What are characteristics of the Dark Enlightenment?

Regarding the recent conversations on the Dark Enlightenment (here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here), I’d like to offer a few comments.  (If you’re unfamiliar with the Dark Enlightenment, read British philosopher Nick Land’s series “The Dark Enlightenment“.)

As I’ve noted previously, the Dark Enlightenment, largely an American phenomenon notwithstanding Land, has much in common with the European archeofuturist or identitarian movement, although the later is less influenced by libertarianism (perhaps for the better).

But what are these underlying characteristics?

Here are some:

– A rejection of sociological universalism, and a preference for particularism.

– An acceptance of human biodiversity.

– An acceptance of Darwinian evolution, shunning egalitarian political correctness both from the left and from the Trotskyite right.

– On religion, if not agnostic or atheistic, then a preference for ancestral neopaganism or a form of Christianity that is ethnocentric and particularist.

– An acceptance of science and futurism as a means to improve at least some peoples’ lives while not rejecting one’s ancestral folkways (i.e. archeofuturism).  And a recognition that ‘progress’ will be available only to some, and not the entire human population.

– A rejection of The Cathedral (or whatever other names it goes by, such as Universalism or Political Correctness).

– The recognition that there is no single best political order.  As Aristotle notes in the Politics, some ethnies are better suited for monarchy; others, for aristocracy; others, for a limited form of politea.

– Skepticism about mass Third World immigration and the realization that human populations are not fungible but unique.

– A realization that liberty is incompatible with democracy, and that democracy leads to mediocrity.

–  A realization that terms like ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ and ‘feminist’ are beyond their expiration date.

– A concern with bio-politics, oriented to a particular people’s biological and demographic imperatives.

– A rejection of egalitarianism.

Please leave other suggestions, or commentary, below.


Radish Magazine provides a list Dark Enlightenment articles.

Education Realist discusses his placement in the Dark Enlightenment.

Nick Land warns (me) that Darkness will never be popular.

Primer on Immigration and Human BioDiversity

The Laws of the Cathedral. Obey or Perish!”

65 thoughts on “What are characteristics of the Dark Enlightenment?

  1. I voted No. At least not in the foreseeable future.

    “Dark Enlightenment” sounds kind of cool, but I agree it’s not exactly the best choice PR-wise. I have no good alternative suggestions though.

  2. In view of our age’s love of the subversive and paradoxical, I think Dark Enlightenment is fine name that may attract many who would be turned off by more conventional (read: fubsy) labels.

    • The Dark Enlightenment is Archeofuturism for techno-progressive twats who are more interested in ruling a pseudo-academic Internet cabal than advancing the New Right. Their mentality amounts to: omg bitcoin.

      It’s time for us to send these beta bitches into the real world.

  3. The first one should be a mixture between the universal and the particular. The third, fourth and fifth bullet points I disagree with. Darwinian evolution should be disregarded, transcendence should have its place and no to new/progress/evolution (same thing).

    Also, concerning the whole PR thing: don’t play their game. Don’t engage with them.

  4. Re: names. Dark Enlightenment and Neoreaction both attempt to ‘reclaim’ and ‘own’ terms that are typically construed as negative (the way gays ‘reclaimed’ queer). It’s a decent strategy, and I won’t lie–I think Dark Enlightenment sounds geekily cool.

    But I hope others start circulating terms, so that the best rise to the top.

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  6. I voted yes, and I voted out of optimism. The standard arguments, e.g., the too-rapid onset of suffocating egalitarianism, the rhetorical staleness of democracy’s advocates convince me. The theme is fatigue. The masses can bear a lot, but (and forgive me if this sounds pretentious to you, because it does to me) what matters is how sick and tired a critical mass of smart people get of the same recycled platitudes, of guarded speech, and of ineffective government.

    A critical mass doesn’t have to be so many!

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  9. I was intending to paraphrase your remarks, rather than ‘warn’ you of anything. There’s a serious point to be excavated about popularity though, if still undeveloped.
    Are we looking for popularity? Can it be earned without losing the last charred remnants of our souls? A significant attraction of the neoreactionary stance, from my point of view, has been its thoroughgoing abandonment of the demotic criterion. Doesn’t any public relations compromise risk taking us back to that?

    • Provide the ideas and the leaders who can articulate them, and the popularity will take care of itself, no PR team required, so long as the following is true:

      “People are humans, humans are gregarious hierarchical apes with hardwired paleolithic morality, and most of them like to be told what to do. Even more, they like other people being told what to do.”

      A Caesarian neoreaction, rank populism and all, is perhaps the most efficacious way forward. After all, according to the Radish posters, we are for functioning government, which is going to improve the lot of common working man. Are there enough wounded war veterans from the (mis)adventures of Afghanistan and Iraq to cross a small stream on the way to the capital? Perhaps we can promise to make things work for them by breaking the bureaucracy of the VA and getting them the treatment and money they deserve. Everyone loves wounded war veterans.

    • Someone needs to shut you up nice and good. Get the hell away from our political arena. This is a place for big boys and the likes of you are not wanted around. You are a cosmopolitan tool.

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  12. we used to call it “biological reality” & “individual differences” – before that it was almost ubiquitously held & didn’t really have a name (“common knowledge” maybe?)

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  14. Great job! Let me add my own Christian Traditionalist (Eastern Orthodox) views on this list. It turns out I have many disagreements with individual items, but I want to reassure you I think this is a very valuable list you drew up:

    #1) What exactly does sociological particularism mean? Does it mean there are no universal values? Or does it mean there are, but different societies have to work out different means for realizing those values? I would accept the latter but reject the former. I would have thought the affirmation of universal truth and moral values to be one of the primary functions of the modern reaction against socially corrosive moral relativism and post-modernism.

    #2) Human biodiversity is self-evident, so we agree on that. But there is still a common humanity underlying the diversity. If there weren’t, it would be nonsensical even to use the term.

    #3) Darwinism may have conjectural truth in a Popperian sense, but it would be foolish to raise it to the level of dogma. This is precisely the trap into which leftists fall when they dogmatize their own theories. Human biodiversity will remain a fact whether we explain it through Darwinism or some other theory, and rejection of Darwinism does not entail acceptance of either egalitarianism or political correctness.

    #4) This is likewise absurd for any traditional Christian. Affirming Christianity’s universal human mission does not entail denial of human differences or the rights of different nations to preserve their cultural identities. Conflicts only arise when these cultural differences conflict with what Christianity teaches to be universally true, for example in morals.

    #5) This is possibly the most Leftist item on the list. How any soi-disant “reactionary” can speak of “futurism” with anything but fear and loathing baffles me. Needless to say, my traditionalist instinct is to reject any promises of progress or improvement of human nature, whether coming from a Marxist or a eugenicist.

    #6) I think you have been rather sneaky in equating universalism with political correctness. The two are not the same at all. Christians are universalist in terms of affirming universality of truth, including moral truth, but we reject PC precisely because PC conflicts with this truth.

    #7) This is debatable, but I find I am broadly sympathetic. Christianity has traditionally elevated monarchism above other political systems, but the ability of autocracy to function without provoking instability or rebellion follows from the acceptance of the subjects of that political order. What I would completely agree with is that we can’t hope to solve problems by imposing one political system on another culture by force.

    #8) I am also broadly in agreement with this position. Affirming a universal mission, as Christianity does, does not entail requiring a Christian society to accept massive influx of non-Christian or culturally incompatible foreigners. The term “fungibility” I think is very apt: societies and cultures can change, but generally not by outside force, but only by some internal motivation (such as conversion to a new religion).

    #9) This is a very interesting point. A traditionalist like myself is rather skeptical of both liberty and democracy, although more of the latter. We generally believe that “liberty” only has value when a population is self-controlled through religion, i.e. acceptance of and submission to universal truths and values; otherwise, a people that is supposedly free is in fact merely subject to whatever urges and passions strike them. The latter, of course, is what is wrong with democracy, or at least democracy as practiced in a secularized society that has lost faith in objective truth.

    #10) There may be something to this. I’m not sure how a precise understanding of terms like liberal or conservative really helps or hinders the neo-reactionary/DE movement, however.

    #11) On the surface this point seems sensible. I think I’m coming to realize, however, that rather too much emphasis is put on the biological bases of culture in the DE world, at the expense of other factors like religion. I suppose one needs to counterbalance the wholesale rejection of biology by the Cathedral, and as a Christian Traditionalist I am no doubt liable to see the importance of religion in a way others are not. I don’t think it’s reasonable to completely dismiss non-biological factors in cultural development, however.

    #12) Yes, I reject egalitarianism, if this means an insistence on the equality of all humans across all dimensions, in defiance of observable facts. But I would not go so far as to say there is no universal human nature at all or that there are no grounds for affirming that all human beings have equal value.

  15. If the dark enlightenment asserts darwinian evolution as true then it asserts EQUAL mechanical origins for all Life.

    This fact does not change with “modification.”

    “We,” according to the neoreactionary, ARE STILL entirely of mechanical foundation. We aren’t just “equal” to all humans in this regard. We are just plain “equal” to all living things.

    There is actually total equality amongst Life at its collective foundation.

    This is if you believe in darwinian evolution.

    “Modification” changes nothing.

    So in fact, when tech-no-nerd asserts a mechanical foundation of all life, he is attempting to make YOU robotic and entirely at his control. He is making YOU “equal” to all other life. He is making YOU valueless.

    He’s the one that has YOU believe his “modifications” will somehow make YOU less mechanical and so you believe in his “modifications.”

    So tech-no-nerd has YOU from both sides.

    When YOU aren’t robotic in nature (without spirit), YOU are gorging on tech-no-nerd’s “modifications.”

    • >“Modification” changes nothing.

      This is a great example of why people don’t pay much attention to your blather. What’s next, the assertion that “light” illuminates nothing?

      But this jewel of bullshit is hardly alone, it wallows in a sea of nonsense. There’s the opening assertion, presented without evidence, that darwinian evolution is somehow “mechanical” in a sense that transitions to “robotic” without any machines or robots being involved. One might consider an alternative definition of “mechanical” wherein no humans are involved, but by this definition divine creation is “mechanical” too.
      This same problem occurs with the capitalized EQUALITY: a single Creator is also an equal origin for all life, this hardly being an issue unique to evolution.
      Then we have aggravated strawmanning: having asserted absurdity (that modification changes nothing) and put it into the mouths of neoreactionaries, thordaddy proceeds to draw ever more absurd conclusions such as “we are equal to all living things”. This is like asserting that since all the natural numbers can be generated by repeated incrementation of zero, all the natural numbers must be equal.
      The caveat of “equality at the foundation” could save the argument by destroying it. To extend the previous analogy, all the natural numbers are “equal at the foundation” too in that they can be generated by incrementing zero, but this is no basis for saying anything further. If the repeatedly asserted “equality” here (which no party of the argument appears to believe in) were merely a triviality at the foundation, one could stop there. Yet thordaddy continues to say further things, and so I regard this caveat as not even internally consistent with the remainder of the rant.

      In closing, thordaddy, please shut the hell up until you stop being a blithering idiot.

  16. I like the phrase Dark Enlightenment. I think it will attract the cool kids who will be drawn to it just because it seems forbidden and dangerous. But philosophically, it should just be called Realism: realism about truth, realism about kinds, realism about concepts, semantic realism, moral realism, biological realism, scientific realism, all rolled up together.

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  18. Let me tell you something. From what I can see, what you are describing is literally how the majority lived for most of history. The idea that culture is only aesthetic and NOT the product of pragmatism, and religion is literal, these are extremely recent developments, like in terms of decades. A “dark enlightenment” will be a return to individualism like before communications technology allowed pop culture to distance us from our roots and completely centralize cultural influence.
    Needless to say I’m looking forward to it

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  21. I could think of a few labels:

    How about Ontotheologisim?



    Categorical realism?

    Though I must admit that the Dark Enlightenment is not a bad fit. It brings to mind the idea of seeing though a glass darkly. Post-modernism, in a nut-shell, critiques the enlightenment and shows how it is a particular lens through which to interpret the world. It then jumps to an extreme egalitarian view where any “perspective” are just as valid as the next. The Dark Enlightenment is fully aware of the assumptions of the various sciences and how these assumptions both limit their disciplines while granting them validity within their own spheres of inquiry. It’s a kind of a sober-minded enlightenment. One which doesn’t overstep its bounds by asserting various dogmas like egalitarianism.

    The Dark Enlightenment also brings to mind a kind of philosophical movement,l rather than a philosophical school. A philosophical movement merely refers to a group of intellectuals who are roughly talking about the same topics. A philosophical school would require a more refined description. Typically philosophical schools are defined enough to have fundamental principals and seminal authors.

    Just spit-ballin’ here. What do you think?

  22. in what way is this doctrine not just neo-fascism? I see very little in this that was not already addressed in Mein Kampf, and with more honesty about what such views entail (and yes i have read it). I wonder what possible theoretical underpinnings might bring yall to such conclusions.

    • I’ve been waiting for a reply from others but the discussion seems to have died. I haven’t read Mein Kampf and I’m probably not as qualified as others to speak for The Dark Enlightenment concept.

