“No structure, even an artificial one, enjoys the process of entropy. It is the ultimate fate of everything, and everything resists it.”
― Philip K. Dick
The world is doomed, culture is dying, morality is no more, godless and vile, living in spiritual ignorance of the Kali Yuga, and whatever other ‘chicken little’ cliches that exist. If there is any trend that competes with the obnoxiousness of ‘Progress!’ cheerleaders, it is the disgruntled and often arrogant Traditional Right. Often found quoting Evola, or an obscure Christian Saint, or a neglected fascist intellectual; as irrelevant as irrelevant can be.
It is without question we are living through a highly entropic age. In the work Riding the Tiger by Evola he discusses how one ‘survives and actualizes’ in such a chaotic time. Although I disagree with Evola’s approach, and will address that. I find it maladaptive to the current maelstrom. I’ve observed multiple approaches to this entropy, and by entropy I do not mean a temporary cultural crash as witnessed in the 20th century. This is an entropy of the meta that has gone on for centuries now. It is a shifting of the global ‘paradigm’ in which absolutely nothing goes untouched from the critical decentralization. The fading of religious authority, the rise of secularism and materialism, the rabid reaction of religious fundamentalism, and the phenomena that is globalism are only a few events which have thrown civilizations into a maelstrom. Yeats was prophetic in his line “the centre cannot hold”.
There are four general responses to this entropy I have observed.
The first is the most commonly known and criticized, that is the naivety of ‘Progressives’ and the crusade of Secular Humanism. I’ve discussed this to exhaustion in past articles. It is Christianity minus the theism, it is the slave morality Nietzsche spoke of, to praise the feeble and demonize the strong, such is the banner of Progress. The irony is that there is no future goal or destination. It is not progress toward anything, rather a directionless and sentimental masturbation. It hardly acknowledges entropy. It only sees the humanity ascending to a vague ideal of egalitarian utopia, a state of Universal Unity, an incredibly shoddy secular Garden of Eden. It lacks depth, is guided by sentiment, and has a new weekly issue which they deem ‘social justice’ and a new ‘evil’ that must be fought. The mass media certainly fuels this and feeds from the flame. It is a samsaric Spectacle of which instant moral gratification is received.
The second is simply a reflection or reaction to the former. There are those who bitch and moan on a daily basis at the ‘degeneracy of society’ and how people have ‘lost their way’. The slightest social development which deviates from the exoteric traditional immediately triggers the ‘chicken little’ response that the ‘sky is falling!’. Woe is us for our morality is absent and perversion consumes us! Doubtless they will justify their position with a religious or harsh Platonist argument. Their reaction to the entropy is putting on concrete boots. They must drag their feet, be anchored, resist the depravity and doom society is rushing toward. Often this is coupled with nostalgia for the past and ‘better days’, usually a romanticized notion of it at that. As expected the mass media fuels and feeds from this flame also. The starry eyed naive rushing forward in the name of PROGRESS meets resistant by those preaching in the name of TRADITION. One fool argues with the other fool. The mass media plays this game masterfully and greatly profits from this pseudo-civil war.
The third is less known. If the ‘chicken little’ above could be considered the exoteric conservative or exoteric religious right, then this third would be considered the esoteric conservative or esoteric religious right. It is often called the Alternative Right, Far Right, Neoreactionist, or Traditionalist, though it can be debated plenty what ideologies belong under this umbrella term. One could say it is a gaggle of similar political and religious ideologies that overlap, usually advocating a strict societal hierarchy and the importance of Tradition (the capital T, the esoteric) as opposed to tradition (the small t, the exoteric), which is essentially composed of transcendent Platonic or Perennial principles. According to mythology we are in an age of ‘spiritual darkness, divorced from the Transcendent, and optimistically a ‘golden spiritual age’ will eventually arrive in which ‘Dharma’ or a ‘Natural Law’ of sorts will bring order to the entropy. Needless to say this is so lofty as to come across as a pipe dream. Such a criticism is met with the response that one is simply not ‘spiritually awake’ enough to ‘know’ the ‘Truth’ of this prophecy. This is inadequate. It attempts to get ‘ahead’ of the entropy rather than look backwards as the nostalgic exoteric do, unfortunately even by getting ahead of the entropy they still present the failing belief in ‘Natural Law’. It is commendable that there is an attempt to create a system that breaks away from the Capitalist/Socialist systems that have plagued us since the fall of traditional governance. There are superficial similarities between the esoteric and exoteric Religious Right, commonly the moans about how ‘degenerate’ society has become and pompously berating the slightest deviation. Indeed they often see themselves ‘towering above it all’. There is certainly wisdom and knowledge to be discovered here, but to approach the entropy in this manner is to approach it with sterility.
