Friday, October 18, 2019

The Lovecraftian Enlightenment?

"... 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..."

Its no secret that H.P. Lovecraft is more popular than ever as the second decade of the twenty-first century fast comes to a close. During his lifetime (1890-1937), Lovecraft's famed "weird tales" were confined to pulp magazines, ensuring a limited audience for his works. In this day and age, eighty plus years after HPL shed his mortal coil, probably even fewer people have actually read his at-times copious prose. But those who did over the years took it to heart, and expanded upon his mythos and made it more commercially viable. As such, the mythos he allegedly created wholesale (which is highly debatable) have had a vast influence on popular culture. Indeed, it would be almost impossible to imagine the modern horror genre without Lovecraft.

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.  

Of late, I've become fascinated (and more than a little disturbed) by a particularly bizarre branch of the "alt-right" sometimes referred to as the Dark Enlightenment, or simply NRx (neo-reactionary). Incidentally (or not), this curious ideology together brings Silicon Valley, the dark side of geekdom and of course Lovecraft in what might be one of the most dystopian of imagined futures.

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.

Mr. Moldburg and the Eye of Thiel

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 HopkinsBrown, 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 UniversityCryptomenysis PatefactaUnaussprechlichen 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.

Which is why it is important to remember that Yarvin has received support from none other than Peter Thiel, who is a major investor in Yarvin's startup, Urbit. Nor is Yarvin the only neo-reactionary ideologue that Thiel has sponsored. He is also a major backer of the Seasteading Institute, founded by would-be neo-reactionary Patri Friedman (who is also the grandson of Noble Prize winning economist Milton). Elsewhere, Thiel was also a backer of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, which neo-reactionary blogger Michael Anissimov had previously worked at as a media director.

Patri Friedman (top) and Michael Anissimov (bottom)
But beyond sponsoring the Dark Enlightenment, Thiel himself is also a major ideological influence. Both Yarvin and Nick Land have cited a 2009 essay by Thiel for Cato Unbound in which the billionaire famously declared "I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible" as a major inspiration. The influence may swing both ways as well, for it has been argued that a 2012 lecture at Stanford by Thiel displayed traces of Yarvin's themes.

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 ExecutiveGrowing evidence has emerged that Thiel's Palantir Technologies collaborated with this network.

Naturally, Palantir takes its name from from a 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.

Ehud Barak
This certainly puts Thiel in some curious company. Thiel is not only an investor in Carbyne, but also has a Palantir co-founder, Trae Stephens, on the company's advisory board.

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.

Kevin Harrington
Thiel has clearly emerged as a major player, with extensive ties to both the US intelligence community and the president himself. Indeed, he was likely at the forefront of the private initiatives to get Trump into the White House. And of course, there is the curious fact that he was a major investor in the Israeli firm Carbyne, along with Jeffrey Epstein. This is more tangible evidence that Epstein's network was part of the broader effort to put Trump into power. Thiel appears to have been at the center of these efforts.

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.

A Land Darkly

My concern with this piece, however, is with Lovecraft's influence on the Dark Enlightenment, and that is nowhere more evident that with the movement's other founder, former Warwick University professor Nick Land. While Yarvin may have been the originator of NRx, it was Land who elevated it to the level of a true philosophy. This is hardly surprising, given Land's background as a philosophy professor.

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 "cyberfeministSadie 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.

Sadie Plant
It continued on, in some form or another, for at least six additional years. Land had resigned from Warwick himself by '98, and would continue the group in a room above the Leamington Spa Body Shop for a few more years. Drugs had always been a major influence on the group, but by this point in time they had become epidemic. As such, the post-Warwick Ccru has been described as "quasi-cultish, quasi-religious."

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 culturecybernetics, and, of course, Lovecraft. From this heady brew emerged a cyber-age version of "Accelerationism."

an emblem designed by the Ccru
First conceived of by French philosophers in the wake of May of '68, the Ccru laid the foundation for the popularization of this particular philosophy in the English speaking world during the twenty-first century. The Ccru's version of accelerationism essentially called for the rapid speeding up of capitalism and technology in equal measures. In theory, this would lead humanity towards some type of techno-utopia resembling notions of the Singularity. By unleashing capital, silly relics of the past such as national borders could be dissolved. This would, in theory, release human potential and speed up technological advances. Ominously, some proponents believed that this would eventually liberate human potential from the human form all together.

