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The Voluntary Life -- #0354: The True Believer
'This episode is a review of Eric Hoffer’s book The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements. Hoffer argued that all political and religious activists share the same motivations: Those who dedicate their lives to a cause are running from themselves. There are some interesting ideas in the book about the dark consequences that follow when you evade the responsibility for improving yourself and choose to act out your frustration on the world instead.' -- "'There is perhaps no more reliable indicator of a society's ripeness for a mass movement than the prevalence of boredom...When people are bored, it is primarily with their own selves that they are bored: The consciousness of a barren, meaningless existence is the main fountainhead of boredom. People who are not conscious of their individual separateness – as is the case of members of a compact tribe, church, party, etc. – are not accessible to boredom. Where people live autonomous lives and are not badly off, yet are without abilities or opportunities to creative work or useful action, there is no telling to what desperate and fantastic shifts they might resort in order to give meaning and purpose to their lives.'"
rkselectiontheory  decadence  faggotry  shame  envy  scapegoating  ideology  psychology  boredom  nihilism  Nietzsche  eschatology  vanguardism 
16 days ago by adamcrowe
The Empty Core of the Trump Mystique | The New Republic
«A nihilist dreams of going out in a blaze of glory, taking as many with him as he can, because he hates his life and despises life in general. A martyr sacrifices her life, which by definition she cannot do unless that life is precious to her. You can only sacrifice what you hold dear. And you do so because something else is dearer still.»
trump  politics  nihilism  history  american-right  democracy  essays  garret-kiezer 
23 days ago by brennen
The Art of Manliness -- Sources of Existential Angst
'...At the turn of the 20th century, French sociologist Emile Durkheim did an exhaustive survey to try to figure out what factors most influenced a country’s rate of suicide. What he discovered was that this statistic was most impacted by the presence in society of something he called anomie. -- Anomie, which literally means “without law” in German and French, was defined by Durkheim as a state of “normlessness” — the absence of shared rules, standards, values, etc. It’s a concept that well describes the landscape of modern society; for though one’s personal community may share a unified culture, the wider society shares little common code. -- While the most serious consequence of a lack of shared norms may be suicide, it also afflicts the living with a pervasive sense of restlessness and emptiness. -- There are two reasons for this. -- Norms provide a kind of gravitational force that can keep you grounded. Personal freedom without any such guideposts, standards, or expectations feels like being adrift in deep space. The weightlessness is sometimes exhilarating, but you lack any frame of reference for where you are: up and down, left and right are meaningless. -- As an existential astronaut, you are charged with the task of creating your own rules, values, and expectations — your own personal meaning for the world. Yet lending these self-created standards sufficient credence to let them guide your life — knowing their only source of authority is your own inclinations — is an insanely difficult task. -- The absence of norms not only eliminates a set pattern to build your life around, it also eliminates a barrier to push against. -- The norm-filled society not only provides existential meaning to those who conform to these shared expectations, it also provides meaning to those who reject them. There is great significance to be found in the friction of pushing back on society’s standards — in tweaking expectations, being unique, forming a secret, subversive underground culture, fighting “the man.” -- Today, however, there is little mainstream culture to rebel against. There are still a few lingering expectations, but “live and let live” generally reigns. You can get married at 20 or 40 or never, live with someone for decades and never get hitched, have 9 kids or none, within wedlock or out, wear what you want without anyone batting an eye, date someone from a different race, get a tattoo on any part of your body, marry a lady, or a dude, be a corporate warrior or a stay-at-home dad. You can pretty much do whatever you want, short of breaking the law, and endure minimal social repercussions. -- Nobody cares what you do. -- And, of course, the flip side of that is, nobody cares what you do. -- ... Even when engaging in problems that are smaller than a world war, but still constitute serious societal ills, a gap exists between how significant we want the fight to feel, and how significant it does feel. That is, we yearn to participate in some kind of epic quest, but ultimately find the underpinnings of our pursuits too flimsy to support the full weight of our longings. The stakes aren’t high enough to furnish the meaning we crave. -- As a result, we try to gin up those stakes ourselves — distorting the contemporary landscape into something more threatening, more dangerous — more compelling — than it is. Hence you get the current popularity of dystopian books and films — fiction that supposedly hews uncomfortably close to our current reality — and the belief that we’re living through an unprecedented time of tumult — even though an objective survey of the past reveals periods that were just as, and often more, chaotic and troubled. For there is a perverse pleasure in believing one is living through the worst of times — it may be troubled, sure, but it is historic. To be living through a significant time seems to make one significant by association. -- Yet this illusion still doesn’t generate sufficiently enduring meaning; like a distortion seen in a funhouse mirror, it distracts and entertains, but for a moment.' -- Why bother? Are you one of the few who are brave enough to see the truth, that existence is a cruel exercise in suffering? Do you dare speak it? Against the prevailing hope offered by all major religions, therapies, philosophies, and other groups? The world is a stage for absurd meaningless drama being played out moment to moment, day after day, often through the various forms of desire and appetite. Even if you are one of the disciplined few and are able to enter into a state of pure being by stopping the incessant voice of mind through intense physical activity, prayer or meditation you inevitably are drawn back into the unexplained circus of drama we call our universe. ~ Caterine Vauban
rkselectiontheory  decadence  meaning  boredom  existentialism  anxiety  nihilism  absurd  * 
5 weeks ago by adamcrowe

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