“Driven back and utterly ashamed
Shall be those who trust in an image.”
As an optimistic young man I was convinced that beyond the turn of the century a gentler world would emerge. I have never been a believer in that terrible naiveté called utopia and have never accepted such a thing possible, indeed I think the opposite is true, that any talk of utopia deserves serious chastisement and any actual attempt at utopia is tantamount to human stagnation, destruction, slaughter and genocide.
Utopia is the mother of genocide. An aberration that claims complete ‘right’, an arrogance that pretends to understand what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’. This delusion inevitably leads to criminal assertions over who is fit to live and who deserves to die. Of course I am not alone in this belief and others also have mistrusted this bizarre impulse. Vladimir Bukovsky explained it best:
“This dream of absolute, universal equality is amazing, terrifying, and inhuman. And the moment it captures people’s minds, the result is mountains of corpses and rivers of blood…”
Freud too, in a single lucid sentence, illustrated well why the idea of utopia invites horrific consequences upon those unfortunate enough to entertain such delusion:
“Our logic is at fault if we ignore the fact that right is founded on brute force and even today needs violence to maintain it.”
Utopia assumes the greatness of sameness and in this faith it ignores the fact that we are each subtly influenced by unique personal environments and comprised of both individual and collective experiences that give rise to complex needs.
Your happiness is thankfully not my happiness. Nor should it ever be.
Your desires are not my desires.
My desires are constructed on the experiences that have shaped me; as are yours. My idea of happiness makes sense only to me because it is I who constructed the idea. It is only I who can understand the meaning of the idea. To impose my idea of happiness and its desires on you would be to deny you your right to interpret your own experiences, to deny you your Will.
My conviction that the world beyond the turn of the century would be gentler and more educated was never a reflection of any utopian ideals; in fact, if anything, the opposite was true. The world I saw as possible was a result of an acceptance of difference, an appreciation of diversity in thinking, behaviour and expression and an intense love of all things progressive.
Of course it turned out I was wrong, terribly wrong in fact.
Certainly the world was more educated but still the proof that I was wrong ripped through my hopes on the 11th of September 2001 when a horrific attack whose utopian ideals belonged back in the 7th century initiated the 21st century in blood. This was yet further confirmation that the idea of sameness would find expression only in indiscriminate slaughter, only in the assumption that ‘right’ was indeed ‘founded on brute force’.
Although the attacks may have been spectacular, the ideas and ideals behind them expressed no new territory; there was nothing terribly different in them, we had long been familiar with this bizarre landscape. These same ideals, these same impulses to slaughter in the name of utopia have been with us from the beginning and these same varied plays on fanaticism have stained our walls with blood surely even for as long as humans have held the advantage of language.
There was nothing remarkable about the suicide attacks of September 11, or indeed the many suicide attacks that have plagued us regularly ever since. The same grotesque impulse finds examples all the way back to the 11th century where we encounter the Hashishiyyin (the Assassins) and their infamous leader Hassan Sabbah. This fanatical sect of Shiite assassins took upon themselves the role of creating a Shiite utopia built upon slaughter and suicide attacks. They initiated their attacks from a mountain stronghold where followers were shown a sexual, hashish induced ‘paradise’ and promised even greater pleasures should they sacrifice their lives to the utopian cause.
Comparisons have already been made between Hasan Sabbah and Osama bin Laden and we should be careful to note that all such comparisons are for the most part superficial and idealized. However, the basic same impulse remains. Political scientist professor Salim Mansur illustrates the point:
“Osama bin Laden and his band of fanatical warriors are a contemporary version of Hasan Sabbah and his Order of Assassins. Mr. bin Laden’s hideout in the mountains of Afghanistan is a reminder of Sabbah’s mountain stronghold. Like Sabbah, Mr. bin Laden has raised his warriors from boyhood to accept death for a political program dressed in religious slogans that set him apart from mainstream Islam.”
What bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and the many offshoots that have sprouted since 2001 want is jihad. A prolonged war waged against all opponents (both real and imagined) until Sharia law is established over the world and its disturbed promise of utopia becomes a reality. This point is well illustrated in David Aaron’s work In Their Own Words: Voices of Jihad:
“Jihadism is utopian. It seeks nothing less than the creation of a worldwide fundamentalist
Islamic state. Its adherents believe that this can be achieved only through violence. It targets both governments in Muslim lands and those in the West that support them… Like Wahhabis and other fundamentalists, they insist that the only true Islam is that which was practiced by Muhammad and his early followers, the Salaf, and therefore they sometimes call themselves Salafis. But jihadis go further, insisting that ‘holy war’ is the central tenet and obligation of Islam.”
Utopia is terror.
What seems little understood in the West is that the steps to the utopian shrine are always bathed in blood and indeed this horror can only be implemented by wholesale slaughter - we ignore this reality at our own peril. It was therefore strange that following the attacks of September 11, 2001, we were given a silly commercial-like jingle that declared a ‘war on terror’. We were playing the wrong tune it seems because what we were facing was not just terrorism – indeed any terrorist acts were merely symptoms – no, what we were facing was the sickness of utopian idealism. The same siren call that gave us the horrors of Nazism, the same whiff of absurdity that slaughtered millions with apparent ease in Stalin’s Russia, and the same nightmare that gave us Rwanda and every other dripping mountain of lives cut short.
The evidence speaks for itself and it reminds us that the real criminals are not those who set up the gallows, or those who pull the triggers, or indeed those who dig the pits that will later be filled with the bodies of lives deemed unworthy to be lived. These are only the necessary sleepers strung along by the power of the meme that blinds them, often as much victims of the utopian nightmare as those whose lives they extinguish. No, the real criminals are those who promote utopia and promise us the paradise of sameness. The real criminals are those who, once the slaughter commences, maintain the delusion with worded excuses and attack those would seek its end. These are the real criminals and they too belong in front of world courts charged with crimes against humanity, even crimes against civilization, against thought and against feeling.
Genocide is current and its easy appeal is all too evident in the more than 250 armed conflicts (involving aspects of genocide) that have plagued us post World War II. Without utopian propaganda the fuel that feeds genocide would quickly burn itself out. Most sane individuals when unchained by the utopian meme well understand the horror of war and its long-term consequences. Surely we are by now well acquainted with war’s horrific history and know well the shame war brings on generations foolish enough to indulge in its sour fruit.
It takes utopia to drift us head-first into dreamland, to make us forget; like a magician’s hypnotic spell, powerful enough to veil our senses and turn us into collective sadists.
You will find this propaganda universal when the delusion of utopia commands its dizzying conditioning. During the horrors of World War II there appeared in a magazine titled Illustrierte Zeitung Leipzig: Sonderausgabe 1944, Der europäische Mensch, an advertisement for Focke-Wulf airplane manufacturers. It read:
“Focke-Wulf has been building airplanes for 20 years. We join in the vastly increased use of labour and technology in the German aircraft industry. We are thus helping to solve the great tasks of the day, the fulfilment of which will bring about a New Order in Europe.”
The promise of a ‘New Order’, a new peace, and a new equality rides on the back of slaughter and genocide, it always has. Countless regimes have encouraged - or demanded at the end of a barrel - submission into sameness for the sake of this utopian ideal. And while:
“The particular utopias these regimes or states advocated varied significantly. Yet every one of them envisioned a homogeneous society of one sort or another, which necessarily meant the expulsion or extermination of particular groups. Indeed, all these regimes claimed that utopia would be created only through the destruction of one or more enemy groups.”
The enemy is an essential ingredient in the utopian recipe, without it the soup misses its taste and the dish feels unsatisfying. Without the enemy the hunger still lurks and the whole feast looks grossly inadequate. The flavour is missing. The triumph must be bathed in blood if it is to taste complete.
It is this malicious enemy that prevents utopia; it is the Trojan horse that stands in the way of promised happiness. If only this enemy were destroyed then happiness would be a reality. The meal would have its taste.
This poisoned chalice is so easily positioned at the lips that it led Herman Göring to comment during his time at the Nuremberg trials:
“Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or fascist dictatorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peace makers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
If the illusion of an external enemy is not sufficient to fan the flames of slaughter then surely the idea of progress will set the stage; and this peculiar ambition has destroyed even otherwise perfectly intelligent minds. George Bernard Shaw looked upon Nazi Germany as a continuation of European enlightenment and in the same light he looked to Stalin’s Russia as the source of glorified progress.
