An Excerpt from My Novel “Sanity”

Awhile back someone on Twitter asked who was going to be the Tom Wolfe of the Dark Enlightenment/Red Pill (I’ll find it and give credit in due time). I decided it might as well be me, and I’ve been working on it for some weeks now. It will probably be mid-summer before it’s published, but while we wait for the fruits here’s a sample (yeah, my fictional style is different, and yeah, it’s present tense and no, it’s not the final edit):

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My Latest at The Mitrailleuse: Backward Causality and the Current Year

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One of the best things about getting older is that the “amusement quotient” increases, almost geometrically…

Read the rest at The Mitrailleuse

Heinlein’s “Gulf”, The Dark Triad and Sanity

Homo Novis

I’ve made a few posts here about the writer Robert A. Heinlein and his immense influence on my weltanschauung; while in my maturity I don’t agree with everything he wrote and stood for, to my child self devouring his works circa 1971 he bestrode the world as a Colossus. His “juveniles” written from the late 1940s through the late 50s inspired a generation of bright young boys to put Americans on the Moon. He emphasized duty, honor, work, intelligence and grit, and his ability to draw the reader into strange new worlds and make them seem possible and, indeed, plausible, was unique.

The novella Gulf was quite unusual, for Heinlein or any writer, in its conception and execution. In the November 1948 issue of Astounding Science Fiction a letter had been published critiquing the…November 1949 issue. As editor John Campbell wrote:

“Generally, a desirable, practically attainable idea, suggested in prophecy, has a chance of forcing itself into reality by its very existence. Like, for example, this particular issue of Astounding Science Fiction.”

A good explanation of the “Prophecy” issue of the magazine is here. In the event, Heinlein was asked to write Gulf, having been given nothing but a title. The result was something that has fascinated me as much or more than anything else he ever produced, despite his multiple Hugo awards and best-sellers later in his career.

Gulf is available free (and legally) online now, so if you’re not familiar with it, here you go. You don’t have to read it to get the rest of this post, but I suggest you do. There are enough new, intriguing ideas in this brief novella to keep you thinking about it for a long time: an artificial, highly compressed, efficient and logical language (“Speed-talk”); a secret society of “Supermen” working behind the scenes to discover and regulate major scientific and technological discoveries; bar codes (in 1949!); but what I note here is focus, mental attitude, and what are now called “Dark Triad” traits and their usefulness in getting things done, rather than emoting and “virtue signaling.”

Intelligence Agent(s)

The details of the plot need not concern us, but if you haven’t read the story yet, our protagonist is one “Joseph Gilead” (pseud.), intelligence agent for a kind of future super-CIA. We begin cold, in the middle of a courier mission going bad:

When he had stepped out of the tube car he had been reasonably sure, first, that the persona of Joel Abner, commercial traveler, had not been penetrated, and, second, that the transition from Abner to Gilead had been accomplished without arousing suspicion. The pocket-picking episode had not alarmed him, but had caused him to reclassify those two propositions from calculated certainties to unproved variables. He had proceeded to test them at once; they were now calculated certainties again—of the opposite sort. Ever since he had spotted his erstwhile porter, the New Age runner, as standing outside this same drugstore his subconscious had been clanging like a burglar alarm.

It was clear not only that he had been spotted but that they were organized with a completeness and shrewdness he had not believed possible.

We’re bombarded these days with “scientific research” that purports to prove that we don’t actually make rational decisions about most things, most of the time; we make emotional, instinctual, subconscious decisions and then consciously rationalize and invent reasons for why they’re good. Perhaps this is true for most people, most of the time. However, instead of saying “that’s just the way people are,” should not we instead be taking action to improve on this ridiculously low standard of thought?

