Bonds of Chaos

There are many, I know, who find obstinate invocations of NRx — as a micro-slogan, cultural brand, conflictual stance, or Schelling point — to be crude at best, and perhaps thoroughly deluded, or worse. It is as if, having tumbled into a vogue, one has become enthralled by it, locked into stuttering, mechanical, thoughtless repetition. Those most skeptical about the sign are most likely disposed to mournfulness about it, whether decrying it for congenital flaws, or lamenting its loss of intellectual productivity and direction.

Obviously, I disagree. NRx is still a cultural infant, far younger than the Millennium, even under the most mythically-creative extension of its genesis, and the cognitive ferment it catalyzes remains extraordinary. It has still scarcely begun. The ties of a consistent name are the very least that are required to concentrate it. NRx, whatever it turns out to be, needs lashing together, because explosions tend to fly apart — and it is unmistakably an explosion.

Creative coincidence, or convergent diversity, is the mark of a culture at work (which is to say, in process). Yesterday, September 3, demonstrated this vividly. Approaching the conclusion of a multi-aspected post on Dugin, ethnicity, religion, and the “dementia’ of being, NIO suggests:

Referring to Chaos would seem in this circumstance to be an option of incredible potential, indeed, if you look closely enough at NRx the hints are already there that Chaos is a central defining characteristic of the thought of all branches of the Trichotomy on multiple levels. Chaos creates order, in fact Chaos is also a form of order, just one which is not immediately understandable. [I will not fake an apology for the self-looping internal link, since it it is one that would in any case have been made here.]

Recalling that NIO explicitly invokes the ontological depths of Chaos — its Hesiodic as well as metaphysical density — it is especially remarkable to find, on the same day, an intricate post by E. Antony Gray, which advances an innovative tripartite schema as the key to the aesthetic core of NRx. This text, too, culminates in a call for an integrative expedition into chaos, staged out of the void:

… the ‘face of the deep’ in Genesis is a primordial unformed, unseen void; That it is called ‘water’ in the Septuagint Greek lets us know something about the peculiar state of Chaos in the Void. The Void is thus Darkness but not shadow (a shadow is a deprivation of light caused by an object) but rather the substrate of all existence, only properly ‘unseen’ when no physical light is present. [… ] Chaos is substantial where disorder is insubstantial. Chaos is the ‘quintessence’ of things, chaotic itself and yet always-begetting order. Breaking down disorder, since disorder is maladaptive. Exit is a way to induce bifurcation, to quickly reduce entropy through separation from the highly entropic system. If no immediate exit is available, Chaos will create one.

To denounce the exhaustion of NRx is an absurdity. It is an exploratory departure, scarcely initiated. To cling to its sign is to subscribe to its impulse, and to set out …

September 4, 2014admin 26 Comments »
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26 Responses to this entry

  • Bryce Laliberte Says:

    Exactly what work is getting done by invoking capital-c Chaos? I feel like I’m missing something here.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    First of all, Hesiodic recollection, and a descent into the sub-basement of the Occidental tradition (where it connects with unfamiliar things).

    [Reply]

    Bryce Laliberte Reply:

    Well alright, I guess I’ll just incorporate it into my form irrationalism.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 4th, 2014 at 5:33 pm Reply | Quote
  • b Says:

    Okay. Can you please elaborate on the relationships you see between the concepts of entropy, negentropy, order, chaos, growth, decay, etc., etc.?

    Sometimes I think you’re getting at the same patterns I am, and other times I think one or both of us are helplessly confused.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    These concepts have been settled by almost two centuries of scientific tradition. They shouldn’t still be susceptible to arbitrary private interpretation. Whatever Wikipedia (for example) says about them is almost certainly reliable.

    Probably most crucial from our perspective: Complex order is sustained by the continuous dissipation of entropy. (Dysfunction of this capability is, therefore, decay.)

    [Reply]

    Angus MacGnonald Reply:

    The scientific descriptions of these concepts within the physical order are certainly settled, but when these concepts are used as metaphors for social and/or metaphysical phenomena, the possibility of dialectical confusion within the conversation irrupts. The above example maps pretty lucidly with sociopolitical critique, but others rely more heavily on metaphorical loading to convey their meaning.

    Presumably, poster B need only take a walk through archives of XS, AnPap, Mr. Steves, etc., to clarify how the physical concepts get lifted up into Nrx critique.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 4th, 2014 at 5:39 pm Reply | Quote
  • Brett Stevens Says:

    Some movements began as theoretical ideas from which later came art, writings, and acts. I think of the Beats primarily, who were sticking together trying to be poets before they knew how they would write poetry (or anything else). As with all things, too much human planning can interfere with natural growth.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 4th, 2014 at 6:19 pm Reply | Quote
  • RorschachRomanov Says:

    In honor of this compelling display of “creative coincidence” as regards Chaos I thought it appropriate to share one of the ruba’is of the great Arabian poet al-Ma’arri.

    Recently, a full one thousand years after al-Ma’arri walked the streets of Baghdad, a Wahhabi group cut off the head of a statue of the man. I consider al-Ma’arri to be one of the great trolls of history.

    Of the ruba’i, that most ancient form of Persian poetry, Paul Smith said: “The ruba’i should be eloquent, spontaneous, and ingenious. In the ruba’i the first three lines serve as an introduction to the fourth that should be sublime, subtle or pithy and clever.”

    Without further ado:

    “Doom’s chariot wheels! Listen to them roll
    across desert and market where folks stroll;
    and across those silent places of your heart:
    smile at the driver whom you can’t control!”

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 4th, 2014 at 6:22 pm Reply | Quote
  • RorschachRomanov Says:

    One of al-Ma’arri’s “ghazals.” If “catastrophe” is the only way out, as it were, from the nightmare of demotist Modernity, perhaps there is cause for hope. The poem to be shortly featured is Schopenhauerian through and through, blended with some Kafka and perhaps the greatest, imaginatively stunning encapsulation of “Gnon” I’ve ever read:

    “Ah no, I linger on behind, unseen things not knowing;
    perhaps the dead are nearer to God, than those living.
    Fearing death, soul loves life, but long life…is poison;
    and finally die: the householder, those wandering.

    Just like us, the earth is seeking to live, day after day:
    it goes on eating human flesh, our blood it is drinking!
    Even the sun was slandered, they lied it wouldn’t rise
    when the hour of dawn came, unless it took a beating.

    It seems that the crescent moon shining in the sky is
    the curved spear of death, sharp end at them pointing;
    and splendor of day is a sword unsheathed by dawn
    against them, with edge in venom and doom, dripping.”

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 4th, 2014 at 6:35 pm Reply | Quote
  • Shlomo Maistre Says:

    Insofar as it’s a culture identified and transmitted by beliefs/dogmas, NRx is a mere breed of Progressivism. A self-aware, incisive, and mature descendent of Progressivism perhaps, but a fundamentally Progressive cultural manifestation nonetheless. Recognizing rule-by-scholar (a la Moldbug) as a call sign of Progressivism is one way to understand why this is, for man’s social being mandates hierarchy and hierarchy formed on the basis of the quality (read: popularity) of one’s enunciation of truth elevates poetry (rhetoric, really) at the expense of philosophy (revelation, really) – as referenced by that old quip about “the old quarrel” (see Plato). Order – the eternal prey of Progressivism – not only elevates, but even is the temporal realization of revelation, illustrating rhetoric as the tool of the narrow-narrow minded (read: selfish) that it actually is.

    Since the demonic potency of Progressivism derives from the inherent effects wrought by the passing of time itself, Progressivism cannot be defeated in any ultimate sense. The inevitably leftward march of humanity’s social fabric can, however, be slowed and even stalled – but not by the mere enunciation of words.

    Progressivism is stalled – and time, as it were, is slowed – by actions that conserve. Inasmuch as an action serves the (perceived and actual) interests of broader collections of individuals, an action conserves and (better) serves (a broader) social order. Obedience is the call sign of orderly action.

    Non-Cathedral infected repeaters (in the Moldbug sense) are vanishingly rare these days. Only those cultures that securely control non-Cathedral repeaters are even capable of blossoming into full-fledged alternatives to the current world order and, thereby, forming sovereign societies that erode at less-than-Cathedral-high rates. Within the West, Orthodox Jews, Mormons, and traditionalist Catholics appear to be closest to this mark, though time, of course, will tell. NRx can stall Progressivism only insofar as it furnishes the leaders of such ideological cultures with either the informed understanding or the stubborn prejudice required to sustainably act in accordance with their peoples’ long-term interests amidst accelerating social decay and pressure to conform from the outer world.

    The recent past offers numerous valuable intellectual contributions from neoreactionaries. I myself have learned a great deal (and continue to) from thinkers that subscribe to NRx. And yet, I cannot help but suspect that what we are witnessing is the intellectual masturbation of great minds, which is nothing but an inevitable consequence of the culture of critique endemic to the internet. For now, it appears and probably is grand, mysterious, and possessed of fantastical powers of inquiry. In a few decades, the impression will I suspect fade and the movement will perhaps congeal into a permanent fixture of the cyber cultural landscape – but not much more than that.

    Nonetheless, and despite my aesthetic and ideological aversion to self-describing as a neoreactionary, I see immense potential among the community of thinkers that subscribe to NRx.

