The Archetypes of 4chan: A Study of Memes and Internet Culture

My first work studying Memes (2017)

Before the election I spent a great deal of time browsing the board "/pol/" which is "politically incorrect" on the message board 4chan. As I spent my time there, I came to understand them in a unique way.

The most important point there is to make came from a comparison of their current posting patterns and their past, and truthfully they are NOT fascists. Not in the sense that we think at least. But to understand what they are, one must become fully aware of their language, and the symbols that make it up.

To begin we will analyze the symbol of us, the person reading this, and the people around us. The symbol is a poorly drawn monochrome man with a frown. His name is "Wojak". He is traditionally posted on /r9k/ as a symbol of themselves. They are a group who suffer terribly because they feel exiled from society, and most importantly from women. However, he takes on a different symbolic value on /pol/ where he is representative of "normies", the kind of people who fit into their prescribed role in society.

Though what do those two have in common? Suffering due to thought. They are Apollonian symbols in the Nietzschean sense. They are logical, reasonable, thinking *individuals*. Most definitely the type reading this. Nietzsche explains that the Apollonian method of life has dominated since the time of Socrates, and that he was its martyr. HE goes on to explain that Apollonian society demands suffering, it wishes to kill great titans, banish monsters and the such. Perceived Fascism is in this case the titan.  Plato in fact decries paganism only because it does not inspire morals and righteousness. Due to the Socratic thinkers, governments quickly began to take on "enlightened" ways. Christianity, Judaism and Islam were born, religions to maintain a Platonic hierarchy, but also to maintain a moralistic worldview. We are living within a Platonic system today, and as we know, there has been great rebellions, ones we consider to be evil incarnate.

Nazism, and the Blond Brute

Collectively, we consider Nazism to be the greatest tragedy in recent history, but in our demonizing of it, have we forgotten entirely, the most important factor? The "Why?".

The psychoanalyst Carl Jung believed that beyond the superficial reasonings of economic stress, politics, and ethno-nationalism, there was a great force that inspired it. Wotan. 

"Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, 

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned"

-W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming

Wotan, or as we know him today "Odin" was the great leader of the German pantheon, the very spirit of the Germanic people. Many try to explain away the occult and religious leanings of the Nazis as merely aesthetic and a part of their "madness". This is not so, it's the inverse. Madness and aesthetic fascism is merely a superficial form of the great spirit they are possessed with.

From the time where Europe became Christianized and on, the strong pagan spirit of the Germanic people lay below the surface as a force within the collective unconscious, it waited and waited, and as the the world grew more and more restrictive, and more civilized, it too grew in power. Finally like a great demonic possession, Wotan emerged. No longer an aesthetic of Wagner, or a tiny hope in the imaginations of the Volkish movements, Wotan possessed the whole of the Germanic people and began a vast destructive march across the world. This force is comparable to the Hermetic outbursts today, Wotan was identified with Mercury by the Romans, due to their winged hats, staffs, trading position, and their role as psychopomp (guide of the dead).

Today, and the Wild Man

I have described two important aspects of my theory, the unconscious force of Wotan, and the logical and civilized Apollonian, but now comes the most important key to understanding today’s events: Dionysus, Hermes and Kek.

In contrast to the Apollonian that Nietzsche laments, there is the Dionysian. A man possessed by the group, one who completely sacrifices individuality and thought unto a massive whole. The Greek Dionysians participated in massive wine orgies, and partied constantly. The best look at the spirit of Dionysus (albeit from an Apollonian perspective) is The Bacchae of Euripides. In which Dionysos drives a town’s women mad, and a orgy/massacre ensues.  The spirit of Wotan, though a very powerful god is nothing, in comparison to the discord and chaos of Dionysus, the god of Nature. 

While the Apollonian symbol is "Wojak" the Dionysian symbol is "Pepe" a green frog from the comic "Boys Club". Pepe is very obviously an animal, an anthropomorphic frog. He is often seen defecating, masturbating, murdering. All very Dionysian, in contrast to Wojak  who is usually crying, preparing to commit suicide*(martyrdom of Socrates), or at a party, criticizing the people around him enjoying themselves. Pepe is the chaotic part of the collective Unconscious, perhaps it is the strongest part. The part within all of us that seeks the destruction of all order and law.

The Wojak party meme is extremely important, the party, a dionysian construct in itself is despised by the individual Apollonian, as thought and freedom do not mix. 

*Suicide is an Apollonian action, as life denial, and the thought/contemplation it takes to reach that point of suffering comes from an Apollonian lifestyle.

The Troll

When one considers the old European troll, the maneaters and bridge holders, the connection may not seem clear, but to understand in a better way, we must go to a different part of Europe, Greece, where they believed in Satyrs. Half man, half goats. They loved to be drunk, play music, and sleep with forest nymphs.  They were the friends of Dionysos, the most famous satyr was Pan. 

Pan, the Alt-Right Archetype

Pan,  the greek god and son of Hermes was too ugly to be accepted. He loved to play on his pipes and frighten people. The young men who make up the collective are young satyrs, who love to cause panic(derived from Pan) and chaos. 

They are not libertarians or fascists, or real subscribers to any ideology. They wish only to cause trouble. Many people have been troubled online by anonymous trolls, people who will say disgusting things, or just generally cause trouble any way they can. The current movement is a massive group made up of trolls with the great goal of Dionysian madness.

Though on the contrary, they are not entirely looking for all encompassing madness. We must remember that Hermes greatly helped Dionysos, and that he fathered Pan.

 The Green Man of Pagan thought is also one of the guises Pan takes, which can be seen clearly in the image of Anon.

(the rest is silence)