Religion,� you write, �Christianity as practiced by intelligent people is an earth-bound, contemplative religion which addresses the question of spiritual transcendence through unity with universal order, or 'God.'� Which Christian thinkers fit this description? In one place, you mention Schopenhauer, but he was an atheist (who was considerably influenced by the Upanishads and Buddhism), if I'm not mistaken.

Schopenhauer praised Christianity and Hinduism, and showed us a way these two could be similarly contemplative and transcendental religions. I would point to Johannes Eckhart and Ralph Waldo Emerson as excellent Christians, also Paul Woodruff from University of Texas is I think a Christian of sorts.

There are many others, cited in Aldous Huxley's "The Perennial Philosophy," who understood Christianity on this level. Looking at Christianity, I see a hodge-podge of Greco-Roman, Indic and Sumerian ideas. It's more of a compilation of religious thought than a religion in itself. Most people will dumb any religion down to these basics: a few moral rules with lots of loopholes, a belief in immortality, we should all love each other, we should take care of the people who have nothing, and so on. People project their own fears into religion; they fear that others will beat them and get ahead, that they'll die, that others will judge them, or that they'll be starving or on the wrong side of the law. When they make that religious law, however, they throw the door wide for parasites.

In the West, we are used to Christianity of this type. It panders to the masses, specifically the underclasses who are distinguished by having low average IQ, and gives them (a) a justification for being who they are and (b) revenge fantasies against those above them. But if you look at world religions, inevitably someone takes each one and does this to them. As a philosophy, Christianity is not terrible, excepting some of the ill-advised statements about tolerance and equality from that Jesus Christ dude. In fact, it's hard to separate the core of Christianity from the Greco-Roman religions of the time (or the Hindu and Buddhist religions -- we know that Jesus, or St. Issa, studied in India). So Christianity is really not much different than any other Indo-European religion, and can easily be reformed, but to do that we must seize it away from the Crowd who turn it into a pity party.

How do you keep up with current events so well without watching the news or reading newspapers?

I read online newspapers and news aggregators like slashdot, moveOn, gene expression and American Renaissance. Also, I'm blessed with conversation partners who are more well-informed than I. I love journalism, especially newspapers and magazines, but don't usually have the patience to keep up with them.

I've found some of the (hate) mail enormously entertaining, especially the one by the fellow who mistook anus.com as a pornography site and dismissed it as �scientist shit that no one cares about.� How many of these letters do you think were written as a practical joke?

It's hard to tell, since so many people are accidentally absurdist. Probably a fair number.

I've always wondered why you only have five people on your Heroes list. I would think there are more thinkers and artists that have had a profound impact on you (e.g. Schopenhauer and Evola).

There's room for more to be written and I need to tackle it. I'd definitely add Schopenhauer, probably Aurelius and more on W.S. Burroughs.

Can you give me advice on how to live a life that is as environmentally sustainable as possible in industrial society? I'm not half as capable a man as someone like Pentti Linkola, so fishing and living alone in the woods without running water may be out of the question.

You could learn those skills. However, in my view, it's pointless to try to revert. Get yourself a normal-sized house, cook all your food from raw ingredients (as much as is sane), don't buy an SUV and raise 2-4 intelligent, well-rounded children. The best thing you can do for the environment is to have a purposeful life, and to work hard to destroy sources of useless parasites: fast food, payday loans, democracy, welfare states, and the like.

In addition, if you really want to solve the environmental problem, work to get sensible people into political power. We need people who can say NO to the fond wishes of others: no, they can't have SUVs; no, not everyone can breed; no, we don't need more people opening fast food restaurants so their kids can have a college fund; no, not everyone can own every luxury good that the rich might want, except the Wal-mart version. NO, not everyone deserves every thing they want, and NO, not everyone needs social mobility. NO, we don't need seven billion people -- NO, you're not important just for being human; we need people who do things! Even more, we need people who are inherently constructive, productive people. We don't need more cultureless, moralless, drifting grey race humanity who need constant television PSA and police enforcement to keep them from doing destructive, selfish things.

Living well on your own is a tiny part of the equation. You are one of seven billion. Others are not going to voluntarily follow your example. This is why all the honest environmental thinkers are (a) fascists and (b) conservationists, meaning that they just want to set aside most of our land for nature, not broken by roads or fences, not trammeled by human feet. That way, we're not depending on begging, pleading, "educating" and bribing people to stop living like morons.

And finally, a classic question: What ten books would you bring with you to a desert island (excluding practical guides to shipbuilding)?

The ten books I find indispensable:

1. Arthur Schopenhauer, The Fourfold Root
2. Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
3. Plato, The Republic
4. Homer, The Odyssey
5. The Bhagavad-Gita
6. The Oxford English Dictionary
7. Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy
8. Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist
9. Virgil, the Aeneid
10. Christopher Alexander, A Pattern Language


And another one from today:


From Satyr M.:

Philosophy

You advocate a philosophy which denies political dialogue between the crowd in a society.

I advocate an end to utilitarianism, or the idea that whatever most people think is a good idea, is our policy.

