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Old 05-11-2017   #1
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Topic Winner Aickman's Philosophy

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Robert Aickman wrote a vast treatise, Panacea, setting out his personal philosophy. It has never been published. Doug Anderson is one of the few people to have read it. He provides Part 1 of a summary in Wormwood 28, just out.

Here’s a taster from Doug’s summary of Aickman’s arguments in the early chapters:

“Attempts at achieving racial purity must fail. History shows many examples of the improvement in living standards with the infiltration of one culture by another. The term “race” means very little.”

“Life is short, but in order to really live, man needs to be free, especially from forced labour.”

“The ideas of eugenics done by eliminating “unfit” people from procreation are based on misunderstandings on how society functions.”

“Man has always been enraged, worried and puzzled by insecurity. Thus came religion, and it set the common man in his place, below the landowners and the clergy who worked together to maintain their ascendancy. "

A discussion of Darwin and evolution (“now proved to the satisfaction of most reasonable persons”) and the rival theory, promoted by George Bernard Shaw, of “life force” (“a figment of the imagination”)


Based on these so far, I would characterise Aickman as a rationalist libertarian. He may, of course, have modified some views in later life, although I suspect largely not.
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Old 05-11-2017   #2
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Very timely post by excellent Mr. Valentine, as some members of this community have lately been attempting to present Aickman as a right winger.
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Old 05-11-2017   #3
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Quote Originally Posted by durandal View Post
Very timely post by excellent Mr. Valentine, as some members of this community have lately been attempting to present Aickman as a right winger.
*sigh*

I don't see how any of the above info contradicts this. Have you read his autobiographies? Accounts of his views from those who knew him? He was quite clearly a conservative (small 'c') libertarian. I have no agenda in presenting Aickman as a conservative person who despised socialism and believed in maintaining social hierarchies. That's just who he actually was, and I'm tired of people trying to sanitise him into some bizarre progressive burlesque version, though I am aware the battle is lost at this point because most of the people talking about Aickman know nothing about Aickman.

Nothing in the information presented in the OP suggests Aickman wasn't a conservative.

Quote Originally Posted by Hidden X View Post
So, it is safe to assume that he would have been anti-Brexit!
?????????

I give up.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 05-12-2017   #4
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

I don't believe in the supernatural; and yet I have had a couple of supernatural experiences.

How do I square this? I guess just by appreciating the fact that as human beings we are often self-contradictory, inconsistent, uncertain, bewildered, and the 'truths' we utter about ourselves and our beliefs are often inaccurate, misleading, vague or subject to adjustment, revision and even complete overhaul. We often don't know what we believe, and what we claim to believe isn't always what we really believe, even if we think it is.

Be wary of accepting at face value what people say about themselves when they claim to be rationalists or believers or whatever. As Nuruddin Farah once said, "Never trust a self definer."

There are times when we can hold two or more opposing viewpoints at the same time and not feel any cognitive dissonance as a consequence. This is because our identities are not the integrated single units that we sometimes picture them to be, but consist of a hive of aspects that sometimes work together and sometimes don't. I can believe in ghosts with one part of my mind and dismiss them with another.

I don't believe in the supernatural but I have seen a ghost.

"Nothing can be known, not even this." - Carneades
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Old 05-12-2017   #5
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

I'm curious as to why Aickman believing in the supernatural would be an issue in the first place? I could understand disappointment, shock, or maybe some resentment if he was a religious fanatic, but belief in ghosts is pretty much harmless whereas holistic medicine at its worst is on par with countless other poor health choices.
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Old 05-12-2017   #6
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Quote Originally Posted by Speaking Mute View Post
I'm curious as to why Aickman believing in the supernatural would be an issue in the first place?
It came up because Aickman was described as a Rationalist--a term not usually applied to people who have a firm belief in something that cannot be proved.

It is additionally interesting because the majority of celebrated writers working in the genre have tended not to believe in the supernatural.
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Old 05-12-2017   #7
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Quote Originally Posted by Speaking Mute View Post
belief in ghosts is pretty much harmless
Unless you're vulnerable to being exploited by mediums or start acting according to experiences you think you've had in dangerous ways.

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Old 05-11-2017   #8
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

So, it is safe to assume that he would have been anti-Brexit!

Glad to see that he was one of good guys after all. Thank you for sharing!
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Old 05-11-2017   #9
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

And I honestly don't understand why you and some other folks here are so dead set on presenting him as a conservative.

“Attempts at achieving racial purity must fail. History shows many examples of the improvement in living standards with the infiltration of one culture by another. The term “race” means very little.”

Very conservative, eh James...

I do hope that "Panacea" will be published in one form or another. Though, by the looks of it, some will no doubt claim that it was the case of him being dishonest or that manuscript itself was modified by someone else.
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Old 05-11-2017   #10
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

I haven't claimed that at all. I just don't see how Aickman not believing in a substratum of racialist politics means he wasn't conservative given everything we know about him.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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