Quote note (#167)

Jack London on Gnon (from ‘The Law of Life’):

He had been born close to the earth, close to the earth had he lived, and the law thereof was not new to him. It was the law of flesh. Nature was not kindly to the flesh. She had no concern for that concrete thing called the individual. Her interest lay in the species, the race. This was the deepest abstraction old Koskoosh’s barbaric mind was capable of, but he grasped it firmly. He saw it exemplified in all life. The rise of the sap, the bursting greenness of the willow bud, the fall of the yellow leaf — in this alone was told the whole history. But one task did nature set the individual. Did he not perform it, he died. Did he perform it, it was all the same, he died. Nature did not care; there were plenty who were obedient, and it was only the obedience in this matter, not the obedient, which lived, and lived always. … He also was an episode and would pass away. Nature did not care. To life she set one task, gave one law. To perpetuate was the task of life, its law was death.

May 30, 2015admin 32 Comments »
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32 Responses to this entry

  • Quote note (#167) | Neoreactive Says:

    […] Quote note (#167) […]

    Posted on May 30th, 2015 at 3:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • Erebus Says:

    Jack London channeling Schopenhauer.

    “For it is not the individual that nature cares for, but only the species; and in all seriousness she urges the preservation of the species, since she provides for this so lavishly through the immense surplus of the seed and the great strength of the fructifying impulse. The individual, on the contrary, has no value for nature, and can have none, for infinite time, infinite space, and the infinite number of possible individuals therein are her kingdom. Therefore nature is always ready to let the individual fall, and the individual is accordingly not only exposed to destruction in a thousand ways from the most insignificant accidents, but is even destined for this and is led towards it by nature herself, from the moment that individual has served the maintenance of the species. […] Natura non contristatur.
    From “The World as Will and Representation”.

    I can’t help but wonder if Schopenhauer’s book had found its way into Jack London’s hands.


    Kgaard Reply:

    Erebus: good point. London is tagged as a nietzschean but it makes just as much sense if not more to call him schopenhauerian. I am increasingly of the view that Nietzsche is basically a riff on Schopenhauer in the same way Marx is a riff on Adam Smith: same categories, slightly different point of view within those categories.

    London is almost scary to read these days because his books and his personal life history were SO primal. Dude died at 39 from about a dozen illnesses racked up in the course of living one of the most manly lives imaginable.


    Hurlock Reply:

    ” I am increasingly of the view that Nietzsche is basically a riff on Schopenhauer”

    Nietzsche himself says that he is basically a riff on Schopenhauer.


    Rasputin Reply:

    Who was basically a riff on Kant…

    Kgaard Reply:

    There needs to be some sort of Schopenhauer revival. He gets overlooked because he is considered a “pessimist” and who has use for pessimism?

    There is a great, great book entitled “Wagner and Philosophy” which goes into tremendous and readable detail on the ways in which Wagner is inspired by Schopenhauer — down to the whole thing with the so-called “Tristan chord” which takes forever to resolve. That is a Schopenhauerian inspiration.


    The Index Reply:

    Schopenhauer is a riff on /r9k/

    Erebus Reply:

    @Kgaard —

    He gets a bad rap for it, but he was not an utter pessimist. He certainly pales in that regard when compared to people like Ligotti — and even when compared to the ubiquitous modern Nihilist. Consider the following words Schopenhauer wrote on the subject of death:

    “If the anxious heart breaks out into its old lament: “I see all beings arise out of nothing through birth, and again after a brief term return to nothing; even my existence, now in the present, will soon lie in the remote past, and I shall be nothing!” then the right answer is: “Do you not exist? Do you not possess the precious present, to which you children of time all aspire so eagerly, actually at this moment? And do you understand how you have attained to it? Do you know the paths which have led you to it, that you could see them barred to you by death? An existence of yourself after the destruction of your body is not possibly conceivable to you; but can it be more inconceivable to you than are your present existence and the way you have attained to it? Why should you doubt that the secret paths that stood open to you up to this present, will not also stand open to you to every future present?”

    Those are not the words of a pessimist, are they?

    I believe that Schopenhauer — who, unlike Kant, wrote his major works as a very young man — was fundamentally a (hyperintelligent and observant) realist, and that in his writing he was merely trying to apprehend the world around him. Clarity of thought, intellectual honesty, firm reasoning, and clarity of language, were therefore very important to him. He also wrote on a hugely varied set of topics.

    His essay “On Women,” which anticipates Chateau Heartiste, is worth reading in its entirety. (He furthermore wrote that “Marrying means to halve one’s rights and double one’s duties” — which, for ~1820, is an interesting observation. I can’t help but laugh when I imagine how he’d consider marriage today!)

    His position on education is utterly sensible, and I don’t think that any of us will find much to disagree with here.

    He wrote very little on politics, but what he wrote was (as always) sensible. He was a proponent of limited government, strongly sympathetic to monarchy, and fundamentally opposed to democracy. In a recent academic article, he has been credibly described as “a critic of the idea of progress, especially ‘progress’ conceived of as national development or the growth of the state.” See: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01916599.2014.991143?journalCode=rhei20

    On writing and language: “If a man has something to say that is worth saying, he need not envelop it in affected expressions, involved phrases, and enigmatical innuendoes; but he may rest assured that by expressing himself in a simple, clear, and naïve manner he will not fail to produce the right effect. A man who makes use of such artifices as have been alluded to betrays his poverty of ideas, mind, and knowledge.”

    On Islam: “Consider the Koran, for example; this wretched book was sufficient to start a world-religion, to satisfy the metaphysical need for countless millions for twelve hundred years, to become the basis of their morality and of a remarkable contempt for death, and also to inspire them to bloody wars and the most extensive conquests. In this book we find the saddest and poorest form of theism. Much may be lost in translation, but I have not been able to discover in it one single idea of value. Such things show that the capacity for metaphysics does not go hand in hand with the need for it.”

    Where race is concerned, Schopenhauer is roughly on-par with Jim: “The highest civilization and culture, apart from the ancient Hindus and Egyptians, are found exclusively among the white races; and even with many dark peoples, the ruling caste or race is fairer in colour than the rest and has, therefore, evidently immigrated, for example, the Brahmans, the Incas, and the rulers of the South Sea Islands. All this is due to the fact that necessity is the mother of invention because those tribes that emigrated early to the north, and there gradually became white, had to develop all their intellectual powers and invent and perfect all the arts in their struggle with need, want and misery, which in their many forms were brought about by the climate. This they had to do in order to make up for the parsimony of nature and out of it all came their high civilization.”
    (This brings to mind some of the recent commentary on Jim’s blog, where the non-sub-Saharan origins of sub-Saharan African “civilizations” were discussed.)

    He was also a strong proponent of “classical” aesthetics.

    If he were alive today, it’s quite safe to say that he’d be on board with NRx. Or, rather, it could be said that most “red pill” positions today were anticipated by Schopenhauer exactly 200 years ago.

    Kgaard Reply:

    Erebus — Yeah I agree with all of this. I also particularly like Schopenhauer on death and on aesthetics.

    Posted on May 30th, 2015 at 4:54 pm Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    science changing our lives but believes and myths framing our responds. there is huge gap in what we can get by applying science to our life and what we think might be possible.


    Posted on May 30th, 2015 at 5:54 pm Reply | Quote
  • Rainer Chlodwig von Kook Says:

    London was a Nordicist, racialist, and socialist:



    forkinhell Reply:

    ‘Should we all be Nordicists, racialists, and socialists now, Father?’


    Posted on May 30th, 2015 at 6:41 pm Reply | Quote
  • Quote note (#167) | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on May 30th, 2015 at 7:26 pm Reply | Quote
  • Michael Says:

    there is no species there is only the individual


    Zyk Reply:

    The great irony of this statement is that it’s the gateway to communism.


    an inanimate aluminum tube Reply:

    Can you elaborate on this point?


