The Age of The Orphan Part 8: The current state of play

Many years ago I recall seeing a video advertisement for Google. A grandfather is driving his grandson in a car. The grandson asks a question about Chinese history and the grandfather, not knowing the answer, makes up some elaborate and ridiculous story. There was a better way, said the advertisement. You just had to give the kid access to Google and he could find the answer himself.

I’ve been thinking about that ad recently in light of the themes explored in this series of posts. The young boy is The Orphan looking to his grandfather for guidance. But he can’t rely on his grandfather to give accurate information about the world. He can, of course, rely on a multinational corporation. They’re never wrong and only have his best interests at heart. The ad is designed to strike fear into the hearts of parents who will no doubt be terrified that their child is going to be left behind if allowed to do silly things like ask their grandparent for advice. Once again we see the post war trend of replacing the elders with the experts. The grandparent has no authority or moral standing because he doesn’t have access to the latest abstract, exoteric knowledge. It is that knowledge which the child needs in this world and not any kind of wisdom which an old man may be able to impart.

If you were to fast forward in the world of the grandfather and his grandson to the time after the parents had sorted out the problem, you would no doubt see the child sitting in the back seat of the car with his head stuck in an iPad while the grandfather tries vainly to engage him in conversation. That’s a scene that plays out in family cars and households around the world nowadays. Children barely bother to ask for the answer to a question anymore, they just type it into google and get the answer. Of course, the naivete of children hasn’t changed. They still believe whatever they are told. It’s just that now the child believes whatever google tells it rather than whatever grandpa tells it. And google, ultimately, is just computer code. It’s just a machine. So, the light-hearted scene in the family car hides a more fundamental development.

In post five in this series, we posited that the boomers failed the archetypal task of individuation in the 70s. It seems synchronous that the 80s was the beginning of the computer revolution leading into the IT revolution that now sees young children tuning in to google and a host of other multinational corporations on a daily basis. We see in this the same trend we saw with Dr Spock at the start of the boomer generation. One of the sure fire ways advertising executives found to sell products was to play to the fear of missing out that aspirational parents have for their children. Parents have always been an easy demographic to market to and the use of experts was an obvious strategy. The elder was replaced by experts like Dr Spock. Fast forward a few decades and now Dr Spock has been replaced with algorithms. Real-world doctors have also been replaced with tests and tele-health calls while Big Tech wants to go one step further and replace it all with computer code. What could go wrong?

It would no doubt surprise the average person if they understood how little is really known about these algorithms even by the people who work on them. The censorship which now takes place on social media is algorithm-driven. It’s a very common story to hear that such and such a person has been banned due to some innocuous post. Most people blame political bias and, although there is reason to be suspicious on that score, most of the banning of perfectly acceptable material is done by accident. More specifically, it’s done automatically. The algorithm judged that you were a bad guy and automatically shut down your account. Just like spraying fields with insecticide will kill the good flora and fauna as well as the “bad”, algorithms represent an industrial-scaled approach to an industrial-scaled problem. One of the side effects is a threat to free speech and democracy.

The main issue with the machine learning algorithms, however, is not the bugs in the system but the fact that most of the time they do “work”. They work because they do not require any intelligence whatsoever. Rather, they just apply processing power to the problem. The advertising industry discovered AB testing back in the early 20th century via mail order marketing. The data had to be crunched by hand back in those days. Computers do the same thing in seconds flat. They can crunch enormous amounts of data. There was a story from one of the Obama presidential campaigns, for example, where it was found that making the Sign Up button on the website purple (I think that was the colour) achieved the best the result. Nobody needed to know why purple was better. You didn’t need any colour or sociological theory to explain it. You just try all variations and let the data tell you the answer. So, we remove human intelligence from the matter just like we remove all the other faculties of the human mind, little things like wisdom or morality. Who needs those?

