Recently I’ve encountered some new spiritual movements that embody a particular kind of world-abnegating solipsism derived from what is likely a form of Gnostic philosophy, though obviously in a new and particularized form not explicitly wedded to Gnostic Christianity. I am not talking, this time, about the Chaos Gnostics found within such movements as the Temple of Black Light, although they would certainly qualify in a 2edgy4me sort of way. Instead we’re talking about a disparate collection of ideas that, to some extent, could broadly be described as “New Age”, at least for the lack of a better cohesive label. Unlike Chaos Gnostics, whose solipsitic worldview is defined by militant nihilism and outward embrace of total darkness and maleficence, these are movements that wrap themselves up in a kind of New Age or post-New Age milieu and bill themselves as positive, salvific doctrines. You will find such neo-Gnostic tripe in many corners of the internet, at least if you know where to look for it.
One movement in particular centers around the concepts of “organic portals” and “soulless people” – the latter concept in particular should prove awfully familiar for reasons that will become clear as you read this post. The concept of “organic portals” is very much connected to the concept of “soulless people”, and in fact it seems as thought the former springs out of the latter. According to this belief system, about half of the world’s population are people who are born into this world without souls, without the ability to see past the Matrix and perceive the true reality (as opposed to this one, presumably). These people are the “organic portals”, who serve the purpose of keeping the rest of humanity unaware of the truth of reality by preoccupying them with the mundane aspects of life, and are hence an integral part of “the Matrix”. They are described as essentially puppets, cardboard cutouts, possessing artificial consciousness, commanded by demonic beings from other dimensions, and lacking a higher self, a soul. In fact, the more read about the subject the more you find that the terms “organic portal” and “soulless beings” are basically interchangeable and refer to the same concept.
It’s hard for me to ascertain just where these ideas got their start and it’s unclear if there is necessarily a cohesive movement around them as opposed to just a scattered network of blogs, but it seems that people have been talking about them for the last decade, though they seem to have gotten somewhat more attention within the last four years. However, it strikes me that this idea is awfully similar that theory on 4chan about how a large continent of the world’s population are “NPCs”.
The main connection to Gnosticism seems to be outlined in an article from a website entitled “Piercing the Veil of Reality”, in which it is stated:
According to “Gnosis”, as transmitted by Boris Mouravieff, there exist two kind of humans: adamic man and pre-adamic man. One type with soul potential, the other has no individual soul. Only the former has the inherent capacity to evolve esoterically and build the magnetic center by fusing the lower with the higher centers. The latter does not have the possibility in his current evolutionary cycle to bridge to the higher centers and no access to higher knowing/awareness/love. Looking at the Indian chakra model, one could say that pre-adamic man only exists on the lower three chakras without any access to the higher ones, while adamic man also mostly exists on the lower centers, but has the ability to activate and bridge the higher centers through conscious esoteric work.
These “pre-adamic” people seem to line up with the rest of the mythos surrounding the “soulless ones” and “organic portals”, leading me to think that Boris Mouravieff, who was a Russian mystic philosopher whose trade was largely in esoteric Christianity, might be a primary source for these ideas. Mouravieff’s ideas are also echoed by the writings of a self-described “PalaeoChristian Shaman” named Laura Knight Jadczyk, who considers Mouravieff’s theology to be the closest thing to the truth. Jadczyk ties the idea of “organic portals” to psychopathy, citing it as the reason why some people are psychopathic, and of course ties it to gnosticism by citing what is apparently Gnostic doctrine.
Gnostics divide humanity into HYLICS, PSYCHICS, and PNEUMATICS. HYLICS (from Greek uAq (hyle) “matter”) are earthly, hidebound, ignorant, uninitiated. The lowest level of human thought – the fleshly, instinctive level of thinking. They are the opposite of Psychics (from Greek i]mX T ] (psyche) “soul”). So humanity comprised matter- bound beings, matter-dwelling spirits and the matter-free or immaterial souls. Hylics are also called Somatics (from greek oxopa (soma) “body”) or Sarkics (“Fleshly” from greek sarkikos). “The Book of Thomas the Contender” quotes Jesus as saying some men are beasts. „Hylic” seems to be the gnostic term for “Organic Portal” or “Pre-Adamic Man”. “Hylic” can be thought of as a level of thinking and dealing with the lowest portion of human nature. It is considered living by instinctual drives with no sublimation. They were deemed completely bound to matter. Matter, the material world, was considered evil by the gnostics. The material world was created by a demiurge, in some instances a blind, mad God, in others an army of rebellious angels as a trap for the spiritual Ennoia. The duty of (spiritual) man was to escape the material world by the aid of the hidden knowledge (gnosis). Hylics were human in form, but since their entire focus was on the material world, such as eating, sleeping, mating or creature comforts, they were seen as doomed. The pneumatic saw himself as escaping the doom of the material world via the secret knowledge. Hylics were thought to be incapable of understanding. For consideration of these dynamics, see for example the Gospel of Judas, believed to be a gnostic text, where Jesus is posited as a pneumatic and the other disciples, non-gnostics, as somatics.
These ideas are also undergirded throughout the New Age conspiracy theorist blogosphere by statements made by many spiritualist thinkers, such as the occultist G.I. Gurdjieff, who describes a certain type of people as “actually already dead” Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian spiritualist who created the doctrine of Anthroposophy, who described cases “in which children are born with a human form, but are not really human beings in relation to their highest I” and in which people were born as “natural demons” who did not reincarnate, and Sri Aurobindo, who describes these sorts of people as “like vampires”. Aurobindo’s inclusion strikes me as somewhat conspicuous because, apparently, he was a nationalist, and in particular one who based his nationalism on religion (which, given what we know about Hindutva, doesn’t fill me with confidence). In fact a simple Google search will yield quite a few videos on YouTube that discuss “organic portals” and “NPCs” interchangeably. And given this plus the obvious similarity between the idea of “organic portals” and the idea of “NPCs” (really they’re the same idea but presently differently) that makes me wonder if the spectre of nationalism is driving some of this neo-Gnostic stuff. Then again, given that the “organic portals” discussion goes at least as far back as 2011, predating the NPC theories that emerged on 4chan, it makes me think the 4chanites have simply adopted spiritualism as a vehicle for their worldview.
There’s another form of neo-Gnostic pop mysticism afoot lately in the cult of Bentinho Massaro, a self-styled spiritual guru who also happens to think that 9/11 was an inside job and that we can communicate with aliens. Here’s one thing he said in one of his lectures (as featured in a VICE mini-documentary) that, for me, kind of gives away the scent of neo-Gnosticism:
“So one of the most important things to make this whole life sustainable, especially when you start waking up, spiritually speaking, and you start seeing through the illusions of the matrix, both the matrix as well as the grand matrix, the grand illusion, a form of matter, of that which changes, which comes and goes…”
It’s worth keeping in mind that I’ve paraphrased this slightly, due to the actual speech being rather jittery and not so well articulated, but I believe we can grasp his central claim nonetheless. His essential claim is the material world is an illusion, that in fact the material world is comparable to the matrix from the Matrix films, a claim that you can also find among believers in “organic portals” (in fact it’s central to the premise). This is in many ways a form of the Gnostic premise repackaged in a vague New Age language, one that perhaps seems more palatable or more “Zen” for a broader audience. To be honest, however, even this comes across as a possible opportunism of sorts, because his belief system appears to be a mish-mash of random spiritual and religious concepts, most likely drawing especially from Hinduism and/or some bastardization of Buddhism, mixed in of course with wacky InfoWars-lite beliefs about aliens.
What is far more worrying however is that Massaro has a fairly wide audience – he has many social media accounts that have followers/subscribers in the tens of thousands, and he has his own university called Trinfinity Academy where people can pay hundreds of dollars to take courses to pursue his particular brand of woo. Perhaps a part of this attraction can be attributed to the perception that he is a relaxed and carefree spiritual leader, owing to his reputation of off-colour (though likely still inoffensive) humour and his aloof attitude to organized religion. But to be honest, I get some NXIVM-esque vibes from this guy, considering his whole schtick of “let’s make money off of my indoctrination retreats”, which from what I’ve seen seem to have a high concentration of women in them, and the fact that I’ve seen him denigrate people for their relationships for no reason (yeah, totally not cult-like at all).
These are just a few examples of what could be referred as a kind of neo-Gnostic current within various modern spiritual-religious movements, and I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones that have come under my radar as of late. I can’t help but wonder why some form of Gnosticism is proving to be so influential in alternative religious currents, and why it plays into New Age and often conspiracy theory based systems without much trouble.
In the foreword of Karl Marx’s Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature, there is noticeable attention paid to the myth of Prometheus, which he seems to viewas the champion and affirmation of the virtue of philosophy. He makes reference tothe philosopher Epicurus as echoing the cry of philosophy against its adversaries through the following quotation from his letter to Menoeceus:
“Not the man who denies the gods worshipped by the multitude, but he who affirms of the gods what the multitude believes about them, is truly impious.”
Now it is worth noting that, in the actual letter, the context of that statement is negative. Epicurus considered the affirmation to be a literal blasphemy, because in his words “the utterances of the multitude about the gods are not true preconceptions but false assumptions”.
