Thursday, November 26, 2009

A blast from the past: Neo-Romantic, a post that for some reason has been deleted, 2003

"My philosophy.
Here ye, Here ye, all doyens of countercultural and youth trends, for I have declared what
exactly my philosophy and the philosophy of a whole lot of young people my age (early
twenties, y'all), is.
I call it Neo-Romanticism.
How much is this just my own BS and how much of it is really a cultural movement is for you
to judge.
The Neo-Romanticist movement is based on the rejection of the prevailing Positivistic and
Scientistic worldview, and the substitution of a worldview based on the idea that things
which go on in the mental and social spheres obey totally separate rules than do the
physical sciences.
Therefore, the humanities and quality of life things are valued over slick tech toys and
mechanistic explanations about how the world works. They don't apply, pure and simple,
no matter what the conventional wisdom says.
Why now? You may ask.... where did it come from, where's it going? Well, Neo-
Romanticism is an outgrowth of the vaunted Generation X movement, one which is the
product of the factors which caused Generation X, (or individuals thereof) to drop out and
create an alternative society being brought to a fever pitch.
Neo-Romanticism is more aggressive than Generation X because the opponent is stronger
now, or was stronger during my "generation's" formative years. It's positively monstrous
now, for those unfortunate enough to be undergoing adolescence at this historical juncture.
Generation X was saved from becoming an activist group because they had a tangible
memory of how things were before the Reagan Revolution; consequently, they didn't
HAVE to react strongly in order to save their sanity; they had the firm memory that things
had been different, and probably would be different in the future

Instead of Generation X's view of the world as a culture slowly decaying, Neo-Romanticists
have grown up in a world where the decay has advanced so far due to conservative control
of institutions that they believe there's nothing to save and latch onto via nostalgia, but that
new cultural productions are required to revivify America and American culture. Again, this
isn't a matter of choice, it's a reflection of a culture where if we want anything satisfying we're
going to have to make it ourselves.
Sad, but true.
This is why the Romanticist viewpoint is emphasized, as the Romanticists were people
reacting consciously against a decayed conception of Enlightenment liberalism which stifled
any and all human instincts not explainable by 'reason'.
A good parallel, and indeed a formative influence in this counterculture is the fact that the
Situationists from the sixties and seventies, who advocated radical solutions in order to
produce a new culture, have been adopted by many people as an admiral movement the
time of whose ideas has come. Crimethinc advocates producing your own new culture
instead of just pawing over old things that might provide some satisfaction.

We are Neo-Romanticists not only culturally but politically; the Romanticists were the first
people who seriously suggested a Socialist alternative to pure Enlightenment liberalism,
who put forward the view that people had collective rights on top of individual rights.
Politically, we are like this because the United States has refused to honor or take notice of
any trend to expand the reach of rights and social programs to areas such as health care and
universal pensions, not to mention hostility to the labor movement.
In this aspect we are true heirs of the Romanticists, because, on topic after topic, the things
that they dissented against have not been dealt with in this country, even though continental
Europe has been familiar with these ideas for approaching 200 years.
We praise the individual advocating learning and critical thought against a technocratic state,
and look forward to the restoration of the individual freedom present in the '70s, and to
taking that farther than the seventies ever did.
The monolith, however, is not Ginsburg's Moloch, or precisely the thing that anti-positivistic
people were dissenting against in the sixties and seventies. In those cases the machine
was still on the outside of society; it had grown up in the preceding decades, and alarmed
people, but it did not own society lock stock and barrel. It does now.
Dissent against the educational, cultural, capitalistic, scientific, militaristic, monolith these days
isn't just a protest against a troubling trend but a fight for the very life of our society, and for
our personal quality of life.
It's a choice between honoring the individual and developing cultural uniqueness and
submitting to a grind of anonymous McDonalds-esque work and life which becomes a black
hole with nothing at the end of the tunnel.
Technocratic society has progressed to the point where it aims to deprive people of their
individual will and make them dependent on the machine and the machine culture for
everything.
Anton Szandor LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, in one of his later writings, called this
the "Invisible War" against individual freedom, caused by people wanting to control, drug,
and manipulate the populace into submission.
The aim of Neo-Romanticism is to reverse this procesIf you buy into a machine culture,
don't be surprised if all you get at the end of your life is a dead imitation of satisfaction, which
has been brought to you by all the right companies.
Positivism has even given rise to a particular strand of neo-conservatism, which, even as
Rome is burning outside it's windows, laughs at everyone who would be so stupid as to
think that the "Conventional Wisdom" brought to you by science indoctrinated elites is a
fraud. It laughs while it endorses more and more senseless wasting of lives, caused by the
cultural vacuum of nothingness we live in, to drugs, alcohol, and sex used not as a fulfilling
act but as an attempt to dull the pain of nothingness for a little while.
People are drugging themselves on prescribed medications, on CNN, on sex, on porn, on
hero worship, on alcohol, on anything that can convince them for a little while that they have a
decent stake in this life, anything that can avoid the alienation of the present and the hard
truth that they've missed the boat, as we all have.
Neo-Romanticism seeks to reverse this by revivifying normal life, by taking ourselves out
of the machine and creating a viable alternative, which is not just a stopgap function but the beginning of a construction of a new, viable, humane, type of society, which will eventually
make it's way into the mainstream and effect it.
Bring back what's important in life, give up your toys, your little cell phones, your pursuit of
bigger and bigger machines, and greater integration into the machine hive, through video
games etc... and discover the human in life; discover the connection between a living being
and a living being, pursuing goals which come out of the human experience and not out of a
factory. Practice being, and doing, instead of having, and existing.
Cultural stagnation can't end by itself. We've moved into a decadent phase where it
becomes clear daily that the machine can't produce anything truly new or original. Culture
has stopped; the musicians and stars of the past have not been superseded by anyone or
anything new in a long time.
Time to drop out and forge something new. Not founded on ideology, but founded on
humanity.
Before Castro became a dictator, he famously declared that he didn't stand for Communism
but for Revolutionary Humanism; I think that's a good summary of what Neo-Romanticism is
after.
Will this declaration be heralded by nothing at all but silence and irrelevance? Will it resonate
with people and inform them of trends in their own lives? I can't say; but I do know that I'm
not the only freak out there, and that there are a great many others who agree with my rough
philosophy and roughly live the same type of life that I'm living.
Whether we constitute a real social movement, or will someday, is another matter.
Again, History will decide.

No comments: