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Hypermodernity as a superior avenue to nihilism than Traditionalism

There are, to my mind, two different and essentially opposed types of nihilism; Nietzsche's distinction between 'passive' and 'active' nihilisms is most helpful here in ferreting out the difference. One demands action; the other is weary of it. One adulates the shedding of blood; the other seeks to conserve it. The difference between the two is more than merely academic - at bottom, the two relate to one another in Janus-headed fashion, always looking out from different perspectives, and even when they turn around they can never quite see eye-to-eye.

The doctrine of this latter conception of nihilism is perhaps best expressed in Marinetti's The Futurist Manifesto:

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We declare that the splendor of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing automobile with its bonnet adorned with great tubes like serpents with explosive breath ... a roaring motor car which seems to run on machine-gun fire, is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace.

Thiese images - steel in motion, pistons roaring like demons from Hell, the gasoline smell of the fuel-air bomb - capture in static conception what is far more difficult to express in words; it is like trying to cage a sportscar. To those of you still interested in heavy metal, it might be profitable to consider the difference between bands such as Arckanum and Judas Priest. One seeks solace in forlorn, gothic castles; the other exalts in the ecstasy of dehumanized modern warfare. Both extol the virtues of war and the warrior, but for reasons which are in the final analysis quite unrelated to each other.

The Hypermodernist, in brief, perceives power, and the accumulation of it, as the sole driving force behind human affairs. The Traditionalist holds that ultimate Reality cannot be tamed; the Hypermodernist understands that he is ultimate Reality. Max Stirner understands this when, writing in 1848, he says of himself that

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I am owner of my might, and I am so when I know myself as unique. In the unique one the owner himself returns into his creative nothing, of which he is born. Every higher essence above me, be it God, be it man, weakens the feeling of my uniqueness, and pales only before the sun of this consciousness. If I concern myself for myself, the unique one, then my concern rests on its transitory, mortal creator, who consumes himself, and I may say: all things are nothing to me.

And so, far from embracing the rejection of individualism as the Traditionalists do, the Hypermodernist operates by a process of methodological nominalism: rejecting holistic approaches to deduction, he breaks down, he reduces, he asserts himself in the prime of his existence over all things which may contain himself. He recognizes himself as no member of a collective; no race, no creed, no nation is definitive to him, and, indeed, he is indiscriminate in his loathing of such concepts.

The fatal flaw of Traditionalism, which seems to me to make it ultimately non-and-anti-nihilistic, is that it supposes itself to be constructive; in this it lacks the critical capacity necessary for any nihilistic atmosphere to flourish. Hypermodernism rectifies this.

The Hypermodernist is also, and by necessity must also be, a fascist. But he is no National Socialist; the heavy, Germanic images of Wotan hanging upon his tree have no meaning to him. His fascism is the sun-drenched, Latin fascism of Mussolini's Italy before the war - a State founded purely on aesthetics, and therefore purely upon human interaction with Reality. The idealist conception of the 'State' holds little interest for him, but its aesthetics are of the greatest importance to him. For it is through the State, as the organ through which he can impose himself upon the world, that he finds his ultimate expression.

I have no interest in or ability to prove you wrong, because I still don't know very much about these things, just a question - How did you come to this conclusion:

the Hypermodernist understands that he is ultimate Reality.

You put it very definitively and I'd like to know.

One other thing I noticed with your post is that you use somewhat biased word choices. The Traditionalist merely holds whereas the Hypermodernist and Stirner understand. Was that on purpose - is it a part of the rhetorical approach or did it just come out that way?

The Hypermodernist, in brief, perceives power, and the accumulation of it, as the sole driving force behind human affairs. The Traditionalist holds that ultimate Reality cannot be tamed; the Hypermodernist understands that he is ultimate Reality.
How is this anything more than pure solipsism and egoism?

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And so, far from embracing the rejection of individualism as the Traditionalists do, the Hypermodernist operates by a process of methodological nominalism: rejecting holistic approaches to deduction, he breaks down, he reduces, he asserts himself in the prime of his existence over all things which may contain himself. He recognizes himself as no member of a collective; no race, no creed, no nation is definitive to him, and, indeed, he is indiscriminate in his loathing of such concepts.
So in other words, reality denial.

"Ultimate reality" - I often see this term being used here with little or no qualification, or understanding.

