Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

Abstract Threat

John Michael Greer muses on the topic of Ebola (in a typically luxuriant post, ultimately heading somewhere else):

According to the World Health Organization, the number of cases of Ebola in the current epidemic is doubling every twenty days, and could reach 1.4 million by the beginning of 2015. Let’s round down, and say that there are one million cases on January 1, 2015. Let’s also assume for the sake of the experiment that the doubling time stays the same. Assuming that nothing interrupts the continued spread of the virus, and cases continue to double every twenty days, in what month of what year will the total number of cases equal the human population of this planet? […] … the steps that could keep Ebola from spreading to the rest of the Third World are not being taken. Unless massive resources are committed to that task soon — as in before the end of this year — the possibility exists that when the pandemic finally winds down a few years from now, two to three billion people could be dead. We need to consider the possibility that the peak of global population is no longer an abstraction set comfortably off somewhere in the future. It may be knocking at the future’s door right now, shaking with fever and dripping blood from its gums.

The eventual scale of the Ebola outbreak is a known unknown. A number of people between a few thousand and several billion will die, and an uncertain probability distribution could be attached to these figures — we know, at least approximately, where the question marks are. Before the present outbreak began, in December 2013 (in Guinea), Ebola was of course known to exist, but at that stage the occurrence of an outbreak — and not merely its course — was an unknown. Before the Ebola virus was scientifically identified (in 1976), the specific pathogen was an unknown member of a known class. With each step backwards, we advance in abstraction, towards the acknowledgement of threats of a ‘black swan‘ type. Great Filter X-risk is a prominent model of such abstract threat.

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October 3, 2014admin 37 Comments »

Quote note (#112)

Some Horror Night samples from the Old Master:

The first Book proposes, first in brief, the whole subject, Man’s disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was placed: Then touches the prime cause of his Fall, the Serpent, or rather Satan in the serpent; who, revolting from God, and drawing to his side many legions of Angels, was, by the command of God, driven out of Heaven, with all his crew, into the great deep. Which action passed over, the Poem hastens into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his Angels now falling into Hell described here, not in the center (for Heaven and Earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed,) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos …
— PL I The Argument

… who shall tempt with wandering feet
The dark, unbottomed, infinite Abyss,
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his airy flight,
Upborne with indefatigable wings
Over the vast abrupt …

— PL II 404-9

Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;
And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep
Still threatening to devour me opens wide,
To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven
— PL IV 75-8

And on Milton’s blindness, a key unlocking the gates to abysmal depths of visionary accomplishment:

… Thus with the year
Seasons return; but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer’s rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
Presented with a universal blank
Of nature’s works to me expung’d and ras’d,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather thou, celestial Light,
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.

— PL III 40-55

September 26, 2014admin 11 Comments »
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Abstract Horror (Note-2)

A very special jolt of bliss for Friday (Horror) Night — a whole new monster (the ‘Phantom’):

Most models of dark energy hold that the amount of it remains constant. But about 10 years ago, cosmologists realised that if the total density of dark energy is increasing, we could be headed for a nightmare scenario – the “big rip”. As space-time expands faster and faster, matter will be torn apart, starting with galaxy clusters and ending with atomic nuclei. Cosmologists called it “phantom” energy.

To find out if this could be true, Dragan Huterer at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor turned to type Ia supernovae. These stellar explosions are all of the same brightness, so they act as cosmic yardsticks for measuring distances. The first evidence that the universe’s expansion is accelerating came from studies of type Ia supernovae in the late 1990s.

If supernovae accelerated away from each other more slowly in the past than they do now, then dark energy’s density may be increasing and we could be in trouble. “If you even move a millimetre off the ledge, you fall into the abyss,” Huterer says.

Huterer and colleague Daniel Shafer have compiled data from recent supernova surveys and found that, depending on which surveys you use, there could be slight evidence that the dark energy density has been increasing over the past 2 billion years, but it’s not statistically significant yet (Physical Review D,

Phantom energy is an underdog theory, but the consequences are so dramatic that it’s worth testing, Huterer says. The weakness of the evidence is balanced by the fact that the implications are huge, he says. “We will have to completely revise even our current thinking of dark energy if phantom is really at work.”

(If I’d been making this stuff up, about the entirety of cosmic space being a concealed monster poised to rip every particle in the universe apart, I’d have named the hero ‘Dragan Huterer‘ too.)

September 5, 2014admin 5 Comments »
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When the winter comes, life becomes hard. Do the nice thing, too often, or too indiscriminately, and “Gnon will destroy you.”

Only the most extreme sociopath is oblivious to the comforts of moral squeamishness. It almost counts as the basic scaffolding of sanity to believe, or to immersively pretend, that our deepest qualms are shared by the commanding principles of being. At the highest level of hegemonic global culture, such scruples — projected ever more wantonly into the nature of things — are represented by Francis Fukuyama’s teleo-zenith “liberal democracy” which, as Daniel McCarthy accurately points out, “turns out to be a synonym for ‘the attitudes and institutions of a world in which Anglo-American power is dominant.’” Hobbesian realities have receded from Western public consciousness in direct proportion to the rise of a titanic ‘Atlantean‘ power. To confuse the gentle webs of civility with fundamental structures of reality is decadence, a path that Western sensibilities have been traveling for decades, if not centuries. Nothing deep within the fabric of the world gets upset about the same things, and in the same ways, that we would want it to.