There is a version of that quote that reads a little differently, found in Karl Marx’s Social and Political Thought: Critical Assessments by Robert Jessop, as well as Activity in Marx’s Philosophy by Norman D. Livergood, and it reads like this:
“The blasphemous is not he who scorns the gods of the masses, but he who adheres to the idea that the masses create the gods.”
And truly this would be blasphemy indeed for the classically religious person. After all, this brings the level of the gods, God, and divinity in general down to the domain of Man, and in so doing binds them to the earthly realm, to worldliness. This would be impermissible for most religious/spiritual systems. But, it is in part that quality that makes such an idea truly revolutionary in the context of the ancient world, and perhaps still so in the modern day.
It is also from the foreword of Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature that we derive a very peculiar quote, one that I find should appeal to those who seek to uphold the Promethean ideal:
“Prometheus is the most eminent saint and martyr in the philosophical calendar.”
In Marx’s canon, Prometheus is the mythological and heroic champion of philosophy, and through whom philosophy rebukes the clemency of the gods in his response to Hermes:
Be sure of this, I would not change my state
Of evil fortune for your servitude.
Better to be the servant of this rock
Than to be faithful boy to Father Zeus.
This quotation is in many ways the ancestor of that famous speech given by Satan in Paradise Lost, in which he proclaims, rightfully, that it is better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven. When Hermes, a servant of Zeus, approaches Prometheus, he attempts to scare Prometheus into telling him what he knows about the eventual destroyer of Zeus, as this is one condition for Zeus to release him from his bondage to the Caucasus. Prometheus refuses to comply, and asserts that he would prefer to remain in his state of punishment and suffering then to serve as the lackey of the gods. This is how one can make sense of the Promethean interpretation of the character of Satan in Paradise Lost, assuming of course that John Milton was familiar with the story of Prometheus.
For Marx to cite him as the foremost saint of the philosophical calendar suggests that the spirit of Prometheus is very much intended to manifest in much of his worldview, and for him at least the practice of philosophy. Or, more pertinently, that the emancipatory spirit of Prometheus reminded Marx of his own overriding ideal of collective emancipation (Prometheus being the emancipator of humanity by stealing the fires of knowledge, with Marx’s .
Now, in Jessop’s book, We get an interesting analysis of the way Marx addressed the Promethean themes invoked in the foreword of Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature. First we address the analysis of the quotation of Epicurus.
“True blasphemy is not contempt for the gods but advocacy of the idea that the gods are human creations, detached ideas, become independent in the mind. Philosophy or secular self-consciousness, in other words, does not reject ‘gods’, a metaphor for ideas, but sees them as reflections of man’s own self-consciousness; i.e. gods, like ideas, are products of human self-consciousness and not the absolutes of theology.”
Theistic religions, from pre-Christian religions to Christianity to Islam to Hinduism, have traditionally held their gods in absolute, being tangible beings with tangible power, through the tremendous power they were held to have over natural and spiritual forces that directly affect the survival of humans. Framed this way, however, the gods are presented as the emanations of human consciousness, from there perhaps dependent upon it. Perhaps this is not too far away from the way that the naturalists of old viewed the gods, such as Prodicus of Ceos who regarded the gods as reflections of the natural forces that provided comfort to mankind, though perhaps it could also be taken in another way.
Continuing from there:
“The point is even more clearly established by Marx when he makes ‘the confession of Prometheus: “In simple words, I hate the pack of gods”‘, into philosophy’s own self-declaration; i.e, there will be no gods other than profane ‘human self-consciousness’. The same point is made in a footnote to the Appendix of his dissertation, where he presents the ontological proof of the existence of god as being in fact a proof of the ‘existence of essential human self-consciousness’. If the ontological proof states that the concept of a thing begs a corresponding reality, then, ‘which being’ Marx asks ‘is immediate when made the subject of thought?’. The answer he asserts is ‘self-consciousness’ – not the concept of self-consciousness but real, existing self-consciousness, the immediate source of all concepts, and the subject matter of the thesis.”
To say that there will be no gods other than human self-consciousness ties in rather nicely with the statement that it is the masses that create the gods, that they are the products of consciousness. For in much the same way, to declare human self-consciousness as the realm of the divine brings the divine into the world realm and through which, crucially, into the domain of Man.
This ethos permeates what Jessop identifies much further on:
The Foreword ends with the statement: “Prometheus is the most eminent saint and martyr in the philosophical calendar.”. In other words, philosophy, as human self-consciousness, finds its symbol in Prometheus, who brought the secret of fire to man from the gods so that man might develop his own arts and remove himself from subordination to the gods. Like Prometheus, philosophy must end the separation of the sacred from the secular, it must bring ideas down from the heavens and make them the content of real human consciousness.
It is from here that I get to my main point. The true ideal at the heart of the Promethean (and from there Luciferian) archetype is the idea of the abolition of the separation between Man and the divine, from there emancipating the whole of mankind.
In this sense, the real problem with Christianity is that it never in its thousand year plus reign truly achieved the abolition of that separation between Man and God. How could it, with its embrace of the rigid hierarchy of the great chain of being? Though I suppose it does not help things that the ideal of Christianity . There’s a profound sense of cuckoldery within the Christian religion. In Jesus you have a potentially emancipatory figure, potentially even the means by which God becomes accessible and tangible to mankind (whereas, in Judaism, he could only ever be so close, indeed his very being blinds and burns whose who lay sight upon it), and even then Jesus’ salvation can only really be a thing within the very same hierarchy within which, in Judaism, God is ever so inaccessible. Indeed, despite Jesus’ best efforts, the Christian conceptions of hierarchy served only to further or sustain Man’s partition with the divine. Not to mention, have we not forgotten when Jesus said “think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets”, referring to the Judaic law of the Old Testament, “I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill”, very clearly stating that, as much as he may have established the bridge between the divine and man, he still upholds Judaic law, and from there the spirit of the hierarchy of the intangible and the tyrannical authority of the Abrahamic Logos, and very much to the letter as he says “not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished”.
The Luciferian, therefore, seeks to emancipate Man in a way that Christianity could not. His goal is to work towards ending the separation between the divine and Man, to liberate the soul from ignorance and bondage, and to generate freedom for all sentient beings. In so doing, the Luciferian rejects the order of the God of Abraham as a condition for Man’s freedom, whereas Jesus sought to uphold it. The Luciferian, in seeking to carry the mission of Prometheus, places the divine in the locus of Man, for man is the object of Luciferian liberation.
I do not quite understand why, but the subject of nihilism has hung over me like a shroud in recent months. I realize this will be more deeply personal than intellectual, but I would hate for it sink into the sea of memory before I have the chance to get it off my chest.
I have, at various points, stopped to reflect on the question of why I was born, and sometimes I still do. Why was I born here, at this particular moment in time. In fact, I dare say that it is this moment in time – a period where we seem to be on the cusp of the end of an era, where we’re teetering ever closer to destruction, where some say we might be seeing the last generation of humans that won’t be almost completely immersed by the technological realm – that has made me feel this way the most. Why now, in this seemingly most chaotic of times? And I know that you might say “oh you were here because your dad fucked your mom”, and I mean, it’s not wrong, but it hardly answers anything, and if anything begs the question of why they were born too.
And often times, when I’ve reflected that, it’s accompanied by a different thought – actually, more often than that thought to be honest. The thought of entropy, of demise. Existential terror still creeps up on me. You know what that question people often ask themselves about how what’s the point of doing anything if it’s all going to be gone? I feel a lot of empathy for people who look a universe characterized predominantly by entropy, where we’re all here for a bang in the grand scheme of things and then fade out as though it were nothing, never to know the nothingness that may well await, or perhaps the truth of their fate. I say this because I sometimes feel something like that come over me, and I feel like “there has to be a reason why we go through all this shit”. The more I think about it, the more come to the conclusion that it makes no sense that there isn’t some reason for everything being the way it is is an absurd thing to contemplate, and hence I have trouble with the idea that there’s nothing about life be but born, eat, shit, get screwed over, have sex, have kids and then die for nothing.
When I say that there must be some meaning to the universe that we’re all sort of weaved into, I do not say this out of a conviction that there is a heavenly father watching over me, guiding my movements, judging me for a path that let’s be honest he’s ultimately responsible for me having taken in the first place. Instead, I say this out of the conviction that, in spite of how absurd and chaotic the universe often is, the universe we live in is in fact an ordered body of laws, that can be understood even to a limited extent by humanity through the capacity of his mind and his reason. Through the knowledge derived from this philosophical and empirical inquiry, mankind achieves liberation from bondage in a way that he does not do through faith of any kind. Of course, from an occultnik perspective, you could apply this to the idea that the spiritual realm, the “other side”, or indeed “God’s mysteries” in the sense implied by many classical forms of occultism, can be discovered, understood and systematized by humans. If you’re a nihilist, you believe in nothing and so must reject even this principle as possessing no legitimacy, for under nihilism all things are without any intrinsic meaning or value.