On to our next quote/lesson:

Joe, what is a man? What is man that makes him more than an animal? Settle that and we’ll take a crack at defining a superman—or New Man, homo novis, who must displace homo sapiens—is displacing him—because he is better able to survive than is homo sap. I’m not trying to define myself, I’ll leave it up to my associates and the inexorable processes of time as to whether or not I am a superman, a member of the new species of man—same test to apply to you.”

“Me?”

“You. You show disturbing symptoms of being homo novis, Joe, in a sloppy, ignorant, untrained fashion. Not likely, but you just might be one of the breed. Now—what is man? What is the one thing he can do better than animals which is so strong a survival factor that it outweighs all the things that animals of one sort or another can do much better than he can?”

“He can think.”

“I fed you that answer; no prize for it. Okay, you pass yourself off a man; let’s see you do something. What is the one possible conceivable factor—or factors, if you prefer—which the hypothetical superman could have, by mutation or magic or any means, and which could be added to this advantage which man already has and which has enabled him to dominate this planet against the unceasing opposition of a million other species of fauna? Some factor that would make the domination of man by his successor, as inevitable as your domination over a hound dog? Think, Joe. What is the necessary direction of evolution to the next dominant species?”

Gilead engaged in contemplation for what was for him a long time. There were so many lovely attributes that a man might have: to be able to see both like a telescope and microscope, to see the insides of things, to see throughout the spectrum, to have hearing of the same order, to be immune to disease, to grow a new arm or leg, to fly through the air without bothering with silly gadgets like helicopters or jets, to walk unharmed the ocean bottom, to work without tiring—

Yet the eagle could fly and he was nearly extinct, even though his eyesight was better than man’s. A dog has better smell and hearing; seals swim better, balance better, and furthermore can store oxygen. Rats can survive where men would starve or die of hardship; they are smart and pesky hard to kill. Rats could—

Wait! Could tougher, smarter rats displace man? No, it just wasn’t in them; too small a brain.

“To be able to think better,” Gilead answered almost instantly.

I fed you that answer; no prize for it.

Illusions and Their Discontents

Those of you follow me on Twitter know I’m an admirer of Scott Adams and have often linked articles like this one, “The Illusion of Knowledge“:

And so we have an odd situation in which both sides of the debate are in deep illusion, even if one side is right and the other is wrong. The illusion is that one side is obviously correct – and the belief that you could see that too, if only you would spend a little energy looking into it on your own. If you hold that belief, no matter which side you are on, you can be sure you are experiencing an illusion.

Adams also talks a lot about hallucinating certainty, about how when it comes to persuasion, emotion/ beats tribe/ beats mere facts.

But none of this ought to apply to Heinlein’s homo novis, who by definition must think better, a whole lot better, than the average emotionally driven tribalistic LDD (Little Deluded Dupe), and not just about one thing but about many things, about reality.

As convincing a persuader as Scott Adams is, I’m not convinced by radical subjectivism. We don’t live in an “illusion” after all, though most live, much of the time, “inside their own head.” I’m still of the solid conviction that the world is hard, and you are soft; that if you jump off the Empire State Building, you are going to die. If you’re really lucky, you won’t look so bad afterward…

evelyn-mchale

A Perfect Landing

 

Mostly you won’t be so lucky.

There is indeed a Gulf, between a Peter Thiel and the “average” #AltRight shitposter doing it for lulz (i.e., emotional reasons), between a John von Neumann and a professor of “Womyn’s Studies.” Many of our “cognitive elite” are elite in only their specialized disciplines, though. Picture Einstein and his childish socialism.

Of a Vital and Necessary Hardness

Thinking better has never been and never will be replaceable. Neither will the “Dark Triad” traits of Psychopathy, Machiavellianism and Narcissism–properly understood. I touched on this in an earlier piece, The Good Psychopath, the Dark Triad Man and Me, and won’t go into detail here, but it struck me when reading Gulf how Gilead exhibits these traits, always at the appropriate time:

Mrs. Keithley pursed her lips. “Frankly, I do not expect to learn anything from her. I may learn something from you.”

