With success or failure, sometimes it is difficult to know for sure. But who cares? The experimentation on indiscriminate attack continues because I crave it. Consult your ideologies to figure out why, or even better… ask your conscience.
Nothingness conforms to my senses as my senses conform to Nothing. Sleepless projection manifests in the Descent. I am having sexual intercourse with Chaos. I penetrate it and it penetrates me. How powerful it is to experiment on the destruction of the human notion and the interment of idealism! How petty they all are in the face of nihilistic pure experience and the Negation of the value of value! I rejoice in the Moment and I don’t hold myself back. I hate humans pungently!
My will bursts out of overflowing of Hate and it wants to become the axe with which I will penetrate the imbecility of human societies. Egomania arises and becomes the fuel channeling my black blood towards carrying out the strike of the Nihilist Misanthrope, Defiler of the notion of social training and Violator of the holy spirit of progress.
In the brothel of human existence I laugh nihilistically and I offer my hatred freely. I deny the sickness of freedom in any ethical context. My freedom might be to commit atrocities. Who is going to tell me what is freedom? Who knows what this dictator of the mind is?
Against every sanctimonial self-renunciation, Nihil arise! May the Abyss become the amputation of human existence. Terror align with my power to retaliate on this septic world. Blood flow through my veins, with every attack give me a new birth, the birth of the neverending End.
Complicity with Nihilist Terrorist sects, Criminalistic Nihilists, Antisocial Misanthropes, GITS and with ITS!
To spread the plague of the misanthropic tendencies of Nihilism and Eco-extremism!
AMORALLY I POST THIS TEXT CRITICIZING MORALITY. IT HAS A MAJOR FLAW THOUGH, IT DOESN’T TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE BIOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF MORALITY, WHICH CAN’T BE ”EXORCISED” BY THINKING OR JUST CRITICIZING.Morality is the theory that every human act must be either right or wrong. The purpose of all moral systems is to fix human behavior through the imposition of absolute standards, which arc designed in such a manner as to remain beyond examination and critique. All moral systems are presented as the superior norm, the absolute law, the peremptory order that imposes on everyone, at all times, that which they must do and that which they must not do-applicable to all human beings without exception.
To fully understand how morality functions as a mechanism of Control, it’s helpful to examine the psychological functions underpinning moral codes and the justifications used for demanding universal obedience to them. Until recently one of the most common of these justifications was an appeal to god and, indeed, this has not completely disappeared. This god tells us what is right or wrong or so runs the belief. This metaphysical dream-concept issues rules for us to obey, and if we refuse to do so, this god will punish us, horribly. By threatening other people in such a manner, however, the moralist has changed the question from one of morality to one of expediency, to one of avoiding the painful results of not submitting to someone or something more powerful than ourselves.
Of course, there are those who don’t believe in a god who are nonetheless believers in morality. These humanistic moralists seek a sanction for their moral codes in some other fixed idea: the Common Good; a teleological conception of human evolution; the needs of humanity or society; natural rights, and so forth. A critical analysis of this type of moral justification shows that there is no more behind it than there is behind “the will of god”. Concepts such as the “common good” or “social welfare” are merely high-sounding pieces of rhetoric used to disguise the particular interests of those making use of them.
It is exactly this dressing up of particular interests as moral laws that lies behind the ideological masquerade of morality. Moral systems function as a concealment of real purpose and motive and are almost always a disguised “will to power”‘. Soak the luminous blueprints of the Moral Saviors of Humanity in the acid of brutal analysis and see the pattern hidden in the scroll: a desire to force a certain line of action upon everyone, a desire to rule and repress. It is only when, at certain times and places, by means of physical force or of superior cunning, some succeed in imposing their particular moral interpretation on others, that a single morality triumphs, understood and followed by all in the same fashion-as in the Middle Ages, when the Catholic Church had dissolved all variety into unity. or as we see today in certain portions of the Islamic world.
One of the most popular uses of the moral myth is to add a garnish to the already unsavory dish of politics. By turning even the most trivial of political pursuits into a moral crusade one can be assured of the support of the credulous, the vindictive, and the envious, as well as giving a pseudo-strength to the weak and the wavering. While it is to be expected that those who desire to rule others will invoke moral reprimands in an attempt to convert (or purge) the ideological deviationist or critical iconoclast, it’s profoundly disheartening to observe self-professed anarchists acting out the same farce, in the form of politically-correct speech codes, dietary restrictions, consumer choices, dogmatic social ethics, and selfrighteous slave-moralities like pacifism. It’s hard to imagine anything more threadbare, more hopelessly platitudinous, to found an antiauthoritarian rebellion on than morality, yet anarchists do it all the time, to the detriment of their own struggle and credibility.