I agree 150% and I find few people to agree onto that, however, if they asked me if I would flip a switch to switch to fascism I probably wouldn't do it. Care to elaborate on how a wise leader could reach to power? (That is the end of the question, would you say it would be like Hitler? When I argue against democracy, I hardly can find an argument in my friends fallacies: "There would not be a leader in fascism, there would be some maniac that would lead mainly to approve his ego etc etc".)

It's not so much fascism, as leadership by the intelligent few. These are not "elites" in the modern sense of the coddled and wealthy, but simply the best people for the job. I would not go to just anyone for brain surgery, financial advice or leadership.

This type of leader arises either (a) in an optimal case, through democratic change or an enlightened military coup or (b) through society collapsing to the point where a tyrant seizes hold.

We do need to be careful who this leader would be. Hitler, for example, was a brilliant man who had limitations and bad work ethic, often rising at noon during wartime. He was too much of an artist, and as a result, did not focus enough on the vital issues. In addition, he did several things I consider pointless and destructive, like The Holocaust and persecution of his own citizens. I do not have a problem with his mockery of bad art, or the ceremonial book burnings.

The second question I would say is a more elaborate one. Our task is to create societies of smart and beautiful people. Well, here in Greece, it is absolutely the oposite currently. As you've probably been informed by the news about the debt of Greece etc. However, is it possible (according to your opinion) that being smart (over 130IQ and this is not the only indicator as you cited refering to schopenhauer) delivers us to a new feeling, differentiated of our national? What I mean? I am Greek. But I don't feel like modern Greek at all. I feel like one random gene of the Mediterranean. I agree with you that modernity has obliterated (it's already done) all culture, however there is a question of nationality between the smart among us, and I would dare to say that the smartest don't feel Greeks here, they adhere to leftist ideologies that for them are like a heroin addiction. Anyway, to be simple, for you, living in America "DO the question of philosophy of IQ and of searching things to their ends have you ever altered your personal image as "Prozak", have you ever said that "I'm not American, I'm fucking scottish, whatever..." The national identity mixes with and tries to disconnect with the national idiot identity.

Smart people feel like aliens in any society because society does not give them a role that explains their purpose, gives them a right to be effective, and gives them a social place where they don't have to feel guilty/ashamed of being brain nerds. There are smart people everywhere; putting them in charge would eventually solve our problems, and if we really wanted to move forward to the next generation (Ubermenschen) we would limit our population to the smart, morally alert and healthy. That's a lot like natural selection -- when winter comes, the squirrels that did not set aside food have a tendency to die in the cold. Some steal. Our job as conscious beings is to make sure all those who do not set aside food freeze, and that all those who live responsibility and have a spirit of loving life plus good brains are well-fed and breed like mad.

My personal identity is somewhat complex, as my family is only recently American. I do identify more with the strains of that genetic makeup, in part because from an early age I've seen how genetics explains much of behavior. At this point, I identify with transcendental idealists everywhere and those who are smart, healthy and morally sane.

You seem to be more warlike than even neo-Nazis. Do you think that people below 120IQ have no function in the society? At times I would agree with you but other times I think that they can work, as proles.

They can work as proles. Right now, that's an answer. For the future? They're obsolete. In another 25 years, we will have robots with a linguistic IQ in the 90s and the ability to functionally replicate any task at the level of a genius -- tasks are programmable, language and "general intelligence" will be harder to develop. A person who can understand commands at a 90 IQ level and do tasks at a 150 IQ level is far preferrable to many proles who have a tendency to be easily manipulated and form destructive political alliances.

Even more, we're hopelessly overpopulated. If we want to prevent ecocide (and one of its details, global warming) we need to set aside lots of land for nature that people don't touch, divide with roads, litter on and so forth. For that, we need far fewer than our seven billion people. Most of those seven billion are under 100 IQ points, and only about a half billion are 120 and over, or thereabouts. If we pared back, there'd be less work to do, less pollution, more innovation and less social strife. It's not the over-120s who are committing the assaults, thefts and scams. It's only because we have a huge audience of credulous under-120s who are easily manipulated that demagogues, criminal financiers, and idiot media have such power in our world. The under 120s had their chance, and they made a hell on earth. They are obsolete.

Metal

What is your opinion of the brazilian late 80s scene? Sextrash, Sarcofago, Mutilator, Early Sepultura etc. I ask because I think that, at times, the US scene has a hypocrisy that that scene didn't have, they never tried to sound like metal. They were the "deathrash". When Chuck was altering his musical taste, Sextrash was editing their 1990 disc (Sexual Carnage).

Early Sepultura was a huge influence on me, as was Sarcofago. In the 1980s, that and Slayer (plus thrash: DRI, Cryptic Slaughter, dead horse) were about all I'd listen to, besides those first few R.E.M. albums that were not yet twee liberal socialist self-pitying palaver. I like Mutilator, but they are not of the caliber of Sepultura/Sarcofago. Sextrash are like Havohej: often better in theory than for repeated listening, a lot like most of punk. Early Sepultura was the ideal fusion. Complex enough that you can listen to it repeatedly, and yet balls to the wall enough to swell your energy for battle.

