And for ages men had gazed upward as he was gazing at birds in flight. The colonnade above him made him think vaguely of an ancient temple and the ashplant on which he leaned wearily of the curved stick of an augur. A sense of fear of the unknown moved in the heart of his weariness, a fear of symbols and portents, of the hawk-like man whose name he bore soaring out of his captivity on osier-woven wings, of Thoth, the god of writers, writing with a reed upon a tablet and bearing on his narrow ibis head the cusped moon. -- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Foxes and Hares
Two distinct and antagonistic camps can be found inhabiting and waging battle within the "alternative" media landscape. These two camps are much more like shifting and fluid tendencies of thought than organized factions. There are no clear lines of demarcation.
Even within the same circles of "friends," in the same social media groups or web forums, these opposed tendencies can be identified. At times even a single individual will express agreement to certain talking points of one while also believing in the basic tenets of the other. Only in the abstract can we really speak of two distinct groups.
This may be changing. As global conditions continue to deteriorate a polarization is becoming evident. Increasingly, people are being asked to choose a side. This polarization within "alternative" media circles can be seen as a reflection of the wider polarization in more mainstream culture. The split between "conservatives" and "liberals," "right" and "left" has its direct parallel in the so-called alternative movement, whether this is admitted or not.
Both of these camps widely differ from their mainstream counterparts in their view that the status quo is intolerable, that radical change is needed. While their opposition to the mainstream (and this dichotomy of the mainstream vs. the alternative is also problematic) unifies the two camps this is about the only common ground that they share.
The aim of this post is to clearly delineate what these two are, to demonstrate how both are lacking, and to propose a third choice -- another Other. Provisionally, and more in jest than anything else, I've been calling this "Hermetic Anarchism," a term mostly borrowed from Peter Lamborn Wilson. But it can be given many names. Before it can be defined, though, the two opposing camps which are also in opposition to it must be laid out on the dissection table.
One side, one tendency, which could be called the alter-mondists, identifies itself as "skeptical." By this, in contrast to the classical philosophy of skepticism which advocated a full suspension of judgement, it means a more or less dogmatic opposition to anything which does not conform to the accepted limits of scientific materialism.
The skeptics are openly hostile to anything that smacks of the "spiritual." They require "evidence," conforming to the narrow bounds of the scientific method, and they utterly reject knowledge gained by faith, intuition, visions or extra sensory perception. All this gets dismissed as being mere "woo."
In arguments they insist on strict logic. Debates with skeptics largely devolve into semantic battles over whether or not a particular point is one or another logical fallacy. They equate finding fallacies in the arguments of their opponents with making a convincing case.
Naturally, they have nothing to tell us about the singular, the subjective, the immeasurable, the imaginative. None of these can be proven, regardless of the meaning generated by these kinds of experiences, so they are ignored or more often than not ridiculed.
Nearly everyone now has a "friend" or two that falls into this camp. They are the kind of person whose pastime it is to pick fights with religious people on web forums. They are the evangelizing New Atheists who refuse to take any more religious bullshit. Even agnostics are labelled fence-sitters and appeasers. They seem to be unaware how they make even the most hell-fearing Christian fundie appear like a beacon of tolerance and open-mindedness compared to themselves.
Politically, many claim to be libertarians but paradoxically they fervently support industries and technologies which are among the most state-subsidized -- nuclear power, vaccines, GMOs, etc. To be opposed to these industries is to be anti-science, a far greater sin, it appears, than being pro-corporation or pro-state. Their libertarianism is far from true anarchism. The state should exist only to protect private property. This means that the more property you have, the more protection you will get. A terrific system for robber barons and pirates.
Some skeptics, though, have apparently come to notice this contradiction or else they never made the compromise with libertarianism in the first place. Conventional Marxists fall into this category. Instead of being opponents of globalization they argue that the real problem is the lack of regulations at the international level. They are also in favour of the technologies listed above and seem to genuinely believe that these can, once in public hands, greatly advance the living conditions of the vast unwashed.
These two sub-factions appear to be at war with one another, but they fundamentally agree on one level. They both believe change needs to happen on an international scale. They both think that this change is entirely material in basis. There are no spiritual solutions, no necessary transformations of consciousness, no magic.
They have no patience for conspiracy theories, UFO accounts or anecdotes of the supernatural. They are intolerant of non-scientific belief systems, but at heart they are pluralists. All individuals, regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, etc. are to be welcomed into the new secular world order. In this way they are similar to mainstream NWO proponents, but they are opposed, both libertarians and socialists, to hierarchy and elitism.
The opposite camp, what might be called the neo-nationalists, is even more varied and even less united. A binding factor is a strict opposition to One World Government. Instead there is a renewed emphasis on nationalism or even tribalism. The ultimate goal of the NWO, the neo-nats argue, is complete control of all facets of our lives. This the global government hopes to accomplish by eliminating all natural social ties between individuals.
The only agent of social mediation must be the State. The family, "nuclear" and no longer "extended," must be completely destroyed. Individuals are to be entirely atomized and alienated, utterly dependent on the State. When finally all familial, religious, racial and cultural connections are severed the World State will have the mind, body and spirit of the individual at its complete disposal. He or she (and gender will also no longer matter) will have no will of his or her own. Two plus two will equal five.
There exists, the neo-nats insist, a long-term conspiracy to bring about this goal. At the apex of the conspiracy, in the very eye of the pyramid, are the Elite. In conspiracy theory lore there are varied and often contradictory views as to the true identity of the shadowy masters. More exotically they are presented as Reptilians, demons, Archons, shadow aspects of ourselves. More mundanely they are viewed as being the 1%, the old aristocracies and increasingly, when pressed to be realistic and concrete, the Jooooos.
History repeats itself in this way. It is the Jews that seem always at hand to play the dreaded role of scapegoat. Increasingly, once open-minded, open-ended and sincere researchers have come to feed at the common trough of anti-semitism.
All of the tired old cliches are put back into service. The Jews, or more subtly, the "Zionists," have wormed their way into the highest ranks of the most influential sectors of white society -- the media, real estate and especially banking and finance. They pose as "whites" within these positions of power but they both covertly and quite openly act to bring down the noble white race. They have many weapons at their disposal.
The script is recycled straight from the Protocols: The Zionists employ their unlimited capital, immense media influence and activist leaders in the streets to promote multiculturalism, mass immigration, race-mixing, feminism, pacifism, vegetarianism, mysticism, relativism, Agenda 21, counterculture, psychedelic drugs, minority rights movements, the New Age and so on.
Recently all of these have been conveniently lumped together under the umbrella term "cultural Marxism," even though nobody seems to know what this term really means. All of these, according to this view, are designed from the get-go. They are the fruits of conspiracies that span decades and even centuries.
The neo-nationalists argue that each race is unique, that each race struggles for dominance against every other racial group. Each race should have their own separate languages, cultures, mythologies, traditions, political systems. There should be no mixture, no adulteration, no unnatural co-mingling.
The Jews, the white neo-nationalists froth on about, are not playing the racial game fairly. They are using cunning and deceit to destroy the white race from the inside. The combined complex of "cultural Marxism" is the means to this end.
The white neo-nationalists, once very marginalized even within the conspiracy theory milieu, are beginning to take centre stage. Like the Nazis before them, they are well-poised to hijack, both physically and intellectually, the whole movement. Perhaps this was the plan from the start?
After the failure of 2012 to mark an obvious and dramatic turning point in history, and faced with heightened ridicule and taunting from the materialists and skeptoids, many conspiracy theorists became entirely antagonistic to anything smacking of mysticism and the New Age. They had been duped. They had danced blindly behind the pied pipers and had very nearly fallen off the cliff. They had been made fools of, victims of yet another tentacle of "cultural Marxism." Never again! It was time to become hard.
