- 1.Laibach, Playfulness and Fascism – Part 1
- 2.Laibach, Playfulness and Fascism – Part 2
Anyone can condemn and hate our time, but it takes a far rarer nobility to embrace and ennoble it.
Laibach is an avant-garde music group from Slovenia, which since its foundation in 1980 has led a groundbreaking and unique musical and visual experiment, mixing Fascist and traditional ideas and aesthetics together with the musical culture of post-war Europe. Their work spans everything from an almost ritualistic use of industrial music, to bizarre covers and transmutations of well-known popular music. This text aims to analyze their conception of art, and show how their experimental fusion of the order of the past with the chaos of today is relevant for a future culture of the Right; yet at the same time we will not shun or ignore the absurdity and silliness of Laibach. For there is a great ridiculousness in the image of a stern and uniformed man singing melodies from Queen, Opus, The Sound of Music and more, with the gravity of a patriarch or prophet, as if these melodies held a great, divine imperative. Yet these covers carry a mysterious artistic quality, a playfulness which we will show does not diminish or ridicule the Fascist ideas they contrast, but reveals a hidden and noble quality in these ideas.
There is a radical avant-gardism at the root of Laibach, and they in true postmodern fashion freely interpret and toy with widely different influences, ideologies and aesthetics, forming a contradictory experience, where past and present, history and industrialization, art and consumerism, gravity and playfulness are all fused together. But this does not result in the numbing and meaningless destruction that is the usual goal of postmodernism, for these choices are not made by the fancy for the arbitrary, but by a well-defined artistic will, which stands above the mere forms of art, and uses what it feels to be necessary in its creation.
In the interviews and manifests Laibach have published on their website, we read that Laibach “acknowledge the usefulness of all styles for the expression of our art”, an art whose goal is to “give immortality to everyday practical behaviour and work, which is necessary if life is to provide us with a ladder leading to divinity”. The avant-gardism of Laibach is not the destruction of the perennial Truth, of the Tradition which they say “is the only worthy cause for which people should die and nations survive”, but rather its eternal recreation and recurrence through time, and Laibach will through their art spread it for “ the rise and assistance of all nations”. Laibach see the role of the artist is prophetical, as he must reach for the Eternal in a leap, at the same time as he bring it down as a concrete expression into his own time – which for us is the postmodern crisis of Europe – and in his creation repeat and show mankind the creating spirit of divinity itself.
Laibach thus call their art retro-gardistic, for it aims to recreate the Truth that once walked on the earth, and bring “the end of an era of movement, searching, the end of stylistic and aesthetic inventions” in a choice which “will rediscover history, return power to institutions and conventions”. The true centre of their art is “the infinite principle of all-transcending Absolute, in which life is never extinguished”, in which “there is nothing new, except what has been forgotten”. But an artwork which only tries to rediscover the old, to make a copy of what once was but now is dead, is a dead artwork, for “copies does not exist”. True art does not create something new, as its essence is Truth, but the act of recreation, the artwork as a limited object in time and space, is a unique act, and it cannot rely on any work before it, can never copy what was created before. Instead it must only rely on the power of the artist, and he can only know and act within his own time, hence the postmodern avant-gardism of Laibach is not only consistent with their retrospective remembering of Truth, but necessary for it to be recreated yet again.
The retro-gardistic principle captures the metaphysical insight that Truth is not something abstract or static, but something which is constantly recreated in the concrete, in the particular conditions of man. For Eternity, Being, the Absolute, the Sky Father or whatever one wants to call it, does not reside lonely and complete in his own realm, but has chosen to live through the incomplete world of Becoming, through us who are both spirit and matter. Out of his great love for his creation, the Christian God chose to be born as a simple man, and sacrifice himself in order to bring the world order, and so Man must live and die in the love for his Woman below, and the artist must embrace and love the particular culture which he was born into and which he must bring eternity into, no matter how incomplete it may be.
All men of the true Right know the importance of our particularity as having been born into a people and possessing a specific heritage – that is, our being born into a certain space – but few fully understand that we are also born into a certain time, into the particularity of our culture today, and that we can’t escape this either, but must act through it: we must manifest the universal and absolute Truth through time just as we must through the people. Laibach knows of the particularity of our ancient heritage, of the symbols which “personify the striving of purity, sublimity and ennoblement, uniting eternity with power, dignity with courage and love with death”, but also of the particularity of our time, and the need for an avant-gardism. That the culture of our day is weak and incomplete is no excuse, for all cultures, all peoples and all heritages are incomplete and are as nothing in the face of the terrible and infinite Absolute, and as little as a man should long and pretend to be of another people than that which he was born into, so little should he pretend and long to be a part of a culture and time since long lost and dead. Rather he must wholly accept and love the fate given to him, if he is to manifest the Eternal in his actual life.
Anyone can condemn and hate our time, can repeat the obvious and many-times-heard criticisms of the culture of today, but it takes a far rarer nobility, a far greater celestial and virile spirit, to actually love and embrace this broken mess below oneself, at the same time as one subdues it, and strikes it with the thunderbolt of eternal order, burning what’s broken, but ennobling what’s left. It is only an unmovable few who can devour modernity, at the same time as they stay pure and truthful, but when they do, they recreate Eternity as a living, breathing work, in the hidden beauty and power existing in their own time, which only their noble eyes were able to discern. Yes, they repeat the great love of Being itself, when it chose to live through the broken mess of Becoming below it.
The love that the absolute Being has given to the incomplete Becoming, the love that the universal has given to the particular, and the dual movement man must make to repeat this love, which reach for the Eternal at the same time as it lands in the temporal – that is the true essence of art, of man, and of the world itself. Yet there is a disappointingly broad movement within the contemporary Right, namely the purely National, which only accepts a certain part of the particular, namely the people, at the same time as it denies the universal altogether. In the National worldview, man is complete on account of having being born to the great Mother of the people, his one and only essence is given by the blood and soil of her womb, and all he needs to do is to return and affirm this community of the Mother. And similarly, art does only need to look back at the Motherland, flattering her particularity and endlessly repeating the fixed ideas which the National believes turn man into a good servant of his great Mother. There is no Father in this world-view, no unmovable sky or eternal Being above it all, and when man merely serves his particularity – when man forgets his most sacred wish of being like his great Father above, to both love and complete the particular through the universal, just like the Father – then he can never create true art. Art and culture, no matter how noble their underlying blood and soil happen to be, become as infertile and incomplete as a woman without a man, as sad and failed as the acorn which never broke through the womb of the earth, which never saw the sun and thus never grew into the mighty oak it was meant to be.
For culture is like a plant, uncompromisingly rooted in the soil which is its people, but it is not the soil which give the plant its vital energy, which lets it branch into a lustrous manifold of leaves to crown a noble and powerful trunk, but the sky. It is the loving rain, the fresh air and the burning wheel of the Sun which lets the sapling build itself into a mighty oak, for the vital part of the plant is not its roots, but its photosynthesis, its mysterious power to bind the energy of the sun into matter. It is this power and this power alone which lets the plant build and twine threads of wood from mere water and air, and which gives birth to the branches as well as the roots. Yes, it is the plant that brings greatness to the soil, and not the other way around, as the plant captures and strikes the light of the sun into her depths, and carry dead minerals and nutrients upwards, into a living crown of leaves, where she for a short time can feel the touch of the air and light she could never reach by herself. The ultimate fulfillment of the oak does not stem from the particular soil it’s rooted in, but from the great sun, resting high above all plants and all pieces of soil.
And so culture is given its true lifeforce and completion through the great sun of Eternity, and art, that highest form of culture, is not found at the roots of the tree, in the damp womb of Woman, but there at the top of the crown, in the lushful leaves and their playful dance. For the artist is the great photosynthesizer of his culture, he who high above the soil, surrounded by floating air, forces the great life of Being into matter, into his culture; and it is on him that the true splendor and the whole life of the culture truly depend, and it is he and only he who makes it grow to both branch higher and root deeper. And it is not the artist that is given greatness and life by the people, but it is he who brings the people greatness, who for a short time carries it upwards into the living crown of the culture, where it for a short time can feel the touch of the eternity it could never reach by itself. The ultimate fulfillment of culture is not born from the particular, but from the sun of the universal, resting high above all matter in Eternity, which the artist forces into the particular part of the world that is his own.
The universal, the great Absolute that must be at the root of everything, has been rejected by large segments of the Right, as they in their National frenzy believe it to be a degenerate abstraction and thought which contradicts their beloved Mother, while in reality the universal is the great and life-giving Father above, from which everything truly great stems, and which does not contradict but fulfills, and makes into a manifestation of Eternity that particularity which the National hold so dear. It is of course true that the universal without the particular is just empty nonsense and abstractions, which does not capture the true essence of Eternity, as Eternity has chosen to live through the temporal. And it is also true that the noble European yearning to reach the ultimate and universal – that Absolute which is the true essence of existence and which has been the goal of our great science, philosophy, conquest, art and faith – has been hijacked by other groups and forces. They have perverted the universal into meaning “the materialistic good of every people but our own”, and the West has foolishly chosen to deny its particularity in favour of this false universal, and forgotten the struggle and love of the true universal, which sacrificed itself to bring Eternity into the particular. But if the Right believes this perversion to be the essence of the universal, and hence Eternity to be a sickness, they are commiting as great a sin as all the malicious perverters. For then they too have rejected their true core and mission, and thrown themselves into an idolatrous worship of matter, leading only to the dust and oblivion of the womb.
In their great misunderstanding of the universal and the true essence of the world, they claim disastrously that the essence of Aryan tradition and faith is to worship the particular, the great womb of the people. To be European is to worship nature, the ancestors and the ghosts who live in our trees and rocks, for these are the animistic forces of Woman that has given us life. But then, if we look to the natives of Africa, Australia and North America, do we see a faith built upon that great universal Being which supposedly is the antithesis of Aryan Europe? Or do we not rather see a worship of nature, the ancestors and the ghosts who live in their trees and rocks, as these peoples believe that it is these animistic forces of Woman, and not Eternity above, which has given them life? Through his false faith, the National man loudly prides himself on the racial characteristics and materialistic accomplishments that separate him from these other peoples, prides himself on the white womb, but what he truly does is debase the celestial soul of the European, turning the European into a true, womb-worshiping equal of these peoples.
If there is one thing that has always characterized European faith, it has been our great and noble will to reach the Absolute and Eternal sky above, and to manifest its universal Truth in the world below us. We have always known a great Father at the centre of our beliefs, and known that it is he who from the transcendent, unmovable skies uphold the world of matter and Nature below, and strikes order into its slumbering womb. To be like our great Father above – that is the true and noble essence of Aryan faith, and it is this celestial will, and not the animistic ghosts of Woman and matter, that has been the true core of all noble Europeans, Pagan or Christian, and of all noble men of other races.
In a last defence of the false worship of the particular, the National might both deny the celestial core of Paganism, and claim that the idea of the universal is a Jewish construct, which infiltrated Europe through Christianity. And Christ truly knew that existence rested upon a great and universal Father, but this is what set him apart from the Jewish faith, and what proves rather than disproves the great nobility of Christianity. For the Jewish faith, even if it happens to be monotheistic, does not truly know a universal and celestial Truth, for it has degraded its Jehova into a servant of the Jewish people, just as the National thinks that religion, spirit and gods are judged by how well they serve our people. Divinity is equated with the materialistic success of the people, of the number of sons and lands, and for the Jew, the promised Messiah is not the great Truth of the universe made into living flesh and blood, but a mere National leader promised by Jehova, which will grant them uncountable sons and unending power over the lands of the world. So when Christ, that most noble and beautiful soul, proclaimed that he, God made man, was the Messiah, and that his mission was not to benefit the Jewish people, but through his unfathomable love and sacrifice redeem the whole of existence, the Jews could only answer with hate and scorn. Christ transcended the National faith of the Jews, and they wanted to see him dead, believing that he denied their particularity as a “chosen people”, when he in reality offered their particularity, and the particularity of every people, fulfillment as men in the true image of God.
The Jews worshiped their particularity and prosperity as a people, and Christ only won the love of a few great and holy Jews, while the rest could only wish him dead on the cross. But we Europeans, we who have always known the great beauty of the immovable sky, and yearned for it to live through our flesh and blood, we understood Christ, we loved his great and noble sacrifice, and the whole of our continent would come to unite in a great manifestation of the Truth, that God had chosen to love the world.
Christianity was not a harmful “universalism” which undermined the European peoples, but rather a great reminder of our true core, that there is one Absolute source of the universe, and that this is manifested through our particularity as men, and thus Christianity revitalized and rebirthed the European man and his Tradition. For the late paganism of the Indo-Europeans was not the pure, celestial faith it may have been in a long forgotten past, but a great mish-mash of different gods and cults, infected by superstitions and telluric nature-worship, which had created a broken and contradictory pantheon, where no god could truly be said to represent the Absolute. And this faith could not satisfy the noblest among the Indo-Europeans, as they tried to breach it hundreds of years before Christ. In the West, the great minds of the Greeks slowly but steadily moved above their pantheon, towards a single, absolute Being, which Plato called the idea of the Good and Aristotle the unmoved mover; and in the East, the noble and awakened Buddha felt that the Hinduist plethora of gods was not worthy of the Ariya, and righteously banished them as demons of the great cycle, far below the pure Nothingness that was his true home.
But our ancient wise men could not truly unite the eternal with the temporary, not explain why the absolute Good and Beauty would need the broken world of matter, and it was in this great despair that Christ showed himself to us. He told us that this great absurdity was the love of Eternity, that the great Father had chosen to live and die as a simple man and that Being has chosen to manifest itself through the Becoming it loved, and we recognized this to be the Truth and solution we had searched for. If there is any shame in the European embrace of Christ, it does not lie in the fact that Christ was a Jew, but that we, in the twilight of our paganism grown old and weak, were not strong enough to rediscover the true essence of the Absolute, but that a foreigner had to do it for us.
And if we Europeans of today are no longer satisfied with the teachings of Christ, if we no longer believe that he can be the heart of a true culture – if the inherent stench of an afterlife and of salvation has become all to noticeable in a faith grown old and weak – then the answer is not to regress back into some sort of National animism, that worst aspect of our since long dead paganism, but to outdo Christ. If there is someone of European stock among us who is the great Father made man, Eternity made temporal and the sky walking among us on earth; if there is a European man who can reach and repeat the unreachable sacrifice of God himself, if he through his great love of the world below him can redeem and reunite the whole of existence with its celestial origin, then let him step forth! Surely, there would be no greater beauty on this earth, than if God would choose to live and die on that European soil which is the richest of the earth, instead of the meagre desert, and I for one could not wish for any greater manifestation of Eternity. But until then – until then we should not degrade ourselves into besmirching the nobility of Christ, dragging our hearts away from his celestial love into the telluric madness that is the National worldview. For as surely as I know that I would be the proud disciple of this European successor of Christ, so do I know that he will not arise from the camp of the Nationals; yes, I know that they, as the Jews once did, would rather wish to see him on the cross, believing that he is the enemy of the European particularity, when in reality he would be the one who would make Europe, and the whole world, into a true work of Eternity.