Root of All Evil: Idea of Progress

Uploaded 11/18/2021, approx. 28 minute read

Just look at us, pitiable, atomized zombies, unable to date, unable to have long-term relationships, unable even to have sex. Yes, sex is on the decline everywhere, especially among the younger generations. We are even unable to get our act together to fight a virus who is many thousands of times smaller than the period at the end of a print page. Had this virus been a bit more lethal, we would have been wiped off the face of the earth. And that is the truth.

Why is all this?

I keep getting asked in various forums, online, why? Could I pinpoint the single reason for all this?

We messed up. We messed up, it looks bad and it looks worse by the day.

What had gone wrong? Where did we take the wrong fork in the crossroads?

And if I have to distill everything into a single reason, I would say it's the idea of progress. The idea of progress is the root of all evil.

And today I'm going to analyze four phenomena, two historical and two current, demonstrate how they are all interconnected via the idea of progress and how the idea of progress pernicious as it is, had led inexorably to the dystopian miasma, to the swamp that we are all sinking into deeper by the minute.

So I'm going to analyze postmodernity, the current state of affairs. I'm going to analyze environmentalism. I'm going to analyze the renaissance.

And amazingly and counterintuitively, I'm going to link all of these to Nazism.

Nazism in Germany in the 1930s and 40s. And I'm going to show you that all of them are manifestations of a core construct, the idea of progress.

Now, as opposed to the light entertainment that I usually produce, this video is long, difficult. So I advise you to not listen to it in one go and not give up on it after 10 minutes.

What I advise you to do is to listen to segments, listen to one segment, move on to somewhere, someone or somewhere else, return tomorrow or return later and listen to the next segment and the next segment and the next segment.

It's a multi-segmented video and each segment is a standalone unit. You don't need to listen to the totality or the entirety of the video.

So without further ado, let's get started.

We started by analyzing the idea of progress.

Most ideas of progress are actually reactionary.

Reactionary ideas of progress hark back to an often illusory past, either distant or recent.

There, in the midst of time, the proponents of these social movements search for answers and remedies to the perceived ills of the present. And these contemporary deficiencies and faults are presented as the inevitable outcomes of decadent modernity.

By using a romanticized past cast as ideal, perfect and unblemished, by using this kind of totally imaginary past that had never existed, in order to heal a dystopian and corrupt present, these public intellectuals, thinkers, artists and activists seek to bring about a utopian and revitalized future.

Nothing is more dangerous than this. It had led directly to movements such as fascism and Nazism and it's leading us inexorably to our end as a species.

I'm going to demonstrate how.

Other reactionary ideas of progress are romantic and merely abandon the tenets and axioms of the prevailing centralized culture in favor of a more or less anarchic melange of unstructured post-structural or deconstructed ideas and interactions, relying on some emergent but ever fluid underlying social order as an organizing principle.

Yes, Jordan Peterson comes to mind.

Let us study four manifestations of the idea of progress.

Start with postmodernity.

And when we talk about postmodernity, of course, this leads us directly to the French. Jean-Francois Lyotard, Jean Baudrillard and to some extent Michel Foucault posited postmodernity as both a culmination and the negation of modernity, while modernity encouraged linear change in an asymptotic and teleological pursuit of progress. Postmodernity abates change for change's sake.

So classical modernity pursued change as a kind of way or conduit or procedure to obtain progress, while postmodernity is pursuing change for change's sake, abandoning the very ideal of progress and castigating it as tautological, subjective and obsolete.

Inevitably, postmodernity clashes with meta-narratives of progress such as Marxism, positivism and structuralism. One could even argue that postmodernity is the antithesis of science itself.

Jürgen Habermas and Timothy Bewes describe postmodernity as anti-enlightenment. They accuse postmodernity of abandoning the universalist and liberalizing tools of rationality and critical theory in favor of self-deceptive pessimism, which may well lead to totalitarianism.

Some postmodernist thinkers, such as David Hardy and Alistair MacIntyre, they regarded late capitalism or consumerism as dystopian and asocial if not outright anti-social. Such a view of the recent past tied in well with prior concepts such as Anomi, Emile Dokhan, alienation, Marx and atomization. Society was disintegrating while individuals accumulated assets, consumer goods and capital.

Postmodernity is an escape route from Fordism and an exit strategy from the horrors of the brave new world of mass production and mass consumption.

But paradoxically, as Michel Maffesoli noted, by its very success, postmodernity is sawing off the branch that it is perched on and may ultimately lead to a decline in individualism and a rise of neo-tribalism in a decentralised world inundated with a pluralistic menu of mass and niche media.

Others, Esther Dyson and Henry Jenkins, suggest a convergence and confluence of the various facets of digitality, likely to produce a global participatory culture.

Fawid Zakaria had recently written about this.

Still, in a perverse way, postmodernity is obsessed with an idea of progress, of its own, albeit a reactionary one. Heterodox postmodern thinkers and scholars like Anthony Giddens, Ulrich Beck, Castels, Zygmunt Baumann and Ivan Jacques Derrida regard postmodernity as merely the second late progressive phase of the agenda of modernity. It's a liquid, chaotic and ambivalent phase, but it's still geared toward progress.

So this is postmodernity.

On the borderline between progress and reactionism, reactionary backlash against progress.

But their movements within postmodernity, which absolutely, clearly, unequivocally and unambiguously are founded upon the very concept of progress.

And I would like to discuss environmentalism and de-orbitalization as such movements.

Ex-orbitalization and back to nature, small and beautiful, exact pre-industrial arts and crafts movements, dominated the last two decades of the 20th century, as well as the beginning of the 21st century.

These trends constituted primitive Jean-Jacques Rousseau-like reactions to the emergence of megalopolises and what the Greek architect and city planner, Constantinos Apostolos Doxiadis, called Ecumenopolis, the world or global city.

A similar, though much perverted, celebration of the natural can be found in the architecture and plastic arts of the Third Reich. Yes, Adolf Hitler.

As Roger Griffin observed in his essay, Springtime for Hitler, Albert Speer's titanic building projects, the clean lines of the stripped neoclassicism of civic buildings had connotations of social hygiene, just as the nude paintings and statues that adorned them implicitly celebrated the physical health of a national community, conceived not only in racial but in eugenic terms.

Nazism was environmental. Roger Griffin's essay was published in The New Humanist, volume 122, issue 4, July-August 2007.

The concept of nature. The very concept of nature is a romantic invention. It was spun by the likes of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the 18th century as a confabulated utopian contrast to the dystopia of urbanization and materialism.

The traces of this dewy-eyed conception of the savage and his unmolested, unadulterated surroundings. These traces can be found in the more malignant forms of fundamentalist environmentalism and militant environmentalism.

The other extremes are religious literalists who regard man as the crown of creation with complete dominion over nature and the right to exploit its resources unreservedly. Similar, veiled sentiments can be found among scientists. Science is about dominating nature, subjugating nature, exploiting it to the maximum.

The anthropic principle, for instance, promoted by many outstanding physicists, claims that the nature of the universe is preordained to accommodate sentient beings, namely us humans. The whole universe was constructed just for us. It's our sandbox.

Industrialists, politicians and economists have only recently begun paying lip service to sustainable development and to the environmental costs of their policies.

And so, in a way, they bridge the abyss, at least verbally, between these two diametrically opposed forms of fundamentalism.

And still, essential dissimilarities between the schools notwithstanding, the dualism of men versus nature is universally acknowledged almost everywhere.

Modern physics, notably the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, has abandoned the classic split between typically human observer and usually inanimate observed universe.

Reality. Environmentalists, in contrast, have embraced this discarded worldview wholeheartedly, whereas science and physics, more particularly, are going towards a unification of mankind with the universe, environmentalists is going exactly the other way.

To them, man is the active agent operating upon a distinct reactive or passive substrate, in other words, nature.

But though intuitively compelling, it's a false dichotomy. It's splitting difference mechanism, dichotomous thinking.

Men by definition, it may come as a shock to many environmentalists, but men by definition is part of nature.

