The Demon of Mechanisation

One of the most telling aspects of our age is the bourgeois mentality which permeates social, political and cultural discourse. The materialistic or hedonistic value system which has been established regarding right conduct, properness, et cetera, betrays an awful shallowness and vapidity of the lives of most moderns, as well as contemporary institutions. Nowadays, things are done for perhaps two reasons at most: on the one hand, because something “feels” good or pleasurable; and on the other because it assists in the making of money and/or the facilitation of the former state.

The spirit is “that which is beyond life,” and one need not venture far to realise the profound antispiritual attitude which permeates the age, content to confine experience and knowledge on the worldly plane; within the parameters of that which can be understood sensually or at the lower psychological level.

Those of us, then, who are differentiated, have an upwards battle to fight which rests not merely upon the mortal, physical plane of our person, of our daily lives, “careers,” and so forth; but also at the higher aesthetic and existential level. What is life? Why continue? What do I get up in the morning for? These are questions any seriously Traditionally-minded or reactionary person should be considering. Why contribute to the world if there are no organic forms left? If all around is dull and blackened, charred by the fires of Kali, then where do we plant our own seed which is to grow and develop into something “beyond life”; beyond the moment, beyond the self?

This question is answered in many ways by different voices. Spiritual realisation is seldom a solitary experience, and most will require some external structure to work with. However, if our age is one of spiritlessness, then what can we do in those places where the spiritual is found lacking, not even in residual form? The answer will differ per race, per caste, per person, of course, with one commonality; uprightness.

The upright is traditionally seen as represented by the vertical “I” — the erect totem of force; that which moves, as opposed to the waters which flow, which are moved, represented by the horizontal “–“: there is a dichotomy here, as with all things. The masculine mover, the feminine moved, as per Hermetic and perennial teaching; all reality is marked by twos, by opposites, by yin and yang, up and down, and so on and so forth.

Personally, my “awakening,” as it were, began when I was about fourteen or fifteen when I first came accustomed to the culture of the young, of the millennial; parties, drugs, casual sex, progressive politics, et cetera. What sickened me about all this was not that I had any ideological disagreement with feminism and the like at the time, or that I particularly cared about the (pseudo)private lives of other people. No, what stunned me was the overall emptiness of this style of living and thinking; the formlessness of it, the soullessness. It bored the life out of me. It is unrelentingly dull to sleep around with various people for fun, free, casual sex. It is terribly uninteresting to share your stories about tripping on ketamine or methamphetamines or whatever else. It is so palpably boring to hear you talk about how wasted you got at your recent party — even if you got more wasted than last weekend’s party or the weekend prior still. It is totally and irrevocably uninspiring to hear about how you struck your last purchase of cannabis at half price. Dear reader, I am sure you get the point.

I’m drawn to extremism. I’ve always been an extremist. But I’m not drawn to the usual forms of counter-bourgeois extremism that exist on the Left. So, with me, the elitist spine that has to subsist in everything prevents me from going in a Leftwards direction because egalitarianism is a bore. There’s nothing more boring than egalitarianism. There’s nothing more aesthetically sterile. And that’s why the truth is on the Right side. ~ Jonathan Bowden

Value does not come from some Earthbound utilitarianism. Value in life is attributed based upon correspondence to principles which transcend the moment. This is the basis of religion and the spirit more generally, and why mankind will never be totally aspiritual. He longs upwards — or, rather, there will always be one man amid the flock who will go upon his own path and seek to make something of himself which stands beyond the moment and his mortality.

What really strikes me — and what I think I originally understood at an intuitive level — is the sheer horizontality of the modern world. The facet which seeks to bring all existence down to the lowest level; to destroy the notion of greatness, the notion of beauty, the notion of — at its core — what distinguishes hierarchy between one thing and another and the ontological level. There is a levelling, mechanised process which marks modernity.

“Mechanised” is an interesting word because it implies several things. It implies a robust and continual — thoughtless — process, something which occurs despite anything external. It implies a standardisation, a creation of the one-size-fits-all genre. It is the Leviathan; the monolithic superstructure which destroys all in its wake and path simply because it can — in fact it could do nothing else. It implies a mindlessness, a zombielike quality of thoughtless, repeated action just for its own sake. Not the creation of anything, only the changing of something external upon which is then inflicted sheer and pure mathematics. A sort of unnatural asymmetry which churns-out the same thing again and again and again. This perfectly describes our inverted, horizontal age.

What they had done in their youth, and what for millenniums had been man’s vocation, joy, and pleasure — to ride a horse, to plough in the morning the streaming field, to walk behind the oxen, to mow the yellow grain in the blazing summer heat while streams of sweat poured down the tanned body and the women who bound the sheaves could hardly keep in step with the mowers, to rest at noon for a meal in the shade of green trees — all this, praised by the poets since times immemorial, was now passed and gone. Joy in labour had disappeared. ~ Ernst Junger, The Glass Bees

Rene Guenon‘s masterwork, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, speaks of our modern world in a similar manner. As opposed to quality, our age heralds a standardised quantity as the highest ideal — or, to go further still, it rather removes the idea of “ideal” insofar as differences in measure of quality, but seeks to reduce all quality or facets of quality to a formless grey mass of formalised concrete squares which are immobile and yet each “special.” To posit equality as the highest ideal is necessarily a great evil; in fact it is outright Satanic at its core. Is is the denial and destruction of all which is colourful and distinct, all that which is verdant and illumined.

One finds this essence at the core of bureaucracies, the impersonal, unchivalrous nonsense masquerading as modern “warfare,” the standardised and pointless rubbish being peddled as education nowadays which only serves to push new bodies into the psycho-ideological factory of the modern university and later workforce, in the culture of America and its, via global capitalism, overseas infestations, et cetera. Anything which could try to pretend to be representative of value is quickly subsumed by worthless paper money which holds that if the soulless, worthless drones do not like it, it is not worth bothering with — because, of course dear reader, the plebeians know exactly what is worth living and dying for!

Modern democracy, however, is essentially the moral triumph of the principle of universality. It implies universal equality — a far-fetched notion even among homogeneous groups of people — and accords to each and every individual a supposedly equal say in determining the nature of the government. ~ Arthur Kemp, Nova Europa

Our age is a mechanised age, a soulless Leviathan which marches onwards because it has nothing to die for. One asks people why they do what they do in daily life and is met by one of either two responses; on the one hand for money, and on the other because “why not?” Reader, I implore you to start asking “why?”


3 thoughts on “The Demon of Mechanisation

  1. A brilliant piece, a question however Adam, do you think material advancement and its consequent results invariably leads to spiritual degeneration among the masses or is there a way that the masses can live in modernity with all its associated elements and yet retain a Traditionalist outlook?

    My answer would be that religion is the only hope for the combination of the two, for combining civilization, even in its most advanced state with a concept of the divine and of virtue that the populous at large can easily grasp amongst other reasons, but it is your thoughts I would like to hear on the matter.

    1. Well, firstly I’d have to nitpick over you saying that spiritual degeneration is a consequence of the rise of materialism — the truth is in the opposite direction. All flows from spirit, from the invisible dimension. The decline we’ve observed was inevitable, but so will an eventual regeneration be inevitable as per sociology (a la Spengler) and prophesy (a la Guenon).

      I would agree, though, that any proper civilisation is a religious one. The trouble we have in the West, however, is that our external religious institutions have rather deteriorated, or, rather, Occidental man’s inner form and relationship with religious truth has collapsed, thus the vessel for religious truth has been neglected. The first step, then, is to reform the inner Western man, and then from that will come the flourishing of our religious institutions, et cetera.

      Keep in mind that the second the early kings began to accept bribes and so forth, it was but an early symptom of degeneration. What made them break their principles and act in such materialistic and greedy ways? Their inner sense of virtue and morality — hence that is what must be rekindled. A rebuilding can only begin from within. It can come from nowhere else.

  2. “If all around is dull and blackened, charred by the fires of Kali”
    It’s lines like this that predispose me to think your novel is gonna turn out exceedingly well.

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