"... these things we’re summoning into the world right now…are more like the Lovecraftian The Great Old Ones, they’re entities that are not necessarily going to be aligned with what we want..."
The mainstreaming of Lovecraft really began in earnest during the first decade of this particular century and it coincided with the general rise of nerd culture. Nerds in turn have largely become the engine of popular culture over the past two decades thanks to the broader rise of Silicon Valley and the tech industry in general. Techies and nerds the are often one in the same and the innovations of the former made it increasingly possible to craft the aspirations of the latter via CGIs, increasingly elaborate video game platforms and so forth. And of course, there was the whole rise of the Internet, which made it easier for nerds to forge communities and spread their obsessions.
One was of course H.P. Lovecraft, whose mythos represent one of the darker corners of geekdom. But Lovecraft was only one such corner. On the whole, there are even more sinister undercurrents to geekdom.
The Dark Enlightenment and/or NRx can mean different things to different people, but certain characteristics seem to be reoccurring amongst the various ideologues: contempt for democracy, an obsession with technology and capitalism in equal measures, libertarian ethos taken to their logical extreme, a thinly veiled approval for eugenics, and a sense that the darkest of imagined cyberpunk futures is something to aspire towards. It is generally agreed that the two principal visionaries behind this particular ideology are Curtis Yarvin (aka Mencius Moldbug) and Nick Land.
Geekdom and Lovecraft in particular weigh heavily on both men, while Yarvin is very much a creation of Silicon Valley. Before becoming a neo-reactionary blogger, Yarvin was a computer scientist with degrees from John Hopkins, Brown, and UC Berkeley. Naturally, he was based out of San Francisco. Despite the ultra-liberal image of the tech heartlands, there are indications that the Valley has a small but influential alt right underground.
Yarvin routinely incorporates elements of geekdom into his writings. Lovecraft made an appearance early, in the first part of Yarvin's A gentle introduction to Unqualified Reservations. There, Yarvin riffs on the introduction Darren Staloff’s The Making of an American Thinking Class by quoting the professor's prose while replacing several phrases with references to Miskatonic University, Cryptomenysis Patefacta, Unaussprechlichen Kulten, and the "mad Arab Abdul Alhazred."
Inevitably, Cthulhu would turn up in Yarvin's writings. A gentle introduction... names drops him no less than ten times. Amusingly, Yarvin likens the high priest of the Great Old Ones to his concept of "The Cathedral." The Cathedral in turn can be defined loosely as a consensus of progressive opinion outlined by the universities, the media, and the civil service. It is given a religious description because it has become a kind of theology. In 2019, a planet destroying alien high priest is as apt a description for the mainstream consensus as one is apt to find.
Yarvin clearly knows his geekdom, which has led some to question the seriousness of his ideology. To be sure, there is an air of a LARP lark about Mr. Moldburg.
|Patri Friedman (top) and Michael Anissimov (bottom)|
Is Thiel's sponsorship for neo-reactionary ideologues and influence on the movement evidence that it is a kind of vehicle for his own personal beliefs? Certainly, this is not beyond the realm of extreme possibility, and that is a terrifying prospect. As I noted recently, Thiel is at the absolute vanguard of the far right, along with the Mercer and DeVos-Prince families. What's more, Thiel and the after-mentioned families appear to be major players in a vast private intelligence network behind both Trump and Brexit.
In the above-linked blog, I detailed the ties between the Mercer family and the SCL Group/Cambridge Analytica, which could be likened to a private, digitalized Psychological Warfare Executive. Growing evidence has emerged that Thiel's Palantir Technologies collaborated with this network.
communications devise depicted in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Given that these devices were later taken over by Sauron, the name is rather apt. Palantir is a big data analytics outfit that is known to work closely with the Department of Defense and US intelligence community. Of late it has gained much controversy over its collaboration with ICE, but its mining of data as a means of surveillance has been ongoing for years now.
Nor is Palantir the only defense-related company Thiel has ties too. Another curious entity is Carbyne, an Israeli company which officially provides high tech solutions to emergency centers fielding 911 calls and such like. In carrying out these duties Carbyne is given access to a caller's GPS, camera and other private information, which critics have alleged creates a high potential for abuse. These claims are further substantiated by the presence of numerous former Israeli intelligence officers among the shareholders and employees. Company director Pinchas Berkus, for instance, is the former head of the elite 8200 Unit.
The Israelis aren't the only ones with intelligence ties linked to Carbyne either. Present on the company's advisory board is Michael Chertoff, a former director of the Department of Homeland Security and co-author of the Patriot Act. After leaving government with the Bush II regime, Chertoff went into the private defense industry, starting his own "risk management" group with a former CIA officer and became the chairman of the mega British defense contractor BAE Systems.
Else, a co-founder and shareholder of Carbyne is another former Israeli intelligence officer, Lital Leshem. Leshem is also an executive director at Frontier Resources Group, a subsidiary of Frontier Services Group. FSG was of course founded by Erik Prince, whose FSG concern also appears in the SCL/Cambridge Analytica network.
And then there's former Israeli prime minister and highly decorated general Ehud Barak. Barak was also a major investor in the company, bu with a curious source for his funding: Jeffrey Epstein. In 2015, Barak formed a startup company called Sum for the sole purpose of investing in what became Carbyne. Reportedly, much of the capital for Sum was provided to Barak by Epstein.
Clearly, Thiel is well represented in the private intelligence racket. But under Trump, he has begun to make inroads with the official US intel community as well. Reportedly, Thiel himself was offered a leadership role on the influential President's Intelligence Advisory Board, but turned it down. He did, however, land former employee and reputed acolyte Kevin Harrington on the National Security Council. Harrington occupied a senior post from the get go and was reportedly bumped up further in recent days.
And this is the man who is a crucial backer of the founder of the Dark Enlightenment and other major proponents. Of course, Thiel himself was clearly a major ideological influence as well, which at a minimum contributed to his support for the ideology. Even more sinister is the prospect that Thiel himself was the engine behind the Dark Enlightenment, with Yarvin and others simply being used to put things out there that Thiel himself did not wish to be directly associated with. It would certainly be interesting to know how far back Yarvin's relationship with Thiel goes.
During his time at Warwick, Land became involved with a student-run research group dubbed the "Cybernetic Culture Research Unit" (Ccru). This peculiar group was established in October of 1995, when self-described "cyberfeminist" Sadie Plant joined the faculty at Warwick. Land co-founded the Ccru with Plant and several others. Its relationship with Warwick was always rather ambiguous, however. It was active on the campus between 1995 and 1997, but was officially shuttered after Plant resigned her post in '97. At the time, some school officials claimed the Ccru never even existed.
This is hardly surprising, given its pursuits. The Ccru's purpose was to study a host of arcane topics --French philosophy (especially of the Deleuzian school), jungle music, science fiction (unsurprisingly, cyberpunk was a huge influence, especially Gibson's Neuromancer), cryptography, the occult (the group was especially fond of the kabbalah and Crowley, who was born in the same city that Warwick University is located in), rave culture, cybernetics, and, of course, Lovecraft. From this heady brew emerged a cyber-age version of "Accelerationism."
|an emblem designed by the Ccru|
Land certainly subscribed to these beliefs. As I noted before here, Land had happened upon the notion during his Ccru days that capitalism was the creation of an artificial intelligence from the future, which in turn had used the market to gradually assemble itself over the centuries. This would end with the glorious usurpation of humanity by this new intelligence. And Land apparently believed that we should be doing everything within out collective power to speed up this copious process. Whether this is still the case is unknown to this researcher, but he is still insisting on the similarities between capitalism and AI.
This was not the only strangest notion Land happened upon during this era either. At the height of the Ccru days, Land began heavily abusing "the sacred substance amphetamine" and subsisting on little to no sleep. During his final days at Warwick, he became known for amphetamine-addled lectures, which at times Land delivered while laying on the floor and accompanied by a jungle soundtrack. Eventually, he came to believe that he was being inhabited by various entities, which he dubbed "Cur," "Vauung," and "Can Sah."
Predictably, Land had a breakdown by the early part of millennium. He disappeared from public life all together for a time, and relocated to Shanghai. Nor was he the only Ccru that danced to close to the flame. Many members would struggle with depression for years afterwards. One of the most prominent members, Mark Fisher, eventually committed suicide in 2017, reportedly over concerns that Britain had entered into "stasis."
