Girard and the Cathedral analysis

At root, the Cathedral concept is an attempt to articulate the behavior of crowds, individuals and groups in relation to power incentives and logical imperatives of their positions within society. The concepts is perpetually misunderstood by those who see it as a scapegoat mechanism in competition with other scapegoat mechanisms, but this is understandable. The concept also faces risk through the application of Liberal, or rather Rationalist conceptions of anthropology, as demonstrated in the form of such things as social contract theory and modern economic theory.

The work of Rene Girard has recently come into my focus, and it’s applicability to Cathedral analysis is quite extraordinary. For those unfamiliar with Girard, the central thesis of his works appears to be that human society prior to Christianity operated on a sacrificial basis to maintain large scale societies. The sacrificial system operated in such a way as to redirect all interpersonal mimetic conflict onto a single victim which had a cathartic effect on society, allowing a form of social bonding to occur. This premise is based upon the massively valuable insight that desire is mimetic, and not internally generated.We take our desires from others – this is as far from the base of Rationalism and Liberalism as is possible.

Girard exegesis of the bible, and in particular the Passion, is that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is an exposure of the nature of this sacrificial mechanism; and a rejection of it.This makes the Passion, and the Bible in which this rejection of the sacrificial victim of Paganism is repeated, a work of eminently valuable anthropology. The Bible thus demonstrates an understanding of humans that is exceptional. It also indicates that the Bible has been largely misunderstood for a long time – it is concerned with human anthropology and the actions of crowds, and societal formation.

The ramifications of these observations from the angle of the Cathedral analysis are that, as noted by Girard, society has reverted to a Pagan state in which care is not taken to reject the scapegoat mechanism, it is instead embraced, and a look at political theory will confirm this. One egregrious example of this can be seen in the work of Schmitt (who had a tendency of making Liberalism explicit,) and it is no wonder Girard trained his criticism on the Nazi regimes, Communist regimes and the Liberal regimes. Schmitt’s Concept of the Political is surely, if nothing else, the scapegoat mechanism with the enemy as the designated scapegoat which maintains the coherence of society against it.It is an example of what I believe Girard would note is Liberalism Pagan nature from a Girardian perspective (and do note, that Schmitt’s theory derives from Hobbes, so is very much within the Liberal scope.)

This scapegoat mechanism as a means of group coherence takes on added relevance when the analysis of De Jouvenel is put back into the Cathedral analysis from which it has been kept out for too long. What is the coherence of the left but as mass of people centered around the continual scapegoating of order and those who represent order? this is the central organizing principle of the high-low mechanism which binds the high and the low in union. “Racism,” proscriptions, duties, and now in a final act – Christianity in the form of rejection of the sacrificial mechanism. This mechanism has no rational actors who can stop it now, there is only power when you are part of the mob heaping stones at order, you go to the other side and receive the stones if you try to reverse course.

This final inversion of the care for the victim that is central to the Girardian interpretation of Christianity is an utterly delicious irony, and is a logical conclusion of the Phariseeism that is ingrained within the High-low mechanism. It is perpetual revolution held together by “being against” the enemy. It is a formidable distributed conspiracy, and the Cathedral analysis is a formidable criticism of mass movement mindless pagan Liberalism.

Those who think Liberalism can be redirected and salvaged in some form, fail to understand the fundamental problem of Liberalism – it has no coherent capability for rational actors to act in a multi-directional way – it is a ratchet. The only way forward is to conceive of some way in which Liberalism is removed root and branch, and a sovereign organisation is instituted that is built to manage human nature and societies with an understanding of human anthropology which Liberalism categorically does not possess. Moldbug was working towards that with the Patchwork conception which is utterly dependent on the sovereign entities being based upon a total rejection of mass movement politics and Liberalism. It has serious flaws, not least of which is the lingering Liberal influence, which is likely why we hear little more of it post 2009, but it was a start.

 

Anglo suicide

“During the course of their ‘studies’, The Round Table members hit upon what they claimed to be the distinctive feature of the British Empire: that it was a ‘Commonwealth’, committed to increasing self-government and equality amongst its members.