The real masters, the ultimate controllers of the Machine, the new dispensation announced, are not some shadowy or mystical group of other-worldly or interdimensional spirits or entities. They are not even abstract groups like the 1% or the NWO.
Instead, they are actual men and women with actual addresses and identities, and who wield nothing more magical or supernatural besides highly advanced technology. And this group was named over and over again throughout history. They are the Jews and their ultimate aim, through infiltration and subversion, is to irreparably shatter the supremacy of the white race.
After 2012, the religious and spiritual thinking of the neo-nationalists also hardened. They are increasingly hostile to "soft" Christianity, which has always been weakened by its Judaic roots. The Nazis, once universally derided by conspiracy theorists as being the very epitome of the type of totalitarianism they despised, are now looked at in a brand new light. History, after all, is written by the victors, and the victor of WW2 is the "Jew World Order."
Hitler, it is now argued (conveniently ignoring older research that traced Nazi financial ties to Wall Street and the Bush family), was really fighting against the banks and the global system of usury. The Holocaust was largely a figment of Bolshevik propaganda -- an early manifestation of "cultural Marxism" before the term was even invented. The Holocaust, they warn, is still successfully employed to justify Zionist schemes everywhere.
And like the Nazis, the neo-nationalists are returning to Nordic myths, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon lore, the religion of the "volk" or the "folk." There is an embrace of paganism but a complete rejection of the universalism of Theosophy or New Age one world religion.
The politics of the neo-nationalists, though, are not necessarily Nazi or even fascist. Many remain very hostile to the centralized state, although they are not internationalists like other libertarians. There is an appeal for "national anarchism," an anarchist tendency that views the centralized state, which enforces an artificial and essentially perverse multiculturalism, as being the primary problem. The alternative to this, they hold, is a patchwork of ethnically and culturally distinct and purified "nations."
Within these bantustan-like statelets the system of government is entirely up to their respective members. It is each "nations'" prerogative whether it will be draconian, intolerant, illiberal or not. National anarchists have thus made alliances with many other nationalist groups some of which could not be classed as "anarchist" at all, just as long as they are united in their opposition to the federal or central government. For this reason many anarchists are opposed to national anarchism. It has been described as "letting a hundred authoritarianisms bloom."
The national anarchists tend to make the assumption that what individuals truly desire is to live with their own kind, to follow only the customs and traditions of their "tribe." But many people do not want this at all. I, for instance, come from a "tribe" of friendly, yet insular and conservative, Christian fundamentalist rednecks. In no way do I feel that I am represented by this "tribe" or that I represent it. I have always felt alienated from it. I have always been different.
And I know that I am by no means alone in this. Many of us feel different and love difference. We, the freaks, the misfits, the hermetic anarchists, love the swirling, colourful, riotous sights, sounds, smells and tastes of big multicultural cities and human diversity wherever it can be found.
We like to be able to live, work, play, eat, fuck where and who and what we want. We abhor equally the UN, globalist, state capitalist/state socialist, monocultural corporate nightmare and a hypothetical system of ethnically-cleansed, racially pure, mutually hostile "nations." We reject both options.
In a sense the hermetic anarchists are "beyond left and right," but not in the way that this term is usually abused these days. "Beyond left and right" is now a term successfully employed by the Right to attract leftists to its brand of intolerance. By all means we refuse conventional liberalism and leftism. We have long broken free of the ideological straightjacket of Marxist historical materialism.
We want none of its narrow, mean-spirited categorization, but the tradition of the Left we call ourselves a part of is much older, much deeper, much more diverse than anything that currently is identified as leftist. Only in this way we are beyond both.
It may seem strange to associate the Left with a tradition. Generally it is the Right that is called traditional. There is a spirituality of the Right that became evident in fascism and the Nazi movement, a kind of race mysticism, which is abhorrent to the Left. The Left, insofar as it will admit to having a tradition at all, is materialist and atheist. Can we really speak about a spiritual tradition of the Left?