The tools of men, his instruments, his devices, his strategists, they're all natural. Men interacts with the other elements of nature and modifies it, but other species are doing the same.

Arguably, bacteria and insects exert on nature far more influence than men, with further reaching consequences than men had ever done.

And still, the law of the minimum, the law of the minimum, that there is a limit to human population growth and that this barrier is related to the biotic and abiotic variables of the environment, this law is undisputed, it seems.

Whatever debate there is, veers between two strands of this Malthusian Veltanshian, the utilitarian strand, in other words, anthropocentric, shallow or technocentric strand, and the ethical strand, alternatively termed biocentric, deep or ecocentric.

Let's start with the utilitarian strand of the law of the minimum.

Remember, the law of the minimum, there is a limit to human population growth. This barrier is related to the variables of the environment.

So there's first the utilitarians.

Economies, for instance, they tend to discuss the costs and benefits of environmental policies.

Activists, on the other hand, demand that mankind consider the rights of other beings, like animals, and of nature itself as a whole, in determining a least harmful course of action.

Utilitarians regard nature as a set of exhaustible and scarce resources, and they deal with the optimal allocation from a human point of view of these resources, and yet they usually fail to incorporate intangibles, such as the beauty of the sunset or the liberating sensation of open spaces, the happiness and peace of mind that nature bestows and endows us with.

Green accounting, adjusting the national accounts to reflect environmental data, green accounting is still in its unpromising infancy, the Netherlands notwithstanding.

It is complicated by the fact that ecosystems do not respect man-made borders, and by the stubborn refusal of many ecological variables to succumb to numbers.

To complicate things further, different nations weigh environmental problems disparately. And despite recent attempts, such as the Environmental Sustainability Index, ESI, produced by the World Economic Forum, WAF, despite such attempts, no one knows how to define, how to quantify illusive concepts such as sustainable development.

Even the course of replacing or repairing depleted resources and natural assets are difficult to determine. Efforts to capture quality of life considerations in the straitjacket of the formalism of distributive justice, known as human welfare ecology or emancipatory environmentalism, so these efforts backfired. They led to derisory attempts, ridiculous attempts, to reverse the inexorable processes of urbanization and industrialization by introducing localized small-scale production.

Social ecologies prefer the same prescriptions, but with an anarchistic twist.

The hierarchical view of nature with men at the pinnacle is a reflection of social relations, they say or suggest. Dismantle social relations and you get rid of this wrong view of men as the crown of creation.

The Ephesus, the second strand of the law of minimum, the Ephesus appear to be as confounded and as ludicrous as their more fit-on-the-ground opponents, the economies.

Biocentries view nature as possessed of an intrinsic value, regardless of its actual or potential utility.

They fail to specify, however, how this contention, even if it's true, gives rise to any rights and commensurate obligations.

So what if nature has an intrinsic value? Does it impose any duty or obligation on me, especially if I am a part of nature?

The case of the biocentries was not aided by their association with the apocalyptic or survivalist school of environmentalism, which has developed proto-fascist tendencies and is gradually being scientifically debunked.

The proponents of deep ecology radicalize the ideas of social ecology ad absurdum and they postulate a transcendentalist spiritual connection with the inanimate, whatever that may be.

In consequence, they refuse to intervene to counter or to contain natural processes, including COVID-19 and famines, diseases and plagues.

So you see where the idea of progress, the reactionary idea of progress, had been taking us even in an ostensibly benign movement like environmentalism, men-loving movement.

The politicization of environmental concerns runs the gamut from political activism to eco-terrorism.

The environmental movement, whether in academe, in the media, in non-governmental organizations, in the legislature, is now comprised of a whim of bureaucratic interest groups.

And like all bureaucracies, environmental organizations are out to perpetuate themselves, to fight heresy, to accumulate political clout, and the money and the perks that come with political clout.

They are no longer a disinterested and objective party, they have a stake in the apocalypse, they have skin in the game that makes them automatically suspect.

Bjorn Lombok, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, was at the receiving end of such self-serving sanctimony.

A statistician Lombok demonstrated that the doom and gloom tended by environmental campaigners, scholars and militants are at best dubious and at worst the outcome of deliberate manipulation.

The situation is actually improving on many fronts, showed demonstrated Lombok. Known reserves of fossil fuels and moss metals are rising, not declining. There's no such thing as big oil. Agricultural production per head is surging. The number of the famished is declining. Biodiversity loss is slowing, not increasing, as do pollution and tropical deforestation.

In the long run, even in pockets of environmental degradation, in the poor and developing countries, rising incomes and the attendant drop in birth rates will likely ameliorate the situation in the long run.

And yet, both camps, the optimists and the pessimists, rely on partial, irrelevant or worse manipulated data.

The multiple authors of People and Ecosystems, published by the World Resources Institute, the World Bank and the United Nations, they conclude our knowledge of ecosystems has increased dramatically, but it simply has not kept pace with our ability to alter them.

Quoted by the economist David Istai of Yale, the leader of an environmental project sponsored by the World Economic Forum, exclaimed, why hasn't anyone done careful environmental measurement before? Businessmen always say what matters gets measured.

Social scientists started quantitative measurement 30 years ago and even political sides had turned to hard numbers only 15 years ago, yet look at environmental policy and the data are lousy.

Nor is this dearth of reliable and unequivocal information likely to end soon. Even the millennium ecosystem assessment, supported by numerous development agencies and environmental groups, is seriously underfunded.

Underfunding. The conspiracy-minded attribute this curious void to the self-serving designs of the apocalyptic school of environmentalism.

Ignorance and fear, they point out, are among the fanatics most useful allies. They also make for good copy.

So much for environmentalism as a progressive movement.

Let us go back in history a long way back to the Renaissance.

The Renaissance has a reactionary idea of progress.

The Renaissance, or rebirth, is a movement, cultural mainly, movement that had gripped Europe between 1348 and 1648. It evolved around a modernist and therefore reactionary idea of progress.

This statement is not as nonsensical as it sounds.

As Roger Griffin observed in his essay Springtime for Hitler, modernism is the drive to formulate a new social order capable of redeeming humanity from the growing chaos and crisis resulting from modernity's devastation of traditional securities.

Modernity, by threatening the cohesion of traditional culture and its capacity to absorb change, triggers an instinctive self-defensive reflex to repair it by reasserting eternal values and truths that transcend the ephemerality of individual existence.

From this perspective, modernism is a radical reaction against modernity.

There was another guy who put it more succinctly. His name was Adolf Hitler.

Adolf Hitler said, the new age of today is at work on a new human type. Men and women are to be healthier, stronger, there's a new feeling of life, a new joy in life.

Yes, that's Adolf Hitler, not Eckhart Tolle.

Hence, between Nazi projects of eugenic hypospemia and continent-wide mass genocide, they were both components of a Herculean program of social anthropological engineering.

The Nazis sought to perfect humanity. Yes, the Nazis sought to perfect humanity by reading humanity of inferior and deleterious specimen and by restoring a glorious, clean, albeit self-consciously idealized past.

Similarly, Renaissance thinkers were concerned with the improvement of the individual and consequently with the improvement of human society by reverting to classic Greek and Roman works and values.

The Renaissance comprised a series of grassroots modernist movements that put together constituted a reaction to elitist, hermetic and scholastic medieval modernity with its modest technological advances.

The medieval strain of modernity was perceived by Renaissance contemporaries to have been nascent dark or middle ages, though whether the Renaissance indeed improved upon the high and late middle ages had been disputed by the likes of Johann Huizinga and Charles Haskins and James Franklin.

The Renaissance idea of progress was therefore not linear, it was cyclical. Mankind's hard-earned accomplishments are easily squandered and they have to be regained repeatedly throughout history.

Going back to the past is the only way of progressing towards a better future.

Indeed, the literacy rate, an important indicator of progress, had fluctuated throughout this period from the 15th to the 18th century up and down.

In stark contrast to medieval men, the Renaissance men was a narcissistic albeit gifted and multi-talented amateur in pursuit of worldly fame and rewards.

