Aphorisms Toward A Cultural Philosophy For The Present Time, #1: Social Dictatorship.

Mr Nemo
7 min readSep 6, 2021

An edgy essay by Otto Paans



1. Aphorisms 1–11: Social Dictatorship

2. Aphorisms 12–24: State Power

3. Aphorisms 25–38: Guilt and Exculpation

4. Aphorisms 39–52: Confusion and Control

5. Aphorisms 53–61: The Myth of Order


Social Dictatorship

1. Ideology. By allowing our intellectuals only to quote others who — no doubt — a are also intellectuals, we create an echo-culture, a circular quotation circus. Only the ideas accepted by the well-learned, or ideas that promise an acceptable deviation are taken up in the canon. Subversion, resistance, daring: these are the names for ideas that feel comfortably dangerous, fashionably critical, and well-educated in a bourgeois way. Don’t be misled — to be cultured nowadays is a deeply egoistic, narcissistic endeavor. It means being able to lecture others on what counts as the good side of history and judging them, because one is after all a member of the intellectual elite. All this is because in the echo-culture only coercive moralist, orthodox ideas are accepted.

2. The tyranny of the game-players. Any truly non-coercive-moralist, unorthodox ideas are not accepted because, paradoxically, precisely because the authors of those ideas, by refusing to play by the rules of the game, are profoundly threatening to those who always play by the rules of the game. This is why we can have debates about nearly everything as long as it is acceptably fashionable, and not too dangerous. To do real philosophy is to ask the dangerous questions or defend the uncomfortable position: to challenge the rules themselves and the authority of those who police the rules. Distrust any thinker who is too popular. Chances are that he is also shallow. The power of truly dangerous ideas lies not in their ability to “subvert,” “undermine,” or “radicalize.” That is just a leftist-Marxist-bourgeois concept waved around like a flag by those who like to play around with ideas that seem merely mildly provoking or amusingly daring. They need these ideas to convince themselves that they are on the good side of history, without doing too much for the sake of it. Ideas for them are like accessories, and a “subversive” idea is just as much an identitarian, virtue-signalling element as a vividly colored shawl.

3. Lashing out against one’s neighbor. The cultural bourgeoisie needs those popular “ideas for a better world” in order to hide their deepest fears, and also to lash out in an act of “horizontal violence” (Paulo Freire’s term) to those who are trapped in the same predicament as they are: their neighbors are their victims. There is something even worse thing than hating your neighbors, and that is policing them. Any citizen in the Western world is subject of a neoliberal democratic nation-State, that tyrannical advanced capitalist parasite that grows on his back and feeds off his labor. The bourgeoisie know full well that even with their middle-class lifestyles, and their appropriately censored opinions, they are not safe from the whims of the budding dictatorship they are forced to uphold in the name of neoliberal democracy. This pre-conscious realization makes them insecure, so they attempt to repress their lack of control by always obeying the rules of the game and by controlling and policing others. Show the State that you are a good, useful citizen! Their pretext is that they claim to improve the world by means of mandating “social justice,” so they claim not only the moral right but also the moral obligation to push other people around in the aura-soaked name of Social Justice.

4. Tactics as projections. Any political vision should be judged by the means it utilizes to bring its realization about. More often than not, the tactics employed to deride, browbeat, and manipulate others are a good indication of how the “new world” will look like. Any tactic is a projection of the world-to-come.

5. Pluralism. Contemporary identitarian multicultural “diversity and inclusion” is curiously elitist, exclusionary, nauseatingly conformist, and ultimately homogeneous. It is the ideological toolkit of the social dictatorship of the professionally offended. Nothing is more pitiful than to witness the gatherings of the bourgeoisie-cultured who all agree with one another, and who create their well-defended ideological castles against the despicable world outside! Their politically-correct consensus is mindless groupthink, and only thinly veils how deeply they despise those who do not think like them, all the while pretending that they in fact do. It is the mark of a culture that fears open conflict, and that instead prefers to call out, ignore, manipulate, or simply shout down those who do not agree with their moralistic credo.

6. On prohibiting others to think. “Freedom is dangerous for anyone who does not think like me.” This is the implicit assumption of our cultural and political elites. So, life must be segmented, cut up, regulated, and subjected to as much social pressure as possible. Separate your trash, wear a mask, get vaccinated, be tolerant, be open, be diverse, be inclusive, etc., etc.: even when these are rationally and morally justified principles of choice and action, they turn into coercive moralist authoritarian commands that are shoved down our throats by social force. And once one questions this socio-political pressure, the counterquestion is immediately: Don’t you agree with what we tell you? Don’t you just want to be one of us? Don’t you want to be a good person? The answer? No! — not on your terms.

7. On cynicism. What is seen nowadays as cynicism is not cynicism in the usual sense. It is not cynicism when one says about an unlawful action by the government: “But that is what they always do. Everyone knows!” This is not cynicism and it is not indifference. Instead, those are the lives of quiet desperation masking themselves by seeming to be indifferent. It is a reflection of the realization that you are owned by the political power already, and that you know that once your turn comes to be forced to play the game, you are powerless to stop them.

8. Screen-projection. Therefore, this kind of indifference is a quietly desperate attempt to ward off and purposively not see the inescapable truth of your political predicament: you are a slave, but your masters prefer to call themselves your Big Brother, Big Sister, or Big Non-Binary Human Resources Facilitator. In your present state, you cannot be allowed to admit that you’re a slave. It is the reverse of a Freudian screen memory: in order not to see the awful truth that is really in front of you, you replace it with something essentially more agreeable and benign: a screen-projection of a lovely pseudo-reality in which you have “freedom of choice” and “rights.”

9. Projection-distraction. Every society that regularly celebrates its freedom, cheers about its own tolerance, and emphasizes its current predicament as opposed to its horrendous past, is neither free, nor tolerant, and has not left its horrific historical practices truly behind. These are merely projections, just as someone who has a serious drinking problem will declare that he has no trouble whatsoever leaving the bottle alone and overemphasizing his degree of control. Every march, memorial, and obligatory respect “for the fallen” has the function of distracting us with views of the past in order to screen off the horrors of the present, and even more to screen off what awaits us in the future.

10. Bread-and-circuses. Every nation-State and every State-like institution regularly hosts and stages festivals and memorials in order to create an artificial unity among its citizens or inmates. Memorials are staged as spectacles to keep the wound of collective trauma open, so that true reconciliation, acceptance, and forgiveness is replaced by group-think, the collective definition of identity-markers, and the constant reminder that “the danger is always out there,” hence the only “safe space” is belonging to the herd. Bread-and-circuses, self-indulgent violent emotions, and gruesome spectacles, those are the political instruments of collective control, of which the neoliberal democratic nation-State is the fundamental fiction.

11. The false assumption of historical control. Because this is the false assumption: if we remember the past obsessively, it will never repeat itself. But in fact, precisely when you do obsessively remember it, and use it as an educational mold to form docile subjects whom all think alike, will you create the conditions that repeat the past.


Mr Nemo, W, X, Y, & Z, Monday 6 September 2021

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Mr Nemo

Formerly Captain Nemo. A not-so-very-angry, but still unemployed, full-time philosopher-nobody.