Recognizing Fascism… (and why you should)

I am far from having come, as yet, to a complete understanding of the roots of fascism. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle and I have only connected a part of it. But there are certain things about fascism that I have, nonetheless, come to understand, which we would all do well to be aware of and to recognize if we do not want to be led like sheep to the slaughter.

One of the first things to recognize about fascism is that it is a reactionary and counter-revolutionary response to the democratic political principles established by the French Revolution (therefore, also, to the American War of Independence) — those political principles and “rights of man” which were embodied in the slogan “liberty, equality, fraternity“. Consequently, it is both anti-modern and anti-Enlightenment.

This is a persistent theme of the post-WWI German “Conservative Revolution,” the “Conservative Movement,” and of the main Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg. It may seem anachronistic, but their hatred of liberal democracy and contempt for parliamentarianism and republicanism becomes fixated on rolling back the results of the French Revolution (and earlier). The granting of political rights to “the masses” who are unworthy of exercising political rights because they are not true “personalities” (or individuals) is the common objection.  In the place of liberty, equality and brotherhood, the reactionaries substituted instead an inverted tripartite slogan of “work, family, and nation”.

So be vigilant when you hear some politician appealing to values of “work, family, and nation,” as it is very likely he’s trying to lead you down the proverbial garden path into your own disenfranchisement and disempowerment. For many people, social values such as “work, family, and nation” sound very appealing, without realising that they are being seduced to surrender hard-won political rights which are essential to realising “the free development of the personality” as I discussed in the previous post on “The Modern Ideal”.

And I know for a fact that this is a consciously conceived political strategy by power elites to deceive and mislead the electorate into “voluntarily” surrendering their political rights because most people do not know the history of these matters, and power-seekers rely upon that ignorance. They deliberately keep people in the dark about their intentions which are hegemonic and domineering.

A second observation about the dangers of an apparently “friendly fascism” (as Bertram Gross called it) that I have realised from my immersion in the study of fascism. The so-called “neo-conservative” or “new right” ideology did not arise as a reaction to the New Left movement of the 1960s. It is exactly the opposite — a deformation of the historical record. What is called, today, “neo-conservatism” had its roots in the post-World War I reaction of German conservatives to the defeat of Germany and the revolution of November 1918 that established the Weimar Republic. The “Conservative Revolution” was the reactionary response to the liberal revolution that deposed the Kaiser and Imperial Rule in Germany and the class system, which German conservatives blamed on the influence of the French Revolution. The “Conservative Revolution” was a propagandistic device to seduce the people into supporting what was, in fact, a reactionary counter-revolution against an emancipatory programme that led to the destruction of a class-based system.

So… here’s the kicker. The German “Conservative Revolution” actually preceded the formation of the “New Left” that was associated with the near global rebellions of the 60s. The “New Left” is often credited as being a creation of the “Frankfurt School” of sociology — Adorno, Horkheimer, Habermas, Fromm, Marcuse — all emigres and refugees from Nazi Germany who took up sanctuary in the United States, and had such a profound effect on 60s and 70s student politics during the Vietnam War. However, most histories of the so-called “New Right” or neo-conservatism claim that it is a conservative defensive reaction to the excesses of the “New Left”. That appears to be totally false, if my study of the “Fascist Era” is correct. What is called “neo-conservatism” has its roots in the political turbulence of post-World War I Germany.. in the so-called “Conservative Revolution” and which was explicitly named “neo-conservatism”, while the so-called “New Left”, originating from the Frankfurt School, appears to be, in fact, a defense against this reactionary neo-conservatism.

In other words, the political battles and controversies of the democratic states would appear to have their origins in the Kulturkampf (“culture war”) interwar years in Germany — the political struggle for the soul of Germany.

When you think about it, this is actually quite bizarre and absurd. We are carrying on ideological battles that had their roots in Germany from 1918 to 1945 between fascist and anti-fascist ideologies, and which may not have any relevance at all to the actual situation outside Germany, but which have seemingly appropriated as our own battles.  I think we need to give our heads a shake.


29 responses to “Recognizing Fascism… (and why you should)”

  1. Sarmoun Darq says :

    Excellent article..I hope in your study of fascism, you have or are going to read Wilhelm Reich’s Psychology of Mass Fascism.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Funny you should mention that. I arrived in the mail yesterday.

      It had been on my list for some time — since my university days in fact — but I just never got around to it.