In fact, as I mull over the occasional feelings of existential dread and morbid questing, I feel more and more averse to nihilism. I see it as an empty framework, a childish rejection of all values and all meaning, leaving nothing to progress with, destined only either to give way to a more useful framework , as order can be said to emerge from chaos, or to be the basis of a lifelong quest of negation and perversion driven only by the will to power. The view that there’s nothing of value intrinsic within the universe strikes me as the view of one who is numb to meaning itself, one who can never access meaning, and characteristic perhaps of an existence that becomes more common as capitalism erodes all value that cannot be reduced to commodity. You might even say nihilism is reactionary in a sense, because in many instances it emerges purely in reaction to the death of God as the prime source of meaning and values.
I must stress that for me this has little in practice to do with the God question. An atheist need not be a nihilist, and indeed some theists can be very nihilistic (I’ve seen some young Christians defend the existence of God by insisting that nothing is actually real, not realizing of course that this should mean God isn’t real either). Indeed, for a non-theist seeking to combat nihilism, the mission is invariably to craft the world after God. In fact I believe it to be possible to render nihilism an infantile disorder by dealing with morality as an evolutionary concept, a tool subject to natural selection through its adaptability for the utility of large scale societies in response to emergent conditions.
All in all, the more time I spend alone on the subject, the more I just seem to feel like nihilism in a loose sense comes across pretty absurd, even if you believe the point of life is to get as much pleasure out of it as possible (for surely with nihilism the pleasure itself is meaningless).
The media has a new line of attack against Satanism in its efforts to tarnish its status within the public consciousness. This line of attack is different from the old days in that it doesn’t seek out to smear Satanists as psychotic, anti-social, criminal elements in society, but instead to smear them as basically pussies who act tough but are scared to death of Christians. Predictably, this smear centers on The Satanic Temple.
What is the subject of these articles you might ask? While promoting a new film entitled Hail Satan?, which this week premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, Lucien Greaves gave an interview with The Daily Beast in which he describes his views on Donald Trump and Mike Pence. The main story seems to be this statement:
“Trump is too stupid to predict; the guy has no concept of his own limitations. The thing that makes me most comfortable with Trump is the fact that he has no vision. Mike Pence really scares me: Pence has a clear, theocratic vision for the United States.”
I think this is an entirely reasonable statement, and Greaves is ultimately correct on this point. Donald Trump, while an ally of evangelic conservative interests, is inconsistent on almost every issue, religion being one of them. While he clearly is a Christian (he even said that the Bible was his favorite book), he is not an active member of his church and doesn’t know if he ever asked God for forgiveness. Also, during his campaign he often deviated from conservative tradition by billing himself as a protector of LGBT rights (a point that would find itself incredibly hollow his administration dragged on considering its attempts to legally erase trans people, rolling out “religious freedom” laws and appointing arch-conservative judges to the Supreme Court). While Trump’s beliefs are often ill-defined and sentimental, Pence is far more consistent and clear about his intentions. He calls himself a Christian above all else, literally does not believe in evolution, is a consistent friend of Christian fundamentalists and can be relied about to act upon their interests, as well as numerous interests (let’s just say I think the push for war in Iran or with Russia might go faster under Pence than under Trump).
The reason why I think the articles from the likes of The Daily Caller and Russia Today among other outlets constitute a smear of Satanism is that they try to paint Greaves’ obvious concerns as irrational and from there based on irrational fear of ordinary Christians, overlooking the fact that Mike Pence, if he were to become President of the United States, would have much more control over social policy than he presently does and the fact that the possibility of him taking over from Trump remains a possible contingency.
Russia Today even tries to slyly compare The Satanic Temple to the witches who attempted to hex Brett Kavanaugh, asking “Maybe Pence will be next?”. Actually, come to think of it, why is Russia Today wading in on this development? I seem to see them chime in from time to time on Western culture war bullshit, with a fairly recent example being them publishing an article written by Slavoj Zizek about the errors of liberal thinking concerning “toxic masculinity”. It is at least understandable why American outlets join in on the story, but Russia Today seems like it doesn’t have any real connection to any of this.
The main takeaway I guess is that the subject of Greaves’ views on Pence hardly qualifies as a news story, or at any rate a development worthy of being treated as such. Which only really begs the question of why it is?
Remember in 2013 when under Obama the Republicans managed to get the government shut down over the Affordable Care Act? Well last month Trump pretty much plunged America into a government shutdown for the third time in his presidency, as well as the third one within 2018. This shutdown lasted from December 22nd 2018 until January 25th 2019, making it the longest government shutdown in US history. This meant that US federal workers had to go without pay for over a month in what for them must surely have been the worst holiday season they can remember while Trump and his cronies chowed down on a buffet of fast food.
Within that time Trump downgraded his famous proposal for a wall on the southern border, instead asking Congress for about $5 billion to pay for a “steel barrier” – a barrier that it turns out is so weak that you can cut through it with a saw. Effectively, Trump turned his “big, beautiful wall”, an already wasteful vanity project good only for show, into an even more useless barrier that whatever wave of immigrants he’s trying to keep can probably just smash through just to be able to pay for anything close to a wall.
Finally, after air traffic controllers and flight attendance threatened to not go to work until they got their pay check, the shutdown officially ended and Trump backed down. However, technically speaking, the shutdown doesn’t appear to be over yet. Trump only seems to be suspending the shutdown for 21 days, and in that time he is still going to try to push the wall through and get it funded, and if he doesn’t get his way he will either shut down the government again or invoke emergency powers. But that wall is probably never going to be paid for anyway. In suspending the government shutdown, Trump did not receive any of the $5.7 billion he demanded to pay for his border wall, and in fact the government shutdown seems to have cost the US government $6 billion minimum, which exceeds the budget Trump wanted for his steel barrier proposal.
Nonetheless, the concession to the Democrats has led to many of Trump’s supporters being outraged at Trump, and in many ways you could say rightfully so, for backing down. This to me is a realization on the part of the MAGA movement that they’ve been swindled, that Trump is not the politician they thought he was, and that he in all likelihood will not give them the wall. With roughly a year to go before the next presidential election, it remains interesting to see where his supporters are going to go from here, though I imagine they will only really stick with Trump over inane conservative culture wars and generally the desire to desperately avoid a Democrat winning the presidency – and, keep in mind, this is his base I’m talking about, most of the moderates or orbiters who still supported Trump before will likely desert him if they haven’t already because he can’t get anything done. Or perhaps the MAGA movement will be kept alive by the kind of insufferable zoomers who still believe GamerGate was a success after Gawker announced its resurrection the auspices of Bryan Goldberg.
You know, between this entire development and everything else we’ve seen of him (his commitment to non/anti-interventionist foreign policy and economic populism having shown themselves to be falsehoods), we could well be looking at one of the biggest political failures in recent memory. Ever since 2015 when Trump began campaigning for the presidency, that “big, beautiful wall” was one of the cornerstones of his campaign, it was dumb but it was also probably he most important promise he made over than the moratorium on Islamic immigration. Since he got elected that wall has not been built and it should now be empirically clear that the wall is never going to be built or paid for, no matter how many autocratic measures he takes he takes to make sure that it does.
And that’s not getting into the other stuff. Trump advanced his campaign on an isolationist and nationalist attitude, particularly on the basis of skepticism towards foreign military interventions carried out by the US and towards free trade deals that have left the average person behind. In reality, however, Trump’s administration last year broke the record for the amount of bombs dropped on Afghanistan, continues to ally with Saudi Arabia even after major international outrage concerning the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, backed out of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty with Russia, scrapped the Iran Deal on behalf of neoconservative interests, is now planning regime change in Venezuela, and is even floating the idea of privatizing the Afghanistan campaign by handing it over to Erik Prince, the former CEO of Blackwater which oversaw the massacre of innocent of Iraqis. He did recently decide to pull US forces out of Syria, but only to eventually backpeddle on that promise and soften the pullout schedule (if such a schedule even exists).
Added to that, despite his commitment to draining the swamp and fighting the deep state and what not, all he’s done is shuffle around his cabinet with more and more neocons and elite cronies each more disgusting than the last. He’s also never done anything to oppose the NSA dragnet, and in fact he’s expanded it as I’ve covered last year. Oh, and you can forget about him being the man of the people because his tax cuts have only really benefitted the rich, real wages haven’t grown at all under Trump, in fact they just might be falling. Not to mention the fact that outsourcing has continued under Trump, and perhaps even been encouraged too, despite his supposed commitment to keeping jobs in America. And I haven’t forgotten when he hinted that the US should reconsider the TPP, after nixing it within his first week! Trump has broken much of the core of his campaign. In fact, I would go so far as to say that he’s done nothing of worth for the people who voted for him.
The only reason Trump had that ounce of credibility necessary for me to begin supporting him after I hated him for most of 2016 is that the establishment that opposed him got caught with their pants down trying to play every sleazy and manipulative card against and every alternative to him had been discredited by their deference to said establishment, and I feel disgusted by the fact that I allowed myself to be blindsided by all of that because, even with all that, Tump’s still just another horrifically dumb, dishonest, mentally degenerated neoliberal/neoconservative, just that he expertly disguised his actual politics in a convincing veneer of paleoconservative populism, semi-truthful hyperbole and the lamentations of his enemies. That there are people who still believe in him is a testament to how there’s no God watching over us and modern civilization is a joke!
