Ignus Nilsen is a character in Disco Elysium.
Born in Vaasa, Ignus Nilsen is known for his involvement in the Antecentennial Revolution, during which he served as Kras Mazov's most trusted lieutenant. Together with Mazov, the two developed the principles of scientific communism, before instigating the Revolution in Graad, against the nation's negligent authorities. Nilsen worked on many projects over his lifetime, and some of his theories earned him the nickname 'Evangelist of the Revolution'.
As the Graadian socialist state collapsed, following the assault on the State Day Palace, in '08, Nilsen led a large-scale evacuation to the Samaran isola, where the Hsin-Yao Commune was located. During the retreat, Nilsen personally ordered the execution of 12,000 prisoners of war, who were impaled on sharpened spruce trees in the Samaran backcountry, an act which caused his opponents to begin referring to him as the 'Apocalyptic Shrike'. The Samaran communists eventually settled the People's Republic of Samara (SRV), with Ignus Nilsen considered one of its founding fathers, and Nilsenist-Mazovianism the state ideology. Though the Republic was conceived as a 'socialist utopia', some consider it to have degenerated since the days of its founding.
At a certain point in his life, Nilsen was forced into hiding, staying in a hut in the boreal plateau for ten months. During this period, he wrote extensive amounts of theory and conceptualized a great deal of projects, including an early guide to homebrewing, instructions for the raising revolutionary children, and a detailed materialist critique of Dolores Dei's chess strategy. Alongside Mazov, he also developed a universal pictographic system, meant to allow revolutionaries to organize across language barriers, though this project was never finished. One particular subject that Nilsen was fond of exploring was the relationship between thoughts and matter.
In current times, Nilsen's popularity outside of the SRV has largely waned. However, he is celebrated by followers of infra-materialism, an ideology created by students of Nilsen's ideas and theories from his last year in exile. Infra-materialism proposes that thoughts do not simply reside within the brain, but radiate outwards from it, into the material world. These thoughts, given sufficient politicization and revolutionary fervor, may form into a sort of 'plasm', capable of directly interacting with and altering reality. Therefore, a revolutionary state, influenced by the plasm generated by its citizens, could formulate an extra-physical path to 'Communism Above Reality', exhibiting increased vegetable growth, beard growth, improved average sexual prowess, telekinetic projection, and even the ability to construct physics-defying architecture.
Though Nilsen did formulate the concept of ideological plasm, and sketched the supposed post-physical communist architecture, much of the development of infra-materialism was not done by him, but instead by his followers. Due to the sparse documentation and propaganda of the revolutionary period, it is hard to differentiate the actual facts of Nilsen's life from those which were fabricated. One particular folk legend is that, during Nilsen and Mazov's final meeting, the two did not speak a single word, only sipping their chamomile tea and communicating through plasmatic telepathy.
- Nilsen's character is inspired on many of the more esoteric aspects of communist ideology and history, making reference to movements like Posadism, a vertent of Trotskyist thought that, amidst other things, ascribes revolutionary potential to dolphins, extraterrestrial encounters, and nuclear war. Another likely inspiration, with the mentions of vegetable growth and yield, was the critique of Lysenkoist agricultural sciences, developed during times of crisis and war in the USSR to seek a solution to hunger and an alternative to Darwinist thought, which had been overtaken by racial supremacism.
- ENCYCLOPEDIA - When Vaasan communist revolutionary Ignus Nilsen was in hiding, he stayed in a hut on the boreal plateau for ten months.
- STEBAN, THE STUDENT COMMUNIST - "Only Kras Mazov's most trusted lieutenant, the Evangelist of the Revolution, and the founding father of the People's Republic of Samara."
- A BRIEF LOOK AT INFRA-MATERIALISM - As Mazov's devoted comrade and leading theoretician, Nilsen was responsible for developing much of the intellectual foundation of communism. But his interests and speculations were famously wide-ranging.
- A BRIEF LOOK AT INFRA-MATERIALISM - Known to his numerous admirers as the 'Evangelist of the Revolution' and to his even-more-numerous enemies as the 'Apocalyptic Shrike', Ignus Nilsen remains one of the most controversial and fascinating figures to emerge in the years of the Antecentennial Revolution, second only to Kras Mazov himself.
- ENCYCLOPEDIA - Oh, right. During the disastrous retreat from Graad to Samara, Nilsen personally ordered up to 12,000 prisoners of war impaled on sharpened spruce trees in the Samaran backcountry. Thereafter his opponents began referring to him as the 'Apocalyptic Shrike'.
- ENCYCLOPEDIA - Today, Nilsen's reputation has waned in most parts of the developed world, with the exception of the People's Republic of Samara (SRV), where he is recognized as a founding father. His political philosophy is a variant of Mazovianism called Nilsenist-Mazovianism.
- ENCYCLOPEDIA - The SRV refers to the People's Republic of Samara. Established as a socialist utopia by survivors of the Revolution, it has since degenerated into a bureaucratic workers' state under the decades-long rule of President Sapormat 'Sport' Knezhinisky.
- A BRIEF LOOK AT INFRA-MATERIALISM - During his final years in exile, he produced, among other things, an early guide to homebrewing, instructions for raising revolutionary children, plans for a universal pictographic language, and a detailed materialist critique of Dolores Dei's chess strategy.
- STEBAN, THE STUDENT COMMUNIST - "A fair point. It also reminds me of one of Mazov and Nilsen's unrealized projects, a universal system of communist pictographs, one that would allow revolutionaries to communicate and organise across any language barrier."
- 243. A BRIEF LOOK AT INFRA-MATERIALISM - But one subject he returned to time and time again was the fundamental relationship between thoughts and matter...
- A BRIEF LOOK AT INFRA-MATERIALISM - Certainly. In essence, Nilsen is arguing that thoughts don’t just reside *inside* the brain, they radiate outward *from* it. According to this idea, the brain is an ideological transponder, constantly emitting waves of highly politicised energy, which Nilsen called 'plasm'.
- A BRIEF LOOK AT INFRA-MATERIALISM - Stay with us a moment longer. What's more, Nilsen speculated that this plasm, when it becomes powerful enough, might begin to *influence* the material reality surrounding it. Hence the name: *infra-materialism*.
- A BRIEF LOOK AT INFRA-MATERIALISM - Building on Nilsen's basic insight, these theorists reached a startling conclusion: that a sufficiently revolutionary state might begin to exhibit certain *extra-physical* effects based on the amount of plasm generated by its citizens.
- A BRIEF LOOK AT INFRA-MATERIALISM - To take one example: During the Revolutionary period, many communard farmers in Graad reported extraordinary yields of certain root vegetables, most notably turnips.
- A BRIEF LOOK AT INFRA-MATERIALISM - It's also been postulated that plasm may account for the remarkably full and manly facial hair observed on many communist males.
- A BRIEF LOOK AT INFRA-MATERIALISM - In fact, reports from the Revolutionary period claim that the most radically devoted communards were able to engage in vigorous sexual intercourse for up to *eight hours* at a time.
- A BRIEF LOOK AT INFRA-MATERIALISM - At this second level, certain hyper-revolutionary individuals may even develop the ability to extend their thoughts into material space and vice versa.
- A BRIEF LOOK AT INFRA-MATERIALISM - In some of his later writings, Nilsen himself speculated about the potential for an *extra-physical architecture* that disregards the laws of 'bourgeois physics' and instead relies on the revolutionary faith of the people for structural integrity.
- A BRIEF LOOK AT INFRA-MATERIALISM - Unfortunately, Nilsen passed away before he was able to develop these initial ideas into a full-fledged theory. *That* work was left to subsequent generations of communist theorists...
- A BRIEF LOOK AT INFRA-MATERIALISM - Much of what we know of the communards' activities during this period come from memoirs and second-hand accounts, some only written down decades after the fact and of dubious authenticity.
- A BRIEF LOOK AT INFRA-MATERIALISM - It's become something of a folk legend that during their final meeting, Nilsen and Mazov didn't speak a single word, preferring to sit in silence with their chamomile tea, reading one another's thoughts.