The thing about the US scene is that it isn't. I mean, it both doesn't exist, and is many small scenes. Chuck was sort of a latecomer. I mean, after Slayer, Bathory, Hellhammer what he was doing was more like a degenerated Metallica with death metal vocals. I think he learned a lot from the Repulsion guys, Kam Lee and Christ Reifert -- the first Death album is brilliant and awesome. But it was part of a scene, not a scene leader. For American death metal in that era, you'd have to look at early Morbid Angel, Necrovore, Master and really, Slayer. Discharge kicked the whole thing off in 1982 with their style of riffing, and GBH and Slayer ran with it, making a new style of music that really did leave rock 'n' roll behind. Do we judge England by Venom? They were instrumental, aesthetically, but compared to the GBH/Angel Witch fusion of Slayer, they were nothing. The US bands trade ideas with other bands worldwide; the Americans are good at a complete fusion of form and content, but they can do it only about once every two generations. It's why black metal is mostly a "miss" in this country ;)

Metal is dead. Do you think that there is a way forward for metal in the style of early Vader and Massacra? I've lost hopes in metal, but however I listen to metal for 75% of the time! I have a band that combines metal and spanish music. I believe that metal captured the feeling of the 80s (we are nothing in front of the apocalypse) but however failed to appeal o the new generation of blockheads of facebook and therefore is decaying, if you have a forward approach for metal, please care to elaborate.

Metal is sleeping. This has happened before, like in the late 1970s: metal gets popular for being the "bad boy" of radio music, so all the people who want to be bad-ass flood it and then re-make it in their image, which is boring punk rock and twee indie rock bullshit. Until that audience departs, metal is going to suck. So you're doing the right thing: listen to the good metal, and the metal-related stuff like Tangerine Dream or classical that's really heavy, meaning it's got a perspective outside the human karmic drama of rock music. Metal will return. Also, right now there are promising bands like Cosmic Atrophy, Blaspherian, War Master, Decrepitaph and Birth A.D., plus old bands coming back with strong albums like Beherit and Asphyx did. The recovery is on its way, but it's coming slowly because we have the millennial generation of indie/punk/twee hipsters still trying to be metal, ironically of course. It wouldn't hurt if someone shot the people behind Metalocalypse.

Personal

Your articles are some kind of art, (please say what you want here) do you think that you have established yourself in metal as an influencial and known figure?

No. I think metal is still a popular music genre, and so it worships musicians and musicians only. Journalists are seen as clear windows through which truth shines, or at least, hype. I am probably a journalist and will find some people who like to read what I write, but in general, am not important in the metal scene.

My writings are being accepted in other areas, and so I'm pursuing them more than metal most of the time. I still like to write about metal, and love good metal, even though 75% of my listening is classical, and of the remaining 25%, a lot of it is stuff like Kraftwerk, Lord Wind, Tangerine Dream, Jaaportit, Maeror Tri, K.K. Null, Neptune Towers and Biosphere.

The real question you're asking here is: does metal have a place for scholarship and journalists? The answer is no, except for niches. Metal is regulated by a market of teenagers and what they want to buy, and they are not interested in journalists or scholarship. The niche of thinkers like Keith Kahn-Harris, Robert Walser, Steve Waksman, Martin Popoff, Ian Christie and Albert Mudrian is growing but small because it appeals to a small percentage of the population and even fewer among teenagers who want to get high and rock out. I also like what Jason Healey is doing with his "Black Metal Revolution" book.

Do you think that you are a decisive figure?

Yes, for those who read my writings -- however, I'm also aware that nothing has changed for humans since we first evolved. The fundamental issues are the same. As such, I'm sort of a re-discoverer of the past, similar in approach but not comparable to those like Spengler, Nietzsche, Evola, Garrett Hardin, Steve Sailer, Athol Kay and the new right, deep ecology and modern primitive movements.

Seeing other sources of metal being, I don't even know how to characterize them, you've made some work with anus. It is this corner of democracy that we see different opinions and we like that, 1 at 545679%.

This is why our ancestors switched to democracy: it was a better option than other options at the time, because it preserved the ability for intelligent thought to exist among the ruins. However, it also doomed it to be drowned out by the desires of the crowd. For every one person who likes Demilich, there are 10,000 who want Cannibal Corpse.

However, a great Greek fellow who called himself "Plato" -- not his real name, but a pseudonym, meaning that we don't actually know who one of history's greatest thinkers was -- pointed out that civilizations run in cycles. They start as aristocracies, or rule by the best, and then degenerate through rule by military and economic elites, then end up at democracy, at which point the delusional Crowd votes itself benefits it cannot afford and society collapses and is taken over by tyrants, who then reduce it the rest of the way to third-world status. His point was that we can re-start the cycle, and get past the rule of the lowest common denominator, at any time we want. In the Western world and metal, that's what I strive for.


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