From a philosophical perspective, the ultimate aim of postmodernity is the eradication of all traditional metaphysics. This represents a fundamental challenge to traditional modes of thought of Western civilization and its people. Postmodernity, as the current dominant and hegemonic worldview of the West, seeks to demystify and dismantle all natural social arrangements: inegalitarianism, hierarchy, order, and human excellence. Moreover, it is from the dissolutive properties intrinsic to postmodern thought that all identity, meaning, and values are deconstructed, fragmented, and rendered meaningless. From this it is fair to say that the postmodern world is one of decay and degeneration, and, as such, wholly antithetical to the totality of Western civilization and its constituent European peoples.
The destruction of all higher forms of value and meaning have transformed the postmodern West into a materialistic society, based firmly upon two principles: that nothing is worse than death and nothing better than the accumulation of wealth. Postmodernity is the cornerstone of the bourgeois mentality – the love of comfort and security – which represents the very antithesis of the metaphysical and historical realities that have made the West great. More to the point, this worldview, grounded in the bourgeois mentality, stands in stark contrast to the aristocratic worldview that has long served as the hallmark of all European achievement and excellence. The aristocratic worldview presupposes that there are things worse than death and better than wealth. Dishonor and slavery are worse than death, and honor and freedom are more important than the mere acquisition of wealth. This is the essence of the spirit of the aristocratic ethos that animated the collective worldview of our ancestral past. Our forefathers not only acknowledged but paid homage to the realities of the natural world by embracing the inegalitarianism and hierarchy intrinsic to it, personified and made incarnate in the form of the warrior aristocracy and its ethos of excellence.
In this essay, we shall delve into an exploration of origins of the aristocratic world and its formal codification by the ancient Greeks. Our focus will be on the works of the brilliant epic poet Homer and his magnum opus, the Iliad; the Odyssey will be explored briefly as well. As Dominique Venner and many others have opined, the works of Homer are the foundational pillars of Western civilization and their study is of monumental importance for not only bringing about a revitalization of the aristocratic ethos but, in turn, also civilizational rebirth. While analyzing the Homeric dyad – the Iliad and the Odyssey – we will explore the fundamental values of the aristocratic worldview, as interpreted through the philosophical worldview of Friedrich Nietzsche. For Nietzsche, the ancient Greeks lived in an unrivaled golden age, during which European creativity and achievement flourished in unparalleled glory, surpassing any other period in human history. This perspective reflects Nietzsche’s admiration for the extraordinary civilization of ancient Greece and underscores his conviction in the lasting importance of their legacy. Up until very recently, the aristocratic ethos of the ancient Greeks was the fundamental basis of the worldview which animated all proceeding generations of Europeans, and, as such, in order to restore the West to its former glory, it would behoove us to work towards its resurrection. This starts first and foremost at the level of the individual and, with time and patience, ascends to the collectivity of the civilizational.
In Twilight of the Idols, the great Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche, writes: “The Greeks … created the concept of the aristocrat, and they produced a type that is incomparable and supreme: the noble human being, the aristos.’ The Greek concept of ἀρετή, arête (“excellence”), was not some vapid abstract ideal but a way of life and a mode of Being; it was the earthly representation of the pinnacle of human achievement. The writings of Homer gave birth, and external form, to a new vision of human greatness – a vision that was brought to life and made manifest within the flesh and blood of the ἄριστος, the aristos (“the best, noblest”), the aristocratic warrior of ancient Hellas. When writing about what is good, the purpose of earthly life in a manner echoing the aristocratic ethos of the ancient Greeks, Nietzsche writes: “All that heightens the feelings of power, the will to power, power itself in man. What is bad? – All that proceeds from weakness. What is happiness? – The feeling that power increases – that a resistance is overcome.” Our aim is to understand and internalize these aristocratic ideals, embodying them within ourselves as we strive for personal elevation and civilizational rebirth.
For the aristos, self-mastery is the key element in embracing arête, and, as such, it requires the cultivation of the necessary inner strength and courage to overcome all limitations vis-à-vis the Nietzschean Will to Power. The “Will to Power” is the central concept of Nietzsche’s philosophy, referring to the fundamental drive that underlies all human behavior and existence. For Nietzsche, arête was the pursuit of self-mastery and creation. He saw arête as a manifestation of the Will to Power, the driving force underlying all human action and creation. To achieve arête was to exercise one’s Will to Power and to become a “master of oneself.” In The World as Will and Representation, the widely influential Arthur Schopenhauer posits that the solution to the riddle of the world, and in our case the solution to the problems plaguing the postmodern West, comes from the formation of a proper connection between both outer and inner experience. By mastering and conquering the interiority of ourselves, we are laying the foundational groundwork necessary for the reconquering and reforging of the external world.
