Few would argue against the formative role played by the fictional writings of J.R.R. Tolkien in the genre of contemporary fantasy. The success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy among Western audiences sparked a conflagration of inspired fantasy authors ever after, writing their own modest tales for decades thence, spun around seemingly-alien or once-upon-a-time worlds peopled with elves, dwarves, dark lords, wraiths, goblins, trolls, wizards, on and on, the likes of which had little part in modern literature up until Tolkien’s intervention. A few such common staples to the genre today — orcs and hobbits/halflings, for instance — were entirely the original creation of Tolkien, whereas many other tropes, while not originating in his work, often resemble his iteration more than they do anything described in their source material of folk legend (elves as wise and immortal/long-lived humanoids, or dwarves as a similar racial — rather than spiritual — species of clever, diminutive, subterranean artificers).
One of the most interesting perspectives I garnered from an academic tome called Evil Incarnate by Dr. David Frankfurter was how one of the universal characteristics of state/civil societies is to redact and rigidly codify the “supernatural” or “magical” beliefs of its subjects. That in and of itself was an obvious phenomena to me long before I read said book — the interpretatio romana, for instance, is one of the most salient examples of such a practice, of the authorities of a conquering state appropriating the local gods of conquered/subjugated peoples and equating them to a Roman god that generally, at best, was a poor approximation, and at worst was complete error and obfuscation of the deity’s original functions. The purpose behind said-practice is primarily propaganderial, a power ploy — the gods of a particular, autonomous tribal people, and the sociopsychological and political identity and freedom of said distinct group that such gods guarantee or embody, are absorbed into or subsumed by the idols of another state. All the juicy bureaucracy built upon tithes and the shows of grovelling/worship that said idols demand in proving your submission which were formerly directed to the people’s own ruler/chieftain/holy men, if not being entirely absent (as in the case of more-egalitarian tribes or bands), are appended onto the cult and treasury of the imperial state, marking the end of a conquered people’s own independence of culture and destiny.Read More »
Stigmergy is an interesting phenomenon, and also something very informative to the
understanding of modern human society. In short, it is the appearance of intelligence or coordination based purely on instinctive or automated reaction to an external stimuli; there is not actually a conscious or cognitive decision involved on the part of the reacting organism, or so it is assumed. Ants are one of the best models of the behaviour — they are capable of achieving very impressive feats that look, to the human estimation, like they would require some intelligent decision and coordination to accomplish, be it building bridges, ladders, rafts out of their own bodies, creating complex tunnel systems within a variety of substrates, or practicing kinds of agriculture.Read More »
Generally when you come across an “anarchist” or “radical” on the internet, you are rarely wrong to automatically assume it is a liberal — that is, a left-centre, aspiring young capitalist and a bootlicker. They are merely temporarily confused about their political identity and psychology. It is particularly a safe bet for younger people, from the natural artefact of their not having been alive long enough to really think their way out of their confusion, if any truly profound thought has occurred to them yet at all. They might also merely be claiming the description as part of their small, fairly-sanitary act of social rebellion, spurred on by the angst of the prolonged adolescenthood enforced by modern societies. It might upset their parents and parish, after all, with the scandal of it, and any of the aesthetics that go with their politic scene, be it punk clothing or unnaturally-dyed hair. Oh, that wild and crazy rascal!
Much of the scientific study of human social behaviour — human behavioural ecology, sociobiology, and its various associates — owes a great deal to the study of the insect world. There is of course much to readily criticise such for; humans and insects are very diverse forms of life, much of their physiology and life history quite alien to the other. Indeed, because of a matter of scale — their size — it is not unreasonable to assert insects occupy a world apart from ours. More properly: it is a world within our own, a world that exists within the indeterminable nooks and crannies of our own place of inhabitance, teeming within the countless cracks and crevices of all the places on earth except for its deepest, darkest oceanic trenches, the bittermost cold of the polar reaches, and the intolerable, molten heats of the earth’s depths. Even so, it is a world that is far more expansive than what we know. We live on a thin surface, the edges of a heavily-folded, ecological sheet, our size, tolerances, and senses forbidding us from personally squeezing our way down in to its prohibitive folds, where only little, extraordinary things, of diverse shapes and incredible abilities, may slip into. Like the figurative sheet, once it is stretched out — dissecting and spreading open the countless secret passages through soil, wood, and skies — its true surface is revealed to be an area of unchartered vastness, an infinitude of microcosms among which the occupancy of man winds about as single thread.