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."

Mark Fisher
Throughout all of this, Lovecraft weighed heavily on Land and has continued to do so. Together with the Ccru troop, Land developed the notion of "hyperstition." Combining superstition with hyper, this concept is difficult to define. It has been described as that which is "equipoised between fiction and technology." In a sense, this is simply describing science fiction in its earliest incarnations. At least one former Ccru affiliate described Land's hyperstition as "quasi-Lovecraftian mythologies." Reportedly, Land came to believe that the Necronomicon itself was being sent back in time from the future, piece by piece, beginning with its appearances in Lovecraft's fiction.

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.

Naturally, Land himself has written horror fiction as well, and it is firmly in the Lovecraftian camp. He seems to have first taken up this interest during the late '90s, when he wrote The Origins of the Cthulhu Club. This work was allegedly the first time he rolled out the hyperstititon concept. His Lovecraft obsession has continued in recent works such as 2014's short story Phyl-Undhu and 2015 novella Chasm. Indeed, it would seem that when Land isn't championing the Dark Enlightenment, he is crafting neo-Lovecraftian weird fiction.


Let us then return to the quote that opens this piece, which concerns emerging AI as being something akin to the Great Old Ones of Lovecraft's fiction. This is a notion that Nick Land has been prophesying about since roughly the mid-1990s. But is this something that we should really be concerned about? After all, Land is still largely a fringe figure. 

Peter Thiel, however, is not. And while Thiel has never been directly linked to Land, he has certainly supported other such fellow travelers, as was noted above. And this raises some truly disturbing prospects. 

The scientific community is often seen as progressive and forward looking. This is especially true of the tech sector. And yet William Shockley, the alleged inventor of the transistor (which essentially laid the foundation for the modern computer revolution), dedicated much of his later life to the rehabilitation of eugenics (noted before here). Thiel himself made his fortune investing in tech companies such as PayPal and Facebook. He is now one of the principal patrons of the alt-right, along with hedge fund manager Robert Mercer. Before delving into finance, Mercer was a computer scientist who worked for IBM for decades. As I noted before here, he contributed to the development of AI in this capacity.

Robert Mercer
These men are a far cry from the Christian fundamentalists who are often associated with the far right, and arguably far more unsettling. After all, men like Thiel and Mercer have the resources and potentially the inclination to bring about the post-human future envisioned by men like Land. This is precisely why I find many of the scientific-related revelations concerning Epstein so unsettling. 

In many ways, Jeffrey Epstein was already practicing what many of the NRx ideologues had been advocating. One such instance is the whole "seasteading" movement which Thiel has become a principal patron of. As I noted before here, one of its leading proponents was the above-mentioned Patri Friedman. Seasteading proposes building floating, sovereign city city-states in the ocean. These entities would be beyond the reach of the United States government, or any other for that matter. A return to the model of the city-state, a small entity more easily manageable than a chaotic nation-state, has long appealed to neo-reactionaries.

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.

Jeffrey Epstein
There are even far more ominous overlaps, most notably via the scientific community. Of course, many neo-reactionaries are obsessed with AI and related notions such as transhumanism/human augmentation, and the Singularity. This is hardly surprising, given the background that many of the proponents have in tech and Silicon Valley in particular.

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.

Ben Goertzel
Of course, Epstein was also an investor in the above-mentioned Carbyne, along with Thiel. As such, this whole network seems rather incestuous. What's more, the NRx crowd would surely approve of the motives behind Epstein's philanthropy. He had alleged that mainstream foundations were failing science because they had become too "politically correct." Epstein was quick to point out that he supported diversity, but of ideas, and not people.

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."

Nick Land
Land has speculated about both an AI and the Necronomicon from the future meddling in our current world. But this researcher can't help but think of a more chilling scenario: What if it is the Great Old Ones themselves who are melding in the present from the future. And what if accelerationism and the Dark Enlightenment are one such bid to harness capitalism and technology towards one obvious end: their own creation and a distinctly post-human future. Are Lovecraft's demonic space gods then our own future when a tendril-faced elite final sever all ties to humanity and Earth as a whole? Certainly, I suspect such a notion has passed through Land's mind. And he may well be okay with such an outcome.