I kind of mean it. Seriously. If you still support Trump at this juncture you might most likely be hopelessly gullible and stupid. It’s hopelessly clear by now that Trump has done nothing of worth and in fact betrayed many of his promises. The only reason you have to still believe in Trump at this point is if you’re too stupid for your own good, you just love the idea of getting suckered your whole life, or you’ve built your career on shilling for Trump and get paid to peddle to obvious bullshit for him. – the irony of that being that even hardened dumbasses like Mike Cernovich are starting to turn on him.
Now since 2020 is already being talked about, I’d like to mention that I’ve been told by friends that it’s very likely that Trump won’t win on account of the fact that he’s basically broken his core campaign promises. However, as much as I’d like to believe that, I’d put a qualifier on that: the only way Trump could possibly win in 2020 is if the Democrats find a way to shit the bed even harder than Trump does. And while I’m not making any promises to that effect, I look at what I see of the Democratic candidates and my gut feeling tells me that they just might unless they actually run Bernie Sanders as their nominee. And given that the Democratic establishment looks ready to dismiss Bernie again in favour of Kamala Harris just to get another shot at first female president (who also happens to be non-white) even though (apart from a few of her positions like support for Medicare for All) she is by and large another Clintonite, another moderate Republican dressed up as a Democrat, one who also happens to have a police background which means she’ll likely carry out the interests of the ruling class anyway and has done in many of her prosecutions as the Attorney General of California. You could argue that Tulsi Gabbard would make for an easy win but, I’ve already talked about her.
But on the whole, even though I think Bernie might be the best option Americans have, in my view he’s still not enough. Hell, as far as social democrats go (and I am no social democrat) I consider him inferior to people like Jeremy Corbyn in most respects. In fact, given that Trump’s failure follows sort of the same pattern as Obama’s – that flashy populist formula where a guy promises profound political change and then not only doesn’t change anything but actually makes things somewhat worse – I can’t help but be critical of the idea that Bernie won’t just turn out the same way. It’s past time that Americans realized that their political and economic system doesn’t serve them, and to be honest the same could be said for almost the rest of the world.
This month, the Indian Science Congress Association held its 106th annual summit, as it traditionally does on the first week of January. In this summit, a number of Indian scientists have come out against the theories of Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton, who form part of the axis upon which modern scientific observation and understanding of the universe are based, while claiming that ancient Hindu religious texts are the actual basis of modern science. In one case, the head of a university based in south India actually claimed that stem cell research was already practiced in India thousands of years ago and was described in ancient texts. Another academic, G Nageshwar Rao, claimed that the Kauravas, the descendants of a king named Kuru according to the Mahabharata, were created via stem cell research as test tube babies. He also claimed that the astra and shastra, mythical weapons used by the gods in Indian mythology, were actually pre-modern guided missiles that had been used in India thousands of years before guided missiles were actually developed, and that the demon king Ravana was not only real but also possessed 24 types of aircraft and a network of landing strips in Sri Lanka. One scientist, Kannan Jegathala Krishnan, claimed that Einstein’s theories were “misleading” and that Newton “failed to understand gravitational repulsive forces”. A supposed paleontologist named Ashu Khosla claimed that dinosaurs were created by the deity Brahma, who he also claimed documented such creations in Indian religious scriptures. Essentially, the conference became a platform for Hindu creationism and attempts by religious ideologues to claim the history of modern science as the ancient history of India. There was also a naked appeal to base nationalism, as Krishnan even went so far as to suggest that gravitational waves should be renamed “Narendra Modi Waves”, after the current Prime Minister of India, and that the gravitational lensing effect should be renamed the “Harsh Vardhan effect”, presumably after the Indian politician of the same name.
As absurd as this must seem, and rightfully so, such developments are unfortunately not new to the Indian scientific community or to Indian society at large. In 2017, the junior education minister Satyapal Singh, who also happens to be in the BJP, claimed that planes were first mentioned in the Ramayana and that the plane was first invented in India eight years before the Wright Brothers by Shivakar Babuji Talpade. Such claims, however, remain unverified. The same man also claimed that there existed trees in the kingdom of Ravana (presumably referring to Sri Lanka, I guess) that didn’t need to be watered because they contained a mythical elixir named Chandramani, and that Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection was incorrect. Of course two years before that a man named Anand Bodas claimed in that year’s Indian Science Congress that a Vedic sage named Bharadwaja invented the world’s first plane and that ancient planes had 40 engines. The home minister Rajnath Singh (another BJP politician) claimed that the principle of quantum uncertainity, which was theorized by Werner Heisenburg in 1927, is actually based on Vedic scripture. Rajashtan education minister Vasudev Devnani (yet another BJP politician) claimed that cows are the only animals that inhale and exhale oxygen in order to add “scientific significance” to the belief that the cow is a sacred animal. A BJP lawmaker named Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank at one point claimed that astrology is superior to science, literally calling science “a dwarf before astrology”, that a sage named Kanad conducted the first nuclear test one lakh year (that’s about 100,000 years) ago, and that ancient Indians had the knowledge of performing transplants. Another BJP MP named Shankarbhai Vegad, in his push for a ban on cattle slaughter, claimed that the urine and feces of cows are capable of curing cancer and other ailments. Even Narendra Modi himself once claimed that the Hindu deity Ganesha was the result of the literal attachment of an elephant’s head onto the body of a human boy, supposedly an ancient form of plastic surgery.
It’s tempting for me to look at this and be reminded of a sort of popular cult around Hinduism that’s been around for decades now, even among supposedly skeptical, scientifically-minded atheists. In fact, Carl Sagan himself described Hinduism as “the only religion in which the time scales correspond to those of modern scientific cosmology” and in one of his books he said that the Nataraja, the famous icon of the deity Shiva dancing the universe into destruction, represents an ancient understanding of what we now refer to as the Big Bang. He also talked about Hindu cosmology in one episode of his TV series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. In my day I have seen the idea of Hinduism as an especially scientific religion is often spread by New Agers, as well as Hindus seeking to big up their religion, and I definitely see there being a sort of popular exotic fascination with Hinduism among spiritualists, occult circles, people who don’t believe in Christianity but look for other beliefs, pagans, some agnostics, a few atheists and almost certainly fellow travelers of the Left Hand Path. Indeed, historically I have not been above such exotic fascination myself, and I still see myself reading about Hinduism to this day even though I don’t ascribe myself to the religion, and I certainly don’t endorse any of the creationism and pseudoscience coming from Hindu circles.
However, the phenomenon we are seeing in India is not like the kind of exoticist obsession of Hinduism found in the West. Instead, it’s very likely that the kind of pseudoscience, creationism and revisionism we’re seeing is the product of the influence of Hindu nationalism, which is currently a very powerful movement in India represented by the ruling party.
You may have noticed it already, but there’s a pretty strong link between this broad trend of religious historical revisionism and the Bharatiya Janata Party, all the way up to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who leads the party in the Lok Sabha (the lower house of parliament) and serves as its chairperson in parliament. As many people in India have noticed, this is far from a coincidence. The BJP is a conservative nationalist party, and one of their main flanks appears to be an ideology known as Hindutva. The term Hindutva refers to a particular form of Indian nationalism and Hindu conservatism that stresses the singular importance of the Hindu religion in Indian politics and public life. Like pretty much all nationalist movements they tend to think of the cultural body as the defining body of the nation (a la Andrew Breitbart’s axiom “politics is downstream from culture”), and they believe that Hindu culture and Indian culture represent the same entity. Consequently they frequently pressure the Indian government to push for policies intended to “protect” Hindu culture from perceived threats. This would explain why BJP is so hellbent on introducing a version of scientific truth that aligns with Hindu myth and religious tradition.
It also lends to a particular hostility towards Christians and Muslims, whether they are born, raised and integrated into Indian society or not, because Christianity and Islam represent foreign religions in India, which according to Hindutva ideology represent a threat to the Indian nation. Judaism and Zoroastrianism are also excluded from the Hindutva milieu as foreign religions, while Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism are welcomed because they see them as extensions of the Indian Dharma or religion – the fact that those three religions contradict Hinduism in various areas doesn’t seem to be a problem with them, due to the fact that they all originate in India. This characteristic lends itself to a sense of ethnocentrism on the part the Hindutva movement, with religious identity being an extension of ethnic identity and opposing foreign peoples through their religious identity. Because of this, many commentators have compared Hindutva to the alt-right, and right-wing online movements sometimes embrace Hindutva.
