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.”


“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…


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.

The Nine Laws, by Ivan Throne – A Review

The Nine Laws by Ivan Throne. Castalia House, 2016

UP FRONT: This is not a detached, completely objective review of something in which I have no personal stake, like Michael Howard’s The Franco-Prussian War or Phillip Wylie’s Generation of Vipers (both of which are superb; you should read them). Instead this review is from someone invested in the book in question, not monetarily but philosophically.

Think for yourself.

I first saw the work of Ivan Throne around the beginning of 2016, and I wrote about his blog in April. Two weeks ago he published his full-length book The Nine Laws.

In brief, The Nine Laws has four main parts: 1) The revelation and explication of the Nine Laws, and a detailed essay on each; 2) The Dark World and [what is?] the Dark Triad Man; 3) Training, and; 4) The Arena of Blood and War (that is, the world of today). But before any further detailed description of the main text, we consider the foundational preface, which was posted in full by Vox Day upon the release of the book. Since it’s also available in the “Look Inside” free access portion of the book on Amazon, see it below. Read and mentally enfold. It will avoid the necessity of my providing any detailed introduction: Continue reading

At The Mitrailleuse: Dreams, Consciousness and Sanity

This Just In:

It’s interesting that before he became the first human to die live on the Web, Tim Leary changed his tune (and the title of one of his books) from Exo-Psychology to Info-Psychology.

Leary acknowledged that his one-time obsession with space exploration and the future of humanity off-planet was at least partly the result of his time in jail in the 1960s and 70s and the natural tendency of the mind to want to free itself by flying high above the prison grounds. For an old dude, he seems to have rapidly grasped the possibilities of the Web and some of the changes to our lives that digital world would bring. He apparently continued to consume plenty of drugs up until the end. The funny thing, to me, is that there’s no indication that in all his years of psychonauting he ever deeply explored the free, easily available and abundant resource that’s provided to us every night: The Dreamscape.

Read the rest at The Mitrailleuse

The Hidden Variable of the Neoreaction

Introduction – “Behold the Lamb of God…”

Many days ago I seemed to promise that in my “next post” I would “begin using my own small gifts to relate ‘neoreaction’ to the Hidden Variables that most men never suspect, much less know.” Because “The Occult.”

Ahem. I did post something else in the meantime. If you, Gentle Reader, will forgive me for that, let us now delve into the res, as my friend Jeeves would say.

Background: I was baptized in the Church (yeah, that one) just two-and-a-half years ago at the age of 51. And yeah, I believe that the bread and wine when properly consecrated (by a real, honest-to-God man of a priest) do transform into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Let’s not beat around the bush, that’s one non-negotiable thing that one takes aboard when one becomes, or accepts, being a Roman Catholic. There are a few more, but let them be, for now.

I suspect that quite a few of the good people in the pews around me don’t really, truly believe in anything “supernatural.” In most of the Christian churches in the whole of the West, the same. I didn’t either for many, many years.

Some Personal History

I’m a 140-IQ white male ‘mericun who is strange enough to have vivid memories of watching the Republican and Democratic National Conventions as an eight-year-old, 1968. Especially, the Democrats; In other words, Mayor Daley, speeches, funny hats and riots on live TV. No one else in my family, including my parents, was interested; it’s still fresh in my mind, watching the conventions on the little black-and-white in the parental bedroom by myself. I decided I was a Republican.By age 11, I had begun reading Robert Heinlein (this was the first, wonderful dangerous stuff that I’m sure my unconventionally Protestant parents would have blanched about, had they understood what kind of dynamite can be contained in an “juvenile” science fiction book). I rapidly became a “scientific materialist,” read Rand’s Atlas Shrugged at 15 and became an “Objectivist” (or as Heinlein called them in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, a “Randite”).

