Feeding of the Troll: Virtual Reality and Terrorism
The distance between the mainstream and the fringe tends to progressively get blurred as much as the difference it delineates tends to become hard to pinpoint. In our previous work, we have stressed this trend as something that is coming, but now there are reasons to affirm that it is a fact to be dealt with as quite present and eerily predictable.
The “ecosystem” of Internet based political, mostly youth, culture we singled out at the time, mainly in the form of 4chan/8chan image boards, with their trajectory towards what we named “chaos principle”, masquerading as “anti-Political Correctness rebellion”, recently got its martyr in the form of Brenton Tarrant, an Australian who committed a mass murder at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand.
In other words: Internet Troll went live.
In the following we’ll offer some remarks on the possible motivation of the perpetrator in the light of the analysis we conducted about related subjects in the past. This is not to put forward any explanation of his individual act, but to outline what could lie behind it and makes such act more and more acceptable for younger people.
At the outset, we have to credit Bellingcat contributor Robert Evans, for being the first to drive attention to some peculiarities of this case, which we’ll put in the context of some assertions we made in previous work on KT.
The shooter’s manifesto, when put into context of Internet habitat it was inspired by, provided Evans with clues that perpetrator is not entirely what he seems. Taking into consideration Tarrant’s manifesto titled “The Great Replacement”, Evans notes:
“In “The Great Replacement” (he) repeats a variety of “white genocide” talking points, and claims his murder of several dozen Muslims is because they are “invaders” outbreeding the white race. All the evidence we have suggests these are, more or less, the shooter’s beliefs.
But this manifesto is a trap itself, laid for journalists searching for the meaning behind this horrific crime. There is truth in there, and valuable clues to the shooter’s radicalization, but it is buried beneath a great deal of, for lack of a better word, “shitposting”.” (source)
The manifesto in fact reveals that the perpetrator is an aficionado of Internet subculture focused on what at the first glance appears to be extreme “anti-PC” satire, trolling and indulging in creating a radical distance from humorless norms regulating speech and thought; in this context, “shitposting” is an act of amassing Internet comments that are so grotesquely contrarian and often contradictory as to confuse the interlocutor, attempting to push forward the natural tendency towards information overload, always present on Internet, and paralyze the opponent.
The “anti-PC” moment fooled a lot of people into thinking that this act is simply a means to an end: “shitposter” is merely attempting to break the blockade of inflated norms of “correct” speech in order to clear the way for free discussion.
However, it is anything but.
The extreme irreverence, contrarian in relation to the extreme Puritanism of political correctness, is not merely a technique to shake the people up, whereupon the “shitposter” will in his turn shake off the clown guise and start a reasoned conversation, but is the end in itself or, to be more exact, one aspect of this end.
While political correctness is a way to completely drain speech of any moral substance by inflating its form at the expense of its content, trolling that finds its most extreme expression on image boards is the way to destroy the same substance by explicitly denying its existence.
This in itself is an act of creating chaos.
Evans, whereas not drawing this conclusion, points out one collaborating example:
“In his manifesto, Brenton credits far-right personality Candace Owens with beginning his radicalization. He states that, “Each time she spoke I was stunned by her insights and her own views helped push me further and further into the belief of violence over meekness. Though I will have to disavow some of her beliefs, the extreme actions she calls for are too much, even for my tastes. (…)But in the context of the shooter’s online presence, and the rest of his manifesto, this was almost certainly misdirection. Here is what the author wrote immediately below the section crediting Owens for his radicalization. In it, he jokes that “Spyro the Dragon 3”, a video game, taught him “ethno-nationalism”.It is possible, even likely that the author was a fan of Owens’s videos: she certainly espouses anti-immigrant rhetoric. But in context seems likely that his references to Owens were calculated to spark division, and perhaps even violence, between the left and the right.”
Tarrant’s manifesto is peppered with such attempts. The idea is to provoke tension and ultimately conflict between opposing political camps with no regard as to what camp one belongs too. For instance, at one point, in the Q&A part of manifesto we read this:
“Won’t your attack result in calls for the removal of gun rights from Whites in the United states?
