New Atlantis

In the wake of the latest Eurasianism excitement (of which there will be much more), comes a wide-ranging piece at Mitrailleuse.  It made me wonder whether Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis (1626) is still in any kind of cultural circulation. It‘s short — and odd.  The date and cultural lineage place it decisively within Dugin’s framework of the rising new Atlantean power — English-speaking, protestant, maritime, philosemitic, technophilic, and (piously) materially acquisitive. There’s even a clear seam of Sinophilia running through it, although one might suspect that — for reasons of geopolitical pragmatism — this is not a feature Eurasianism would want to emphasize.

For a taste, here’s a sample from the New Atlantis tour:

“We have also engine-houses, where are prepared engines and instruments for all sorts of motions. There we imitate and practise to make swifter motions than any you have, either out of your muskets or any engine that you have; and to make them and multiply them more easily and with small force, by wheels and other means, and to make them stronger and more violent than yours are, exceeding your greatest cannons and basilisks. We represent also ordnance and instruments of war and engines of all kinds; and likewise new mixtures and compositions of gunpowder, wild-fires burning in water and unquenchable, also fire-works of all variety, both for pleasure and use. We imitate also flights of birds; we have some degrees of flying in the air. We have ships and boats for going under water and brooking of seas, also swimming-girdles and supporters. We have divers curious clocks and other like motions of return, and some perpetual motions. We imitate also motions of living creatures by images of men, beasts, birds, fishes, and serpents; we have also a great number of other various motions, strange for equality, fineness, and subtilty.

“We have also a mathematical-house, where are represented all instruments, as well of geometry as astronomy, exquisitely made.

“We have also houses of deceits of the senses, where we represent all manner of feats of juggling, false apparitions, impostures and illusions, and their fallacies. And surely you will easily believe that we, that have so many things truly natural which induce admiration, could in a world of particulars deceive the senses if we would disguise those things, and labor to make them more miraculous. But we do hate all impostures and lies, insomuch as we have severely forbidden it to all our fellows, under pain of ignominy and fines, that they do not show any natural work or thing adorned or swelling, but only pure as it is, and without all affectation of strangeness. …”

Scrupulous scientific realism combined with a precocious Virtual Reality industry. This is indeed an enemy, very naturally, to be feared.

Note: There’s also a post on Eurasianism, probing gently into the China angle, over at Urban Future.

August 7, 2014admin 24 Comments »

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24 Responses to this entry

  • Simone Simonini Says:

    In Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age, the neo-victorian phyle is called “New Atlantis” in an apparent reference to Bacon.


    neovictorian23 Reply:

    I’m moderately saddened that I didn’t get here earlier and you beat me to it… 🙂


    admin Reply:

    Thanks — don’t know how I missed that.


    Posted on August 7th, 2014 at 7:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • Brett Stevens Says:

    People are looking for external confirmation of what they know within about the best type of society. Since they cannot face that internal image, they turn to symbolic realities that they hope are more socially acceptable. From this comes the ideal of the cosmopolitan superpower, which is the exact opposite of what a healthy nation is.


    Posted on August 7th, 2014 at 7:36 pm Reply | Quote
  • New Atlantis | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on August 7th, 2014 at 10:17 pm Reply | Quote
  • neovictorian23 Says:

    The link to Urban Future needs a fix (go here). Meanwhile, I urge everyone who reads Outside in to peruse the Accelerationist links there; it will expand the average NRx’ers horizons considerably. It did mine, at any rate.


    admin Reply:

    Thanks for the broken-link heads up — fixed.


    Posted on August 7th, 2014 at 11:11 pm Reply | Quote
  • scientism Says:

    The Urban Future link is mangled.

    What do you think of David Shambaugh’s conception of China as an eclectic state? He essentially claims that it is and has always been a kind of Patchwork.

