Against Universalism

There’s a philosophical objection to any refusal of universalism that will be familiar from other uses (the denunciation of relativism, most typically). It requires only one step: Isn’t the denial of the universal itself a universalist claim? It’s a piece of malignant dialectics because it demands that we agree. We don’t, and won’t ever, agree. Agreement is the worst thing that could happen. Merely assent to its necessity, and global communism, or some close analog, is the implicit conclusion.

If there is a universal truth, it belongs only to Gnon, and Gnon is a dark (occulted) God. Traditional theists will be at least strongly inclined to disagree — and that is excellent. We disagree already, and we have scarcely begun.

There is no ‘good life for man’ (in general) — or if there is we know nothing of it, or not enough. Even those persuaded that they do, on the contrary, know what such a life should be, promote its universality only at the expense of being denied the opportunity to pursue it. If we need to agree on the broad contours of such a model for human existence, then reaching agreement will precede it — and ‘reaching agreement’ is politics. Some much wider world acquires a veto over the way of life you select, or accept, or inherit (the details need not detain us). We have seen how that works. Global communism is the inevitable destination.

The alternative to agreement is schism. Secession, geopolitical disintegration, fragmentation, splitting — disagreement escapes dialectics and separates in space. Anti-universalism, concretely, is not a philosophical position but an effectively defensible assertion of diversity. From the perspective of the universal (which belongs only to Gnon, and never to man), it is an experiment. The degree to which it believes in itself is of no concern that matters to anything beyond itself. It is not answerable to anything but Gnon. What anyone, anywhere, thinks about it counts for nothing. If it fails, it dies, which should mean nothing to you. If you are compelled to care about someone else’s experiment, then a schism is missing. Of course, you are free to tell it that you think it will fail, if it is listening, but there is absolutely no need to reach agreement on the question. This is what, in the end, non-communism means.

Non-universalism is hygiene. It is practical avoidance of other people’s stupid shit. There is no higher principle in political philosophy. Every attempt to install an alternative, and impose a universal, reverts to dialectics, communization, global evangelism, and totalitarian politics.

This is being said here now, because NRx is horribly bad at it, and degenerates into a clash of universalisms, as into an instinctive equilibrium. There are even those who confidently propose an ‘NRx solution’ for the world. Nothing could be more absurd. The world — as a whole — is an entropy bin. The most profoundly degraded communism is its only possible ‘universal consensus’. (Everyone knows this, when they permit themselves to think.)

All order is local — which is to say the negation of the universal. That is merely to re-state the second law of thermodynamics, which ‘we’ generally profess to accept. The only thing that could ever be universally and equally distributed is noise.

Kill the universalism in your soul and you are immediately (objectively) a neoreactionary. Protect it, and you are an obstacle to the escape of differences. That is communism — whether you recognize it, or not.

March 18, 2016admin 65 Comments »
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65 Responses to this entry

  • Against Universalism | Neoreactive Says:

    […] Against Universalism […]

    Posted on March 18th, 2016 at 6:12 pm Reply | Quote
  • neovictorian23 Says:

    This foundational truth obviously needs to be restated periodically.

    “This is being said here now, because NRx is horribly bad at it, and degenerates into a clash of universalisms, as into an instinctive equilibrium.” And Equilibrium=Heat Death.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 18th, 2016 at 6:40 pm Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    If there is no nature or nature’s God, then universalism is even more destitute of foundations than I had hoped.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 18th, 2016 at 6:47 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    Needs more physics background. Also more specificity – examples are good.*

    There are lots of universals. They are abstract formulae with many variables, meaning the local particulars can radically alter what the formula prescribes. Many ‘if’s before there is a ‘then.’ Or is prescription not what you’re talking about? It’s hard to say.

    For a moment more, let’s assume it is. *It could well be universally true that Saracens need to abase themselves once a day, and that Hajnals Europeans need to not do that.

    All order is local
    That is a universal, not a negation of the universal.

    This is frequently the problem with the words ‘egalitarian’ and ‘universalism.’ Being concretely universal is just stupid. *E.g, everyone gets a month’s worth of birth control pills every month, even the men. Being abstractly universal is necessary for logic to survive, because universals are a consequence of identical things being identical. *E.g. every thing identical to a flame in hotness, if touched to paper, will light the paper on fire.

    From the birth control example, we also see that this property of identical is also why concrete universalism is retarded. Treating relevantly non-identical things as identical is retarded. Shocking news, I know. I’ll get the smelling salts.

    Refuting concrete universals without acknowledging abstract universals makes it look like you don’t know the difference. This kind of non-sophistication is what allows sophists to lever apart the arches supporting civilization. They simply find an intuitive universal, and then likewise pretend not to know the difference, but argue the other side.

    [Reply]

    georgesdelatour Reply:

    “All order is local”

    I was going to say it’s like saying “All general statements are false”.

    Then I thought of this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAnOi0fnxuE

    Maybe the sad truth is, order is local and temporary.

    [Reply]

    4candles Reply:

    All order is local
    That is a universal, not a negation of the universal.

    This needs some Wittgensteinian treatment. Order much like ‘Games’ indicates a family resemblance rather than a universal (or rather than: “There are lots of universals. They are abstract formulae with many variables, meaning the local particulars can radically alter what the formula prescribes.” – there is no formula within this sphere). ‘Order’ morphs across localities, to the extent it is – universally – unrecognisable (All x is local (given x is not always (the same) x)).

    [Reply]

    Tom Barghest Reply:

    Agreed, Wittgensteinian critique is key. I’m not aware of any genuine examples of a known universal law of physics. There is not even a way to articulate any universal for reality, much less find evidence for it, much less know it.

    Every attempt to articulate a universal hides an infinite diversity of interpretations of the rule in the far field ‘out of mind’, out of the form of life that gave rise to the language-game. Apparent universals like ‘all order is local’ are safe to use when, like admin, one is using them to express personal limitations of perspective. ‘The only universal order is Gnon’s alone’ is clearly not intended to be a potential contradiction of admin’s assertion that all order is local.

    Empty universals like ‘something will happen’ are not universals in the way admin would define them if I understand correctly. Those are statements about how to play a particular language game. Asserting something to be universally true is entirely fine when it is implicitly a statement about a particular grammar rather than actually about some universal reality.

    The parent post asked for examples; here are two.

    The second law is one perfect example: it is part of the definition of entropy. Any time a (well-educated) scientist finds a violation of the second law he says ‘ah, my variables must not be defined correctly, I have left something out of my model,’ not ‘hooray! I’ve overturned thermodynamics!’ The second law does not describe the world in a way that could be falsified, rather it helps us articulate a collection of particular observations in a very efficient way (and that efficiency is conditional on particulars).

    Similarly with the first law: what is (nearly) conserved due to (near) time reversal symmetry is energy, and what is energy is what is (nearly) conserved due to (near) time reversal symmetry. The particularity of near time reversal symmetry in the physics in our lives makes using energy as a variable a very good idea. The first law is a law of when people are allowed to call something an energy and what they can infer when someone else correctly calls something an energy. Time reversal symmetry is falsifiable, but ‘energy is conserved’ is a matter of grammar.

    [Reply]

    Tom Barghest Reply:

    I realized recently that I made a careless mistake here. In the second example, ‘time reversal symmetry’ should always be ‘time translation invariance’. Noether’s theorem requires a differentiable symmetry! I hope no one who would have really cared was led astray… it’s such a silly mix-up with such an obvious correction that I didn’t even register it as an error.

    The content of the example remains unchanged despite this technical mistake.

    admin Reply:

    This type of argument is why I started with the paragraph I did, i.e. I consider it to have been fully predicted. So why not then defer to it? Because once the frame is set up as an argument, the crucial point is already lost.

    We’re going to argue about whether or not we’re allowed to irresolvably disagree. — Holy Gnon, no! That is to concede everything, fatally. It’s a concession that happens before you even notice it. Probably, it’s already European pathological altruism, formally demonstrated.

    Look, does 2 + 2 = 4? Yes, yes, it does.
    Do I think 2 + 2 universally = 4? Alright, if you insist it be phrased so stupidly, but it only means that I’m not remotely interested in playing linguistic games with anyone who would disagree (to repeat the Wittgenstein point made elsewhere in this thread).
    Do I think, empirically, we can all agree that 2 + 2 = 4? That would be an extreme error, even if it appears plausible. If not on this matter in particular, then certainly on others of scarcely lesser logical force and vastly greater immediate existential gravity, ‘we’ will undoubtedly disagree — and therefore should be profoundly prepared for it. ‘Prepared for it’ means: be capable of defending autonomy, before making any attempt to justify it.

    We will defend our conventions locally (and to the death). Other can pursue whatever psychoses they favor, as long as they do it somewhere else.

    The ultimate frame is not an argument. It’s space (and whatever lies beyond space, which we can defer to severally, and independently).

    The real (cosmic) infrastructure of separation is not transcended.

    [Reply]

    woods Reply:

    As a mathematician, I would quip “it depends” =)

    [Reply]

    Seth Largo Reply:

    All order is local.
    That is a universal, not a negation of the universal.

    Stop confusing the syntactic necessities of an analytic, SVO language with claims to universal truth. One cannot say anything in a single utterance but that it may be foolishly construed as a “universal proclamation.” But then, maybe you’re right, in the end, that we should say nothing at all . . .

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 18th, 2016 at 7:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • Rec0nciler Says:

    Isn’t the desire to universalize schism itself missing a schism? Insofar as NRx is distinct from psychopathy, it must accept even this additional schism. Otherwise horrorism flows only one way, and NRx becomes 09A.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 18th, 2016 at 7:48 pm Reply | Quote
  • Kgaard Says:

    Universalism leads to communism …

    And yet …

    Capitalism is universalist.

    A perfect example would be Kimberly-Clark. One couldn’t conjure up a more one-issue political enterprise: More bodies = more toilet paper sales. Doesn’t matter who those bodies are.

    [Reply]

    TheDividualist Reply:

    The problem with the Anglosphere Right is forgetting everything that happened before or outside Capitalism and thus having a perhaps overly positive view of it, thinking it is the most possibly right-wing way of doing economics. Putting it differently, being able to interpret Capitalism only as the opposite of Socialism and not the opposite of all things that happened before and outside it.

    In reality there are perfectly valid viewpoints from which Capitalism looks hopelessly liberal and progressive. The simplest example is the form of statism where intervention and control is used for purposes other than egalitarianism. For example, for militaristic goals. Imagine you are fighting WW2 and are rationing food and someone raises the argument that people are really being malnourished, best thing would be to demobilize farmers so that production grows and then let the free market feed people. While such an argument would be capitalistic or libertarian in spirit, it would be also unmistakebly progressive and liberal: you are fighting a war for your survival and some folks want to undermine that effort for the sake of signalling compassion? Would they risk national survival just to look good?

