(en) “Humanist Pseudo-Christian Tendencies”

Respuestas contundentes hacia la misma mierda tirada por los anarco-cristianos ex-caneros.

I read the essay, “Misanthropic Wild Tendencies” some months ago in the original Spanish. While I find this essay fairer than much of what has passed for criticism in the past couple of years, there are issues that it raises that I think would be beneficial to address. I will limit my discussion to the interlocking themes of Wild Nature, authority, and misanthropy
Wild Nature

On this theme, there is the essay, “What do we mean when we say ‘nature’”, which is easy enough to find if so inclined. More to the point, I will cite a passage from an interview that John Jacobi did with an eco-extremist:
…I’m well aware that I am not the Earth’s savior. The only thing that I can save is my own life and the way I associate with my affinity group. I am Wild Nature, as well as my group that holds on to idea of not letting our wild instincts die. They took everything away from us, even a place where we can freely dwell. They took away our wild places, our ancestral lands, and buried them under cement. Thus I and my group are the only Wild Nature, and re-wilding is what we aspire towards.
(from “Dialogue between a Wildist and an Eco-extremist”)
More on the theme of spirits / gods, the following (still untranslated) text from an eco-extremist in Argentina eloquently explains their personal defense of personalized animism:
Indeed this coming from a group clinging to civilized logic doesn’t surprise me. Mainly, that they adhere to one of the pillars of empiricist and mechanistic thought like atheism. What should we say about this that hasn’t already been said? We eco-extremists have very specific beliefs and spiritual visions. We believe in our deities based on our personal experiences of wild nature, and we venerate in animist fashion the spirits that dwell in it, just as our ancestors did for centuries before the invasion. These deities of the earth, from the beginning, have accompanied and guided us at every moment. They push us to confrontation with the civilizing mega-machine. They give us strength and they maintain our untamed warrior character. For all of these reasons and others, we mock atheists and their humanist scientism, those who base their perception of reality on a cold, mathematical, mechanic, robotic, and artificial vision. It doesn’t matter to us if we’re considered delusional gullible, romantics, etc. The colonizers did that in their time, and this is what the hyper-civilized always do, those who do not understand the language of the wind, the whispers of the valleys, the howl of volcanoes, or the wisdom of the trees. We look to them before we look to machines and their automatons. We prefer to worship the spirit of the serpent in pagan fashion before we would bow to the goddess reason and her faithful disciples, science and technology.
(from “Una defensa conceptual de lo salvaje: Una respuesta a Semilla de Liberación”)

And for comparison, we include here a text from an eco-extremist / nihilist on the European continent:
Here in Europe there are also groups of nihilist terrorists, individualistic criminals and extremist misanthropes who are alive and kicking, and we remind you again that some of these groups were until a while ago close to you and your rotten environment, we know who is who and where each one hangs out, violence and the attack for us is not something new, but a practice that has become an extension of our own being, since it has been part of our life for years already… we do not have “pagan gods” what we have are weapons, explosives and information… So watch your words, your internet bravery can be expensive in real life.
(from “A few notes on recent slandering and brief clarification”, El Enemigo Interno)
The anarchist authors would no doubt feel even more confused after reading these quotes, as they expressed their chagrin at the contradictory stance of obeying pagan gods and one’s own whim at the same time. From the quotes we have cited, the main takeaway is that the idea of “Wild Nature” as a transcendent and autonomous entity isn’t a mandatory dogma of eco-extremism, nor is it even specifically imposed in any way. One could be aligned to ITS and affinity groups without believing in it at all, or in some cases, polemicizing against it (see for example, the Indiscriminate Group Tending Towards the Wild’s communique of March 2017). This isn’t backpedaling: those paying attention have known this for some time. In our atomized modern world, all beliefs are individualist and personal, and don’t translate well when imposed or even communicated to others. The Eco-extremist Mafia is a united front of individualists who adhere to personal beliefs that are at enmity with the modern human. This may not be an ideal target to score easy polemical points, but this has been the case for a couple of years now.
All the same, I will give you my own personal interpretation of what I believe, being the prolific writer that I am. I do not believe that immanence and transcendence in regards to spiritual entities are inherently counterposed. In many spiritual traditions, even the European pagan ones, even to a certain extent mystical Christian theology, to worship transcendent gods is really an exercise in returning to what you truly are. It is an exercise in self-knowledge. While this can easily be corrupted into civic and alienated cults, the true Magician in antiquity used ritual and symbolism to ascend to godhood (see for example, the Corpus Hermeticum). Really, this was a philosophical foundation of modern philosophy, as in Descartes’ and Hegel’s Rosicrucianism, and the obsession with alchemy going all the way up to Isaac Newton (alchemy being indicative more of personal transformation rather than merely the change of base metals into precious ones cf. Carl Jung). So it’s rather obtuse to cite Stirner (a disciple of Hegel, even if a rebellious one) but not realize the “sacral” origins of their own philosophical discourse. I continue to contend that “liberation” is an inherently religious concept, no matter how much you try to run from its Christian past.
It is thus a bit ridiculous to think that those eco-extremists who adhere to a spiritual discipline are doing so just as Crusaders heeded the voice of the Pope or jihadis hearken to the militant cries of the local imam. Seeing the devastation of wild nature, its paving over, its exploitation, and its disappearance could be enough of a negative spiritual experience to trigger an awakening in some (hearing a cry, perhaps). I have felt it. Maybe the author(s) haven’t, and maybe they think some are taking it more literally than they should. I have long ago ceased to consider humanity the only compelling agent that could summon my allegiance, nor do I think so much of myself to believe that I am the end all and be all of everything (more on this below). I don’t begrudge those who take their deities literally, even if I don’t.
In my own view, I adhere to the Unknowable (lo Desconocido). Sometimes I call them the “Dark Gods,” the ones left over from the devastation that is modernity, perhaps now faceless, voiceless, but a presence nonetheless. I have no idea how to worship them, or if they should be worshipped. They don’t “speak” to me, but I know they are there, waiting, bursting through the seams of civilized illusion.

My gods are dead. The only thing left is to kill yours. Even if these gods are abstractions like “Humanity,” “Freedom,” or what have you.

Of course, we return to the related topic of domination and authority. The anarchist essayist(s) have to dwell on tired arguments of the unnatural character of authority, and so on and so forth (“Man is born free but is everywhere in chains…” thank you very much, Rousseau) Here I will cite a couple of quotes that will help us address this topic (again):

“Before this comment RS answers that if DP take themselves for community connoisseurs, we hope they know that the people of the hills in Mexico, since hundreds of years ago, are used to lifestyles that are frowned upon by the city dwellers sick with Western culture, certain ways of life that are perceived as “brutal”. For example, to exchange a woman for a cow or a swine, is common among natives, it is part of their customs, their way of life, and is something normal, while for Western moralists (including some anarchists) it is something unworthy, they get all worked up and cry to the heavens when they hear about this. Generally anarchists of the feminist type are those who most make a scandal about it. RS doesn’t see it as a bad thing, RS respects the development and customs of the country people, this is why we express ourselves in favor of power relations in such communities because it is not our concern to try and change them. We emphasize, it is not that we are “machistas” but honestly we don’t set ourselves against this kind of native attitudes. This is what we think, even though it will infuriate the anarchists that we talk in this way, oh well.
(from “They took their time already: Wild Reaction responds to ‘Destruye las prisiones.’”)

We cannot make societies from scratch overnight, and nor should we have to. A possum does not ask itself nor is it qualified to determine what it means to be a possum. It merely is a possum. In other words, it doesn’t seek to be a god, and neither should we. In the past, humans lived in societies that existed for thousands of years that also told them what it was like to be human; societies that were small, sustainable, and more often than not, very stable. That we do not have this and instead think that we can play the part of social engineer is the real foundational problem. That we are tempted to think that a !Kung Bushman is more “wild” or “better” than a Selk’nam hunter, or a Choctaw warrior, or a Yurok “noble” is not an indication of knowledge, but of foolishness.
(from “Politically Incorrect Savages”)

In a rather humiliating but perhaps unintended “own goal”, the anarchist author(s) cite the Ona of Tierra del Fuego without realizing that the Ona, being simple hunter-gatherers, had a society based on patriarchy:
The patrilocal and patrilineal possession of the territories gave the men the exclusive right to the land, which was important not so much for the hunting grounds of the guanaco as for other fauna and for the natural resources. Even when a man took up residence in his mother’s lineage, her father and uncles remained the dominate figures. The fact that the manufacture of goods, tools as well as domestic items, could be taught to all the children and young adults, permitted the producers to master the economy and maintain an egalitarian level of appropriation and production, thus thwarting any possibility of subordination, except the sexual. This “exception” amounts to a cleavage in the society making it impossible to characterise it as egalitarian. It could be called patriarchal-egalitarian but this label appears to be contradictory or specious.
-Anne MacKaye Chapman, “Economic and Social Structure of Selk’nam Society” (n.b. “Selk’nam” is another name for the Ona)

The same is the case for an ancient “simple” culture like the Australian aboriginal peoples. Though there is a great deal of controversy concerning whether Europeans exaggerated the misogyny of “uncontacted” colonized peoples, there is somewhat less anecdotal evidence that “domination” and authority were very much a reality among “materially simple” hunter gatherers:
Paleopathologist Stephen Webb in 1995 published his analysis of 4500 individuals’ bones from mainland Australia going back 50,000 years. (Priceless bone collections at the time were being officially handed over to Aboriginal communities for re-burial, which stopped follow-up studies).Webb found highly disproportionate rates of injuries and fractures to women’s skulls, with the injuries suggesting deliberate attack and often attacks from behind, perhaps in domestic squabbles. In the tropics, for example, female head-injury frequency was about 20-33%, versus 6.5-26% for males.

The most extreme results were on the south coast, from Swanport and Adelaide, with female cranial trauma rates as high as 40-44% — two to four times the rate of male cranial trauma. In desert and south coast areas, 5-6% of female skulls had three separate head injuries, and 11-12% had two injuries.
(from “The long history of Aboriginal violence — Part II”, retrieved from The Quadrant website)
Of course, we could cite all sorts of other brutal examples of misogynist abuse, as well as the development of hierarchies in delayed returns hunter-gathers as in northern California and in the mound builders of Poverty Point in what is now Louisiana… No matter. The point is to indicate that we are unfazed by the lazy attempt to hoist us up on our own petard. Eco-extremism neither challenges the “domination” or authority of the past nor does it pretend that it can abolish them for all time. That’s a rather silly idea to cling to in either case.
Let us state the obvious: eco-extremists and nihilist misanthropes show no adherence to any human authority as it currently exists, nor could they ever in the foreseeable future as far as I can tell. The very nature of what it means to be an eco-extremist / nihilist individualist sort of excludes ipso facto any attempt to create a transpersonal authority in the present as is commonly understood. Maybe ITS has a military hierarchy that extends across borders and continents, but I highly doubt it. My understanding is that it is a group of individualists engaged in asymmetrical warfare. Any talk of “authority” in the common sense of the term is purely hypothetical.
Where eco-extremists speak of authority, they do so in a purely instrumental manner. Authority in their usage (aside from the “spiritual” aspects explained above) has more in common with the structure of a gang or mafia and less to do with a government or political party. There is no other way to support another treatment of the topic as far as I can see. If in carrying out a crime, someone is “in charge”, the criminals’ lives may depend on everyone doing what that person says. If a certain person has recognized superior spiritual knowledge or knowledge of medicinal herbs, that is the only authority eco-extremism seems to be talking about. Unlike the anarchist author(s), they have no illusion of “building new ways of relating between all the beings that inhabit this world and others with the Earth.”

You would think from how some people speak of being free from “domination,” they didn’t bleed red like everyone else. It is rather pitiful for an animal that gets sick and lives perhaps four score years to speak of being free of “all domination.” One might as well speak of being free of gravity or the second law of thermodynamics. We are constricted on all sides in our context from when we cross the street to what we can eat for breakfast. Eco-extremists have the very simple and very understandable goal of getting revenge and seeing things die and burn. The “destruction of all authority” doesn’t even seem to mean anything concrete, let alone possible.
We are soldiers, there is no escaping that fact. Soldiers in the traditional sense and soldiers in a different sort. We are spiritual warriors, we have an unholy cause to bring an end to mankind. We are not fighting to preserve nations or governments. We are fighting to return our Gods, to become as them. We are soldiers in a traditional sense, because this type of result will not be brought about without combat. Taking the offensive is the only noble thing to do. Goebbels declared to the German people when they were being invaded, ‘hate is our prayer, revenge our battle cry.’ The stench of an inferior species cannot be tolerated anymore. The only solution to a sick society is annihilation.
-Tempel ov Blood, Liber 333