As I’ve written previously, the mid-1970s was a seemingly scary time for a young person looking ahead; the US economy was crap for about seven years (just as much as 2007-now, in my opinion), the USSR seemed ascendant, freedoms in the US seemed to be shrinking. After being a rational/objectivist/nerdy/square-peg unhappy high-schooler for a couple of years, I wrangled my way out of HS early, went to city college and began smoking weed and hanging out with Libertarian Party types. The weed was a successful anti-anxiety medication, the LPers not only had the weed but offered a vision of Outsideness, disconnection from “the herd” and a lot of great book recommendations. Also, psilocybin mushrooms and LSD.

So add to a combination of late-night bull sessions with the High-IQ Counterculture, daily pot smoking and the periodic ‘shroom and acid investigations many more Dangerous Books. Just one of them, Illuminatus!, referenced and led to:

A History Of Secret Societies, The Morning of the Magicians, Info-Psychology, Pawns in the Game,The Structure of Magic, Vol. 1: A Book About Language and Therapy and surely worst of all, Aleister Crowley.

The Wickedest Man in the World

Now, I have some disagreements about Crowley with people I respect. In a comment here, the most excellent E. Antony Gray replies to my somewhat favorable evaluation of Crowley’s work with:

The Crowley-mythologizing is just inflammatory. He knows how much the man is, like Carlos Casteneda, considered a harmful hack and a charlatan.

Then there’s Jules Evans, former MDMA-fueled Raver who regained his very capable mind through the study of Seneca and Aristotle, amongst others (see Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations: Ancient Philosophy for Modern Problems). He happened to post a long exposition on “Crowley and his Children” (especially his children in the music biz) as I was thinking about all this. His conclusion:

The arts, sex, drugs, magic and religion are all ways of ‘turning off the mind’, going beyond rational consciousness, opening the trapdoor and following the Imagination down into the dark, to try and find the treasure. But I think, in that perilous descent, it’s absolutely crucial what motive you have, and your moral ability to handle what you encounter without losing your shit.

Many artists and magicians make that descent for selfish motives – for money, sex and power. That’s very risky – it’s like the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark trying to use the Ark for selfish reasons. You end up with a melted face.

I’d say Tolkien had the best idea about how to mine the Imagination without awakening too many Balrogs. You need to go in with a small ego, like a hobbit, with a fellowship of people around you to guide you when you feel lost. And you need to be prepared to give away whatever treasure you find, rather than trying to hang on to it for your own power. That’s the way to create great art, and it’s the way to live a meaningful life. Crowley’s ‘Do What Thou Wilt’ doesn’t end in happiness or power. It ends in emptiness, addiction, madness and self-destruction. It’s a lie – perhaps the oldest lie of all.

Now I don’t disagree with this at all; but perhaps there’s another layer that we might explore to our profit.

We Now Return to Dr. Land in the Swinging ’90s…

From my previous post on the previous episodes of Nick Land we follow this link and read:

In taking this approach, Land not only renounced the respect of his academic peers, but many times even lost the confidence of his supporters, as he sought by any means possible to drill through the sedimented layers of normative human comportment. Strange scenes ensued: A seminar on A Thousand Plateaus where a group of nonplussed graduates were encouraged to ‘read’ the chapter titles of the book by turning them into acronyms that were then plotted as vectors on a diagram of a QWERTY keyboard (‘qwertopology’); A three-week long experiment in refusing to speak in the first person, instead referring to the collective entity ‘Cur’ (comprising the hardcore participants in ‘Current French Philosophy,’ who extended the lectures into a continual movable seminar); and, most memorably, a presentation at the conference Virtual Futures in 1996: Rather than reading a paper, in this collaboration with artist collective Orphan Drift, under the name of ‘DogHead SurGeri,’2 and complete with jungle soundtrack, Land lay behind the stage, flat on the floor (a ‘snake-becoming’ forming the first stage of bodily destratification), croaking enigmatic invocations intercut with sections from Artaud’s asylum poems. In this delirious vocal telegraphy, meaning seemed to  disintegrate into sheer phonetic matter, melting into the cut-up beats and acting directly on the subconscious. As Land began to speak in his strange, choked-off voice (perhaps that ‘absurdly high pitched … tone … ancient demonists described as ‘silvery,’ which he later reports being taunted by),3the disconcerted audience begin to giggle; the demon voice wavered slightly until Land’s sense of mission overcame his momentary self-consciousness; and as the ‘performance’ continued the audience fell silent, eyeing each other uncertainly as if they had walked into a funeral by mistake. Embarrassment was regarded by Land as just one of the rudimentary inhibitions that had to be broken down in order to explore the unknown – in contrast to the forces of academic domestication, which normalised by fostering a sense of inadequacy and shame before the Masters, before the edifice of what is yet to be learnt.