    This description sounds like something you’d enjoy:

    “Unlike many Western polities that have evolved over the same period of time generally within a singular liberal paradigm, the modern Chinese state has undergone several macro transitions: from imperial to republican to revolutionary communist to modernizing socialist and, in Taiwan, to democratic phases. While radically different in its basic ethos and organizational structure in each phase (monarchical-republican-Leninist-liberal), the Chinese state on the mainland has had three enduring missions: modernization of the economy, transformation of society, and defense of the nation against foreign aggression. The intended goals of social transformation varied (from neo-Confucianist to neofascist to radical Maoism to pragmatic Dengism), but for more than a century these have been the central and consistent missions of the Chinese state regardless of their fundamentally different cast. As one evolved to the next, some elements of the past survived each transition and were woven into new institutional frameworks. Each new departure was never total, although all were sharp and each sought to “overthrow” and replace the former. In reality, though, each new Chinese state maintained certain features of the old. Moreover, in each phase, different foreign elements were imported and grafted on to the evolving indigenous root, creating an ever-more complex hybrid.”


    Posted on August 8th, 2014 at 1:43 am Reply | Quote
  • E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Says:


    If we stop for a moment and combine theories (which may be insane mad science:) we get this.

    Anglo civilization, even when it is inland, is inescapably Atlantean in character. The phenomenon the Atlantean reactionaries (the so-called ‘neo reactionaries’) identify as ‘The Cathedral’ is not, as Dugin (an outsider) assumes intrinsic to Atlantis, but rather represents one possible corruption of its impulses.

    It therefore follows that there is a version of ‘The Cathedral’ (as a particular embodiment of corruption via left-domination) that may affect Eurasia. It’s very obvious, for instance, that in the anglo-soviet split there was a sense of ‘two wings of the same’ splitting over differences. Whether soviet communism properly represented this phenomenon in eurasia or merely was the first, incipient stages of its formation is unclear.


    While Dugin identifies ‘steppe’ (and thus high plain, plateau, basin, etc) as being essentially ‘land’ civilization geography, there remains the question of ‘mountain’ peoples specifically. (If he addresses this somewhere, I’d like to know) From most fiction I read on the subject, maritime and mountain civilization seem to occupy a similar space. The phrase I recall is ‘the men struggle against the x’ (where x is mountain or sea.)

    Given that of the configurations, mountains are the least useful historically (though the pre-rabbinic Jews seemed to be ‘mountain’ people and not ‘sea’ people at all – their fear of the sea is legendary in our tradition) not because they aren’t good strategically, but 1. the advantages of land, namely, agriculture and room for horizontal spread – don’t apply normally (see the Incas) 2. the advantages of islands (of which mountains are a type) namely, fast transport over water for trade and potentially military conquest – also don’t apply.

    Land can perhaps answer this question regarding China – are mountains important, in the sense of its concept of city (Jerusalem, like the Inca cities, was nothing if not also a Mountain) to its history?


    As regards Christianity; it does not appear to be hyperborean / eurasian in character at all. While traditional (Eastern) Christianity is not de-territorialized, it does seem the Byzantium -> Constantinople is far more Greek, being known for its indestructible navy through energy weapon technology (Greek Fire), and having little success overland against the encroaching, highly clannish, Islamic Caliphs.

    But this explains the ‘character’ of Atlantean ‘territory’ directly (perhaps?) – we always were geographically based, but territory was based on cities, not on land masses specifically. So sees, while being geographic, are noted not for being specifically ‘land’ based but specifically ‘city’ based (Rome, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople)

    Thus also we predict the conflict between Rome and England (which does happen–) the English and the Irish must be forcibly Latinized (the Norman conquest is all about Latinization of the supposedly already Roman Catholic English.) The primary ‘ancient’ language their form of Christianity relied on prior to this was Greek. (Imagine tridentine mass, but with Greek instead of Latin.)

    I think (and this is merely a personal opinion) that an attempt to fully wed Christianity to ‘hyperborean’ values will be difficult if not impossible. Roman Catholicism and Russian Orthodoxy represent compromises, much in the way the South seems to represent a balanced (Atlantean with strongly sublimated Hyperborean tendencies) approach between the two.

    Massachusetts/New York on the other hand, is Atlantean without any balancing influences. ‘Insular’ and yet ‘Cosmopolitan’, ‘Universalizing’ and yet, ‘Hyper-individual’, etc.


    Is Patchwork an attempt to create a system immune to takeover by either extreme?


    admin Reply:

    So, as a very insufficient initial response to this, what do you make of Dugin’s very emphatic Eastern Orthodox Christianity? He actually begins the interview with Posner by declaring, as a kind of opening formality, “He Is Risen!”


