Arktos Journal – Arktos https://arktos.com Mon, 10 Dec 2018 14:14:01 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0 For a French Awakening https://arktos.com/2018/12/10/for-a-french-awakening/ https://arktos.com/2018/12/10/for-a-french-awakening/#comments_reply Mon, 10 Dec 2018 14:11:44 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=5450 How will France awaken?

To what extent have we been right in accepting this ready-made expression and speaking of a ‘French awakening’?

It is certainly not a sleep that we are dealing with. Not even a chloroform sleep under the knife of the surgeon. After our heavy fall, the heaviest of our falls, we would be very miserable, more miserable than we are, if it had made us fall asleep.

But by ‘French awakening’ the modesty of the language means and understands the actions by which France, in the course of its trials, has made an end of its forgetfulness of itself and has regained possession of its real being, its true personality and physical and moral qualities, which are part of its destiny. Rightly do we speak of a revival of our fatherland. We ask: What do we do, what have we done, what are we used to doing and what will we do to emerge from this abyss of evils?

We shall attempt to detect this following the character and condition of our former revivals. It is a question of determining what future may be deduced from our past rebirths.

It is wrong to represent us as Germans who denied their natural idiom. It is equally false to consider us as pure Gauls who merely abjured the Celtic idioms. We are Gallo-Romans.

This question is sharp and poignant. It presupposes that other questions have been explained and resolved: What, then, is the type and the style of France’s falls? What are their customary and constant causes? And this in turn presupposes a clear idea of the collective being which has been allowed to fall and which is revived in this manner. Let us first take this clear notion of France. Then everything will be clear, simple and even easy after.

What, then, is France?

What does one do when one wishes to know what sort of person a man or woman is?

… One mentions their family: such and such,

… One names their father, their mother,

just as it was demanded in the famous examination of the archontes of Athens after the drawing of lots.1

Let us do the same for our nation. Into what family of nations should the French nation be classified? From what historical marriage did it emerge? To what time in history should we trace back its birth?

I shall teach you nothing new by saying that it is agreed that the race of the ancient inhabitants of Gaul, the race called Gallic, is recognized as our principal common ancestor. Their physical continuities are still quite apparent for us to recognize in it the provenance of our population base, in our most varied regions, in the centre as well in the west, and even in the south and in the east. ‘Yes, I feel I am a Gaul.’ said Mistral happily to Le Goffic.2

That does not preclude our investigating if there is a total identity between these primitive Gauls and the French of our long history.

The Gallic type is perfectly defined in the tribes that followed (or did not follow) Vercingétorix around 80 B.C.3 His type resembles ours very much but it differs from it in some deep traits.

But 500 years later, one finds oneself in the presence of a nation somewhat similar and somewhat different, provided with all the fundamental characteristics of a new nation. As Gabriel Hanotaux4 expressed it very well regarding the entry of the Frankish army into Gaul around 420, ‘France has been created, only its name is lacking.’

Apart from its name, France thus had at that time all it needed to have. It pre-existed before the arrival of the Franks; it did not pre-exist before the arrival of the Romans. It is thus wrong to represent us, as Johann Gottlieb Fichte5, the precursor of Germanism and Nazism, dared to do, as Germans who denied their natural idiom. It is equally false to consider us as pure Gauls who merely abjured the Celtic idioms. We are Gallo-Romans.

And, nevertheless, let us try to maintain a very clear and proud feeling about it. Before Caesar and his legions, what a beautiful and noble race already covered the French hexagon! …

The genius of the Celtic races, combining with the charms of a very rich imagination, attuned to marvels the incantatory powers of the heart, a heroic energy and a feeling for and knowledge of subordinate arts and trades.

And what a magnificent blood this Gallic race bequeathed to us!!

I do not need to recall the virtues and qualities of the classical Gaul:

his superhuman bravery, his taste in intellectual matters and in matters of eloquence: ‘Rem militarem et argute loqui.’

The art of fighting and that of speaking well,6 the generosity, the enthusiasm, the ardour, the readiness to take risks, the instinct to undertake enterprises and conquests, a mystical philosophy, but learnt from the highest speculations of the great sages of Egypt, Greece and Etruria, a religion full of poetry, a poetry full of dreams, fierce and graceful, or sublime, rituals which ranged from human sacrifice to the solemn picking of the sacred mistletoe by the priestess in a white robe armed with a golden sickle, and, in nature, a serious effort at clearing a vast extent of forests, an already scientific agriculture and nascent industries that were much advanced.

To sum up, the genius of the Celtic races, combining with the charms of a very rich imagination, attuned to marvels the incantatory powers of the heart, a heroic energy and a feeling for and knowledge of subordinate arts and trades.

In short, then, life dared boldly and industriously on all its paths, death confronted without trembling, expeditions, distant ventures of generous and violent men who were so brave that they claimed to fear only the falling of the heavens, against which they exhausted all their arrows of defiance.

How could we evoke such great memories without feeling that they resonate, speak and sing within the intimacy of our depths?