What’s interesting about the IT revolution is how quickly it went from promising new freedom to delivering dystopia. Twitter was a great platform in the early days but now resembles a giant pit of the damned screeching into the abyss. Google used to have a magic ability to return exactly what you were looking for. Now it’s almost impossible to find what you’re looking for. Recently the search engine Duck Duck Go announced that it would start deliberately modifying its search results about the Russia-Ukraine war to ensure users received the “right” information. This from a company that had marketed itself as being one of the good guys.

In the larger arc of post war history which, according to the analysis in this series of posts is the history of the West trying to manifest a new archetype, the IT revolution belongs to the shadow side of the story. It comes in right after the failed individuation attempt of the 70s. It actually has its roots in some of the more positive developments of the boomer era, specifically the systems thinking movement. Steve Jobs and Stewart Brand were hanging around with the hippies in California back in the day. Open source software and other anarchist political theories actually work in the field of programming. There was a lot to be enthusiastic about.

But, of course, it all got bought out and is now controlled by mega-corporations. Apart from anything else, there’s just way too much of it. It’s information overload. Ultimately, it’s all just abstractions; pixels on screens. It’s ended up becoming denial (of reality), obliviousness, passive consumption, victimhood and victimisation; all traits of the shadow side of The Child. Steve Jobs hoped the iPad would be a tool for creativity but anybody who’s watched a child (or an adult) using the thing knows that’s not how it ended up.

As we have seen the last two years, the IT revolution has also become a very powerful weapon in the hands of The Devouring Mother. Faux-compassion is a trademark of the modern corporation. But, as we saw recently with the freezing of bank accounts in Canada, that mask can be dropped very quickly to reveal arbitrary, vindictive and abusive behaviour. It’s interesting that even the machine learning algorithms come across as arbitrary and vindictive, almost as if the computer code itself is channeling the archetype.

At this point, we re-join the story where my previous analysis of The Devouring Mother – Orphan dynamic began. We can now incorporate the extra detail provided in the posts in this series to place that dynamic in its larger historical process.

The dominant European archetype of The Warrior had come to an abrupt end with the world wars. The shift to a new archetype matched the shift of hegemon to the United States and it’s in the US that the new archetypal developments have manifested most clearly with other nations in the west following the lead. The new consumer society based on the Freudian pleasure principle sprung into action. The role of the parent in the nuclear family was foregrounded. Suburbia became the dominant lifestyle paradigm. The nuclear family was increasingly geographically removed from the older generation as multi-generational houses disappeared. The older generation no longer had an economic role, which was replaced by the consumer society, or a cultural role, which was replaced by the experts. What unfolded was a long period that manifested the mostly positive traits of The Innocent and The Mother archetypes.

It also should be noted that there were attempts to address genuine problems. Again, these looked successful early on and brought a long period of peace and prosperity to the west. The environmental movement was initially a grassroots movement aimed at dealing with environmental degradation in all its forms and it produced a number of positive results. More specifically, it harvested the low hanging fruit i.e. the reforms that could be implemented with little economic cost. Once the economic cost started to appear in the 70s, the environmental movement was shut down in the time honoured fashion of buying out the leadership. This is also part of the story of the failed individuation process. Those people could have rallied around Jimmy Carter’s call to live within their means, instead they took up well-paying jobs with corporations.

As noted in the last post, a failed individuation process does not just return things back to normal. Rather, it leads to the manifestation of shadow archetypes. The failure of The Orphan to individuate means it does not achieve autonomy and independence. It does not become a fully-fledged adult archetype but falls back to The Mother for support. Thus, we see both the shadow forms of The Child and The Devouring Mother emerge in the 80s but accelerating significantly from the 90s until today.