This is something of intuitive speculation, given that I have limited experience, and hence knowledge, with the subject matter — though I usually find I am rarely wrong when it comes to intuition. At any rate, a very influential thinker in primitivist circles, John Zerzan, recently took a jab during his podcast (May 29, 2018): “Space: The Final Socialist Frontier?” ) at a relatively late branch of anarchist thought known as “ontological anarchy.” If you have never heard of it, you have done well for yourself and it is quite natural, given that I, and I imagine most people, never heard of it and would never have heard of it until they happened to twist their ankle in a dark little internet rabbit hole while jaunting about on the fantasyscape of social media. Read More »
What follows are some of my thoughts concerning an article I read some months ago — with the thoughts likewise having being jotted down then, only in a truncated form. The article’s assertions I found very interesting, on a number of grounds. The paper is somewhat renowned in the field of sociocultural anthropology: “Knowledge of the Body” (1983), by Michael D. Jackson, published in the journal Man, 18(2). In it, Jackson details some of the observations he made whilst studying the Kuranko, a tribal people of Sierra Leone (Africa). He especially was concerned with the supposed “symbolic” nature of the Kuranko’s rites and dances, from which he comes to a number of conclusions that I would recommend be read and digested in the original article, which would do it far greater justice that my shorthandedly summarising all of it. I will at length focus on one assertion in particular: that in “preliterate” societies, there is a greater immediacy of the mind with the body and ultimately the environment, and this immediacy results in moral character — morality itself —being regarded as intimately tied to action and the actual structure of the body instead of words, written or spoken. Read More »
“Here, then, on all sides, this irreducible affinity, this tragic proximity between the warrior and death becomes clear. Victorious, he must immediately leave again for war in order to assure his glory with an even greater feat. But in ceaselessly testing the limits of the risk confronted and forging ahead for prestige he invariably meets this end: solitary death in the face of enemies. …There is no alternative for the warrior: a single outcome for him, death. His is an infinite task, as I was saying: what is proven here, in short, is that the warrior is never a warrior except at the end of his task, when, accomplishing his supreme exploit, he wins death along with absolute glory. Read More »
y the Weak, for the Weak.
Practically all modern or post-modern political philosophies — the “isms,” if you would — can be tagged with such an epithet. For the philosophy that vocally professes to concern itself with an exaltation of power and strength, fascism ironically doesn’t escape the pandering to and critical foundation upon the Weak, either. But first, to clarify: what is weakness? Who is “weak?” You of course will find various subjective definitions wherever you may turn; different cultures, sub-cultures, and philosophies have had their own standards for what qualifies as a vulnerability, a weakness, and who is Weak, by their very nature. We all have weaknesses, some the plain frailties of mortality, others a perceived physical inadequacy, others a moral failing in the eyes of society. And therein might we identify what weakness transcendently is, regardless of its diverse cultural incarnations and the mere condition of being mortal. A failing or an inadequacy, of which the inverse — adequacy — indicates something of necessity. That which is necessary, needful, to society and to the wider political sphere of “nature” — to the entirety of relations and interactions that defines one’s face, one’s honour. That which is born of decadence, moral and material — that which is not needful, and especially instead burdensome, and that which is not mindful of honour — that is transcendent weakness, with a greater decadence being a measure of greater decay and the diminishment of a society.
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