‘Children’. That single word, alone, says everything that is necessary here. Lost, abandoned, exploited, sick and neglected, crippled, starved, and slaughtered, they saturate the media-scape of the harshening Western winter. Their real features are hard to discern beneath the thick coating of symbolism they bear, as every scale of the media, from brainwashed micro-blogger to massive news conglomerate, orchestrates the pathetic cry: how can this possibly be allowed to be? There should be something, profoundly rooted-down into the nature of the world, that cares about tormented and massacred children, shouldn’t there? Something other, and more, than the fragile machinery of a civilization that now tilts and groans ominously in the rising winter wind? When these media-blitzed fate-damned children scrape our moral sensitivities down to the raw, bloody quick, there has to be something basic concerned to protect them, surely?

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July 21, 2014admin 26 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Horror , Neoreaction
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Deep Ruin


@MattOlver linked this gallery of classy Detroit devastation images in Time. Visions of modernity in ruins have an intrinsic reactionary inclination, irrespective of any superficial attributions of causation. They directly subvert assumptions of relentless progress, suggest cyclic perturbations in the current of history, and evoke the tragic adjustments of fate. Ruins deride hubristic pretensions. They mark an ineluctable compliance with the Old Law of Gnon.

The Left, in its thoughtful moments, at least partially understands this. Things thought buried return, while highways of confident advance are lost in dissolution. The radical imagination is broken.

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July 4, 2014admin 20 Comments »
FILED UNDER :History , Horror
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They had buried him deep, shuddering all the while, scattering their incantations of protection on the accursed grave, as if to entomb their memories there, interring everything they had known in the infinitely forgiving clay. What they begged silently to forget, most of all, was the prophecy that when the stars were right he — it — would return for some hideous completion. Time passed, in the exact measure that had always been necessary, until the moonless night came, unheralded, and unstirred by the slightest breeze, when the stars were — in icy, twinkling fact — perfectly and pitilessly right

April 22, 2014admin 8 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Cosmos , Horror

Slow Monsters

One major lesson from Cambodia (previously noted) is that trees do tentacle horror better than cephalopods — though in slow motion. I think these snaps from Ta Prohm, Ta Som, and Preah Khan make the point quite slitheringly. (They can all be enlarged by clicking.)

20140124_160503    Ta Prohm

20140123_140220  Ta Som

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February 27, 2014admin 4 Comments »

Zombie Wars

Zombies are targeted in advance for the application of uninhibited violence. Their arrival announces a conflict in which all moral considerations are definitively suspended. Since they have no ‘souls’ there is nothing they will not do, and they are expected to do the worst. Reciprocally, they merit exactly zero humanitarian concern. The relationship to the zombie is one in which all sympathy is absolutely annulled (殺殺殺殺殺殺殺).

No surprise, then, that the identification of the zombie has become a critical conflict, waged across the terrain of popular culture. It implicitly describes a free-fire zone, or an anticipated gradient in the social direction of violence. Zombies are either scum or they are drones.

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February 19, 2014admin 24 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations , Horror
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Pandora’s Box

Anarchopapist has triggered a twitter storm with this. It is a post that has many different threads running into it, and through it. The most relevant compliment I can pay it is to say that it is potentially disturbing, in something far more than a psychological sense. It will be interesting to see how contagious it proves to be. (As this post demonstrates, Outside in is already infected.)

Laliberte asks: “is there a difference between Prometheus’ fire and Pandora’s box?” Given everything said about the Promethean, and the very considerable ideological-theoretical work that it does, is it not strange that the Pandoran is scarcely recognized as a term, or a concept, at all? To talk about fire is mere shallow bedazzlement, in comparison to any serious examination of boxes. Boxes not only have a shape, but also an inside and an outside, which means — at least implicitly — a transcendental structure. They model worlds, and suggest ways out of them.

Pandora’s box, of course, is significant above all for its content, which is released, or gets out. Promethean flame, which is stolen, is contrasted with Pandoran plague, which escapes. Laliberte seizes the opportunity to discuss memes (and the ‘hypermeme’). An infectious being is set loose, in the shape of a Neoreactionary Basilisk. (On twitter, Michael Anissimov deplores the irresponsibility of this outbreak.)

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January 13, 2014admin 25 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Arcane , Contagion , Horror
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There’s a post on H. P. Lovecraft’s extreme racism on the way, and given the abundance of stimulating material on the topic, a small taster is irresistible. This highly representative essay by Nicole Cushing serves as an occasion. She writes:

Broaching this subject is also difficult because it has to be handled with some nuance (which is difficult to achieve in a discussion of a topic as justifiably emotionally-charged as American racism). It would be too easy to point to Lovecraft’s racism (and some of his other failings as an author), and dismiss him as an undistinguished crackpot who deserved nothing better than publication in the pulps. I’m not going to do that here. My stance is that Lovecraft made an important contribution to horror and science fiction by focusing (in a persistent and compellingly imaginative way) on the terror induced by the revelation of human non-significance in the cosmos. […] Lovecraft has had a meaningful influence over horror fiction (in particular) for many years, an influence that transcends his racism. … All of this is just a long-winded way of explaining that Lovecraft’s racism doesn’t negate his accomplishments.

But his accomplishments don’t negate his racism. (Enter, cognitive dissonance).

Among the most fascinating aspects of this commentary is its blatant misdirection, since — of course — the phenomenon indicated has nothing whatsoever to do with cognitive dissonance. There is an encounter here with an abnormal species of literary genius, associated with profound metaphysical truth, which at the same time — and for inextricably tangled reasons — triggers a reaction of moral panic, tilting over into deep somatic revulsion. In other words, and perhaps even quite simply, what is being related by Nicole Cushing is — horror.

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January 9, 2014admin 48 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations , Horror
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