This Gallic ardour is already the French ardour. It is the French enthusiasm. It is the exhilaration of discoveries, conquests, colonisations, wonders: Africa, Asia, the Levant, Canada. Let us recognise all that that covers up of annoying weaknesses.

For we must mention also what the Romans called tumultus gallicus, the tumult, the effervescence of the Gallic peoples. Tumor multus, a tremendous simmering, something like a great irritability. Often this rises to a very high degree, then flattens out pathetically!

One hears in the section above the conqueror of Gaul. Julius Caesar shows himself impartial and disinterested when he confesses that his most powerful ally against the Gauls was, in Gaul itself, the discord of big children. He said that the outburst of contrary opinions had betrayed commands there and paralysed action.

Quot capita a tot sensus. As many heads, so many opinions.

From then on, how to discover or maintain a common direction?

An enemy well united always had an advantage over such friends or allies who were very often separated or changeable, normally not very sure, sometimes hating one another!

Who would be the leader first? An Éduen?7 An Arverne?8 Which Éduen? Which Arverne? Did the Éduens conduct negotiations with a foreign enemy? The Arvernes conspired against their general. But what did the other cities do, or to better translate civitates, the other states? States that were quite disunited; some very peaceful waited for the decline of their rivals or a pact with the foreigner, the others so busy tearing themselves apart could not even conceive a notion of the public welfare of their Gaul …

From thence this adage that must immerse us more completely into the depths of our reflexions on ourselves: Gallus Gallo lupus. The Gaul is like a wolf to a Gaul, which has been too often translated as: The Frenchman is like a wolf to a Frenchman.

So, between the Frenchman and the Gaul, what a double series of resemblances … In good and in bad, in beautiful things and in ugly. The first leading to all the peaks, the second tragic and shaking at all the abysses. In ugly things, this could be naked violence, disorderly vehemence, what another Roman calls vis consili expers, strength without reason. In beautiful things, this is Roland the gallant,9 the magnificent, this is young Gaston de Foix,10 this is the knight without fear and without reproach, our Bayard,11 this is, descending through the same noble history, our admirable Lamartine,12 taming the masses in the manner of a Gallic Hercules with the golden chains that emerged from his mouth, the harmony of his words, defeating revolution. There is nothing more Gallic or more French.

But alas! … How many historical miseries are to be ranged along with these glories! How many awful capitulations! … How many weaknesses that distorted our revolutions! Above all, how many misfortunes born of the mutual hatred of the citizens, Frenchmen against Frenchmen, truly wolves against wolves.

Gallic strength, Roman order – such is, in my opinion, the civil state of our fatherland.

But there is something other than historical resemblances and dissimilarities to be highlighted here. There are new facial forms, kinds of intellect, expressions, airs that are neither Roman nor Gallic, they are only Gallo-Latin, they are French, a type of powerful man given to hard and strong thoughts, square heads like Colbert,13 or triangular ones like Richelieu,14 firm resolutions, deep calculations born of robust reasons which balance the violence of hearts by intensifying it.

Vis consili expers mole ruit sua: vim temperatam di quoque provehunt in majus15

The bishops of the Merovingian age already break out of the character of pure Gallic heroism and of ‘Rômê Amathés’16 or ignorant strength. These are also scholars and wise men. They feel but they think. They are devotees but they foresee. Enthusiastic, generous, enterprising, loving risk like born gamblers, they know how to deal to win by virtue of wisdom and enduring perseverance; these bright lights were lacking in primitive Gaul and history authorises us to say that this was naturally, and properly, the Roman contribution: order and reason. Another contribution of the same element: differently from the other great peoples of antiquity our Gauls were not literate, they were satisfied with speech and song. I do not speak of the Cisalpine Gauls, where Virgil and Livy shine at a very early period; but as for our Transalpine ancestors, hardly had Rome fallen upon them than they began to rival them in all the arts of written eloquence, rhetoric, jurisprudence, philosophy, poetry. And there, from the time of Gallus17 and Petronius18 to Ausonius19 and Favorinus,20 one may say that there is a perfect continuity between the Gallo-Romans and our Frenchmen lasting almost two millennia; they wrote as well as they spoke and that is not saying little! …

A new contribution of the Roman marriage: differently from the Egyptians, Greeks, Etruscans, Romans, our Gauls were generally satisfied with round huts made of wood, at the edges of their forests. They hardly made any constructions; our sickness of stone hardly arose among them. Hardly had they been formed than the Gallo-Romans became the French of today: architects and, like them, builders and masons within the soul: theatres, temples, arenas, churches, castles, town or country houses, palaces, bridges and ports, ramparts and convents, a bird’s eye view of our land attests to this congenital mania which we laugh at but which enchants us. The native landscape must have been very beautiful in its wild nakedness but its clothing in stone and bricks gave it its magnificent Roman ornamentation, our architecture. Right from the first contact of the Roman with the Gaul, the latter deployed his originality of vision and manufacture; our Provencals who have some experience of the Gallo-Roman product are able to present something other than a servile imitation that is more or less tolerable. Just look, from the elevation of the highway, at Saint-Chamas, our Flavian bridge on the Touloubre.21 The Romanised Gaul sometimes recalls Greece and even Attica but also himself, his taste and genius. Later, this is no longer argued, a total transformation of traditions that have been more or less learnt is conducted by the Frenchman; he has the good nature to call his inventions ‘romances’ or ‘gothic’, these autochthonous ideas go to the extreme point of what the human mind has conceived in terms of freedom and realised in terms of adventurousness.