How is this anything more than pure solipsism and egoism?

Egoism? Certainly. Like most good Christians the Traditionalists shy from egoism because most of them don't have much of one. Solipsism? More of a basic recognition of the facts of our existence, I should think.

Of course, I ought to contextualize this by saying that, unlike Ayn Rand and her devotees, I don't particularly believe that egoism is 'morally justifiable' - or even immorally justifiable. Or that it has any bearing at all on anything outside of the egoist himself, who, because he wants to feel principled, is content to let other egos operate as they wish.

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So in other words, reality denial.

Quite the contrary: it's an honest and forthright acknowledgement that the only reality anyone actually knows is themself.

I have no interest in or ability to prove you wrong, because I still don't know very much about these things, just a question - How did you come to this conclusion:

the Hypermodernist understands that he is ultimate Reality.

You put it very definitively and I'd like to know.

One other thing I noticed with your post is that you use somewhat biased word choices. The Traditionalist merely holds whereas the Hypermodernist and Stirner understand. Was that on purpose - is it a part of the rhetorical approach or did it just come out that way?

I certainly do put it definitively, because, unlike the transcendentalist, who must always base his claims upon some vague understanding of a truth beyond himself, I admit to in public what he won't even cop in private - that at the bottom of things the only 'transcendental truth' one ever understands is what one wishes to. All gods, 'spiritual experiences', and so on are projections of what the individual man wants. Not admitting that is the first step in denying reality.


The Hypermodernist, in brief, perceives power, and the accumulation of it, as the sole driving force behind human affairs. The Traditionalist holds that ultimate Reality cannot be tamed; the Hypermodernist understands that he is ultimate Reality. Max Stirner understands this when, writing in 1848, he says of himself that

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I am owner of my might, and I am so when I know myself as unique. In the unique one the owner himself returns into his creative nothing, of which he is born. Every higher essence above me, be it God, be it man, weakens the feeling of my uniqueness, and pales only before the sun of this consciousness. If I concern myself for myself, the unique one, then my concern rests on its transitory, mortal creator, who consumes himself, and I may say: all things are nothing to me.


Two problems. You are describing modernism and Fascism is always organic (the Man above me). Please elaborate the differences between modernism and hypermodernism, thus far yours seem to be a comparison between modernity and tradition.

I certainly do put it definitively, because, unlike the transcendentalist, who must always base his claims upon some vague understanding of a truth beyond himself, I admit to in public what he won't even cop in private - that at the bottom of things the only 'transcendental truth' one ever understands is what one wishes to. All gods, 'spiritual experiences', and so on are projections of what the individual man wants. Not admitting that is the first step in denying reality.

Good. You recognize that you embrace this philosophy because you feel like it. Because it satisfies you in some way.

Now it isn't that much of a stretch to believe that Traditionalism is something one embraces because they want to. Because it satisfies them in some way. Just like your beliefs you hold because they satisfy you. I think of myself as a Traditionalist who admits it in both public and private, but I don't just limit it to invalidating other people's beliefs.

Also - you put it as though Hypermodernity is fundamentally a more valid position, but it can't be fundamentally more valid because the source of validation is the same. It's only more valid (satisfying) as truth in your mind, correct?

What do you think the ultimate conclusions of this philosophy are? Assuming it became widespread.

And why do you assume gods and spiritual experiences are necessarily a part of Traditionalism? I've always thought that religion is more a mechanism for Traditionalism, instead of the other way around.

And if your goal is to impose your will on others, why alert them to this? (That really doesn't make sense to me) And on that same note - if you view "reality" the way you do, what does it matter that you make converts? To prevent social pressure to conform to traditions or conventions or to impede your egoism?

"a State founded purely on aesthetics, and therefore purely upon human interaction with Reality."

How are only aesthetics the pure expression of human interaction with reality? And how and why are the "Germanic images of Wotan hanging upon his tree" less expressions of human interaction with reality?

I am left wondering one more thing: Assume we embrace solipsism as a simple truth of our existence. How can we then value anything outside of our own mind? This includes power, cars and music. How can we deduce a means of even acquiring the aesthetic experience of these things (if it is the aesthetic experience that really matters) without taking for granted that what we see if our own eyes must contain truth?