Is it a coincidence that at around this time the divorce rates in the US went through the roof? With mothers massively favoured by family law, this led to the role of the mother being foregrounded in many homes. The post war period had seen the removal of the grandparents from the nuclear family. Next came the removal of the father from the nuclear family. Looking at current developments, the parents are apparently being removed altogether. We saw this during corona with questions about what age children could consent to getting a vaccine without their parents knowing. Similarly, the teaching of sex education to primary school children without parental consent is an actual debate at the moment in the US. Is this an urgent social problem in need of rectification? Of course not. It makes sense archetypally, however. Just as grandparents were airbrushed out of the equation in earlier decades, it looks like parents are next on the chopping block.

There’s no point enumerating all the other developments of the last few decades. Suffice to say that the current state of western civilisation is rivaling the late Roman period as world-historically decadent. But the madness is not random. It is the shadow form of The Child enabled and abetted by the shadow form of The Devouring Mother. The two go together and you cannot have one without the other. This is the dynamic that has been driving social affairs since the 80s.

In my book on The Devouring Mother, I noted there were two types of Child: the acquiescent and the rebellious. Within the language of this series, we can now be more specific about these. The acquiescent children are those who manifest the shadow form. What about the rebellious children? I think we can call them Orphans in the sense that they are trying to individuate.

The rebellious children emerged exactly a generation after the ramping up of globalisation in the 90s. That ramping up process was a last gasp attempt to prop up the economic system. The political result of globalisation was to the reduce the power of nation states vis a vis corporations and so the rebellion process took the form of a rejection of that process and a return to nationalism in the form of Brexit and Trump.

However, the rebellion starts to look like an attempt at individuation when we factor in the rise of Jordan Peterson as an elder figure. I noted in earlier posts that Peterson was as much chosen by his audience as he chose them. The audience which chose him is primarily the younger demographic, those at the most likely age for individuation. One of the things this demographic wanted and Peterson provided was a link to the past. They wanted to know what made western civilisation worthwhile. Make America Great Again and Brexit also tapped into these sentiments. This can be seen as the desire to connect with the ancestors, a key part of The Orphan’s journey of individuation. It’s also fitting that Peterson would write self-help books as the desire for self-improvement can be seen as an attempt at individuation in a culture which has no formal processes to facilitate it.

According to this analysis then, what the rebellious children represent is a new attempt to individuate following the failed attempt of the 70s. Given that corona brought about the derailment of that movement (Trump lost; Peterson’s health problems), what that now looks like is the archetypal intervention of The Devouring Mother to prevent individuation on the part of the rebellious children. That makes perfect sense within the archetype because The Devouring Mother does prevent individuation in her children. That is how she retains power over them.

What was it that brought Peterson and Trump undone? “Science” and specifically “vaccines”. These both need inverted commas as neither are accurate descriptions of the reality. It was the simulacrum of science and a simulacrum of a vaccine. We might even say the shadow side of science and vaccines. But science and vaccines are two of the foundation stones of modern western society, at least from a cultural point of view. As Trump and Peterson had set themselves up as defenders of that tradition, they had to support the whole thing. Science and technology can solve all problems. That is the underlying message. That’s part of the reason why Trump is still pushing the line that the vaccines were a success. If the west doesn’t have science, what do we really stand for?

Where does this leave us? On the one hand we have The Innocents in shadow form who represent the political block voting for an increasingly vindictive and manipulative Devouring Mother whose gaslighting now encompasses the rejection of the most basic facts (all in the name of “science”, of course). I fully expect any day now to hear how gravity doesn’t exist. When that happens, there will no longer be any truths left to deny.

On the other hand we have a movement that seems to be trying to individuate but we must be honest about the state of that movement. In comparison to the one that Jimmy Carter had earlier failed to implement, it has some serious flaws. It promises of a return to a golden age that, like all golden ages, was never that golden start with. On a day-to-day basis, its primary political reason for existing is to curtail the worst excesses of The Devouring Mother. Don’t want your six year old to be taught about sex in kindergarten? Vote for me. This is not a forward thinking movement with a tangible vision. It is reactionary.

In the meantime, we look all set for an economic re-enactment of the 70s, only this time round there is almost certainly not going to be a reprieve in the form of new oil discoveries. The globalisation agenda of the 90s has given rise to the ascent of the Eurasian bloc which will now take place alongside the west as a power centre. We will probably see another cold war but this time the west is not well placed to win (although nobody is likely to “win” this time around). Any recognition of these facts is completely missing from the public discourse and a new Jimmy Carter who might once again rally the public to deal with the real underling problems is nowhere to be seen.

In the archetypal story of The Orphan, including the initiation rituals of hunter gatherer tribes, there is significant physical hardship to go alongside the spiritual journey. Although this doesn’t appear to be a necessary element in the individuation process, as Jung’s life shows, it might be required for less spiritualised individuals and cultures like modern western society. Perhaps there must be a literal bearing of the cross and not just a metaphorical one. If so, that is an “opportunity” that is coming our way as we speak. The Devouring Mother can no longer afford to keep all the children in the house. One by one, they’ll have to make their own arrangements and that may be the thing that finally triggers The Orphan to fulfil the archetypal mission. Until then, we look to be stuck in eternal childhood. Not the one James Hillman described but the shadow form of obliviousness and denial.

All posts in this series:

The Age of The Orphan Part 1: The Path of Learning

The Age of The Orphan Part 2: Defining the Archetype

The Age of The Orphan Part 3: A Short Theoretical Introduction

The Age of The Orphan Part 4: Initiation, culture and civilisation

The Age of The Orphan Part 5: Ok, boomer

The Age of The Orphan Part 6: The Spirit of the Depths

The Age of The Orphan Part 7: The Metaphysics of Archetypes

The Age of The Orphan Part 8: The Current State of Play

The Age of The Orphan Part 9: How to learn to stop worrying and love The Matrix

The Age of The Orphan Part 10: Work is our religion

The Age of The Orphan Part 11: The Missing Link

The Age of The Orphan Part 12: Conclusion

31 thoughts on “The Age of The Orphan Part 8: The current state of play”

  1. Do you think that a reactionary movement does not have the same power as a forward thinking movement? If I look into history, there seem to be a lot of counter-revolutions where the people got rid of forward thinking movements that were not liked by at least some part of society. One example would be the reaction to the German revolution 1848 by the monarchy which at least regained their power until the end of WW1.

  2. Secretface – didn’t that just delay the inevitable, though? However, you might be right in the sense that it does feel we are almost at the bottom of the current trend at which point things could reverse and swing back the other way. For example, away from materialism and back to spirituality. That’s what Spengler predicted with a “second religiosity”.

  3. You are right that it seems like such counter-revolutions delayed the inevitable. I was very surprised when I found out that our „Grundgesetz“ from 1949 is based on the ideas of the 1848 revolution. But you must admit that a part of the Germans fought very hard against these ideas in the two world wars. After WW2, the Americans had enough and put a brainwashing scheme in place (Denazification).

    I definitely have the feeling that the pendulum will swing back very hard , as more men get disillusioned by the current system. If a critical mass is reached, I could envision a counter-revolution that could get ugly for the current elite and their protected minions.

    Regarding the second religiosity, I see a trend of disillusioned men joining the orthodox christian church. I am not sure whether this is just another fad but it is definitely an observable trend. Maybe this is also related to the individuation issue as the church does seem to offer support by the elders.

  4. Secretface – I haven’t followed up on it, but I seem to recall that Islam was the fastest growing religion in the west too. It’s noteworthy that both the Orthodox and Islamic faith retain the old character of religion. Which is to say, they are still proper religions unlike the catholic and protestant churches.

  5. I remember reading somewhere than it was expected the Church of the western second religiosity to arise from one of the newer American churches – the southern baptists, Mormons etc. Westerners turning to Islam or orthodox Christianity is interesting because both belong to different underlying cultures and world views. Spengler said that a new Russian Orthodox Christianity would be the dominant Christianity from 2000 – 3000 but this will be a whole new culture . What’s amazing about this moment is it seems as if the global south is giving a big middle finger to western civilisation.