    So, my point is, Capitalism probably does lead to Communism, precisely through pushing the idea that economic well-being is the universal good thing for everybody.

    Maybe that sounds about obvious, but e.g. if you look at Putin, his popularity does not depend whether he managed to make the Russian economy create jobs or not but whether he managed to make nationalistic Russians feel proud and powerful on the global playing field or not. From that viewpoint, they could easily see Capitalism as something materialistic, low, short-termist and so on. In short, pretty liberal, in short, something that unmistakeably pointing left.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    What makes the Anglosphere Right the Anglosphere Right is its embrace of capitalism. If it became more Russian, it would have lost.

    The idea this is about “economic well-being” is humanistic reduction. Capitalism is far more admirable (experimental, exploratory, innovative, intelligence-maximizing …) than that. Thomas Aquinas is fine for a staid society, but it doesn’t get auto-catalytic machine process to the Oort Cloud.

    [Reply]

    TheDividualist Reply:

    It does whatever the market demands. I suspect that the explorative etc. part happens mostly when the customers are themselves businesses, and have a fairly high IQ themselves. To use an example, SpaceX’s primary customers are other companies who want to put up satellites. As this is a high-IQ customer requirement, they have to be innovative about it. The customer, the company who wants to put up the satellite, will perhaps just use it to broadcast Brazilian soap operas because its customers are idiots. So the first company has a high-IQ market and thus is forced to be good, the second has a low-IQ market and not. Another good example – the best quality software are tools for programmers and IT people. Because their demands are intelligent. End-user software, at least the type actually paid for, the shrinkwrap, is not so revolutionary. But if it is not paid for and thus the user is not the paying customer but the advertiser is, then it is high quality again.

    Thus when you sit in an high-tech center where people figure out how to make tools that help in making tools than help in making elevators, you see the good side of it. If you e.g. sit in a smaller city in Russia that the market mostly demands vodka, gambling, and stuff girls can use to look whorish, you will probably not find much glory in the system.

    This is probably the key. The Anglo Right tends to like Capitalism because Anglo Capitalism has always been a fairly bright and constructive thing because for some reason it managed to focus on not the cheap shit consumer goods for the average fools, but for complicated capital goods for other businesses. So yes, business A will get us to the Oort Cloud when business B thinks the best way to sell crap to the peasants is still tits, beer but yet now also something from the Oort Cloud. Non-Anglo Rights (even French, check de Benoist about McDonaldsization) tend to focus and dislike on the second aspect of it because they see it much more, perhaps, because they suck and can’t really participate much in the first half.

    admin Reply:

    “It does whatever the market demands.” — But, in a competitive environment, it has to do it well. However stupid the terminal demand, the production process is rewarded for efficiency. Crude reactionary teleological schemas reliably miss this. “It’s just hamburgers.” No, it isn’t just hamburgers, it’s the hamburger operation, the ‘back-end’, which consumers know nothing about except indirectly through the price tag. Whatever it is, widget X is an opportunity for industrial pioneering– meaning, increasingly, robots (+ business organization). Capitalism channels demand surreptitiously into frontier tech however inane it is originally. The profound teleology (teleoplexy) is means-end reversal. Focus on what idiots want, and it will look idiotic. Focus on how anything whatsoever is competitively produced, and it looks entirely different.

    Hurlock Reply:

    “Maybe that sounds about obvious, but e.g. if you look at Putin, his popularity does not depend whether he managed to make the Russian economy create jobs or not but whether he managed to make nationalistic Russians feel proud and powerful on the global playing field or not.”

    Do you know anything about Russian politics at all?

    One of the primary reasons, if not THE reason why Putin became so popular during his first two mandates (2000-2008) was the massive economic growth that Russia experienced in that period compared to the 90’s which was a decade long depression with constantly worsening economic conditions and prospects for the future. When all of that turned around in the 2000’s it was a massive boost to Putin’s popularity.
    Putin only started relying more on nationalism when the economy began to falter a bit after the great recession and then after the oil price collapse. Before that, Putin rode the hype-train of economic prosperity (thanks in big part to the commodity bubble) into office three times.

    TheDividualist Reply:

    @Hurlock as far as I can tell, it was first putting a stop to separatism (defeating then making peace with Chechens, centralizing funds so that the local governments that funded separatism had less money), and jailing Khodorkovsky who was seen by many Russians a kind of a sellout to foreign interests.

    @admin

    This is a very good argument. However this aspect of the process is fairly obscure. The crappy soap opera may be a masterpiece of figuring out human psychology and pressing the buttons the cheapest way possible, but it is really an… unusual way to look at it. Ultimately most arguments that are critical of capitalism from the right are not even about capitalism, but the idea that the most inane type of consumer demand should not be served. Capitalism seems too liberal precisely in those settings when it seems that it more or less supports an “all demand is valid and should be served” political position.

    The Dividualist Reply:

    @admin

    The interesting part is that the means-ends reversal logic could be just as well used for warfare, the same man who designed rockets to bomb London designed rockets for the NASA space program. Competition is competition. If you work from this angle, capitalism is mostly a marketing technique to make competition palatable and popular, after all people wish for eternal peace since about Kant, but few would want to stop business competition if it results in them getting all kinds of cool goods.