  2. alex jay says :

    “In The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere Habermas argues that prior to the 18th century, European culture had been dominated by a “representational” culture, where one party sought to “represent” itself on its audience by overwhelming its subjects. As an example of “representational” culture, Habermas argued that Louis XIV’s Palace of Versailles was meant to show the greatness of the French state and its King by overpowering the senses of visitors to the Palace. Habermas identifies “representational” culture as corresponding to the feudal stage of development according to Marxist theory, arguing that the coming of the capitalist stage of development marked the appearance of Öffentlichkeit (the public sphere). In the culture characterized by Öffentlichkeit, there occurred a public space outside of the control by the state, where individuals exchanged views and knowledge. In Habermas’s view, the growth in newspapers, journals, reading clubs, Masonic lodges, and coffeehouses in 18th century Europe, all in different ways, marked the gradual replacement of “representational” culture with Öffentlichkeit culture. Habermas argued that the essential characteristic of the Öffentlichkeit culture was its “critical” nature. Unlike “representational” culture where only one party was active and the other passive, the Öffentlichkeit culture was characterized by a dialogue as individuals either met in conversation, or exchanged views via the print media. Habermas maintains that as Britain was the most liberal country in Europe, the culture of the public sphere emerged there first around 1700, and the growth of Öffentlichkeit culture took place over most of the 18th century in Continental Europe. In his view, the French Revolution was in large part caused by the collapse of “representational” culture, and its replacement by Öffentlichkeit culture. Though Habermas’ main concern in The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere was to expose what he regarded as the deceptive nature of free institutions in the West, his book had a major effect on the historiography of the French Revolution.

    According to Habermas, a variety of factors resulted in the eventual decay of the public sphere, including the growth of a commercial mass media, which turned the critical public into a passive consumer public; and the welfare state, which merged the state with society so thoroughly that the public sphere was squeezed out. It also turned the “public sphere” into a site of self-interested contestation for the resources of the state rather than a space for the development of a public-minded rational consensus.”

    And now the “commercial mass media”, having indeed turned a critical public (Frichtean educatonal theory and Pavlovian/Skinnerian/Bernaysian behavioural mumbo-jumbo) into passive sheep/zombies are losing their strangle-hold on “represantational” (Habermas’ version) culture through the internet.

    No wonder the “establishment” is doing everything in its power to destroy the new internet medium (with CISPA, ACTA, PIPA etc.) as they’ve managed to accomplish with the corporate monopolisation of the “Free Press” (Offentlichkeit) in Habermas’ day. All for cybersecurity, of course?!

    Plus ca Change (“The Circle Game” … “and the painted ponies go ’round, ’round, ’round …”)

    The Frankfurt School, Fabian Society etc. are just Hegelian counterbalances (two sides of the same coin) to the neo-cons, CFR, Chatham House/RIIA deception to maintain, direct and perpetuate an elitist system that has existed since the beginning of human recollection with empirical evidence to support their “survival of the fittest” synthesis.

    The bitch is …. they believe that shit! Now that’s scary … and we live in scary times … the future portends a situation that will make fascism, democracy, and any other known ideologies redundant – flawed and failed (present evidence conclusive) – in the face of the complete reconstruction necessary (economic/social/political/environmental) to even imagine a future … and it’s getting harder by the day.

    • Scott Preston says :

      I regret to say that I have not as yet read anything by Habermas, although what you posted from the Wikipedia entry on Habermas is intriguing and richly suggestive of ways in which psycho-dynamics manifest as social transformation, which in turn influence, in positive or negative ways, the psycho-dynamics (cybernetic theory).

      I’ve also come to understand that the study of this period is pretty crucial to appreciating Jean Gebser’s cultural philosophy, for this was the historical context in which he was writing The Ever-Present Origin as a refugee from fascism himself. So some of his comments are puzzling unless one appreciates the context.

      • alex jay says :

        ” What is called “neo-conservatism” has its roots in the political turbulence of post-World War I Germany.. in the so-called “Conservative Revolution” and which was explicitly named “neo-conservatism”, while the so-called “New Left”, originating from the Frankfurt School, appears to be, in fact, a defense against this reactionary neo-conservatism.”

        How ironic that it’s taken a century for Jeckyl to turn into Hyde. As you are aware, all the leading lights of the Frankfurt School (I guess we might call them “progessives” in contemporay parlance), with the exception of Habermas, were of Jewish extraction. Yet today, the leading lights of the “neo-consevative” ideology are of the same progeny (architects of PNAC and supporters of one of the most fascist states along with their alter-ego Saudi-Arabian partners in “Representational Culture” ) that fought so hard to intellectually change the perception of elitist exclusivity towards “liberty, equality, and fraternity” would morph into its complete opposite reactionary consciousness/narcissistic delusion..

        But then, FEAR – the foreign installation (as you like to use) that metaphorically drove Adam and Eve out of the garden – is the age-old proven tool of justifying hierarchical social structures (it’s worked with Catholics since 325 AD) to the point that no practical concensus for an out-of-the-box conception of Utopia has ever been imagined except in metaphysical language – or silly stuff like Thomas More et al that could be replicated by Spielberg or someone else on some mescaline, magic mushroom trip etc.