The new emphasis led to a change in the journal’s sub-title in 1919, to ‘A Quarterly Review of the Politics of the British Commonwealth’. (It became ‘A Quarterly Review of British Commonwealth Affairs’ in 1948, ‘A Quarterly Review of Commonwealth Affairs’ in 1966, and ‘The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs’ in 1983.) It also led to The Round Table‘s support for and involvement in moves towards increasing self-government in the empire— notably in connection with the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 and the Indian reforms of 1919 and 1935.

The Round Table was the mouthpiece for the British elite. They had decided to go full prog a long time ago, and suicide was baked into the plan.

“If an international commonwealth built from countries within the British Empire came to include countries in Europe which had never been part of that Empire, the most difficult stage in its growth to a world commonwealth, after its first foundation, would have been crossed. So the British Empire would have done its work and passed into history. …”

Future Plans

In the near future I will be looking to set up a more intellectual site for long form expositions of political theory derived from the theory synthesized by Moldbug. I will be looking for potential contributors who can provide well thought out and detailed analysis of such areas as:

  • The ramifications of rejections of Imperium in Imperio.
  • The necessity of a non-Liberal anthropology, with specific focus on the works of Rene Girard given the affinities of his work with the Cathedral analysis.
  • The works of De Jouvenel and the implications of a society in which unsecure power is not correctly remedied.
  • The flaws of protocol governance.
  • The exposition of the reactionary analysis of right and left corresponding to chaos- order.
  • The necessity of realistic analysis of the capability of the current liberal power structures and power in general to undermine society rendering such concepts as sea steading and exit delusional.
  • The philosophical basis of Liberalism and identification of its fundamental essence, especially in light of its development from Protestantism.
  • Historical analysis of the development of Liberal power structures, with concentration of the works of Carroll Quigley and the role of finance and foundations.

A minimum 5000 word limit will be in place, and I will look to maybe publish sufficiently capable essays on a quarterly basis if possible. I will likely publish them anonymously (no author names.)

Submissions can be sent to my email address – rreactionaryfuture@gmail.com

(please note the two “r”s at the start.)

What is Neoreaction?

This comment here is typical.

““Neoreaction” has been much discussed recently, but what is it?

Neoreaction defines itself more in in terms of what it is opposed to than in terms of what it is in favor of.

Fine. So what is neoreaction against?”

This is followed by:

“Because the origin of neoreaction (blog essays by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Curtis Yarvin and former University of Warwick philosopher Nick Land) focuses more on the problem of democracy than solutions, there are several schools of neoreactionary thought, ranging from the juvenile to the disreputable to the interesting.”

I’ve said repeatedly, that a complete removal of the core of Moldbug from neoreaction is coming. Fine, this leaves Moldbug to my project of taking it forward, whilst neoreaction can embrace the EXACT OPPOSITE of Moldbug’s coherent theory and become outright anarcho-capitalist – with “realism” aka pretty empty and arbitrary Liberalism. Mindless trendy mush.

Yarvin does focus on the solution, but Clark has obviously got poor reading skills. I have been elaborating on this, and am working on bringing the project forward, or at least keeping it alive, but this is impossible within the “Neoreaction” frame, as it is infested with Libertarians, materialists and all other sorts of anti-statist liberals.

If neoreaction is not based on Yarvin and his De Jouvenelian analysis, rejection of Imperium in Imperio, and rejection of Liberlism’s anthropology among other highly interconnected points , then be done with it and leave it to me. You cannot be everything at once. Go Anarcho-capitalism larping where everyone owns a bitcoin robot or something and becomes an Ayn Rand superhero,because it’s not like the central power can’t just take your things by sending in a diversity or harassment co-ordinator. That would be embarrassing.

 

 

Exit, “anti-statism” and property

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

 

Article 13.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 17.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

 

Where’s the problem? Exit and unrestrained property?

Decisions to be made

A number of these are overlapping, but they all deserve answering.

Decision number one – Is Imperium in Imperio a solecism or not. There is no middle ground. One direction is modernity and the very basis of Liberalism, the other is not.

Decision number two – Determinism versus non-determinism.

Decisions three -Desires and wants – pre-societal or post-societal?

Decision four – Can pre-defined rules and laws subsume all of reality? yes or no.

Decision five – Limitation of sovereignty results in sovereignty in conflict with society, and subsequently, undermining society. Yes or no.

Decision six – Sovereignty is conserved – someone, or some group of people is always in control ultimately. Yes or no.

Decisions must be made…

 

Modernity and desire

There is a remarkably connection between the works of both Alaisdair MacIntyre and Rene Girard in relation to the approach to, and rejection of, modernity’s conception of desire and emotions. To understand this major rift, and its implications, one only has to look at modernity’s conception first, and quite frankly modernity is Liberalism.

Modernity’s conception of desire is that it is pre-societal. Desire and emotions are something which emanate from the individual, and society becomes therefore a market place in which negotiation of differing and competing desires is resolved. You can see the predominance of such concepts through the very justifications provided for the state – does not the constitution of America, that beacon of modernity not guarantee the pursuit of happiness? This presumes that what makes the person happy is internally and individually generated does it not? Once you see it, you see it everywhere.

This conception of desire as being internally emanating without influence is seen in the fact-value distinction that riddles modernity, and it is the basis of pretty much all economic theory, despite evidence undermining it quite completely. I have mentioned it before, but it is worth repeating – if desire is internal and sovereign why do we need advertising which provides role models? If the market is just a mechanism for resolving wants and needs, well and good, but if it creates these wants and needs then economic theory is immediately undermined. The simplicity of the error is quite shocking really.

Macintyre dates this conflict between the concept of desire and wants being pre-societal, or post societal, back to the disputes between Plato and the Sophists, writing the following:

MacIntyre_1

MacIntyre_2

So the questions is, are desires, want and emotions pre-societal, or post-societal? If pre-societal, then Liberalism makes some sense. We are all sovereign individuals, the question of why we form into political societies becomes a logical one, and there is a fact-value distinctions in which an objective bedrock of non-societal informed motives and desires (the fact) are discernible, and on which theory can be built which is irrespective of the values of a society (value), these values which then become pretty much empty concepts akin to unscientific bigotry. The reader can surely see how the fact-value distinction is central to Liberalism now.

Rene Girard follows a similar pattern of attack on Liberal Modernity’s conception of the origin of desires and emotions with his mimetic anthropology. In Girard’s understanding following his biblical exegesis, desires are mimetic. We desire what others desire, which makes desires categorically not sovereign and not originating from within. This is totally subversive in relation to modernity.

According to Girard in the very first chapter of ‘I See Satan Fall Like Lightning’ (highlights mine):

In the bible, and especially in the Gospels, there is an original conception of desire and its conflicts that has gone largely unrecognized. In order to grasp how old it is we must go back to the Fall in Genesis or to the second half of the Ten Commandments, which is entirely devoted to prohibiting violence against one’s neighbor.

Commandments six, seven, eight, and nine are both simple and brief. They prohibit the most serious acts of violence in the order of their seriousness:

You shall not kill.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

The tenth and last commandment is distinguished from those preceding it both by its length and its object: in place of prohibiting an act it forbids a desire.

You shall not covet the house of your neighbor. You shall not covet the wife of your neighbor, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything that belongs to him. (Exod. 20:17)

Without being actually wrong the modern translations lead readers down a false trail. The verb “covet” suggests that an uncommon desire is prohibited, a perverse desire reserved for hardened sinners. But the Hebrew term translated as “covet” means just simply “desire.” This is the word that designates the desire of Eve for the prohibited fruit, the desire leading to the original sin. The notion that the Decalogue devotes its supreme commandment, the longest of all, to the prohibition of a marginal desire reserved for a minority is hardly likely. The desire prohibited by the tenth commandment must be the desire of all human beings — in other words, simply desire as such.

If the Decalogue forbids the most widespread desire, doesn’t it then deserve the modern world’s reproach to religious prohibitions? Doesn’t the tenth commandment succumb to that gratuitous itch to prohibit, to that irrational hatred of freedom for which modern thinkers blame religion in general and the Judeo-Christian tradition in particular?

Before condemning prohibitions as needlessly repressive, before espousing the formula rendered famous by the events of May 1968 in France — “Il est interdit d’interdire” [It is forbidden to forbid] — we must pose some questions about the implications of desire as it is defined in the tenth commandment, the desire for the neighbor’s goods. If this desire is the most common of all, what would happen if it were permitted rather than forbidden? There would be perpetual war in the midst of all human groups, subgroups, and families. The door would be wide open to the famous nightmare of Thomas Hobbes, the war of all against all.

If we think that cultural prohibitions are needless, we must adhere to the most excessive individualism, one that presupposes the total autonomy of individuals, that is, the autonomy of their desires. In other words, we must think that humans are naturally inclined not to desire the goods of their neighbors. To understand that this premise is false, all we have to do is to watch two children or two adults who quarrel over some trifle. It is the opposite premise, the only realistic one, that underlies the tenth commandment of the Decalogue: we tend to desire what our neighbor has or what our neighbor desires.

If individuals are naturally inclined to desire what their neighbors possess, or to desire what their neighbors even simply desire, this means that rivalry exists at the very heart of human social relations. This rivalry, if not thwarted, would permanently endanger the harmony and even the survival of all human communities. Rivalistic desires are all the more overwhelming since they reinforce one another. The principle of reciprocal escalation and one-upmanship governs this type of conflict. This phenomenon is so common, so well known to us, and so contrary to our concept of ourselves, thus so humiliating, that we prefer to remove it from consciousness and act as if it did not exist. But all the while we know it does exist. This indifference to the threat of runaway conflict is a luxury that small ancient societies could not afford.

The commandment that prohibits desiring the goods of one’s neighbor attempts to resolve the number one problem of every human community: internal violence.
In reading the tenth commandment one has the impression of being present at the intellectual process of its elaboration. To prevent people from fighting, the lawgiver seeks at first to forbid all the objects about which they ceaselessly fight, and he decides to make a list of these. However, he quickly perceives that the objects are too numerous: he cannot enumerate all of them. So he interrupts himself in the process, gives up focusing on the objects that keep changing anyway, and he turns to what never changes. Or rather, he turns to that one who is always present, the neighbor. One always desires whatever belongs to that one, the neighbor.

Since the objects we should not desire and nevertheless do desire always belong to the neighbor, it is clearly the neighbor who renders them desirable. In the formulation of the prohibition, the neighbor must take the place of the objects, and indeed he does take their place in the last phrase of the sentence that prohibits no longer objects enumerated one by one but “anything that belongs to him [the neighbor].” What the tenth commandment sketches, without defining it explicitly, is a fundamental revolution in the understanding of desire. We assume that desire is objective or subjective, but in reality it rests on a third party who gives value to the objects. This third party is usually the one who is closest, the neighbor. To maintain peace between human beings, it is essential to define prohibitions in light of this extremely significant fact: our neighbor is the model for our desires. This is what I call mimetic desire. (1)

 

The ramifications if Girard are correct, are profound. What is the holiness spiral of modernity but a process of mimetic desire? Humans operate on a basis of small groups (maybe 150 as per Dunbar) and it is only the near, the neighbour as pointed out by the bible and by Girard that we seek to mimic. Advertising and media make the role models we seek to emulate neighbours through media exposure and in direct contrast to modernity regulate our desires. Politically, as I have mentioned before, Liberalism is premised on providing role models to spread a conception of sovereign desire and emotion which directly contradicts the very basis of the message.

It seems to me, that a fundamental message contained within both MacIntyre and Girard is that desires are not pre-societal, and that subsequently modernity is built on false assumptions. Further to this, modernity’s rejection of a regulation of desires in direct contradiction to all major religions renders it open to what Girard labels runaway mimetic conflict. The only way to stop it is to regulate society with firewalls of reason and understanding that desire needs to be controlled.

What we have instead is the perverse spectacle of a political system which simultaneously promotes the concept of desires being sovereign, and provides the entire edifice to “release” these natural desires from bigotry, whilst simultaneously managing desires through “education.” The revolutionary evil of such a contraption is surely clear to see.

For such a thing to come to pass, there must first have been the falsity of sovereignty of desire, followed by the erection of systems to keep this falsity going, which is what we see with the creation of modernity and it’s development into what is termed the Cathedral. Returning back to falsity in this light is beyond stupid, it is negligent.

If desire is not internal, and not sovereign, then society and governance has a direct and pressing role in generating an ethical state that cultivates and directs those desires towards virtue. It needs to be state which actively engages in cultivating virtue.