Monday, 2 June 2014

A VERY ORDINARY GOD

"Look at me! I'm magnificent..."

by William Solniger

So: the Isla Vista killer, Elliot Rodger... In choosing to cast my hat into this already overcrowded ring, I am not particularly interested in refuting the feminists and other progressivists who are standing upon this tragedy to bloviate about “rape culture,” “misogyny,” and “white racism.” If – as the saying goes – wrestling with a pig in muck is an unwise endeavour even if you win, it is surely even more unwise to grapple with the end of the pig which produces flatulence, and all the more so in the knowledge that the strength, odour and direction of this flatulence will be the same whether the pig has digested an Hispanic neighbourhood-watchman or an Eurasian psychopath; instead, the only wise option is to keep a dignified and healthy distance from the pig-sty.

Thus, on these topics it suffices for me to point out the obvious fact that sexual resentment produces hatred of females and rival males in equal measure, and to note the interesting fact that Rodger’s racial assumptions  as expressed in his rambling manifesto  seem closest of all to the weird sub-Confucian racial hierarchy found in the minds of many modern Chinese: blacks looked upon almost as animals (“he is descended from slaves”), Asian males subject to endless insecurity and self-loathing (“I always felt as if white girls thought less of me because I was half-Asian”), and personal connections with the white race (“I am descended from British aristocracy”) prized as a source of social “face.”

Nor do I feel it necessary to expand upon what has no doubt already been rightly said by the “manosphere”: that Elliot Rodger’s misanthropy is the fruit of a society which, in its obsession with “emancipating” women from any responsibility for their sexual choices, has created a de facto polygamy in which a small stratum of sexually successful males monopolises the most eligible women and condemns a far larger substratum of men to loneliness, resentment and desperation. This is an important part of the truth, but it is not the whole truth. For Rodger’s 140-page manifesto speaks in far wider terms of the psychosis inherent in the Millenial generation in particular, and the modern, “emancipated,” “democratic” mindset in general. 

The psychological agony suffusing Rodger’s manifesto is no mere product of individual lunacy, for in essence it is none other than the agony of all those who are squeezed in the “scissors crisis” of the modern mentality: namely, absurdly high expectations versus progressively disappointing outcomes. Having presumably been indoctrinated from childhood with the “positive” idea that everyone can live a glittering, hedonistic life, that success comes inevitably to all who desire it, and that tragedy or failure is something unnatural, unusual and horrifically unfortunate, Rodger was then humiliated by the refusal of his reality to conform to his artificially inflated fantasies. This is, in truth, the lot of almost everyone who buys into a society which educates and flatters every child as if he were to be King, and then subjects every adult to the brutal inequalities of money, talent, and mere luck. The object of frustrated desire could almost be anything: one might expect that if Rodger had been sexually satisfied but financially badly-off, then money, clothes or BMWs might have replaced women as the focus of his feverish envy and striving to “keep up with everyone else.” Indeed, while his writings convey some genuine longing for companionship, this is drowned out by the anguished bellowing of his much stronger sense of status-competition: “I needed to feel worthy as a male”; “at the age of twenty-two, I was still a virgin”; “my sister, who was four years younger than me, managed to lose her virginity before I did.”

Those caught in this trap tend to believe that everyone else is “making it” while they alone are not profiting as much as they should, a perspective that usually leads to more and more frantic status-competition, whereas in Rodger’s case it simply led to despair. Did he never stop to think that he was being duped? It is difficult to calculate the number of virgins, aspies and love-shys hiding in the shadows of the Great Pornographic Partyland of the West, and it is obvious that a great many people – probably a democratic majority – are rutting like rabbits in heat, but an obvious problem of perception bias arises from the fact that players brag about their sexual adventures and masturbators don’t. In fact almost everyone who isn’t “making it,” “getting what he wants,” and “having the time of his life” (in whatever sense he desires) feels himself to be alone in the world; he thus erects a tissue of minor lies and exaggerations about his life in order to avoid public mockery; he then sees the distant, glittering mirage of other people’s “wonderful” lives and feels even more inferior and alone, rarely if ever wondering whether they are not perhaps engaged in the exact same dissimulation as he is. In Rodger’s case, the problem of perception bias is glaringly obvious: he is attracted to blondes, so all he ever sees are pretty blonde women with other men (“brutes”), while nary a brunette or Asian girl ever so much as appears in his line of vision – to say nothing of the unknown legions of solitary, frustrated masturbators just like him.

