I believe they weren’t merely engineered, but were also subjected to many years of harsh breeding and training for aggression and other specific traits, like attack dogs, in camps somewhat reminiscent of boot camp. I believe this shows up in both fiction (the trashy, mass appeal sort, usually) and real life in a way that can be compared to the hero’s journey myth, aka the sociopath’s journey. My purpose here is to show that the myth is plausible, what characterizes it, and then to show that it fits perfectly within Tex’s new anthropology narrative. There’s also a million-dollar idea toward the end, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Why? Well, I thought of this after it occurred to me that these camps are everywhere in extremely crom societies. I’m thinking of Rome and Prussia in particular. People in white societies often remark that “all of life is high school”. I’m going to take this a bit further and say that high school is the only form of social organization that croms are psychologically equipped to understand. The answer to every societal issue is to put people through a progression of camps and to make these camps progressively worse. This is notable and distinct from the social organization of homo sapiens, whose only form of social organization is the brief whirlwhind of common purpose necessary for a raid or a great party.
These camps share certain characteristics with such regularity that it becomes obvious in retrospect that this is a deeply embedded, hard-coded common form for these people. Why do TPTB think it is so important that no one stays in the same job for more than about 3 years at a time? Why do schools insist on graduations every four years or so. Why did so many people receive 3 and 5-year prison terms in the Soviet Union? Why are military terms always about 3-5 years? Why are long-term military personnel rotated to a different job every 3 years? Why do high-functioning white people feel the itch to move to a new house every 3-5 years? They will tell you it’s to broaden horizons, or to make money in the housing market, or something, but if there were no housing market or job opportunity they would still do it.
But the myth goes deeper than this. Think about every teen spirit movie of all time, every military boot camp story. Everybody always splits up in the end. An acquaintance has always died somehow, even in the high school stories. It always turns out there’s some external need for the camp that the crom protagonist didn’t understand at first, some hand-wavy career or war to be anticipated or Japanese spies to be rooted out. It always turns out that the authorities knew what they were doing all along, and the once-clueless crom feels thankful. It’s never because high school is the only way croms know how to live.
What really tipped me off was when I noticed that in every story, there’s something about stealing food. It’s always something that “everybody knows” everybody does. In fact, the authorities look the other way as long as the protagonist makes an effort to avoid getting caught. It’s against the rules, but you’re always supposed to know that this rule is meant to be broken. If you do, then it shows you’re clever (even though “everybody knows”?). A lot of crom rules are like this. But there are other things that are absolutely forbidden, like brawling. Small fights between a few people are apparently okay, because that’s how interpersonal issues get unofficially sorted out without bothering the melon overlords. But large brawls of ten or more people are forbidden, and any movie where a brawl occurs in the lunch room or the barracks is followed by a scene with big consequences, and everybody is ashamed.
This got me thinking about the “rules” and which ones you’re supposed to know and follow, which ones you’re supposed to know and break (but don’t get caught!), and so on. Stealing food and little fights are against the rules, but you’re supposed to do it anyway without getting caught. Brawling isn’t okay. After a little digging, it turns out anything that weeds out individuals based on moral failings is licit, but anything that interferes with “espirit de corps” is illicit. So illicit, in fact, that there is always a scene where someone is made an example, who has crossed some taboo and must receive ceremonial punishment. This person is revealed to have always secretly been a villain, masquerading as a member of the corps in good standing.
There is the ubiquitous presence of “the switch”. It is the change in focus from intragroup competition between individuals to perfect group cohesion and focus on “the mission” above all other considerations, including one’s own life. (Like a lot of things in this description, the latter is a noble and unambiguous virtue in any sense of the word “virtue”.) This switch is an interesting phenomenon for study by itself- one moment the croms are smiling and stabbing each other in the back for poon and profit, the next moment a bell rings they are grim-faced and bent on total extinction of the “other”.
Now some speculation about the perfect set of features describing one of these ur-camps, and the crom’s experience as the protagonist in the camp myth story. Not all of these features must be present in every boot camp story, slice-of-life school anime, prison camp story, etc., but many of them will be.
It could easily be argued that these features arise from everyone’s common experience of public schooling. To argue against this, I would first note some elements that are common to other myths that are absent from this one, and then I would urge you to reread for elements (like the emphasis on “the switch” and espirit de corps) that are not well-explained by this common experience. Consider also how public schooled whites are completely baffled by the very idea of homeschooling or the desire to go live innawoods, whereas all white societies progress towards an “eternal high school” structure over time (until they crumble and have to try something that actually works just to survive).
1. The protagonist is a clueless crom whose “call to action” is not an invitation to go save the galaxy or recover treasure stolen by the great dragon Smaug, it is merely to somehow accidentally end up at the magical school/boot camp/prison camp/corporate job and continue to exist there while authority figures herd them through a series of obstacle courses. The protagonist lacks inner direction of any kind, and if they save the galaxy and defeat Voldemort it is basically an accident from merely existing.
2. There is a culture shock when the protagonist arrives, and they spend a short period acclimating to the strange new environment. On the first day, everyone is lined up in rows and lectured by a melon superior. This ritual of lining everyone in rows is repeated every now and then. The more people need to behave in a disciplined manner, the more time they spend walking and standing in lines. When they’ve been really bad, they have to stand in line for quite a while, and maybe they have to watch someone being punished in a way that affects the protagonist’s psychology.
3. There is a huge gulf between real authority figures (melons) and the crom’s peers. The melons appoint some croms to pretend authority positions like “foreman” or “prefect” or “class president”, but “everybody knows” these people aren’t really leaders at all. They are in fact pretty useless except for making everyone around them miserable. The real leaders have unquestionable authority and all of them always know more about the situation than the protagonist does, even if they all seem to have conflicting agendas. These leaders are more colorful characters than the croms.
4. The protagonist quickly forms a series of concentric alliances, starting with a very close friend or two, followed by a group of loose acquaintances. This clique is necessary for protection from other predatory cliques.
5. The schedule is always the same in every camp, whether it is a school, a prison camp, a boot camp, an industrial work environment, a corporate building, or a senior home. From approximately 9-5, there are scheduled activities. Afterward, there is an extracurricular activity or two where clique bonds are strengthened. (If you don’t participate in these extracurricular activities then everybody understands you must be a loser who is a serious risk for shooting up the place like Columbine or something). Then you turn on and off like a robot. Night owls simply don’t exist.
6. There are violent conflicts between members of cliques. Often, a clique of two or three will corner and ambush an individual. Later in the story, two or more cliques may engage in a brawl (if it is large, it will be followed by authoritative consequences for the entire group). These fights tend to be romanticized, but based on real life fights and the way croms treat conflict, I don’t think they were very nice in these ur-camps.
8. There is always a graduation and a next level. Life is planned out with minimal input from the protagonist. Life is a series of these camps. Friends, family, and units are broken up and dispersed to new camps and never stay together for more than two camps.
9. Graduation is measured almost entirely by survival. The “standards” are mostly imaginary and everybody who “sweats it out” to the end passes to the next stage in some form. Even the retarded kid graduates at the bottom of the class and moves on to some new school for retards.
10. There is always downtime, but the crom must never be seen not to be busy by an authority figure, or they are scolded for “slacking” (apparently this is true of the Chinese in general). This is because there is always homework and extra tasks, even though these are unnecessary for graduation.
11. All real studying is accomplished by cramming under pressure from some external deadline. Nevermind that in real life people do not retain anything from cramming, and without review it is just about the most useless activity there is. It is a hard-coded ritual behavior for passing some standardized test. I think the ur-version was probably more like a visit from the IG.
12. There are always color-coded teams and ritual competition (aside from the interpersonal fighting which “everybody knows” you’re supposed to do without getting caught). The crom protagonist always wants his team to win and works hard in the competition, even if he spends 99% of his time in intratribal conflict and competition. In fact, I can’t think of any examples in fiction where even a villainous character doesn’t care about winning these competitions, even if this doesn’t make sense for their character.
13. Holidays and feasts are strictly scheduled events, rather than celebratory. In hunter/gatherer-inspired societies (mythical or otherwise), a feast is something you do to celebrate something wonderful that’s happened, like winning a war or killing the dragon or rescuing the princess. In agricultural societies, feasts are something you do to mark time.