    Hm, interesting thought. As if competition itself was an evolving meme – making itself more and more palatable…

    Posted on March 18th, 2016 at 8:06 pm Reply | Quote
  • Brett Stevens Says:

    Isn’t the denial of the universal itself a universalist claim?

    The old witticism! The answer is that no, the universal is a universalist claim, and so denial of it is the opposite. A more complex answer is that without having accepted universals, we have no need to categorize it as universal or not; it is simply a truth noticing exercise. My answer of course is that the answer lies in the nature of universals, which is denial of context and hierarchy.

    Such clever monkeys, these Leftists!

    All order is local — which is to say the negation of the universal. That is merely to re-state the second law of thermodynamics, which ‘we’ generally profess to accept.

    I like the simplicity of this, but see order above the local. It is not universal, which is a method and a type of thought. The distinction I make is that principle is an abstract idea interpreted locally and relevant at all levels of a system, where universals are one-dimensional ideas interpreted in an absolute context that does not exist — the human laboratory, the human mind, or the mental object.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 18th, 2016 at 8:39 pm Reply | Quote
  • August Hurtel Says:

    Yep. Would you like the christian version?

    Wrote it two years ago:

    http://contraniche.blogspot.com/2014/06/where-do-you-worship-it-can-be-jarring.html

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 18th, 2016 at 9:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • Joseph sans Brothers Says:

    “…whether you recognize it or not” is a fundamentally universalist trope of rhetoric.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Only when interpreted as a fragment of an argument. It is rather, the opposite. “You’re wrong, but we won’t sort that out, so do your thing …”

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 18th, 2016 at 9:38 pm Reply | Quote
  • Irving Says:

    >There’s a philosophical objection to any refusal of universalism that will be familiar from other uses (the denunciation of relativism, most typically). It requires only one step: Isn’t the denial of the universal itself a universalist claim?

    The way that Dugin gets around this objection is interesting, in that he makes the argument that philosophical and cultural relativism is the only universal and universalizable truth. I guess the problem of this blogpost is that NRx isn’t willing to go that far, given that although universalism is rejected, relativism is also, if only because relativism would mean conceding such things as Cathedral ideology, Islam, socialism and other objectively dysfunctional and degenerate worldviews and ways of life a certain kind of legitimacy, which to us, or in any case to me, is intolerable.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Dugin is right — There is no ‘One Good’ for Hyperboreans and Atlanteans. The only synthesis is a Cold War (which is not — NeoCon delusions aside — an incomplete argument).

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 18th, 2016 at 9:46 pm Reply | Quote
  • Bedrich Says:

    1. “God does not play dice.”

    2. “Gnon plays dice.”

    If 2. is the prior belief then 1. is explained as just one belief resulting from a dice throw. Further evidence being that the implied God is empirically subject to numerous incompatible variations.

    If 1. is the prior belief then in order to account for 2. one must propose that it is an illusion, and ultimately malific, and arising out of some version of Paradise Lost, the fall of Satan followed by the fall of man. This still leaves the problem of the multiplicity of incompatible Gods, each backed by the same degree of subjective certainty.

    You takes your pick, and makes your bed.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 18th, 2016 at 10:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alex Says:

    Et in his omnibus inter nos et vos chasma magnum firmatum est

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 18th, 2016 at 11:22 pm Reply | Quote
  • Shlomo Maistre Says:

    Admin,

    “Kill the universalism in your soul and you are immediately (objectively) a neoreactionary.”

    There are a few problems with this.

    1. To kill one’s universalism one must first recognize it; once an aspect of one’s own being is recognized it cannot simply be done away with. More fundamentally, man is incapable of altering his being and the soul is a component of his being so killing the universalism in one’s soul isn’t even possible.

    2. “Neoreactionary” is a label. Any label is communicable. Anything that is communicable is inherently political. Anything that is political is inherently not completely local in its effects. Indeed, employing the term “neoreactionary” impacts others in ways direct and indirect, intended and unintended.

    3. The denial of the universalist claim is indeed a universalist claim – this fact cannot be escaped, but the reality is deeper than this. To even attempt to communicate is to betray the belief that language can be mutually intelligible, which is only possible in a world where the strictly local domains of individual minds are united by at least a modicum of universality. Dictionaries define words – not meanings. Words in various languages are particular instances of meanings and meanings are universal.

    [Reply]

    Cristina Reply:

    “1. To kill one’s universalism one must first recognize it; once an aspect of one’s own being is recognized it cannot simply be done away with. More fundamentally, man is incapable of altering his being and the soul is a component of his being so killing the universalism in one’s soul isn’t even possible.”
    This is sophistry and I suspect you know it.

    [Reply]

    Shlomo Maistre Reply:

    Blogwife!

    If it is sophistry then so is the claim it sought to refute – “to kill the universalism is one’s soul”.

    Good to see you on a blog not called Samizdata.

    [Reply]

    Cristina Reply:

    “If it is sophistry then so is the claim it sought to refute – “to kill the universalism is one’s soul”.”
    Not if it’s correctly stated, which you didn’t. For shame!

    “Good to see you on a blog not called Samizdata.”
    Thank you, Shlomo Maistre.

    Erebus Reply:

    >”Anything that is communicable is inherently political”

    “The sky is blue.”
    “This steel wire has a tensile strength of 3GPa.”
    “I am suffering from a viral infection.”
    “010010010010000001100001011011010010000001100001001000000110001101101111 011011010111000001110101011101000110010101110010”

    If anything, the set of communicable information that isn’t political is larger than the set that is inherently political. I would argue that the only “inherently political” communicable facts concern the state of man — and, even then, not always.