I sympathize with many of the poster's points but it seems like there is a fatal error in it, as described above.

"a State founded purely on aesthetics, and therefore purely upon human interaction with Reality."

How are only aesthetics the pure expression of human interaction with reality? And how and why are the "Germanic images of Wotan hanging upon his tree" less expressions of human interaction with reality?

Here we are: in order to have the kind of state described, one would have to deny solipsism. In order to engage in interaction with Reality (reality outside one's mind) we must first accept that there is reality outside one's mind.

"a State founded purely on aesthetics, and therefore purely upon human interaction with Reality."

How are only aesthetics the pure expression of human interaction with reality?

Because aesthetics operates on an experiential level, on the level of epistemology. And, contra idealism, that's how we come to understand existence - through perception, which has an inherently aesthetic character. Perspectivism is essentially this: our valuations and judgments of reality are not distinct from or separate to that reality, but have a quantifiable impact upon it.

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And how and why are the "Germanic images of Wotan hanging upon his tree" less expressions of human interaction with reality?

They can be, certainly. But they are heavy-handed and tasteless and trite.


The Hypermodernist, in brief, perceives power, and the accumulation of it, as the sole driving force behind human affairs. The Traditionalist holds that ultimate Reality cannot be tamed; the Hypermodernist understands that he is ultimate Reality. Max Stirner understands this when, writing in 1848, he says of himself that

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I am owner of my might, and I am so when I know myself as unique. In the unique one the owner himself returns into his creative nothing, of which he is born. Every higher essence above me, be it God, be it man, weakens the feeling of my uniqueness, and pales only before the sun of this consciousness. If I concern myself for myself, the unique one, then my concern rests on its transitory, mortal creator, who consumes himself, and I may say: all things are nothing to me.


Two problems. You are describing modernism and Fascism is always organic (the Man above me). Please elaborate the differences between modernism and hypermodernism, thus far yours seem to be a comparison between modernity and tradition.

Modernity relies on new interpretations of the old; it promotes novelty in its rhetoric while preferring recontextualization (there really is no distinction between 'modernism' and 'postmodernism'; Dada predates the Second World War, 'postmodernism' as a discipline antedates Vietnam, and both struck exactly the same chords). Hypermodernism in its purest form would do away with all recontextualization, and indeed with everything before itself. It would for instance abolish the feudal structures that have lingered on into capitalism - church and family, tribe and race, would all be destroyed, not merely rendered cosmopolitan as in e.g. modern liberalism. Understood in this way, the destruction of the Fantoft church was the work of thoroughly modern and glorious men.

'Ideally', human society would become so thoroughly mechanized as to be indistinguishable from an emergent artificial intelligence, and would have exactly its same characteristics - constant reinvention, and preferably without reference to its predecessors. It is in a sense the opposite of the old Luis Borges story about the map that covered the kingdom and thereby became the kingdom. The Wiki formate is the embodiment of modernity: backwards-referential and empty.

Hypermodernism in its purest form would do away with all recontextualization, and indeed with everything before itself. It would for instance abolish the feudal structures that have lingered on into capitalism - church and family, tribe and race, would all be destroyed, not merely rendered cosmopolitan as in e.g. modern liberalism.

It wouldn't just abolish chruch, famiy, tribe and race, it would do away with all concepts, wouldn't it? Including life - why do continue to try to preserve yours? Under Hypermodernism, life has no purpose, so living is senseless. So is the quick death of a suicide. If you really believed in your principles as stated, why would you respond to this message?

Actions necessarily require contextualization to have meaning and purpose. Hypermodernism destroys purpose, all individuals drop and starve.

Understood in this way, the destruction of the Fantoft church was the work of thoroughly modern and glorious men.

We're not allowed to understand it in that way, or any way, because we're not allowed to put the act in any context, under Hypermodernism.

'Ideally', human society would become so thoroughly mechanized as to be indistinguishable from an emergent artificial intelligence, and would have exactly its same characteristics - constant reinvention, and preferably without reference to its predecessors.

Isn't that exactly what's going on already? What's always been going on - even before humanity?

It wouldn't just abolish chruch, famiy, tribe and race, it would do away with all concepts, wouldn't it? Including life - why do continue to try to preserve yours? Under Hypermodernism, life has no purpose, so living is senseless. So is the quick death of a suicide. If you really believed in your principles as stated, why would you respond to this message?

Actions necessarily require contextualization to have meaning and purpose. Hypermodernism destroys purpose, all individuals drop and starve.

Philosophical nonsense. The three-toed sloth does not feel himself to have any purpose; he is, so far as we are aware, quite content to hang lazily from his branch. This fussing over 'meaning' is, hilariously (from the Traditionalist/conservative point of view), a quite modern invention. Primitive man was too busy rescuing himself from the elements to feel the pangs of existential dread.

We're not allowed to understand it in that way, or any way, because we're not allowed to put the act in any context, under Hypermodernism.

Sure you are. I don't demand that all previous knowledge goes ignored or destroyed. What I do require is that men begin treating history as a living thing, recognizing that by their actions they make it.

Isn't that exactly what's going on already? What's always been going on - even before humanity

Not even remotely. Nature is evolutionary, not revolutionary; this process of 'recontextualization', as I call it, occurs when a species adapts some pre-existing organ to suit new needs. Hence Hypermodernism cannot be 'natural', and must be revolutionary.

Modern society is simply an extension of this; our politics draw on the same tired liberal capitalism of the 19th century, both on the Left (whose partisans call it liberating and lie) and the Right (who have somehow managed to position themselves as the true radicals, and falsely so). Modernism may once have been revolutionary, but it compromised too much, made too many concessions in order to appear genteel and acceptable, to be of any use today. We need a revolution that never stops.


Not even remotely. Nature is evolutionary, not revolutionary; this process of 'recontextualization', as I call it, occurs when a species adapts some pre-existing organ to suit new needs. Hence Hypermodernism cannot be 'natural', and must be revolutionary.


Interesting, let me elaborate on this. Now, you mention Borges, have you ever heard about Vicente Huidobro's "creationism"? The poem for the sake of the poem, not as a reference or commentary about a aesthetically pre-defined object, yet the poem being real because it is brought to the world by the artist. The beauty of this artistic endeavor as the sole motivation of creation and not a representation of something beautiful.

Now that you mention postmodernism, I'll add Foucault, let's add power. Power is reality, but what this power is oriented to?

Hypermodernism: the "revolutionary" aesthetics of the winner. It sounds great. Is that what you have in mind? If that's the case, I have to say, that... power is not that ethereal... power relies too much on economics and political legitimation. Whatever we "create" on the world, or whatever we MAKE of the world, is necessarily conditioned to production (which sets a limit to cultural products). Traditional institutions worked at hand of production,as modern institutions do. Would be there any limits to the "recontextualization" in regards production?

Interesting, let me elaborate on this. Now, you mention Borges, have you ever heard about Vicente Huidobro's "creationism"? The poem for the sake of the poem, not as a reference or commentary about a aesthetically pre-defined object, yet the poem being real because it is brought to the world by the artist. The beauty of this artistic endeavor as the sole motivation of creation and not a representation of something beautiful.

I've not heard of Vicente Huidobro himself, but the doctrine you describe sounds like the notion of l'art pour l'art, which I do find agreeable. Art needn't have any reason to exist; its reason is contained within itself, and realizes itself in a dialectical fashion.

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Now that you mention postmodernism, I'll add Foucault, let's add power. Power is reality, but what this power is oriented to?

Hypermodernism: the "revolutionary" aesthetics of the winner. It sounds great. Is that what you have in mind? If that's the case, I have to say, that... power is not that ethereal... power relies too much on economics and political legitimation. Whatever we "create" on the world, or whatever we MAKE of the world, is necessarily conditioned to production (which sets a limit to cultural products). Traditional institutions worked at hand of production,as modern institutions do. Would be there any limits to the "recontextualization" in regards production?

I am extremely interested in developments in the area of desktop manufacturing, for instance the RepRap project, which would, if viable, have the effect of decentralizing industrial power on a large scale. Now I am not nearly utopian enough to presume that this will lead to a global leveling of power, but that rather it will have the opposite effect: it will render independent those individuals of potential who can be great but who by circumstance are not. Modern capitalism - the postmodern 'service economy' in particular - is in my view less than useless at this task. An individual who has been freed of salaried employment and who has become as self-sufficient to as great an extent as possible from the constraints of industrial society will have much more time to devote his energies to self-mastery.