Egoism-conscious egoism-is neither moral nor immoral. It stands beyond ” good and evil”. It is amoral. An egoist may be truthful or untruthful, considerate or inconsiderate, generous or cruel, according to his nature, tastes, or circumstances, and at his own risk, but she is under no obligation to be any of these. She may behave in a way that the moral call “good” or in a way that they call “evil”, but he does so because he judges his interest to lie in one direction or the other, not because she is possessed by the spook of moralism or that of immoralism.
While the moralist tends to see conflicts between individuals (and groups and institutions) in terms of”right” and “wrong”, the egoist never considers either adversary right or wrong in any moral sense. Each is simply pursuing the fulfillment of his or her own agenda, and if the conflict cannot be resolved otherwise, it must be settled by force. For, make no mistake, in repudiating the idea of morality egoists make no exception for “violence”. Nor do they draw any pious distinction between the initiation of force or retaliatory force. Either form is used if it is an expedient way of pursuing a given end, and to the egoist there is no moral law prohibiting violence to which they must subordinate their will to personal sovereignty.
To the conscious egoist, the inexistence of morality is as certain as two and two make four, and in this respect, egoism exceeds the bounds of anarchism’s most audacious speculations regarding individual sovereignty, acting as a powerful dissolvent for an imagination clogged by theories of “right” and “wrong”‘. Only after scanning the full horizon of amorality -the nothingness left in the absence of good and evil or any other metaphysical authority- does the individual come face to face with an exhilarating and terrible freedom in which Nothing is True and Everything is Permitted.
This project of “Eco-extremist Reflections” arises with the idea of gathering all the reflections, both older and more recent, within the scope of eco-extremist theory, in order to facilitate their access to the interested individualists. Since many of them are of a great value and its reading is very important to the strengthening of ideas and practice against the modern human and the techno-industrial civilization. We will divide them into themes and soon we will be publishing all we can collect from blogs, files, books, magazines and so on.
In this first number, we include some older reflections, which fulfilled the duty of discarding concepts and moralities that limited those who at the time, were approaching what we now call eco-extremism. Sterile and expired concepts such as “veganism”, “liberation” or “solidarity”. And finally, four texts of egoist-individualist orientation, one of them taken from the magazine “Ash and Ruin”, an other one from Crimelle et sauvage and the final two from the northern areas of the “Mexican” territory.
In this second issue, we bring an old reflection by Abe Cabrera, evidencing already by those days the clear differences between US and the rest, those groups and characters with more progressive inclinations although they deny it, we are talking, of course, about the anarcho-primitivists and co.
At the same time, we bring a large part of the important reflections of Chahta-Ima, an eco-extremist theorist, pioneer in that field, who with his sharped critics and thoughts was cutting the root of the rottenness that the modern ideologies are. We mention that the writings by Chahta-Ima have been invaluable for some of the individualists who are doing this work and we highlight them with great appreciation and pride.
And finally, an extract from the text “The Calusa, a savage kingdom?”, Whose teachings are too important to be forgotten.
We are very thankful for the contributions from the accomplices in the Animus Delendi blog, whom have helped us with the English translations for some of the texts on the first notebook, in this the number two as well and in the next ones which are still on preparations. The complicity between individualists brings the possibility to carry on with every editorial effort we have in mind, thus it allows us to move forward within the Tendency polishing are approaches, exchanging thoughts and posing new questions.
Primitivism without Catastrophe
“Saving the World” as the Highest Form of Domestication
What do we mean when we say, “nature”?
Politically Incorrect Savages
Collateral damage: An Eco-Extremist Defense of Indiscriminate Violence
A TEXT THAT FIRST APPEARED ON A PROJECT ABOUT PHILOSOPHICAL NIHILISM, EXISTENTIALISM AND PESSIMISM UNDER THE TITLE ”MISANTHROPY”. DUG UP RECENTLY FROM ABISSO NICHILISTA BY MY AFFINITY NIHILIST TERRORISTS FROM AMOKLAUFE. TRANSLATED IN SPANISH BY MY AFFINITIES FROM MALDICION ECO-EXTREMISTA. ALTHOUGH IT IS A LITTLE INCOMPLETE IN MY OPINION, IT DOESN’T GIVE GROUND TO ANY POLITICAL CLAIMANTS OF MISANTHROPY. IT REVEALS THE ROOT OF PURE MISANTHROPY, ITS PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PERCEPTUAL SHIFT.