    Michael Reply:

    i almost followed up with a second to my first commandment of gnon [ war swims righti] with “individuals swim right species swim left”
    . but honestly although it was really just na instant and visceral from the hip response to the first few comments, it was almost as suddenly occurring that this could be true on many levels- and yeah conversely Brects axiom would also apply.
    first i mean it literally as the character admits the species is an abstraction and my grammer school exegesis of london makes me imagine he would turn in his grave i would think he really thinking you die alone you fight to survive to procreate [ darwin is pretty new at this point and he has the struggle metaphor and those of us who live with death get the sound and fury tears in rain thing viscerally.but to extrapolate that to london being a selfless cromosome christ i dont buy
    if a universe happened and no individual is aware of it does it exist? on a smaller scale what makes the whole evolutionary thing significant is the individuals contribution, he is nor carrying the species genes forward but his own,its his own that make evolution work. on a mid scale its the individual that carries the race forward not the other way around and if i have to explain that ZYK maube i really dont get you guys at all- no its not that i dont understand the importance of culture and this centuries excess of individualism yadyada
    but we could play around with this and its corollary all day honestly it was a gut reaction.it may be because i am not young and came here frm the right not left that i do find myself uncomfortable with some of the anti individualism i suppose some follow cultures and other shape them both are needed for sustainability as in the mutations


    Exfernal Reply:

    There are: genetic bloodline, genealogical tree and degree of relationship.


    Posted on May 30th, 2015 at 9:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • Dark Psy-Ops Says:

    The individual is important as a unit of species-perpetuation, and the standards of fitness for each may require distinct measurement. In Kant’s words: ‘what seems complex and chaotic in the single individual may be seen from the standpoint of the human race as a whole to be a steady and progressive though slow evolution of its original endowment.”

    Montaigne confessed that he sometimes felt the propagation of his ‘mind’s children’ (his essays) to be a more satisfying accomplishment than raising the children of his flesh, although he was a devoted father.


    Posted on May 31st, 2015 at 1:03 am Reply | Quote
  • Brett Stevens Says:

    Nature did not care; there were plenty who were obedient, and it was only the obedience in this matter, not the obedient, which lived, and lived always. … He also was an episode and would pass away. Nature did not care. To life she set one task, gave one law. To perpetuate was the task of life, its law was death.

    Glorious nihilism.


    Michael Reply:

    or stoicism


    The Index Reply:

    Stoicism is just anaemic Kynicism.


    Posted on May 31st, 2015 at 1:50 am Reply | Quote
  • frank-o-phone Says:

    Anaemic kynicism? I’m surprised that anyone identifying as nrx would think stoics were the weak and decadent version of diogenes. cynicism was chaotic, disordered, and entropic. it was the stoics who built the concept of oikieosis that grounded ciceronian duty.


    The Index Reply:

    If you ‘identify’ as NRx and think this is about identity, you’re probably not NRx.


    Posted on May 31st, 2015 at 11:04 am Reply | Quote
  • frank-o-phone Says:

    If you read my post and thought it was about identity…


    The Index Reply:

    Identifying ‘as’ NRx is much better than identifying as a purple pony or a cloud, but that’s about as much as I can give you champ.


    Posted on June 1st, 2015 at 2:16 am Reply | Quote
  • frank-o-phone Says:

    ……. [crickets]……


    Posted on June 1st, 2015 at 11:42 am Reply | Quote
  • frank-o-phone Says:

    In case you’re tempted to reply with something both meta, and nonsensical, how about we just make it substantive: why do you think stoicism is an anaemic version of cynicism/kynicism? (I don’t know if you’re spelling it with K because the initial greek letter is a kappa, or because you’re invoking Sloterdijk, or something else – feel free to start by answering that, or feel free to skip that and go straight to substance).


    The Index Reply:

    Are you sure you’re a stoic? I wouldn’t expect a stoic to get this butthurt quite so easily.


    Posted on June 1st, 2015 at 11:47 am Reply | Quote
  • frank-o-phone Says:

    Awww -pats you on the head-


    The Index Reply:

    Compelling rebuttal, you’re really demonstrating that ebin IQ the teachers always coddled you about.


    Posted on June 2nd, 2015 at 6:56 am Reply | Quote
  • This Week in Reaction (2015/05/31) | The Reactivity Place Says:

    […] via Nick Land: Jack London on Gnon. Also Land links and comments on Malcolm Pollack’s perspicacious musings: Don’t Worry. […]

    Posted on June 17th, 2015 at 3:13 pm Reply | Quote

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