Nick Land has finished his long series, Dark Enlightment. It was fascinating to find in an obscure chinese expat site a middle aged Philosophy lecturer writing what effectively was a summary of Moldbug’s blog, with a slight touch of cyberpunk.
Of course the most interesting part in this series is that it has an ending. Which means it reaches a conclusion. In the last post before this one, his 4e, he advances how he sees the future unfolding. He basically sees three possibilities:
- Utter collapse (Postmodernism)
- Chinese takeover (Modernity 2.0)
- A miracle (Western Renaissance)
His bet is on a Chinese takeover (and he walks the walk living in Shanghai), because a Western renaissance is really unlikely. Not that it is hard, in fact one can easily come up with a handful of policies that would make any Western polity become earthly paradise. As he puts it:
(1) Replacement of representational democracy by constitutional republicanism (or still more extreme anti-political governmental mechanisms).
(2) Massive downsizing of government and its rigorous confinement to core functions (at most).
(3) Restoration of hard money (precious metal coins and bullion deposit notes) and abolition of central banking.
(4) Dismantling of state monetary and fiscal discretion, thus abolishing practical macroeconomics and liberating the autonomous (or ‘catallactic’) economy. (This point is redundant, since it follows rigorously from 2 & 3 above, but it’s the real prize, so worth emphasizing.)
But it’s not going to happen. Politics has its own dynamics and people don’t suddenly renounce rent seeking and agree on becoming more cooperative and focus on the long term. So no Western renaissance.
But if we can’t go forward, can’t we at least go back? Democracy is bad, but not so long ago we had functioning societies without democracy. So let’s go back there and start again. That’s the implicit idea behind what we call reactionaries. Surprisingly Land had some words for us.
Democracy’s relentless trend to degeneration presents an implicit case for reaction. Since every major threshold of socio-political ‘progress’ has ratcheted Western civilization towards comprehensive ruin, a retracing of its steps suggests a reversion from the society of pillage to an older order of self-reliance, honest industry and exchange, pre-propagandistic learning, and civic self-organization. The attractions of this reactionary vision are evidenced by the vogue for 18th century attire, symbols, and constitutional documents among the substantial (Tea Party) minority who clearly see the disastrous course of American political history.
But he quickly dismisses it, because the past has a big, huge, gargantuan taboo. Race. In the past there was racism. Ergo we can’t return to the past. He succinctly summarises the progressive’s sense of mission with this sentence: “The alternative to more government, doing ever more, was to stand there, negligently, whilst they lynched another Negro”. That’s how progressives saw themselves, and how they see themselves now. Being reactionary means you have to deny that blacks deserved freedom and civil rights. And that claim requires HBD, which is a tough sell, and a greasy slippery slope.
So Nick Land analysis of the political situation ended with him declaring that reaction is dead, and ergo Western Civilisation is dead, because of racism. So what does he propose in his last article? He proposes the only way of transcending race. Transcending humanity. Bionics.
It turns out that Nick Land has long been focused on cybernetics, and in his younger days actually flirted with leftist agitators such as the Situational movement. All this is forgivable given his age, it was really hard to be non leftist in the 70s. Still the man was intelligent and his flirt with leftism surely left hi with a profound sense of despair in the ability of humanity to pull itself together by its own means. Hence cybernetics. He probably came up with cybernetics as the ultimate conclusion of the leftist critique of modern crony-capitalism. See Organisation is suppression, and he seems to have liked the Deleuze-Guattari critique of modern capitalism as sapping human creativity and crushing happiness and whatnot.
It seems like on reading Moldbug’s blog, he felt inspired to reinterpretate cybernetics as not only the endgame of 68-ish leftism, but also of reactionary HBD thought. The Cathedral holds HNU as dogma, race can’t be discussed. So if we can’t say that blacks are backward we will make ALL races backward by creating a new bionic man, who will leave all the old political bullshit behind.
Singularitarianism is popular among the dissenter crowd. Candide and I agreed in this foseti’s thread that Singularity is popular mainly because it gives some hope of preventing the Collapse of civilisation. There are two opposite dynamics today, which might decide our future. Either dysgenics continues, accelerates, and civilisation collapses under the weight of rent seeking elderly leeching resources of the deprived and deluded young, who die outbred by the NAM and prole hordes ushering in a new Middle Ages where all modern technology is forgotten. Or we reach the Singularity first, so technology grows by itself and supersedes politics.
I blogged before about the two competing Singularities, the computing Singularity (a kickass AI), or the biological Singularity (we discover how to make people smarter, feeding a positive loop). As I said then, genetic engineering seems more achievable than superhuman AIs. It is also more exciting. A self-teaching AI is an alien organism, fundamentally different from any human. It makes us wary, whether by the rational fear of Skynet, or by the mere eeriness we feel against the non-kin.
But bionics is exciting. It’s just us become more awesome. Who wouldn’t like that? Nick Land is very insightful in connecting Bionics with racism and modern orthodoxy. I have been recently feeling very wary on the consequences of HBD becoming widely accepted. There are thousands of reasons why no political society can survive if people knew that genes come in various classes, some better, some worse, and there’s nothing they can do about it. Old society worked through the hope of heaven, but Modern society works through the great fiction of Upward Mobility. HBD effectively kills that.
My first intuition was that we need a new religion. But perhaps Nick Land is right and the Bionic Singularity is at hand. Funny thing is that his article was published not after Greg Cochran’s latest speculations at his blog, where he argues that blacks have a larger mutational load, which might explain their backwardness. The corollary of this is that he not so long ago argued that mutational load in the genome could in the near future be “spell-checked”, i.e. fixed, ushering in smarter and healthier people. If low IQ is caused by mutational load, and this is fixed, the “gap” is fixable! Not exactly the same as Nick Land’s vision of a small group of elite bionically enhanced humans who bored with the petty divisions of humanity decide to evolve by themselves, but similar in that it implies that engineering could solve the Race issue without old fashioned ethnic cleansing war.
Nick Land quotes almost half his article from this writing by John H. Campbell. It certainly is an inspiring piece.
What has the future in store for humanity? Will our descendants succumb to pollution, the population explosion, exhausted resources or grinding poverty? Might they arrive at permanent prosperity or enter the golden age of leisure? Each vision has its advocates and ethical implications. I predict that human destiny is to elevate itself to the status of a god and beyond. We will transform ourselves by evolution, the same creative process which raised our branch of life to the level of Homo sapiens. This advancement is hard upon us. In a dozen generations people well may advance as far above our contemporary form as we surpass the apes. Descendants of another dozen generations may regard our mental capacities as we do the mind of a mole. When they have progressed as far beyond us as you and I have over a mushroom surely our descendants will match more closely our images of minor gods, if not Jupiter Himself, than humans.
I’m sorta tired of bitching about high taxes and Big Corporations and fags and NAMs and feminists and joos and the UN. Damn I also want to inspire people talking about becoming God in twelve generations.
But perhaps we bloggers are also giving a hand for the evolution of mankind. After all if we didn’t complain, if we didn’t raise awareness, if there was no pressure against the Cathedral program, in 12 generations there would be nothing left but Reducciones of nice white ladies controlling NAM villages praying to the goddess. Let’s fight the boring political attrition war until we figure bionics out.