        But then … maybe we are in a computer simulation? A never ending process that only uses valuable data (of the designer’s purpose?) and deletes the input of an application that has been programmed to expire before the “best before date” (three score and ten, though increasing in time/quantity, but rarely in quality – Alzheimers up 3,000% in the last 50 years), unless it’s good and then “God” (?) must make sure he’s got a good lawyer to fight against a lawsuit against “COPYRIGHT” infringement. As if any human in the history of the species hasn’t breached someone elses idea. Even Newton stated that he stood on the shoulders of giants. But F$£*ing Hollywood and the parasite record industry think they own imagination and creativity. You can’t make it up and believeable, except in this circle of hell that the dregs of the lowest common denominators of humanity have somehow managed to usurp????

        Shit … Off the tangent again …

        • Scott Preston says :

          The best way to read history, I’ve found, is backwards rather than forwards. Some people start with “beginnings” and move towards “endings”, as one reads a book. But the best way to understand the course of history is to proceed from the present back into the past. History is taught all wrong in schools.

          It is a most peculiar thing, I must admit, how Jews seem to have set much of the agenda for the course of Western history and civilisation. They don’t call it “Judeo-Christian culture” for no reason. So, ironically, the Jews feel more at home in it than nativist Europeans. Of course, Nietzsche covers a lot of the irony of this, although it didn’t make him anti-semitic. Quite the contrary. It’s also ironic that the first person to publicly convert to Buddhism in North America and so was the trailblazer for what has come to be called “Western Buddhism” and the turn away from Judeo-Christianity was…. a Jew.

          It’s all very Woody Allen-esque. Despite all the tragedies, beneath it all is something so uproariously comedic that you can’t help but laugh at the absurdity of it all. How do you take, for example, a Jew like Richard Perle pulling a page from a rabid anti-Semite like Josef Goebbels and calling for “total war”?

          Well.. I think I can tell you why. The Bible is basically Jewish history. The fact that Europeans take that history as the “blueprint” for their own (for that’s what is has been called — the “blueprint of history”) makes this history essentially Jewish. The European type ended up as the proverbial “stranger in a strange land”. Even Blake realised there was something very odd about all that. His “Urizen” is the Biblical Jehovah. Oddly enough, the Jew is at home in “Judeo-Christian” culture, while it is the European who is homeless.

          That is, I’m becoming convinced, the root of anti-Semitism. The anti-Semites don’t feel at home in their own “soul and soil” (or, as the Nazis put it “Blut und Boden”). But they stupidly blamed and resented the Jews for it — that is, for Judeo-Christian culture, which is ridiculous, for they did this to themselves. The European re-adjusted his entire history to concord with Jewish history — ie, the Bible, and made it their “blueprint”. One of the great Canadian philosophers, George Grant, once wrote that “homelessness is the nihilism of our time” — that is to say, spiritual homelessness — the obsession with discovering the “ground of being” is the attempt to overcome the feeling of homelessness (estrangement, alienation, etc), and the European did this to himself, really.

          This is the Mark of Cain. The strange paradox that Cain was condemned to be a wanderer on the earth (homeless) and yet also the founder of cities (empires). Homelessness is rootlessness, and in adopting “Judeo-Christianity” as their primary Frame of the World, the human being of the European-type did, of course, expunge and uproot their own history, and, in some ways, their own psyche too.

          You find this crazed duplicity in all the Nazi anti-Semitic tracts, which simultaneously expresses the most hypocritical envy of the Jew alloyed with an irrational and invidious hatred of the Jew. Why? Because the Nazis/fascists believed the “international Jewry” was at home in Europe (as they shouldn’t be and “by Jehovah we’ll make them homeless”) while the so-called “Aryan” was not. So, the nationalist “Volksgemeinschaft” or “people’s community” of “blood and soil” was set up against the Jew as really the mirror image of this supposed “international Jewry”.

          So… the problem is not “The Jew”, which is why Nietzsche, for example, threatened to have all anti-Semites shot as hypocrites. The problem is the European who, apparently, couldn’t originally find a way to reconcile his past with this religious novelty and innovation called “Judeo-Christianity”, and so jettisoned his entire history, thereby becoming a rootless and ahistorical being. Only lately has there also been the attempt to rediscover those roots in things like “Celtic Revival” and so on. But that comes with attendent dangers which are typical of reactionary fascism and nazism — “throwing out the baby with the bathwater” or “not seeing the forest for the trees”, etc. The real task, then, was (and is now) to achieve a concordance of the European past and the European future that was performed in the meeting of “heathen” or “pagan” Europe with “Judeo-Christianity”. That never happened. Now it has to happen, because the human being of the European type has never really reconciled his/her own history with that of Judeo-Christianity. It became a kind of “war of the worlds” or Goethe’s “two souls, alas, dwell within my breast”.

          And this is also part of the task of the “integral consciousness”.

  3. Scott Preston says :

    Found this article on the same website as the pdf file for The Nazi Germany Sourcebook. It’s a review of a book called Hitler, Buddha, Krishna, and it demonstrates, perhaps, how it’s possible to pervert anything….