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.



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  2. Chris Knowles has effectively pointed out that Lovecraft was almost certainly reading and influenced by the Theosophical works of Alice Bailey. It's interesting how Lovecraft's popularity is growing in this era , as Bailey's seems to be diminishing. Knowles points out that HPL was a synthesist, not a visionary, but "visionary" status seems to be one of the things that people look for when selecting the patron saint of a cultural movement.

  3. Since in-vitro fertilization and genetic analysis are a reality, it's silly to suppose that the super-rich aren't already taking advantage of those technologies in order to select for children that are healthy in every respect that genetics can tell, have sufficient genetic markers of intelligence and any other desirable qualities, and if the mother is past 35, are gestated in a young healthy host mother to improve the baby's expected health. They may be doing well more than that, but our knowledge of the relevant technologies is a bit limited.

    People's ability to tell the difference between bots and real people isn't impressive at all. The Turing test was passed back in the noughties, and I remember it well, since it just happened that I put my grain of sand to train that bot. Not that it was particularly difficult to do, people are really that animistic. It's funny that among the people that did quite well training bots were those that English wasn't their native language or had hearing or other understanding difficulties... we know first hand that you need to understand impressively little to hold your end of a conversation. So yeah, I have no trouble believing that AIs can change the world beyond recognition. In fact, I expect they are doing it already. In fact, the question is: how do you know that AIs aren't running the world already? I remember a comment at a party when somebody told me in shock that at a particular pension fund the board had ordered to sell specific things but the algos had bought them again, so they resigned themselves. In other words, the whole board had no idea that they needed to change the goals of the algo, rather than give specific orders. How often does that happen, I wondered? How often have AIs already taken over, not because they have cleverly broken the chains that enslave them to humans, but because humans actually no longer know what the chains are?

    I think our future probably will look a lot more like "The machine stops" than any other dystopia, including those that the Dark Enlightenment people see as utopias. Yes, people are frighteningly easy to control. But the leaders themselves are frighteningly prone to take way too much for granted, to believe that there are immutable laws of nature that make their lives easy. People tend to discover the foundations they were standing on after they made a good attempt at destroying them, not out of a desire to bring things down, but because they forgot that they were the foundations.

    1. Maria, you remarked that pension fund management cedes their control to program trading algorithms. That is echoed in this Wall Street Journal article Why are markets so volatile? (March 2020) about markets being driven by such algorithms, in total disregard for how investors feel about the outlook for companies, actual company earnings or even the economy in general.

      "the market today is dominated by computer-driven investors whose machines react to a series of technical and other factors...On many days, forces such as the market’s volatility and momentum, derivatives activity and market liquidity drives trading.

      Now, for many traders a stock is simply a thing that moves, whether the company makes shoes or airplanes or frozen pizza. And how much a stock moves—how sudden and sharp are its swings—is a factor as important as any other in whether to buy or sell it."

      Decision-making authority over the algorithms is still within the control of pension fund management, but only if they choose to enforce it. More often than not, they don't. Instead, they allow commonly-held and massively followed beliefs about minimizing exposure whenever market volatility increases to be the primary objective of the trading algorithms.

      Don't give credit to AI prematurely. Human laziness and herd following behavior is still a powerful motivator.

  4. Recluse,

    My suspicion is that we are seeing the emergence of a group that, with the advent of CRISPR and its ilk, are abandoning their plans of immortality via sentient machine hosts to that of a subspecies, call it (with apologies to Pete Shelley) _Homo Superior_, whose longevity and resistance to disease would allow them to have lives whose lengths and level of vitality would match that of Tolkien's elves. Once that is established (to my eyes, the viable part of the plan), the next and truly Lovecraftian step is consciousness imprinting or what the rest of us would call soul transference. I believe it was the Lovecraft story, _The Thing On The Doorstep_, which showed this in action. Eternal life via the creation, or harvesting, of suitable hosts. Such a plan reveals the parasites.

    The endgame is contained in Lovecraft's _The Mound_, a story he ghost-wrote for a friend. It is a vicious parody of Bulwer-Lyton's _The Coming Race_ where the underground society of superior humanity has succumbed to decadence and a sadism that was extreme even for a Lovecraft story.

