Thursday, September 15, 2011

The fusion of the Archaic and the Futuristic, an interesting idea, with lots of caveats

Guillaume Faye, a French pseduo-Fascist, has a bookthat's just been translated into English called "Archeo-futurism". Being willing to look at anyone's work if it appears that they might have something provocative to say, I bought a copy. Unfortunately, I found myself disagreeing with almost every point he outlined. Very little of it seemed to have to do with the idea of an 'archeo-futurist' synthesis of pagan archaism with the futuristic. Instead, it's focus appeared to be on condemning immigration to Europe, particularly France, from the Middle East and elsewhere in the Third World, while promoting a return to medieval Catholicism as the preferred archaic ideology, condemning democracy in general and gay rights, and advocating an alliance with the U.S. against Muslim countries and other mostly non-European forces. On top of all that he advocated looking to the the Front National, the far right National Front in France, as a positive vehicle for change, because it's supposedly not that bad anymore. Shades of the British National Party being putatively reformed, kinder, and gentler, under the leadership of Nick Griffin come to mind. Also included is the belief that the West should establish a two tier world economy with itself as one of peoples on top. I suppose, in retrospect I should have seen something like this coming, but in any case, underneath the hysteria about brown people practicing Islam in Europe the basic idea of a fusion between the archaic mindset and a futuristic orientation survives as an interesting and possibly valuable idea.

The author isn't helped, however, by the fact that Faye never really defines what the term means satisfactorily or even devotes that much time to going into detail to explain by it. Instead, much like another favored term of his, "Euro-Siberia", he appears to think that repeating the neologism over and over that he'll somehow transmit to readers some notion of what he's thinking.

At this point I should make clear the division between my personal politics as an individual and what I think would be both practical and just for society as a whole. Personally, I'm a pagan and I like the pagan worldview very much. Practically, it would be insanely anti-democratic of me to expect the United States to suddenly adopt a pagan worldview. No matter how much I myself would like a resurgence of the archaic to take place, society is more than just one person typing at a computer.

With that out of the way, I think that the fusion of a pagan, archaic, premodern mindset with a futuristically oriented idealism would be a boon for society, provided that it was leavened with socialism, multi-culturalism, liberalism, and democracy. Putting emphasis on the archaic past on it's own while shutting off the possibilities of development that the present offers, is like cutting off the nose to spite the face. Instead of this, the idea put forward in the book about having a kind of archaism fused with futurism in a way that sees the future not as a fixed end point but as something to constantly struggle towards within a pagan mindset is a good one. Struggling towards a futuristic advancement doesn't necessarily mean society having a belief in a divinely ordained 'progress'. Before the growth of a constant mindset that also pursued the future, there would have to be a revolution in order to set things right socio-economically, as well a structure in place to ensure that the futuristic pursuit doesn't lead to our collective annihilation. If a 'return' to a constant mindset didn't include these things it would simply be a replication of unjust patterns of life with a pagan, and futuristic, veneer, cynical in the extreme, and no doubt manipulated by the powers that be. But I think it's possible.

If high technology could be combined with a pagan worldview and social justice, with multiculturalism as well as liberty being honored, and democratic direction of society being in place, it would be possible to create an alternative modernity that is not as oppressive as what we've experienced so far. The great rift that has happened because of the Protestant Reformation, an event that I feel that has a lot of responsibility for setting us on this self destructive course into alienation and exploitation, would be healed. Of course, the Reformation did create some positive things, but that's another post. The archeo-futurist concept, redefined in the way I've outlined, should be looked at, worked over, mined, and developed.

No comments: