“Quieta non movere.”
(“Do not move settled things.”)
“Nationalism and socialism, the two great ideological movements for democracy in the 19th century, converge and unite in the 20th century. The more the technological collective develops, the more this tendency towards unification is encouraged. Ideologies become indistinguishable; there is no longer any point in separating them and limiting them to subtle differences from each other, since both have become equally useful fuel for apparatus and organisation.”
~ Friedrich Georg Jünger
What has been settled is all that remains, and now is all that may be moved. The elimination of the ancient regime has ended with the elimination of all traces and resemblances of its order, which in turn only increases the opportunities of attack. What was lost is now found. And so, following this, one must find that final refuge to be made into a ruin. In this is the vastness of the search which drives so many today.
In this search we lose not only the oldest values, but also those which contributed to the destruction. The nihilism we once feared now seems desirable, comfortable,a calm we can no longer afford. Here, ideology appears as one of the few comforts, a memory of that final period of history.
Ideology is the science of unity, for the fanatical world it increases man’s sense of reason – and gives a reason where it is otherwise lacking. What is remarkable in our time is that anything can be given a reason, this is the awe-inspiring power of science – even the simplest movements are analysed and perfected. It is with the increasing destructiveness of the technical world that ideology becomes a replacement machine part, as we see in years of total surveillance and government interference followed by years of easing restrictions. Oftentimes there is total abandonment of previous policies which had been enacted by the same party. Social and economic efficiency replace the old policies through a return to technical autonomy. It is as if man has seen a dangerous crossing over into the brutal world of the political, that he has overstepped the line of power into emergency and must give it back to the hidden machinations. This is his concept of sovereignty, it only ever appears ex negativo, its purpose is to perfect an efficient distance from power. And once it is perfected ideology begins to perform as recompense, a force of a more intensified quality of the new, post-historical man. Its role becomes that of appearances and creating a spectacle equal to the underlying and now growing brutal power. Thus it shimmers and shakes as “a motley-mirrored dress.”
The law of movement and action reigns over all, it resides deep in the character of democratic man. That he must give power, must increase the autonomy of all things together, is the line of his movement, the passage of his figure. We see in him a sort of technological and objective pantheism – which nonetheless does not contradict his subjective tastes, if anything they are increased by the technical world. He seeks out what is wholly new, if only for study or conquest of its rules, its metaphysical force. That he appears the same as all others, that difference is weakening in the world is not a sign of decline for him. He cannot see such things. For him, it is personal experience and living as a sort of actor constructing the world that determines all things. In some cases this means an absolute difference or sameness suits the unfolding story. Rather than a narcissist we might say that the modern man’s image is found in the doppelganger. Here ideas, conflict, and even aesthetics no longer matter, it makes no difference if one is a king or a beggar, to exist outside of these types is the ideal. The non-figure, the non-type rules. All social activity replaces the political, a subjectivity of total isolation or reproduction. This should not be given an economic reading.
It would seem that only one group has held onto ideology, or at least they have held onto it more than any other group. Despite the political parties abandoning ideology as crude and inefficient, the conservatives and reactionaries have intensified its presence. They have mobilised a counter-ideological type which is rigid and concealed within the body. It is not so much the scientific perfection of ideas as it is an illusion of all ideas originating from within the body. There can be no mistaking this type of ideology for a Nietschean vitality, there is neither romanticism nor sacrifice in it. It is rather a cyclopic vision of the world, the last man who sees his impending death as a mark of the race. If he is not Bataille’s headless man desperately in search of a head, he is a detached eye.
Biology is all that remains of him. The purest biology reduced to a single appendage. One must not have the illusion of inner or outer organs. There can be no soul in this dispirited man, and so he must manage a sense of power into the longest hours – he is always waiting and so fills time with the greatest plans. The world is nothing to him, it has already been defeated. Death, the great eternity, has visited him before ever having the chance to live. And when a race is at stake it must be that the whole world will take notice.
In the Iliad the dying heroes recur again and again in the image of giants felled of the forests. All the blood and gore is dissipated in the calming fall, limbs which mark the young growth with the beauty of pain. The long scars of time.
Today we can envision another scene, the cropping up of young growth which has known neither ancestors nor the species. The race becomes genetic, it can have no scars, no blemishes. Here, we see an identity reduced to oneness, sameness. There is no real confrontation with the struggles of race, of the species, only the universal rights of man. In this, the racialist is weak, of the same image presented by the new progressives, but of late ideology and never wanting to let go. Like the biologist, events do not matter, they are only variables which must be neutralised in order to attain a consistent series of results. Here we.see that fields and forests no longer matter, only testing grounds.
We cannot say that the new progressives have a worldview. Nevertheless, they paint for us an image of movement in the final places: in the mind and its conquest over the metaphysical. The ideological cannot only be a science of ideas, it must also be a conquest, a domestication of all that is criminal and unhuman in the metaphysical world. Or what could become criminal. Regarding this there can be no compromise, the metaphysical world must be rendered subservient to the mind, to the whims of the private man or the absolute collective. At this point it should be recognised that these are the poles of consciousness, of the democratic man and his use of ideas as a weapon more powerful than any other thing.
None of this is to say that the Left is without blame. They have played their part. But now they have disappeared, capitulated to the norm, whereas the conservatives held this role for decades.
“Another question is this: how is man to be prepared for paths that lead into darkness and the unknown? The fulfillment of this task belongs chiefly to the churches, and in many known, and many more unknown, cases, it has effectively been accomplished. It has been confirmed that greater force can be preserved in churches and sects than in what are today called worldviews.”
~ Ernst Jünger
That the worldview follows from religion and informs morality is significant. It allows for a greater return from the political decisions which are amoral or technical in nature. This grounds the individual and collective decision after crisis, granting stability and the strength of order. For dissidents, revolutionaries, there is also a greater force of purpose beyond mere destruction or a violent type of protest. One contests the worldview, which is greater than contractual or constitutional obligations. In this way the popular assembly, the affinity groups, and the secret societies act as a final line of defense, a reminder of law and service. The old estates had their own nobility, even of the lowest, which played an active role in establishing order, the norm. It is a rather ideological and democratic view that sees the common man as less than a slave. The old slaves had their own type of wealth and sense of virtue, which is foreign to the crude and technical adminstrators who we today call elites.
What may seem out of place in the worldview, despite its being timeless, is that it allows the individual and group to respond with calm decision – there is even paradoxically an openness to change, an acknowledgement that crises happen and unfold as part of the system’s course. For the ideologue, any incursion upon his ideas is a crisis. Even more than this, the crisis itself is a crisis – where there is an exception to one’s thought there is the potential for defeat, and what is worse having to recognise thus defeat. What lies behind the crisis, the world that gives rise to it, cannot be acknowledged. It must remain hidden, and thus the unseen power grows, to which technical thinking and responses only grow in complexity and destructiveness – like a cancerous growth they envelop events and ideas. The ideology is eternal, at least for the private man who must not know anything other than his world, and its destructiveness must equal that of the technical world, the growing ruins.
In this sense, it may be said that the religious appears as geocentric, the worldview as heliocentric, and the ideological as galactocentric. With the center of the galaxy being a black hole there is little dividing this cosmology to that of the non-existent-center model of the universe. One may even see this as a failure of science to face the mysteries it uncovered. Only a vast emptiness remains. So too does the ideologue impose greater spaces upon his ideology, until it becomes neutral, an expanding nothingness. His increased rigidity and unwillingness to engage in civil discourse is the approach of this cosmological limit. From such distance and expansiveness the world itself disappears, and it may be said that even the scientific view no longer matters. With neither the general nor the particular in mind, the earth might as well be hollow.
This may sound like madness. And of course it is. But can anyone say that the ideological and post-ideological world has amounted to anything else? Not even the world exists for these people, their ideology exists only as an introduction to an identity which sees itself as a star, a world-devourer. These Saturns exist everywhere today, they are destroyers of all things, destroyers of nothingness. They dedicate themselves to their own private concerns, to choices which must become greater than a worldview.
What else could be behind those individuals who bring ruin to other individuals in a war of choice? It is a war of absolute identity and choice, of a man lost to natural and even positive law. Civilisation collapses but such a man does not return to the state of nature, there is no war of all against all, there is a war of the one who remains against himself. The last man is his own greatest enemy, and those who get in his way are only memories, appearances of what was. A vast destructive force imposes itself upon them who only are so that they might disappear. This is the world as the mind, the tutelary power of a single figure. This man stands atop the corpse of the Leviathan.
The futurists may have seen the danger in technology, but instead of defending against it, relying on austerity which would lead to ideology and politicisation, they attempted to give it direction through vital forces. This is the strength of a worldview, especially an aesthetic one which does not limit itself to values. We can say then that ideology only appears generally, limited in time to strengthen the worldview. Ideology is only an appendage or uniform, it should be set aside like the king’s crown. With increased industry and work ideology becomes a uniform – it is weakened, and yet never set aside. Then it becomes encrusted, like a skin or armour which is attached.
My own reading of the fururists has focused on Velimir Khlebnikov, who seemed more pessimistic than the Italians. But his pessimism is aesthetic, of a worldview. It is not something that overwhelms the individual. It is similar to Schopenhauer’s pessimism, itself a vital power intended to strengthen. It is not intended as critique.
Whether intentional or not the futurists abandon all critique. They are not an interest group or lobbying party. In this sense, their efforts are outside politicisation. Technology is the law of the modern world, but it cannot be an end. It has to be given direction, a territory and dominion. What is technology for? This iswhat they ask in an aesthetic form. Although it would seem less important how this question is asked than that it is asked. After the Second World War technology became a force without an executive, an automatic process to which man could cede territory. This speaks to the defeat of ideology, along with the change in the technical order its violent shifts begin to take hold with the constant expansion of new spaces and the techniques required to maintain neutral power. The movement of technology that the futurists imagined is no longer possible. However, their aesthetic response may teach us something vital for the technical collapse that intensifies daily. A horizon approaches where a new relation to technology.must be forged.
Here we see that ideology and the technical entrenches itself in history, particularly in those final ideologies which stood against liberalism. It cannot admit that a world is lost, even when something as simple as a clock or calendar has been changed at every level. We have arrived at a point of technical formalism, and ideology follows with it. It seems to the individual that a great catastrophe occurred at this point, where history has been lost – and so one must reverse a wrong. But the clash of ideologies is like the psychiatrist and his patient: there is no discussion, only memories reduced to trauma and a diagnosis of mental sickness. With the post-ideological world anti-psychiatry, sensory inhibitors, and finally painkillers take over, the private man begins to isolate himself from the world and all worldviews. In his mind the world itself is eliminated, his thoughts and opinions alone are enough to make the world shift, or stop turning altogether. For him the only ideological sickness is inaction, the recognition of pain and false paths. The last man exists all alone, like the madman who sees himself as God. Whatever remains is his property, his creation, his experience. No matter the destructive character he takes on, it is his.
This is all very far from the futurists, the liberals, fascists, or communists. Yet it speaks to a new order. Worldviews, ideologies, aesthetics, and even religions can no longer form as in the past.