On his seventy-fifth birthday a party was held in his honour in Moscow while he visited there in August of 1930. He told his stunned, starving audience, that upon learning that he was travelling to Russia, concerned friends back home had given him boxes of tinned food to take to the people of Russia. However, he told them giggling, he had thrown all of the food out of the train window while he was still in Poland and before crossing into the Soviet Union.
Why? Simple; mass starvation and thus mass extermination were natural and even desired symptoms on the way to progress he believed, who was he to slow down progress? The promised utopia required sacrifice: their sacrifice.
And what a sacrifice it was. From 1917 until 1959 an estimated 60 million people were exterminated. There was no secret in their extermination, in fact if anything there was support and celebration. Progress required sacrifice, everyone understood. Mikhail Heller and Aleksandr Nekrich in their seminal history Utopia in Power: The History of the Soviet Union from 1917 to the Present, remind us:
“There is no question that the Soviet people knew about the massacres in the countryside. In fact, no one tried to conceal it. Stalin spoke openly about the ‘liquidation of the kulaks as a class’, and all his lieutenants echoed him. At the railroad stations, city dwellers could see the thousands of women and children who had fled from the villages and were dying from hunger.”
Such is the nightmare of utopia.
And if two causes are not enough, there is yet a third delusion that will gladly lead us down the road to utopian slaughter. This is the delusion of salvation; that humanity has fallen and is in need of some type of cleansing in order to redeem it. This dangerous madness is gleefully celebrated in the ramblings of many of the world’s major religions. The world needs a baptism of blood, a mass slaughter of as yet unimaginable magnitude, before the particular saviour-flavour subscribed to will be stirred to action and remember his dying creation.
Such beliefs have found root in many parts of the world but they are most fertile in the Abrahamic imagination of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In these traditions the world is in wait for a final showdown between the forces of good and the forces of evil. Often such hope for a final decisive cataclysm is accompanied by bizarre beliefs in pre-determined victory brought about by supernatural forces that will reward the believers and slaughter the unbelievers.
When dressed in Christian garments this belief proposes:
“…that the moral conditions of the world and the church are destined to get increasingly worse. When they get almost unbearably bad, the Lord Jesus will return in the clouds to ‘rapture’ the living saints up to heaven.”
The ‘rapture’ is slaughter, an orgiastic mass genocide disguised as joyous deliverance. The idea of utopia delivers such force and blindness to individuals - and more dangerously to whole societies - that it can stare at cold-blooded genocide and call it ‘rapture’, ‘ecstasy’ and ‘joy’.
In his acceptance speech for the 1980 Nobel Prize for literature, Czeslaw Milosz made the curious remark that what characterized our present age was a “refusal to remember.” As an example of our collective forgetfulness he illustrated his remark with the fact that at the time of his speech there were over 100 books denying the Holocaust. American television journalist Bill Moyers reiterated this forgetfulness when he lamented:
“I worry that my own business . . . helps to make this an anxious age of agitated amnesiacs …. We Americans seem to know everything about the last twenty-four hours but very little of the last sixty centuries or the last sixty years.”
This forgetfulness is made even more apparent by the steady rise of conspiracy theories that have plagued the internet since the attacks of September 11. While the internet has certainly provided us with a ready stream of information, what has risen to the top of the murky waters of online opinion is also a steady stream of bizarre paranoia. Media has become fragmented, delivering bytes rather than historical context. This provides the necessary vacuum readily filled with opinion disguised or mistaken as truth. The larger and wider the vacuum the more certain the opinions will be and with more absurdity their claims will be expressed.
Conspiracy theory is of course nothing new and conspiracy theorists have been recycling the same fear and selling the same snake-oil for as long as history cares to record their babblings. What has made their paranoid ramblings a little more public now is not that their ‘case’ has become more solid, or that their fear has finally been corroborated with evidence. No, what has made them more public is simply their access to Youtube and other forms of social media. Conspiracy theorists today are just as deluded as ever; the only real difference is that now they have access to large audiences.
Conspiracy theory is a modern day cult riding (parasite-like) on the back of horror, fear and uncertainty. It feeds on paranoia and promises a disturbed utopia complete with ‘unseen’ enemies and visions of progress and salvation. It adopts the language of every cult on earth with its in-group and out-group slang. It considers its followers ‘awake’ while the rest (the unbelievers) deserve little more than the derogatory moniker: ‘sheeple’.
Given power, this lunatic fringe would readily take up arms and happily set up the gallows and dig the pits to watch with glee as their vision of utopia stains the walls of civilization with yet another wave of slaughter. Such is our nature and our collective weakness that we forget the past easily; almost gladly.
From reptilians to chemtrails, no theory is too absurd and no conjecture too outlandish when the prize is utopia. The path from conjecture to murder is only paved in opportunity.
On July 17th, 2013, Zee News ran an article titled ‘Malala Yousafzai urged by Taliban to come back, join madrassa’. The piece concerns the well-known story of the shooting of Malala, a young Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban for wanting an education. It reported that a letter had been written by the Taliban to Malala asking her to come back and join a madrassa. What is interesting about the letter is the language of conspiracy theory readily found wherever and whenever this absurdity rears its ugly head:
“I advise you to come back home, adopt the Islamic and Pashtun culture, join any female Islamic madrassa near your hometown, study and learn the book of Allah, use your pen for Islam and the plight of Muslim ummah and reveal the conspiracy of the tiny elite who want to enslave the whole humanity for their evil agendas in the name of a new world order.”
It would seem that the illness of conspiracy paranoia is already happily engaged in murder and its Western proponents cannot understand - much less see - their willing endorsement of slaughter. Utopia blinds magnificently.
All of this merely reiterates the troubling fact that collectively we are not yet ready to take up the liberating challenge of overcoming our fears. The individual is still at risk of the mob breaking down his door and dragging his shell to the rope.
In 1955, James Baldwin wrote:
“A devotion to humanity is…too easily equated with a devotion to a Cause, and Causes, as we know, are notoriously bloodthirsty.”
Can we find a solution? Can the wheel that drives us to murder be turned? Can the curse of utopia be finally eradicated from the thoughts and languages of the earth?
I propose as a solution, and I suggest this with utmost humility, that we divert our devotion away from humanity, which is in reality a devotion to a group or mob, and turn it instead to a devotion to the individual. I propose even a taste of extreme individualism where the ‘self’ is as it were an independent nation allowed to furnish its own growth and independence as it sees fit. I propose that if the individual be free then it follows that humanity as a group will enjoy freedom. The group ruled by the individual and not the individual ruled by the group. The real tyranny rests in the persistent belief that what is good for the group must also be good for the individual, it is not.
What does the group understand of love, of loss, of joy, of sorrow? It understands not because it is not individual, it is collective and in its collectiveness it has lost its humanity.
Per audacia ad ignotum.
 Vladimir Bukovsky, To Build a Castle: My Life as a Dissenter, Viking Press 1979
 In a letter to Einstein and reprinted in Al Smith’s Why War: The Human Investment in Slaughter and the Possibilities of Peace, Lulu.com 2006 p. 424
 Salim Mansur, The Father of all Assassins, The Globe and Mail October 11, 2001 p. A21
 David Aaron, In Their Own Words: Voices of Jihad, Rand Corporation 2008 p. 4
 Cited in The Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, Thomson Gale 2005 p. 1
 Ibid p. 1125
 G. M. Gilbert, Nuremberg Diary, Perseus Books Group 1995
 Mikhail Heller and Aleksandr Nekrich, Utopia in Power: The History of the Soviet Union from 1917 to the Present, Summit Books 1988
 P.A. Smith, Jerry Falwell’s eschatological schizophrenia, WorldNetDaily™, at: http://www.wnd.com/2001/07/10140/
 Quote appears in Bill Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, Penguin Books 2006, p. 137
 ‘Malala Yousafzai urged by Taliban to come back, join madrassa’, Zee News July 17, 2013, http://zeenews.india.com/news/south-asia/taliban-urge-malala-yousafzai-to-come-back-join-madrassa_862850.html
Jose Gonçalves is a business language teacher in Indonesia. His interests include Discordianism, Typhonian magick, and Voudon. He also loves industrial, coldwave and ambient music and can therefore often be found trudging through the darkest recesses of the internet looking for little music treasures.