    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    How can he be pro-Crowley and Orthodox?

    He is a brilliant thinker, but I think he is playing with more than one hand of cards…. kind of like we do.

    So many of the pieces don’t add up. I’m reading the Dugin stuff in my spare time right now.


    Izak Reply:

    Dugin is an Old Church Christian, which is uniquely Russian (I think) and tends to be the most slavophilic of the Eastern Orthodox branch. This seems to be key to understanding his faith.


    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    So he’s an ‘old believer’? They are not in union with the rest of the Orthodox Churches.

    Izak Reply:

    OK, yes. Old Believer, that’s the term I was trying to recall. Anyhow yes, I’ve read that he is. Here’s some references which I just now lazily pulled from a Google search:

    Apparently he converted in 1999. This makes sense. I’ve read some of his earlier essays, and they’re straight up gnostic. Dugin is getting softer in his old age.

    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    yes, this makes sense now. ‘The Priestless’ are fine in and of themselves, but for an intelligent person to convert would just leave them without a guide. His conversion might reflect a way to ‘escape’ into a form of Orthodoxy that doesn’t involve a bishop excommunicating him for gnosticism.

    A sort of Russian Carl Sagan.

    Posted on August 8th, 2014 at 12:52 pm Reply | Quote
  • Bill Says:

    Mr. Land, you’ll enjoy this tidbit about Bacon, although there is a good chance I’m telling you something you already know. Bacon never wrote “knowledge is power.” Bacon actually wrote: “Human knowledge and human power meet in one; for where the cause is not known the effect cannot be produced. Nature to be commanded must be obeyed; and that which in contemplation is as the cause is in operation as the rule.”


    admin Reply:

    Superb. I’ll be sure to use that down the road. (It’s already cybernetics.)


    Posted on August 8th, 2014 at 2:38 pm Reply | Quote
  • Bill Says:

    “Nature to be commanded must be obeyed…” = GNON


    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    “General Necessity of Nature” works as an expansion as well.


    Posted on August 8th, 2014 at 7:42 pm Reply | Quote
  • Chris B Says:

    @@ E.Anthony Gray
    here are my thoughts –
    – not sure you can describe anglo as being intrinsically Atlanean. This all really depends on timelines. Leave anglo culture inland and inbreading for long enough an it would become hyperborean. I think the HBD aspect is vital.
    – duggin considers Lennin and some orders of the bolsheviks to have been hyperborean. The link with the Cathedral, and left/ right is complicated.
    – mountain people are intrinsically hyperborean. Cut off and inbred. Key is inbreeding/outbreeding and geopolitical necessity to position on the scale. China has recently swung toward the coast. I would say it’s been hyperborean for centuries. Even Mao’s takeover was a hyperborean one which countered the coastal splitting resulted from european presence. Recent demographic movements and trade necessity is drawing China to the Sea. Hong Kong handover can be seen as central driver. HK and Shanghai are key, as will be the pacific Rim. Seems to me as if China has chosen its path already (or had it chosen for them), and the die is set.
    -I would say patchwork is attempt to inoculate against any universalism.


    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    I sense Dugin has reduced a number greater than two into two (even then ten commandments can be re-numbered) for the purposes of setting up a favorable dichotomy. In other words, I think the Land-Sea dichotomy is only part of the struggle.

    You’re right about Cathedral forces; it seems to be a universal problem for both Hyperboreans and Atlanteans. Dugin calls what we call ‘demotism’ a specifically Atlantean thing (as though it is identified with it) though we recognize Leninism as a demotic movement (albeit, inspired by the West.)

    Mountain peoples don’t seem to act the same as plains peoples; and Dugin considers the A-S people as inherently Atlantean (as I think he considers the Slavs inherently eurasian.) My first thought is he has combined ‘mountain’ types with ‘steppe’ or ‘plains’ types.

    First idea that pops to my head is that Hyperborean really refers to mountain people and not to plains or steppe people. cf. Appalachia. Appalachia is not authoritarian at all, quite the opposite. They are extremely libertarian to the point of almost being libertarian reactionaries. This might be inherent to being a Mouintain versus a Plains people.

