Translation: Die große Müdigkeit

Some weeks ago the anonymous Austrian author who had written the fascinating article Volle Fahrt ins Nichts, which I had translated as Full Speed Into the Void, had published a follow-up essay elaborating on some points from the original article. I have once again translated that new essay, entitled in the original Die große Müdigkeit, and you can find my translation on a page called The Great Fatigue.

This time my translation could be more direct as there were few references to specific Austrian or German political entities. I did retain a number of German historical terms as they were, since that is apparently normal in English writing.

3 thoughts on “Translation: Die große Müdigkeit”

  1. Great translation! I think you’ve preserved the sense of the original German very well. As far as the content goes, it’s always refreshing to read something from an original thinker, instead of the usual regurgitation of an ideological narrative. I’m ambivalent about the author’s revolutionary project. In the first place, revolutions seldom turn out the way their promoters imagined. The French revolutionaries wanted liberty, equality, and fraternity, but they got Robespierre. The Russian revolutionaries wanted a worker’s paradise, but they got Stalin. Beyond that, I doubt that the author has any idea why he wants what he does at a fundamental level. Human desires aren’t pure social constructs. They are the result of innate desires and predispositions that were selected, mainly at the level of the individual, in a social context utterly unlike the present. This begs certain questions. How will the author’s project promote my genetic survival? How will it promote the survival of my species, or of life in general? If what he wants doesn’t promote any of these ends, then it has become unhinged from the reasons he has any desires to begin with. If that is the case, then he needs to lay his cards on the table and explain himself. What is the point of wanting something that has nothing to do with the reasons the wants exist to begin with? By the very nature of how we came to be what we are, we are maladapted to our present societies, and are bound to be maladapted to the revolutionary future the author proposes as well unless we strip away the bombastic rhetoric and address these very fundamental questions.

    Other than that, one cannot ignore the advance of technology as it bears on these questions. We are now able to manipulate our own genome, and can use that ability to, for example, enhance the intelligence of our offspring. Under the circumstances, it is reasonable to ask whether it even makes sense to prefer a European, or a white, or an Asian, or an African future, in view of the fact that all these categories may soon be transcended by an “other” with which none of them can compete. What point does it make to create an “ideal” European future if its only real goal is a society in which Europeans will be happy as they await their inevitable extinction?

    1. Thank you! But I think you misunderstand the author’s use of the term “revolutionary.” He specifically targets reactionaries who want to return to the past as it was. “Revolutionary” in this context also means acknowledging those aspects of the present – resulting from previous revolutions – which are inevitable, irrelevant, or even desirable, and fusing those with whatever changes are desirable and necessary. This is also what the German Conservative Revolution was about, e.g. accepting that the old monarchy and the old religion had failed. So it’s really opposed to reactionaries as well as communist revolutionaries, both of whom reject the present (and in the case of communists, human nature) more or less wholesale.

      As for what the author wants, I think he is quite clear about that. He wants the survival of his mega-tribe on both a biological and a cultural level, and on a differentiated scale all the way up to a federation of the European peoples. That seems like an expression of the in-group/out-group sentiment that is well adapted to our situation, and I expect it to more or less work with something like the EU. Except of course for the deliberate promotion of native infertility combined with mass immigration, which is what his “revolution” would have to change.

      I really don’t expect deliberate gene editing for higher intelligence within my lifetime. This subject is just as overhyped as AI. We still don’t have any comprehensive grasp on how either our brains or our genomes actually work, we just know bits and pieces. Also, someone actually has to make such technologies happen, or possibly compete with someone else who makes them happen and who might be hostile. A homogeneous Europe with a restored sense of self-esteem seems better positioned to do so than the current declining mess.

      1. You’re probably right when you say I’ve misunderstood the author’s use of the term “revolutionary,” because you’re obviously much more familiar with him than I. Like him, I also personally reject multiculturalism and globalism, and I certainly favor the survival of my “mega-tribe,” on a biological level. As far as culture goes, I think it is something that is bound to evolve over time. As with “revolutionary,” perhaps it is important here, too, to be clear about what one actually means by the term. For example, if Christianity is deemed a prominent feature of the culture of my “mega-tribe,” then I reject the notion that it must survive. I consider it a threat to the survival of my tribe or any other tribe for the simple reason that it is untrue. The same goes for every other religion.

        In general, I think it is good to have a clear understanding of why we want anything, including the survival of our “mega-tribe,” at a very basic, biological level. Our wants and desires don’t spring from a vacuum. All of them of any significance can be traced to innate predispositions that exist because they evolved. They evolved because, at some point in time radically different from the present, they happened to increase the odds that the responsible genes would survive and reproduce. I don’t consider survival and reproduction good in themselves, or “objectively” good because, as you know, I don’t believe in the existence of objective goods or evils. However, then are good from my personal, subjective point of view. I happen to prefer that my personal goals, and the purpose I set for myself, be in harmony with the fundamental, biological reasons that I have those goals and purposes to begin with.

        What does that imply as far as the survival of my “mega-tribe” is concerned? In the first place, in favoring it, your anonymous author is blindly responding to innate desires without understanding why they exist, without taking into account the fact that it can hardly be guaranteed that blindly responding to them will accomplish the same thing in the environment we live in now as it did in the environment in which they evolved, and without considering the implications of the fact that they evolved because they promoted the survival of individuals and small groups, and definitely not “mega-tribes.” Indeed, our ancestors were not even aware of the existence of “mega-tribes” when the behavioral traits in question evolved. When I consider the matter from my preferred point of view, I certainly consider the shear survival of my “mega-tribe” good. However, that is not necessarily so when it comes to the project of welding it into one massive group with one culture, one ideology, one political leadership, etc. According to Sir Arthur Keith, our ingroup/outgroup behavior effectively promoted the rapid evolution of traits such as high intelligence by virtue of the fact that it isolated us into small, competing groups. It cannot be assumed that it will accomplish the same thing in the context of a huge, monolithic mega-tribe.

        One can certainly argue the matter one way or the other as far as the overriding question of survival is concerned. I am merely suggesting that, before one responds blindly to wants and desires, it may be useful to consider why the wants and desires exist, and whether certain ways of responding to them will accomplish an end in harmony with the fundamental biological reasons they exist or not.

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