    I’ve only read the review. But I think I’ll order the book, because it may help in understanding another puzzle and riddle that Brian Victoria wrote about in Zen at War — why so few Buddhists put up resistance to the Japanese fascist state.

    I did know something about Nazi organised expeditions to the Himalayas and Tibet. Until I read this review, I wasn’t really sure about the why of it. Perhaps this book provides the answer.

    • Scott Preston says :

      By the way… not really sure what the purpose of this site actually is, but it is a very rich archive of Nazi documents and material. What I don’t find here is the testimony of concentration camp survivors or the anti-Nazi resistance, as if they were apparently irrelevant. Which makes me wonder…

  4. alex jay says :

    What a fantastically condensed understanding (the reply a few posts up that I can’t seem to attach your reply to mine – sometimes the reply comes directly underneath the comment, other times not) – what a shame we can’t have the old DAB format … this current one you use Scott is a minestrone soup, even a chronological order format would be preferable. But … that’s neither here nor there so (though it’s disrespectful to confuse one’s “Luddite” elders, which is something your service providers can’t understand in this age of “twit(s)ter”): : )

    You really are brilliant and never cease to amaze me (though I have several problems/disagreements with you on certain historical issues in interpretation), since you’ve been able to get to the heart of the matter in question, though, naturally, I would add a plethora of comments (all/most in agreement) on your thoughtful analysis allow me to comment on this morsel:

    “The best way to read history, I’ve found, is backwards rather than forwards. Some people start with “beginnings” and move towards “endings”, as one reads a book. But the best way to understand the course of history is to proceed from the present back into the past. History is taught all wrong in schools.”

    Ahhhhh … A disciple of Rudolf Steiner! He made it a routine for his acolytes to mentally excercise a thought experiment by lying in bed and recollecting their day from their most recent experiences working their way back to the time they woke up.

    Also, “the law is an ass” and “history is bunk” (the propagandised common version that is) : )

    • Scott Preston says :

      Pretty brief account, but hopefully touches on the gist of it — the appropriation of another people’s history as one’s own is a strange chapter — to the extent that the European effaced his/her own historical memory to the point of total forgetfulness, where that history became a mystery, and which is only now, perhaps, being recovered with some difficulty. But why blame the Jews for that? It’s mendacious.

      The Bible is a wonderful book — full of wisdom, poetry, prophetic voices. I’ve always insisted that anyone entering social sciences must be thoroughly familiar with it, because no one can grasp even the slightest bit of Western history, literature, arts, culture, society, politics without reference to it, because it has been “the Grand Narrative” of that history. Many people are disoriented today because they don’t know this — they act and speak in certain ways without understanding why they do so. The Bible contains deep, universal truths that probably were the basis of its original appeal and inspiration, but it wasn’t really rooted in the historical experience of the European.

      I’m not one for rolling the wheel of time and history backwards — the reactionary response. This is what the Nazis attempted — violently, destructively, nihilistically, murderously, full of lies and grotesque blasphemies.The “Grand Narrative” is part of our history, and we are required to integrate it into a more holistic or “universal” history of the human experience. Rejectionism isn’t the appropriate, or even healthy, response.

      • alex jay says :

        “I’m not one for rolling the wheel of time and history backwards — the reactionary response. This is what the Nazis attempted … ”

        Neither am I. Nor did I take your statement: ” But the best way to understand the course of history is to proceed from the present back into the past” imply any “rose coloured” romantic delusions of days of yore (in that sense you’re confusing reflection (Echo) with emulation (Narcissus) – the former is a process (albeit in this application not fated by the gods – : ) ; the latter is a judgment). Rather, my reference to Steiner’s exercise was meant to illustrate an intentional intervention to train the consciousness to recognise and overcome the automative habits that constitute a mechanistic existence (social engineering) and its “foreign installations” by starting from the point you’re at and finding out how you got there, individually as a holographic representaion of its wider/higher/past/future holistic source in an historical context.

        The often quoted cliche “yeah, it’s all very well in hindsight” is precisely what that reflection instructs us to identify in a present-going-back methodology – without the necessity, in fact the opposite – of a reactionary failed experiment.

        In other words, the past is something we should do our damnest to avoid … because that is the only concrete evidence we have of how not to do it. Because we have that information, doesn’t it make you wonder what a stupid species we really are? Sapiens my arse!

    • Scott Preston says :

      what a shame we can’t have the old DAB format … this current one you use Scott is a minestrone soup, even a chronological order format would be preferable.

      Unfortunately, that blog service provider is defunct. It was a paid service and couldn’t compete with the free services. I keep my eye open, though, for more suitable formats.

    • Scott Preston says :

      One of the reasons I so appreciate William Blake is his attempt to weave a new narrative that does not repudiate the Judeo-Christian tradition, but integrates it into a broader vision. He doesn’t repudiate it, but weaves it into this new, fantastic tapestry of an inclusive humanity. Blake was very unusual for his time, and one of these days I’m going to have to write something about how Nietzsche illuminates Blake, and Blake illuminates Nietzsche, for they were, in some sense, kindred spirits.

