The Circularity of Civilization

By Jin-yeong Yi

North Korean propaganda poster

Since North Korea is bigger news than it has ever been (which is saying something, because I don’t remember the last time it wasn’t in the news), I thought I would comment on the American Nihilist Underground Society’s remarks on the passing of Kim Jong-il:

Here at ANUS, we love all dictators.

They understand a divine wisdom: humanity is a means to an end.

Humanity as an end in itself is an unterminated question. It asks itself perpetually in tautological form what it wants to do. It doesn’t know. So it manufactures internal drama and the cycle goes on, circular logic ad infinitum.

Genius minds like Josef Stalin recognized that people were like clay to be molded into greater things. And if you trimmed some extra clay, so what? The normal person does nothing that particularly binds them to this life. “Not wanting to die is your (only) reason to live.”

King Jong-Il was another spectacular dictator. Like other critics of the society of humans-as-the-goal-of-humanity, such as school shooters, Ted Kaczynski, Pentti Linkola, Friedrich Nietzsche and others who truly saw that society was a massive failure, Kim Jong-Il shaped his people like clay. He made an empire where none was before. And if they starve? The piercing pains are just that much more meaning to life, much more than they would find while sitting in a Brooklyn apartment getting obese on fast food and imported wine between scintillating stints at their day jobs as designers or press release supervisors or whatever make-work crap passes for important in capitalism these days.

We will miss you, Kim Jong-Il. You were one of the few who understood. We must oppress ourselves or we degenerate. In this way alone, all dictators are closer to heaven than the average human could ever dream of being.[1]

The problem here is that civilization itself is arguably a circular goal. It’s definitely not for the sake of Nature. It’s clear that Nature is more than capable of taking care of herself. Nature has absolutely no use for art, music, literature, architecture, science, or even religion. She is perfectly content with her picturesque landscapes, her musical birdsong and babbling brooks, her poetic change of seasons, her finely crafted mountains and trees, her profound seas of space.

In other words, as far as this planet is concerned, only humans can appreciate and enjoy the fruits of human ambition.

At the end of the day, is not the collective as anthropocentric as the individual? If humans aren’t the “goal” of humanity, what is?


[1] See “A great man fallen.”


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