Those whose actual station in life ends up refuting their inflamed expectations are far more likely to be crippled by feelings of personal shame than to wake up to the unreality of all those glittering promises, affirmations, and lies. This is the wonderful fruit of wonderful, wonderful “individualism”: perfect atomisation, isolation, and thus neutralisation, of the “have-nots” who in former times were a potential source of class-based demands or even rebellion. No wonder the well-off, well-connected herald-angels of “equal opportunities” are so very enamoured of this school of thought.

Of course, pointing all of this out to Rodger would have had no effect whatsoever, and here we must go deeper into the psychosis of the present mindset: for in addition to a great deal of lying affirmations and (literally) a great deal of lottery tickets, Rodger also bought for himself the mass-produced crown of godlike, superior personal brilliance.

Rodger mentions in his manifesto that he read several books on “philosophy and politics” and developed “fascist” views as a result, and I for one would wager gold against shit that he leafed through the works of Nietzsche; in fact, the question of whether he read this philosopher directly or absorbed his ideas from elsewhere in popular culture is quite irrelevant, for the imprint of vulgarised sub-Nietzschean bombast on his writing is unmistakeable. It is to be hoped that Nietzsche, who thought that he was writing for a select few and scaring everyone else away, would have enough of a dark sense of humour to laugh at what his main ideas have been reduced to in the land of “Baby, You’re a Firework”; although those of us who believe he is actually worth reading should perhaps feel more like crying. Nietzsche’s personal, aphoristic prose style only made his books difficult to understand, not difficult to read – and everyone from idiot to Übermensch reads about masters, slaves, and will-to-power imagining themselves to be the hammer and everyone else the anvil, never the other way around. Thus Rodger’s manifesto lurches from painful descriptions of his own uselessness to soaring, baseless self-affirmations like “I am destined for great things,” “I am superior to them all,” and “I am the closest thing to a living god”; and he superciliously condemns the vast majority of the human species as vulgar, depraved, and immoral, although his only reason for doing so is his own inability to share in their vulgarity, depravity, and immorality.

This is the fate of so many appeals to aristocratic or elitist values in the atomised, democratic, and antinomian modern world, and I suppose it is a rather predictable one: that everyone with a few mediocre personal talents or a baseless sense of being different comes to believe he is a “spiritual aristocrat,” and thus all such discourse merely becomes the slightly darker, “edgier” version of fortune-cookie affirmations like “You are special and unique” – to which the classic retort is, “...just like everybody else.” Nay, it is worse than this: for baseless fantasies of “spiritual” or “destined” superiority invariably become the consolations of choice for that substratum of people who would love to play the bourgeois-capitalistic game of status-competition with the people around them, but are too ineligible, incompetent, or indolent to do it in terms of money, cars, girlfriends, and other things that can be seen, measured and counted. (I say this partly as an illustration of my points, and partly as a warning to the emerging radical, elitist and anti-modernist Right: be careful whom you recruit.)

Returning to the main thrust of my point about the greater social significance of this tragedy, I do not mean to suggest that a saner form of society than the present one would lack the substratum of unfortunate and resentful people of which I am speaking – for their existence is, regardless of all idealistic fantasies, more or less eternal. Yet it is profoundly depressing to perceive the many ways in which the myths of “democracy,” “meritocracy,” and “equal opportunities,” the purely theoretical absence of any restriction on the attainment of the highest stations in society, and the lottery-like hope of every social atom that his personal circumstances might be radically changed at any moment, conspire to keep these vast masses of people from ever formulating collective demands or otherwise trying to improve their situation as a group: although Rodger himself seems to have been a particularly indolent example from which we should not extrapolate too widely, it is telling that he could not so much as find four males who were suffering from the same problems as he was and club together to learn Game. It is a cruel old world, and I have no intention of ending this article with some cheap and contrived pretence at a “solution” to its vicissitudes; although I will give one piece of advice freely to any younger man of this present generation, namely to read his Schopenhauer before he reads his Nietzsche.

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