14. The three rationed meals per day are sparing. I mentioned the bit about stealing food, which is no surprise in a Holocaust story or Unbroken, but even in Hogwarts or a light-hearted magical school anime the characters do a lot of extracurricular eating. When characters in a lunch room finish their food they will commonly complain that they’re still hungry. Why don’t they just eat some more food instead of complaining? People are very comfortable with the idea of rationed food. Other animals only have two settings for eating: scarcity, in which case they eat as much as possible whenever food is available, and surplus, in which case they will just snack whenever they feel like it. When a crom’s food is not rationed, he will eat to excess.
15. There is an implicit promise that if the crom is pure of heart and brushes his teeth every day, he might be selected for apotheosis- to be raised among the melonhead elite and glorified and praised by his former peers. This fantasy is the basic premise for those talent shows like American Idol. This is a false promise. The sociopath’s journey is just a natural consequence of sociopathic personality characteristics. No one is going to take a clueless narcissist’s hand and put them in a little red wagon like a five-year-old and drag them through a roller coaster hero’s journey adventure where they reveal the narcissist’s special destiny of wonderfulness because of their super-snowflakey specialness. That is dumb.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of tropes in this particular myth, but I hope I’ve outlined it well enough that the next time you see it you can recognize “Hey, this FEMA camp is structured just like my high school!”
Cro magnon was never designed to be an adult. They are cognitively incapable of living a life that is not designed for them, with all the big decisions made for them by wise masters. That is why you can put a cro magnon in any environment, even a deserted island, and they will try to act like they are in high school. When they graduate and face the prospect of decades (not 3-5 years, decades!) without being told what to do, they completely fall apart psychologically. I’m not just talking about the nostalgic former athlete with the beer gut who’s constantly pining for the glory days and still attends high school football games even though none of his kids are on the team, although that’s an obvious example. You can also see it in the girls who graduate college and don’t immediately move on to a big, exciting career of constant (unproductive) job hopping, and didn’t manage to snag a big, exciting husband either. After two months of working as a barista and no end in sight (!) they’re already fantasizing about getting a master’s degree or a second bachelor’s.
Eternal high school is the only environment that makes any sense to cro magnon. Otherwise, they feel purposeless and dead inside. They have no inner drive to buy an island, become a god-king, and conquer the world. Sure, if you dumped a country in their lap they’d be thrilled, even though they wouldn’t know what to do with it. Hence the fantasy about discovering they’re secretly royalty. They also have no burning vision of a possibility that absolutely must be made real. They might write an uninspired paint-by-numbers novel about masturbation. They don’t even comprehend the idea of building up an inheritance and a legacy that will be enjoyed by 10 generations of descendants. Who wants a gradually expanding house with a family garden and woods and a creek when you can spend the same money to have a high-rise apartment in the big city?
What does this reveal about modern man and his origins? Taking Blakemore on faith, here’s what I think.
Cro magnon was originally a genetic mix between the previously existing homo sapiens slave caste and something else. Probably the nephilim. He was always intended to be a point-and-shoot guided biological missile and nothing more. If you had told the melonheads back in the day that their creation would some day be in charge of society and making tough decisions that require statistical finesse, they would have laughed at you. “We designed these things specifically to be incapable of statistical reasoning,” they’d say. “They can’t understand consequences more than two years in the future because they aren’t allowed to make those decisions. They don’t know which camp they’re going to next or what’s in it. We’ll tell them what’s next when we feel it’s necessary for them to know.”
After being born, the infant cro magnon was weaned as quickly as possible and taken away from its mother (before she got bored and decided to eat it). Boys would be socialized with girls until puberty to ensure they wouldn’t become irrevocably homosexual, then the sexes were separated. The girls were basically left to their own devices in a big cage where they treated each other the way girls treat each other. When they reached puberty, the healthy survivors were used as visual motivation for the boys at ritual competitions, and then for breeding the next generation. The boys were taken to a big hellish compound and trained in big groups like militaristic attack dogs. These compounds are the origin of the myth, preserved in the genetic memories of the survivors.