Misanthropes are not born, they are made.
The recipe for a genuine misanthrope always starts with a person overflowing with love for his fellow man; to this, one adds a pinch of disenchantment, mixed with a healthy dose of cynicism and bitter resentment; then, allowed to rest in order for the ingredients to settle in together until fully immersed, and finished by serving it over a world occupied with other people.
Behind every misanthropic personality one finds the decaying remains of a former philanthropist.
This much is evident if only one considers the intensity of the misanthrope’s passionate vitriol. The degree of his contempt and disdain for humanity is always preceded by an abundance of passionate love; for it is impossible for one to passionately hate if one does not know how to passionately love.
That many misanthropes were at one time, in the naivety of their youth, idealists or romantics should come as absolutely no surprise.
What distinguishes misanthropic hate is its breadth and universality. Misanthropic hate is general, for the misanthrope detests all men; his hatred is all encompassing – for he despises with every fiber of his being the crowd and its imbecilic customs and mannerisms; he heaps scorn on that which is popular and common to the unthinking and amorphous masses; he has far too much experience in the ways of men to take anything at face-value, and his skepticism towards the purported intentions of others knows no bounds.
Genuine and true misanthropy should not be confused with detached indifference, as is the case for the egoist. Egoists subordinate the interests of the other to his own; and thus, he is relatively apathetic to the masses. As such, he is generally oblivious.
On the contrary, the misanthrope is far too reflective and far too aware to be a mere egoist. For misanthropy is never passive indifference, but always manifests itself in active abhorrence and detestation.
My laughter became uncontainable, profound, full. Almost inconvenient.
It was a laughter so strong that tears filled my eyes and my sides moved.
You will ask why this reaction. That’s understandable.
Well, in my dream, Death treated anarchism (with the appropriate small “a”), exactly like all things and people.
Death acted and afterward continued to carry out its affairs.
Without conceding any privileges.
And while anarchism was dying without a burial, it continued the effort concerning its why and its debates, the comparisons, the propositions, morality, objective, resources, times, the interminable assembly, forms, and the whole catalogue of idiocies that, effectively, were not anything more than the same disease that was killing it.
Indignant, anarchism asked for solidarity from all places.
Anarchism, unsettled, was not able to resign itself: it was dying without anyone telling it, not even a sign or an indication, nothing.
And all the while all of this occurred. And no one cared.
Or better put, no one was interested.
So many years of history, so many battles, an honorable militancy on the global scene only to die under such banal circumstances, in the midst of general indifference.
And this guy who in my dream represented anarchism, he was livid.
And you won’t believe why.
In that extreme moment he had to get livid due to his unforeseen disappearance, for the manner in which his death was manifested: nothing epic, nothing heroic, no police frame-up or life sentence, nothing- or why no one was noticing its death.
Anarchism was dying anonymously, angry, amidst general indifference.
In these times, to dream with the anarchism, truly one has to overdo it at the bar or have ingested some natural or synthetic herb.
In any case when the mind has been freed and savagely separates itself from the civilizing control of reason, this makes the masks fall away and reveals, behind the dreams, the more inconfessable realities.
Friends, anarchy has died.
In general indifference.
It died from an excess of morality.
I know this now, it makes one laugh to the point of tears.
The contemptible sentiment par excellence. Mosaic of crystallized fears; mixture of herd stupidity and secular religiosity.
I mean the respect of collective beings; of the maleficent and deceptive metaphors that populate our social mythologies.
Stirner gives collective entities the characteristic name of “respectful personalities.” Moral idols, political idols, society idols, they float, like the specter of religion in Lucretius’ heavens; ghostly, vain, formidable.
Stendhal had already pointed out the respectful mania, the mother of all hypocrisies, guardian of all big shots and oligarchs.
The beatific social optimism of the crowd is only a form of that respectful mania. For the crowd, whatever kind of collectivity we might be dealing with – public administration, government body, the family – are always right against the individual. It is right for the very reason that it is a collectivity. The label “collective” suffices. The dogma of infallibility is thus secularized and socialized.
Oligarchs know this. They bank on the crowd’s capacity for respect, which gives an idea of the infinite, as does its stupidity.