It was a throwback to earlier times, Ancient Greece, Republican Rome, and so the Renaissance was both reactionary and modernist, looking forward by looking back, committed to a utopian new human type by regressing and harking back to the past's ideal humanity.

In the 20th century, Romanticism, a 19th century malignant mutation of Renaissance humanism and its emphasis on the individual, Romanticism provoked counter-movements like Fascism, Communism, and Nazism.

But contrary to the observations of Jakob Ughat in his masterpiece, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, I'm referring to the 1878 edition, contrary to his observations, it was the Renaissance that gave birth to the aesthetics of totalitarianism, to the personality cult, to the obsession with men of action, to the very concept of an author, to the cultivation of verbal propaganda in indoctrination, rhetoric as means of influencing both the masses and decision makers, and to the pernicious idea of human perfectibility.

Many Renaissance thinkers consider the state to be similar to a constantly belabored massive work of art. Yes, a work of art, politics is a work of art, Machiavelli. The state's affairs are best managed by a prince and not by God.

Again, see the writings of Machiavelli and his contemporary, Jean-Baptiste Comte, or even LeonardoROONEY.

This authoritarian cast of mind did not prevent the vast majority of Renaissance philosophers from vociferously and incongruously upholding the Republican ideal and the individual's public duty to take part in the political life of the collective.

The contradiction between authoritarianism and republicanism was only apparent.

Renaissance tyrants, dictators relied on the support of the urban populace and an emerging civil service to counterbalance a fractious and prophetic aristocracy and the waning influence of the Church.

This led to the emergence in the 20th century of occlocracies, polities based on a mob rule led by a bureaucracy with an anti-clerical, anti-elitist, populist, fear, or duche, or secretary-general on top.

The colonialist ideas of labensa and white supremacy, forms of racist and geopolitical narcissism, also have their roots in the Renaissance.

Exploratory sea voyages gave rise to more virulent forms of nascent nationalism, to mercantilism, and of course to colonialism, the economic exploitation of native lands, with a few notable exceptions which were perceived by contemporaries to be progressive developments, the white man's burden, enlightening and civilizing the natives.

Progress is intimately connected with India's industrialization and modernization. It's time for mine. Donal that break.

As the Renaissance and humanism petered out, the industrial scientific revolution and the emergence of capitalism transpired in a deprived and backward part of the known world in northwestern Europe, which was a swamp, a no-go zone, a backwater.

There, the industrial scientific revolution had occurred, and capitalism was born there in the Baltic states, in the Netherlands, proto-capitalism.

As ancient or older civilizations, the Arabs, the Chinese, the Italian principalities, the Mediterranean world, and the Spaniards, these civilizations had stagnated. The barbarians of France, the savages of Germany, England, and the Netherlands took over.

There was a vacuum created by the collapse of the ancient civilizations, and these people came forged ahead with an unprecedented bout of innovation and wealth formation and accumulation.

This rupture in world history, this discontinuity of civilizations, yielded ideational diets of futuristic modernity and reactionary counter-modernity.

Both Poles, the modern and the reactionary, deployed the same emerging technologies, but to disparate ends. Both make use of the same ideas, but they draw vastly different conclusions.

Together, these antagonists constitute modern society.

Consider the concept of the will of the people. The modernizers derived from it the construct of constitutional, parliamentary, representative democracy. In the hands of the reactionaries, the very same idea, the will of the people, had mutated into an oculocratic revolt of the masses, Hitler and the Nazi party.

National self-determination is another concept of progress, another element, another figment of progress, a concept.

So it's a modern liberal concept, national self-determination, but it gave rise to the nation state.

In the hands of Hitler and militaries, it acquired malignant folkish forms and led to genocide and ethnic cleansing.

The reactionaries rejected various aspects of the Industrial Revolution, actually. They were luddites, they were anti, they were technophobes.

The Communists abhorred the exploitative and iniquitous economic model inherent in Industrial Revolution capitalism.

The Nazis, albeit a quintessential urban phenomenon, aspired to reverse the social costs of such technological modernism by re-emphasizing the family, tradition, nature and agriculture.