    …#1 is, as noted, also an absurd argument.

    [Reply]

    Shlomo Maistre Reply:

    Saying anything to anyone impacts your relationship with that person in many ways. When relationships are impacted there is something inherently political going on.

    Whenever you say anything to anyone you do so for a reason and the other person will be wondering what that reason is. Sometimes it is to get something; often it is to impact an outcome; virtually always feelings are involved. Getting things, impacting outcomes, and feelings are all political.

    Saying “the sky is blue” “this steel wire has a tensile strength of 3GPa” “I am suffering from an infection” and “01000101001” will impact your relationship with whoever you’re talking to. Communication is inherently political.

    “If anything, the set of communicable information that isn’t political is larger than the set that is inherently political. I would argue that the only “inherently political” communicable facts concern the state of man — and, even then, not always.”

    This statement betrays an exceptionally simple and woefully incomplete understanding of the term “political”. Facts may not be political; communicating facts always is.

    [Reply]

    Erebus Reply:

    You’ve stretched the word “political” far past its limits. The word in question, as per the Oxford English Dictionary, as per Aristotle, and as per its typical modern uses, is not nearly so broad as you’re suggesting. You say that “dictionaries define words, not meanings” — but, be that as it may, it’s still poor form to misapply language and attribute new meanings to well-defined words. (Though I realize that these problems can be hard to avoid when discussing philosophy!)

    …I think the word you’re looking for is “relational.” It fits your usage infinitely better. It is also commonly used in ways which are in keeping with the technical and philosophical meaning you’re attempting to convey — see relational theory, uncertainty reduction theory, etc.

    Aeroguy Reply:

    “Anything that is political is inherently not completely local in its effects.”
    This doesn’t contradict the fact that order is local. Communication can have the effect of ordering the local while dumping entropy on the outside. In fact separating yourself from those you disagree with rather than forcing agreement with everyone is a very good way to build a local order while pushing entropy to the outside.

    The point isn’t to be a contrarian or hermit, that one must disagree with or be apart from everyone at all times, but that agreement isn’t inherently good either. People who so happen to agree can of course build associations on those agreements, but if you disagree there is no point in forcing yourself to remain in associations built on agreement (outside force is besides the point, this is about one’s own preferences, use of force, political or otherwise, to force agreement is of course a choice, a choice the universalist will always affirm while the neoreactionary will use their best judgement, thus their targeted communications rather than populist blasting as universalists are want to do)

    The only assumption being made in this process is that the truth isn’t known (thus why theists, those who claim to know absolutely at least part of the truth, will immediately disagree, since that part of the truth they claim is known to them will then form the basis of a universalism). This makes it possible to agree to disagree, or disagree about our disagreement as evidenced by these comments. It is a simple observation to note that people are very much not in agreement about all things and if everyone were to be made to do so it would be difficult to deny it looking exactly like global totalitarian communism. (saying the sky is blue may seem like a universal truth but what marks the universalist is that they’ll insist on the need to force agreement on the sky being blue as opposed to potentially tolerating the existence of non-local strangers who disagree)

    By the very observation of the pervasiveness of disagreement, it follows that truth is not obvious. So rather than prioritizing seeking agreement about speculations regarding truth (with it’s tendency to approach a globalist totalitarian communist nash equilibria) the focus turns instead to improving one’s ability to pursue truth. But those believing themselves to be in possession of truths are of course free to disagree.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 18th, 2016 at 11:32 pm Reply | Quote
  • Shlomo Maistre Says:

    Admin,

    “If there is a universal truth, it belongs only to Gnon, and Gnon is a dark (occulted) God. Traditional theists will be at least strongly inclined to disagree — and that is excellent. We disagree already, and we have scarcely begun.”

    As an increasingly religious Jew I probably count as a “traditional theist”.

    I agree that universal truth does not belong to anyone; it is of the Creator, but an individual trace of universality is imbued in every human soul at conception. This cannot be eradicated by mere man.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 19th, 2016 at 12:00 am Reply | Quote
  • Shlomo Maistre Says:

    Admin,

    “It requires only one step: Isn’t the denial of the universal itself a universalist claim? It’s a piece of malignant dialectics because it demands that we agree. We don’t, and won’t ever, agree. Agreement is the worst thing that could happen. Merely assent to its necessity, and global communism, or some close analog, is the implicit conclusion.”

    Your agreement, I assure you, is entirely superfluous to the truth of reality. And you are right – global communism or a close analog is the implicit conclusion. Intuitively, in theory, reality over time tends towards conclusion; and the evidence does confirm the veracity of this theory: societal breakdown has been more or less continuous ever since the original rebellion in the garden of Eden.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 19th, 2016 at 12:01 am Reply | Quote
  • Shlomo Maistre Says:

    Admin,

    “The alternative to agreement is schism. Secession, geopolitical disintegration, fragmentation, splitting — disagreement escapes dialectics and separates in space.”

    Indeed. Importantly note, however, that political disorder (secession, fragmentation, etc) always precedes a new instance of local order – eventually. To deny universalist truth is a universalist claim; as a result, the formation of local order – not disagreement – is the alternative to agreement with the universal.