Yes, that is the plan all along, you said you would fight to protect your rights and the constitution, well soon will come the time.
Won’t your attack result in calls for the removal of gun rights in the New Zealand?
The gun owners of New Zealand are a beaten, miserable bunch of baby boomers, who have long since given up the fight.When was the last time they won increased rights? Their loss was inevitable.I just accelerated things a bit.” (“The Great Replacement”, pg. 26 – 27)
Apparently Tarrant is acting upon the principle named by his indirect ideological forerunners as the “adversary principle”.
It is most radically, and therefore most clearly, expressed in the ideological/metaphysical system going by the name of “Order of the 9 Angles”, on which we already did a lengthy series in three parts (pt. 1, pt. 2., pt. 3). In this article we won’t imply that perpetrator was directly influenced by O9A, but only apply this ideology as lenses through which we’ll observe his actions. However, it is almost certain, judging by his background in the Internet underworld, that he at least encountered it.
The idea behind adversary principle or “sinister dialectics” is that political change is brought about by acts challenging the order of reality whose simplest expression is the principle of sufficient reason or causality. Things come to pass in a certain way that is meaningful and predictable due to constant presence of causal nexus whereupon we understand why, whence and wherefore of events.
In the optics of O9A this is an illusion that has to be destroyed by what is called “presencing of the acausal”.
This neologism indicates to the core metaphysics where “acausal”, i.e. chaos, is the “root” of all things, obfuscated by causality which has to be broken in order for the true negative essence of reality to shine forth.
What makes this standpoint so radical and, quite literally, sinister (in O9A system, “sinister” is used in its original meaning of “what is to the left”; so for example, “sinistra vivendi” does not indicate to “sinister path” but “left hand path” in the sense of modern philosophical Satanism. However, at some point the difference becomes rather meaningless, because the idea is as sinister as it gets), is its strictly consequent appliance in the metaphysical sense: causality itself is an illusion to be actively destroyed by any means necessary, from terrorism and human sacrifice to advocacy of radically contradictory political ideas to sow confusion.
The practitioner of adversary principle is not only at liberty, but strictly obliged, to perform contradictory acts and advocate contradictory ideas, because this breaks down the order, and any kind of order is a fair game.
For a period of time he can be a neo-Nazi whereas, at other time – and at the flip of the finger – he can reinvent himself as Wahabbi extremists. As we noted in our series on O9A this is precisely what David Myatt, the intellectual originator of the system, did himself.
Yet in all different incarnations – insight roles, as they are called in O9A system – one thing remains unchanged and that is commitment to destruction.
In the following passage we have it in no uncertain terms:
“For a long time the nature of the Left Hand Path had been misunderstood. The traditional definition as magick use for personal/destructive/negative purposes is meaningless because it assumes a framework of moral opposites, which does not, in reality, exist in relation to magickal energies. All evolution of consciousness is a magickal act – an expansion of the acausal into realm of the causal. From the ‘traditional’(sic), moral/ Nazarene (this term denotes Christianity. Myatt obviously endeavors to follow Satanist’s tradition of never pronouncing the name Jesus Christ, KT) point of view all such evolution, of necessity, becomes evil. It is unfortunate that, for a long time, this simple fact has been obscured by silly systems like Qabala (meaning Kabbalah, KT) with its notions of a Dark Side of the Tree (meaning cabbalistic “Tree of Life”, KT). No dark side exists, because what actually exists (…) is(emphasis in the original, KT) dark of itself because it presences non-Being.” Naos. (O9A manuscript), pg. 112.
Indeed, it is all dark, because the acausal is just a fancy – and quite self-contradictory – term to denote absolute evil and every act of “presencing” it in the causal realm “of necessity, becomes evil”.
We claim that Tarrant’s act could’ve been motivated precisely by such purpose. Also, we claim that, if this is so, there’s nothing fringe worthy about it anymore.
Internet trolling of the kind informed on image boards like 4/8 chan is apparently completely normal behavior for plethora of young people and the only difference between it and the video game-like massacre Tarrant perpetrated is that Australian at some point went “live”.
The presupposition of it all is, namely, an ability to completely lose causal, i.e. human, form that limits the freedom of chaos by moral standards and empathy, and embracing the game in which there is no rules.
In this respect, I am not at all sure that people like Tarrant can be properly diagnosed with some of the standard psychological ailments and are more likely completely functional from the psychological and physiological standpoint. It seems rather that this mass murder was motivated literary by the desire to realize an internet meme, where morality of the act is measured by standards that are not based in the real world, because the whole complex of meaning at its root is Internet based. Hence “remove the kebab” meme, built around purely memetic image of Muslims as invaders that are out breeding the indigenous population, is in fact the reality in which the shooter exists and makes his moral deliberations. As this is a slice of virtual reality, where any similarities with actual reality serve only to provide Internet based image with substance it lacks, the act itself is the surge of virtuality into real life and can probably be explained only in terms of artificial reality it stems from.
If this assumption is true, from the standpoint of real life, it was an act of purely and simply doing evil for evil’s sake, thus hoping to provoke further similar acts, preferably from the opposing camp.
In Tarrant’s own words:
“These tumultuous times can be brought about through action. For example, actions such as voting for political candidates that radically change or challenge entrenched systems, radicalizing public discourse by both supporting, attacking, vilifying,radicalizing and exaggerating all societal conflicts and attacking or even assassinating weak or less radical leaders/influencers on either side of social conflicts.A vote for a radical candidate that opposes your values and incites agitation or anxiety in your own people works far more in your favour than a vote for a milquetoast political candidate that has no ability or wish to enact radical change.Incite conflict.Place posters near public parks calling for sharia law, then in the next week place posters over such posters calling for the expulsion of all immigrants, repeat in every area of public life until the crisis arises.”
While inciting radical change through contrarian actions – In Lenin’s own words: the worse things get, the better they are – was always a mainstay of revolutionaries, this postmodern deed of violence is novel in the sense that it comes from deliberation that was formed by information overload reduced into a coherent informational system, describing the world to subject’s satisfaction in the form of some kind of clash of civilizations he has to actively participate in.
Altogether, it is interesting to note how adherents of this kind of, supposedly, Right wing politics come from the geographical part of the world that historically had little or nothing to do with Muslims, which is demonstrated also by Tarrant’s interpretation of history of those peoples who actually had been living with Muslim populations for centuries, where it is obvious that his cartoonish understanding of historical conflicts serves the function of creating coherent system of meaning and does not reflect any kind of historical reality.
But the reality – and especially historical aspect of it – is the real enemy here. The goal is the revolutionary change that attempts to erase the claim reality reserves against the informational system the perpetrator created for himself in his Internet based reality tunnel.
In conclusion, we can only point out that being contrarian today can have rather different meaning than it used to have. Political correctness is indeed, in its own way, utterly nihilistic system aimed at goading people into policing their own speech and, in the last consequence, thoughts. However, I don’t believe for a second that this “troll going live” had any rebelious intention, so that one could say acts like his are some kind of radical reaction to invisible oppressor.
The egotistical nature of people who act upon memes prevents this; as political correctness errodes intimacy and any kind of real meaning in societal norms, the rebellion against it is necessarily motivated by inclination to defend them. The supposed commitment by young “chaos magicians” and “shitposters” to “saving the Western civilizations” is, on the other hand – and quite literary – a joke.
In reality tunnels each dwells alone.
Therefore, authentic rebellion could not come from the bowels of reality tunnel, but from the reality itself; it could not come from isolated individuals, but only from people who are intrinsically social and thoroughly socialized, feeling the threat precisely to bond that unites them.
Nothing of a sort is in Internet based movements to which Tarrant was close. As they are built on memes and virtual history, consisting of patchwork of isolated historical half truths, serving the systemic function of creating meaning and keeping virtual individual in existence, they can only surge in the real world and real history as force of destruction.
It is entirely possible that this is precisely what went down in New Zealand on March, 15th.
Virtual burst into reality or, as left hand path metaphysics would have it, acausal burst into the causal.
And, as is quite predictable bearing in mind the indicators we noted, all it left behind was death.
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