I will say that, at least for me, misanthropy is not an act of passing moral judgment. Unless one is a complete Panglossian, it is evident there is a problem. Eco-extremism in places has argued that the problem is a physical one, not a moral one. As was formulated on the now-defunct blog, Wandering Cannibals:
To jump from these observations to the conclusion that “therefore all humans must go extinct” may be rightly pointed out as a reductio ad absurdum. Just because no one is at fault doesn’t mean everyone is at fault, or that fault even exists. Therefore, no punitive measures or even punitive language are warranted. Perhaps this has a point, but let us put it another way: the human ideal (form) can never have the appropriate physical host (matter) to realize itself. The form is always a ghost, hovering over the seething mass of human raw material. Mankind can never be animated by an ideal, it can never be joined to an organic ethical plan that can inform its collective actions toward a better future. In other words, mankind as a whole is a collective zombie, something that stumbles along with the semblance of life but in reality is constantly on the verge of flying apart due to the lack of any defined collective intelligence or will. We may speak of global-wide collective action, but mostly its empty rhetoric. The problem is godlike in scale but the means to address it are all-too-human…
Seven billion people don’t live their lives being innocent or guilty of anything. Their default mode is “minding their own business”. They’re fodder, they know not what they do. At that level, their lives are mostly devoid of discernible ethical content. And even in situations where people “care”, they often rob Peter to pay Paul: they live part of their life unethically to sustain an ethical veneer elsewhere in their lives. The bottom line is: if you don’t want that forest cut, or that ocean floor drilled, or that river polluted, you don’t have to look far to see who is at fault. You are, your friends are, those you love are. Or do you and they eat only air and live in thatched huts made from the branches of native trees? Or do you treat yourself with local plants when you are sick, or check your email using only a wooden bow drill? If (by your actions, not your words) you don’t care about Wild Nature, why should it care about you? Why should anyone?
Those who rail against misanthropy seem to think that the problem is qualitative when it is in reality quantitative. It’s not a matter of innocence or guilt, it’s just that there are too many damn loveable and ethical humans around who think that their lives and well-being are inviolable. That to touch a head on their hair is sacrilege or, gasp and horror of horrors!… authority.
But really, there is no use in belaboring the point. This becomes a tragicomic exercise once “nihilist” anarchists start accusing eco-extremism of moralism for performing the most immoral deeds imaginable. You see, if you were really an individualist and “unspooked” you wouldn’t attack humanity at all, or you would attack only those who have “direct” responsibility for domination, whatever that means. To be fair, the anarchist author(s) seem blissfully vague about condemning indiscriminate attack, so that’s a point in their corner. I speak more of the egoist fanboys who begin a silly game of who can care the least, which goes somewhat as follows:

A: “I am amoral so I attack society and humans.”
B: “If you were really amoral you wouldn’t care about society and humans, you would just do your own thing.”
A: “If you were really amoral, you wouldn’t care who I attacked.”
B: “If you were really amoral, you wouldn’t care that I cared who you attacked….”
Etc. etc. Seriously, it’s been going on for two years now. You know how many CEOs you could have kneecapped by now?

I forgot, you have no intention of being a threat to anyone, except maybe to eco-extremists, and you can’t even catch any of them. Seems like a cop out, just saying.
So to conclude, I don’t care if eco-extremists cite the Flying Spaghetti Monster to burn, kill and maim. It’s all the same to me: we’re just all dumb humans after all. Nor do I care about absurd goals like “the destruction of all authority”. That’s far too abstract for my little brain to comprehend, which is a nice way of saying it’s bullshit. Finally, I don’t like humans very much because they don’t seem to like themselves very much. They are collectively shitting over the only planet they have, and are becoming more and more mechanistic and artificial by the day. On this last point, I don’t know why I am obligated to adhere to or care about human beings being attacked in the present, as any random person in Paris, Djakarta, or Kinshasa is just as much an abstraction to me as Zeus or a member of an extinct Indian tribe. To quote the great reactionary De Maistre:
The constitution of 1795, like its predecessors, has been drawn up for Man. Now, there is no such thing in the world as Man. In the course of my life, I have seen Frenchmen, Italians, Russians, etc.; I am even aware, thanks to Montesquieu, that one can be a Persian. But, as for Man, I declare that I have never met him in my life. If he exists, I certainly have no knowledge of him.
I have little time for those who are haunted by the ideals of a society they supposedly wish to destroy. If these people finally start attacking what they hate, and really attacking, there will be no one more pleased than I. But if they are going to keep issuing anathemas from the desk of the Mother Superior of the Nunnery of St. Anarchy, they’re just confirming my worst suspicions of their real intentions.

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