The Path to Legionnaire: The Power of Myth

Around some circles, you often hear the importance of having a “mission” in life.  I’ve always been skeptical of the dramatic emphasis on that sort of thing, but I do agree that people need to have some sort of impetus driving them on, helping them to persist and carry on when others give up and fail.

Think of a fire, burning within the soul.  The bigger and more intense the fire, the more strength one has to plug onwards in pursuit of an end.  Call it Thumos if that helps you conceptualize it better.  The right impetus serves as fuel to this fire, enabling to burn ever brighter.

You know what serves as a great impetus?  Myth and narrative.  Ever read a really good book and felt inspired?  Perhaps you saw a kung-fu movie and decided to take up martial arts.  Don’t try to tell me you’ve never imagined yourself as modern heroes of popular culture like Batman, James Bond, or Sherlock Holmes.  Stories and tales are perhaps the most powerful force motivating human action, a fact that offers up a wealth of possibility.

Don’t believe me?  Consider this story:

We are all bound by Fate.  When Fate calls on us, we do not have a choice in the matter.  Our burden is to obey.  All things in life must be viewed through the lenses of Fate.  Did Fate call on us to be reactionaries at a time when our civilization needs it most?  At a time when the Modern World fully embraces the zeitgeist of the Kali Yuga, are we the chosen few, the warriors of Fate destined to pull civilization back from the brink of destruction?

A gripping narrative? If you invest yourself in it, you might find it highly compelling.  Yet I only thought it up just now.  Those words should carry no weight, yet if you find yourself assigning them any meaning, you might find yourself unable to escape the idea.  Even if you didn’t enjoy that little myth, you still (more likely than not) compared it to your personal story of why you became a reactionary, further cementing that specific narrative in your mind.  Either way, at least one story has just strengthened its hold on your mind, even if you don’t realize it quite yet.

That is the power of myth.

To paraphrase something they say over at The Right Stuff: “Belief, not reason, builds civilizations”.  They’re damn right.  Reason is an important tool, but even more important for the proper flourishing of a civilization is a founding myth.  America had the idea of the American Experiment in self-government, and later, the idea of Manifest Destiny and the pioneer spirit.  One of the reasons Hitler was able to rise to power was because he offered the German people a narrative and a myth that was sufficiently compelling to garner the support of enough of the populace.

Now, as reactionaries and neoreactionaries, we all tend to be fairly logical, rather intelligent people.  We place a very high premium on logical reasoning and intellectual capacity, and our favorite place to hang out is on the extreme right of the bell curve.  Reason sways us.  Strong arguments influence us.  This is a very good thing.  In fact, it’s downright essential for the Elite members of a successful Reaction.

Group One is only half of the equation here, though.  You still need mass numbers of individuals to comprise Group Two.  As Anissimov points out, popular support is accrued through slogans, soundbites, and superficial overviews, not detailed and intricate arguments that have intentionally been hidden behind the veil of arcane language and complicated prose.

Anti-populist as we are, a successful reaction of any kind will probably depend on some measure of popular support.  Sure, the elites come first, but there are only so many elites, and having some popular support opens up doors that remain closed to a solely elitist movement.  And how do we plant the seed of Neoreactionary thought in the minds of the average?

We give them a story.  We give them a narrative, and make it one they can understand.  Take the Neoreactionary meme of “The Cathedral”, for instance.  There’s no such thing as a succinct explanation of “The Cathedral”.  Is there any way to give an explanation simple enough so that even the people who write hit pieces on Neoreaction can understand it?  Maybe not, but allow me to take shot.

This is how I would explain “The Cathedral” to someone with an IQ of 100 or so: “Most people in the media, which gives us our news, are liberal.  Most people who enter Academia, which gives us our educations, are liberal.  Most people who enter government service and bureaucracy, which runs the majority of government affairs, are liberal.  They may not be actively co-ordinating with each other, but they are generally working towards the same ends.  What do you think this does to society over time?”

Does it work?  I don’t know.  I’ve never discussed Neoreaction with someone of normal intellect.  But that’s the story I’d give them.  That’s the narrative I’d try to implant in their minds.

Few people will follow a convincing argument to unknown lands or uncertain circumstances.  Give them a good story though, and they’ll follow it to the ends of the earth, against all logic or reason.  When Ernest Shackleton needed volunteers for his Antarctic expedition, he didn’t make a rational argument.  He promised a chance for glory and fame if they succeeded in surviving a dangerous journey.

There is no logical reason to do this.

Give someone a compelling and inspiring narrative, and they might literally follow it to the ends of the Earth.  Hell, just look at how pernicious the meme of “equality” has become.  People will do and say almost anything in service to that myth, which is why we now have people who think that only white people can be racist and all “penis-in-vagina” sex is rape.

But story and narrative is important for more than just motivating people.  Culture, community, and society all grow out of the core narrative of any movement.  Little in Neoreaction makes sense unless one accepts the presence of the central myth, “The Cathedral”.  It’s a damn good story in its own right, and it has a solid grounding in fact, making it even more powerful, but is it enough?

That depends.  If all one wants to do is to critique the modern iteration of Western Civilization, than The Cathedral Narrative is all you need.  If you wish to transition from mere deconstruction to bold reconstruction though, you’ll probably need something more.  Neoreaction might be able to get away with just critiquing democracy, but Reaction cannot just be about deconstructing a rival myth.  There needs to be a better alternative to be offered up.

Going forward, what will be the central myth of the reaction?

The use of myth is, like most everything else, a tool to be used in pursuit of some end.  Playing with narratives can be great fun, but it is also a potentially more dangerous endeavor than playing around with logical narratives.  You can get people to believe almost anything, especially if it’s in story form.  Scientology exists, after all.  Stories should not be treated lightly.  You never know what might become of them…

And that’s just pathos on its own!  You know what happens when you mix it with logos and ethos?  You can make some potent brews indeed….

In summary:

  • Myths and stories drive one to great things
  • Reactionary narratives are going to be of great necessity in the future
  • The right narrative can do things a fine argument cannot
  • Stories are a particularly pernicious type of idea
  • Much boils down to the power of narrative
  • You need narrative that will serve your ends
  • People will believe almost anything if it’s a good story

I realize that this has had quite a bit less personal focus than the preceding steps on the Path.  That was intentional.  Stories tend to have a less personal element to them because the characters are only parts in a much wider work, not the central focus, like your workout plan or your reading list.   That in mind, I will take some time here to give some personal advice.  Find stories that inspire you personally.  Explore tales of the noble and the heroic.  Research the myths of your ancestors and try to connect with them.  Make the fire that burns within you as powerful as you can.  You’re going to need it.

I can’t tell you your personal story.  I can’t lay out the great narrative of your life.  Only you can do that.  So I ask you this, now that you’ve finished “The Path to Legionnaire”, what story are you going to bring to life?



10 thoughts on “The Path to Legionnaire: The Power of Myth

  1. Stirner 01/21/2014 / 6:11 PM

    Mike A’s Group 1 and Group 2 implementation is wank fodder. It sounds more like a process for electing a new Pope, while we wait to see if the smoke is gray or white.

    Myth is important and animating. Boil all the Neoreaction into one motivational myth and I think you get this: We seek nothing less than saving Western Civilization.

    Unless we somehow win, we will eventually descend into Idiocracy at best, or full Fall of Rome collapse at worst.

  2. seriouslypleasedropit 01/21/2014 / 6:37 PM

    Well this is a can of worms, and here’s why:

    I agree that a myth is needed.

    But here’s the thing: I don’t think it can be just any old myth. I suspect, that for a society to remain stable, the only myth that fits the bill, is of the Christian God.

    You don’t even have to believe in Christianity to think this. I do believe it, but pretend I didn’t. It would still be the only belief system that’s produced well-ordered industrial societies. Japan and China? Old and dying or young and scared of girls in Japan, and (apparently) prone to Communist revolutions in China

    I almost wish I were an atheist so my bona fides were stronger (even to myself, ha).

    Strange times. We might literally have atheists and believers allied, preaching the same God to the same people.

    There are some other possibilities that are close and I think would have problems eventually, but would still be pretty good. If Japan got their bushido mojo back, that would be interesting. A return to Greek ideas of virtus is also raw material for cultural myth. Neo-Confucianism could show up in China. (Sheesh. Neal Stephenson got it bang on, didn’t he?)

    In any case: there must be self-sacrifice. If it is not the Christian God demanding it by his example, it will have to Roman honor, Japanese bushido, the open-source ethic (you know, for hackers), some sort of moral philosophy for the atheists. And the sacrifice that is needed is: live your life well. Be a good person, uphold societal institutions like the government, marriage, and churches. Cultivate traits of kindness, obedience, and responsibility in yourself. Do not fear death.

  3. Max 01/21/2014 / 6:47 PM

    Typo in the ninth paragraph: “our favorite place to hang out is one the extreme right of the bell curve” should be “our favorite place to hang out is on the extreme right of the bell curve.”

  4. Max 01/21/2014 / 6:49 PM

    17th paragraph: “but it it enough?” should be “but is it enough?”

  5. pumpsix 01/21/2014 / 10:39 PM

    I understand The Cathedral to be a “Stand Alone Complex” (from Ghost in the Shell): “[A] phenomenon where unrelated, yet very similar actions of individuals create a seemingly concerted effort,” or as I have written in response to Jamie Barlett, “[The Cathedral is] merely unrelated mass retardation forming distinct patterns… the mass-hysteria of Progressives.” If someone with an IQ of 100 cannot understand that then there is no hope.

  6. Holmgang 01/22/2014 / 4:56 AM

    You’re on the right track. Reactionary thought taps into the soul of many people. It will catch on like a storm of fury once exposed to the narrative of truth against the backdrop of lies spewed by the Cathedral.

  7. Wally D. 01/22/2014 / 11:22 AM

    Great piece. Edward Snowden is a prime example of someone possessing highly specialized knowledge and fine intelligence finding his true calling in slaying dragons. His widespread support amongst the proles, despite being demonized by all the powers that be, clearly demonstrates the power of his own heroic quest. Dragons are to be slain, dead, once they become fire-breathing threats to damsels-in-distress, which this monstrous dragon has quickly become. If this heroic battle unfolds in the minds of the proles as being identical to all the mythic stories in their minds, it will be will be cheered on and supported fully.

  8. Aquila 02/21/2014 / 10:12 PM

    I agree 100%. I often think, what can I do for the Reactionary movement? What can I do to further the noble cause? I know my ancestors would fight, and if they died they would die a righteous death, and there are few things greater. Now, physical fighting is certainly not what I am getting at, there are many ways to fight. My talent is creative writing, so this post really resonated with me and spurred me to finish my novel with reactionary themes. The story illustrates the power a people has when it is organized by the Divine order, and a paradise is lost when a democratic uprising occurs. I only have some of it written, but I will definitely finish it now, as I know that this is the way I am meant to fight this war – providing myth. I mean, people read Scalzi even though they disagree with his absurd views. If people can read me who disagree with me, if my craftsmanship be good enough to inspire such a thing, then perhaps many will be inspired to challenge democracy, feminism, multiculturalism and the like. Fantasy doesn’t pay well, but it’s not about the pay, it’s about doing my part. All Reactionaries need to find their part, whether it’s writing great blogs like this, creating music, or whatever. I’ve been able to change the minds of many other men simply by presenting them ideas that they never allowed themselves to think – once many men come into contact with the truth, high IQ or no, they will question the Cathedral, and be inspired to fight it, and hopefully fight for our vision of a “reactionary future.”

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