    In regards your last paragraph Simon, I think that problem solving with actual physical stakes/risk involved is a necessary part of the individuation process. Historically this was always involved in a rites of passage. And this is the reason it doesn’t happen so much nowadays in that the safety net always catches you, and it takes getting away from society or your homeland to do it.

    A lot of modern young people find that backpacking overseas gives some semblance of it as of you get caught with no money etc no one can really help, and its up to you and your capabilities to solve the problem. I myself have been in some completely hopeless situations overseas but the lack of help is galvanising and it’s in those moments that you find out what you’re capable of.

    Obviously this can go bad (drugs, homelessness, prison) but an important part of the whole journey is then the homecoming where you take what you learnt and contribute it back into your family/tribe/society. This may be one reason why Australians went overseas so much, to get away from the nanny state devouring mother.

  6. Skip – not Hillsong Church then? 😉

    It is interesting how openly some countries are dissing the US right now. A truly scary thought is that the people in positions of power really are as dumb as they look. Mostly I’d assume they just play dumb for tactical reasons but I’m not so sure anymore. If true, the balance of power might shift very quickly and we just end up one day in a totally new world where the west is the order taker rather than giver.

  7. You mention the IT revolution. As a software engineer, i find it remarkable how bad the technology has become. You are an IT pro too, so you probably agree. The whole web-technology is an unspeakable mess, getting worse at a breathtaking rate. I wonder how much worse this can get, before everything simply grinds to a halt. Maybe in some areas this has already happened. Maybe that could be a turning point.
    Another turning point I am waiting for is peak woke. Albo apparently said that men can’t get pregnant and copped a lot of flak for it. I cannot imagine where it could go from here, but i have wrongly called peak stupidity before.
    Another turning point might be happening in Germany. @Secretface what do you make of the new German military budget? Is this ringing in a new (old) Germany?

  8. Simon – In contrast to what I see for the orthodox church, I am not sure whether the rise of Islam in western countries is somehow related to conversions or newcomers. I would say that the rise of Islam is just an effect of the increased immigration from Islamic countries. Here in Germany, we already have 5 Million muslims living here. Since the number of Christians (catholic and protestant) is shrinking, Islam is the only major religion which is growing due to increased numbers of muslims coming to Germany. Funnily, the muslims are some kind of noble savages for the German political elite (“Der Islam gehört zu Deutschland.”) and therefore their faith is tolerated, even though some of their convictions are contrary to the values of our western liberal democracies. The so called right wing parties are pointing to these issues but are smeared as homophobic. In secret, I expect that a lot more people don´t like the muslims, as I once saw a survey on how many muslims are living in Germany answered with 20 Million. Somehow, they stand out so much that their number is totally overestimated.

    If this immigration trend continues, I would expect that we soon see a rising political influence of Islam in Germany (and the rest of Western Europe). There is already one party in Belgium, which wants to declare Sharia Law by 2030. In Germany, we also see first trends of Islamic political influence, even though they are small, like gender separated visiting hours for public swiming pools.

    Maybe this Islamization will also reinforce a kind of (orthodox) Re-Christianization trend as some kind of counterweight in the future. A second option would be submission to Islam. A third option currently in the making is some kind of eco-religion. I currently think that the second option is the more likely one due to demographics but I could also envision a future ruled by the eco-fanatics. In any case, some kind of second religiosity is in the air.

  9. Roland – it’s astonishing how expensive web development is too. Spending money on computer code has got to be about the worst investment going around. As for peak woke, like I say, I’m expecting gravity to be the last stand. When we find out gravity is racist, sexist, and all the -phobics, there won’t be anything left.

    Secretface – It will be interesting to watch. The State has actually been at war with religion for quite a while now and it would be a big shock for that trend to reverse. It will only happen, I think, when the state can no longer hand out free money. So, I would expect it to pop up once the US dollar gets reset. That might happen sooner rather than later.

  10. Secretface – Russia is really interesting in this regard. I think Islamic people like to live within Islamic countries, but this can be achieved through Islamic subnational units too. Within the Russian Federation there are Islamic republics like Chechnya and Tatarstan and everyone seems to be getting on alright, orthodox and Islam together. Perhaps this is because orthodox and Islam are descendents of the Eastern form of Christianity/Judaism? In India there is much more interfaith conflict perhaps because there is not defined Islamic sub units, everyone just has to move to Pakistan or Bangladesh.

    I expect Europe’s demographics to flip as we go into a darker future and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a massive (and potentially violent) reactionary movement that is unleashed as the pendulum swings the other way, circling around a deep Catholic feeling. It wouldn’t surprise me if France was the first place to ignite this. Something along the lines of telling the Vatican they have lost their way and we are going back etc etc.

    When I hear certain movements of classical music such as Beethoven or Mozart etc I cant help the tears with a suprisingly religious feeling that I think still resides within western culture. That is what the west did best, it’s music, which is it’s most impressive feat and greatest expression. When people ask what did the west stand for/what was good about it, put the record on.

  11. “Spending money on computer code has got to be about the worst investment going around,”
    Could very well be true, still the corporate world can’t throw money at it quick enough. We are well into the negative returns phase, just nobody seems to care. Like we are possessed. By an archetype? Do you see archetypes as entities in their own right with agency or as an emergent phenomenon?

  12. Roland – that’s one thing i’m still not 100% sure of. I’m leaning more towards the “top-down” approach that archetypes exist in their own right. The position of Giegerich (thanks to Shane for the reference) is that individual souls are irrelevant and all analysis should focus on the zeitgeist. As usual, I like the linguistics analogy. The English language determines our speech much more than the other way around but it is possible for individuals to “transcend” the language. So, I’d assume that for most of us, it’s a top-down influence of archetypes but we do have room for autonomy which can be developed with training. That actually fits with the analysis in this series. There’s no more training anymore (initiation) and so people are at the mercy of the zeitgeist.

  13. Hugely enjoyable post, thanks, Simon.

    Re ‘significant physical hardship to go alongside the spiritual journey ’, I think that even if the degree of hardship is relative, it makes sense that physical rigour would to some extent attend any initiation process; transformation requires that spirit manifest by means of the body, that body & spirit be integrated. While technology is of course changing the game, it used to be the case (though I can’t pretend objectivity) that art-making – an integral part &, so, one of the tasks of Jung’s initiatory journey that produced the Red Book – is more physically demanding than writing. Words activate the reader’s imagination, requiring active participation, but visual art does much of the viewer’s work for them. Hence reading typically takes more effort than viewing images (one probable reason why, e.g., long-form TV series have replaced the novel). Jung’s paintings are highly detailed & precise & so, despite all his skill, I dare say a great deal of labour went into them. Whether the context is an expanse of wilderness or the confines of one’s study, the body is still the site of, & the vehicle for, initiation.

    So, maybe as people lose touch w/ their bodies, initiation becomes less possible? Maybe as they dissociate through addiction to technology, the dynamic opposition of body & spirit is lost? The boomers were the first generation to be raised w/ the abundant support of mod cons. And technology has only accelerated; it’s almost as if humans have tried to return to the womb.

  14. Shane – is it the other way round i.e. people lose touch with their bodies because there is no initiation? One of the interesting things during corona was how the gyms owners/users were one of the more prominent opponents throughout. As somebody who does a lot of gym work (powerlifting specifically), I think that’s because it does force you to learn about your body and specifically the difference between real physical pain/injury and subjective perceptions. It’s pretty clear that average person has a deep distrust of their own body these days. That could be another side effect of the lack of proper initiation.

  15. Simon – Today, the Christian church in Germany (protestant and catholic) is just an extension of the political parties. It has been defeated a long time ago. Instead of teaching Christian morals, they just proclaim the same propaganda as the state. But somehow the state does not dare to attack Islam at all. This religion is sacrosanct as it is practiced by immigrants, and if you are against immigrants, you are a Nazi, which is much worse than any problems caused by them. Funnily, surveys of Muslims in Germany regularly have the outcome that a major part of the Muslims puts the Koran above the German law. So, I think that this war against religion will be lost at least by the German state by neglecting growing problems with Islam due to the Nazi trap.

    Skip – I agree that Muslims are often segregating themselves from non-Muslims. I have a personal example. Back in primary school, I had a friend from Turkey. It all went well until fourth grade, when he separated himself from all his German friends. You also see a lot of so called “Kulturvereine”, where only male Muslims are allowed to enter. If you enter such a club as a non-Muslim, you will be looked at as if you are an alien.
    I am not sure whether a complete separation would solve the problems, as Chechnya is a region in Russia which seems to cause a lot of trouble.
    If we see a reactionary movement, I also expect that it would start in France. They are still more religious than many of the other western European countries and have a lot of problems with immigrants from their former colonies. Some former officers from the French army have already raised concerns of an upcoming civil war in France.

  16. Secretface – the state was most at war with the church in the late 1800s but one could argue the church (catholic/protestant) had already withered from inside by then. I think the attitude of the state to a new religious revival will be determined by the economics. If the dollar gets reset and there’s millions of people destitute cos the state can no longer print money to take care of them, churches will be valuable institutions to have around.

  17. Hasn’t anyone claimed so far the gravity is racist and mysogenistic? If no one has I shall make that claim now. Proof is that gravity is rather unkind to certain female body parts after a certain age.
    So the task must be not to deny it but to defeat it. An easy task for anyone with a degree in gender studies

  18. Simon – maybe it’s the chicken & the egg? It does seem like a vicious circle. I’m guessing you were grounded in your body from the start if you grew up on a farm, & generally that seems to be more the case w/ rural dwellers. But I see plenty of people grounded in their bodies who have little psychological self-awareness, while (& of course this too is subjective) I don’t see people w/ what looks like real self-knowledge who aren’t in touch w/ their bodies. Deep philosophies, great intellects etc. – which come naturally for some people early in life – may not mean individuation. Like, if earth/sensation is someone’s inferior function (in Jungian terms), individuation requires developing & integrating it.

    Also seems to me that this culture not only doesn’t offer initiation but actively tries to frighten us into not trusting our bodies, keeps telling us we need to buy more stuff &/or spend more on professional help or we’ll be undesirable/age faster/die of this or that disease etc.

  19. Roland – well, that’s it. You’ve just triggered the Wokeocaplypse.

    Shane – there’s no doubt that the culture promotes a distrust of one’s own body. Enormous sums of money get made off that. A knowledge of one’s body is probably the main benefit of having mandatory army training in a country. A month of boot camp will get you in touch with your body (I’m guessing here, I haven’t done boot camp). Alternatively, a month of working as a brickie’s labourer would do the trick.

  20. Simon – what a coincidence. I was also thinking about mandatory army training this morning. In Germany, we had it until around 10 years ago. I was thinking that this was some kind of rite of passage for young men, but hearing from my friends who were at the Bundeswehr, most of them were just happy when their compulsory service was over. That does not seem like a good rite of passage.

  21. Secretface – there’s definitely better ways. Although I would say in almost all cases army training would be better than nothing.

  22. Hi Simon,

    I’m appreciating your perspective on this subject. We’re in some seriously weird days.

    Two weeks ago I ended up in an uncomfortable conversation. Someone I’ve known for a very long time was deriding unvaxxxed people. It was a weird conversation which I hadn’t initiated, so being me I chucked in the position that I know and associate with people who have chosen not to be vaxxxed. I was candidly surprised at the reply which brought into question my own judgement as to whom I associate with because of this matter. That really pissed me off (please excuse the break in decorum). In the heat of the moment I replied that I don’t have enough friends to diss them over such a trivial matter. (It was the best I could come up with at the time, but interestingly I hit a sore spot).

