So I’m starting a new feature of my site. It’s a series of interviews focusing on interesting and unique writers, artists, thinkers and whatever that I find on Gab.ai. Our first interview comes from a young Alt-Right thinker and philosopher named Brett Stevens. Brett has written a fascinating book on Nihilism called “Nihilism: A Philosophy Based on Nothingness and Eternity.”
He blogs at http://www.amerika.org/ and can be found on Gab at gab.ai/alternative_right
And with that, here we go….
- So tell me a little about your background. Where are you from, what is your family like, what was your youth like?
I grew up in Texas to a normal family with a strong work ethic. My youth was spent in the forest. I did not watch television or spend time on sports. I just went out and hung out with the trees, animals and plants. When I was not doing that, I read the classics of Western literature and philosophy from a relatively young age. It was pretty much a top-notch childhood.
In my early teens, I became involved in the bulletin board community, back when people called each other with dial-up modems. I began running bulletin boards myself at about that time, and moved into the hacker community, where I learned quite a bit about how people try to control each other, and how to break that control.
- What got you interested in philosophy? Who were some of your earliest influences, and how have they shaped your interest in philosophy today?
Since I spent most of my time outdoors, it took awhile to get into reading, but when I did it all happened very quickly. My family home had an extensive library of literary classics and philosophy, and so I stumbled across Kant and Nietzsche, but really found a voice with Plato, who remains my biggest enduring influence.
Interestingly, however, my introduction to philosophy came from two sources: the forest and a children’s book named The Wump World by Bill Peet. In the forest, all learning is motivated by the self and achieved through experimentation or deep intuitive thought, and I spent many hours just thinking about the nature of reality and being alive, using the mathematical structures I saw in nature as a guide.
Somewhere in my early years, I read the Bill Peet book, which is about a spacefaring race of people-like creatures who arrive on a beautiful green planet. In a zeal for comfort, or maybe a desire to be important, they tear the whole place down and cover it in concrete, building great cities. Then they notice it is polluted, complain a lot, and zip on to the next planet to do the same to it…
On the surface, the book is about the environment; underneath, it is about the void. Without a sense of purpose, humans become consumers who take complex structures and reduce them to one-dimensional ones, which results in “unintended consequences” like pollution and the kind of modern misery I saw when I went into the big city. This, I realized, was the same question Plato asked: how do we live without self-destructing?
This question continues to guide my life. I view it as the biggest challenge for any species: how to have intelligence and sanity as well. Currently civilization in the West is not doing so well on this front, but we are not alone in facing this. It seems to me to be why we see so few advanced civilizations on earth or among the stars.Read More: https://anaturalreaction.com/2016/10/20/an-interview-with-author-and-philosopher-brett-stevens/