Communists, Nazis, fascists, dispensed with the commitment to individualism. They all sought to bring on a rebirth in regression and in emulating, adopting those pernicious aspects and elements of the renaissance that we had reviewed above.

The renaissance is the forefather and the progenitor of all totalitarian movements.

Exclusionary ideas of progress led to reactionary counter-modernity.

Communism, fascism, Nazism and religious fundamentalism are as utopian as the classical idea of progress, which is most strongly reified by western science and liberal democracy.

There's utopia everywhere. Even in Auschwitz, there was utopia, the utopia of you and I cleaning the world of the Jews.

All four illiberal ideologies firmly espoused a linear view of history. Men progresses by accumulating knowledge and wealth and by constructing ever-improving qualities.

Similarly, the classical, all-encompassing idea of progress is perceived to be a law of nature with human jurisprudence and institutions as both its manifestations and its descriptors.

And so all ideas of progress are pseudoscientific. They posit a kind of inexorable law of human affairs, history unfolding in a totally predictable manner with the end of history, as Francis Fukuyama had called it.

Still, there are some important distinctions between communism, fascism, Nazism and religious fundamentalism on the one hand and western liberalism on the other hand.

All totalitarian ideologies regard individual tragedies and sacrifices as the inevitable lubricant of the inexorable march forward of the species, and yet they redefine humanity, who is human, and they exclude large groups of people.

Communism embraced the working class, proletariat and lumpenproletariat, but not the bourgeoisie.

Nazism promotes one folk, one race, the Aryan race, but denigrates and annihilates others.

Fascism bows to the collective, but viciously persecutes dissidents, individualistic dissidents.

Religious fundamentalism posits a chasm between believers and infidens.

In these four intolerant ideologies, for example, the exclusion of certain reviled groups of people is both a prerequisite for the operation of the natural law of progress and an integral part of the motion forward.

The moral and spiritual obligation of real men to future generations is to unburden the law, to make it possible for the law to operate smoothly and in optimal conditions with all hindrances, in other words, with all undesirables removed, in other words, murdered.

You have to kill people to clear the way for the law, the natural law of progress, to operate and to lead us to a utopian future with a new man.

All four ideologies subvert modernity, in other words, progress itself by using its products, technology to exclude and kill outsiders all in the name of servicing real humanity and battering its law.

But liberal democracy has been intermittently guilty of the same scenes and modes of operation. The same deranged logic extends to the construction and maintenance of nuclear weapons by countries like the United States, the UK, France and Israel. These nuclear weapons are intended to protect good humanity against bad people. For example, the Communists during the Cold War, China today, Arabs or faith states such as Iran.

So even global warming is a symptom of such exclusionary thinking.

The rich and the rich countries, they feel that they have the right to tax the lesser, the poor by polluting the common planet and disproportionately exhausting its resources.

Global warming, air pollution, environmental disasters, they are attacks levied on poor countries by rich countries.

The fact is that at least since the 1920s, the very existence of mankind is being recurrently threatened by exclusionary ideas of progress. Even colonialism, which predated modern ideologies, was inclusive.

Colonialism sought to improve the natives and bring them to the white man's level by assimilating or incorporating them in the culture and society of the colonial power.

This was a celebrated and then decried white man's burden. Colonialism was inclusive.

Progress is exclusionary. That we no longer accept our common fate and the need to collaborate to improve our law is nothing short of suicidal.

And none of these movements was an aberration, an exception, a once in a once in history occurrence. It's not true.

Take Nazism, for example, the most extreme example I can think of. Nazism was the culmination of the European history of the idea of progress.

Hitler and Nazism are often portrayed as an apocalyptic and seismic break with European history.

And the truth is that Hitler and Nazism were the culmination and reification of European and American history in the 19th century. They were the inevitable outcome of the idea of progress. Europe's and the United States' annals of colonialism have prepared it for the range of phenomena associated with the Nazi regime.

Industrial murder, Britain in South Africa in the Boer War, racial theories all over the world, eugenics in Scandinavia, slave labor, forcible annexation of territory.

The Nazis didn't invent anything. They just put these things together.

But each and every one of these phenomena had happened before on a mass scale in Western liberal societies.

Germany was a colonial power, no different to murderous Belgium or Britain or the United States.

What set Germany apart is that Germany directed its colonial attentions to the heartland of Europe rather than Africa or Asia or Latin or Central America.

Both world wars were colonial wars fought on European soil.

Moreover, Nazi Germany innovated by applying prevailing racial theories, usually reserved to non-whites, by applying these theories to the white race itself.

Racism came long before Nazism, Chamberlain and others.

But racism was against blacks, against reds. Racism was a color system.

And what Hitler and the Nazis did, they applied it to the white race itself. They applied it to the Jews, a non-controversial proposition, mind you.

But then they expanded these racial theories and racial motivated genocide. They expanded this to include East European whites, such as Poles and Russians.

Germany was not alone in its malignant nationalism. Thenationalism.

The far right in France was as pernicious, if not worse.

Nazism and fascism were world ideologies, world ideologies. They were adopted enthusiastically in places as diverse as Iraq.

There was a Nazi government in Iraq. There was a Nazi movement in Egypt, Anwar and Sadat belonged to it.

The green shirts, there was a Nazi movement in Norway, in Latin America, in Britain itself.

At the end of the 1930s, liberal capitalism, communism and fascism, and the mutations of fascism, they were locked in a mortal battle of ideologies.

Hitler's mistake was to delusionally believe in the affinity between capitalism and Nazism, an affinity enhanced to his mind by Germany's corporatism and by the existence of a common enemy, global communism.

Colonialism always had discernible religious overtones. It was always an idea of progress. It often collaborated with missionary religion or missionary intellectuals.

The white man's burden of civilizing the savages was widely perceived as ordained by God or by the inexorability of history. The church was the extension of a colonial powers army and trading companies, but all of them operated under this perception that humanity's future, the new man, the utopia we all aspire to, is within reach.

And all it takes is subjugating a few, killing a few, imposing one of you.

In this sense, look around you. Nothing has changed.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Your Life Meaningless? Choose Nothingness! (ENGLISH from 02:01)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the failure of modern society to progress meaningfully despite advancements in science and reason. He highlights the prevalence of wars, refugees, gender conflicts, and antisocial behaviors, indicating a collective and individual failure. Vaknin criticizes materialism and the prioritization of objects over human relationships, calling it a death cult. He advocates for self-reflection and the pursuit of solutions to the human condition, emphasizing the importance of questioning and addressing systemic failures. Vaknin introduces his "nothingness" philosophy, which involves peeling away layers of societal influence to reveal one's true essence. He argues against the pursuit of material success and encourages a focus on personal growth and authenticity. Vaknin also discusses the dangers of societal norms that promote dominance, complexity, and certainty, and instead recommends embracing happiness, meaning, uncertainty, and the journey of life. He concludes by emphasizing the importance of self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-love, and self-regulation as components of a healthy, authentic existence.

Warning Young Folks: Silence When We Are All Gone

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses his concerns about the younger generation, noting their lack of emotions, meaningful relationships, and intellectual pursuits. He believes that the focus on action over emotion and cognition is leading to a culture of nihilism and disconnection. Vaknin argues that positive emotions should drive actions, as negative emotions lead to destructive outcomes. He concludes that the current state of the younger generation is a mental suicide, and that a shift in focus towards emotions, cognition, and meaningful connections is necessary for a better future.

Will AI Kill Us All? Future with Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence has been a concept throughout human history, with automatons and cults being examples. It is the belief that intelligence is the result of creation and behavior. However, AI displays behaviors that cannot be traced back to programming, and it makes its own decisions, leading to a lack of control. AI also generates narratives and imposes them on human beings, creating an alternative virtual reality. The lecture also discusses the transition from an attention economy to a reality manipulative economy, where reality is controlled and sold back to individuals. The democratization of power and the rise of malignant egalitarianism are also mentioned, with AI empowering narcissism and creating a world of gods.

The Rich Have You BRAINWASHED: Capitalism is a Zero-sum Game, They WIN, YOU LOSE

Professor Sam Vaknin's lecture at Euro College in North Macedonia went viral due to its complexity, covering history, cultural studies, and economics. He clarifies that he is qualified to discuss economics due to his extensive experience and publications in the field. Vaknin argues that capitalism is a zero-sum game, benefiting the rich at the expense of the poor, and provides evidence to support his claim, including the impact of taxation, inflation, and the depletion of natural resources. He also discusses the illusion of economic growth through fiat money, debt, and a symbolic economy, ultimately concluding that the system is rigged to benefit the rich and exploit the poor.

Are You Sure You Are Human?

The lecture explores the question of what it means to be human and how it is becoming increasingly difficult to define. The traditional definition of being human as being distinct from animals and machines is no longer tenable due to evolutionary and technological advancements. The uniqueness of humans may lie in their behavioral unpredictability and awareness of mortality. The lecture also discusses the dethroning of humans in the Western worldview and the recent resurgence of individualism in various fields. The internet is seen as a manifestation of this resurgence, but social media and the attention economy may reverse this trend.

We are Rich People's Slaves, Neo-feudalism (Euro College, North Macedonia)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the problematic nature of capitalism, which has been recognized for over a thousand years. He argues that capitalism is inherently anti-social institutions and that it is a zero-sum game, benefiting the rich at the expense of the poor. Vaknin predicts a future of neo-feudalism, characterized by low social mobility, hereditary wealth, and the dominance of politics over economics. He also suggests that the rich, despite not coordinating their actions, will act in a concerted fashion to maintain their wealth and power.

Dystopia: This Horrible Time We Live In

Professor Sam Vaknin argues that modern society is experiencing the worst period in human history due to the breakdown of institutions and the rise of negative trends such as splitting, magical thinking, entitlement, and distrust. He highlights the unprecedented nature of these trends and their impact on relationships, mental health, and societal stability. Vaknin warns that if humanity does not address these issues, it may face dire consequences and suffering.

Narcissist's Common Phrases Decoded: Narcissism to English Dictionary (Compilation+New Videos)

Sam Vaknin discusses the work of Louis Althusser, a significant intellectual figure who contributed to cultural debates in the 1960s and 1970s. Althusser's theory posits that society consists of practices (economic, political, ideological) and that ideology is a central part of the superstructure of society. Ideology, according to Althusser, transforms individuals into subjects by interpellating them through practices and productions, using state apparatuses like religion, education, and media. Vaknin critiques Althusser's view of ideology as too deterministic and questions the ultimate goals of ideologies and their effectiveness in a pluralistic society with competing ideologies. He suggests that each individual has their own "third text," or psyche, which interacts with manifest texts to produce latent texts, reflecting personal cultural and social values. Vaknin connects Althusser's ideas to contemporary intellectual trends and the concept of narcissism.

Why We Are So Unhappy: Dump Western "Civilization"

Professor Sam Vaknin argues that Western civilization has failed in its basic undertaking of making its members happy. He identifies four pernicious wrong turns that have led to our unhappiness: agriculture, organization, growth orientation, and the adversarial organizational principle. These have led to an addiction to economic growth, the emergence of institutions such as patriarchy, cities, and conflict-based science. Vaknin suggests reversing these trends by putting humans above production, breaking apart cities, creating a new form of economics that takes into account happiness and sustainability, and giving up on most Western values. He sees COVID-19 and climate change as wake-up calls to change course before it's too late.

Is Artificial Intelligence Fully Human? (with Benny Hendel)

In this conversation, Sam Vaknin discusses the distinction between artificial and natural intelligence, arguing that intelligence is intelligence regardless of whether it is embedded in silicon or carbon. However, he notes that the problem is not creating intelligence, but rather consciousness and the experience of consciousness. Vaknin argues that the focus on intelligence is a decoy and that the distinction between humans and machines is meaningless because he cannot access the mind of either. He concludes that the argument about whether machines will ever be like humans is ridiculous.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2024
Get it on Google Play
Privacy policy