    Turns out the person I was speaking with had been having troubles with friends and had become increasingly socially isolated. And we spoke about that issue for quite a while (and you thought that my day job was all about numbers – it’s not, it’s all about people).

    The awful outcome from all of these strange goings on has been a weird implementation of the old divide and conquer strategy, but yeah it makes a lot of sense from the archetype of the Devouring Mother. Can’t say that I’m a fan.

    Thanks to for the heads up with Duck Go Duck gone. Bound to happen sooner or later, but it would have been nicer if it were later.



  23. Speaking of the compulsory military service, have the German members (or anyone else) here read early Junger? His takes on war are initially confronting but definitely pose some hard questions regarding what is being discussed here. The same questions arise whenever I read the Iliad and I’m not sure what the answers are. The first world war produced some spectacular literature, including Tolkien’s work and juxtaposing Junger and Tolkien is very interesting.

  24. Chris – congratulations on finding a point of common ground with someone. It’s a vanishingly rare skill these days. It’s also a useful example of how this is not in the interests of the people who think they are in the “right”. This goes well beyond divide and conquer. It’s a net loss to everyone.

    Skip – I think I might have read some Junger but it was a long time ago. I do recall that he was part of the “back to the land” movement in Germany (or whatever it was called) which reminds me also of the Boy Scouts and that there was actually a viable movement against industrialisation back in those days. Again, that just reinforces how monocultural we have become. There’s nothing remotely like that now.

  25. Chris – I feel with you. I have heard stuff by colleagues about unvaccinated that I wondered less and less how the Jews were successfully made the scapegoats in the third reich. Today, I hear the same disgusting talk with the Russians as the next scapegoat in line.

    Skip – I have read quite a few books by Ernst Jünger. From the stuff written before 1933, I have only read „In Stahlgewittern“ (Storms of Steel). What I find interesting about Jünger is the fact that he revised a lot of his works as his own worldview changed. So I am not sure which version of „In Stahlgewittern“ I have read, but as far as I remember, the later revisions are trying to downplay the enthusiasm for the war.

    Simon – Jünger spent the later years of his life in a village near the largest German lake „Bodensee“, but while he was some kind of hobby biologist, he did not do any agriculture. He also wasn‘t living in isolation since a lot of the intellectuals that he met during his time in Berlin were still visiting him in the countryside.

  26. Another great benefit of mandatory army training is to teach obedience to authority & respect for top-down hierarchies (if school didn’t do that already).

    As for ‘gravity’, that’s explained by upward acceleration of the Earth. 🙂 BTW, has anyone else been noticing that it’s getting harder to access online info sources for unofficial versions of ‘reality’, like, not just w/r/t vaccines etc.? (As if the Devouring Mother doesn’t trust us to think for ourselves?)

  27. Shane – I’ve definitely noticed it’s getting harder to find useful information through search engines. It seems to be a general degradation, although no doubt politically sensitive topics are subject to extra attention.

  28. Simon – You are right. I have checked his biographie. He was part of the “Wandervogel” movement. I somehow lost this detail of his lifepath. I related this “Wandervogel” movement more with Ludwig Klages, a German philosopher, psychologist and graphologist, who had a very famous civilization-critical speech at an event of these “Back to the Land” movements in 1913. In German, this speech called “Mensch und Natur” was also published as a book, I am not sure whether there is an English translation. He is some kind of mastermind of the ecological movement, even though he is mainly ignored today.

  29. Secretface – interesting. I’ve never heard of Klages, probably because he hasn’t been translated into English much. He sounds right up my alley. In fact, my analysis here would fit within the “characterological psychology” which wikipedia tells me Klages was a proponent of. Will see if I can find anything by him in translation. I could try and read him in German although these days my German isn’t good enough to make that a non-painful exercise.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *