492. Fellowship with men (IX)
I once came across a nationalist YouTuber—subsequently banned—called Millennial Woes; his real name is easy enough to discover, yet for me his pseudonym is more real than his real name. Formerly an arts student, Woes had dropped out of university, retreated back to the family home in the suburbs, and sunk into a profound depression. He eventually found his artistic voice, not at art school, but on YouTube: he produced candlelit confessional videos where he expressed his deepest, darkest concerns—as it turned out these were mostly about immigration. He became a microcelebrity; and he slowly improved his psychological condition as he grew in popularity and his finances developed—increased power of action restores a man; finally, he was exposed by the media, banned from YouTube, and began to lead a quasi-fugitive existence.
Aside from the parallels with Hitler—a sensitive artistic type from a middle-class background drops into despair and obscurity, only to find meaning and purpose in nationalist politics—Woes illustrates a general theme on the radical right. For a time, he was intensely interested in Terence McKenna and his psychedelic explorations. This seems strange, for McKenna was about the most mild hippy-dippy man you could imagine. He suggested that mankind entered his contemporary state because he consumed psychedelic mushrooms—“the stoned-ape theory”. Well, if ever there was a stoned ape it was Terence McKenna. An amiable oirishman, he had a gift for the gab and expressed a general sentiment that all would be well if we got stoned, hugged each other, and expanded our consciousness.
This seems like a strange inspiration for nationalist politics; and yet many people on the radical right report experiences with psychedelics. In part, this is to do with the way psychedelics remystify the world; suddenly it feels like “something” has spoken to you—all the bog-standard materialism falls away, and you become open to…something. Of course, the right stands with religiosity—and the radical right in particular stands with mysticism.
Further, McKenna suggested that man was undergoing an accelerated evolution towards a nexus of interconnection: a process he called Timewave Zero. He even had a little computer program, based on the I Ching, to demonstrate how, as we become more interconnected and moved towards Zero Point, novelty would increase—with things getting weird in 2012, per the Mayan calendar.
This idea that man is evolving or must evolve, not in the strict Darwinian sense, but in the sense that we must improve—reach a higher form, our final form or destiny—also chimes with the radical right. Similar ideas have been expressed by Colin Wilson, Reza Jorjani, Nick Land, George Bernard Shaw, Nietzsche, and many others. For the radical right, this often combines with a notion that we will raise our consciousness in a way that is partially techno-scientific; through magic mushrooms, for McKenna—or through direct integration with computers. This is not quite a teleological idea, nor does it represent pure Darwinism; rather, it appeals to an older notion of evolution—movement towards some higher goal, particularly a goal we have to strive towards. Movement to “the next step” is not a given, so there is a quasi-religious notion here: the next step is more like another level in a vast computer game—or perhaps a movement to a pure energy state.
Indeed, perhaps we are building God. Anyway, this way to think about evolution—evolution as a normative concept—belongs to the radical right; and this is because it is pessimistic about man; the left does not think man needs to be improved at the biological or spiritual level. The radical right thinks both must be altered, whereas conservatives and non-mystical religions demur—we must not help ourselves, we must just wait. The pathway for evolution—serendipitous discoveries—may well be revealed through mysticism or psychedelic drug experiments or by running the I Ching through a computer program; and perhaps there will be help from another realm too—or another fold in space-time, anyway.