Toward the Superman
Civilization, like the health of ethnic groups, is a cyclic pattern. It starts with a few brave explorers who, in contrast to others, have the long term vision and faith in life to create something anew; to strive for something better, even if it does not immediately benefit them. They eschew opulence and popularity and immediate public recognition in favor of a vision barely cresting the horizon, that of something better not on the level of the tangible (wealth, comfort) but of ideal: a higher form of organization to life, known as a new civilization.
When these pass on into the great undreaming sleep of death, those who succeed them face genetic variation to which nature subjects all species, namely the turning of entropy (randomness) into variations and then the testing of those by survival, with the elimination of the lesser. Humans do poorly emulating this, since most of them can only think according to one comparison at a time, e.g. strength in arranged combat or multiple-choice tests or wealth, and therefore, they cannot do what a stringent natural environment in which death is as plentiful as life can do. Consequently, over time, instead of turning entropy to their advantage, aging civilizations absorb it in the form of blockheads, fools, perverts and the indolent.
No matter how much Christian pity, liberal tolerance or conservative good-ol-boyism lurks in your bones, you recognize this truth on some level, because you are constantly surrounded by people, and you have no use for more than you find fair companions. There are sexual predators who cannot be rehabilitated, career criminals who will never change, and people who are either outright stupid or of such blunt perceptual skills that they might as well be. You can put 10,000 Harvard educators on each case and never change them; their failing is innate. We don't like to talk about this in polite society, but this is because polite society is designed toward gathering consensus, not achieving the best answer; aging civilizations favor compromise over direct truth.
Swallowing these people gluts your society with those who will almost always make the wrong decision, rather than those who will usually make a right one. I say "a" right one because while there is a singular right matrix of principles by which one makes a decision (survival, higher order), there are many ways to implement it. Blockheads don't see this, and insist on a single means of measuring people, such as wealth or popularity. Blockheads thus further the erosive process like a body rejecting healthy organs. At this point, since blockheads make up a fair percentage of the population, in order to achieve consensus society must bring it down to the blockhead level. Thus a civilization passes from middle age into old age, from which there is no escape.
This contra-evolution selects lesser orders, which have broader application among a population consisting mostly (for example) of people from 85 IQ to 130 IQ, and thus steadily demotes higher orders. Intelligent ideas fall prey to popular ones, inevitably featuring greater comfort and hedonism; great art falls prey to popular culture, and religion becomes a matter of showing up and repeating comforting mantras designed for a group of mostly blockheads. It is similar to feeding wildlife: those that prevail are not the ones who can take care of themselves, but those who are most conditioned to take a handout. Society domesticates itself, inverts evolution, and begins the descent into oblivion.
In wealthy societies such as our own, this may take some time. It's important to note that IQ numbers are used here, as in all essays by this author, as an approximation and not a rule; the IQ test is fundamentally flawed in plenty of ways, the least of which being that it equates a linear mathematical representation of tactical ability with an assessment of strategic thinking capability. It's entirely possible that a genius like Arthur Schopenhauer would test out at 135 IQ, which would be an obviously false result, as he was able to perceive and articulate things that many 160+ IQ types found impossible. For the sake of argument, assume that IQ is a hypothetical approximation, and recognize that much like IQ, our own measurements of our society's health are linear and prone also to massive failure. We have wealth, and technology, but if we fall apart from within, those things will not massively organize in parallel to "save" us.
While no one will admit this in public, because it is unpopular thus unprofitable thus equivalent to standing up and screaming "Impoverish me!", our society is in the final stages of its death procession. Whether we have five years left, or fifty, our intellectual and spiritual life is made impoverished by the futility of higher order in a system that favors lower orders. This subjects us to constant stupidity, makes us numb and depressed at such a subtle level that we don't even know it, and assume that an ugly landscape of concrete and plastic in which almost every action or object we undertake is a product inferior to real experience is somehow "OK." Look around you; everyone is surviving, but few are enjoying the process. They escape into enclaves of conditioned positive thought, like religion or family or drugs or business, and ignore the big picture. When truth is an offense, civilization entropy is not far behind!
Naturally, we all detest the person who screams "Fire!" and does nothing more. There is a solution to this problem, and it's as radically simple as the reasons for decline, when you look behind the weird justifications (justification = finding a reason for an action after undertaking it for a different reason) like politics and economy that people use to explain our failing society. Opulence is what allows a civilization to tolerate its own entropic detritus and call it "citizen," and perhaps, a deviation from the path of praising monetary prosperity is our future. Because we deal in wealth, wealth is needed to survive well: housing away from the ghetto-heads, private schools to keep your kids away from morons, better medical and legal services to avoid the public mediocrity. Yet for all this gelt, we are like drowning men trying to climb out of the water that surrounds them as it rises; there will never be enough money to escape the pool of blockheads which gets bigger every year.