Returning To A Plot That Has Already Begun
And yet there is such a tradition, one that reaches back far further than when socialism became synonymous, due to its being commandeered by the Fabians and the Marxists, with the oppressive nanny state. Socialism was the movement for the democratic and social rights of the people, both of the country and of the city, and the people were (and largely are) polytheist and pagan. There is an intellectual tradition coinciding with this which Peter Lamborn Wilson, who I borrowed from, referred to as the "Hermetic Left."
If we have learned to associate ceremonial magic with right-wing politics thanks to such figures as W B . Yeats and Aleister Crowley, we should learn to be more careful in our categorical assumptions. The idea of "tradition" was only hi-jacked by the Right in very recent times (and thanks in part to such "traditionalists" as Guenon, Evola, Jung, Eliade, or T. S. Eliot) . Formerly the Left had its tradition as well, the "Good Old Cause" that combined unmediated autonomy and unmediated spirituality. While the traditionalist Right veers toward a dualism of good and evil, spirit and body, hierarchy and separation, the Hermetic Left emphasizes "ancient rights and customs"of freedom, equality, justice-and bodily pleasure (e.g., Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell). The Left is "radical monist", Saturnian and Dionysian; the Right is "Gnostic", authoritarian and Apollonian. Naturally these terms and categories get, mingled and confused, combined and recombined, in an excessive exfoliation of the
strangest hybrids and freaks. The Right has its mystical revolutionaries, the Left has its Gnostic Dualists. But as generalizations or ideal models I believe that the rival traditions can be clearly distinguished. -- "The Shamanic Trace"
A combination of "unmediated autonomy and unmediated spirituality" -- this is the essence of the "hermetic left" or "hermetic anarchism."The heroes of the "hermetic right," Yeats and Crowley and Jung and Evola, can also have their ideas ransacked and plundered. Theoretical promiscuity. Swallow the mystical insights and spit or shit out the elitism and the bland and stifling categorization.
Every man and woman is a star, as Crowley wrote. We are all far better artists than we know, as Nietzsche taught. Each individual does provide a unique perspective for God, as according to Yeats. All three of these writers are associated with the Right, but these ideas are deeply shared by hermetic anarchists.
The absence of mediation, both by the State and by the Church -- by Space and Time, is only possible because each individual is the co-creator of whatever it is that is taken for reality. These men, when they express such insights, are certainly part of a shared tradition.
The poet Robert Duncan, himself a spiritual anarchist inspired by Ezra Pound, H.D. and other Modernists and in turn a big influence on Wilson, tied this archaic, underground tradition of "spiritual resistance" to the wider poetic tradition:
Our work is to arouse in a contemporary consciousness reverberations of old myth, to prepare the ground so that when we return to read we will see our modern texts charged with a plot that had already begun before the first signs and signatures we have found worked upon the walls of Altamira or Pech-Merle. -- The H.D. Book
The timeless plot continues. It is beginning to be aroused again. The old myth, fashioned in images and sounds, stretches from the caves of the Paleolithic to the stars reflecting eyes reflecting stars. The signatures are found in Altamira and in Alpha Centauri. The marvelous penetrates it all. P.L. Wilson directly follows from Duncan:
That there exists an unbroken underground tradition
of spiritual resistance, a kind of hermetic "left" that has roots in Stone Age shamanism, and flowers in the heresies of the "Free Spirit".
Duncan saw Ezra Pound as being a key figure of this tradition, even though Pound was certainly not of the "Left":
As important for me is Pound's role as the carrier of a tradition or lore in poetry, that flowered in the Renaissance after Gemisthos Plethon, the Provence of the twelfth century that gave rise to the Albigensian gnosis, the trobar clus, and the Kabbalah, in the Hellenic world that furnished the ground for orientalizing Greek mystery cults, Christianity, and neo-Platonism. "The tradition is a beauty which we preserve and not a set of fetters to bind us," Pound wrote in 1913. -- "The Lasting Contribution of Ezra Pound"
"A beauty that we preserve" -- a glimpse of the eternal, of the truly unmediated or immediate. A peak behind the curtain. We are all straw men.