“I see.”

The leader of the two men looked questioning at his mistress; she motioned him to go ahead. The girl stared blankly at him, plainly unaware of the uses of the equipment he had gotten out. He and his partner got busy.

Shortly the girl screamed, continued to scream for a few moments in a high adulation. Then it stopped as she fainted.

They roused her and stood her up again. She stood, swaying and staring stupidly at her poor hands, forever damaged even for the futile purposes to which she had been capable of putting them. Blood spread down her wrists and dripped on a plastic tarpaulin, placed there earlier by the second of the two men.

Gilead did nothing and said nothing. Knowing as he did that the tube he was protecting contained matters measured in millions of lives, the problem of the girl, as a problem, did not even arise. It disturbed a deep and very ancient part of his brain, but almost automatically he cut that part off and lived for the time in his forebrain.

Consciously he memorized the faces, skulls, and figures of the two men and filed the data under “personal.” Thereafter he unobtrusively gave his attention to the scene out the window He had been noting it all through the interview but he wanted to give it explicit thought. He recast what he saw in terms of what it would look like had he been able to look squarely out the window and decided that he was on the ninety-first floor of the New Age Hotel and approximately one hundred and thirty meters from the north end. He filed this under “professional”.

This is hard-edged stuff. The very fate of the world is at stake, but I’m sure your average 2017 Ivy League undergrad would diagnose Gilead as a monster. He ought to at least break down into sobs, vomit, and need drugs and therapy for the PTSD, afterward.

There is indeed a Gulf, between a U.S. Army Ranger and a Social Justice Warrior, even, perhaps, between a Rex Tillerson and a John Kerry. My examples are not perfect, but I’m sure you get the point.

Us “HBDers” understand well that the thinking part of homo novis is mostly genetic and not very amenable to training. The attitude part, the detachment from crippling and useless sympathy, the maximization of one’s physical assets, are.

As you can tell, I have a special fascination with this story and again, urge you to read it. If not, well, take the previous paragraph under serious advisement.

Sanity: A Change in Title and Direction

As of today, the blog is retitled “Sanity in the Diamond Age.” While I still have a distinct fondness for the term, and the ideas, of “Neoreaction” and “NRx” I don’t find myself so interested in writing about them at present.

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The Good Psychopath, the Dark Triad Man and Me (Update)

(WARNING: This post contains liberal doses of personal story and very little “theory.” Use at your own risk)

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23. Po / Splitting Apart:

Six in the third place means:
He splits with them. No blame.

An individual finds himself in an evil environment to which he is
committed by external ties. But he has an inner relationship with a superior
man, and through this he attains the stability to free himself from the way of
the inferior people around him. This brings him into opposition to them of
course, but that is not wrong.

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Kim Philby, Matthew Crawford and Other Sundries

I don’t usually do posts that consist of a series of quick thoughts and short points. It seems time. Things have been accumulating in the mental queue and I need to get them out while they’re still useful. I call them “sundries,” from the root “sunder”: distinct, separate. There was the old phrase “torn asunder” which I’ve always rather liked, as long as it was applied to the right person or thing. When I was a child “sundries” were the little items one got at the “drug” store. The word is little used at present. So much the worse for the present.

My last post about writer/philosopher Matthew Crawford drew some interest, but Nick Land expressed healthy skepticism on Twitter:

@Nick_B_Steves I’m normally a huge @neovictorian23 fan, but this looks like a stretch.

— Outsideness(@Outsideness) February 22, 2016

I deeply appreciate the first part, and I think I understand the second. I called Crawford “Philosopher for the Dark Enlightenment” and I meant “A Philosopher…” One letter can make all the difference. Crawford has some insights that can add value to the conversation. He probably doesn’t consider himself “Darkly Enlightened” but his placement of our entire lives, and our most basic perceptions, within our relation to other humans is a bracing antidote to the Cogito ergo sum of Descartes and the Sum ergo cogito of Ayn Rand. He’s certainly no “collectivist” but his critique of the libertarian fiction of the Sovereign Consumer making rational choices while swimming in a sea of corporate persuasion is devastating. Neoreaction needs to pursue this line more thoroughly.

