Lede: Ideal fascist Utopias – with the promise to bring in superhumans – could eventually lead to a new dark side, based on a posthumanist future.
Anti-democratic ideologies are predominantly identified as authoritarian, far right or conspiracy theories. However, such ideologies can come from deep diversions and eclectic thoughts ranging from revolutionary traditionalism to New Age philosophy. Prometheism is a recent revival of a classic myth that dates back to ancient Greece’sMycenaean civilization(1750 to 1050 BC) in the ever-increasing fold of anti-democratic ideologies. It is the myth of Prometheus, the rebel Titan, who stole fire from heaven to bestow humanity with knowledge that these are based on. Prometheism revamps the archetype of Prometheus as a ‘spectre’, creating a political project to embrace the spectre of Prometheus to achieve a transhuman future. It suggests that Prometheus is the liberator who guides human civilisation, and by embracing his spectre, humans can achieve the mastery of technoscience and advance humanity beyond their current fallible existence. Prometheism is posthumanism, aiming to answer the fundamental questions of existence. How does Prometheism help in understanding the Utopian idealism behind the radical right? In order to answer the question, this article analyses Prometheism and the ideas of its sole ideologue, who is none other than one of the founding members of the alt-right—Jason Jorjani.
Journey of a Rebel
Chirot analyses ‘ideological certitude’ and consequent ‘imagined Utopias’ that are the driving forces behind revolutionary extremism. Jorjani provides an example of this. Jorjani became infamous as the co-founder of the alt-right with Richard Spencer and Daniel Friberg. At its foundation, the alt-right aimed at a renaissance, distancing from the typical far-right notoriety of violent skinheads and heavy metal subcultures, to reinvent a glamorised intellectual movement. They drew inspiration from the European New Right (ENR), which started as Nouvelle Droite in the 1960s in France. Following the legacy of ENR, the alt-right sought to revive eclectic ideological undercurrents: revolutionary conservatism, identitarianism, ethno-pluralism, traditionalism, Italian fascism, and paganism. Jorjani aimed to dovetail with these movements, swiftly joining his approach with this matching intellectual trajectory.
Before joining alt-right, Jorjani wrote a PhD thesis, Prometheus and Atlas, later published by Arktos publishers in 2016. His ideas assimilate Nazi eugenics and Archeofuturism, the latter was propagated by a Nouvelle Droite ideologue, Guillaume Faye. However, Jorjani introduces a totally different perspective, positioning technological science as something ‘with an essence’. The essence of technoscience lies in the spectre of Prometheus, as he is said to be the archetype and the source of all knowledge. Jorjani asks to embrace the spectre of Prometheus, depicted as the symbolic Tree of Knowledge in Milton’s Paradise Lost.
Jorjani became the editor of Arktos Media, a publishing company with ties to the alt-right. However, his fervour for alt-right was short-lived. Following the Charlottesville Unite the Right Rally and the violence that ensued, Jorjani left both the alt-right and Arktos. His intellectual project for ushering a superhuman future was at odds with the street identity of the far right. The attempt to present the alt-right as a trailblazing intellectual movement fell short with the departure of one of its intellectual icons. Jorjani, for a short while, attempted to reinvent his visions, seeking an Iranian renaissance. It also fell short, and he returned to his primary quest, i.e. inventing a political project to bring in the spectre of Prometheus.
Pseudoscience of Jorjani
While nurturing a quest to transform humanity, Jorjani is also on a mission to break empiricism or the sensory experience behind human knowledge. His quest is fundamental, seeking a change in essence. With his fortitude to deal with the ‘essence of knowledge’ as means to transform ‘human’, it is not an accident that he tends to propagate pseudoscience. His affinity with pseudoscience results from his rebellion against the fundamentals of knowledge and ‘being human’. In his book, World State of Emergency, Jorjani underlines a need for a world-state, an existential level unification based on tradition and evolutionary potential. His ideas echo Guillaume Faye and Pierre Vial’s Eurosiberian Union, a traditional ethnostate from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It is the land of Faye’s impassioned Archeofuturism, which practices biotechnology and eugenics, that Jorjani makes this space universal, seeking a world-state, a union of traditional ethnostates, a space to achieve the evolutionary potential of biotechnology and robotics. In his writings, Jorjani stages a defence for the spectrality of nature, insisting that mathematical science and ‘technical intellect’ cannot understand the spectrality of nature. This makes him go beyond empiricism to explore esoteric aspects – such as the spectre of Prometheus – as the essence of knowledge.
Jorjani’s ‘Prometheist Manifesto’
Jorjani unveiled his ‘Prometheist Manifesto’ in 2020, insisting it is a ‘declaration of war’. He underlines ‘Genetics, Robotics, Information, and Nanotechnology’ as the engines for his proclaimed transhuman future. However, a revolution against the current reality is necessary. His visions are headed toward apocalyptic ‘technological singularity’, which ends humanity and the technoscientific resurrection of the posthuman. Jorjani puts this task in the hands of Prometheus not only as a symbol but also as an essence. He seeks to return to the source, a revival of Promethean spectre. Jorjani cites Heidegger to claim that being human means ‘being at the mercy’ of the things above humanity—only a force above humans can save them. He makes himself clear, seeking surrender to an empowering higher source to survive the impending techno-apocalypse.
What is the contribution of Jorjani’s thesis? The same model of apocalypse-resurrection ideas is common throughout civilisations—ancient to present. There are only variations in terms of the type of apocalypses and resurrections. Prometheus also acts as the symbol of knowledge and is seen as integral in religions and cultures around the world. Martin Heidegger introduces a similar idea on the ‘essence of science’. Heidegger traced this essence back to ‘two and half millennia behind’ to the beginning, citing the Greek myth of Prometheus as the ‘first philosopher’. His assertion is to return to the beginning to make science a part of existence. Julius Evola constructs his thesis upon the same set of assertions. Evola explains the centrality of an incorporeal source behind every civilisation. It is a metaphysical reality that sustains the physical reality, which Evola called the ‘two natures’. According to Evola, what binds these two natures is the ‘tradition’ that allows man to be adjusted to both realms. Evola’s thesis leads to his assertion that humanity can find liberation, resurgence, or a new life, only by going back to tradition.
This existing knowledge makes Jorjani’s task less laborious. He only needed the courage or the rebellion to ask, in plain words, to embrace the spectre of Prometheus: the rebel, the symbol of knowledge, and the symbolic pivot to the apocalyptic end of humanity as explained in cultural and religious traditions worldwide. Jorjani clarifies things, unlike Faye’s glamorised cyborg, ‘Dimitri’, who is still human (transhuman) and resides in the Utopia of Eurosiberain Union, Jorjani’s Promethean being is not human anymore. At the end of his manifesto, Jorjani cannot help but sounds helpless. As he explains, the coming Promethean revolt is a certainty and beyond any constraints.
Jorjani follows the long tradition of Nazi eugenics, Evola, Heidegger, and Faye’s ideas. It is all about creating a paradise on earth, the traditional ethnostate, populated by transhuman or posthuman species. It has been a glamour project that incited thousands to follow fascist Utopias. Jorjani opens the lid and makes things clearer: fascist Utopias go nowhere other than ending the ‘human’ through fantastical, genocidal projects.