The religious fundamentalism and nationalist agenda of Hindutva has already had a major effect on Indian society for some time now, and the BJP have already set about perverting the Indian education system in order to condition the public to their agenda. In 2001, a BJP MP named Murli Manohar Joshi managed to get astrology taught as a course in Indian universities as part of the national curriculum. But if that wasn’t enough, the BJP managed to get history textbooks altered to suit their political agenda. In 2016, public schools in Rajasthan released new social studies textbooks that removed all information about India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and which renamed the Indus Valley Civilization to the Sindhu-Saraswati Culture, presumably named after the Hindu goddess Saraswati, despite the fact that Hindu culture as we know it did not emerge until some time after the Indus Valley Civilzation. Many Rajasthan textbooks even outright glorify the Modi government. In Maharashtra, new textbooks altered the preamble of the Indian Constitution, replacing the words “dharma nirpeksh” (meaning “religion neutral”, thus implying secularism) with “panth nirpeksh” (meaning “sect neutral”) in order to paint the country as based on a national unity of Hindu sects rather than a secular democratic nation, and the state education board has even gone so far as to remove references to the Mughals from their history textbooks.
It’s here that we see in Hindutva some striking parallels with two other right-wing movements in different parts of the world. First, there is the state sponsorship of psuedoscience and religious fundamentalism, which has strong parallels with the American religious right and their tendency to side with creationism (the current Vice President Mike Pence is on record with his belief that evolution is “just a theory”) and evangelical fundamentalists, not to mention climate science denialists. Second, we have rampant historical revisionism, which is comparable to similar textbook controversies in neighbouring Pakistan based on Islamic nationalism (often to the point of removing references to minority religions), but also more pertinently to the Japanese conservative/reactionary organization known as Nippon Kaigi, which produces and distributes history textbooks written to reflect Japanese national pride at the expense of historical accuracy, particularly when it comes to World War 2 and the Nanking massacre.
But there’s another twist to the Hindutva movement. Historically, the Hindutva movement has also been sympathetic to 20th century fascism, as suggested by the appraisal of German and Italian fascism by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the progenitor of the Hindutva idea:
“Surely Hitler knows better than Pandit Nehru [the first prime minister of India] does what suits Germany best. The very fact that Germany or Italy has so wonderfully recovered and grown so powerful as never before at the touch of Nazi or Fascist magical wand is enough to prove that those political ‘isms’ were the most congenial tonics their health demanded.”
In fact, the BJP as a party is said to have emerged from another organization named Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (or RSS), a right-wing paramilitary volunteer organization also based in Hindutva ideology widely viewed as the ideological inspiration for the BJP. Their main goal is to establish India as a Hindu nation, rather than a secular one. This group is probably famous for encouraging the drinking of cow urine, claiming that it has the ability to cure diabetes and about 80 other diseases – another pseudoscientific claim likely meant to be tied to Hindu religious beliefs. However, this group seems to have been enamored with fascism. An example of fascistic sentiment within the group can be found in the writings of Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the second leader of RSS, who espoused many beliefs that could be characterized as fascistic. For example, in his book We, or Our Nationhood Defined he stressed the supposed importance of preserving the racial-cultural purity of the Indian nation, citing Nazi Germany as an example of racial pride to draw lessons on racial and cultural unity from:
“To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic Races – the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by. Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindustan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting on to take on these despoilers. The Race Spirit has been awakening.”
In Bunch of Thoughts, he described democracy as “to a very large extent only a myth in practice” and he believed individual freedom was merely a high-minded concept that for him “only meant the freedom of those talented few to exploit the rest”. That last point is worth noting as it could easily be interpreted as a critique of capitalism in a sense, however this was decidedly not from a socialist perspective considering both the rejection of democracy and his antipathy towards communism, which along with Christianity and Islam were the main targets of his condemnation who he believed had sinister designs for the Indian nation. Stated rejection of both capitalism and communism is very much a position found in many fascistic movements, with fascism often representing the “third position”.
The movement even had some ties with Savitri Devi (born Maximiani Portas), the infamous French fascist occultist who combined Hinduism and New Age spiritualism with Hitlerian ideology and who remains a powerful inspiration to modern esoteric fascist movements. During the 1930’s, Devi coordinated with RSS along with several other radical nationalist and fascist movements in India in order to promote her ideas about Aryanism to an audience she believed would be adopt them with open arms. At the time, those groups were heavily invested in resisting the influence of Islam in the country, considering Islam to be a threat to the nation. Devi believed the Indian Hindus were the only people on Earth who still worshiped the gods of the Aryan race (which of course would mean that the Nazi master race were devout Hindus) and could end the influence of the Jewish race in the world, and it was after meeting with Srimat Swami Satyananda (then president of the Hindu Mission in what was known as Calcutta) that she came to believe that Adolf Hitler was a mortal incarnation of the deity Vishnu. Indeed, this idea seems to have been surprisingly widespread among wealthy Indian Hindus in Kolkata, as well as in Nagpur where he apparently remains an idol to some Hindu nationalists.
In fact perhaps it’s worth mentioning at this point that Adolf Hitler and his writings, for some reason, don’t have the same stigma in India that they rightly do here in the West. For example, Hitler’s writings and Nazi memorabilia have attracted the attention of young Indians in the not too distant past, with Mein Kampf at one point being a bestseller in the country. In fact just the name Hitler is so uncontroversial there compared to the West that it even appears as the name of various businesses, such as the infamous Hitler’s Den in Nagpur and a clothing store named Hitler in Ahmedabad. It’s even becoming something of a comic trope in Indian politics, as last year an Indian MP named Naramalli Sivaprasad dressed up as Hitler and impersonated him in parliament while demanding more economic assistance to the state of Andhra Pradesh.
The RSS movement remains active and powerful within Indian politics, working to promote the BJP in order to get their political interests fulfilled in the halls of Indian power. In fact Narendra Modi himself got his start as an RSS activist before eventually moving on to working as an MP for the BJP. The RSS has also boasted about being involved in the Gujarat riots of 2002, in which up to 2,000 people were killed, most of them apparently Muslims. In 2017 one of their leaders, Kundan Chandrawat, claimed in a public tirade that “Hindu society” killed 2,000 Muslims in Gujarat as vengeance for the Hindu pilgrims who died in a train burning near a railway station of Godhra, and also stated that he would reward whoever brought him the head of Pinarayi Vijayan, chief minister of Kerala, a payment of one crore rupees (that’s approximately $140,000 or about £107,000). He also claimed that communists and Kerala’s Left Front government were responsible for murdering their comrades in Kerala, and he went so far as to say the following in his speech:
“You have killed 300 pracharaks and activists, we will present Bharat Mata with a garland of 300,000 skulls in return.
What may be the most surprising thing you’ll learn about Hindutva is that Hindutva movements are not only active in India, and in fact they have an extensive network of organizations active in the United States. According to a 2014 report entitled Hindu Nationalism in the United States: A Report on Nonprofit Groups, there are several groups spawned from the RSS and many other Hindutva groups active within the United States of America spreading their nationalist ideology. RSS has a subsidiary group named Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (or HSS), which is active in the US and many other countries. There’s also VHP of America, VHP meaning Vishwa Hindu Parishad – another Hindutva organization, which is also accused of being involved in the Gujarat riots of 2002. The parent organization, VHP, is also considered a religious militant organization by the CIA and is also active in Canada, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. VHPA claims to have established their first chapter in New York, following the relaxation of the laws concerning Asian immigration to the US during the 1960’s. Both of them are associated with RSS and serve the purpose of mobilizing young Hindus living outside of India, presumably with the intent of having them become loyal acolytes of Hindutva ideology. VHP is also the cultural wing of Sangh Parivar, serving the function of supplying “the pure spirit of the Hindu way of life”. Sangh Parivar in the US promotes textbooks that stress strict emphasis on the Vedas and upper-caste values, contain stories and quotations from their own leaders, lionized stories of the life of Chhatrapati Shivaji Bhonsle (a 17th century Indian monarch who promoted Indian tradition) and his supposed conquest of Islam, and claims that the increasing mistreatment of women in India can be blamed on “Muslim rule” in India. As of 2014, 140 HSS chapters have been identified in the United States. VHPA also runs several family camps in the US, with 16 chapters established nationwide.
Related to VHP is a group named Bajrang Dal, a radical Hindutva group responsible for carrying out attacks on Christian churches because of the alleged defaming of Hindu gods, getting involved in the 2002 Gujarat riots in which many Muslims were killed, and even attacks on ordinary people for celebrating Western holidays such as Valentine’s Day. There is apparently no tax-exempt equivalent to this group in the US, and they are recognized as extremists by the US State Department. They run a website named Hinduunity.org, which is registered to a New York address and apparently hosts a black list of people judged to have committed “crimes against the Hindu people” ranging from Osama bin Laden to the Pope, as well as various journalists, academics and human rights activists, including Angana Chatterji (an anthropologist and feminist activist who has spoken out against Hindutva groups) and Biju Matthew (an Indian-American Marxist activist who co-founded the Forum for Indian Leftists). The website was banned by the Indian government in 2006.