    [Reply]

    Kgaard Reply:

    Somebody wrote once that Neoreaction really grew out of the pick-up artist movement and I was moved to recall that as I read your post. There’s an extent to which neoreaction will be effective to the extent it creates men who can convey their ideas to women — and still convince those women to have kids with them. Then you get a whole new generation of NRx-lings. I’m finding it to be a pretty easy sell, actually. If feminism (and modernity as a whole) is a shit test, neoreaction is the perfect response to it.

    On a related point, one of the aforementioned women has conveyed to me an interesting concept … a sort of affliction that besets INTJs (which I suspect a good chunk of neoreactionaries are). It’s called the “NiFi loop.” Nietzsche apparently was a good example of it, and I certainly recognize this tendency in myself:

    “When Te is poorly developed, resulting in a so-called “NiFi loop”, the INTJ becomes increasingly threatened by the pressures of conforming to any sort of externalized expectation or methodology whatsoever. By accepting or promoting any such objective information, the NiFi loop INTJ feels he is compromising the purity of Ni’s insight by exposing it to potentially misleading bias, and he resents the expectations of others for him to change what he views as his personal moral identity (Fi.) He will withdraw further and further from all forms of interaction, convinced that the only way to develop pure and complete understanding is to block out any and all external sources of information. Deliberately distancing himself ever further from any link to objective reality, all manner of bizarre and irrational impressions are indulged as isolated (and objectively unsubstantiated) Fi value judgments color Ni’s increasingly elaborate perceptions of the sinister affronts invariably hiding around every corner. That weird recluse down the street who wears a tin foil hat 24/7 to stop the government from penetrating his brain with secret nefarious mind control signals? Probably an NiFi loop INTJ.”

    To your point about Mormons, Orthodox Jews and Conservative Catholics actually creating a model that gets them out in the world and reproducing, I sense that the NiFi Loop is a challenge for those who (correctly, in this case) see conspiracies all around. One (i.e. me) spends the majority of one’s time parsing conspiracies rather than pursuing and impregnating women (or, perhaps alternatively, pursuing some sort of political change like creating ZEDEs).

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 4th, 2014 at 7:51 pm Reply | Quote
  • The Word Says:

    If we do get NRx music, I hope some of it sounds like this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71doXpbQ3sw

    [Reply]

    Antisthenes Reply:

    I thought the Outside would sound something more like this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjVT0MhSNeo

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 4th, 2014 at 10:19 pm Reply | Quote
  • Insextuality Says:

    I agree with the affirmation with the infancy of NRx. To add to the cosmology, perhaps in what might seem annectodal but I think is a pertinent symbolic and historically consistent figure to bring up is the concept of chaos as Silva (forest, woods), which was conceived as a chaotic megacosmic actor in medieval cosmography. The forest was an Outside, and site of chaos through the medieval period until changes in socio-technical production in the 12th century led to an intensive period of deforestation. The forest, perhaps even more so the jungle, is a figure and environment of chaotic order and complexity, figures that should be linked to the feminine element- one need only think of the “Amazon” as a post-1492 instantiation and dislocation of silva to the colonial setting of South America and effectively as a constant challenge to modernity. It *is* a jungle out there.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 5th, 2014 at 3:13 am Reply | Quote
  • Chris B Says:

    The idea of going back to the beginning of occidental philosophy and rummaging around in the “sub basement” as you put it strikes me as a concept which is outrageously ambitious and likely to cause serious friction with a lot of NRx. The an Nihilo aspect of Chaos is just about palatable (even if it still cause everyone confusion and leads to vague spluttering), but going forward, I wonder how tolerable will it be to the religious trads faith if we try and tie modern Cosmology, physics and Confucian/ Buddhist thinking into the discussion? As for the eth nats, they are still keen on reverting to enlightenment Monarchy, which is pretty much slap bang in the middle of the occidental death spiral, so they are not really going to go along with rebooting Occidental philosophy.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    It’s fate by this stage. Down the cobwebbed spiral-staircase we go …

    [Reply]

    scientism Reply:

    There’s plenty of comparisons to be made between East and West (Aristotelian and Confucian ethics, for example, or Greek and Neo-Confucian/Buddhist/Taoist conceptions of Sagehood) and there’s a lot that’s overlooked in the Western tradition. A better framing might be “using Eastern tradition to bring a new perspective to Western tradition.” Maybe we need a better way of looking at what we have, now that our own tradition has been decisively propagandised by the Enlightenment. For that matter, you have to tread carefully, since Enlightenment fingerprints are all over “Eastern” philosophy too. For example, contemporary Japanese Zen was an attempt to import Western ideas into post-War Japan and meditation in SE Asian Buddhism is a Western influence. Westerners trampled all over the East looking for “alternatives” to Christianity already. Everywhere they went they saw progressivism, oddly enough. Even the current Confucian revival in China is often used as a platform to push Western-style liberalism.