The novelty is quite similar within the institutions. Gaul, in its pure state, offers us essentially only a mosaic of clans. That is all that it can oppose to the imperial statism of the centralising Caesars. Except that Roman Gaul develops at the same time some lineaments of a new aristocratic, hierarchical, monarchical status: the feudal order.

It is for this reason that the souls themselves were gradually transformed and there was developed in them a synthesis of emotion and intelligence, of illuminating consciousness and generous movement. It is not the Gaul, it is the Gallo-Roman, it is the Frenchman who is defined by the harmony of his two great dominant elements:

— the extreme vigour of a natural élan, this orderly, enlightened and reasonable élan;

— the forces of the heart magnified by the thought that directs them.

This definition allows us to identify our France with the eternal and universal culture that was foreseen by the ancient Hellene Anaxagoras as an expression of humanity: ‘At first all things were entangled and confused, Mind emerged to distribute them according to an order.’22 But these ‘things’, these ingredients of the Gallic chaos, constituted already a magnificent wealth and the work of the intelligence has not been to desiccate them, to stunt them; reason rendered them more useful and more fecund when it placed them in their proper place.

Gallic strength, Roman order, such is, in my opinion, the civil state of our fatherland. ‘Sian gau rouman et gentilhoume,’ said Mistral,23 ‘Gallo-Romans and gentlemen’ with something more: baptised Gallo-Romans.

References:

1 [The archontes (plural of ‘archon’) were the magistrates of the earliest period of Greek antiquity. Though originally drawn from the wealthy citizens, the archons were, after 487 BC, chosen more democratically from the people at large by the drawing of lots.] [N.B. All notes in brackets are by the translator.]

2 Charles le Goffic (1863–1932), whose Breton regionalism brought close to the Action Française, with which he collaborated regularly. Elected to the Académie française in 1930 (Editor’s note).

3 [Vercingetorix was a Gallic chieftain who united the Gauls in a revolt against Caesar’s Roman forces in the first century BC.]

4 Historian, diplomat and politician (1853–1944), several-time Minister of Foreign Affairs. See the article ‘Deux témoins de la France’ (1902) (Editor’s note).

5 Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762–1814), German philosopher and eulogiser of the nation, the state and centralised economic regulation. It was necessary to wait for the seventies for the influence of Fichte on Communism to be recognised, which explains that Maurras associates him only with Nazism (Editor’s note).

6 Recent scholars read this sentence of Cato’s differently today but it has been read and translated in this way for 2,000 years. That is the sign that it did not lack in some truth. (The quotation from Cato the Elder, called the Censor – this is one of the famous fragments that have survived of his major work, Origines.) (Editor’s note).

7 [Vindomaros the Éduen was one of the Gallic tribal leaders who revolted against Caesar. The Eduens were incorporated under Augustus into the territory called Gaule lyonnaise, which along with Gaule belgique and Gaule aquitaine formed the three Gauls.]

8 [The Arvernes were a Gallic tribe of south-central France and gave their name to the modern province of Auvergne.]

9 [Roland, a knight serving in the army of the Frankish king Charlemagne during the Crusades, is the subject of the eleventh century epic poem La Chanson de Roland. Roland died in the Battle of Roncevaux in AD778.]

10 [Gaston de Foix (1489–1512) was a young French military commander in the War of the League of Cambrai (1508–16) which involved the Papal States, the Venetian Republic and France. De Foix died fighting in the Battle of Ravenna of 1512.]

11 [Pierre Terrail, known as the Chevalier de Bayard (1473–1524), was a valiant knight who took part in several battles in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.]

12 [Alphonse de Lamartine (1790–1869) was instrumental in the formation of the Second Republic in 1848 during the revolution of that year which forced the abdication of Louis-Philippe. He was also one of the earliest of French Romantic poets.]

13 [Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619–1683) was Minister of Finance under Louis XIV whose economic reforms had considerable beneficial effects on French manufacture and trade.]

14 [Cardinal de Richelieu (1585–1642) was Louis XIII’s chief minister and a vigorous patron of the arts who founded the Académie française in 1635.]

15 Horace, Carmina III, 4, 65–68:
Vis consili expers mole ruit sua,
vim temperatam di quoque provehunt
In majus; idem odere vives
Omne nejas animo moventis.
which is:
‘Force without intelligence crumbles through its own weight; well-regulated force is always advanced higher by the gods themselves; and they despise those whose strength meditates only forbidden actions.’
The ode is dedicated to Calliope and intended to demonstrate that strength is nothing if it is not guided by wisdom. The message is illustrated by the battle won by Jupiter against the rebellious Titans, this is an echo of the eighth of the Pythic odes of Pindar. — Editor’s note.

16 [‘Amathes’ is the Greek for ‘ignorant’].

17 Cyprianus Gallus, poet of the beginning of the fifth century, author of a translation of the Pentateuch in dactylic hexametres (Editor’s note).

18 There is a tradition which makes Petronius, the not well-known author of the Satyricon and victim of Nero, a Gaul: it is based on a text of Sidonius Apollinaris that is not sufficiently clear, which seems to make him be born or at least live in Marseilles, and on a conjecture of Bouche in his Chorographie et Histoire de la Provence (Aix, 1664) which makes the author of the Satyricon come from the village of Petruis, near Sisteron, because an inscription discovered in 1560 revealed that this locality bore in antiquity the name Vicus Petronii. It remains that no factor allows the connection of the Satyricon to the Gallo-Roman world of which it is a question here. It may also be a question, in the mind of Maurras, of Saint Petronius born in Avignon, bishop of Die, died 463 (Editor’s note).

19 High Roman dignitary of the fourth century, born and died in Bordeaux. Teacher of the future emperor Gratian and then his protegé, he occupied many positions in diverse provinces of the Empire. He notably composed many poems glorifying the wine of Bordeaux and one of the two prime vintages of Saint-Émilion bears his name today (Editor’s note).

20 Philosopher who was born and died in Arles, famous under the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian. His work itself is lost but we know of its existence through Aulus Gellius, who was his disciple and reproduces numerous extracts from it in his Noctes Atticae. After having professed at Athens and Rome, Favorinus was named pontiff of his town Arles by the Emperor Hadrian. He refused, which led to his disgrace (Editor’s note).

21 On the route from Marseille to Arles, north of the Étang de Berre. One of the two arches of this work of the first century was destroyed in 1944 by the American army and then reconstructed identically stone by stone. The manner in which the sentence is framed allows us to understand that it was composed in 1943 and not altered since then (Editor’s note).

22 [Anaxagoras (fifth century BC) was a Greek pre-Socratic philosopher who considered Mind (νοΰς) as the principal ordering force of the universe.]

23 [Frédéric Mistral (1830–1914) was a poet who wrote in the Occitan language of southern France, which is closely related to Catalan. His most famous work is the long poem Mirèio (Mireille).]

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The Open Society and Its Enemies – Part 2 https://arktos.com/2018/12/07/the-open-society-and-its-enemies-part-2/ https://arktos.com/2018/12/07/the-open-society-and-its-enemies-part-2/#comments_reply Fri, 07 Dec 2018 14:31:37 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=5429 The open society, as all societies, has not only to contend with the strife within its borders, but also with the conflicts outside of its borders. The open society is agnostic, and preaches tolerance toward different laws and customs, because it refuses to come to any explicit conclusions about the best society. But it is the only society in the world to behave in this way. The open society, which should, if it remains true to its premises, consider no other society inimical, faces nonetheless the universal enmity of all societies which are not themselves open societies. The open society is the great pariah of the world. But because the only society which can even dream of becoming an open society is a society of powerful economic and military standing, or a society protected by such a one, open societies tend to be powerful or well defended. The open society thus cannot be directly attacked by its enemies; its enemies must dream subtler ways of undermining it. The open society, if it is to stave off these dangers, must approach the world beyond its borders with a degree of perspicacity and secret suspicion, which it claims ever to forswear in its inner relations. This mandates the development of a strong military and a sophisticated intelligence system. But to both military and intelligence, openness or ‘transparency’ is not only prejudicial but deadly.

The open society, as any society, cannot therefore be perfectly candid. If any ‘open society’ you please were at this moment to publish the full extent and findings of its espionage, it would risk total collapse within a month. Beyond the fact that many of these secrets could be used to destroy it, the most devastating revelation would be the degree to which the practices of the open society contradict its proclaimed principles. Its citizenry, who are by and large duped by its specious claims of moral superiority, would not be able to abide its hypocrisy, and they would clamour for immediate purification. The response of many citizens today to the increasingly obvious existence of the ‘Deep State’ is testament to this. The open society for these very reasons cannot permit that the ways of its enemies should gain too much currency or favour or popularity in its own society; so long as it is surrounded by enemies, the open society, no matter what laws its enjoys, must be de facto a closed society.

The open society, which refuses to pass moral judgement on the customs of other societies, is the only society which is endangered merely by the existence of those customs.

The open society must therefore be closed to the degree that its enemies are powerful, and it must also develop sophisticated and efficient means of mystifying this closure so that the populace does not so much as suspect it. One knows that the King has his secrets, and one is well inured to the fact; but the President or Prime Minister must always seek to appear as though he were the frankest and least tainted man in all the world. One must believe that even such secrets as he does possess are innocuous.

The open society is therefore constrained to contradict itself incessantly in the most shameful and irritating of ways, on account of the simple fact that it cannot remain perfectly open toward its adversaries and its foes abroad. The open society is slowly corroded by this contradiction, not only through the acidic influence of its own concealed hypocrisy, but also because individuals within the open society who are basically inimical to the open society, can take advantage of these bad vicissitudes to work at compromising the open society from within.

The true lovers of the open society, its truest protagonists and supporters, are thus constrained to realize that the open society, the one human society which refuses to pass moral judgement on the customs and laws of other societies, is the only society which is endangered and compromised merely by the existence of those customs and laws. Of all human societies, it is far and away the most fragile. The global diversity of clamorous beliefs and social styles, of jostling customs, religions, and ways, which the open society over all other societies purports to love and promote, is in fact the greatest toxin to the open society. The only way the open society can be and remain perfectly open is if it is surrounded on all sides by other open societies which hold to its same principles; it must seek to proselytize all other societies, to transform them into the open society, to undermine or dilute or destroy the very diversity which it pretends to champion more than any other kind of society.

Moreover, even if it is fortunate enough to find itself surrounded by open societies – as is the case for instance of many European states – or successful enough to make all surrounding nations adopt the principles of open societies, its trouble nonetheless persists. There is always and everywhere the lingering doubt that what my neighbour is doing might not be not identical to what my neighbour says he is doing. The open society contiguous exclusively with other open societies would persistently have to wonder if its neighbours really were open societies, or if they were not merely posturing as such to lure it into a state of dependency and ingenuous vulnerability. It would have to wonder if its neighbours, like it itself, were not merely apparently open, while in fact retaining many secrets and countenancing much deception, and it would have to wonder as well what dangers and hidden threats those secrets and deception might conceal. Far from being able to dismantle its complex militaristic and intelligence apparatus, or to bring all of its actions candidly to light before the judgement of its citizenry, it would have to drive its own secrecy deeper. It would continue to promulgate itself as the open society, even more triumphantly than before, even while it acted clandestinely and behind state doors as the closed society. It would become excellently capable at cozening its citizenry about its true nature, which it cultivates in silence and secrecy, as though in a closet of its mansion; it would become, as it were, the social analogue of Dorian Gray. Thus not even a global confederacy of open societies can suffice to render the open society open; only a unique government ruling all the globe, which no longer has to fear any external enemy whatever, can achieve that end.

The open society, everywhere and always, necessitates the dream of a single world order.

The road to the single world order is fraught with trouble. The open society can neither conquer its enemies by brute force – for it can hardly hope to remain an open society, when its members include individuals who almost certainly harbour deep and abiding resentments against it – nor can it, as other societies do, strongly condemn its closed neighbours and argue against their ways – for it is committed to the principle of openness in the face of all possible social orders. Being able neither to force its enemies to adopt its principles, nor to freely shame the world into opposing those which do not, it must then seek to convert its enemies to its position by more subversive tactics. For only those who are already enamoured of the principles of the open society will be willing to consider the idea of a single world open society. Then all or most of the societies of the world must first become open societies, before they may merge into a single and global open society.

Those who dissent against the global open society will be left to pass their lives lonely and isolated and purposeless, their small protestations lost to the great thunderous and pointless chattering that by then will be the one remaining vestige of the human voice.

It is not easy to convert all the peoples of the world to the principles of open societies, and it is impossible to force them to do so. One can take advantage of civil wars and the internal disorder of foreign states to bring about new open societies throughout the world; but this kind of geopolitical maneuvering is never easy and still less is it cheap, and it is always compromised in certain cases by other and more pressing questions of geopolitical strategy. The open society is best armed to achieve its ends when it becomes an undisputed global superpower, as has been the case of the United States since the collapse of the Soviet empire.1 But even in this brief period of American hegemony, it has become clear that the military route toward the production of a world society is not adequate to the task. The disastrous experiments of the United States in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere more than prove that point. The people of the world must be prepared to accept the global open society; it cannot be foisted upon them by merely political or military means.

Then a number of other strategies must be employed by the open society toward the preparation of the single world order, as: globalization, and the widespread distribution of those tempting products that the open society dedicates itself to manufacturing and perfecting; the infiltration of all the countries of the world with Western markets, Western medicine, and Western ideals; the favouring of those countries which are slavishly dependent on the open society, and clandestine efforts to undermine those which are not; the encouraging of the idea of a ‘global community’ through technological innovations which ‘connect’ the ‘citizens of the world’; the favouring of policies of open immigration and ‘no borders’ to dilute customs both at home and abroad;2 the constant and propagandic humanizing of the faces and traumas of peoples distant to us; the attempt to render all human beings everywhere more uniform and homogeneous; the slow erosion of all ethe – all human attachments to gods and ideals, all sense of reverence for past or future, for home and hearth; and finally, the relentless combating of all articulations of differences or inequalities between human beings, which might incite the old ideas of distinction and separation which once universally governed human societies. Put simply, the open society supports revolutions where it may; and where it may not, it slowly indoctrinates and bribes the peoples of the world to its own ideals through what it calls its ‘culture.’

The single world order is yet very far from us: we can pray that it be unattainable. It would require, either long and insidious work on the societies and minds and souls of human beings, or else a grand profiting from some world-wide disaster.3 But despite the difficulties involved in arriving at the open society, which blessedly make its advent unlikely in the near future, we must contemplate it, for the simple reason that it exerts the fascinating power of a final ideal over the minds and hearts of the many today, and certainly over the masters of the many. It does not do so always explicitly; but even occult stars have their gravity, sometimes even the greater for their invisibility.