The citizen is a respectful and irremediably religious animal; it now inclines to civic genuflection. It adores social fetishes just as the little dog Riquet in “Monsieur Bergeret à Paris” venerated doors, the table, and the kitchen chair.
Reproductive animal, the citizen venerates the fetish “marriage.” An electoral animal, he venerates that other fetish, the modern holy ampoule, the Civic Ballot Box.
With respect to crowds we oppose irony, pensive irony, of a cold smile and a clear eye.
* Palante specialist Stéphane Beau notes that this piece, which appeared in the December 1903 issue of the anarchist revue “L’Ennemi du people” was signed only GP. There is thus no guarantee that it is actually from the pen of Georges Palante, but the ideas expressed in it, and the form of their expression, are so clearly Palantian, that there is no real question as to its attribution.
A TEXT THAT CAPTURES WELL THE TYPES OF MISANTHROPES IT DESCRIBES WITH A PRECISE DISTINCTION, ALTHOUGH IN THIS TEXT THE MISANTHROPY REPRESENTED BY THIS SITE IS NOT FULLY, PARTICULARLY OR DISTINGUISHABLY EXPLORED. THE NIHILIST MISANTHROPY THAT HAS TOTALLY DEPARTED FROM THE IDEALIST CAMP AND DOES NOT HATE FROM A FALLEN OR YET TO COME IDEAL. IT IS BEYOND EXISTENTIAL MATTERS, IT EVISCERATES THE HUMAN CONDITION BOTH HATEFULLY AND COLDLY WHILE UNDERSTANDING THAT ONLY WITH EGOTISTIC ACTION CAN THE ILLUSORY WALL OF VALUES TRULY BE ELIMINATED. FOR WHAT? IF YOU DON’T KNOW I WOULDN’T CARE TO ANSWER THAT FOR YOU.
“What we need is hatred. From it our ideas are born.” – Jean Genet
“Where, I ask you,” cries Verneuil, “is the mortal stupid enough in face of all the evidence to claim that all men are born equal, in law and in fact? It was left to a misanthropist like Rousseau to put forward such a paradox, since, being extremely weak, he wanted to pull down those to whose level he was unable to raise himself. What effrontery did it take, I ask you, for this pygmy four feet two inches tall to compare himself to the model of stature and strength whom nature had endowed with the strength and figure of a Hercules? Is that not the same as comparing a fly to an elephant?” – Sade
One of the most generic understandings of misanthropy has been that it arises from a kind of disappointed idealism. The misanthrope is not so much a hater, but rather a jilted lover, à la Molière’s Alceste, that infamous cantankerous inamorato, whose unfortunate attitude had sprung from loving not wisely but too well. It’s the kind of assessment you get from a shrink or a Marxist: of course it isn’t what it blatantly is, it must be something else… A starkly different conception of the misanthrope emerges in Nietzsche, who recognizes in this figure that which can never be contemporary, that which refuses the community of significance and rejects the pseudo-reality of cultural life. Instead, the misanthrope is an untimely figure “lost in the present, waiting for the past, and haunted by the future.” In Deleuzean terms they would be the paradox, that which refuses the common sense of the world and remains resigned as a witness that never experiences anything – that which is always there but never caught in either being or becoming. Rather like a photograph or a painting.
In spite of the frequency of people hating, it tends to be lucratively pathologized, usually under the umbrella of some sort of phobia. This is clearly stupid. People scarcely hate because they fear, but they seem to pathologically fear hate. And this fear is a deep one because when confronted with hatred, people are confronted with the limits of what constitutes being a person. As soon as there is doubt cast on this sacred definition, usually one furnished and policed by the state, a certain uneasiness arises. This is the result of the fact that one’s humanity, and certainly that of any imaginary Others, is nowhere near self-evident. The pathological and totalitarian insistence on the broadness of humanity has become the backbone of the contemporary academic and artistic economy. Anything that transgresses this imperialism of subjects is immediately stigmatized. Generally this is termed the unhuman, sometimes the demonic, likewise we might call it the perverse, either in Deleuze’s sense or in that of E.A. Poe.
