Bronze Age Mindset: A More or Less Buddhist Response
And although we live in the most debased of all ages, it’s still possible, as you will see, to break this Babylon and have the eternal fire of youth surge you to the heights of power. In your own life you can break their power and ascend to a chaos of joy and destruction. —Bronze Age Pervert
I only care about very few who, being constrained in their predatory nature by this open-air zoo, must look to the past to understand what is possible. I want to give encouragement to some who are a certain way, in their blood, and to encourage them to become the purifying hand of nature. —same
After writing the first part of my critique of the book Bronze Age Mindset I have relinquished my status as an ordained Buddhist monk, have moved across the continent of North America, and have experienced a great deal of change and distraction (much of it very nice) over the course of a few weeks. So I suppose this isn’t so much a continuation of the first essay as just a response to the main message of the book, as I see it, with the first essay being mainly a critique of Bronze Age Pervert’s critique of Charles Darwin, or rather of Darwinism.
Since this is a more or less Buddhist response to the book, in that it is the response of a Buddhist, I suppose I should begin with Bronze Age Pervert’s attitude towards religion, what little of it he manifested in his strange book. If I remember correctly he had more to say about Buddhism than about Christianity—though he appears not to be a particularly religious or spiritual person. His understanding of Dharma or Spirit strikes me as relatively crude and “animistic,” which I suppose is to be expected of someone who yearns for a time like the Bronze Age Collapse.
For starters I would observe that his interpretation of rebirth or reincarnation is non-Buddhistic but still a fairly reasonable attempt to account for the continuation of the life force over multiple lives. Not too surprisingly he favors something along the lines of Schopenhauer’s conception of Will…which may have been endorsed in some form by Nietzsche—BAP’s hero and Schopenhauer’s philosophical successor—also, although I have never been heavily into Nietzsche and can’t say for sure. Essentially the author favors the notion of a Life Force seeking some kind of teleological goal, which in the more “noble” spirits is essentially one of power and mastery of space.
When BAP begins discussing Buddhism in particular he immediately begins straying from objectivity…which coming from someone citing Buddhism for purposes of political provocation to violence should not be too surprising. For example, he actually claims that the Buddha renounced the world due to his revulsion for the squalor of big cities; which is hardly likely considering that his home “city” of Kapilavatthu was, relatively speaking, a small country town, and according to legend he barely saw it, spending most of his lay life in seclusion in beautiful palaces. A few trips through town would be hardly likely to inspire a deep thirst for renunciation.
The Buddha became a world-denier in the city—look at his conversion, what drove him to it! It is the injustice but above all the filth, the disgusting suffocation of city life, the vision of life degraded and under distress, that led him to his escape…he said, “the home is a place of filth.” And what was this escape, after all, but just an attempt to re-establish the freedom and openness of the steppe, where man can once again be what he was born to be? He thought he was opening up a steppe of the spirit, and in the sangha, the brotherhood of disciples and monks, he was re-creating that true secret society of the steppe, the society natural to a man like him, the brotherhood of warriors and the free youths!
Just a page or two later he goes on to claim that small cities (which Kapilavatthu certainly was if it ranked as a city at all) are rather clean and orderly.
With regard to ethics or morality, again he seems to follow Nietzsche, since he declares that there are two levels of morality, one for the superior man and one for the sheep. Buddhism of course considers morality to be universal and based on how a mind necessarily functions in Samsara, with the same universal laws applying to all—increase of desire and attachment, decrease of mindfulness, and thus turning farther away from enlightenment, is unskillful or “bad karma”; decrease of desire and attachment, increase in the quality of mindfulness, and thereby turning more towards enlightenment, is skillful or “good karma.” Our Bronze Age author would presumably disagree with such claims as those made by orthodox Buddhism, going with some more or less Luciferian ethic like William Blake’s “Sooner murder an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires.”
But I tear myself away from ancient Indian philosophy and come closer to the west, since BAP has much more to say about ancient Greeks than about ancient Indians. Strangely, he endorses some of the most notorious moral monsters and renegades known to classical Greek history. For example he praises Alcibiades, who although Athens’ most competent military commander for a time was a traitor several times over. He claims that Alcibiades was letched at by “Pelasgian pedo-pervert Socrates” and that Plato then turned the story around the other way in the account in his Symposium, based on I know not what other than perhaps BAP’s own personal preferences. (In Plato’s Symposium it is Alcibiades who makes a sexual pass at Socrates, who ignores it.) He turns Alcibiades into a kind of heroic demigod, although possibly a better choice would have been someone like Themistocles—but the author wants outrageousness, and the more the better.