Once the single world order is achieved, and the last obstacle to a truly open society has been overcome, the nature of the open society will at last become vivid to all eyes. The single world order will then have no enemies but internal. Because the open society was originally intended as a novel way of addressing the internal conflicts of society, it would seem then that the single world order will finally be able to live up to its destiny as a perfectly open and perfectly transparent society, as a philosophical society, dedicated to the endless improvement of the lives and minds of its citizenry. But the open society is premised on the idea that society must be an open forum for the debate of how to attain the best social order, and this presupposes that there might be a best social order which is not the open society. It is therefore possible that some sizeable portion of human beings in the global open society will conclude that there is a social order which is preferable to the open society. The single world order cannot countenance this possibility, because it threatens that unity which is, as has been seen, the overriding prerequisite for the open society.

The global open society therefore cannot maintain its control over the entire globe, unless it is capable of cowing the great majority of human beings and convincing them that the open society is the best society. It can do this only by closing itself to all other possible social orders and by engaging in constant self-aggrandizement, or continual propagandic deprecation, obvious or subliminal as the case may have it, of all other possible social orders. The global open society must perforce become the global closed society.

The question arises then as to what to do with dissidents. The single world order might be able to maintain its absolute hegemony though simple technological means, by the subtle sophistication of the forces at the disposal of the state. It would thus become a perfect technocratic totalitarian state, some variant on the theme proposed by Brave New World, but without so much as the land of the Savages to provide its foil. In the meantime, or failing this possibility, the single world order will have to resort to more traditional tactics to undermine heterodoxy, such as propaganda and de facto control of the press (both of which will be greatly simplified by the monolithic quality of power in a single world order), ideological mastery of education systems (which will no doubt fall within the tutelary supervision of the state), increasing manipulation of historical knowledge, and the continual repetition and inculcation of those public dogmas which are most useful to the open society: namely, the dogma of human equality and the dogma of moral relativism. Those who challenge these dogmas will not have to be silenced so much as ignored. So long as these protesters and rebels do not gain much support among the wider public, the single world order can simply let them scream themselves hoarse. But it cannot permit any ‘reactionary movement’ to come of their challenge.

This means that the single world order will have to immunize its people to the claims of its scattered opponents. Since the easiest way to keep its people subdued is to keep them fat and distracted, it will produce a ceaseless and blindingly brilliant river of new technologies to ease the toils of its people, assuage their sufferings, and augment their pleasures, as well as a flood of toys and entertainments to pander to the animal in them and to wear away at all remaining moral and intellectual resistance. Our modern technology will readily provide it the means to perform all of this: for science, which is nothing but a valueless and thus castrated form of philosophy, and which therefore cannot threaten the world state in any way so long as it agrees to tread carefully around certain clearly delineated issues, will be quick to offer itself as tinkermaster and serf to this new king, in return for a stable flow of funding to feed its slakeless obsession with ‘information’. It will happily generate the wonders and the miracles by which the new religion perpetuates its rule, in return for the patronage of the same.

By and by, after enough continual exposure to this regime, the citizens of the world state will not even realize the degree to which they have been transformed into unthinking slaves. The size of the state, and the monopoly of its control over the exclusive means of communication (as cellular telephones, computers, and in particular the internet) which could conceivably unite the few remaining disparate rebels, will make all possibility of revolt vanish to hopeless naught. Those who dissent will be left to pass their lives lonely and isolated and purposeless, their small protestations lost to the great thunderous and pointless chattering that by then will be the one remaining vestige of the human voice.

The single world order, combined with the technological prowess we contemporary human beings have at our disposal, would result in the establishing of final and unbreachable borders around our nation and our ideas, where today we have permeable and passable ones. It would require building in the place of the present more or less open society, a radically and universally closed society, which casts the doctrine of ‘openness’ like a blanket to stifle the challenge of dissidents. It would mean the uprooting of all human races all human ways, in favour of a single race of vapid, colourless individuals fit for nothing but thraldom, cold to culture, and neutered to philosophy. It would mean the replacement of church by state, the establishment of a soulless social religion which confers no immortality and offers no moral guidance, but which is adhered to universally, and whose inadequacies are compensated for by an endless phantasmagoria of carnal gratifications. It would mean the founding of a universal, doctrinaire, and potentially perpetual, tyranny on Earth, against which there can be no recourse, nor any hope of escape, because the State has become ubiquitous and all-powerful as a terrestrial and amoral god.

All that could be hoped for in such a time, would be the coming of a world-wide catastrophe, of such magnitude and such ineluctable natural force, that the single world order could not resist it, but would be crushed before it as the lesser power to the greater. Then those individuals whose spirits have somehow not been smothered in the morass, those few individuals somehow still open to the promise within the human soul and still nurturing the divine spark within them, might glimpse once more the golden possibilities arising from this sudden crisis in the social order, and awaken to the truth of their sordid and inhuman state.

References:

1For penetrating insight into the particular dynamic of American global hegemony, the reader is strongly encouraged to peruse Tomislav Sunic’s Homo Americanus.