What is a future without wealth? A society where we are not predominantly motivated by personal self-interest. How does this work? Other values, like culture and heritage and quite simply, creating a higher order in every scheme of organization we touch, must prevail. Could that work with our current population? No, on two levels: first, they are genetically morons in the majority; second, their spiritual and philosophical outlook is geared against evolution and not with it. For our future, we need to at least be ruled by people of a higher grade of discipline and a finer intelligence, such as people who can balance a need for some degree of material comfort with an abstract values system that may not immediately reward them. These supermen will be more like the creators of our civilization, long ago, and less like the daisy chain of mediocrity that has followed.
Fred Nietzsche, from whom the term "superman" is borrowed, is misinterpreted on the left as a Nazi and on the right as some kind of Communist for his suggestion that humanity rise above itself. His concept however is not solely eugenic, nor solely political, but predominantly addresses the spiritual state of humanity: the superman is one who is willing to rise above fear of physical discomfort, and even rise above the need for personal security and survival, in order to, like the creators of civilization, assert a higher ideal: an order not on the level of the tangible.
He saw this higher consciousness in the heroic and tragic works of the early Greeks, who would praise an act for the degree of thought required, regardless of the outcome for the actors involved. If everyone died, but died doing something noble, well, then, it was a positive outcome for them - this thought is blasphemy in modern times, when our newspapers are required to call any death a "tragedy" and those who died, either "victims" or "heroes," the latter term having lost all significance after the al-Qaeda attacks of September 11, 2001 (heroic attacks in themselves, since without caring for their own deaths, the al-Qaeda commandos achieved a highly symbolic victory). The Greeks, the ancient Romans, like the ancient Indians before them believed there was a fate worse than death, and it was the ignoble act of preferring a lower order to a higher one.
This is a spiritual question because it reflects how much faith one is willing to place in the operations of the world. If life is good, and we can organize our surroundings to a higher degree, there is no reason not to except personal failings, such as laziness or perversion or innate stupidity. Those who have long term vision and can see past the tangible see a larger picture of life by which they understand its order, and how humans can fit into that at a higher level, including acceptance of and in fact utilization of evolution - a thought which requires we face our own mortality, as part of the nature of evolution is the loss of lives, including possibly our own, if we don't measure up. Are we selfish, fearing death so much that we would endanger all of civilization, or are we brave enough to trade our own deaths for a greater degree of organization?
On this question the concept of Superman hinges. Our current society is ugly, futile in its repetitive nature and menial goals, and self-destructive in that it threatens ecocide (which, contrary to popular belief, does not require elimination of all living things, but enough to disrupt the ecosystem as whole, and thus throw a balanced system into a chaos that leads to a downward slide) as well as suicide through our subtle depressions and ennui neurosis. It is clear that the previous model of civilization, and indeed the genetics of most of the people in it, have failed a crucial test by refusing to acknowledge the firm realities of the future: humanity must curb its population and must cease its reckless pollution, externally, and must find something better to live for than money and status, internally. Since they have failed, and the countdown has begun for our civilization's death, those who are still brave must plan toward the future, and that plan will include our own next stage in evolution, from human to superhuman.
If you want a room full of credulous, simple people to believe your religion, you tell them simple lies. They want you to lie to them about dying, and tell them that as long as they do some token thing, they won't die. So you invent Heaven, twisting an ancient concept into a product, and promise them that if they swear an oath to a certain god, they go there, no taxes or surcharges required. How does this become destructive?
In the ancient sense, Heaven was not "a place on earth" (cf. Belinda Carlisle) nor was it a place at all; Heaven is a state of mind, according to the ancient faiths. You do not go to heaven after death, but if you dwell in heaven throughout life, your death does not trouble you (and it is unclear if you actually "die," since it is possible that your mind and actions branch beyond the individual). Because Heaven is a state of mind, and not a place, the only way to get there is through individual action and finding one's own path. No one can promise you Heaven in exchange for allegiance or a specific set of actions (usu. "kill the unbelievers"). You have to get there by yourself.
Can you imagine why telling people they must achieve a state of discipline called Heaven is healthier than promising them a place called Heaven in exchange for task/belief (essentially, a political notion, as it is the basis of mass manipulation)? Surely this much is clear: when Heaven is a place, people cease working for heavenly states within themselves.
Sheeplike people content themselves with categories, believing that if we all agree something is of a certain type, it makes it so, and somehow changes the world at large. For this reason, we call certain soldiers of the enemy "terrorists" if they don't play by rules that we define, which, naturally, are to our advantage. Perhaps they hijack planes and kill civilians; in our public view, this is somehow different than our purchase of planes for the express purpose of bombing civilian areas. We would make more sense if we claimed that they were "terrorists" because a 747 crashing into the WTC has three numbers, while a B-52 bombing Fallujah has only two.
The fact of the matter is that when you are fighting to the death for something in which you believe, nothing is too dirty or too mean, especially in modern warfare. After all, ungodless America sprayed dioxin on forests to remove natural camouflage (Viet Nam), fired radioactive antitank rounds into schoolyards (Iraq I), tortured prisoners and held others without trial for years (Iraq II), firebombed civilian centers with high concentrations of children (WWII), gassed enemy troops within sight of villages (WWI), used camouflaged snipers against uniformed infantry (Revolution), spread biological agents to enemy tribes (Indian Wars), and faked attacks on our ships to justify combat (Spanish-American War & Vietnam). There's no method too dirty for us because there can't be, if the other guy is willing to use it, and even if he's not, our job is to win, not to be "moral."
We call people "terrorists" like we call them "evil," or "cowardly," or compare them to Hitler; all of these things have been done to al-Qaeda and other groups that resist us abroad. Domestically, we reserve this term in modified form for those who dare to note that ecocide is impending, and thus fight back with the weapons they have. We call them "ecoterrorists."
Ecocide is a tricky issue. Idiots like to equate "global warming" with all of humanity's effect on our environment; this makes it easier to get fanatical about global warming (left) and argue against it (right). Global warming is one tiny part of environmental change, which is a euphemism for "actions leading to ecocide." Look at it this way: our environment is maintained by "ecosystems," or interactions between plants and animals and weather and growth media (soil, air, water). There are millions of parts in the giant equation of our global ecosystem. When we remove enough of those parts so that the mechanical process that is our ecosystem can no longer balance itself, it will collapse like a bridge whose infrastructure has been destabilized, and destroy many species and the equilibrium of energy and growth media exchange that permits life as diverse as what we have now. That is ecocide. It is not a single change, or even all that many changes, but it is vicious and permanent.
Some wits argue against this point by saying that earth has always been under change, and that humans have wiped out species before. True, but earth's changes have been the collective result of many natural forces, and are not linear (consumption of land fueled by overpopulation, and pollution from industry) as humanity's are. Further, those species that were wiped out in the past were a handful of large animals; that's a far cry from shattering an entire ecosystem, in which literally millions of species will be destroyed, obsoleted or mutated into something as generic and boring as the tame squirrels, pigeons, sparrows, rats and cockroaches that infest our cities. We are going from a complex ecosystem in which many species exist in parallel and cooperatively achieve a cycle that maintains itself to large populations of adaptive generalists like squirrels, who maintain nothing but survive anything. This is a loss of diversity and a loss of the overall "life" to our planet, replacing that with a few species that survive as long as their resources last.
For example, if we consume enough forest, it will be unable to reseed itself healthily, and we will replace thousands of tree species with a handful that will be maladapted in many soils and climates, causing erosion and damage. If our oceans get toxic enough, but not necessarily fully toxic, there will be a reduction in bluegreen algae that corresponds to not enough oxygen. The things upon which we depend for life will change in intensity and possibly presence. You might not know that if we kill enough frogs, but not all, they will not breed at replacement rates, starving all the animals that depend on them. The entire system collapses like a house of cards, but there is no obvious signal that it will happen.
Our global ecosystem needs most of the planet for itself to function. Not city parks, not land divided by roads and fences, but unbroken wilderness. All of the changes we see now are just tickles, the first signs of failure, like the weakening of a support strut in a bridge beginning with a small creaking noise. There will be no giant flashing sign that says PUSH HERE TO DESTROY EARTH, nor will the response be sudden. It will be slow, but at a certain point, like a chemical reaction, it will have gone too far to be reversed.
Those who realize this are "ecoterrorists." They see something that most people not only lack the brains to see, but would not acknowledge if they did see it, because they are fundamentally selfish, usually as a result of their limited intelligence. This is not to say these people are "bad," only that their judgment is suspect, and they should not be allowed to make decisions with far-reaching outcomes. For many of them, the most complex decision they should make is what to eat for lunch, and judging by what most people eat, they will screw that up as well. Ecoterrorists are inherently fascists. They recognize that unless forced to do otherwise, the majority of the human race will happily usher in an age of ecocide because they want that big pickup truck, that Dead Kennedys CD, that mocha java in styrofoam, that new television with widescreen - thinking only of themselves, they are blind to larger implications of their actions, and thus as both ignorant and uncaring agents of destruction will collectively commit ecocide.
Ecoterrorists should wear that name as a badge of honor. Not all of them are visionaries, and in fact many are blockheads, but they are perpetuating a necessary resistance to industrial society and the proletariat masses that empower it through their reckless, selfish consumption. You cannot blame the rich, nor can you exclusively blame the poor; you must blame the system that allows unwise, selfish and misinformed people to make decisions with wider consequences. Ecoterrorists want to take "freedom" away from these people, which is fortunate, as it's the only sane conclusion. Ecoterrorists know that these same people will use their democratic "freedom" to block any sane action on the environment until it is too late. Ecoterrorists realize that it is immaterial how many humans we lose, because we can grow more, while ecocide is forever.
Whether you are left, or right, or somewhere else on the political spectrum, you must realize this:
Ecoterrorism helps accomplish what politics will not. Liberal democracies are incapable of addressing the environmental problem, because they are based on selfishness. Token responses like the Kyoto Protocol will lessen one symptom, global warming, but not address the problem as a whole. We are leaking toxic stuff into our environment and overconsuming land and resources, displacing and destroying species needed for our global ecosystem. Slowly we are committing ecocide. Only ecoterrorists oppose this. Your local ecoterrorist deserves your support.
December 1, 2005