The fourth approach which I am personally putting forth is only a reiteration of a movement that is still in its infancy though gaining ground quickly. One could call it Futurism or Transhumanism, but neither of these labels are adequate. We are discussing an approach to the entropy, not another -ism. Faster than humans can adapt we are developing technology that increasingly engineers the world around us and our interactions. As we continue to engineer our environment, the environment will continue to engineer us. As we continue to engineer our environment, we will begin to adapt, to ‘run in place’ which will be impacted by our engineered environment. It can only be speculated as to how this will change us in the long view through generations. Furthermore what was once considered unfathomable is becoming completely possible. This is easier to accept regarding medical procedures and transportation than it is to accept cosmetic surgery or artificial intelligence. Increasingly where body ends and simulation begins becomes blurred. Social media has become as enmeshed in our existence as in the flesh socializing. Access to infinite information, true and false, is simply a click away. There is a total breakdown between what is considered ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’, despite the false dichotomies that are often argued. Where does one end and the other begin? This is the major question and will eventually be dismissed altogether. The future has been predicted in fictional works as cyberpunk, futuristic consumerism, the ability to change what was once considered unchangeable, and the divide separating flesh and synthetic ceases to be. What was once considered science fiction will eventually become our reality, much of it has already.
It is easy to see how reactionism plays into this condemning the amorality, the hedonism, the unnatural, the nihilism, the artificial. Let them bitch and moan, the world will go on as it always does. It will not heed to archaic sermons about Natural Law nor ask the moralist’s permission. Nor does it care for the saccharine dribble of Progressives and their pet moral causes. What approach then neither condemns what is occurring nor loses its identity in the entropy of it? The approach I am driving at is a play on the old phrase, ‘to be in this world, but not of this world’. This is a common ascetic axiom and a powerful one at that. In our current hurricane of change and increasingly engineered environment we must learn ‘to be of the world, but not of the world’. It is to immerse oneself into the chaos of it without losing oneself. Better yet, immerse oneself into the chaos of it and use it to for further realization of oneself. The poison one drinks is also the antidote. Learn to handle acid without being burned. This may sound cliche or vague. I do not intend to advocate absolute relativism, although subjectivism is an important factor. What is presented to our consciousness is our means to self-realization. This can be narrow or wide depending on the individual. Rather than bemoan the current state of the world we should affirm its existence, affirm the entropy and chaos. This does not mean it is good or bad, optimistic or pessimistic, simply that it is as it is. The entropy is far from over, and we have yet to see the full manifestation. Perhaps it is the Singularity prophecied by Kurzweil or the strange futures of Philip K Dick, we cannot know for sure. What has been witnessed is the breakdown of religion, tradition, cultural norms and the rise of quantity, individual choice, and the engineering of ones environment.
In due time we may have synthetic augmentations, genetic engineering, strong artificial intelligences, sexual and gender variation, and forms of cosmetic change as well as methods of pleasure unknown to us before. Not to mention countless other possibilities too numerous to list. The approach to the technological as well as the existential changes must not be Manichean; that sour rejection of the boundless corrupt in preference to a supposed purity elsewhere. The approach must be affirmative, embracing, and harnessing . As the idiom goes, one must continue to ride the tiger for to dismount is to be eaten. Only time will tell what the future holds, and it is better to embrace the chaos as it is, using it for ones ownself-realization, than to live in bitter resentment of it or to vainly hope for a better ‘spiritual’ tomorrow.