Now deceased, but once professional human hater, Florence King, schematized misanthropes into two basic types. First was that of the naked intellect, who could passionately hate humanity and coolly vivisect it, relishing the surgery. “The misanthrope of the naked intellect hates people straight down the line with no exceptions and no regrets. Regarding mankind as hopeless, he tends to be apolitical. Regarding mankind as loathsome, he tends to be an apolitical arch-conservative, a purely temperamental stance whose sole purpose is hands-off apocalyptic revenge. Presented with Thomas Hobbes’s assessment, ‘The life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short,’ he replies: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’” She contrasts this with the tender misanthrope, a Rousseau type who hates humanity too, but clings to optimism, sure he or she could love humanity if only encountering it in some ideal and uncorrupted variety. Real, authentic, people are all that is required for the cure. They project this onto the oppressed of all shapes, stripes and spasms whose pathos rescues them from the sickness of artifice. If only we eliminated inequality, they suggest, these real and good people could come to the fore. And the only way to reveal their real authentic goodness is to save them from the world of artifice and science, from all the discriminations that are piled up on their humpbacks and inflame their goiters. Without all of that art getting in the way, we could finally see that the derision cast on these creatures is only a vile prejudice and they are actually beautiful and tender souls. They are more beautiful than art, and they don’t even need to be cured of their ills by science because that would be caving to a horrible aesthetic prejudice masquerading as medical treatment. Misanthropes don’t care for misanthropes, but no one hates them more than these sentimental haters. In both cases, there is a type of idealism at play that is both fuelling and feeding off of disaffection with the species. In his look at Victorian-era misanthropes, Christopher Lane describes the idealistic variety succinctly:
The ensuing strain touches on psychology and philosophy. As truculent idealists, misanthropes are society’s conscience and scold. Like revolutionaries, they question what we expect from other people; unlike revolutionaries, they can’t stand other people. Dismissing the idea of harmonious coexistence, misanthropes scorn fellow feeling, to say nothing of loyalty, conformity, and altruism. Ignoring Enlightenment philosophers who claimed that humans rationally would pursue pleasurable activities, many nineteenth-century misanthropes realized they would experience more happiness spoiling other people’s.
Some, such as David Konstan, have argued that the misanthrope stands as the representative of an ideal that had been betrayed. We might say they are a kind of rigid formalism trapped in an organic body and left to the ridiculousness of a society in flux.
There are, of course, misanthropes who hate people because of the misery that people cause, either to their own species or to the non-human world at large. Such people may identify themselves as anti-natalists and volunteer themselves for extinction. But a more cynical misanthrope might suggest that their uncomfortable knitting together of delirious compassion and self-congratulatory loathing is little more than a reduction to absurdity of the most asinine elements of liberal mythology. And it is. Suicidal volunteerism is only one or two peanuts short of welfare advocacy. There is a kind of Buddhist misanthropy here – a condemnation of life because it is suffering. Dolorism, by contrast, affirms the misery of life. In the Occident, this was crystallized in two distinct brands of Christianity, one which extolled the virtues of misery and sought their increase to gain knowledge of divinity; and one that condemned suffering as an evil to be extinguished through acts of mercy. The history of aesthetics, with their enrichment of the capacity for intensification, can be squarely placed in the Dolorist camp, though, unlike suffering (actively or passively), few have ever acknowledged either the aesthetic or ethical superiority perpetuating misery. The history of art institutions, theory, and publicity have largely been founded on obscuring this fact and overcoding its residue in terms more amenable to our phenomenal fancies. But stripped of the fantasies encased in social signalling, it may be best to recall Dostoevski’s suggestion that the only thing societies have ever done is increase the variety of sensations to suffer.
There is also a middle road between what appears to be the Scylla and Charybdis of misanthropy. That’s when the idealistic misanthrope loses their idealism. This can either turn to a pure venting of spite and vitriol, the Timonist manner of misanthropy, or something more dejected. Although King insists on the passion of misanthropy, even among its coldest adherents, the hatred of the species can wear some out. Eventually, they might realize that people are not worth the bother of hating. And while relishing their misery may offer some tangential pleasure, unless you possess a profoundly sensitive palate, what you have to endure for that meagre taste of sadism isn’t quite worth it. Unlike pleasure, which is tediously finite and gets boring fast so it requires aesthetic laws to make it tenable, suffering seems more genuinely infinite: there never seems to be nearly enough of it and it can be exponentially increased.