The aristocratic virtue of arête was a fundamental element to both of Homer’s epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey. In the Iliad, Achilles, the aristos par excellence, is portrayed as possessing “the arête of body and of soul” and “the thumos of a lion.” The term thumos, θυμός, denotes spiritedness or a passionate desire to excel. Relatedly, the philosopher Plato is famous for his theory of the tripartite nature of the soul (psyche), including the concept of the thumos. For Plato, the soul is logically and ontologically divided into three parts: reason (logos), spirit (thumos), and appetite or desire (epithumia). Reason, or logos, is responsible for rational thought and will be in control of the most ordered soul. The spirit, or thumos, is responsible for spirited emotions, like love, anger, and joy. Appetites, or epithumia, are responsible not only for natural appetites such as hunger, thirst, and sex, but also for the desire of excess in each of these and other appetites. It is through the fiery spirit of the thumos, much like that of Achilles, that Alexander the Great carved out his great world conquests, becoming the embodiment of the conquering spirit.
Achilles’ arête was evident in his skill as a warrior. With his spear and shield, he carved his way through countless foes, leaving no doubt of his superiority. As Homer recounts in the Iliad: “And now he charges like a god of war, Laying low the fighters left and right.” However, Achilles exercised his arête not only through his execution of martial prowess but also through sagacity in battle. As such, Achilles possessed the wisdom to know when to fight and when to refrain from the struggle of combat. Homer writes, “Achilles drew the great sword from his thigh and was about to dash among the foremost fighters, but Athena came to him from heaven… and spoke to him: ‘Do not, by any means, even for a moment, set upon the Trojans and fight with them.’” As the children of ancient Europa, we must strive for arête, for excellence in all things like the noble Achilles. More importantly, we must know when to fight and when not to fight. We must once again become towering colossi, in body, mind and spirit, so that through our strength made manifest through our collective excellence, we will be the catapulting springboard through which the West is restored to its rightful place of total planetary hegemonic glory. By embracing the thumotic, the spirited drive for arête, for excellence in all things, we imbue ourselves with the animating and conquering spirit of Achilles and all things become possible.
In the pursuit of the revitalization of the aristocratic ethos, the concept of τόλμα, tolma (“daring,” “I dare”) also holds significant importance. In the Iliad, the daring bravery of Hector is praised when he says, “Even when my spirit tells me to stand and fight no longer, I will have to disregard it and win glory, or die.” By disregarding his own fear, and pushing himself to achieve glory, Hector demonstrates the importance of tolma, of daring courage, in the pursuit of excellence. For Nietzsche, tolma is a vital component of his vision of the Übermensch, the Overman, the ideal of human perfection and excellence. The Übermensch is one who possesses the courage and Herculean strength necessary to pursue the noble goal of excellence with an unwavering sense of determination and daring. Moreover, tolma also entails the ability to endure. For Nietzsche, the man of the future is he who can endure. The struggle for the heart and soul and the very survival of the West requires that we must act with tolma; we must be brave like Hector, and we must endure, even when we feel that the struggle that lies before us is insurmountable. If we are able to bravely endure the scores of ordeals necessary to revitalize the West, final victory is an absolute certainty.
Another fundamental principle of the aristoi is τιμή, timē (“honor,” “reverence”). In the Iliad, the mighty Achilles famously declared that his “timē comes before his life.” Achilles was the personification of the principle of “death before dishonor.” For the ancient Hellenes and all true aristocrats throughout history, honor is not some mere platitude of an abstraction but rather an elemental component of Being. It is a manifestation of noble character, unyielding courage, and an unwavering commitment to excellence.
For Nietzsche, honor was not a passive state of Being but an active pursuit of greatness and distinction. It was a manifestation of the individual’s Will to Power, a reflection of their inner strength, courage, and self-mastery. Nietzsche believed that the pursuit of timē, of honor, required the constant struggle against the forces of complacency, conformity, and mediocrity, and, as such, it was a celebration of the exceptional. In Nietzsche’s words, “The noble soul has reverence for itself.” The forces of postmodernity seek the erasure of all identity, especially European identity, and by honoring ourselves and our ancestral past, we are taking the first vital steps necessary towards breaking their stranglehold over Western civilization and its people. We pay honor, and the greatest homage to our ancestral past, by possessing the strength necessary to fight for our people’s glorious future.
The aristocratic ideal of κλέος, kleos (“glory”), is another vital component constituting the spirit of the aristos. In the Iliad, Achilles’ pursuit of kleos is evidenced by his willingness to sacrifice his life for the sake of glory when he says, “My fate is to live a short life, but to achieve everlasting glory.” Odysseus, the protagonist of the Odyssey, is another prime example of someone who seeks glory but in a sense beyond the utilization of martial prowess. In Book VIII of the Odyssey, he is welcomed to the court of King Alcinous of the Phaeacians where he is asked to recount his fantastic adventures. Through his storytelling, Odysseus is able to achieve glory and thus gain the admiration and respect of his audience. The bards of the Odyssey also sing of the kleos of heroes such as Achilles, Agamemnon, and Ajax. In Nietzsche’s view, the pursuit of kleos, or glory, is an expression of the Will to Power. By striving for eternal glory and renown, the aristos asserts self-mastery over himself and dominance over the world. Moreover, it is through the glory of our deeds in life that we are able to live on past death and inspire future generations to ascend to even greater heights of excellence. By living gloriously in the present, we transform ourselves into the vital and living epitomes of the aristocratic ethos, worthy of emulation by future generations.
The aristocratic virtue of ἀνδρεία, andreia (“courage,” “manly spirit”) is another of the timeless attributes sought by all aristocrats, both past and present. Homer’s Iliad provides numerous examples of courage and bravery in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. One of the most iconic examples of andreia, or courage, in the Iliad is expressed by the Trojan prince Hector. Hector had slain Patroclus, the kinsman and inseparable companion of Achilles, triggering the famed fury, or rage, of Achilles. Despite facing the wrath of the great hero Achilles, Hector shows no fear, and, instead, he courageously confronts his foe and bravely accepts his destiny. As such, Hector displays great andreia, great courage, by heroically confronting his adversary. In Book XXII of the Iliad, Hector is described as “fierce as a bloodthirsty lion,” and he is not afraid to face Achilles in single combat, even though he knows that the odds are overwhelmingly stacked against him and death is almost certain.
For Nietzsche, the pursuit of andreia is not just about physical courage in battle but more broadly encompasses the courage to face the challenges of life with a “manly spirit.” Hector embodies this ideal, not just as a warrior but also as a husband, father, and great leader. Nietzsche believed that true greatness and power comes from the balance between pursuing both kleos (“glory”) and andreia (“courage”), rather than favoring one over the other. It is the harmonious syncretism of the two which endows the aristos with noble ferocity. To revitalize the glory of the West, we must be courageous in the face of the myriad of overwhelming foes that stand before us. Moreover, we can achieve this by endowing the very essence of our Being with this Nietzschean sense of “noble ferocity” which animated the spirits of the warrior aristocrats from our ancient past.
In “The Struggle between Science and Wisdom,” Nietzsche writes: “The Greeks progressed quickly, but they likewise declined with frightening quickness. When the Hellenic genius had exhausted its highest types, Greece declined with the utmost rapidity.” At present, the postmodern worldview is fragmenting the European identity and sapping the historical and metaphysical vitality from our people. As the true heirs to noble Hellas, by embracing the principles intrinsic to the aristocratic virtues of our European forefathers, we proactively reject the dissolutive nature of a meaningless postmodernity and transform ourselves into the living incarnation of the Nietzschean bridge from whence Western civilization can be and will be revitalized and restored to its former majestic glory. Oswald Spengler said it best when he wrote, “What we are called upon to do is to render the greatest possible meaning to the life that has been granted to us, to the reality that surrounds us and into which Destiny has placed us. We must live in such a way that we can be proud of ourselves. We must act in such a way that some part of us will live on in the process of reality that is heading toward eventual completion.” I can think of no nobler or more honorable pursuit than to embrace the aristocratic virtues of our ancestral past and strive towards the resurrection and regeneration of a victorious and all-conquering Western civilization.
Excellent essay. I really enjoyed the way the essay began with a focus on Homer and the Ancient Greeks, and then used that to explain Nietzsche.
I definitely look forward to more from Crowley.
I totally agree. He’s a brilliant writer!