Like what the BJP have been doing in India, Hindutva affiliated movements have attempted to alter school textbooks to suit their agenda, thus placing them at the center of academic controversy. In 2005 two Hindu advocacy groups known as the Hindu Education Foundation and the Vedic Foundation, both of them backed by the Hindu American Foundation, attempted to push for changes in California’s sixth grade history textbooks, arguing that they maligned the Hindu religion by misrepresenting Hindu attitudes towards women’s rights, class (or in this case the caste society), the Aryan conquest of northern India and other subjects. They sought to sanitize or even rewrite history in various ways. The Hindu Education Foundation wanted to sanitize the history of the caste system by removing as many references to class antagonism as possible, especially concerning the Dalits (or untouchables), whitewash the history of women’s rights by replacing “men had more rights than women” with “men had different duties and rights from women”, homogenize Hindu belief by trying to conflate modern Brahmanism with the older Vedic religion, rewrite the history of the Aryan conquests in order to downplay the invasion, and even tried to claim that chariots were invented in India (when in fact they weren’t). The Vedic Foundation meanwhile sought to outright remove any references to Hinduism as a heterogeneous religion containing differing schools of philosophy and the religions affect on the status and labour of people in Indian society, replace any references to polytheism with monotheism, replace “Brahman” with “God” and “unity with Brahman” with “God realization” and also whitewash the caste system. At first, many changes they requested were accepted by the Curriculum Commission in a classic fit of capitulation to religious sensibilities, opposed only by a handful of indologists. However, in 2006, the special committee of the California State Board of Education voted to overturn most of the changes that were submitted.
So what do these groups have to do with Hindutva exactly? Well, the Hindu Education Foundation is a project of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA, the American branch of HSS, which is itself a subsidiary of RSS as was already established. The Vedic Foundation is linked to VHP, which as we’ve also established is another pro-Hindutva group. The Hindu American Foundation, which backed both groups, is also tied to a number of Indian nationalist groups. The group’s founder, Mihir Meghani, was a member of RSS and on the governing council of VHPA. HAF leaders have also served as board members of the Vivek Welfare and Educational Foundation, which donated $10,000 to VHP and $4.2 million to the Hindu University of America, a subsidiary of VHPA. One of HAF’s directors, Sheetal Shah, attended a rally organized by the Forum for Hindu Awakening and a nationalist group named Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. HAF co-founder Aseem Shakula has also written a piece defending Narendra Modi over his visa denial and the group itself lobbied in opposition to said visa denial. Basically, the 2005-6 textbook controversy in California was Hindu fundamentalists who were allies or proxies of Indian nationalist groups looking to spread their ideology in the United States. This is a salient example within living memory of Hindutva groups attempting to spread their ideology outside of India, through dark money as is the tradition of the United States.
But Hindutva is not without approbators within the United States. David Frawley, an American Hindu teacher and writer of several books on yoga and Vedic scripture, recently claimed that people who oppose Hindutva but not Hinduism itself are dishonest because they “have rarely defended Hinduism from Marxist, Missionary or Islamist criticisms or projected any positive image of Hinduism in India or the world”. Of course, this is not such a strange statement on his part when you consider that he often endorses pro-Modi sentiment on his Twitter, and he himself has praised Narendra Modi’s election in 2014 and supports his re-election this year. Frawley also considers groups like Sangh Parivar to be comparable to Native American and Aboriginal interest groups, which given their own post-colonialist ontology does not actually do wonders for them in my view at least – post-colonialism, after all, is essentially just reactionary politics but for minority groups and because of that it’s dressed up in the veneer of progressivism. In September last year, Democratic lawmaker Raja Krishnamoorthi attended the World Hindu Congress, alongside RSS leaders and the Vice President of India, in order to preach the philosophy of Vivekananda, who was himself an ardent Hindu nationalist.
This of course brings us rather nicely to a blue elephant in the room known as Tulsi Gabbard, who this month announced her bid to run for President of the United States in 2020. Gabbard has garnered a mixed reputation in the US: one the one hand seen as one of the few authentically progressive politicians in the country, and on the other seen as a paleoconservative in disguise for her anti-Islamic stance and anti-interventionism (the latter of which is mostly treated as a positive thing). She does have some progressive credentials to her name, it must be said. She supported Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the presidency in 2016, is a supporter of universal healthcare and marijuana legalization, opposes the TPP, supports a $15 minimum wage and is in favor of renewing the Glass-Steagall Act. She also opposed the war in Iraq and US intervention in Libya, wants the US to pull out of Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria, and is opposed to the US providing foreign aid to Saudi Arabia. But she also has numerous problematic positions, such as her support for Israel, her soft stance on torture (in fact, at one point she said that when pressed she would likely approve torture), has an inconsistent position on the Iran deal, her anti-interventionist stance ultimately being contradicted by her hawkish stance on the war on terror (including her willingness to use drones in Middle Eastern countries where she deems necessary), the fact that she opposed same-sex marriage and worked with her father’s anti-homosexual campaigns until 2012, her coordinations with right-wing nationalists like Steven Bannon and, most importantly for this post, her support for Narendra Modi. Gabbard supports establishing close ties between the US and India, and has praised Modi as an inspiration to elected officials. She criticized the US government for denying Modi’s visa to the US over his apparent oversight or involvement in the 2002 Gujarat riots, which she has tried to downplay saying “there was a lot of misinformation that surrounded the event in 2002”. She congratulated Modi’s election in 2014, and she along with the Overseas Friends of the BJP organized his first trip to the US.
But her support for Modi is not her only connection to Hindutva. Although she is styled as one of the few candidates who doesn’t take corporate money, Gabbard has actually received thousands of dollars from a group called the Hindu American Foundation, which as was already established earlier is pro-Modi and has numerous ties to Hindutva-related groups. She also planned to attend last year’s World Hindu Congress with the likes of Mohan Bhagwat, current chief of RSS, but was forced to withdraw on the grounds that it would be a “partisan political event” after significant protest and threats of boycott by progressive South Asian activists. She also has close ties to Sangh Parivar, apparently through sympathetic donors. As such, Tulsi Gabbard can be seen as something of a proxy for Hindutva interests, most likely tied to her geopolitical interests concerning US alliance with India, as well as mutual hatred of Islam. Also, as something of a side-note, it’s worth mentioning that many Hindu nationalists share support for Israel in common with Tulsi Gabbard, and Narendra Modi himself considers Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be a close friend. Thus, in a broad sense, we may consider that the unlikely event that the 2020 election were to come down to Trump versus Gabbard would amount to nothing more and nothing less than a contest between the interests of Christian and Hindu nationalisms.
Hindutva’s foreign acolytes and allies are not limited to the US, either. The French journalist Francois Gautier has also openly expressed his admiration for Narendra Modi, claiming that he was a great ecologist who “wanted to make Gujarat the greenest, most investor-friendly state of India”, and is generally a strong supporter of Hindutva movements. He has also claimed that India has been weakened by Buddhism as well as foreign religions, and has attacked the pacifism and liberalism of both Gandhi and Nehru. Gautier even likes to spread the dubious claim that the Kaaba stone in Mecca is actually a Shivalingam. Canadian conservative pundit Tarek Fatah participated in a number of summits hosted by BJP-linked organizations, is beloved by the Indian right-wing for his strident attitude towards Islam and Indian Muslims, and sometimes echoes talking points similar to Hindutva ideology through his Indian ancestry. He even goes so far as to claim himself to be of Indian identity, while attacking his opponents as being affiliated with Pakistan despite being born in Pakistan himself. The Belgian indologist Koenraad Elst is also a noteworthy supporter of Hindutva, and has received praise from the BJP for his bookRam Janmabhoomi vs Babri Masjid, where he apparently attempts to make a case for Ram Janmabhoomi being the actual birthplace of the mythical Rama, thus strengthening ideas of an authochthonous Hindu tradition and of Hindu revivalism.
Furthermore it’s possible that some Hindutva ideas may even have spread to Norway, inspiring the terrorist Anders Breivik. In Breivik’s manifesto, 2080: A European Declaration of Independence, India is referenced in 102 pages – that’s out of a total of 1,518 pages, but you could argue it’s still more than you might have expected. He accused the Indian government, at the time ruled by a liberal coalition referred to as the United Progressive Alliance, of relying on appeasing Muslims, Christian missionaries and communists, praised Hindu nationalist movements who rioted and attacked Muslims (while reflexively deeming such behaviour counter-productive), said that the goals of the Hindutva movements are “more or less identical” with his own, and cited India was one of a number of countries where he hoped his successors would carry on his mission – the others being Russia, the Philippines, China and Thailand. He also listed a number of websites for numerous Hindu nationalist groups. The groups listed are Bharatiya Janata Party (the current ruling party), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the National Volunteers’ Organisation, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Breivik also cites the works of authors like Shrinandan Vyas, who claims that Muslims killed millions of Hindus in religious genocide, and Kishori Saran Lal, who is often accused of being a spokesperson for RSS (to which he responds, rather conspicuously, by accusing his critics of having a left-wing bias), in order to advance his narrative of Muslims being a genocidal threat to India and the West. Breivik even ordered a badge of his own design (a crusader’s sword piercing a skull marked with the symbols of Islam, communism and Nazism) from India.