(You shall have to go to the original to get the footnotes).

Let us compare this incident to something that Crowley wrote, and that I have not a shadow of doubt that Land read at some point (Book Four, Part I, free here!):

In any case, the mass of mankind is always ready to be swayed by anything thus authoritative and distinct. History is full of stories of officers who have walked unarmed up to a mutinous regiment, and disarmed them by the mere force of confidence. The power of the orator over the mob is well known. It is, probably, for this reason that the prophet has been able to constrain mankind to obey his law. I never occurs to him that any one can do otherwise. In practical life one can walk past any guardian, such as a sentry or ticket-collector, if one can really act so that the man is somehow persuaded that you have a right to pass unchallenged.

This power, by the way, is what has been described by magicians as the power of invisibility. Somebody or other has an excellent story of four quite reliable men who were on the look-out for a murderer, and had instructions to let no one pass, and who all swore subsequently in presence of the dead body that no one had passed. None of them had seen the postman.

The thieves who stole the “Gioconda” from the Louvre were probably disguised as workmen, and stole the picture under the very eye of the guardian; very likely got him to help them.

It is only necessary to believe that a thing must be to bring it about. This belief must not be an emotional or an intellectual one. It resides in a deeper portion of the mind, yet a portion not so deep but that most men, probably all successful men, will understand these words, having experience of their own with which they can compare it.

The most important factor in Dhyana is, however, the annihilation of the Ego. Our conception of the universe must be completely overturned if we are to admit this as valid; and it is time that we considered what is really happening.

It will be conceded that we have given a very rational explanation of the greatness of great men. They had an experience so overwhelming, so out of proportion to the rest of things, that they were freed from all the petty hindrances which prevent the normal man from carrying out his projects.

Worrying about clothes, food, money, what people may think, how and why, and above all the fear of consequences, clog nearly every one. Nothing is easier, theoretically, than for an anarchist to kill a king. He has only to buy a rifle, make himself a first-class shot, and shoot the king from a quarter of a mile away. And yet, although there are plenty of anarchists, outrages are very few. At the same time, the police would probably be the first to admit that if any man were really tired of life, in his deepest being, a state very different from that in which a man goes about saying he is tired of life, he could manage somehow or other to kill someone first.

Now the man who has experienced any of the more intense forms of Dhyana is thus liberated. The Universe is thus destroyed for him, and he for it. His will can therefore go on its way unhampered. One may imagine that in the case of Mohammed he had cherished for years a tremendous ambition, and never done anything because those qualities which were subsequently manifested as statesmanship warned him that he was impotent. His vision in the cave gave him that confidence which was required, the faith that moves mountains. There are a lot of solid-seeming things in this world which a child could push over; but not one has the courage to push.

Dangerous, dangerous stuff. Fortunately one must venture boldly into dangerous and unknown territory to even begin to understand it, much less incorporate it. Otherwise we might have too many wolves and sheep dogs for the sheep available. Perhaps we still will, at some future time.

The Occult Nature of the NRx

I propose that this is the factor (let us call it, in tribute to Colin Wilson, “Factor X”) that separates the Neoreactionary, and certain other enlightened individuals who call themselves Reactionary, Neu Righty, Occidentalistas, Spartan Racers, Anarcho-Papists, Atlanteans, X-Men’n’Women, Futurists, Gumball Racers, &tc., from the equally high-IQ Servants at the Prog Cathedral.