A point that requires emphasis: This is why the protagonist always makes it through boot camp, no matter how tough it is, and is never the one left behind, and seems to be invincible to the point of statistical unlikelihood. The genetic memory is preserved through the survivors. Also, a story where the protagonist breaks a leg, washes out, and starves to death in a VA hospital full of washouts without enough staff to care for all of them, would be pretty boring.
This training focused on cultivating aggression, ruthlessness, obedience, shallow group cohesion (according to “the switch”), spear-chucking ability, and two particular sorts of personal initiative: initiative in seeking out and punishing individual deviance from cultural norms, and initiative in understanding and anticipating melons’ orders and seeking out and destroying the “other”. (The cro magnon understands his existence simply doesn’t make any sense without a war against an Eastasia or an Emanuel Goldstein.) The most aggressive, ruthless (et al.) croms were then selected to breed the next generation. The croms who died in training were memorialized and the taboo-breakers were ritually humiliated in order to emphasize the vast importance of honor/shame and de-emphasize the value of the individual, joy, and life itself.
After four years of brutal conditioning and ritual warfare against color-coded teams from other compounds, the surviving 90% would have a ceremony where they’d completely sever any emotional attachments they’d built with their teammates and intratribal competitors, “graduate” to the next camp, and start the process over again. This constant reshuffling every 4 years required them to form new emotional bonds to each new team’s colors very quickly, and a new protective clique and shallow acquaintances, without any rational reason given. They would have to learn a new series of bells and whistles that told them where and when to go to the next scheduled activity. Eventually they’d reach the end of the line and either be selected for breeding, sent northward with orders to “find the other and kill it”, or be taken out back and shot as defective. Maybe around the age of 30, if Logan’s Run is to be believed. Sounds about right. Who ever met a crom who expected to live to be 35?
These croms knew how do three things: make camp, make fire, and throw spears. Gradually, the hodge-podge crom army started encroaching on the Levant, and encountered their first neanderthals. After a little while you start seeing some hybrids popping up here and there with brains the size of cantalopes. Reinforcements keep pouring in constantly from the south and the croms start their long march across Europe in earnest. More hybrids are popping up here and there because these guys have been specifically bred to believe the point of winning the reindeer games is to get access to the pussy. Every one of these guys has been bred by a long line of WINNARZ. That’s the rule and everybody knows it: you beat the guyz then you get the girlz.
Increasingly, the strongest crom guyz are the ones with the lighter skin. Wow, that one just pulled his chain apart with his hands! Where did that come from? Put that guy up front where he can fight the guyz. Now you have guyz fighting guyz and we are all winnarz and everything’s great except…there aren’t any guyz anymore?
What will we do with our lives? After genociding the neanderthals and hunting everything in the area to extinction, the croms start dying off like flies. What will we eat? Well, these superstrong guyz with the crazy-big brains got together and kicked off the agricultural revolution. But the only form of social planning they can imagine is eternal high school, and between that and the sudden abundance of food we have the current dysgenic situation. Since the agricultural revolution, the average cro magnon is a foot shorter and at least 50 IQ points dumber.
Even today, the cro magnon tries his damned best to recreate the magical world of eternal high school where everybody is interchangeable and he gets to start over with a new persona every four years. But he is stymied by his bounded cognition and the fact that high school is not a sustainable economic model for civilization. Secretly, he wishes for a magical charismatic leader to appear and indifferently treat him like shit and make him do violent stuff for reasons he doesn’t really understand. You can tell because “indifferently treats me like shit” = “charisma” with startling consistency.
If you read this far, then I guess I promised a million-dollar idea. Here it is: charge people money for the eternal high school experience. They are practically begging for it. Make them go to a certain place, order them to run obstacle courses and do circuit training, yell at them (“Faster! You can go faster!”), make them respond to cues from bells and whistles, make them stand in rows, make them memorize rote knowledge and worship the team colors, give them merit badges, make them compete against other high schools, make them cram for a couple weeks every six months or so, and hold elaborate graduation ceremonies every four years.
I wouldn’t do this myself because I’m not into that sort of thing, but the application is a proof of concept.