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Deep Identity In The Amerikwan Wasteland

Describing and diagnosing problems is easy, finding solutions to them tends to be much harder. Almost everyone, aside from the die-hard NeoLiberal believer, recognizes the problem in one form or another. Namely, that due to various historical forces which we neither have the time nor the inclination to discuss here, Modern Society in the developed West has advanced (or degenerated) to the point where almost all forms of traditional community and identity have been eliminated. Leaving in their wake only a mass of "atomized" individuals who interact solely via the transactional mechanisms of the market state. This is the Neoliberal vision: the liberation of the individual from the oppression of traditional forms of social and religious obligation.

Unsurprisingly, this has led to the rise of various social pathologies, from normalized illegitimacy to increased suicide to a mass opiate epidemic (among many others). All of which have been covered, ad nauseum, by both the mainstream and conservative press.

What is less remarked upon, however, is the sense of general unease experienced by so many citizens of the West, in particular, Americans. There is a reason, after all, why the United States consumes the vast majority of the world's supply of psychiatric medications while containing only a tiny fraction of its population. Life is so good here apparently that the majority of its population has to be drugged up to experience it properly.

Save for those on the top of the social hierarchy, who generally spend their time trying to improve their social position; life has become simply unfulfilling for the vast majority (even if it still remains bearable.)

Young men spend countless hours in front of a screen, alone, playing Fallout 4 or masturbating to pornography not because these activities seem to be more fulfilling than their actual lives, but because they literally are more fulfilling than their normal lived experiences in the "real world." The average American "wagecuck" derives significantly more real satisfaction and fulfillment out of an 8-hour session of gaming than he does out of his 40 hour work week.

Even the most basic facets of social life, marriage and family life, which in times past were pursued almost without any thought at all. Have now become causes of consternation and anxiety and have led many to forego these endeavors almost entirely.

This, contrary to some of the more superficial analysis from those on the Right, is not merely due to feminist propaganda which denigrates family life. While this certainly has played a part in the family's unraveling the truth is that family life, in our modern Western context, is simply less appealing, as a whole, than in times past.

One could write a detailed analysis about why this is the case and what the causes are (economic insecurity, the destruction of tradition gender roles, the fragmentation of communities and moral authority etc.) but instead of pointing to data, it may be more useful here simply to refer to literature.

There is a particularly potent scene in Houellebecq's "Submission" which illustrates this point perfectly:

She worked in the marketing department of a mobile network, she made much more than he did, but he had job security, as they say. They'd bought a house in a subdivision in Montign-le-Bretonneux, and they already had two kids, a boy, and a girl. He was the only one in our program who'd wound up with a normal family life...

As she sank down into her sofa, glaring at the tabbouleth, I thought about Annelise's Life, and the life of every Western woman. In the morning she probably blow-dried her hair, then she thought about what to wear, as befitted her professional status, whether "stylish" or "sexy," most likely "stylish" in her case. Either way, it was a complex calculation, and it must have taken her a while to get ready before dropping the kids off at day care, then she spent the day e-mailing, on the phone, in various meetings, and once she got home, around nine, exhausted (Bruno was the one who picked the kids up, who made them dinner—he had the hours of a civil servant), she'd collapse, get into a sweatshirt and yoga pants, and that's how she'd greet her lord and master, and some part of him must have known—had to have known—that he was fucked, and some part of her must have known that she was fucked, and that things wouldn't get better over the years. The children would get bigger, the demands of work would increase, as if automatically, not to mention the sagging of the flesh.

Reading Houellebecq is so uncomfortable precisely because he is able to paint scenes like this one, scenes that are evocative of the lived experience of so many real people. The couple portrayed seem to have genuinely desired and attempted to pursue a, somewhat, respectable family life. Yet because of the material and spiritual conditions they find themselves in are simply not capable of realizing this aspiration.

So it goes for the vast majority of those trapped in the quicksand of the American "anti-culture" even their attempts to escape, by attempting to pursue a more human existence in a traditional family setting, for instance, only seem to entrap them further into its clutches.

Thus, there seems to be no way out for the modern man. America is, and always has been, an asphalt abyss from which no positive sense of Identity (besides that which can be purchased in the boutique) can be derived. Alexandr Dugin, observed as much when examining the North American condition:

Deep identity is linked to the soil. It is the dimension of eternity, of everlasting stability and immutability.

North America has no soil. The soil that is here doesn’t belong to Americans. The soil is essentially Pre-Modern...North America was from the beginning a mobile highly dynamic nomad society sliding on the surface of minimized almost non-existing space. There is no such thing as North American earth. There is no earth, there is America, the country without soil, without roots, open to all and letting to no one the place to exist – only the place to move, endlessly, always, developing, progressing, changing. Pure dromocratic society (P. Virilio), successfully realized rhizomatic smooth surface dear to G. Deleuze.

So the space in North America doesn’t let the roots grow. It is an asphalt world. The space of North America was virtual from the very beginning of this civilization. And discovery of cyberspace was only a delayed awareness of the long ago achieved reality...The American Empire is deeply Post-Modern. Its only root is Modernity, so it is free to grow without roots – without space in the middle of a fully artificial landscape under an electric sky.

For those trapped by this reality, Dugin has several intriguing suggestions for how to deal with this state of affairs, which it behooves us to at least entertain.

The first is a complete renunciation of American identity and an embrace of a European one. As Dugin explains it:

That means that the American stops consider himself as American and begin to regard his historic and spatial situation in the light of Mother Europe. Thus the American become a new European, but a European placed incidentally out of European space. So the USA is no more the New World, but the Western periphery of the Old World. So to be American is the same as to be a European in exile.