What resulted from Rousseauist misanthropy was people going on crying jags in the woods and then writing about it to their friends. Today they use social media or go to political protests. Unfortunately, many of them also attend art schools. Even more unfortunately, artist-run centres and state funding seem to exist to foist them on the public. To continue with King: “Only a tender misanthrope could screw up the world as Rousseau did. The misanthrope of the naked intellect, disdaining such categories as real people on the grounds that if indeed they exist, they must be even worse than the other kind, has no wish to liberate the repressions of a species that he already finds intolerable. If he must share the world with people, he wants them to be as decorous and self-controlled as possible. He is thus an Age of Reason unto himself who, for purely selfish motives, places humanity on a pedestal and holds it to the highest standard of behavior. Ironically or not, the misanthrope of the naked intellect is the true friend of mankind.” Driving the irony home, she notes that “Madame Bovary, the work of a misanthrope, is the most user-friendly novel ever written.”
In practice, one might argue, that whether you love or hate really does not make any difference. Or, to paraphrase a dead Irishman, there are two kinds of people who become socialists: those who hate the poor and those who love them. The Rousseauists have, for the moment at least, won out on monopolizing hatred, doing so not too wisely but too well. Soon, any other variety of loathing untempered by the hypocritical sadism of compassion mongering and moral blackmail may indeed be illegal.
Stealthy like the puma, on Monday August 7th we boarded a bus transporting masses and herds. We look at the faces of the passengers: there are 8 or 9 of them, and they all have the same face. They are all dominated by dirty society, worn down from the work that gives them artificial progress and false comfort. We don’t feel sorry for them, they’re all the same. They disgust us, their very existence perpetuates the same hyper-civilized society that enslaves them, the one that destroyed the natural state. This society annihilated our ancestors who did know how to live in the wild.
We carried a contraption with us. We had tested it before, leaving nothing to chance. It’s simple: two bottles filled with gasoline, a boiling mixture, a bulb, a clock with modifications that gave us time, and a switch as the safety. We left it under a seat and we sat in the back. We calculated the time and got off before it went off. Even though people were not burned, the damage we caused was more than what was expected. This time luck with on our side: the fire reached the electrical wires and lit a business on fire that turned out to be a hardware store!! Three birds with one stone: the Transantiago bus, the power line, and the store where more machines and chemical products were sold! Attention, the next ones could be those who use them!
This time the place we attacked was planned so that it coincided with an avenue where they are building a new corridor of the Transantiago and new metro lines, where more vehicles that carry imbeciles will occupy spaces that once were wild. This time it was the north of the city, before it was in Providencia, tomorrow it could be in any part of this dirty capital that we choose.
And lastly… No press, it was not a malfunction of the bus, don’t be stupid… this time more direct in the eye! No police-prosecutors-judges-government-whatever, don’t use the cliché statement, “causes that are still being investigated”. You were no match for the dudes from ITS-HMB, nor for the S.I…. now you don’t want to open more cases that you won’t be able to solve. This was our work and we take responsibility for it. Come at us from wherever, you won’t find us. Look for us on you security cameras, you won’t find us there because there were none. We planned this well and we aren’t prepared to transform ourselves into symbols, we would rather die first. We are already in hiding, stalking other prey.
Vengeance! The wekufes accompany us, and the darkness keeps us.
War against human progress!
Sincere complicity! Long live the Mafia of Extremist Individualists!
Whatever its form, anarchism, the “libertarian creed,” is basically a bad dream that laments political conflict and seeks the end of the intrusion of individual interests and self-assertion in social life. It is a fantasy that, sooner or later, appeals to morality and the internal police of conscience to repress and renounce the self by “respecting” the interests of the other.
The exhortations to morality, conscience, right, and respect in the “libertarian creed” tend to favor the strong and powerful over the weak and powerless, contrary to the intentions of the anarchists. The anarchist appeals to liberty, conscience, and morality function as a form of social control by marginalizing the weak and gullible from the war of each against all.
The fact to be borne in mind is that whether one “should” or “should not,” the strong natures never do. The powerful allow “respect for other’s interests” to remain the exclusive foible of the weak. The tolerance they have for others’ “interests rests” is not “respect” but indifference. The importance of furthering one’s own interests does not leave sufficient energy really to accord much attention to those of others. It is only when others’ interests thrust themselves intrusively across one’s own that indifference vanishes: because they have become possible allies or obstacles. If the latter, the fundamental lack of respect swiftly defines itself.
Part of what enables domination, or the stratification of rich and poor, powerful and weak, is that the rich and powerful have been able to convince others to renounce themselves and their interests. History and society are the domains where the rich and powerful assert and fulfill their interests while proselytizing the poor and weak about liberty, rights, and respect. History and society record little more than the “respect” the rich and powerful have for their neighbor’s interests. The rich and powerful succeed because they are concerned only for the imposition of their interests wherever their whim or purpose is focused. “Their success has been proportional to the unformedness of the characters with which they have had immediately to deal.”
For egoists, the decentralization and pluralism of democracy is an advantage because compulsion, the imposition of interests, can be exercised from an increased number of centers. The multiplicity of laws does not signify the oppressiveness of the state, as Proudhon, Tucker, and anarchists complain; instead it indicates the detailed channels through which interests are imposed and potentially fulfilled.
It is too vague to say that democracy represents the liberty of the people: rather one would say democracy represents the increase in the number of people who are prepared to take liberties (i.e., per persuade by personal violence), with the people who refuse assistance in the furthering of the audacious ones’ interests. It is the increase in the number of those who have the courage and ingenuity to become in an open and unequivocal fashion the tyrants we all are subtly and by instinct. It is part of the trend toward human explicitness. Continue reading →
The century that just passed is without a doubt that in which pessimism found its most numerous, its most varied, its most vigorous and its most systematic interpreters. In addition, individualism was expressed in that century with exceptional intensity by representatives of high quality.
It could be interesting to bring together these two forms of thought, dominant in our era; to ask what is the logical or sentimental connection that exists between them, and to what degree pessimism engenders individualism and individualism engenders pessimism.
But the question thus posed is too general. There are many kinds of pessimism and many kinds of individualism. Among the latter there is one that in no way implies pessimism, and that is the doctrinaire individualism that issues from the French Revolution and to which so many moralists, jurists, and politicians of our century are attached. This individualism could take as its motto the phrase of Wilhelm von Humboldt that Stuart Mill chose as the epigraph of his “Essay on Liberty”: “The grand, leading principle, towards which every argument unfolded in these pages directly converges, is the absolute and essential importance of human development in its richest diversity.” Individualists of this kind believe that all human individuals can harmonically develop in society, that their very diversity is a guarantee of the richness and beauty of human civilization.
These individualists are rationalists. They have faith in reason, the principle of order, of unity, and of harmony. They are idealists: they have faith in an ideal of social justice. unitarian and egalitarian, they believe, despite individual differences and inequalities, in the profound and real unity of human kind. These individualists are “humanists” in the sense that Stirner gives to this word: solidarists, socialists, if we take this latter term in its largest sense. Their individualism is turned outwards, towards society. It’s a social individualism, in the sense that it doesn’t separate the individual from society, which they don’t place in opposition to each other. On the contrary, they always consider the individual as a social element that harmonizes with the all and that only exists in function of the all. We will not insist upon this individualism, which obviously implies a more or less firm social optimism.
The individualism we have in mind here is completely different. This individualism is not a political, juridical and moral doctrine, but a psychological and moral attitude, a form of sensibility, a personal sensation of life and a personal will to life.
It is impossible to fix in a definition all the traits, all the degrees, all the nuances of this psychological disposition. It affects a special tone in every soul in which it makes itself known.
We can say that as a personal sensation of life, individualism is the sentiment of uniqueness, of individuality in what it has of the differential, the private, and the un-revealable. Individualism is an appeal to the interiority of sentiment, to individual inspiration in the face of social conventions and ready-made ideas. Individualism implies a sentiment of personal infallibility, an idea of intellectual and sentimental superiority, of inner artistocratism. Of irreducible difference between an ego and an other, the idea of uniqueness. Individualism is a return to the self and a gravitation to the self.
As personal will to life individualism is a desire to “be oneself,” according to the wish of a character from Ibsen (Peer Gynt), a desire for independence and originality. The individualist wants to be his own maker, his own furnisher of truth and illusion; his own builder of truth and illusion; his own builder of dreams; his own builder and demolisher of ideals. This wish for originality can, incidentally, be more or less energetic, more or less demanding, more or less ambitious. More or less happy, too, according to the quality and the value of the individuality in cause, according to the amplitude of the thought and according to the intensity of, the will to, individual might.
Be it as personal sensation of life or as personal will to life, individualism is or tends to be anti-social: if it is not so from the start, it later and inevitably becomes so. Sentiment of the profound uniqueness of the ego, desire for originality and independence, individualism cannot help but provoke the sentiment of a silent struggle between the individual self and society. In fact, the tendency of every society is to reduce the sentiment of individuality as much as possible: to reduce uniqueness through conformism, spontaneity through discipline, instantaneousness of the self through caution, sincerity of sentiment through the lack of sincerity inherent in any socially defined function, confidence and pride in the self through the humiliation inseparable from any kind of social training. This is why individualism necessarily has the sentiment of a conflict between its ego and the general ego. Individualism becomes here a principle of passive or active inner resistance, of silent or declared opposition to society, a refusal to submit oneself to it; a distrust of it. In its essence, individualism holds in contempt and negates the social bond. We can define it as a will to isolation, a sentimental and intellectual, theoretical and practical commitment to withdraw from society, if not in fact – following the examples of the solitaries of the Thebeiad and the more modern one of Thoreau – at least in sprit and intention, by a kind of interior and voluntary retreat. This distancing from society, this voluntary moral isolation that we can practice in the very heart of society can take on the form of indifference and resignation as well as that of revolt. It can also assume the attitude of the spectator, the contemplative attitude of the thinker in an Ivory Tower. But there is always in this acquired indifference, in this resignation or this spectatorial isolation, a remnant of interior revolt.
Sentiment of uniqueness and more or less energetic expression of the will to personal power; will to originality, will to independence, will to insubordination and revolt, will to isolation and to withdrawal into the self. Sometimes also will to supremacy, to the deployment of force on and against others, but always with a return to the self, with a sentiment of personal infallibility, with an indestructible confidence in oneself, even in defeat, even in the failure of hopes and ideals. Intransigence, inaccessibility of internal conviction, fidelity to oneself up to the bitter end. Fidelity to one’s misunderstood ideas, to one’s impregnable and unassailable will: individualism is all this, either globally or in detail, this element or that, this nuance or that predominating according to the circumstances and the case.
Individualism, understood as we just expressed it, that is, as an internal disposition of the soul, individualism as sensation and will is no longer, like the individualism of which we spoke above, like political and juridical individualism, turned outwards and subordinated to social life, to its constraints, its demands and obligations. It is turned inwards. It places itself at the beginning or seeks refuge in the end in the unbreakable and intangible interior being.
To say that there is a close psychological relationship between the individualist and pessimist sensibilities means almost stating the obvious. Pessimism supposes a basic individualism. It supposes that interiority of sentiment, that return to the self (almost always painful) that is the essence of individualism. While optimism is nothing but an abstract metaphysical thesis, the echo of doctrinal hearsay, pessimism is a sensation of lived life; it comes from the inner, from an individual psychology. It proceeds from what is most intimate in us: the ability to suffer. It predominates among those of a solitary nature who live withdrawn into themselves and see social life as pain. Thoroughbred pessimists, the great artists and theoreticians of suffering, lived solitary and as strangers in the midst of men, retrenched in their ego as if in a fortress from which they let fall an ironic and haughty gaze on the society of their kind. And so it is not by accident, but by virtue of an intimate psychological correlation that pessimism is accompanied by a tendency towards egotistic isolation.
Inversely, the individualist spirit is almost fatedly accompanied by pessimism. Does not experience as old as the world teach us that in nature the individual is sacrificed to the species? That in society it is sacrificed to the group? Individualism arrives at a resigned or hopeless noting of the antinomies that arise between the individual and the species on one hand, and between the individual and society on the other.
Life doubtless perpetually triumphs over this antinomy, and the fact that despite it all humanity continues to live can appear to be an unarguable reply that refutes both pessimism and individualism. But this is not certain. For if humanity as a species and as a society pursues its destiny without worrying about individuals’ complaints or revolts, individualism does not die for all that. Always defeated, never tamed, it is incarnated in souls of a special caliber, imbued with the sentiment of their uniqueness and strong in their will to independence. Individualism suffers a defeat in every individual who dies after having served ends and surrendered to forces that are beyond him. But he survives himself through the generations, gaining in force and clarity as the human will to life intensifies, diversifies and becomes refined in individual consciousness. It is thus that is affirmed the dual consistency of pessimism and individualism, indissolubly united and interconnected.
Nevertheless, it is possible that this psychological tie that we believe we have discovered between pessimism and individualism is nothing but an a priori view. If instead of reasoning about psychological likelihoods we consult the history of ideas of the 19th century we will perhaps see that the relationship of ideas that we have just indicated is neither as simple nor as consistent as at first appears. We must penetrate in detail the different forms of pessimism and individualism and more closely analyze their relationship if we want to arrive at precise ideas.