May 26, 2022

Progress hates you.

Rich essay by Paul Kingsnorth: “What Progress Wants”, discussing the work of Augusto Del Noce (†1989) as collected in English translation: The Crisis of Modernity (McGill–Queen’s University Press, 2015). Excerpts:

Modernity, in the final accounting, took aim at all authority, all tradition, everything rooted and everything past. Del Noce’s prediction, made decades ago, was that the end result of modernity’s revolutions would be the rise of a ‘new totalitarianism’. This time around it would not involve jackboots and uniforms. Instead, it would be a technocracy built on scientism and implemented by managerial elites, designed to ensure that order could continue after modernity had ripped up all former sources of authority and truth.

What Progress wants is the end of history.
What Progress wants is the end of transcendence.
What Progress wants is the death of God.
What Progress wants is permanent revolution.
What Progress wants is colonisation.
What Progress wants is the uprooting of everything.
What Progress wants is liberation from everything.
What Progress wants is to move beyond nature.
What Progress wants is to replace us.

Progress. The Machine. Moloch. Anti-Christ. The Technium. We are all grasping here, trying to name something we cannot see, but whose impacts we can feel undermining the foundations of everything we have known. Augusto Del Noce’s analysis of the modern revolution, and the rootless, spiritless, immanent world it had produced, pointed to the ultimate destination as both totalitarianism and nihilism.

Why, this is Hell, nor am I out of it.

—The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlowe