As you may know, this site largely deals with the overlap between esoterica and reactionary politics. Often, this overlap is historical. Many figures have been involved with both, and the history of the occult and the history of political power have always been tangentially related.
Sometimes this overlap is conceptual. Politics and the occult both relate directly to manipulating an individual’s conception of the world. In western occult, we may intentionally change our view of the world to access certain mental states, to re-contextualize certain spiritual problems, or to alter our experience of daily life in a positive fashion. In politics, the incentive to manipulate the way others see the world is obvious. Rulers from the beginning of time have done this to maintain their power by developing an apparent consensus among the people, thus limiting the possibility of a popular uprising. Now, in the age of democracy, there is a new incentive to get a large group of people onto the same page ideologically. This allows those vying for power to bank on getting votes: the modern keys to the political castle.
This idea of certain individuals and groups manufacturing a consensus among the people is so obvious now that it is cliche to even talk about it. It is, by this point, a defacto feature of common life.
Rather than rehashing what others have already said, I’d like to explore the way in which this process happens. By understanding the way in which ideas are spread in our culture, we can better equip ourselves to do some social engineering of our own.
Thought Terminating Cliches
There is one already existing idea that we should explore before jumping into something that is hopefully more new. This idea is the “thought terminating cliche”.
This term was first coined by psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton in his 1961 book, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of “Brainwashing” in China. I’ll reproduce the section of his book where he discusses this idea here, I’d like you to at least read the underlined portion:
Basically, thought terminating cliches are ideas that terminate thought – just as the name implies. They are ideas that let someone not think through an idea completely – it prevents them from seeing the logical ramifications of their thought process by providing the illusion of a logical endpoint. This logical end however, is completely tautological.
The example above is basically perfect. When arguing with someone about instituting a communist government, a skeptic might voice concerns about individual liberty. The advocate of Communism is immunized against this with a thought terminating cliche: the concern is dismissed as a class based mentality, clearly the person voicing this “concern” has just been brainwashed, or worse, perhaps they themselves are a member of the upper classes. They most likely also have a short prepared speech about how the collective is more important than the individual.
A more contemporary example would be the thought terminating cliche of “trolling”. Obviously trolling exists, but the idea of someone trolling is often used as a shield against what they are actually saying: it is used as a thought terminating cliche.
Here’s a perfect example: as you may know it has recently (unfortunately) become quite fashionable to refer to everyone not on the left as a Nazi. Most notably, this has been extended to Milo Yianapolous, a gay Jewish reporter who famously only dates black guys (and currently has a pedophilia situation blowing up, in case you’re living under a rock). This is an unfathomable level of cognitive dissonance to witness: seeing otherwise “respectable” people tell me that a gay Jew is a Nazi. So, online, when I would see people saying this, I would ask them, mostly out of curiosity, “How can you possibly call a gay Jew a Nazi? What evidence do you have for this claim?” The response, invariably, was “Stop trolling me”, “Oh look, another troll”, “Take it somewhere else troll”, etc. There is of course no way a rational person can explain away the contradictions present in referring to a gay Jew as a Nazi, so, they have been given a linguistic tool to deflect such criticism, “this guy is just a troll: he’s just trying to make me angry, I’ll just block him”. These people are able to maintain their delusions by using thought terminating cliches as barriers to prevent themselves from having to consider the logical posits of others.
man says he’s a jew, not a nazi – an actual real thing that needed to be published because people seriously believe the insane rhetoric they’re being fed.
One more example, a painfully obvious one: the appeal to irrationality that the left always uses to explain the thoughts of its opponents. If someone is saying something that isn’t positive about non-white people, you don’t have to listen to them, they’re just racist. If someone is saying something about women that isn’t in line with your own personal view, don’t worry, they’re just misogynistic, you don’t actually have to consider what they’re saying. Someone skeptical of immigration is just xenophobic, don’t bother refuting their talking points, they’re just irrationally scared of foreigners. All of these words are thought terminating cliches that prevent the speaker from having to take potentially fatal criticism of their worldview seriously.
A Linguistic Virus
The thought terminating cliche is an interesting concept, but it describes a single static idea that blocks logical thinking. I would like to put forward a different model, wherein a network of rhetorical signifiers all pointing to each other creates the illusion of thinking and the illusion of logical consistency. To put this another way, rather than one single roadblock, it’s like a little “trick” of words, where several mirrors are arranged to give the illusion of a three dimensional space, or a labyrinth has been designed to trick someone into walking in circles. It’s like they’re using a closed loop of arrows all pointing at each other to prove something, when in reality it proves nothing – it just provides the illusion of logical thought to the uneducated.
These condensed networks of tautologies are interesting because they are also characterized by a highly viral nature. These little thought systems are like tiny self-replicating creatures that move from person to person by way of rhetoric. This is, in fact, how most unlearned people receive ideas in our society about things like race, gender, and politics. They don’t actually learn the complex nuances and ins and outs of a situation and try and weigh the merits of different arguments. Instead, someone whom they invest authority in gives them the “talking points”, and they are arranged in a closed circuit to give the impression of cohesive understanding. There is nothing the person can’t apparently explain with the little system they’ve been given, so there is no reason to question it.
These small circuits of thought manifest in people quite readily if someone “programmed” is asked too many questions. This is the true source of the endless number of SJW “fail” videos: once you know how to poke holes in someone who has been programmed entirely by rhetoric, it is very easy and amusing to do so.
I am primarily interested in the ability of these small tautological systems to spread from person to person. This is one of the primary factors in the spread of cultural Marxism and social justice. People, no matter what their intelligence level, can adapt these methods of speaking and immediately begin infecting others and spreading this rhetoric. In a sense, it is like a virus that is carried through language.
If you watch or read anything about social justice, it is almost always a lesson in language and new ways of speaking. A social justice lesson is essentially a series of tautological posits which are then used to retroactively prove other aspects of the system. It also doesn’t matter that parts of the system might contradict each other. The system is only giving you the illusion of logical cohesion, it isn’t providing it in reality.
This type of self replicating rhetoric is easy to recognize in the numerous ideological contradictions that are able to be juggled side by side in the minds of people who have been indoctrinated into cultural Marxism, and in the ideas themselves.
As an example, I’ll use the general domain of hyper-egalitarian gender studies based “sociology” – that is to say the more gender and sex obsessed members of the social justice movement. These are all real screenshots taken from a real video series called the ABC’s of LGBT by Ashley Hardell. Though she is, in a sense, some random person online, she did write a popular book, and this is a perfect example of a larger phenomena.
Greygender – this is a real thing now. How do you get an adult human being to believe that something like “greygender” is an actual, real and legitimate gender identity?
By the way, in case anyone here thinks I’m just getting obsessed with some loser on YouTube, New York City currently recognizes 31 different genders, including “pangender” and “agender”, so, this is a real thing. Look at this picture I actually took from an nyc.gov website [pdf]:
So, how do you get someone to believe this nonsense? As discussed above, it’s by establishing an easily transferable system of tautologies (this is essentially the creation of a complex meme):
1. Gender is a spectrum, there aren’t just two genders.
2. Everyone’s gender and sexual expression is valid.
These two seemingly innocuous propositions that most unthinking people and young people will eagerly accept as facts of reality then lead directly to a whole system of thinking that most people would never normally be convinced of. Most people can easily see that someone who doesn’t really desire sex and identifies as “asexual” or “greysexual” (a real thing) doesn’t really belong in the same “group” as a gay man – they obviously aren’t really part of the LGBT community, nor is their aversion to sex really a new form of sexuality. Most people would naturally say that someone who kind of didn’t identify with their gender was just a unique person, not that they were a new totally different gender.
The system has also built rhetorical devices designed to force people to comply: the average person, even if they sense that something is wrong with this, isn’t going to able to voice their concerns because they aren’t going to able to logistically step outside of the system and view it for what it is. Someone questioning all this would invariably be told, “Why can’t you just respect other people’s identities?”, “Why are you being so old fashioned / bigoted / prejudiced?”, “Not everyone’s as lucky to be straight and cis like you, check your privilege”, etc. Like a bacteria it has built in defenses.
People are essentially tricked into accepting the more outlandish propositions because they see that they’re a direct result of the fundamental axioms they’ve suddenly adopted via these linguistic viruses. Once caught in these thought loops the individual can only play out the ramifications more and more, and they go deeper and deeper into the labyrinth. The video I mentioned above, for example, contains sections on “asexual culture”:
Information on the asexual and aromantic spectrum:
and information about… a lot of other things (I didn’t edit this screenshot, all of these topics are actually discussed unironically):
Once these people are fully brought under the spell of the rhetoric, it is basically impossible to break. If I were to try and convince these people that not fully identifying with your gender doesn’t actually make you a different gender, then that would negate some of the basic “laws” they’ve adopted, and they would have a canned response to me that would prevent me from dismantling the castle of words they’ve constructed.
These seemingly logical systems are also designed to conceal internal contradictions. For example, if gender is entirely a social construct, how can someone “feel” like a different gender? If gender is basically made up, what are “male” and “female” traits? In that video series, a man says in total seriousness that when he was younger he liked dancing and pink things, and that was his clue that he wasn’t actually a man – then, later on, another person comes on and say that the color pink and feminine activities actually have nothing to do with femininity. So, which is it? Also, isn’t it insulting to women to say that a man who “feels” like a woman sometimes is actually bigender, genderfluid, or nonbinary? He likes stereotypically female things so he literally isn’t a man anymore? Normally, no sane person would agree to something so outlandish – it’s only within the context of the logistical framework that these rhetorical devices establish that a normal person could be coaxed into believing such insanity.