      I have stated here that what is called “Judeo-Christianity” is (or was until Nietzsche’s “death of God”) the “Grand Narrative” of Western civilisation, and which could be called its general “Frame of the World”. Now, in German such terms as “Grand Narrative” or “Frame of the World” has the name “Weltanschauung” — meaning “world view” or “world outlook” or “world aspect” — a distinctive way of perceiving reality and organising the elements of that perception — the arrangement or ordering of the percepts. In much philosophical literature, the German term is retained or preferred even in French or English texts because of its distinctive meaning, which really doesn’t have a precise corresponding meaning in those languages. This is important to note, because some texts actually translate Weltanschauung as “ideology”, and this is an error.

      I mention this because I noticed that in The Nazi Germany Sourcebook by Stackelberg and Winkle that they translate the German word “Weltanschauung as “ideology” and “weltanschaulich” as “ideological”, although they take pains to point out that this is the way they have selected to translate these terms when used in Nazi rhetoric. However, German already has perfectly serviceable terms like “Ideologie” or “ideologisch” (“ideological”) or even “ideologisieren” (“to ideologise”), so it’s not exactly accurate to translate “Weltanschauung” or “weltanschauulich” as “ideology” or “ideological”. Something else, more subtle and more fundamental, is intended by these terms.

      And that’s because Nazism or fascism wasn’t really an “ideology” in the sense usually understood. As a Weltanschauung it was intended to become a total world view — a total perception that was, moreover, intended to completely supplant and replace the Judeo-Christian “Weltanschauung” even despite the ironic fact that the Nazi “Weltanschauung” modeled, emulated, and aped in many ways the Judeo-Christian “Weltanschauung” — Hitler as Moses or Messiah; the Volksgemeinschaft or Volksstaat (people’s community) as the mirror image of “international Jewry”, etc. Since the Nazis, despite their desires, could not actually wean the Germans away from their Lutheran or Catholic religious commitments, which were rooted in the Judeo-Christian “Weltanschauung” or “Grand Narrative”, they had to proceed by way of aping that world view or Grand Narrative and gradually bringing about a replacement of this Weltanschauung by their own artificially engineered one, which was a kind of perverse mirror image of it. Some of this is documented in The Nazi Germany Sourcebook, especially evident in the documents attributed to Alfred Rosenberg and Martin Bormann. In other words, it is the formula for what is today called “perception management”.

      So, it is in some very important ways very misleading to translate “weltanschaulich” and “Weltanschauung” as having meanings associated with ideology. Ideology is a product of rationality and the act of thinking and with ideas. Weltanschauung precedes the act of thinking and underlies it. It belongs to the act of perception, and often how one perceives — the mode of perception — determines what one considers “reasonable” or worthy of thinking about anyway.

      In other words, Weltanschauung means what Gebser means by a “structure of consciousness” or “the mode of perception”. The Nazis weren’t interested in changing peoples “ideology” or ideas. They weren’t interested in reason or reasonableness at all. They were interested in bypassing reason and reasonableness and manipulating the mode of perception directly. The correct “ideology” or “ideas” or “ideals” would necessarily follow automatically from re-engineering the Weltanschauung. In effect, they were trying to engineer a new myth, quite unconscious, that would rule totally over the act of perception, and so completely as to become the unquestionable “common sense”. The technique for this is the secret of propaganda: a) it has to be plausible (even if untrue, ie “truthiness” or what we call “spin”) and b) repetition — this “spin” has to be repeated incessantly until it is taken as “true”, which is today called “staying on message” or “message control”, and so on.

      And it is this “myth” that I have been calling “the foreign installation”. For that reason, Nazism (or fascism) is not so much an ideology as a mythology. And people are vulnerable to this because they don’t really understand the difference, and confuse willy-nilly symbolic reason and discursive logic or, the mythic and the ideological, which is the problem, really, of what is today called “cognitive dissonance”.

  5. amothman33 says :

    It is a big misfortune not only for the christian but also for the moslem, the honest jew and the world at large when the west let the jew dictate their agenda on the expense of their unique and independent message as christains,through such misleading phraselogy as you said juodichristian or the old and new testaments.I am glad to see such clarity in your vision regarding this misfortune.

  6. amothman33 says :

    Dear Scott ,your christ is my christ and the moses of the jew is my moses. so is all other spiritual signposts are mine. The surrendering heart is an open field for the erection of all the temples of the world without discrimination. Christ received one bible and i think the idea of the several bibles require a thought ,also its impact on the unity of the christian. i refuse the cultural prison, we are living in an open worlld that defies cultural requires stands not mental,mechanical navigation.Cultural lies are abundant, that is why honesty is a must in this dying world.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Yes, Abdulamein, it is a dying era, and is why it is called “post-modern”. What comes after this “post-modern” becoming a “post-mortem” (or what is called today “deconstructionism”, for this is really a post-mortem) is the key question, and the key struggle… whether here or in the Middle East, or, in fact, globally today — the human future; the human prospect. But none of this can now be considered separately from the fate of the Earth as a whole — the plants, the animals, the climate. It is a struggle of life over death, or Genesis over the Void (the Nihil) — or put another way (which might perhaps have more meaning in English than Arabic) the pro-biotic over the anti-biotic tendencies.

      • LittleBigMan says :

        “It is a struggle of life over death, or Genesis over the Void (the Nihil) — or put another way (which might perhaps have more meaning in English than Arabic) the pro-biotic over the anti-biotic tendencies.”

        What an outstanding insight and a thing to say…”the pro-biotic over the anti-bitoic tendencies”.

  7. LittleBigMan says :

    “the best way to understand the course of history is to proceed from the present back into the past.”

    If I recall correctly, in a parallel technique, don Juan Matus also had a mnemonic method of “taking inventory” of one’s life that he discussed with Castaneda, asking him to begin to try to remember all the people he had ever met in his life by starting with the most recent person he had met and working his way back all the way to his childhood.

    That is a very intriguing practice. I think its secret lies with the fact that the activity is not a routine mental habit and it goes against the way one “normally” tends to remember the past — which is, it seems to me — whatever event or whoever that made a lasting impression. It seems to be one way of forcing the mind to think differently, thereby opening up its horizons to new ways of perceiving or understanding.

    • LittleBigMan says :

      And thank you for this wonderful, concise, and illuminating discussion of the origin of the conservative movement.

      • Scott Preston says :

        I haven’t posted much lately because, as you know, I’ve pretty much immersed myself in the study of fascism and the psycho-dynamics of that period. It has not been entirely pleasant except for the “Eureka!” moments when I perceive that how the objective events of this turbulent period are related to the psycho-dynamics of individuals and masses. In this sense, I suppose, an attempt to investigate the premisses of Seth’s The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events as they are revealed in contemporary history and the ways in which “you create the reality you know”.

        I’ve had some very valuable insights, which I am now trying to organise into a statement, which is difficult given the nature of these things. One piece of the puzzle pertains to a statement Seth once made on a particularly blustery evening in Pennsylvania when Jane Roberts held a session, and Seth came through first with “Storms to the stormy”, which was, of course, his way of again saying “you create the reality you know”, and that outward events are a reflection or mirror of inward psycho-dynamics.

        This is particularly evident to me, now, in my study of Nazi Germany. How many times have I read in Nazi literature, or in Hitler’s or Goebbels’ speeches are reference to “Sturm”, even the name of their party organisations “Storm Troops”, “Sturmabteilung” (S.A.), Blitzkrieg, and so on. This “storm” was the violent storminess, turbulence, and agitation of the psyche that became a world historical event of destructive nihilism, war, genocide, massacre and finally suicidal will to self-annihilation. It is quite unbelievable — storms to the stormy indeed.

        The psychology of Hitler, which was not Hitler’s alone, I believe I have come to understand, and it is not so complex as historians have made of it. Jung was closer to the truth with his psychology of “the Shadow”, but it is subtle how Hitler arrayed himself against “The Jew” as if the Jews were a singular collective Man. He speaks of “the Jew” as “he”, and everywhere this “the Jew” is a giant, conceived as a singular entity — not “the Jews” so much as “The Jew”. Clearly, this “The Jew” or “he” is Hitler’s own Shadow, his own “Mr. Hyde” which he projects outward as “The Jew” or as the “He” — because every evil, every sin, every atrocity he attributes to this “The Jew” he eventually does himself. Yet, every author I’ve studied so far manages to overlook the psycho-dynamics at play here.

        Did Hitler ever come to the shocking realization that the “monster” was himself which he projected outwards as this singular Giant or Devil called “The Jew”? But it brings to mind Nietzsche’s remark “When one goes to fight monsters, one best take care not to become the monster oneself”, and what is that but another way of saying “narcissism”? Hitler’s relationship to “the Jew” is a completely narcissistic one, for he became what he beheld, and what he beheld in this “The Jew” was his own Shadow, his own “Mr. Hyde”.


        • LittleBigMan says :

          Very insightful, indeed.

          “it is subtle how Hitler arrayed himself against “The Jew” as if the Jews were a singular collective Man.”

          After reading about 60 pages of Mein Kampf, I was dumbfounded to see how Hitler began to ascribe the deeds and intentions of the Jews he had met in Vienna as a checklist that all the Jews he had never met also followed. It is indeed the Narcissus getting deeply lost in the abyss of his own perception.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Yes. That’s right. Don Juan called it “the recapitulation”, and it is much the same principle. The same principle is evident in Rosenstock-Huessy’s remark about the distinction between the “natural” and “the spiritual”, as I once commented on. In the natural order, birth precedes death. In the spiritual order, death precedes birth. This is (the largely unconscious) significance of the meaning “born again” (as in the New Testament, “die to oneself daily” and “ye must be born again”), which has become so horridly trivialised in the “born again movement” (more like a bowel movement, in my view, if you get my meaning).