2It is no wonder that the ultra-rich ‘philanthropists’ (such as the aforementioned George Soros) should so strongly press for the elimination of borders and greater quantities of immigration. It would be a mistake to reduce all of this to the greed of these individuals; we are speaking here rather of a decades-long strategy on their part, consciously enacted toward the obliteration of the very idea of culture.

3Consider, for instance, a certain video produced by one Gianroberto Casaleggio, the founder of the Five Star Movement in Italy. An entire article could be written on this bizarre and disquieting pro-globalist propaganda, but for the moment it is sufficient to note that the denouement of this video hinges on a catastrophic Third World War which would decimate the human population – an outcome, incidentally, which is evidently quite near to the hearts of a number of out contemporary billionaire ‘philanthropists’; see for instance James Corbett’s very fine work on this subject (a relevant episode of his podcast can be found here). Apparently a world population of better than 10 billion souls, as is presently predicted even by mid-range projections, would be unwieldy even for our would-be world governors. See also my own essay on catastrophism for further thoughts on this particular question.

 

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The Open Society and Its Enemies – Part 1 https://arktos.com/2018/12/06/the-open-society-and-its-enemies-part-1/ https://arktos.com/2018/12/06/the-open-society-and-its-enemies-part-1/#comments_reply Thu, 06 Dec 2018 15:29:18 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=5393 There is a telling moment of encounter between the social critique offered by the Deep Right and that offered by the academic left in particular, which, though the two use entirely different terms and language, reveals nonetheless a point of ideological accord between what seem to be two diametrically opposed worldviews. This moment of encounter has to do with the question of the ruling ideology of today’s society, which we of the Right generally refer to as globalism, Atlanticism, etc., and which the thinkers of the academic left generally refer to as neo-liberalism.1 It would appear that neo-liberalism itself is a pretty quandary for the academic left; they duly recognize many of the problems and consequences of this ‘neo-liberalism’, and with all the keenness that decades of practice at ‘deconstruction’ have granted them, but the nature, roots and quality of this phenomenon remain elusive to them. It is my opinion that this incapacity on the part of the left to stab to the heart of so evidently potent a force in our society, indicates a failure of their worldview, a fatal blind spot which exists somewhat near to the core of their interpretative schema. To my mind, this is no wonder: despite their evident, and often quite evidently genuine, opposition to ‘neo-liberalism’ itself, it is my contention that their own ideas have generated the very monster which they would fight.

They, of course, would strongly dispute this claim. I have even come across the marvellous counter-suggestion that we of the true Right are somehow in cahoots with this ‘neo-liberalism’, and spiritually akin to it.2 It will be my purpose then in some of my coming articles to explicate in as deep a way as I am able the particular genesis of globalism or ‘neo-liberalism’ from out of the key concepts of the contemporary non-globalistic liberal left. It is my contention, to put the matter to a point, that the globalist nightmare into which the West is just now beginning truly to slide is nothing other than the natural logical conclusion of the ideas first presented in the classical liberalism of the Enlightenment, and developed by subsequent generations of academic leftists in particular.

The open society believes and must believe that the truth, far from setting us free, will be the very death of our freedom, by dissolving the justification the open society.

In the present essay, I shall begin this broad work by attempting a deep critique of that concept, so dear to liberals of all stripes, and shared most suggestively by certain arch-globalists, of the open society.3

This essay will be broken into two parts. The first will be dedicated to an internal critique of the open society, and to revealing its innermost contradictions; the second, to showing how and why the open society leads necessarily, and through a rigid and inescapable ‘historical dialectic’, to precisely the kind of capitalistic, oligarchic and tyrannical political orders that the best men of the left most certainly would repudiate with all their souls.

We commence from a perfectly uncontroversial point of departure: societies disagree between themselves as to what is the right way to live. These disagreements are not principally philosophical; they are principally customary. They become philosophical only when the confrontation between the customs of different societies is elevated to the level of contemplation, and then only within the minds of certain individuals who are fit for such confrontation by nature, education, and favourable circumstance. The variety of human societies at present or at least historically is a necessary condition for human philosophy, but it is not sufficient, because the majority of human beings when exposed to different customs remain simply suspicious of them, if not hostile toward them. Most humans are rightly creatures of loyalties and faiths peculiar to the societies in which they are born, or to portions of the same; if they were not so, then no society on the face of the Earth could long exist, but all would be quickly riven apart by the incessant internal disputations and feuding of their very members.

The disagreements between societies as to the right way to live lead to conflicts and wars between societies, and these conflicts and wars enforce the natural hostility of each society toward foreign customs and outlandish ways. The special character and quality of any given human society brings the loyalty and love of its members; when this is contrasted with or threatened by other societies, then the philosopher or the warrior is born.