He praises other classical Greek sociopaths like Clearchus and Periander. Of the latter he states:
…take, for example, Periander of Corinth. This man’s name means literally “superman.” At no point in his life as king of Corinth did he restrain his lust for the darkest paths: it is said he copulated with his mother, that he violated his wife’s corpse, and much worse. He had all the boys on the island Corcyra castrated. And, having done all this, he was memorialized as one of the Sages, or Geniuses of the ancient world. A philosopher and a poet….
BAP praises enthusiastically as exemplars people who were essentially thieves and murderers, ruthless and greedy cutthroats, mercenaries and pirates, lovers of blood and violence…essentially psychopaths, or at least sociopaths, which from an orthodox Buddhist perspective is worse than endorsing mere insane egomaniacs. Here’s what he has to say about the Conquistador Pedro de Alvarado:
Alvarado was a nemesis to civilization, and this is right and good. God sends such men to chastise mankind. I want you to be like this: to listen to these instincts in you….This self-assured sense of who he was made him insanely attractive even to the natives he oppressed and massacred: despite his cruelty, they couldn’t help being drawn to his charm, his lofty manner, his outrageous magnificence. They worshiped him as a god. The other Spaniards were in awe as well. You must see that nature blesses all men who have faith in their own blood and in their instincts…nature blesses them with such magnetism. Alvarado is the avatar of our new age, and I predict this: within fifty years a hundred Alvarados will bloom from deep in the tropical bestiary of the spirit. They will sweep away the weakness of this world.
Thus, much of Bronze Age Mindset is a call for ruthless and violent sociopathy. Again in his own words, “This abandon to nature and instinct—this is the Bronze Age way! And you can learn to cultivate this exalted psychosis inside you also.” But it seems to me that he is not so much after a Bronze Age mentality as the mentality of the raiders and pirates who ended the Bronze Age—the Sea Peoples, including the Mycenaean Greeks, who pillaged and marauded and played a central role in the collapse of civilization around the year 1200BCE. He realizes that our western civilization has degenerated into an emasculated, decadent, and morbid state, and so he is calling for ruthless bloodthirsty barbarians, a modern-day equivalent to Attila, Genseric, and Genghis Khan, to press RESET. Essentially what Bronze Age Pervert is endorsing is accelerationism, with a rather Nietzschean attitude and set of, ahem, values.
To some degree I can sympathize with this. I agree that western civilization has thoroughly fucked itself up, and that the only way to a better and healthier society is probably to let the present one collapse, since the people of the west (to say nothing of the east) are too degenerate and weak to improve themselves willingly and deliberately. It probably will take some kind of reset, a major case of shit hitting the fan on a civilizational scale, of weak men making bad times to make strong men to make good times again. But it seems to me that rooting for sociopaths to wreak havoc and leave trails of blood and gore behind them is really overdoing it. Even if it happens, still we should not be cheering for it. Even if it is really necessary, I see no cause for promoting the bloodier aspects of it, even exhorting others to play the role of Huns and Mongols and Conquistadors.
And what does Bronze Age Pervert want to take the place of our own ultraliberal mess of a civilization? Not Marxism obviously, as he despises the slave mentality as did his hero Nietzsche. He wants fascistic militarism. He says, “Only the warrior is a free man. The only right government is military government, and every other form is both hypocritical and destructive of true freedom.” This is reminiscent of Evola, whom I am sure BAP has read. He wants Nietzschean Overmen ruling in glory over sheeplike slaves as well as over beta (or alpha-minus) sociopaths willing to spill gore in the name of their feudal overlord. With regard to establishing a really strong civilization he may be right…although of course what happens is that strong men make good times (good for them and their descendants at least), which then lead to those good times making weak men, and the whole damned cycle repeats itself again.
But despite his love of psychopathy and his accelerationism and militaristic/militant leanings, he does occasionally make good common sense, for example his observation that pure democracy is suicidal and a guarantee of disaster, especially if the population is “diverse.” Or also this:
Any aid to Africa or much of the rest of the third world doesn’t translate into improved quality of life, even into improved nutrition, but is immediately converted into more children who continue to live at the same level of misery.
This should be fairly obvious, based on empirical observation. Or this: “It’s possible much of known history is falsified.” Anyone who has been paying attention to the “news” since Trump ran for the Presidency in 2016 should be awake to the possibility that most history, being old news, is just old propaganda. Even this next one has some (politically incorrect and therefore wildly unacceptable) common sense to it:
Of all the things that you blame for the decrepit times we live in, feminism and the “liberation” of women is both the proximate and the ultimate cause. Nothing so ridiculous as the liberation of women has ever been attempted in the history of mankind. It is an act of complete insanity, disguised as “logic,” “reason,” presented in the most absurd legalisms about supposed “rights.” The modern socialisms, the expansion of the power of the state that squashes all initiative and all life, the hypocrisy of all political life in our time—all of this is to be attributed to the participation of women in political life.
I think blaming feminism for ALL hypocrisy among politicians is absurd and obviously false, since politicians have been hypocrites since politics was first invented, but still. Also, I do think there have been even more insane beliefs and policies in human societies than feminism, in fact quite a few of them.
So Bronze Age Pervert is capable of common sense and reason, and bases much of his book on a foundation of that—the idea that our civilization is sliding into a cesspit due to emasculation and general degeneracy, for example, and that something should be done about it, and that the most likely solution is to speed up our decline and fall with some accelerationism. But saying that ruthless sociopaths will bring on the downfall of a sick society is one thing; encouraging the reader to become one himself and to glory in stomping the faces of the sheeple, like some noble savage out of the writings of Nietzsche, is something else—and a something else that from the perspective of Buddhism (which BAP tries to recruit to his side, but fails spectacularly, unlike Evola) is about as evil as humanly possible.
But the author goes even farther: Not only does he exhort his readers—the ones capable of living without a functioning conscience—to become merciless marauders akin to the piratical Sea Peoples who destroyed Bronze Age civilization in the western world, he exhorts them to wallow in depravity, seemingly for its own sake. He makes his pitch right at the end of the book, in terms like this:
To descend into a floating world of complete vice, and even to engage in it—as you must if you are to thrive in this world—while keeping your head and keeping in focus the fire of your aim…isn’t this a great and very difficult achievement? This path must be only for very few, very few are suited to it. But these few are to be among the greatest of the coming generation. This brotherhood will work instead to intensify vice, to stir up demonic passions, to sow total confusion in the heart of the beast. The increase of chaos, confusion and pressure on the Leviathan will lay it low: imagine even a world where the people, under relentless assault of contradictory and wild claims, would lose all faith in the media and government and doctors and believe nothing they hear through official channels anymore. This would be an order of knights of the spirit such as exists at most every thousand years.
Pure, naked accelerationism, for the sake of bringing about some kind of brutal (yet glorious), masculine, militaristic fascism, in which predatory males will dominate their peers if possible, and destroy all who stand in their way. With the anti-heroes catalyzing this also being moral degenerates themselves—or somehow wallowing in degeneracy while being immune to it, due to the virtue of being Nietzschean Overmen.
To be fair to Bronze Age Pervert, I do think he is trolling to some degree. I doubt that he really believes everything that he tells us (like his idea that cities in Latin America and in Asia are the same city, just to mention an obvious one). He is being a transgressive provocateur, partly just for the fun of it, and I have no problem with that at all. To exist is to transgress, after all. He should say what he wants to say without being silenced or persecuted for it—which of course is typical procedure from the people who most vehemently oppose him.
Also, as an obvious admirer of Nietzsche, he is more concerned with passionate ideas and ideals than he is with objective truth. He says whatever will further his own narrative, which is common to radicals of all types, left, right, or otherwise. Although he cites plenty of history to drive home the points he tries to make, being learned or even an “expert” doesn’t mean a whole lot, and is no substitute for wisdom or rectitude (=“righteousness”). Overall I think young men looking for a role model would do better with someone like Jesse Lee Peterson. (I must admit that I’ve never liked Nietzsche, with his anti-Dharmic Will to Power and his ranting, impressionistic style of writing. The only book of his that I have read in its entirety is The Antichrist, and even with that one I preferred the introduction by H. L. Mencken to the actual text. I never got past the tightrope-walker in Thus Spake Zarathustra.)
So in conclusion: An acknowledgement that our modern western civilization is in severe decline due to all sorts of moral degeneracy and the loss of our primordial Aryan backbone…sure. I see no problem with that, and I agree with the author. To say that the best thing that could happen is for moral barbarians to kick and stomp this society of sheeple into oblivion and replace it with something more vital and virile…well, it may be acknowledging an ugly fact, and acknowledging facts is generally a good thing. But calling for ruthless young males to do the kicking and stomping, and furthermore to wallow in some forms of degeneracy themselves? It may bring about his desired goals, but as some sort of wise, sane, relatively sustainable way of life? I don’t THINK so. From a Buddhist perspective, and I am a Buddhist, Bronze Age Pervert writes like a moral inferior and a fool. But of course he might counter that moral superiority and wisdom from a Dharmic point of view are not what civilization needs at present, if ever. Overall I think you’d be better off reading Evola.
“Slowly, with the patience that yeast enjoys because time is on its side, the Chinese would wait: “the day will come when this conqueror too will become exhausted, his blood spent; then he will join us, the people.” And they were right. This is the famous assimilation of Chinese civilization, the assimilation of the exhausted and spent. And there’s no real way to understand the Chinese other than the reduction of the human animal to mere life: they are not what you understand normally when you say “civilization,” but rather a perpetual subject population, a uniform and undifferentiated blob of serfdom that seeks subjection and undermines through it. This is the rule of matriarchy. The Indians and many others are the same.” —BAP, on how the Chinese have always been