Monday, 1 September 2014

AMOCKALYPSE NOW? GUILLAUME FAYE, THE CONVERGENCE OF CATASTROPHES, AND CASSANDRA’S LAMENT

Chorus
Wert thou already possessed by the art inspired
by the god?
 
Cassandra
Already I prophesied to my countrymen all their
disasters.
 
Chorus
How came it then that thou wert unscathed by
Loxias’ wrath?
 
Cassandra
Ever since that fault I could persuade no one

of aught.

Aeschylus, Agamemnon

 

Many years ago, media enfant terrible Julie Burchill minted the term ‘amockalyptic’. Her target was the journalists and writers eager to inform us of the inevitability of our doom, apparently merely to get our attention and persuade us to buy their employers’ wares in the form of a newspaper. This was pre-internet, and so all journalists were ‘conventional’ or ‘real’ (see the posting previous to this).

To an extent, of course, this made for Burchill an enemy of almost the whole of the print media. Disease, terrorism, global warming, crime, war, nuclear disaster, flooding, paedophilia, migration, economic depression; the arsenal of the amockalyptic scribbler is well stocked. But when does amockalypse become apocalypse? And who are our Cassandras, ‘[prophesying] to my countrymen all their disasters’?

It’s a good time to be a futurologist; we are certainly living in interesting times, geopolitically and economically speaking. But are we heading for apocalypse, of whatever or all, variety? Or is it a case of Amockalypse Now? Welcome to Traumaville. Here, the citizens are used to being cajoled about the latest threat to Western civilisation. IS are this month’s bad guys, and it is their image we see on our screens for the daily two-minute hate. But we should know by now not to trust the conventional media, marionettes as they are of the ruling elites. We must look elsewhere for our Cassandras.

Guillaume Faye was a founder member of the predominantly French 1960s New Right (Nouvelle Droite). Disillusioned by the much-vaunted events of 1968, this collective took a long-term view of the West in response to, among others, Gramscians determined to complete the ‘long march through the institutions’ fabled by the Left. Faye warned of what he called a ‘convergence of catastrophes’. From the book of the same name;

‘A series of ‘dramatic lines’ are approaching one another and converging like a river’s tributaries with perfect accord (between 2010 and 2020) towards a breaking point and a descent into chaos.’

Social, cultural, political, climatic and economic crises which, insufficient individually to damage the West other than locally, are combining, according to Faye, to produce a perfect storm of dysfunction leading to ‘the economic collapse of Europe, the world’s foremost economic power, [which] will bring down the United States and other advanced economies.’ [Why We Fight]

Faye is actually very optimistic about what will emerge from this chaos, but he is adamant that it is the myth of the Phoenix that will be required after a period of reverse social evolution during which European nations will descend into ‘a new Middle Ages.’

If you seek Faye’s monument, look around you. If culture and politics are inextricably interwoven, as Faye believed, then a brief appraisal of either will lead you to the shocking state of the other. Politics has becomes a laboratory staffed by technocratic charlatans using the rest of us – the non-elites – as its experimental subject matter. Our culture could have as its figurehead a buffoon in big trousers with gold teeth, a brand logo tattooed on his forehead and a misspelled profanity shaved into his hair.

But the conventional media are not interested in the dark times which may lie ahead. Their amockalypse is always a short remove from entertainment. This is exemplified by the – apparently true – tale of a BBC reporter emailing a member of IS for comments on the Robin Williams film Jumanji. One suspects that, if a radioactive suitcase bomb detonated tomorrow morning in London, the Evening Standard would, later the same day, run a feature on how Simon Cowell was dealing with it. While the media juggle the amockalyptic issues of the week, they pay the minimum of attention to other trends, other historical movements and formations.

Immersed as I am in Julian Young’s masterful biography of Nietzsche, I am minded of the German’s sustaining belief that we should look to the Greeks for our civil and social models. To appeal to the Greeks for advice is also to appeal to their myths and legends. If today’s Cassandras both exist primarily in the unsanctioned regions of the internet, and also turn out to be correct, we must remind ourselves that no one paid any attention to Cassandra. Nor to Faye. Also, Cassandra was blinded. While Faye retained his sight, he was still branded a heretic by the new soft totalitarians. Michael O’Meara, Faye’s loyal translator and exegete, writes of Faye’s book (untranslated at present) La Colonisation de l’Europe that;

‘[The book’s] characterisation of Europe’s Islamisation, in anticipating 9/11 and other Muslim assaults, earned Faye and his publisher a 300,000 franc fine and a year’s suspended sentence.’ [Preface to Why We Fight]

As Orwell writes, ‘[i]n times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act’. For Faye, ‘the courage to tell the truth mutates into a cardinal sin.’ [ibid.]

Very few of Faye’s works are translated into English but, at the end of Archeofuturism, he indulges in sheer, fictional futurology, depicting his convergence of catastrophes as a drama set in what was at the time of writing several decades away, but is now imminent (fictionally speaking). If Faye is right, it is the chorus who were blind, not Cassandra;

‘In June 2015, the President of the IMF uttered words that are now part of history: “This is not an economic crisis. This is not a recession. This is the end of the modern world: this is the apocalypse.”

The Indian girl smiled. “That was the gods’ will”.’

Faye may be wrong. Time will tell us. We must, unless we are nihilists, hope that he is, for his message is as simple as it is stark.

‘All of a sudden everything will stop and the magic will end.’

[Convergence of Catastrophes]

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