      First, there is no need for neo-fascism, we already live in a fascist society. No sense in re-inventing the wheel. As for Nazism, as a particular form of fascism distinct from our own, you’d have to make the similarities more clear.

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  24. No respect for someone who cites Nick Land. Why seclude yourself ito such a small niche? The New Right has been around since before this pretentious faggot was born. We should stop giving airtime to these role-playing geeks.

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  26. I think the name is perfectly descriptive for a group of crypto-fascists such as yourselves. It evokes the counter-enlightenment while presenting itself as the true enlightenment, but to everyone but yourselves it just makes you look evil. I give you 9/10 on the name but only 1/10 on the content as it is a bunch of racist sophistry. I see no point in arguing with you though so I’ll keep this brief. Die, motherfuckers.

    • Proletaribot? Why do communists always want to kill everyone who won’t sign up for the cause? Why are they so afraid of exploring ideas which conflict with the party line? It’s sad and cultish.

      Find peace. God bless.

  27. It is not “dark” enlightenment. It is simply “enlightenment.”

    Equality is a myth. There is nothing enlightening about it nor the decadence that ensues because of it.

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  31. “Dark Enlightenment” sounds like a roleplaying faction, and will condemn those who use it to being seen as annoying, wannabe-“edgy” neckbeards.

    Anything which doesn’t connote comical supervillainy is preferable when deciding a name for a political movement.

  32. It seems to me that acceptance of the tenets of the dark enlightenment imply the necessity of eugenics in some form as corollary.

    • Some form of eugenics is a necessary by the tenets of any rational philosophy that supports the continued march of human progress. If smart people not breeding doesn’t eventually come back to bite us in the ass then Darwin’s goose will have been thoroughly cooked and we can all go back to church and forget about all this human reason business.

      It’s only intellectual cowardice and/or transhumanist chicken-counting that makes anyone deny that.

    • Doesn’t behavioral genetics impose a eugenic order naturally? Humans are roughly divided into two classes. Rulers and Subjects. Rulers are attractive physically and charismatic. Rulers reproduce with each other and occasionally marry down for beauty to maintain the attractive part. Subjects are the 99% and reproduce amongst themselves. Rulers limit broods to replacement-size while subjects reproduce constantly to maintain fodder for the ruler’s armies and farms. This is the natural order of humans (In my opinion, I welcome discussion) and “DE” is simply a better fit to this model than forcing the same old rulers to continually buy temporary ruling status which is just inefficient.

  33. Why not simply build on the term Archeofuturism as long established by french thinkers? It is basically the same movement but across the ocean (albeit with a slightly different focus where neoreactionism seem to place greater weight on technology-think in general).

  34. If the ideas of the Dark Enlightenment actually caught on and formed into power structures ruling the world, there’s a non-zero chance that the harsh stratification of society, and short-sighted/impulsive governmental decisions about evolutionary dynamics, that humanity would eventually become a disease ridden mess and less-than mediocre species because of gene dilution.

    Given that environmental changes on Earth are 100% for sure over millions and even thousands of years, gene dilution creates a higher risk for a special lineage to go extinct (that means every dead, gone, transformed back into dirt and minerals).

    Do me a favor and chew on these thoughts. Feel free to ponder on the Dark Enlightenment, but be very skeptical. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can predict the future based on self-absorbed psuedo-science (I guarantee you some of the DE followers like it because they arbitrarily believe themselves to be superior to other people…maybe it should be called the Dark Narcissism).

    • In real genetics, diversity IS strength. The more you mix it up, the more variations you get going forward which is an advantage. Like you said, you create a greater risk of a special lineage going extinct. The corollary is that you also create more special-in-a-different-way lineages so some may survive a niche. The problem with eugenics is that the rational focus might not match the future environment and all would be lost.

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  39. The ‘dark enlightenment’ is a laughable cult dreamed up by pallid screen-slaves who dream of being Nietzschean supermen.

    People like Nick Land have spent so long wrapped in the most pretentious varieties of theory that they have forgotten – or no longer care – that there is a real world out there in which ideas such as he promulgates can have hideously cruel and ugly results. In fact (like his hero Bataille) Land appears to positively revel in cruelty.

    For all their posturing about intelligence and genetic superiority, the adherents of this cult are just as vapid as the ideologues who acted as cheerleaders for fascism. Indeed, ‘accelerationism’ has much in common with the futurism of the early twentieth century, though fortunately it does not yet seem to have thrown up any proponents as energetic and rhetorically gifted as Marinetti or d’Annunzio.

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