Examples are given, such as the eccentric Orthodox Monk Seraphim Rose or the Poet Ezra Pound. T.S. Eliot, although unmentioned by Dugin, is certainly another stellar example of this. Both Eliot and Pound, though native Americans, found themselves compelled to abandon their homeland, and not just physically but metaphysically as well.

Eliot renounced his American citizenship in favor of a British one and likewise renounced his Unitarian faith (the most American of all religions) for a Traditionalist Anglican one. He would spend most of the rest of his life in England, where he would compose almost all of his famous poetry.

Pound's break with his former homeland was even more dramatic, as during the Second World War he openly sided with the Axis, even becoming a radio propagandist for Fascist Italy. After the war, he was confined to an asylum until 1958. Once he was finally released, he returned to Italy, where he would remain until his death. When asked by a friend when exactly he had been released from the mental asylum Pound replied, famously that "I never was. When I left the hospital, I was still in America, and all America is an insane asylum."

Eliot's and Pound's break with their American roots were profound and deep. One suspects this had as much to do with necessary artistic considerations as it did to political convictions. After all, one has a hard time imaging either Pound or Eliot (the two greatest poets of the 20th century) being able to compose their material in America, lest they were suffocated by the mediocrity inherent therein.

Dugin's second primary suggestion is to embrace the essence of Americanism: the extreme atomized and lonely individual and take it to its logical conclusion and drinking the poisoned chalice down to its dregs.

The case is that of a lonely individual loosing his usual way of living, going out from the closed circle of the meaningless dynamism. The American is rejected by America. Now he is in trouble. There is no way out of America. If You couldn’t find the way to be in the USA, You will pay for that. In-America-being is fateful. The society gives You only one thing – an absolute individual freedom, but confiscates all others. So You are from all. At the same time, you are free for nothing. So the outsider finds himself out. But America is the universal out. So find Yourself out of the camp of being and to live in America is just the same. Those who understand that are more American than those who don’t. The real American is the lost American, the confused American, the fallen American…

So there is only one option – death. In America death is individual. It is antisocial. It doesn’t concern anybody except the dead himself. All those who are gone astray begin to be-in-front-of-death. Without hope, or sense. Pure liberal death. The essence of liberty. The heroes of J. D. Sallinger, J. Updike, W. Faulkner or beatniks are examples of such types of American outsiders who are real insiders, because they have arrived at the core of American identity that is death itself.

This is the existentialist path which constitutes the complete negation of all forms of rooted identity through fully embracing the absurd. It is only in embracing the absurdity of his own being as the Spengalarian "insufferably lonely ego lost in space." Form without content, the infinite loneliness of the unhinged will manifesting itself in arbitrary impulses which flash in and out of time and then recede back into the abyss from which they sprang.

The abused orphan, the homeless addict, the victim of unspeakable crimes. Those who have faced the possibility of their own extinction. It is only these few who truly know what it is to be "Amerikwan," those who have been tossed or have tossed themselves, into the abyss. Only these few, the despised, know its secrets. And it is only these few for whom a transfiguration and a salvation are possible. As the great Emilie Cioran, in his seminal The Heights of Despair explained:

The passion for the absurd can grow only in a man who has exhausted everything, yet is still capable of undergoing awesome transfigurations. For one who has lost everything, there is nothing left in life except the passion for the absurd. What else in life could move such a person? What seductions? Some say self-sacrifice for humanity, the public good, the cult of the beautiful, and so forth. I like only those people who have done away with all that--even for a short time. Only they have the right to speak about life. You can recover love or serenity. But you recover it through heroism, not ignorance...Only when you have tasted all the poisoning sweetness of the absurd are you fully purified, because only then will you have pushed negation to its final expression.

It is only these holy fools of American society that are able to transcend its limitations and articulate its bitter truths. Just as, in King Lear it is only Lear's fool who is ever able to speak the truth. As Simone Weil (a holy fool herself) noted:

There is a class of people in this world who have fallen into the lowest degree of humiliation, far below beggary, and who are deprived not only of all social consideration but also, in everybody's opinion, of the specific human dignity, reason itself--and these are the only people who, in fact, are able to tell the truth. All others lie.

And it is only these fools who, in our Amerikwa, are ever able to articulate the truth. Since their social station, which is less than zero and thus relegates them to an essentially sub-human status, provides them with a unique freedom. A freedom which is completely alien to the rest of those residing in the so-called "land of the free."

They can articulate it because their very being is now a testament to it. As they have tasted their own finitude and understand the reality of death. A reality which is everywhere denied in Amerikwa. A place where death is relegated to the dark recesses of the nursing home, the abortion clinic, or the inner city ghetto. Where youth is sold as an eternal reality, which, for the right price, can be had by all. Where, thanks to the proliferation of an ever increasing assortment of banal amusements and fetishes, a man can go through an entire life without once asking the essential questions (Who am I? Why am I here? for what end?) that separate a human consciousness from the animal one.

To be more accurate the Amerikwan consciousness has not become so much animal or sub-human as it has become Post-Human, a Gnostic ghost in the Liberal machine. This is the destiny, the telos, of every Amerikwan.

Thus, in Amerikwa it is only the fool who can retain any sense of authentic humanity, for this authenticity can only be achieved through confrontation with one's own finitude.

But whatever path one decides to take to remedy our long crisis, one thing remains certain. That this authentic humanity (the "Deep soil") which is forgotten and despised by Amerikwa, can only be recovered, as Cioran stated: "through heroism, not ignorance."