Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

The Red Pill

Morpheus: I imagine that right now, you’re feeling a bit like Alice. Hm? Tumbling down the rabbit hole?
Neo: You could say that.
Morpheus: I see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, that’s not far from the truth. Do you believe in fate, Neo?
Neo: No.
Morpheus: Why not?
Neo: Because I don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my life.
Morpheus: I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Neo: The Matrix.
Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?
Neo: Yes.
Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: [leans in closer to Neo] That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind.
[pause]
Morpheus: Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. [Opens a pillbox, empties the contents into his palms, and outstretches his hands] This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill [opens his right hand, to reveal a translucent blue pill], the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill [opens his left hand, revealing a similarly translucent red pill], you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. [Neo reaches for the red pill] Remember: all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.

— That’s the Wachowski brothers version of Gnostic Platonism, and it gets everything almost exactly right. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (in Book VII of The Republic) tells precisely the same story, but with a cheaper cast, inferior special effects, and less drugs. It’s not surprising that the Dark Enlightenment tends to stick with the re-make, as it goes Neo(reactionary).

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December 18, 2013admin 91 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Arcane , Horror , Philosophy
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Re-Accelerationism

Is there a word for an ‘argument’  so soggily insubstantial that it has to be scooped into a pair of scare-quotes to be apprehended, even in its self-dissolution? If there were, I’d have been using it all the time recently. Among the latest occasions is a blog post by Charlie Stross, which describes itself as “a political speculation” before disappearing into the gray goomenon. Nothing in it really holds together, but it’s fun in its own way, especially if it’s taken as a sign of something else.

The ‘something else’ is a subterranean complicity between Neoreaction and Accelerationism (the latter linked here, Stross-style, in its most recent, Leftist version). Communicating with fellow ‘Hammer of Neoreaction’ David Brin, Stross asks: “David, have you run across the left-wing equivalent of the Neo-Reactionaries — the Accelerationists?” He then continues, invitingly: “Here’s my (tongue in cheek) take on both ideologies: Trotskyite singularitarians for Monarchism!”

Stross is a comic-future novelist, so it’s unrealistic to expect much more than a dramatic diversion (or anything more at all, actually). After an entertaining meander through parts of the Trotskyite-neolibertarian social-graph, which could have been deposited on a time-like curve out of Singularity Sky, we’ve learnt that Britain’s Revolutionary Communist Party has been on a strange path, but whatever connection there was to Accelerationism, let alone Neoreaction, has been entirely lost. Stross has the theatrical instinct to end the performance before it became too embarrassing: “Welcome to the century of the Trotskyite monarchists, the revolutionary reactionaries, and the fringe politics of the paradoxical!” (OK.) Curtain closes. Still, it was all comparatively good humored (at least in contrast to Brin’s increasingly enraged head-banging).

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December 10, 2013admin 84 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction , Philosophy , Templexity
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The Great Convergence

Some thoughts on Mou Zongsan and artificial intelligence, @ UF2.1.

December 3, 2013admin 10 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Philosophy
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Double Predestination

Cladistic inheritance necessitates that I begin talking about the Calvinist doctrine of Providence here (soon), despite my total cognitive depravity on the topic. I’ve been reading the Institutes of the Christian Religion, and around it, but inevitably as if from Mars (and as a Confucian). It has to be the case that many of the visitors here are vastly more intellectually fluent on the subject, so any anticipatory comments will be hungrily seized upon.

The fatality, as far as it is initially evident:

(1) Neoreaction, cladistically located, is a Cryptocalvinist splinter.

(2) The doctrines that placed Calvinism in H. L. Mencken’s “cabinet of horrors” (“next to cannibalism”), have never been philosophically dissolved, whether by theological or secular argument.

(3) The moralistic dismissal of Modernity and, through association, of Protestantism, evidences an almost incomprehensibly crude conception of Providence — as if the way things have turned out was not a fatality, and in theological terms a message (or punishment), but rather an accident, or man-made contingency. The rigorous theology of Modernity cannot reduce to mere denunciation.

(4) Calvinism is an instrument with which to explore Catholicism, especially in respect to its implicit philosophy of history (and recourse to teleological reasoning). The ‘Neo-‘ in Neoreaction appears to be a Calvinist mark. There are any number of influential secular explanations for the way history has tortured the Church — such that even the religious seem typically to default to them. Where does one find a radically providential account (excavating the theological meaning of Modernity)?

(5) Is not the very word ‘Cathedral’ in its Neoreactionary usage a complex providential sign? (Which suggests that it has far more to tell than anything either Neoreactionary writers or mere accident put into it.)

(6) The cluster of disputes around ‘predestination’ (or the action of eternity upon history) is the Occidental key to the problem of time.

I’m sure there’s much more …

[This helps to set the tone.]

 

November 30, 2013admin 74 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Arcane , Philosophy , Templexity
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The Way of the Worm

Here‘s the link to a recent short ‘essay’ of mine on philosophy and war, written for an intriguing art project, themed by the Stuxnet worm. The PDF also includes a piece by John Menick and an interview with David Harley. (I haven’t had time to properly digest the whole thing yet — but it looks extremely interesting.) Lars Holdhus, who initiated the project, has generously given me permission to share it.

November 27, 2013admin 18 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Contagion , Cosmos , Philosophy
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Sub-Cognitive Fragments (#1)

There is a craving that is neither simple stupidity, nor its opposite: I want to think. It might be designated blogger’s hunger (or curse). Though trivially pathetic, it is not only that.

In the end, there is no case to be made for philosophy, unless it can teach us how to think. Reciprocally, anything that can teach us to think is true philosophy. (That philosophy would not be mistaken for a joke.)

There is a weak interpretation of this demand, which is quite easily met. If the only thing requested is a discipline, such that thought — which is already happening  — is guided, and corrected, then logic suffices to provide it. The fact that philosophy typically understands its responsibility this way fully accounts for its senescence and marginality.

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November 11, 2013admin 43 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Philosophy
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