Now begins the last installment of my look at 2083. If you’re just now joining the discussion, this is the fourth in the series. You can click these links and go straight to Part One, Part Two and Part Three.
Throughout the previous three looks at Anders Behring Breivik and Fjordman, I did my best to remain on topic with the text only. I still will derive most of Part Four from the manifesto text, but I will also be using information from the news and other sources as I discuss what I think this text reveals about Breivik. If one reads the text closely, Breivik reveals a lot of answers to questions that are troubling people. I also think the text reveals a lot about Breivik’s motives in a way that gives lie to the idea that stopping Islamic immigration and ending what he refers to as cultural Marxism were his only goals.
In Part Three I mostly discussed the things that Breivik planned and the things he actually did. Because of the level of plagiarism that Breivik engages in throughout the manifesto, it is hard to look at his writing and know if the words are indeed his, but there are patterns that emerge, times when it seems like writing flows and when it seems like he is parroting ideology from others in an awkward manner. When he writes from a place of experience or a place of emotion, it flows smoother and simply feels more real. So I tell myself that there are times I know I am reading Breivik’s actual thoughts, as well as text that is not plagiarized.
I need to explain that I am looking at his manifesto the way I read any text. I am looking at the whole of the document – how it is arranged, how the writing appears, what Breivik considers important, what he does not. There is truth in this manifesto of lies. You know how it is when a seasoned poker player can judge the hands of the other players at the table? It is because the other players, even as they try to present a flat demeanor, have what are called “tells.” A finger twitches, eyes dart to the left, someone unconsciously clears his throat. And the experienced poker player knows. Breivik’s manifesto is littered with tells.
While I hope I am not sounding too arrogant, I am a reasonably good “poker player.” I’m no expert on literary construction. But I fancy that because of my time in the trenches of odd books, strange books, bizarre books, and the people who naturally accompany such books, I have a pretty good grounding in the unusual mind. I also had some excellent teachers and professors in my day who instilled in me a habit of engaging with words in a manner that, at times, makes reading very involved for me. So I fancy that I enter into Part Four with some skills for analyzing text.
But at the same time, I will be engaging in psychological analysis of Breivik that should likely be taken with a grain of salt. In a way, psychoanalyzing him will be no different than analyzing other literary characters because in its way, this manifesto is as much a piece of fiction as any novel. I don’t need a psychological degree in order to discuss the mental state of Emma Bovary, Gregor Samsa, or Catherine Earnshaw. But if I acknowledge that I am analyzing the text in the same way that I would a fictional novel, hopefully that will make it clear that this is just speculation. Once the professional psychological reports come back, I have no doubt large chunks of this entry will be proven completely off-base. As you read this, please keep in mind I am doing my best to discuss Breivik in relation to what I think his manifesto tells me about him, with some news articles to bolster the opinions I posit. I could be very wrong.
And all that having been said, I think I’m right on more than I am wrong. I wouldn’t have written all this out if I didn’t have some belief I was right.
So let’s look at the insight the manifesto text gives us into the mind of Breivik. Let’s look at how his text arrangement and emphasis show his priorities. Let’s talk about what some of his plagiarism really means. Let’s look at how so much of what he writes contradicts itself. Let’s see if some of the initial media responses to him are borne out in his manifesto. Let’s see if we can pin down the mind of a killer via the words that meant so much to him.