    Notice, though, that every one – quite literally – lives in a local order. This is not a coincidence! The truth is that no man CAN entirely agree with any universalism since the true universalism is outside human comprehension, beyond the human touch. Human life is full of these contradictions.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 19th, 2016 at 12:01 am Reply | Quote
  • E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Says:

    That’s plenty silly, but perhaps such is the tack of the technoreaction; how would we know what the ‘good life of man was’ concretely, unless all forms of that good life, being multiple and varied, shared some common element for which we could call them ‘good’? This is in, if I recall, CATEGORIES in ORGANUM (Aristotle.) And if common to all, universal. So order consists of a balance of universal and local elements; but we already knew this.

    It goes without saying UNDERSTANDING the universal elements of goodness is quite harder than it first seems. Understanding the universals of order, etc, and so on. To pit universalism against localism as equal and opposite forces is rather mythological, for an essay seeming to pertain to mere logic.

    But you’ve set up a false dichotomy. Here is what St. John the Damascene says of such things:

    It is necessary, therefore, that one who wishes to speak or to hear of
    God should understand clearly that alike in the doctrine of Deity and
    in that of the Incarnation, neither are all things unutterable nor all
    utterable; neither all unknowable nor all knowable. But the knowable
    belongs to one order, and the utterable to another; just as it is one
    thing to speak and another thing to know. Many of the things relating
    to God, therefore, that are dimly understood cannot be put into fitting
    terms, but on things above us we cannot do else than express
    ourselves according to our limited capacity.

    The laws of nature and the lawgiver of them are neither so obscure as you would make them, or so certain as others might make them to seem.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    They are evidently either obscure enough, or non-compelling enough, for people to assert the universal authority of forms of life that are utterly abominable to each other. There are only two choices. Argue or split. The latter is vastly preferable. Split hard, and you can always argue (for fun) later.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 19th, 2016 at 1:50 am Reply | Quote
  • foam Says:

    either this is the best post or my reading comprehension is at an all time high

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 19th, 2016 at 6:16 am Reply | Quote
  • Anonymous Says:

    I’ve noticed you’ve been on a bit of a thermodynamics kick recently, with the implicit assumption that more (human-level) order over *here* means less (human-level) order over *there*. However, this is not the case – thermodynamics works across scales, so it’s possible to improve local order with the only disordered output being literal heat. For example, consider an ideal fusion power plant that doesn’t produce any nuclear waste. This electricity from this plant can be used to increase order in the local area, with the only entropic output being waste heat that can eventually radiate to space. There’s no in-principal need for other areas/societies to become less ordered in a human sense.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    In an ideal case, that is consistent with the laws of physics, certainly. For all practical purposes, however, the economy is far more harshly zero-sum. Someone gets to end up with the world’s most toxic human waste (and someone else gets to skim off its most productive cream).

    [Reply]

    Chris B Reply:

    This only makes sense if you have a collection of “spaces” in which governance is completely lassaiz-faire, making it a sorting mechanism. Such a concept has zero connection to reality. It doesn’t work like this, and it never will.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    You could live almost anywhere in the world were you so inclined. The fact you decline to exercise your geopolitical Exit Options doesn’t in any way demonstrate their non-existence.

    Irving Reply:

    When I finally get around to making my own Exit, it’ll be to a comfortably second world country, with an average IQ of, say, a 93. I’ve heard great things, for instance, about Cambodia, and I think that when the time comes, I’ll go there.

    Exit options are numerous, and there isn’t an excuse for pretending that they aren’t. The main thing is that one’s right to Exit remain inviolable. I’ve no interest in fixing the world’s problems, let alone the west’s, which at this point seems incorrigible. Anyone with some talent and some resources at their disposal can Exit at whatever time, and one needn’t waste time trying to dispute with admin, who on this issue is 100% right. If you dont like his worldview, then you can choose not to live with him.

    michael Reply:

    that presupposes a lot, a multi cultural winner which seems a bit dubious since its actually the problem we are having to deal with. The continued short sighted stupidity of capitalists that hidden costs can simply be swept under some other continent or other.Its not that I give a shit about others but this is all convoluted and contradictory.

    GNON shrugs? Im for it agree to disagree Fine Go start a patch but realize if its to be a patch of more than one its going to have compromises mini universals,at some grain you have to stop disagreeing and start agreeing, this is what the cathedral is dealing with probably because they started like you did with the american revolution basically. so now you concede a few mini universals for your patch bare essentials mind you Galts Gulch But you have a culture you need to maintain for order focus. Does this not work better by starting with like minded fellows? is intelligence the only trait that matters I dont think so, all sorts of human traits could lessen the focus the patch wishes to concentrate on, these traits are not evenly distributed or correlated with IQ so if you pull all the 150s from africa you are not going to have the same patch as all the 150s from japan and in a generation you will have a mess, if you pull them from all over its even worse because no cultural controls will universally work or even generally work you will have a mess, but if you pull them all from one gene pool you can tailor a culture that minimizes the unwanted tendencies of that culture and you get the added benefit of better companionship and a predictable and stable outcome in future generations. Yes some ethnic patches will likely do better than other ethnic patches but less successful ethnic patches will do better than they would if their cream was skimmed and they will be able to find social workarounds that temper their specific weaknesses that they would not be permitted to use in a multi cultural path. why do i care about the other patch

    because as you thermally point out its a closed system you cant be dumping toxic waste and not have it come back to haunt you its only cheap in short run worlds smaller if you leave africa as a brain drained fetid swamp and then ship all youur gen 2 africans back you will end up with a big problem and at some point will realize you might have been better off genociding them. Im not advocating this im saying sustainable intelligent capitalism doesnt pretend side effects dont exist it solves the entire equation has made patches they are called races [in the old finer grained sense] until you crispr everyone into a european and then a post european you have to deal with that reality. more successful patches will still have the better bargaining position to include birth control or colonialism into trade deals but the days of strip mining are over the world is too small.

    [Reply]

    Shlomo Maistre Reply:

    “GNON shrugs? Im for it agree to disagree Fine Go start a patch but realize if its to be a patch of more than one its going to have compromises mini universals,at some grain you have to stop disagreeing and start agreeing”

    Exactly correct.

    Posted on March 19th, 2016 at 6:47 am Reply | Quote
  • woods Says:

    People haven’t read or have forgotten their Moldbug.
    This, however, acts an excellent summation of his, rather wordy, articles on the subject.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 19th, 2016 at 8:47 am Reply | Quote
  • Froude Society Says:

    Is trying to rid the world of Universalism (somewhat) possible and virtuous? I sure think so. Reaction is inherently imperialistic historically, it cannot be particularistic in all its forms, yours may be, but going beyond the West to fight the Left may be necessary if not destined. Hating Universalism and wishing to see it cleansed is the most hygienic option, this is a small planet and infection is always a worry. As Brett noted, one does not really need to defend oneself in being non-Universalistic, one should be able to prove piety, sure, but if one is not “of the Left” than any thought transnational or too broad otherwise is still well intentioned.

    We must admit some universality does exist within the human condition, the Earth is to some degree a closed system in which all parts of the whole do interact with one another. That is not to say there should be one government for us all or any of the devolvements Admin mentions, but rather, universality has some degree of fact. Most of that Universality is irrelevant to anything civic and of no concern beyond rootless contemplation- yet, all major faiths do treat the entire material system with some binding set of conditions. This can be respected alongside a righteous disdain for Universalism-as-the-Protestant-Heresy, as it is is a very clearly defined originated, and evil, meme cluster.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 19th, 2016 at 9:05 am Reply | Quote
  • Cichlimbar Says:

    “the whole post is, in so many words, a repetition of that one declaration”, that is, the part of it that has any meaning whatsoever. The rest is postmodernist word-salad.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    How annoying for you.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Your ‘buzz off’ Exit Option remains weirdly unexercized.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 19th, 2016 at 9:25 am Reply | Quote
  • Grahf Says:

    [quote]If there is a universal truth, it belongs only to Gnon, and Gnon is a dark (occulted) God. Traditional theists will be at least strongly inclined to disagree — and that is excellent. [/quote]

    I think Gödel would agree.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 19th, 2016 at 10:19 am Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    such despise for universality rather related to deformity of concept itself, then it’s principles. many universality classes exist in mathematics discovered with help of renormalization group theory. in critical fuids we can see srtuctural similarities on macroscopic scale, while it is so different on molecular level. here is nice simulation video
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd4UvhUsBAU

    perhaps philosophical interpretation of universality still pending.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 19th, 2016 at 12:08 pm Reply | Quote
  • Seth Largo Says:

    Your analysis of admin’s post as nothing but an intransitive proclamation, “I, X, am _____” can be applied equally well to anything anyone might say. I’ve been trying it as I’ve cruised the blogosphere this morning. Doesn’t matter what it’s about it or what it’s politics are, I can see myself copying and pasting your comment and having it stick regardless of context.

    This tells me that it is your utterance which is not worth engaging. It’s a fun piece of syntactically informed sophistry, nothing more.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 19th, 2016 at 4:49 pm Reply | Quote
  • vimothy Says:

    … and Nick Land is His prophet.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 19th, 2016 at 5:08 pm Reply | Quote
  • anonyme Says:

    “Those for whom certain words have a meaning, and certain manners of being; those who are so fussy; those who for whom emotions are classifiable, and who quibble over some degree or other of their hilarious classifications; those who still believe in ‘terms’; those who brandish whatever ideologies belong to the hierarchy of the times; those about whom women talk so well, and also those women who talk so well, who talk the contemporary currents of thought; those who still believe in some orientation of the spirit; those who follow paths, who drop names, who fill books with screaming headlines

    are the worst kind of pigs.

    And you are quite aimless, young man!

    No, I am thinking of bearded critics.

    And I told you so: no works or art, no language, no word, no thought, nothing.

    Nothing; unless maybe a fine Brain-Storm.

    A sort of incomprehensible and totally erect stance in the midst of everything in the mind.

    And don’t expect me to tell you what all this is called, and how many parts it can be divided into; don’t expect me to tell you its weight; or to get in step and start discussing all this so that by discussing I may get lost myself and even, without even realizing it, start THINKING. And don’t expect this thing to be illuminated and live and deck itself out in a multitude of words, all neatly polished as to meaning, very diverse, and capable of throwing light on all the attitudes and all the nuances of very sensitive and penetrating mind.

    Ah, these states which have no name, these sublime situations of the soul, ah these intervals of wit, these minuscule failures which are the daily bread of my hours, these people swarming with data . . . they are always the same old words I’m using, and really I don’t seem to make much headway in my thoughts, but I am really making more headway than you, you beard-asses, you pertinent pigs, you masters of fake verbiage, confectioners of portraits, pamphleteers, ground-floor lace-curtain herb collectors, entomologists, plague of my tongue.

    I told you so, I no longer have the gift of tongue. But this is no reason you should persist and stubbornly insist on opening your mouths.

    Look, I will be understood ten years from now by the people who then will do what you are doing now. Then my geysers will be recognized, my glaciers will be seen, the secret of diluting my poisons will have been learnt, the plays of my soul will be deciphered.

    Then all my hair, all my mental veins will have been drained in quicklime; then my bestiary will have been noticed, and my mystique become a hat. Then the joints of stones will be seen smoking, arborescent bouquets of mind’s eyes will crystallize in glossaries, stone aeroliths will fall, lines will be seen and the geometry of the void understood: people will learn what the configuration of the mind is, and they will understand how I lost my mind.

    They will then understand why my mind is not all here; then they will see all languages go dry, all minds, all tongues shrivelled up, the human face flattened out, deflated as if sucked up by shriveling leeches. And this lubricating membrane will go on floating in the air, this caustic lubricating membrane, this double membrane of multiple degrees and a million little fissures, this melancholic and vitreous membrane, but so sensitive and also pertinent, so capable of multiplying, splitting apart, turning inside out with its glistening little cracks, its dimensions, its narcotic highs, its penetrating and toxic injections, and

    all this then will be found to be all right,

    and I will have no further need to speak.”

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 20th, 2016 at 1:53 am Reply | Quote
  • Mark Citadel Says:

    Certainly this is differentiated world, and what you have written harks quite nicely back to that famous Maistre quote about having never met “man”. You also correctly state that universal truth (all that is) is in “Gnon”, a concept above and beyond the material world of any rational observation which limited finite human minds of capable of fully comprehending. We must simply accept the dictats of Gnon even if we do not fully understand them, and regardless of how they make us feel.

    I do think however there is a definite ability for human beings to grasp this universality above somewhat, and we find this in Tradition, in the universal application of patriarchy to civilization for example. Patriarchy is desirable for Africans, Arabs, Occidentals, Asians, and will only differ in terms of degree and outward expression. It follows on the dexterside that certain things contra to Gnon will be destructive to all peoples, though again to different degrees. I wrote that article ‘Racial Kryptonite’ mentioning how Liberal policies have disproportionately hurt blacks not because “liberals are the real racists” but instead simply due to the racial predispositions of the Negroid race which render them less able to cope with the imposition of Modernity.

    However on the plane of physical reality the world can never be universalized to one standard model, which is what Liberalism proposes as it demands the entire world sign on to bizarre concepts like ‘human rights’. This is why I cannot abide the United Nations. It is the most intolerable colonialism, the colonialism of evil, the colonialism of inversion. This drives the Reactionary view of international relations, that though we might find what some distant land engages in to be abhorrent, that is not an excuse for foreign ventures. Liberals like to think they are history’s repair men, when in fact they are (as Evola said) history’s demolition squad.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 20th, 2016 at 3:06 pm Reply | Quote
  • TheDividualist Says:

    Admin, there is the issue that the very same arguments can be used by them. When they demand tolerance for alternative lifestyles, LGBT or whatever, they are saying there is no such thing as a universally agreed good life. In a way, Universalism itself demands a form of secession – an incomplete one, actually. Full secession would involve literally having different governments and different tax budget, basically not giving each other money, and this is something they don’t demand, but from the moral angle they demand that you see your gay or whatever alternative-lifestyle neighbor as if he lived in a totally different culture in a different continent and therefore not be judged.

    That is precisely the kicker, the Universalism for tax money, democracy, and certain moral virtues like tolerance and compassion actually gets combined by them with a secessionist attitude for lifestyle, religion, and so on.

    And actually Reaction could both ways, either to demand complete and full secession, or basically to restore national unity, where not only money and votes are shared but also culture and values, the way they used to be, which had put strong pressure on similar lifestyles.

    It just depends on where, really, America is big enough that secession could work, while for example England could rather go for restoring national-cultural unity and identity.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 21st, 2016 at 11:09 am Reply | Quote
  • TheDividualist Says:

    Exit: are you thinking in individual or communal exits? Here is a thing. If you see an actually tightly-knit community, mostly in poorer countries or regions, you realize it is mostly about economic necessity and economic advantage. Borrowing the neighbors power tools because you cannot afford one or selling him your excess apples without taxes. My favorite was the distiller, you take your mashed fruit to the guy who has a little moonshine-maker and simply he keeps 25% of the finished brandy as a payment. It’s all about trying to make a good life while not really being able to afford it in cash, so it is barter, tax evasion, favors and all that used for acquiring things from private people that in more civilized circumstances are taxed cash transactions with official businesses. Common values or culture do not a community make, having an economic advantage in cooperating does.

    So the question is – how could Reactionaries and other reliable people already, without waiting for the collapse, start trading with each other or exchange favors and gain economic advantage (e.g. saving money) from this? Because without this there is no community, and starting it at the collapse is going to be too late.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 21st, 2016 at 11:38 am Reply | Quote
  • This Week in Reaction (2016/03/20) - Social Matter Says:

    […] Not to be outdone, Nick Land has an excellent short essay Against Universalism. […]

    Posted on March 23rd, 2016 at 3:09 am Reply | Quote
  • The Very Best of Last Week in Reaction (2016/03/20) – The Reactivity Place Says:

    […] Land: Against Universalism. A needful corrective on the temptation even among reactionaries to universalize potential […]

    Posted on March 23rd, 2016 at 4:46 am Reply | Quote
  • Contra o Universalismo – Outlandish Says:

    […] Original. […]

    Posted on June 29th, 2016 at 1:19 am Reply | Quote

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