Discreet influences

Olavo de Carvalho

Jornal do Brasil, May 8, 2008

When the Swiss painter and poet Frithjof Schuon (1907–1998) returned from the East in the forties, transfigured into the supreme master of one of the most influential Muslim esoteric organizations and announcing that he would Islamize Europe, he gave the clear impression of being completely mad. Today it behooves us to examine with humility his words and the course of his actions, whose overwhelming efficiency contrasts with the total discretion with which they were undertaken.

To begin with, the creation of Schuon’s tariqah (Islamic initiation lodge) in Lausanne was hailed by the esoteric writer René Guénon (1886–1951) as the only promising result of his own efforts of four decades. This clearly shows the meaning of those efforts and, the later rupture between Guénon and Schuon notwithstanding, evinces the perfect continuity of the work of these two esoterists, whose respective disciples nowadays prefer hating one another to celebrating the common victory over a spiritually weakened Europe.

Guénon, the author of masterly analyses of the decay of the European West, had concluded in the 1920s that only three roads offered themselves to this civilization: the fall into barbarism, the restoration of the Catholic Church, or Islamization. On uttering those words about Frithjof Schuon, he had already given up the second alternative. The fiasco of the Second Vatican Council, whose appearances the popes have in vain been trying to save, proved in the end that his diagnosis was, in outline, correct.

The radically de-Christianized Europe is today the stage of an open strife between barbarism and Islamism. There is no third way, apparently (“secular civilization” is a joke). The possibility of rescuing the Christian option depends entirely on the American influence or on the admirable dedication of Eastern and African priests and pastors, who, in a paradoxical turn of history, have come to try to recatechize the people by whom they were Christianized.

The action of such characters as Guénon and Schuon goes unnoticed by the media, political analysts, and “intellectuals” in general, whose eyes are hypnotically fixed upon the garish surface of events. But without it the “occupation from within” by means of immigration would have remained innocuous for lack of the cultural conditions that disarmed the European intellectual and political elite. Guénon and Schuon contributed much to create them, subjugating the uppermost and most circumspect strata of this elite to the intellectual superiority of the East in every decisive area except the natural sciences and technology.

Guénon wrote his first articles under the pseudonym Sphynx, denoting that his readers had no choice but to profit from his lessons intelligently or to let themselves be dominated without ever understanding them. In a single European country those lessons have been meditated with serious intent by independent thinkers: Romania. When I lived in Bucharest, I found there not a single eminent intellectual who did not have a profound and critical understanding of Guénon’s work.

What has been seen in the rest of Europe is the oscillation between obtuse rejection and devout submission, including a significant number of secret conversions to Islam and the regimentation of many intellectuals and leaders—among them the prospective king of England—into the scheme of state protection of Islamic expansionism. It is no coincidence that Romania is one of the rare European countries where the Muslim penetration is negligible.

To give an idea of how powerful the subtle influence of Guénon and Schuon has been, it suffices to inform that the latter interfered directly in producing the crisis between Monsignor Lefèvre and the Vatican in 1976, and until now the Catholic historians—whether progressive or conservative—have not taken the slightest notice of that.

I know that this article of mine is addressed to few readers and that, among these, some of those who can more or less understand it will definitely hate it. But there are things that one must say just in order not to be accused, in the future, of bearing witness only too late.

Translated by Alessandro Cota and Bruno Mori

Engineered confusion

Olavo de Carvalho
Laigle’s Forum, March 18th, 2008

The Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) demonstrated that contradictory stimulation is the quickest and most efficient way to break down the psychological defenses of an individual (or handful of individuals), reducing him to a state of devoted credulity in which he will accept as natural and true the most absurd commands and the most incongruous opinions.

This works almost infallibly even when the stimuli are of a purely cognitive order and without a great deal of emotional involvement (contradictory sentences uttered in a camouflaged sequence so as to create subconscious confusion). But it clearly works much better if the subject is subjected to the impact of sufficiently strong contradictory emotions to quickly create a state of intolerable psychological discomfort. This discomfort itself serves as camouflage because the victim does not have time to determine that the contradiction comes from the source and not from within himself, so that guilt and shame are added to the state of distress. The automatic reaction that follows is the desperate search for a new equilibrium pattern, that is, a broader feeling that seems to include, in a dialectic synthesis, the two emotions initially experienced as contradictory and which simultaneously alleviates the feeling of shame that the individual experiences toward the source of stimulus, which at this point he accepts as his critical observer or judge.

If the reader examines the leftist discourse with some attention, he will see that it manages to inspire in the public both fear and compassion at the same time. This duality of feelings is not contradictory in itself when each of the feelings is situated on a different plane, as in the case of a Greek tragedy, where the spectators feel compassion for the hero and fear of the cosmic machinery that oppresses him. However, if the object of fear and compassion is the same, you simply don’t know how to react and enter a state of “cognitive dissonance” (term of the psychologist Leon Festinger), a state of mental atonia that predisposes to passive subservience.

I say fear and compassion, although these are never simple and unequivocal emotions but rather complex emotional webs that trap the victim at the same time, making him incapable of verbally expressing the situation and suffocating him in a murky atmosphere of confusion and impotence.

In revolutionary politics, contradictory stimulation assumes the form of terrorist attacks intended to intimidate a population, accompanied simultaneously by intense sensitization campaigns showing the sufferings of the revolutionaries and the poor population that they nominally represent. The destruction of farms by the Landless Movement is an apt example. The assaulted class is paralyzed between two sets of contradictory feelings – on the one hand, fear and rage, or the impulse to react, to flee or seek protection; on the other hand, extorted compassion, guilt and the impulse to ask forgiveness of the aggressor.

It is no coincidence that the first scientific description of this mechanism was the work of an eminent Russian psychologist. The use of contradictory stimulation was already a tradition in the revolutionary movement when Ivan Pavlov started to investigate the subject precisely during the years in which the Russian Revolution was under preparation. His studies were immediately absorbed by the Communist leadership, which began using them to elevate revolutionary manipulation of the mind to the level of a highly precise, efficient social engineering technique capable of extensive operations with impressive control of the results.

Over the last four decades, with the transition of the revolutionary movement from the old hierarchic structure to the flexible organization in informal “networks” with immense financial support, the use of contradictory stimulation ceased to be the exclusive domain of the Communist Party and spread throughout all sorts of auxiliary organizations – NGOs, media enterprises, international organisms and cultural entities – the revolutionary nature of which was not declared ex-professo , making the tracing of the unified strategy throughout the whole a very complex problem, transcending the horizon of consciousness of the usual entrepreneurial and political leaderships and requiring the intervention of specialized studies. In general, social libertarians and conservatives are formidably under-equipped to cope with the situation. They endeavor to win over the public by logical arguments in favor of democracy and market economy, when the actual battlefield is situated far below this, in an obscure area of irrational emotions controlled by the adversary with all the latest refinements of rationality and science.

In future articles I will illustrate the use of contradictory stimulation by various “social movements”: feminist, gay agenda, abortion, atheist, environmentalist, etc.

Translated by Donald Hank ( zoilandon@msn.com )

The apex of human progress

Olavo de Carvalho
Diario do Comercio, February 4th , 2008

Freud used to say that the history of the Western mind had been marked by three humiliating defeats, successively imposed on the presumptuous human ego: first, Copernicus showed that the planet we inhabit is not the center of the universe; later Darwin taught that man is not a superior being, but just an animal among others; finally Freud himself brought the proof that individual conscience is not even its own master, but the plaything of unconscious forces.

The idea of the progress of knowledge as an exchange of grandiose illusions for evermore depressing truths became so impregnated in the worldview of the learned classes that other episodes of the history of ideas were interpreted according to it, almost by default. In the time period between Copernicus and Darwin, Newton and Galileo had taught that our impressions of the sensible world are subjective and misleading, because only measurable quantities can be the object of certain knowledge, and Kant demonstrated the impossibility of knowing anything positive about God and the immortality of the soul. In the period in-between Darwin and Freud, Marx revealed that the history of ideas itself is nothing but the apparent manifestation of veiled economic interests, while Comte sanctioned the prohibition of questioning about that which we cannot know through the methods of Newtonian science. Finally, one of Freud’s contemporaries, Max Weber, extracted from that the most lethal result: not only good and evil are arbitrary choices, but scientific knowledge itself is not possible without an initial arbitrary choice.

In the following decades, the downgrading of the human species continued ruthlessly.  Behaviorism replaced the very notion of the “psyche” by a set of conditioned reflexes that didn’t differ significantly from the ones that condition the behavior of a rat or, ultimately, of an ameba. Structuralism and Deconstructionism abolished the Marxist notion of a meaning of History as a residue of humanist illusions.  Genetics, neurophysiology, computer-science models of the brain, and pharmacological psychiatry reduced to nil the aspirations of Freudian psychology itself. Ecology portrayed the human being as a bad-behaved and destructive animal harmful to nature. Finally, philosopher Peter Singer promoted chicken and pigs to holders of human rights, in the same footing as a sublime creature as Peter Singer himself.

Thus came down, one after the other, the “narcissistic illusions” – as Freud used to call them – of an animal species that dared to proclaim itself an image and likeness of God. The history of scientific ideas, seen from this aspect, is a history of intellectual humility.

But there are three problems there.

The first one is that the theories included in this narrative are not all equally true. Galileo made the Sun the center of the universe and not just the center of the solar system. Marx vowed that capitalism would restrict the market instead of expanding it. Evolutionism remains in a state of a debatable hypothesis. And psychoanalysis has been so much demoralized that Lacan, in an effort to save it, had to find in it an unconscious part and then proclaim it was this part, and not the one Freud knew, that was genuine psychoanalysis. There is no sense in equalizing scientific truths, awful mistakes and idiotic fantasies as if they were ascending steps of a cognitive scale.

Second problem: each one of the steps of this supposed ascension was climbed at the expense of a monstrous falsification of historical data. The scheme employed was always the same: to forcefully instill in some past doctrine meanings totally foreign to the time in which it was enunciated and to the mentality of its author.

Copernicus never imagined that heliocentrism would remove “man” from the top of the created universe. This interpretation was invented a century later by Giordano Bruno, and Bruno himself warned those who wished to use it as the basis for a materialistic conclusion: do this and you will become so stupid to the point of doubting your own existence (this came to pass, literally, when Deconstructionism preached the “inexistence of the subject” ).

Darwinian doctrine, by placing the human being at the apex of animal evolution, could not at the same time downgrade him to the level of any other animal. The very word “evolution” expresses an ascent in level, not a descent. This should be obvious at first sight, even without the aid of the opening paragraphs of The Origin of Species , which celebrate the evolutionistic ascension as a divine work of – alas! – intelligent design.

The Freudian doctrine does seem to demote the human being, as it reduces consciousness to a product of unconscious factors. But if the passage to the self-conscious level resulted from the destruction of the narcissistic illusions of childhood, how could the destruction of another illusion be a demotion and not a promotion?

Freud himself never gave up his bet that the Ego would end up absorbing and overcoming the Id, which is by the way the central promise of psychoanalysis.  When talking about the demotion of human aspirations, Freud used a figure of speech that unilaterally highlighted only one aspect of his own work, omitting the dialectical compensation of which he was perfectly conscious. And he did the same to the teachings of Copernicus and Darwin, in order to artificially transform both in precursors of himself.

Thereafter, it became a universal fad to base the history of ideas on extemporaneous analogies, downgrading the public understanding of the past to a stream of cheap gossip against human dignity. The encyclopedic summary of these gossips constitutes the present historical view, as a dogma of faith, in the minds of practically all contemporary men.  It resurfaces again and again in newspaper editorials, speeches in Congress and grade-school compositions, with global unanimity, and serves as an argument to justify political, economic and strategic decisions, as well as to arbitrate domestic discussions and give an appearance of importance to unintelligible university theses.

The third problem is that none of those supposedly humiliating discoveries has turned intellectuals into more humble beings. In the contrary, each one of those discoveries was celebrated as a victory of reason and light against the darkness of the past, resulting in evermore demented outbursts of pride and evermore unlimited demands for power.

Copernicus and Newton served as an argument for 1789 revolutionaries to concentrate more power in their hands than any tyrant in Antiquity and to kill more people in a year than the Inquisition killed in three centuries.

Positivism and Scientificism gave birth to innumerable enlightened dictatorships, some of which understood the killing of priests, nuns and Indians (especially christened ones) as a superior expression of human rationality.

As for Marxism, it shouldn’t be necessary for me to elaborate. Who doesn’t know The Black Book of Communism? Are the barbaric deeds it describes monuments to intellectual humility?

Behaviorism and the ensuing schools of psychology developed in their practitioners an ambition to shape the behavior of others as if it were an industrial product. Ecology has reinforced this ambition, creating projects for global control that determine even what you may or may not eat and forcing you to fill a pile of forms in order to be allowed to pick a bunch of bananas.

Eric Voegelin called “history-genesis” the symbolic vision of history as an ascending process which, by culminating in the person of its narrator, turned his age into the supreme holder of human knowledge. Initially he thought that this scheme was an invention of modernity, but he later found out that it already existed in ancient Egypt and in Mesopotamia. History-genesis is a bad and deforming mental habit that reappears in all ages, thanks to the incoercible tendency of the human being to turn himself into the umbilicus mundi , the world’s navel.

Modernity only added to this the particularly ridiculous detail that it describes the glorious ascension that leads to itself as a process of rational self-limitations and growing intellectual humility. This way the umbilicus -centric conception of history became a self-caricature, and this is the supreme intellectual glory of modern times.

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