197. Gathering together (VI)
Updated: Apr 2
In wartime Paris, Ernst Jünger confided to his diary that Hitler’s extermination of the mentally and physically defective would lead to an increase in the number of mental and physical defectives in Germany; similarly, to exterminate the Jews would Judaise Germany. This is magical thought. The Darwinist would reply that to remove people with genetic defects from the gene pool would decrease genetic defects. The Machiavellian would say that total extermination of your enemy would result in final victory, with no children left to seek revenge on your children. Yet Jünger was right; so let us examine the nature of magic.
Magic is the paradoxical interdependence and reversal of opposites, Jung’s enantiodromia. Magic is strategy; for example, the strategist Luttwak notes that if there is a straight road to a city and a mountainous road, strategic thought dictates that you should attack on the straight road; the easy road will be lightly defended, it is too obvious. Magic is synonymous with the Tao or the Holy Spirit: to build up, break down; to conquer, yield—and so on. Judo is magic; it is the art of victory through concession, the judo player offers no resistance and yet transforms the opponent’s attack into defeat.
Magic is connected to cybernetics: the feedback system, the loop. To take an example from Pickup Artists, “the neg”. All PUA strategies amount to the old adage “treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen” but practically flirtation is a cybernetic loop—an alternation of positive and negative feedback; for example, Boy: “Oh, new haircut. It’s almost perfect.” Girl: “What? What? What’s wrong with it?” Flirtation involves the increase of the loop to a final explosion; effectively, the man creates double binds in the woman’s mind that are finally resolved through sex: the goal is to break the female psychic defence system that shuts out unsuitable men through an icy veneer.
This is related to Taleb’s concept of antifragility—things that gain from disorder, from hormetic stress loops. It follows that a good antifragile marriage should involve constant low-level bickering, actually the only authentic expression of affection: “I could kill you (I really love you).” Hence flirtation is against intellect, if not against intuition. You do not say, “God I love you, my heart yearns for you.” (Yuck! Mush! A dependent man, how weak!) You say, “I went to Morocco once, I could get about five camels for a girl like you there—if the Arabs are in a good mood.”
I once had an idyllic relationship, with almost no arguments; but, one day, it exploded: it was not antifragile; and the same goes for supposed human progress, monotonic growth is unstable, real improvement requires the alternation of positive and negative feedback—unlimited growth leads to a catastrophic explosion. Enlightenment thought never understood that even the steam engine needs a regulator, else it explodes; and our electronic machines are even more organic and cybernetic—the flow of energy. There is only the loop, always was—always will be. Indeed, per Gregory Bateson, magic is the cybernetics of cybernetics: the higher level loop that guides the loops at the material level—and so it is akin to God, the steersman in cybernetics being “0”.
Hitler’s mass slaughters had the reverse impact to that intended; it is now forbidden to even say that some people are mentally and physically defective—once a commonly stated fact—and so genuine dysgenic forces are now at the fore. German history is now inextricably tied to the Jews because of the world historical magnitude of Hitler’s actions, whereas previously the Jews were incidental to German history. Hitler managed to make the Jews central to German history, with German history now defined by how far German historical figures and thought contributed to the extermination camps. Self-own! In other words, if you really hate someone, leave them alone or, worse, act like them. But never, whatever you do, exterminate them, for then you will become them—the revenge of the shadow, per Jung.