So what does all of this mean? Well, broadly speaking, it means that Hindutva is nowhere near the insular force that, to the average Westerner, it may seem. Ironically for a nationalist movement, one centered around India no less, Hindutva is not simply an idea confined to India. In fact, it can arguably be said to be a global movement at this point in time, albeit one centered around the interests specific to the Indian nationalist movement, one that has its eyes set on Hindu diaspora across the world and will come out against anyone who dares criticize the Modi government. The foot soldiers of Hindutva are present in the United States in the thousands, and there’s the very real prospect that one of their proxies could become President of the United States. Given Tulsi’s harsh stance towards Pakistan, this could have major implications for India-Pakistan relations, and may even affect the possibility of confrontation going forward. But in a broader sense, it represents a current of radical conservative nationalism with a global presence, or even fascism – the latter being rather hard to deny considering both the RSS’ Hitlerian inspirations and in turn their influence on Anders Breivik.
Hinduism is being used as a vehicle by religious fundamentalists, the Indian bourgeoisie, various petty-bourgeois forces, and reactionaries (and their network of think tanks) for their political purposes, possibly as just another effort to stop any kind of socialist or even social-democratic movement from gaining power in a time characterized by widespread economic instability in the world, but also India’s possible transformation into a new global superpower. It would be wise to keep tracks of the Hindutva movement as India undergoes this transformation, not least due to its infiltration of American society.
Does anyone remember years ago when it was only the Joy of Satan guys who were busy mixing Satanism with Hitlerian ideology? Or at least, they were basically the only Nazis most Left Hand Path traveler had to deal with. Those were so much more innocent times, back on the old Yahoo Answers website, before the purple scourge that was their new website format ruined everything. That must have been about eight or seven years ago, maybe a decade. And sweet Ishtar how times have changed.
While the Joy of Satan is almost irrelevant as far as I know (we all remember them and their crazy shenanigans, but they don’t seem to be doing much), there does seem to be a current of esoteric fascism centered around neo-Nazi politics that is very much alive in the current decade, and unfortunately that current involves certain contingents of the Satanist movement. Of course I don’t mean the typical Satanist. In fact, in my experience and from what I have seen it is very much at the feet of the Order of Nine Angles, and from there a certain contingent of theistic Satanists who adopt O9A ideas as part of their belief system. It is somewhat well-documented at this point that the group has a distinctly Hitlerian ontology in their esoteric worldview, as V K Jehannum has detailed in one of his posts about the O9A, but, there is a lot more going on relating to neo-Nazism than simply that.
What I’m attempting to do is bring a rather disturbing development that, for some reason, has eluded me until this point, but which I think deserves the attention of Left Hand Path oriented individuals and communities.
Recently a friend of mine showed me a KiwiFarms thread concerning an internal schism as regards the neo-Nazi organization known as the Atomwaffen Division, with certain Atomwaffen members talking about how they would leave the organization if the organization continued to harbor a certain Satanic element within it.
Now before we continue on I think it’s worth establishing the appropriate context regarding just who Atomwaffen really are. Atomwaffen are a militant Nazi organization that derives much of its ideological milieu from the writings of James Mason, an American neo-Nazi and former Church of Satan associate most famous for being the author of a book entitled Siege, as well as Charles Manson, specifically his idea of the “Helter Skelter” from which they apparently get their ideas about race war. They have a reputation for being linked with numerous murders, including one incident where an apparent member murdered a 19-year old college student named Blaze Bernstein – an indicent that was presumably motivated by him being of Jewish ethnicity and a homosexual. The group seems to have emerged from an online neo-Nazi forum named Iron March (or Ironmarch), which until its mysterious disappearance in 2017 served as a hub for people from all kinds of fascist organization, often people who would go on to commit violent hate crimes. Atomwaffen are so controversial that they are often despised even by others in the extreme right, some of whom consider them plants sent by the US federal government in order to discredit radical nationalist movements.
Entering into that is the drama concerning Atomwaffen and Satanism, which has been going on for the last year if I understand correctly. I first encountered this development in an article for The Daily Beast released in March, documenting the frustration expressed by many neo-Nazis that their movements are being infiltrated by the Order of Nine Angles who they believe go about taking over far-right movements to use as mouthpieces for a kind of apocalyptic Satanism. The article does actually mention the KiwiFarms thread that I’m about to talk about, but it doesn’t go into the full detail – and perhaps, given the actual content, that’s understandable because it is one of the most disturbing things I’ve come across on the Internet. However, for now, the main takeaway from the article seems to be the reaction to the thread’s release on websites like Gab, which is filled to the brim with all manner of unsavory far-right personalities, and from there arguments between different members of Atomwaffen on the subject of Satanism and its relation to Nazism. Those who left Atomwaffen said they did so out of disgust for the group’s affiliation with Satanism, while those who stayed with Atomwaffen say that Satanism will be useful to them in the race war they intend to fight, saying “You guys can get all moralistic if you want about Satanism… but when the fuckin’ race war comes, morals aren’t going to do anything but get you fuckin’ killed.”.
The actual thread goes into much further detail on just what sort of activity the O9A contingent of Atomwaffen was getting up to, from the perspective of a disillusioned neo-Nazi by the name of Vexation who left the group upon discovering these things, centering around a 27-page document he wrote entitled “On AWD“. The individual describes a man named Rape, who was apparently the de facto leader of Atomwaffen, asking Atomwaffen members to read certain books associated with the O9A branch of Satanism. The first of these books, which is apparently supposed to be required reading for prospective Atomwaffen members, is a post-apocalyptic novel entitled Iron Gates, which was authored by Tempel ov Blood, an offshoot of the O9A with probably a more pointlessly edgy name than . The book can probably be described as gore porn, at least as suggested by the commenter’s description of the book opening the with the brutal murder of a baby, in front of his mother. Not only does Rape apparently think it’s a great read but a lot of Atomwaffen guys are described as indifferent to the book on the grounds that it’s “just a meme”. The second book is Liber 333, perhaps one of Tempel ov Blood’s more well-known releases, which is apparently also a window into just how the O9A types think. In fact, I’ll leave a quote apparently from the book featured in the document here:
Second, the infiltration and manipulation of organizations and forms with Sinister potential. Aryanism, particularly the more religiously fanatical forms of it, such as Christian Identity are a good example. The manipulating Noctulian is to use these forms for their own Presencing of the Dark, as well as changing in subtle ways the followers of such forms to following a more Sinister direction. For example, in Identity, using knowledge of the Biblical doctrines and prophecies encourage war, hardship, and system disruption using the scriptures as guidance and proof of the message you are sending to adherents of the said form. Any form with a transhuman, system disruption, or satanic direction to it may be of use here. The key is finding a form that in itself is an aid to the Dialect and empowering it further, causing a saturation of Acasual Energy.
If this passage is indeed from the book, we can gather from it that the “Noctulians”, that is members of the Order of Nine Angles or more or less Tempel ov Blood at least, infiltrate various extreme political movements in order to use them for their own ends if they have the right “sinister” potential. It’s interesting how they seem reasonably confident in spelling that out, presumably under the impression that only the few would read their literature let alone take an interest in doing so to begin with. It’s also quite curious to note how the “Noctulians” frequently seek out ultra-nationalistic and fascistic groups like Atomwaffen and Christian Identity movements. This is most likely because they identify neo-Nazism as the outer rim of politics in the same way their particular form of Satanism represents the outer rim of spiritual philosophy. As one Good Reads reviewer put it, “In the context of cosmopolitan neo-liberalism, neo-Nazism quite possibly represents that furthest outer limit to most people. The neo-Nazi is the “Satanist” of the above example. No matter how they put forth their arguments, they are clearly the enemy of all the values of the society they live in, and their positions come across as gibberish when they travel beyond certain bounds.”
This strategy is echoed in other O9A books featured on the SiegeCulture website, such as Hostia, where it apparently says on page 80:
“A Satanist, concerned with experience, may use a political form for a specific purpose – the nature of that form in terms of conventional politics and morality (such as ‘extreme Right-wing’) is irrelevant. What is important is whether it can be used to (a) provide experience of living and the limits of experience, and/or (b) aid the sinister dialectic of history. Thus a Satanist may become involved in, or set up, an organization of the extreme Right – this is dangerous, exciting, vitalizes, provides experiences ‘on the edge’ and should thus aid the development of the character and insight of that Satanist*. What is important, is that this involvement is done for an ulterior, Satanic, motive: what others think and believe about such actions is totally irrelevant. Anyone purporting to be a Satanist who criticizes such an action, whatever the political hue of the group/organization, reveals by that criticism that they are not Satanists – but rather, moralizing nerds lacking in insight and real Satanic understanding.”
The book is also apparently shown advising its readers to, as part of their transformation into “Noctulians”, become burglars or join the police force in order to specialize in a particular area of theft in addition to becoming extreme right-wing political activists, for the primary purpose of living dangerous lives in order to become hardened by the experiences that come with them.
Further into the document, it is attested that Rape claims to be opposed to Satanism, calling it “gay”, even though it is shown through his Instagram (under the name Vincent Snyder) that he flaunts his interest in the Order of Nine Angles (as well as Charlie Manson). He doesn’t even hide his interest in neo-Nazism. He’s also affiliated with a guy named Dante Aschard, who not only is an avowed O9A Satanist but is also affiliated with Atomwaffen as indicted by his appearance on the Siege Culture website. Rape also runs the Siege Culture account, which puts up tweets saying stuff like “We wish everyone a Satanic millennium” as well as Satanic artwork of Charles Manson (who wasn’t even a Satanist ffs!), which would make sense for someone associating themselves with Atomwaffen. Rape also seems to like larping as a communist, or presumably a National Bolshevik (though lacking the actual NazBol flag in his photo-ops), most likely not because of his own interest in communism as an ideal but because he views it as a vehicle for “sinister” ends (to which any actual communist would either laugh or barf). He even goes so far as to claim that he was “redpilled” by Boyd Rice (who himself liked to hang around white supremacists), Anton LaVey (who was not a Nazi), and Nicholas Schreck (probably not a fascist) alongside Charles Manson and James Mason, and has expressed fondness for LaVey and Liber Falxifer (which don’t strike me as going very well together given the gulf between LaVey’s humanism and the gnostic nihilism of the Chaos Gnostics). It’s possible that he may be more interested in extreme Satanism than the Nazi politics, as he goes out of his way to say “I’m not interested in save our people” (“our people” meaning the white race, of course).
After laying out the full extent of Rape’s connection to O9A Satanism, and Satanism in general, the author goes on to say that other Atomwaffen members respond to his statements on the matter by attempting to dox him, which seems to suggest that they were against such criticism of their leadership and were willing to silence people for bringing it up.
What this development suggests is that there is a band of Order of Nine Angles Satanists who, while they may not even be neo-Nazis, they find in neo-Nazi/fascist movements the potential to carry out their desires and their will in the world, and since this is Atomwaffen we’re talking about we can assume those desires involve spreading as much terror in the world as possible and trying to start a race war. But whereas the actual neo-Nazis, as horrible as they are, are invested in their horrible ideas for decidedly ideological reasons, the O9A guys seem to be involved solely for the prospect of bringing destruction and terror to as many people as possible. Perhaps the worst thing about it is that they simply prefer to use others to do their dirty work. Though I suppose if they actually did form a militia they would probably make ISIS seem like the A-Team in terms of the pure evil that runs through their minds – I don’t say that because they’re Satanists, by no means, I say that because they’re the worst kind of Satanist you can think of: a Satanist who hates humanity, hates the world, looks at the asinine dichotomy Christianity presents and decides “I want to be the bad guy” and presumably masturbate to the works of James Mason and Charles Manson.
While some may look at this as proof of the flirtation and even concordance between fascism and LHP groups, I see it more as proof of the cultivation of esoteric fascism, and how certain individuals are using Satanism in order to manifest this current. The reason I bring the phenomenon to light is so that those in the LHP milieu are armed with the knowledge necessary to take a stand against it, because we cannot stand for it. These O9A fascists smear us with their activities, in the sense that their actions create a justification for other people to treat as alike to them when in truth most of us are nothing like them, and we must not allow the LHP milieu to be dragged into the swamp of fascistic psychopathy.
I was intending to write a post on this subject some time in early December, after finding out from my parents that my oldest brother had become vegan, but somehow lost the motivation to do it. This month, however, the subject of veganism appears to have resurfaced in the public consciousness, as it appears Veganuary is upon us once more. Thus I have regained some interest in writing a bit of a rant on the subject.
When I first learned that my oldest brother and his girlfriend had become vegans, I had wondered . My parents thought that they had gone nuts, presumably either because of some sentiment against veganism or because it was about three weeks before Christmas and I have a funny feeling they thought their newfound rejection of animal products would stand in the way of some good seasonal feasting involving meat.
Meanwhile, I have changed my position regarding veganism quite a bit within the last year. No, I am not a vegan if that’s what you’re thinking. I’m just not hostile to veganism in the same way I was before. I mean, years ago I would frequently and stridently look down on vegans and veganism as one of a myriad of fashionable exercises in faux social consciousness, as is still so utterly typical of liberals to engage in. Now, however, I no longer have that reaction to the moral sentiment of veganism, but I still can’t help but treat the movement as a kind of lifestylism. I say this not because I think not wanting to kill animals for food is somehow immoral but because a lot of vegans do have this very middle class lifestyle and culture about them. Not to mention, I can’t imagine how hard it is for vegans dealing not only with the biological expectation to consume meat and animal products but also a society that is effectively geared towards precisely that lifestyle.
The way I see it, the only way you’re going to change our norms for meat consumption is if synthetic meat becomes much more commonplace and we end up adopting a mode of food production centered around the production and distribution of synthetic meat. Now, it is worth noting that there are meat substitute products out there already, such as Quorn products where the “meat” and its proteins are derived from fungi, but that’s not what I mean. I’m referring to what’s called “cultured meat”, which is where the meat is produced not from the flesh of a slaughtered animal but instead from animal cells through in vitro cultivation. It’s my hope that through this process we may arrive at a point that we can create meat products that have the same or at least similar sort of tactile pleasure to them as animal meat, but without the slaughter of animals and with the potential bonuses that might come with cultured meat. Of course, I doubt the vegans would be happy anyway considering the process still uses animal products (the cells), but they can always have the mushroom meat that Quorn offers so it’ll all be good I think.
In the meantime, though, I find that vegans just seem caught up in this liberal fantasy of ethical consumerism, and this is especially troubling for me as we run out of time to reign in the effects of anthropogenic climate change. Like, I’m sorry, it’s great that you don’t want animals to suffer anymore but telling everyone to stop eating beef burgers or what have you is simply not going to be enough to stop what’s coming. Seriously, we are now far removed from a point in time where that might have been salient. And I find it unfortunate that, even with this in mind, the most radical response that people can think of still seems to be , when in reality broad systemic changes in conjunction with technological innovation are needed for us to get us out of this mess.
Of course, I think it’s worth pointing out that attitudes towards veganism are changing, and I believe that certain food companies are adding vegan options to their menus, suggesting perhaps that consumer society has become somewhat more accommodating to vegan lifestyle. This of course brings us to the reason Veganuary has come back into attention, namely to a hilarious online altercation between noted public figure Piers Morgan (a man who frankly I’ve always hated since my earliest stages of political consciousness) and various fast food outlets. Last week, shortly after New Year’s Day, Greggs announced that they were going to start rolling out Quorn sausage rolls for vegan customers as part of their menu, causing Piers to irrationally complain that the company had become “PC-ravaged clowns”. In one instance, following a reply, he even sarcastically suggested for some reason that the company change their name to something “more gender fluid and less toxically masculine”, as though that was somehow relevant to anything being discussed. He then took to bragging about a “vegan resistance” by him buying a meat sausage roll, which he was still able to do anyway contrary to his assertion that Greggs was abolishing meat products. He soon found himself whining about how McDonald’s were offering vegetarian Happy Meals in their menus. Yes, a grown man actually complained about there being a children’s fast food meal that didn’t have meat in it. The whole exchange has been a source of laughter for all present, seeing an adult man reduced to waging Twitter wars with fast food companies.
Now why do I bring this up? Well, you see, vegans are traditionally expected to be quite lodged into your ass (and sometimes their own) about their choice of lifestyle. The stereotype is that they can be very self-righteous and obnoxious about how they’ve taken the more moral choice than their fellows on account of the fact they don’t derive sustenance from animal products while the rest of us do. This particularly stings when you consider that, for many people, eating healthy or morally is not that cheap, or at least not as cheap as getting a burger when you feel peckish. But now I find there’s a reversal of this trend: people who not only aren’t vegan and instead, like myself, are as omnivorous as most people, but are also incredibly obnoxious about it. These sorts of people take great pride in eating meat. It’s so stupid and snowflakey that I’ve even seen someone buy a vegan sausage roll at Greggs just to throw it in the bin and record it just show how damned smug they are about the fact that they’re not vegans. It’s like being a Christian fundamentalist and buying rock records just so you can destroy in protest. And to be honest, for how much these people think they’re offending the right people, I don’t see a lot of outrage or offence. All I see is people making fun of people who, frankly, deserve to be made fun of for being such pompous jerks about veganism being a thing.
So in summary, I don’t despise veganism and I don’t make fun of it like I used to, but I still see it as something of a lifestylist activity given the circumstances.
The element ‘fire’ is – in relation with the light and life-providing sun – in most cultural experiences of prime importance. The Pythagorean Hestia (or ‘central fire’) was, according to Theophrastus in his treatise De Igne (‘On Fire’), unmovable (COUTANT, 1971). Copernicus quoted this view in his argumentation for a heliocentric world (DUHEM, 1958).
Fig. 239 – The act of Prometheus stealing the fire of the gods, as given in Pierio Valeriano’s ‘Hieroglyphica‘ (Lyon, 1586). The first (Latin) edition of this book (Basel, 1556) was initially an interpretation of the Hieroglyphica by Horapolion (fifth century). The latter treated the symbolic and allegoric meaning of the Egyptian hieroglyphs (printed in Venice in 1505 in the Greek language). In: CAMPBELL & MOYERS (1990).
The fire is a divine medium. Prometheus stole the fire of the gods (fig. 239). He became the symbol of the striving individual (against Jove…