      Now, with that we come to the significance of Goethe’s statement in Faust about the coincidence of the natural and spiritual order or a lived life, and in this we must recognise the necessary coincidence of both the spiritual and the bodily character of existence, just as Blake also described it. But here’s Goethe,

      “Two souls reside, alas, within my breast, And each one from the other would be parted. The one holds fast, in sturdy lust for love, With clutching organs clinging to the world; The other strongly rises from the gloom To lofty fields of ancient heritage. ”

      There are many different translations of these lines into English, but this one is my favourite. It also accords well with Rumi’s passage about “the shadow”, in his poem “Enough Words”

      How does a part of the world leave the world? How can wetness leave water?

      Don’t try to put out a fire by throwing on more fire! Don’t wash a wound with blood!

      No matter how fast you run, your shadow more than keeps up. Sometimes, it’s in front!

      Only full, overhead sun dimishes your shadow.

      But that shadow has been serving you! What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is your candle. Your boundaries are your quest.

      I can explain this, but it would break the glass cover on your heart, and there’s no fixing that.

      You must have shadow and light source both. Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.

      When from that tree, feathers and wings sprout on you, be quieter than a dove. Don’t open your mouth for even a cooooooo.

      When a frog slips into the water, the snake cannot get it. Then the frog climbs back out and croaks, and the snake moves toward him again.

      Even if the frog learned to hiss, still the snake would hear throughthe hiss the information he needed, the frog voice underneath.

      But if the frog could be completely silent, then the snake would go back to sleeping, and the frog could reach the barley.

      The soul lives there in the silent breath.

      And that grain of barley is such that, when you put it in the ground, it grows.

      Are these enough words, or shall I squeeze more juice from this? Who am I, my friend?

      It is all very consistent. From this also Steiner draws some of his methods for stimulating “mindfulness”, as alex jay reminds in a comment — reversing certain habitual actions in order to break the spell of what we might call “robotic” or “automatic” existence — to break the tendency or inertia of life that seeks to live a routine or to live by a formula that has become unconscious habit. That’s the key. In another respect, it is to go through the looking glass, you see? If the natural order is only the mirror image of the spiritual, and this image is, as in a mirror, inverted, then to reverse the image is to awaken to the spiritual origin of the inverted image. And so, you see, these practices are really aimed at overruling the condition of Narcissus, who became trapped in his image in the reflecting pool. In a sense, practices like Seth’s, Steiner’s, or don Juan’s “recapitulation” all aim at the same thing — which we might call “reverse engineering” of the foreign installation.

      • LittleBigMan says :

        “so horridly trivialised in the “born again movement” (more like a bowel movement, in my view, if you get my meaning).”

        LOL. I think I understand it…If I gathered correctly, although in the “born again” movement the intended meaning is to say that one has been revived spiritually, the path to achieving ““die to oneself daily” and “ye must be born again”” is often trivialized and taken too lightly. But if one is to be truly “born again”, it will take an immense level of effort.

        “If the natural order is only the mirror image of the spiritual, and this image is, as in a mirror, inverted, then to reverse the image is to awaken to the spiritual origin of the inverted image.”

        Indeed. In one of his journeys out of the body (while in his “Second Body”), Robert Monroe reaches for his physical body which is lying in bed, asleep. As he reaches for the toes of his physical body he feels a sensation of being touched on the head of his “Second Body”. As he touches the right side of his physical body, he feels a sensation of being touched on the left side of his “Second Body” and so on. Indeed, he discovers that his “Second Body” is the inverted image of his physical one.

        Thank you for the lovely and meaningful quote from Rumi’s work.

      • alex jay says :

        In order to assist you in your research, I thought I’d might introduce you to some documentaries … sadly , I only found one of the two I was looking for on the profile of the “monster”. Even more sad is that the profile I’m linking is inferor to the one I really wanted you to see. Furthermore, the youtube version is in 5 parts that you will have to navigate through due to its convoluted format. Still its a freebie … so, I guess, beggars can’t be choosers?

        Shame I can’t seem to find the “Hitler in Profile” that I was really after. : (

        • Scott Preston says :

          Interesting series of clips in “Hitler in Profile”. The narrative seems to follow very closely Konrad Heiden’s book Der Fuehrer: Hitler’s Rise to Power published in 1944, which has a remarkable amount of material and research for a book of that time. Heiden was a bright fellow, and got involved as a student at the University of Munich in the anti-Nazi resistance very early — around 1923 or so.

          What was surprising — perhaps questionable — was Hitler’s ostensible participation in the Munich Soviet as an elected member of the Soldier’s Council (also shown in the film clips marching in the assassinated Social Democrat — and Jew — Eisner’s funeral procession). None of this is mentioned in Heiden’s account, although he says that Hitler served as an agent provocateur and a Reichswehr plant in order to finger and name certain people for liquidation by the death squads. Hitler’s participation in the Munich Soviet would be completely inconsistent with his previously stated political views and personal history to that time. Shortly afterwards he was brought into the Reichswehr’s propaganda department (as noted in the film) — not at all likely if he had been a member of the Munich Soviet and a representative on the Soldier’s Council.

          This contradiction becomes very important when assessing the value of some revisionist histories of Hitler and the Third Reich. Sebastian Haffner in The Meaning of Hitler, for example, says that Hitler was really “a man of the Left”, which is, as far as I’m concerned, just the bad conscience of the conservative who wants to avoid the label “useful idiot”. Haffner was, indeed, an opponent of Hitler (perhaps from the start) and fled Germany for England where he worked as a journo at The Observer (not without some conflict with its staff, apparently). His book is full of interesting insights, but describing Hitler as “a man of the Left” wasn’t one of them, and his reasoning is spurious. Hitler wasn’t a “man of the Left”, but he did want to appear as a “man of the Left” in order to draw off the workers’ support for the Socialists and internationalist sentiment. The 3 points of the Nazi Party 25-point programme that were actually “socialist” and designed to appeal to the left were never implemented.

          Despite that, and Haffner’s apparently self-exonerating suggestion that the principle and main resistance to Hitler came from German conservatives (which appears completely contrary to the facts), Haffner has some interesting things to say about the meaning of Hitler. But whatever argument Haffner has to support his views that conservatives were the main resistors is made in a posthumously published book called Defying Hitler which I haven’t read yet, but which got very good reviews (at least, in some quarters).

          Revisionism is kind of rampant today as well, especially in the so-called “New Right” which has appropriated a lot of the language of the the Left and of the history of the Left as their own — that, say, they have always championed “human rights”, or “women’s rights” or even “gay rights” and were always stalwart opponents of anti-Semitism (which is now being pinned on the Left because, as we all know after all, Hitler was really “a man of the Left” and was therefore anti-feminist, anti-Semite, anti-gay, racist, etc). All of which is complete bunk, but a very curious demonstration of the same kind of psycho-dynamics of the fascist mind. Behind it is, of course, a political strategy to redefine the meaning of the “centre” by shift this “centre” closer to the radical right, which was precisely Hitler’s strategy — to make the utterly irrational and incoherent appear completely rational, tolerant, and “the common sense” (the “volkisch” sense). It was damned effective — the “damned” being the operative word here.

          This is the function of contemporary propaganda, really, and the purpose of what is called “spin”. Chomsky pointed out that poll after poll show that Americans (for example) share the values of the left, but are being driven and corraled into the right, effectively being brought to act or vote against their own values and interests through sophisticated campaigns of “perception management” and psychological manipulations. It is part of that problem that Gebser identified as “the inner division of contemporary man” or what is called “cognitive dissonance”. Propaganda induces psychological destruction and disintegration, in effect. And that was the issue in that Guardian article I’ve referred to a couple of times in which “symbolic belief” (or lies and fictions) tended to overrule what people knew in their heart of hearts to be true. Do we need any more proof of the Sufi wisdom that knows of a “false self” and a “true self”? The false self being what I’ve been calling “the foreign installation” — the Occupier.

  8. amothman33 says :

    the self is one, however it has the ability to have a multivaried shades.awareness is the tool that saves the self from being trapped into lowness.consciousness is awareness personified, and the self cannot pursue the right path without the help of the designer of the self,that is why knowledge that has no access to faith throw the self into unguided territory ,so is faith without knowledge is a derailed train.

  9. alex jay says :

    An interesting phenomenon that is rarely (if ever cited?) in historical chronicles of the Nazi adaptation to invert and manipulate culture is comically demonstrated by the paranoia exhibited by the “master-race” in their perceived threat of popular music (the foreign installation from their point of view). The hierarchy had their Wagner, but the troops were adjusting their radio dials and tuning in to “Swing”. Well … this became a problem (they couldn’t have their pure-blooded Arian boys bopping up and down to the Lindy Hop like those black American savages – and their “Jewish masters”). So, Joey Goebbels got on the case and decided “if you can’t beat them join them” by plagarising the jazz beat to a distinctive Nazi message. Ergo, some real fine (puke!) bands like Charlie and His Orchestra (notice the Charlie – how Germanic can you get (sic)?) and Bruno and his Swinging Tigers were drafted to defuse the encroachment of this undermensche music into the psyche of “our glorious warriors” by Nazifying it to “get with the programme”. “The end justifies the means” … where have we heard that before … and still hearing it, and still hearing it … and still … etc. etc.

    You’re gonna love this (and laugh your socks off):

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