Another concept that Land and his Ccru cohorts became obsessed with was the notion of "theory-fiction." In essence, it help that the writing of theory could fictionalize and produce reality. Such a notion would have had quite an appeal in the '90s, when imagined cyberpunk futures were beginning to become the reality. Now, we're effectively living in a cyberpunk novel. William Gibson, in essence, took scientific theory concerning future technologies, fictionalized it, and provided a template for our present reality.
The same could be said of Lovecraft, who was clearly more knowledgeable concerning the occult than scholars would have you believe. His fictionalized mythos, in turn, arguably did as much to mainstream the occult in popular culture as anyone, with the possible exception of Crowley. And Crowley himself frequently resorted to fiction to expand upon his theories.
Of course, Jeffrey Epstein had been using his own private island, Little Saint James, as a lawless playground for millionaires and billionaires alike for years. While he surely wasn't the originator of such a notion, the possibility is strong that Epstein's efforts inspired the seasteading community in some capacity. Patri Friedman was involved in a transhumanist foundation supported by Epstein, after all.
Epstein clearly had a keen interest in these things as well. He was a major backer of pioneering AI researcher Marvin Minsky, who was also a crucial scientific adviser to Epstein. It was Minsky who put Epstein into contact with another young and upcoming AI researcher, Joscha Bach. Bach had been involved in the transhumanist outfit, humanity +, that also featured budding neo-reactionary Patri Friedman and funding from Epstein himself. Epstein also funded Ben Goertzel, the former chairman of Humanity +, the founder and CEO of SingularityNET, and a prominent AI researcher. Epstein also funded Goertzel's open source AI project OpenCog as well. Goertzel had also been the research director at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, which received funding from Thiel and produced neo-reactionary blogger Michael Anissimov, a former media director there.
Besides AI and some of the fringe ideologies surrounding it, Epstein had another clear scientific passion: genetics. I've already dealt with this topic a bit before here, but even more information has come out since that post. In point of fact, Epstein spent much of this decade investing in genetic research. Specifically, Epstein sought to analyse and sequence human DNA. In time, this would be used to build a database. In theory, this database would have been sold to drug companies for a tidy profit, but given the man's apparent interest in eugenics, one has to wonder.
And that brings me to one of Land's darkest visions. In the final section of his landmark Dark Enlightenment essay, Land singles out University of California biologist John H. Campbell, whom he hails as a "prophet of monstrosity." This is as apt a description as any for a man who may have given away the endgame of the elite Epstein represented. His notions have been described as thus:
"Reasoning that the majority of humankind will not voluntarily accept qualitative population-management policies, Campbell points out that any attempt to raise the IQ of the whole human race would be tediously slow. He further points out that the general thrust of early eugenics was not so much species improvement as the prevention of decline. Campbell’s eugenics, therefore, advocates the abandonment of Homo sapiens as a 'relic' or 'living fossil' and the application of genetic technologies to intrude upon the genome, probably writing novel genes from scratch using a DNA synthesizer. Such eugenics would be practiced by elite groups, whose achievements would so quickly and radically outdistance the usual tempo of evolution that within ten generation the new groups will have advanced beyond our current form to the same degree that we transcend apes."Was Epstein's venture into human DNA studies such a foray? Were the proceeds of his child sex trafficking being used to bring about a godlike elite that would fundamentally cease being human? The great Christopher Knowles has been warning against such developments on The Secret Sun for years. The Epstein revelations should make it clear that Mr. Knowles' warnings are no longer mere speculation, but are presently ongoing amongst the darkest corners of the deep private. Much of it is happening openly among prestigious scientific institutes, but I suspect a man like Epstein would be needed to further the more sinister aspects.
Land himself is coy about how he perceives these developments, but he clearly seems to believe that what is emerging will resemble something out of Lovecraft. He remarks: "For racial nationalists, concerned that their grandchildren should look like them, Campbell is the abyss. Miscegenation doesn’t get close to the issue. Think face tentacles."
But the real question is, are men like Epstein and Thiel concerned with such an endgame? Based on circumstantial evidence, such a possibility can not be dismissed. And that is something that is truly horrifying to contemplate. This is why, as I've suggested before, that Epstein's child sex trafficking is not the darkest abyss. Rather, it is what the funds from this endeavor were being used to sponsor. And that may well be the birth of the Great Old Ones.