    (The obvious recourse to MtG card colors comes to mind, but I’m banishing it)


    Posted on August 9th, 2014 at 8:25 am Reply | Quote
  • First Off, I Was Wrong | Clown Town Says:

    […] left with lots of questions, to be sure. For example, Land aligns himself with the Atlanteans, but I don’t feel like I quite understand what this means to him. I wonder whether the […]

    Posted on August 9th, 2014 at 12:37 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alex Says:

    Just started reading Maritime Supremacy and the Opening of the Western Mind by naval historian P. Padfield. From the intro:

    “In the unrelenting struggle of peoples, those ascendant at sea have, at least in the modern era, proved consistently successful either singly or on alliance against those with a territorial power base; hence it is the system of beliefs and of government associated with supreme maritime power that has prevailed. … [O]ur faith in democracy, personal freedoms and human ‘rights’, and the other comforting prescriptions of the humanist liberal credo, stem from the supremacy of maritime over territorial power. …

    “It is a natural process: seafaring and trade beget merchants; merchants accumulate wealth and bring the pressure of money to bear on hereditary monarchies and landowning aristocracies, usually poor by comparison; and sooner or later merchant values prevail in government. Chief of these are dispersed power and open, consultative rule, since concentrated power and the arbitrary rule of closed cabals are unresponsive to the needs of trade and fatal to sound finance.

    “The other distinguishing mark of merchant power is freedom, since both trade and consultative government require the widest dissemination of information and free expression of opinion; thus the basic freedoms of trade spread through all areas of life, tending to break down social hierarchies and the grip of received ideas, creating more open, mobile and enterprising cultures. Liberty has always been the pride and rallying cry of powers enjoying maritime supremacy.

    “Territorial empires provide a mirror image: having grown by land conquest or dynastic marriage and absorbed different cultures and ethnic groups, their most fundamental drives have been to preserve internal unity and to protect and extend the external borders. They have necessarily developed centralized, authoritarian governments — absolute monarchies, directorates, dictatorships — supported by landholding warrior elites and professional bureaucracies. They have exhibited total incomprehension and contempt for the needs if trade and sound finance. Central control of trade and industry has often led to spectacular gains in desired directions, but has been accompanied by a general, cumulative uncompetitiveness, the cost of which have been borne by the citizens. Meanwhile the ideals of the nobility of the sword, or latterly ideologues, and the necessity for internal control have produced static, hierarchical societies in which expression of ideas has been curbed by censorship, tortures and imprisonment. In place if freedom, the rallying call of territorial empires has been to patriotism and glory.

    “As systems, supreme maritime and territorial powers are each of a piece: holistic, self-sustaining, inevitably conditioning their peoples in different views if society and political philosophy. … It is the clash of the two systems, both within states and between states and alliances, which has provided the underlying structure of modern history, and the success of the maritime system which has resulted in the dominance of Western power and assumptions — in essence merchant power and merchant needs over warriors, bureaucrats and ideological compulsions. …

    “This book details the struggles of the first supreme maritime powers of the modern age, the Dutch and the British, and ends with the emergence of their ultimate successor, the United States of America. By this time the ground work had been done and the system had been established for the conquest of the world. Earlier maritime states had been supreme in particular areas, notably the Mediterranean. The greatest was the Venetian Republic, which engrossed the most valuable trades of the eastern Mediterranean and enjoyed a dazzling reputation for wealth, humanist thinkers, arts and a constitution based on tortuous checks to concentrated personal power. In the oceanic age which heralded Venice’s decline, the Dutch were the first to employ the same trading and financial skills to dominate the most lucrative trades of the world, becoming in their turn famed for wealth, humanist thinkers, arts and a constitution exemplifying diffused power. In this sense there has been a direct transfer of market and capital expertise and associated political values from Venice and the city states of the Renaissance, and before them Athens and the thalassocracies of the ancient world, to the Dutch and their British and American successors. The final stages of the process, when the British maritime empire gave way to the American, and democracy and women’s freedoms blossomed from the liberal ideal, require a further book.”


    Posted on August 17th, 2014 at 2:56 pm Reply | Quote
  • Skilluminati Says:

    Thank you for the book recommendations here, an embarrassment of riches.

    Side note: interesting how many “Dugin” searches lead back to XS.


    Posted on October 20th, 2015 at 7:27 pm Reply | Quote

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