Factor X is a refusal to go against what one sees and knows in order to fit into what Leary called “mammalian politics.” Progressives of the West today are so deeply embedded in mammalian politics that they must blind their eyes and cover their ears, suspend their critical facilities when the Unconfrontable Truths begin to edge into consciousness.

Every human finds a different way, route, road to the deeps. I passed through Crowley’s Magick and Will and found that Final Cause that lies at the end of time. Other fellow travelers call it something else. It matters not. “Neoreaction” and “Dark Enlightenment” are useful terms for the hidden truths and the explorers who search for them, despite the imprecations of the ignorant and the non-ignorant striving for power over other men.

It’s the search, a search that has no ‘X’ on a map. Or to give the last word to my early hero Heinlein, in the very last lines of Methusalah’s Children:

Yes, maybe it’s just one colossal big joke, with no point to it…whatever the answers are, here’s one monkey that’s going to keep on climbing, and looking around to see what he can see, as long as the tree holds out.

A Whole New Land


“The Ministry of Truth–Minitrue, in Newspeak–was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up terrace after terrace 300 metres in the air.” George Orwell, 1984.

Through the good offices of E. Anthony Gray aka @RiverC we encountered The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe, Book 1 – The Phenomenon of Life

The reference to the image of the TransAmerica building is from a different work, A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction.

Via Land:

You really need to read Nature of Order, if you haven’t already. He outlines what underlies much of this somewhat unformed yearning of the romantic and otherwise sort. Fundamentally, he argues that on the Quantum level arrangement trumps causality; thus the ‘field of effect of arrangements’ is an empirical phenomenon of some degree.

What follows is the theory of centers, of wholes as a field of centers (and their fields) – providing a third theory which allows one to move between the empirical and metaphysical (empirical being continuous, metaphysical being discrete.)

The curious experiment at the heart of the mystery is the ‘two slit’ electron experiment. The books are rather expensive, but quite worth it (so far, anyway – we’ve not read the whole opus yet.)

I now am charged, indeed, glowing with the feeling, that never may I see the World the same.


Amusing Proto-Neoreactionary Thoughts from 2006

I wrote this bit back in 2006–over eight years ago. Recently ran across it and it was amusing; I was just playing around, but perhaps the germ of future NRx can be discerned here? Or perhaps the germ of a paranoid whackjob. YOU be the judge!

(Unedited except to protect the guilty: May, 2006. Not all links come with a money-back guarantee!)

I’m currently on vacation in Arizona and reading Jim Marrs’s Rule by Secrecy: The Hidden History That Connects the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons, and the Great Pyramids, which is a pretty even-handed look at the connections between secret societies, the ‘money power,’ Big Business, Big Government and the space aliens (okay that’s a joke…that was a different book by Marrs).

While it makes for a fun poolside read for a guy like me, who can’t go in for bestselling novels without falling asleep, I don’t take it all too seriously; except–

Why would supposedly ‘populist’ politicians in the United States Senate ignore the overwhelming poll numbers and communications from their constituents in favor ‘border enforcement,’ and continue down the path of amnesty (don’t call it that!)?

Why would a President whose poll numbers are alarmingly low not do likewise? For that matter, why were both major candidates for President in 2004 members of Skull and Bones, a Yale ‘fraternity’ that only taps 15 new members a year?

Why was a little-known governor chosen to be a member of the Trilateral Commission in 1973 and why and how did he become the ‘shocking’ winner of the Presidency in 1976?

Does it really matter who we elect to office or is it just a show for the rubes to keep ’em happy while the decisions are made for them by a technocratic elite?

For that matter, does this ‘elite’ actually know best and is doing all this hard and dirty work behind the scenes to guide humanity to a better future than it could ever have through so-called ‘democracy?’

Is Instapundit their agent? Is Kos?

Just think for yourself and don’t take anything for granted, all right?