    [Reply]

    Kgaard Reply:

    Scientism … Can you expound on this concept of westerners seeing/injecting progressivism into Asian religions? That’s a new idea to me but intuitively it rings true. How would “pure” Asian Buddhism differ from Buddhism as funneled through western purveyors? I know the meditation part is largely a western graft-on … but what is different about, say, Japanese or Sri Lankan Buddhism vs. the hippie Buddhism we see in the US or UK?

    [Reply]

    scientism Reply:

    I read two very interesting papers on this subjects some time ago (when I had an unfortunate interest in finding a “rational spirituality”) and I don’t remember all the details, although I remember them being eye opening. I’ll try to find the citations, but my understanding is that Westerners were involved in articulating the concept of a “Theravadan” Buddhism common to SE Asia, with its routes in Sri Lanka, whereas in actuality Buddhism in SE Asia was, essentially, a set of disperse monastic and ritual practices without a strong intellectual, political or meditative component. It was the Western influence that led both to the interest in Buddhist texts (such as the Pali canon) and the popularity of meditation among laymen and the new meditation-oriented branches of SE Asian Buddhism. Westerners emphasised the supposed rationality and similarity to empirical science as well as the progressive aspects like egalitarianism, non-violence, lack of ritual and imagery, etc. Basically, Westerners in SE Asia helped the locals build a Westernised version of Buddhism and the locals went along with it for nationalist and anti-colonial reasons.

    With Japanese Zen, supposedly the goal was to make Japanese culture more appealing to the West after WW2 and rehabilitate Zen because it had previously been involved in justifying imperialism and militarism and this project was influenced by Western philosophy and the psychology of William James. The Zen reformers emphasised its peaceful nature, for obvious reasons. If I recall correctly, much of its claim to be practice focused and aniconistic is of more recent origin.

    Kgaard Reply:

    Scientism — This is fascinating. Thanks. Would be quite a breakthrough if one could definitively demonstrate that Buddhism as conceived of in the west is actually a progressive invention. I’m curious how they’d lay out the argument. I’ve been to Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka and Japan and frankly was never struck by any sort of disconnect between what I saw there and progressive interpretations of Buddhism. That said … the Sri Lankan Buddhists proved to be pretty hard-ass in defeating the Tamil Tigers! (Personally I’m a big fan of Sri Lanka. Place is way better than India. At present there is a a significant Muslim minority there but everybody gets along reasonably well in Colombo.)

    Antisthenes Reply:

    @Kgaard

    In order to realize that Western ‘Buddhism’ is a progressive invention, you only have to consider how many Western Buddhists actually speak Pali and/or Sanskrit, and consider how much progressives have invested in coming up with hip, fashionable alternatives to Christianity.

    Kgaard Reply:

    Yes … good point. I went to the Wikipedia page on Buddhist texts and was rather surprised at how much stuff is there. I admit it has never occurred to me to dig into primary sources on Buddhism. I’m familiar with the 8-fold path and the Tao Te Ching (Taoism, I know) and the Upanishads (Hinduism, I know). But when I looked through all those texts on Wikipedia I realized, “Damn, I’ve actually never read ANY of these.” I’ve gotten my Buddhism from Hesse, Kerouac (Dharmma Bums), Pirsig (Zen & MM), Campbell and a plethora of popular interpreters of it. So hmm …

    Still … a concrete takedown of how the hippies twisted it to their own purposes would of course be off the charts.

    Antisthenes Reply:

    Having ‘purposes’ to twist something to is so very un-Buddhist.

    scientism Reply:

    Ironically, though, going back to the original texts and reading them is a very Western (Protestant) thing to do. Texts generally don’t play a straightforward role in religious practices and there’s typically an official interpretation with a long history.

    Posted on September 5th, 2014 at 2:12 pm Reply | Quote
  • Chris B Says:

    @scientism I envision the development would be towards this direction –

    http://www.fractalwisdom.com/science-of-chaos/the-four-chaos-attractors/

    only much more developed and sophisticated. A comprehensive anchoring of Nothingness/ Chaos at the center of philosophy whilst maintaining intellectual discovery in the sciences that is inherent in western thought. It seems to me to be the only way out of the Occidental funk we find ourselves in. The application of this to epistemology, ontology and metaphysics would be fascinating and very much in line with scientific discoveries and thought currently being developed surely?

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 9th, 2014 at 1:21 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lightning Round – 2014/09/10 | Free Northerner Says:

    […] a neoreactionary aesthetic. Related: Bonds of chaos. Related: Chaos and […]

    Posted on September 10th, 2014 at 5:01 am Reply | Quote

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