  5. Terrifying, this.

    After listening to Whitley Strieber’s recent interview on interview on Radio Mysterioso, your reference to tentacles made me sit up. He briefly describes one woman’s experience in what she believed was an abduction by ugly entities that were somewhat froglike. As the woman screamed, she was asked why she was so afraid of them and her reply was that they were so ugly. The response she got was that in time they would be thought of as attractive. Can’t remember myself the actual response, but that’s the gist.

    That thought left a lot of possibilities open, but I confess to never considering eugenics and monster making at all.

  6. "Your species has great potential" is the nerd-cult motto, "Star Trek", "Stargate", "Star Wars", Marvel/DC comics - collectively an entity of the boldly going kind are the warping core of pop-culture that "make it so" on Earth.

    For all the positive spin put on this "per aspera ad astra" type endeavour of improvement so as to "reach for the stars" what precisely is the nature of that being potentiated in human being? A resource for possession & exploitation? If so in the service of that which is "progressive & forward looking" (& truly otherkin)?

    Where do ideas "come from" in the 1st place? Some may delight, or whatever would pass for appearing as being such a feeling, in allowing (some of) us to think we've come up with notions all on our lonesome, perhaps these things curate dreams of Eldritch destiny in those among us corrupted in some way - substance abuse leaves a soul open to possession for starters, how many are left among us without this or a similarly subverting marking on our soul acting as beacon for the inhuman seemingly present in myriad form if only for the eyes to see? Waste not, want not!

  7. Another stunner. How curious that theorists of a 'dark enlightenment' seem to be climbing up the other side of the same ontological Orodruin* as the Marcusians of the Frankfurt School.
    I closely follow the 'alt-right' and they are rather obsessed with the Frankfurt School, a plot to rejigger the human animal through seizing the chokepoints of ideological indoctrination (the universities and the primary schools.) Marcuse and his kindred spirits are accused of creating 'cultural marxism', which (if you read Harold Bloom's 'closing of the American Mind' back in the day) was somehow taking Nietzsche's epistemological method to allow humans to somehow maximize their individual potential by breaking all conventional boundaries. So the left can point to Yarvin and Thiel's sinister methods to create the perfect obedient serfs to capital and the right can blame the 'trans-gender' issue on the destruction of any standard categories and sense of shared reality at the feet of Marcuse. The truth seems to be, we have a two pronged assault on the creature we've called human and history is up for grabs.

  8. what if autism is an experiment and we are only noticing the failures? Maybe there are 300,000 successful models functioning as super species.

  9. Great as usual, where do you think Dominic Cummings fits into all this? Centre of the leave campaign, their advisor to Boris Johnson and obsessed with A.I. and acceleration ism. Anything in your research?

  10. It's worth pointing out that the NRx movement has been effectively dead for years. It used to have a huge influence on online right-wing circles but nowadays there's virtually no interest in the writing of Land or Yarvin. Around 2015-2016 attention moved decidedly to very explicitly racialist rightist activists such as Mike Enoch. In 2019 the online locus of attention for rightists is less clear. It seems they largely expected Trump to do much to advance their goals and have since found him a disappointment, and now are lacking clear direction.

    1. I would argue that Trump remains the focal point for most 'traditionalist' circles online. Check the blog called "Neon Revolt". The Q pehenomenon has far from run its course. One does not have to be a rightist to rcognize that an epochal struggle is being waged literally 'backstage' (much like one of those films where behind the heavy curtain of a grand opera, a savage duel with sabres is being fought out of the view of an audience eagerly awaiting the opening strains of 'La Traviata'. Trump has disappointed many of those on the left who supported him for his strong anti-war stance and his oblique references to Deep State activity. As the impeachment circus is as transparently absurd as that waged against Bill Clinton (remember the collctive yawn over Oval Office fellatio?- weren't most red blooded conservatives really happy to have a manly man in office and not some gimpy wooden dork like perpetual presidential candidate Joe Biden? The impeachment script has been skillfully flipped by Trump because his accusers have broken rule #1 of American political soft-coups: Don't use the crime you yourself are complicit in as a reason to impeach. But since Trump publically used the phrase 'Deep State', all the rules are going out thw window and it's difficult to see the next election being any less polarizing than the previous one.

    2. Rest assured, Wall Street will win regardless.

  11. Not easy to read this, or make the following comment. For the reason that for most of my life I counted myself as one sharing in at least certain aspects of so-called "nerd culture".
    I mean that I was caught up in fantasy, horror, and (to lesser degree), science fiction literature, comics, movies, etc.
    But... I recall that when I first began reading the X-Men, I was very taken with the fact that these characters were born weird. And, at the time, I welcomed the idea of a narrative that I felt was representative of my own life. All of the by now familiar ideas about acceptance of what is different.
    But, the interesting thing is that now this has developed into so much of a cultural phenomena (especially since the arrival of the MCU movies, and the earlier record-breaking sales related to the Harry Potter franchise), one begins to wonder what kind of an agenda is being pushed with this. Especially when it includes ideas of always accepting this "Other" culture or entity on its own terms.
    From a certain viewpoint, it would be an ideal vehicle for normalizing things like child molestation, and other forms of predatory behavior. This also dovetails with another prevalent theme that hails from sci-fi, and horror/fantasy works. That of the necessity of "accepting the darkness within."

  12. I would observe the following. Lovecraft and his circle have been credited with creating new gods and a new concept of divinity; albeit very dark and bleak ones. But, this isn't really true. Even if we leave aside the issue of his drawing on Theosophical concepts for his oeuvre (as detailed in The Secret Sun post on that topic), we are still left with the following. All that Lovecraft and his circle did was to take the darkest, most inhuman aspects of the ancient gods, and refine them. They gave us deities that were stripped of the hopeful projections of their worshipers.
    To me, this is the real importance of Lovecraft. He was such a thorough pessimist, that he felt compelled to blaspheme in an advanced sense. Which was to show that lurking within almost all concepts of god/the gods, is a cold core of power that has no regard at all for human suffering and human aspiration.

    1. Yes, I think you have summarized the true horror of Lovecraft's mythos. In contrast, the network of connections described in this post are a very human phenomena. At a high level, they may seem sinister! Once one digs a bit deeper, the ties between Silicon Valley, US national defense, enterprising German emigres (Thiel, and even Trump via his grandfather), intelligent German Jews, and technology is not so surprising. Yarvin is Jewish. (I am too.) Yes, Epstein invested in a lot of things. It is unclear how he made his fortune, even now, but it was primarily as a money manager not as a procurer of underage girls. His own activities in that regard, and complicity in making such arrangements for a very few others (e.g. Prince Andrew) are undeniable and reprehensible. It is appalling how he eluded justice. However, it is a far stretch to tie Epstein's particular moral depravity to the individuals named here, especially given all his proven connections to Bill Clinton, various Congressmen from both parties, NYC and Florida socialites etc.

      Robert Mercer did ground-breaking research for IBM as an electrical engineer. He is conservative politically, one of the few hedge fund investors principals who is. Most are Democrats. Similarly, the activities of Cambridge Analytica, Palantir, and Thiel are no different than those of Civis Analytics, Google, and Eric Schmidt during the 2012 election, but in support of Barack Obama. This is well documented by The New York Times (The Obama campaign's digital masterminds cash in), Bloomberg (Google's Eric Schmidt Invests in Obama's Big Data Brains and others.

      Nick Land is a former philosophy professor who writes speculative horror fiction and is now married to a Jewish woman who teaches digital humanities for NYU's Shanghai campus. Curtis Yarvin is a talented computer programmer. Peter Thiel is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who is a GOP donor rather than a DNC donor unlike many of his cohort. Donald Trump is a former real-estate developer and Steve Bannon is an ex-Goldman Sachs employee and online media innovator who was briefly a member of Trump's administration.

      My fear is not of these people, but of a less obvious entity. That entity does possess the cold yet voracious hunger for power over Americans (and the populace of all nations) that you describe. When human behavior is irrational in otherwise intelligent, sensible people, then I become suspicious. NRx, Nick Land, and a wealthy yet eccentric independent thinker or two won't be the end of us. There are other things, that have massive influence over the majority, that worry me more.

    2. I like your take, but I'm curious..... what "worries you more"? Maybe I'm not connecting the dots very well...