Hell Comes to Frogtown: Alt Right and Triumph of Transhumanism
While Richard Spencer’s half-joke of hailing Donald Trump with Roman salute rose a lot of dust, some remarks in his NPI speech point into rather sinister direction. A posthuman one.
transcript with references and additional a/v material:
Undoubtedly, there was a sigh of relief throughout the world when Hillary Clinton lost Presidential elections to Donald Trump. If for nothing else, then for the sake of quiet joy of watching adolescent commissars melt in tears “because: racism, homophobia, xenophobia and whateverphobia”; it was a joy, and a relief, because it showed monolithic control system of moral nominalism, dubbed “political correctness”, to be a paper tiger.
However, party is over and dialectics is back with the vengeance. As SJWs are, hopefully, moving out from the spotlight of post-historical stage, the new contender asserts his right to fashion the reality of our day and age into his own image. If we are to judge the day by the first gleam of dawn, this image will be just as ugly – and just as unreal – as hermaphrodite ideal of politically correct “shitlib”.
In the words of more or less universally acclaimed leader of the “alternative right” movement, Richard Spencer, in the future we are to deal with the leadership of “children of the sun”.
This is an interesting, and to my mind quite worrisome, statement of intent – a manifestation of will, as Spencer would doubtless rectify me – pointing out in many directions while seemingly focusing on the eternal – and quite unidirectional – circular movement of the pagan deity, revered by all self-respecting übermenschen – from Nietzsche to postmodern occultists.
However, there’s a deeper astro-theological metaphor at work here. The “pure eye that can gaze upon overabundance of joy without envy” (Nietzsche) in it’s virtual, postmodern, installment is not to be strictly represented by Swastika – as Spencer apparently assumes, but by other, only seemingly ancient, symbol taken in fact from the world of tabletop and PC gaming and turned into ideological brand by Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin (or his minions): an individual widely promoted by core members of alt right movement.
The symbol in question is an eight pointed star signifying the movement, not of sun, but of presumably primordial origin of everything: Chaos.
In the lines to follow, we’ll provide some preliminary analysis of the emerging situation: the channeling of chaos principle – and adjacent chaos logic – through loosely knit alt right movement, taking as a starting point some statements from Spencer’s speech held at NPI Conference in Washington D.C. on November 21st.
Triumph of the will or hipster Babylon working
In introduction to his triumphal encomium to the ideological victory of alt right, embodied in the election of Donald Trump, Spencer makes one interesting remark:
“But even though we always took Trump seriously, there was still a moment of unreality – or perhaps too painfully intense reality – when the state of Pennsylvania was called for Donald Trump, the moment when we knew Kek had smiled upon us, that meme magic was real. And though these terms are used half-jokingly, they represent something truly important–the victory of will. We willed Donald Trump into office, made this dream into reality.”
It is all delivered in a manner of an in-joke, not to be taken too seriously. Moreover, to the uninitiated into mysteries of this Internet movement it is probably unclear who is “Kek” and what exactly is “meme magic”.
We’ll start our explanation with lesser weirdness.
“Meme” is an expression denoting “inexistent existent”, coined apparently by Richard Dawkins to explain how human thoughts fit in his evolutionary theology: memes are thoughts expressed in image and/or phrase which, by circulation in public, acquire the life and subsistence of their own and are able to “infect” the consciousness with their messages, like viruses. Meme is inexistent because there’s no such thing as thoughts having a biologically based self-subsistence and ability to procreate like viruses. Images and/or phrases are not living beings save by bad analogy that omits to tell us on what exactly it is based: what is that one principle making memes and viruses congenial. Yet they, quite paradoxically, exist because analogy apparently works. However no one seems to pose the question, why it works.
Well, it works because it is magical.
Here we have an example of magical thinking in the postmodern – in fact posthumanist – vein, resting on assumption that what has not evolved in nature can – and should – be created in analogy to imagined process of evolution. If artificial construct is in line with “principle of evolution” it is real or, to be more precise, it is in accordance with imaginary nature of this principle; it is imagined into existence.
Therefore “meme magick” works only insofar it relies upon artificial, preferably technological medium for sustenance and on assumption that its recipients identify themselves with their artificial, preferably online identities that can indeed be imbibed with “memes” as they are in themselves artificial and arbitrary constructs.
The goal of practitioner of such magic – a far cry from what was traditionally considered to be magic – is to change the world according to his will. This is, more or less, what is known from the Seventies of the last century as chaos magick, a postmodern imitation of ancient practice of acting in sub-human and sub-natural “domain” of the world, in the past mostly confined to people born with dubious talent to practice it. The peculiarity of chaos magick is, on the one hand, that it is entirely syncretic, i.e. that it uses everything that it’s practitioner can imbibe with intended, subjective, meaning, and that it relies on virtual, i.e. artificial world of mass culture, now embodied above all in Internet.
The idea behind it all is that nothing is true and everything is possible.
There are many interesting implications to this.
The first is that everything is interrelated, i.e. that everything is connected with everything else. So any which way you take, you’ll get where you want to get if you will it hard enough. The second is that there’s no hierarchy of higher and lower – there’s only an infinite surface dissolving into ever more complex elements, dissolving in turn into nothingness, if concentrated upon. As there’s nothing higher, there’s nothing to be revered and everything can – and indeed: should – be an object of ironical laughter. And, most importantly, this is the world of dreams, ruled by what is usually called “dream logic” but in actual fact: chaos logic or un-logic.
In this sense, Richard Spencer quite accurately proclaimed Trump’s victory an accomplishment of meme- or chaos magick.
Trump is willed into office by Internet memes binding the will of alt right adherents and turning their dream into reality – virtual reality, one may add, yet reality nonetheless. The fact that Trump was elected for a plethora of motives – from the appeal of his politics, to public takedown of Hillary Clinton by Wikileaks – is immaterial, because in the world of chaos every subjective “reality tunnel”, or interpretation of the world, is as real as any other.
In this sense we can observe new “God Emperor of USA” as a magical creation of Internet, by the Internet and for the Internet – today still the Internet of interconnected computer nodes, but soon probably the Internet of things. If one is to push Spencer’s remark to it’s logical extreme, we can assert that illustrious Donald is the world’s first president of posthuman race; an embodiment of ultra progressive dream invoked to reality by professed ultra anti-progressive group.
So that was lesser weirdness. Let us proceed now to high weirdness.
We owe the reader an answer to a question: who the hell is Kek?
Well, the reason why Spencer mentions him is again a magickal “half-joke”: Kek is interpreted to be an ancient Egyptian deity by a number of Internet observers and identified with alt right memetic avatar – Pepe the frog. While I habitually suspend judgment on all things Egyptian, because ancient Egyptian culture is a slippery ground even for experts, I consider this interpretation, upon closer inspection, to be quite valid in the virtual light of chaos logic.
Namely, Pepe, the cartoon character, conceived in 2005. by cartoonist Matt Furie, emerged as a meme from the depths of Internet forums, more precisely: 4chan sub-forum /pol/, devoted to political discussions with no holds barred, which was, in view of some observers, a breeding ground for many alt right aficionados; a place of absolute freedom, therefore: absolute chaos.
The expression “kek” was also appropriated from the forums and stems from the in-joke among the players of World of Warcraft, replacing the standard Internet abbreviation “LOL” (“laughing out loud”). Someone eventually noticed that Kek is in fact the name of frog-headed Egyptian deity, signifying Chaos and darkness, and Pepe was rebranded as Kek the deity – ironic one, no doubt, half joking one, as surprisingly many alt righters like to put it, but deity nonetheless.
It is important to point out that in view of the most “esoteric Kekists”, that is: (half grinning) faithful of Kek/Pepe, the association was originally entirely haphazard and accidental, yet it developed into an ever growing system of synchronicities – causally unrelated meaningful relations among events. So it came to pass that Kek sounds very similar to ‘cuck’(originally: cuckservative), a term denoting old fashioned conservative who was still not “red pilled” (another meme taken from pop culture, shared by both alt right and conspiracy theorists) by alt right or, should we assume: Kek himself; furthermore, Hillary Clinton addressed Pepe as nothing less than public enemy, identifying presumably the whole alt right movement with cartoon character. Then it happened that after this act Hillary fainted in front of the cameras, and that was immediately interpreted as an action of Kek.
A good run-down of Kek/Pepe/Trump identification
However, it all began with people noticing the numerical synchronicities in the random series of numbers in posts on /pol/ sub-forum:
„One last thing you need to understand about imageboard culture: dubs.
Every post on 4chan and similar venues comes with an 8-digit numerical stamp. This number represents that post’s entry position in the entire posting lineage of the imageboard.
With the amount of traffic these sites get, the last couple digits of this number are essentially a random roll. When a poster gets repeated digits, its called “dubs”, “trips”, “quads”, and so on.
Since a poster can’t know their post number until after they’ve submitted the post, its common for people to “bet” the contents of their message on the occurrence of repeating digits (…) When that endeavor proves a successful, a “GET” has been made and the stroke of luck is celebrated.
Out of this practice, a strange phenomenon began to take place on /pol/: discussion threads associated with Trump displayed noticeably frequent GETs. It wasn’t long before all of these seemingly random elements discussed so far became irreparably tied together within imageboard culture:
- Pepe the Frog (now /pol/’s unofficial mascot)
- Donald Trump (/pol/’s overwhelming candidate of choice)
- Repeating digit post numbers (“GETS”)
- “KEK” (used as an expression of delight, particular in response to Trump’s “trolling” of the establishment, as well as in reaction to unlikely GETs in general)
…and a god was born.“ (source)
Synchronicities related to emergence of Kek the God and his merging with Trump in the bowels of Internet forums early on in the presidential campaign, are so numerous and, frankly, mind boggling that we cannot list them here, for the sake of brevity. For our purpose it is sufficient to point out that for many alt right aficionados, including core leadership, Kek is the God and Trump is his prophet, all declared with smug grin and ironical stance, yet with all the necessary power of conviction.
Namely, chaos magick relies on laughter, or irreverence of its own principles because it is essentially un-principled. Fairly in accordance with its postmodern nature it seeks to deconstruct any kind of order to enable its “practitioner” to impose his own will and change the world – as Spencer would put it: make his dreams a reality.
I would go further and add: make all reality a dream; because, chaos magick and alt right are nothing more but novel forms in the development of virtual, i.e. posthuman, world. The idea of adherence and reattachment to tradition that the alt right movement professes is nothing more but simulacrum appealing to people tired of liberal nihilism – in its essence, however, it is a complete opposite: a disintegration of all substantial traditional principles – above all an idea of preexistent hierarchy of Being – into nothingness of primordial Chaos.
I already developed this insight regarding the subversive work of Alexander Dugin, who is probably the most consequent subverter of Tradition with recognizable public persona acting in our age, but now we can see how his affiliates in USA and Europe are doing the same thing – with less philosophical subtlety, but fueled by much greater raw power. Namely, alt right, if we are to judge by what it’s leadership advocates, is ideologically nothing more but project of building the simulated tradition – something Richard Spencer likes to call “political theology” – founded on New Age filtered Aryan myths, racial interpretation of Nietzsche and generally crossbred with “do your own thing” mentality, all done in the virtual ether of information technology. After all, if we are to agree with Spencer – half jokingly of course – that God Emperor was inaugurated by the act of Kek the God, then the victory of alt right “traditionalists” is in fact the victory of technological magic; the act of pseudo magus waving the same wand Ray Kurzweill and his ilk offer to progressive lunatics.
In the end, therefore, we are talking about another victory of posthumanism, branded, spontaneously or otherwise, as traditionalism. The obsession of alt right adherents with “identity” in general and “white identity” in particular points to a fact that they are unable to realize the simple truth of Tradition they supposedly defend: they understand identity as something that can be created and not something that must be accepted. Observing the plethora of various, rather eccentric individuals in it’s vanguard, from macho gay postmodern Spartans to adherents to all kinds of exotic – and to a large extent made up – pagan religions one is at the lack to find a common denominator, save maybe for quite unchallenged neo-darwinist stance, especially to be found among “game” bloggers as Chateau Heartiste. If someone thinks that he can reattach himself to pre-modern spiritual history of humankind – actually the only one there is – while at the same time musing about “alpha and beta males”, “sexual market”, “signaling and counter-signaling”, professing therefore his proud monkey ancestry and reducing human relations to mental GMO of memes, genes and biological analogies, he is doing nothing else than unconsciously subverting the very thing he seemingly defends.
The allure of alt right lies in it’s dialectical opposition to political correctness and rampart destruction of moral substance of the West, induced by process of globalization. Yet this is an eristic or, to use an excellent neologism invented by one correspondent of mine: discordian dialectic; the process of infinite division into ever multiplying opposites founded on the principle of Chaos. It is all done with the crooked half grin, a pinch of salt to every smug remark – with irony of the man who knows he’s a liar and a cheat. But smug humor goes just a short way. In the end it morphs into sarcasm and irreverence of what should in fact be revered and subverts the very principles it professes to defend, far more effectively than dead serious PC brigade or techno loonies of posthumanist movement could ever hope for.
We’ll end with the word of warning to Christian adherents of alt right. The words have a definite meanings and power. There’s only one Chaos and there’s only one bringer of light from Chaos – as some Kek worshipers already defined the poor Frog’s main job. And it’s not the One to be defined as “God from God, Light from Light”, but “God from Gutter, Light from Darkness”. A real Darkness shining in virtual brightness. Hope you guess His name.
So, without a pinch of irony, I declare: be careful who your “hail”.
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Excellent analysis as ever Branko.
Very helpful. Thank you.
I admit that I dabbled with stuff like chaos-magick and the eristic anti-logic in my post modern days, but not then nor until very recently did I imagine that this imbecility will actually become mainstream. Even within occultist circles it generally seen as belonging to the trash can of the occult world.
Well, post-modernity always offers quite a lot of surprises…
It’s probably the most appropriate form of occult for tehnetronic era. Democratic, accessible and irresponsible.
Thank you for exellent article. Also, I am very glad to see that the idea of Trump election is not a “conservative turn” but next step into Great Parody is not my personal paranoid guess.
As a former mr.Dugin’s strong follower (after all, he is brought Guenon writings and strict orthodoxy Traditionalism to the russian-speaking world in the 90s , which was a revelation for many people), I am very confused with his euphoric Trump support.
Always declare himself as a orthodox Christian, Dugin, being a religion scholar, is familiar to the Crowleanism and other subversive, “contr-initiatic” quasi-magical beliefs , so, I cannot understand his blindness in that case. Maybe he is think that he could finally “ride the tiger” in Evolaist sense…
Sure, Trump is a seductive and deceptive temptation for all of us, who decline the principles of “Modern World”… and, which is worse, I cannot see reasonable and clear public alternatives to this figure in the contemporary political spectre.
Well, the truth is that really “nothing is true”, and we need to deal with it in our personal lives.
Try this: https://z5h64q92x9.net/proxy_u/ru-en.en/www.platonizm.ru/content/dugin-radikalnyy-subekt-i-metafizika-boli
I feel compelled to point out that the very first line in your story is a falsehood. Spencer did not hail Trump with a “Roman Salute” but with a raised whiskey glass. This is my first encounter with your site after reading your letter in Culture Wars and I am very disappointed that for going out of my way I was rewarded with a bald-faced lie in the very first sentence. The rest of the article is only obliquely relevant and is essentially way off base.
When it comes down to it, all creation of concepts, words and ideas (and everything influence by them, including empirical perception) is “chaos magic” in the author’s sense – the question does not revolve around the “imagining” – all meanings are ultimately “imagined” – the question lies in how close those imaginings approximate to the Logos of things as they actually are, regardless of anyone’s will.
The author’s attempt to connect “chaos magik” or “anti-logic” to the Alt Right in a formal or literal sense comes off as extremely austistic to anyone who actually knows what the Alt Right is – as opposed to people watching from the sidelines or trying to catch up with us. Everyone uses memes – including the Medieval Catholic Church – the point is which memes are a more accurate reflection of Logos? In the modern world, undoubtedly the Alt Right’s memes are superior to everyone’s, including the currently-illegitimate hierarchy occupying the Church.
All the stuff about “transhumanism” is obviously a preoccupation and personal boogie man of the author and he merely projects it on to the Alt Right; because the Alt Right is “bad” and transhumanism is “bad” (granted, btw), the Alt-Right must be transhumanist. QED? The author does not understand the Alt Right, perhaps due to his own pre-existing ideological commitments or perhaps merely due to sincere misunderstanding, but I will commend him on one score: at least he doesn’t attack the Alt Right for being racistnazisexistbigotkkk. Rather, he attacks us on the basis of our ostensible philosophy. Now, it’s not actually our philosophy – it’s just the author’s misunderstood interpretation of our philosophy(s) – but that is a whole lot better than just being called irrational bigots. Overall, kudos to the author for trying to understand us, even if he falls way short. Get rid of that first sentence though; in the most charitable interpretation, it is the sloppiest kind of journalism/misinforation; in a more harsh interpretation it is an outright lie that the author has consciously chosen to adopt because it suits prejudices. Watch the video. There was, alas, no “Roman Salute” from Richard Spencer.
“The rest of the article is only obliquely relevant and is essentially way off base.”
Why such large comment then? And to rectify polite yet undue approval, Alt Right is racist and post-Nazi movement. I’m keeping the first sentence. I know Spencer will prove me right sooner than later.
It’s more of a “racist and contemporary-Nazi” movement, tbh fam. But with the truth on our side, it doesn’t much matter what you call us so, as you please.
I am new to your work having googled ‘alt right posthumanism’. Your analysis is beautifully written and stunningly insightful. I rarely find these issues treated with the intellectual seriousness and honesty you have shown here. Many thanks.