I find the juggling of these logistical inconsistencies so interesting that I actually charted one out. Here is an example of a closed rhetorical loop that I have seen be easily imparted to people with no effort whatsoever. After one or two conversations with a gender studies inclined individual, someone can easily be indoctrinated into believing and more importantly repeating what’s written in these boxes:
You can imagine setting up similar charts for other tautological systems you’ve encountered. Debates with social justice inclined people about racism tend to follow a similar circuitous path.
I’d like to expand upon this idea to create a new model for how these ideas spread and operate: the rhetorical golem.
Firstly, for anyone that doesn’t know, a golem is basically a creature made of clay and stone that becomes animated by a magician – it then is able to walk and talk like a human. The stories surrounding these presumably mythological creatures vary widely. They are often, but not always, associated with Jews and Rabbis and I’ve usually seen their stories in Germany, the Czech Republic, and places in between. The most famous golem story is from Prague. Once the creature is animated it can set about doing its creator’s bidding, until eventually it crumbles, or runs out of “juice”, or someone removes its life force.
These ideas that we are dealing with are primarily what I call rhetorical golems – they are creatures made of language that spread through the body politic, and they are becoming a serious problem. Once these short circles of rhetoric that I have described above have been designed, they can essentially set out – just like a self-replicating robotic disease – and spread from person to person.
At work, at a party, in a classroom, any conversation can transfer these invisible creatures from person to person. The host picks up on a certain way of speaking and thinking – they don’t need to understand any deeper ideas or really think at all – and suddenly they can now also transfer the creature to someone else, who will then help it spread.
The obvious first course of action has already been taken – disarming these systems. This is essentially embodied in the phenomena of the SJW fail videos I described above. Plenty of people have taken to going out and exposing the fact that if you ask these people certain questions, it will become extremely obvious that they are just regurgitating soundbites, and they actually have no idea what they’re talking about.
It’s time for the second course of action: we have to start consciously using this technique to spread our own ideas.
If someone was a total and complete blank slate politically and socially, they could easily have a nightlong conversation with a social justice person and become a full on social justice warrior: all they need are the talking points. Once the fundamental premises have been set and adopted, and the person knows how to maneuver around a few logistical attacks, it is game over. They can, if they desire, become a full adherent of the ideology.
You probably remember this feeling if you were very young and took an interest in politics. As a 12 or 13 year old, you don’t really have the capacity to understand the depth of political or social issues without some training, so most people just learn a few maxims and call it a day. I was like this, directly parroting ideas about how “police only exist for social control and to protect private property”, and “no human can be illegal man, your borders are just like made up lines” without really understanding what I was saying. This is how most people are walking around today, it’s just that their programming is slightly more sophisticated and less obvious.
The fact that these powerful ideas can spread so rapidly via casual conversation is part of the power of this method. The average person, if they’re working out with a friend, or just hanging out, has no way to defuse the logistical bomb of “gender is a social construct”, or “race doesn’t really exist”. Nine times out of ten this person will just accept it as something true, that it’s something that everyone thinks, and slowly the popular consciousness is changed – or, they’ll just write it off, unable to oppose something that they have a subtle feeling isn’t actually true.
Creating these tightly packaged and easily transferable creatures of information is a skill that we must cultivate on our side. You can think of it as magical, or political, I really don’t care. In a sense it is an occult and philosophical practice: creating a creature of logical posits that can set out into the social sphere alone and replicate – that is quite the feat. Either way, we must work on distilling down the fundamental essence of our worldview so that it can be casually carried in a few basic points.
Ideally, someone could, over the course of an afternoon, be given the entire rundown of the reactionary and nationalistic worldview without even realizing that it is happening. This is absolutely the case for cultural Marxism, obviously. I constantly meet younger people who have had the most outlandish ideas planted deeply into their heads by friends, television, media, sometimes they don’t even know where they came from – and just like a well programmed machine, they all repeat the same talking points perfectly.
Right now, I believe that only the most skilled intellectual personalities on our side of things can casually bring up and discuss the fundamental aspects of our worldview. I would like to see this become a more widespread practice. Every basic idea of ours that we can fully coalesce and breathe life into will be like a golem – it will move freely and take on a life of its own. We’ve already seen this with the basic talking points that counter the most popular social justice arguments – the wage gap, immigration statistics, etc., it’s time to step it up and get the same talking points going for what really matters: what we fundamentally believe in and are offering to people.
The truth is more powerful than any lie. If we can create logistical creatures of language that are streamlined to move virally through our culture, we could change everything overnight. Think of the speed with which race and gender based rhetoric has surfaced in our society – we can outpace its meteoric rise because we are actually the ones who are right, and everyone knows the truth when they see it. They are instinctively drawn to it.
lots of work to be done.