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Kim Philby, Commie Rat Bastard but helluva spy.

 

I’ve been reading an old book about (perhaps) the biggest spy scandal of the 20th century: THE PHILBY CONSPIRACY: Three (and more) of Britain’s Best and Brightest, graduates of the Finest Schools and so on, whose treason devastated British (and for that matter, CIA) intelligence efforts in the 1940s and 50s (La Wik’s summary is decent). Beyond the particulars of the weakness of the British intelligence community, the lesson here is just how foolish it is for an organization, or a society, to rely on credentials as proof of loyalty. Jonathan Pollard was, of course, hired by US Naval Intelligence despite his massive drug use, loyalty to Israel and propensity to lie about almost everything. But all of those problems have been fixed now…

Oh, yeah, Snowden.

It’s easy to buy into the myth of the hyper-competent “intelligence” services, British, Russian, Israeli, American or other; television shows, movies and novels all paint a picture that has seeped into the social fabric. The reality is that they fuck up almost as often as other government agencies. Everyone who works at them has a degree from university though. I hope you find that reassuring.

Most humans (and some bots, I suspect) feel the need to write about the how and why of Donald Trump’s success (so far) in the US presidential primaries. At the moment, I’m more intrigued by the failures of the many, many “experts” who began proclaiming that Trump had no chance about five minutes after his announcement. One who has got it right (so far) is Scott Adams, best known for his Dilbert comic. You can read the chronological sequence starting with his posts all the way back in August 2015 here. One of the things I was intrigued by in Adams’s book was his laconic description of how, back in the 90s, he was twice told by his corporate bosses that his climb up the ladder was going nowhere fast because “we’re not promoting white males.” He doesn’t seem bitter–in fact it got him directed toward other things like becoming a multi-millionaire writer and artist. Keep your eye on Adams, and definitely seek to learn from his persuasion reading list.

As for the crowd who kept repeating for months and months that Trump would fall any second now…why are they getting paid to predict and write? Yeah, I’m looking at you Nate Silver. But there are a hell of a lot of others, and a hell of a lot of Republican “consultants” who should never, ever find work again.

Finally, one more book of interest; at the office they were passing around The Anatomy of Peace so I went ahead and read it too. This isn’t your usual #NRx fare (heh) but some of that New Age-Feel Good-Hippie-Dippy-Bologna…except, okay, it was good for me to read it. I tend to think of a lot of people not as people, but as obstacles. Objects. Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bill effing Clinton, hell, all so-called Progs, Anita Sarkeesian, Brianna Wu, hell all so-called SJWs, rappers and other strutting Blacks, every whining “minority” on television whining about every fucking thing that ever happened for the last 2,000 years, feminists inventing bullshit rape statistics and calling for my balls to be cut off, environmentalist billionaires flying on private jets to Paris and telling me to quit using fucking paper towels…etc., etc. How long could the list be, if I really tried?

And yet–they’re, all of ’em, human beings, not just objects and obstacles. They have what the book calls ” a heart for war” and there’s a reason for that, because they’re resentful and afraid. Afraid of their weakness, their thin and cracking façade, the raw primeval truth that if white men quit turning the cranks of technological civilization they would die.

We need to have our hearts for peace, which doesn’t mean doing anything different, exactly, in speaking out against the things that we see as destructive of order and civilization. Indeed, I think I’m more effective at fighting when my heart is at peace and I see things as they really are, the sad humans on the other side, not objects but sadly misled, incorrect human beings.

Only by knowing our opposition, empathizing with and understanding them, knowing how to see the world as they see it, will we be able to overcome. They’ll never be able to empathize and understand us. That’s our edge.