But there are also internal disputes between different parts of one and the same society. The poor are sometimes at odds with the rich; the uneducated with the educated; the ‘left’ with the ‘right’; the vulgar with the cultured; the warriors with the civilians; the citizens with the immigrants; the rulers with the ruled; etc. Here, again, the disputes are not principally philosophical; they are political or social or ethocal, which is to say, stemming from differences in ethos. Each segment of society wants its agenda to become the agenda of the whole; each segment of society would rule and impose its peculiar desires, views or needs on society as such. It is uncommon for the different parts of one and the same society to want to change the very premises on which that society is built; in general, all parties agree as to the ends of society, and dispute only over the means. But at times, when it becomes apparent that the ends of society themselves are destabilizing the whole, and that the very first premises of society are guiding it toward decline and ruin, then the revolutionary or radical or extremist attitude crops up among human beings. In times like that, which are known as times of crisis, the parts of society might begin truly to disagree about first and last things.

Human beings are not beasts, and their disagreements, their conflicts, even their wars, are not merely based on violence or on force. Human beings are ‘rational animals’, which is not to say that they will everywhere and always act in accord with simple logic, nor arrive at valid and justifiable conclusions, nor even have a clear sense of why they do what they do: it is rather to say that human beings everywhere and always will feel the need to defend their irrationality with rationality, and to build rationalizations around even their most basic instinctive desires. This is not a matter of nothing; it is a fundamental aspect of human social existence, and it has enormous consequences for all social orders.

The open society, which purports to be the one society open to all possible human social orders, is in fact in the last analysis radically closed to all but its own.

Never has there been a wordless war between human beings. Human beings transform all quarrels into conversations. Their quarrels are neither perfectly rational – for it is never by reason alone that they are resolved – nor perfectly irrational – for it is neither by force alone that they are resolved. Both domestic and international conflicts are all carried out and concluded through a mixture of reason and force. Human beings are unique among the animals, because the quarrels between human beings depend on speech. Internationally, one cannot stop up the words of other nations; but to put an end to internal conflicts, it is often enough to put a limit on speeches. This is why war between nations is more common than civil war. The same fundamental observation has in past epochs been considered the indisputable justification for limiting freedom of speech. It is known universally that the tensions between different parts of one and the same society lead to internal conflicts and in extreme cases to rupture, to civil war or the upheaval of the prior social order, and the prevention of these unwelcome guests requires closure within society – the suppression of certain voices or interests, the censuring of certain ideas, the oppression of some who do not rule, but who can easily fall at odds with the rulers.

The open society attempts to resolve these internal social and political conflicts in a way which is totally novel in the history of human societies: namely, by positing a political order which passes no judgement on any other worldview, and which therefore avoids those deep tensions characteristic of other orders. It resolves the conflictual nature of societies’ basic premises, or of the conflicts between parts of one and the same society, by suspending its own judgement as to the best or ideal society, the best or ideal laws, or the best or ideal ruler. As regards first and last things, the open society is openly agnostic. It views itself as a kind of forum in which all social ideas can be publicly debated, and it thus postures as the one society which loves truth over custom. While closed societies – tribal or traditional or totalitarian as they may be – are dedicated to preserving their peculiar errors at any and all costs and preserving these unto perpetuity, the open society is dedicated instead to avoiding the necessarily bounded, erroneous quality of all tribal or political adherence to any single set of human ideals. By sponsoring no peculiar values and virtues, the open society permits the debate of all values and virtues in the ‘marketplace of ideas’; it encourages their conflict and their disputation, so long as these remain non-violent. It therefore appears to be the most philosophical of all societies, the one which depends the least on merely material concerns and which apotheosizes the quest for truth. Sign of this is the fact that all open societies everywhere protect the freedoms of association, speech, and press, which seem but social echoes of friendship and conversation, those two most philosophical of all human relations.

There are two grave problems with the idea of the open society, one in its fundamentals and the other in its praxis. We begin with the latter first, to commence from the superficial: we approach this question as though coring the trunk of a tree, proceeding initially contrary to growth, and treating first and last of the bark.

Now, the open society, to maintain its forum-like atmosphere, must remain forever agnostic, forever ‘sceptical.’ So soon as it accepts as true the arguments of this or that social or moral ideal, it must commit itself as well to putting this true ideal at least partially into practice, which means – it must overthrow itself, and establish a closed society in the place of the open society. The open society therefore must restrain itself ever and always to the state of evaluation of the various proposals for the best society; it cannot permit itself to consent to any of them — unless, that is, the best society proves to be identical to the open society. But even in this unlikely case, and supposing the open society were to reach such a conclusion, it would lose its character as the open society in adopting its own premises dogmatically. For if the best society is that society which permits all human beings of any worldview whatsoever to live as they see fit, save as they infringe on the rights of other individuals to do the same, then the open society can permit the free expression or manifestation of only those worldviews compatible with this worldview. All other worldviews, all closed, sectarian, intolerant worldviews, must be suppressed as false worldviews. In becoming aware of its superiority, the open society thus destroys its own basis; it mutates from the open society into something else.

The open society can therefore remain open only so long as it withholds judgement about its own worth as the best social order. The open society, or the society dedicated to permitting the truth to come to the fore, must guard against the arrival of the truth. It must be, not merely agnostic or sceptical, but explicitly relativist, hostile toward any and all degrees of presumed or real certitude. It believes and must believe that the truth, far from setting us free, will be the very death of our freedom, by dissolving both the justification as well as the special tenuous lifestyle of the open society. The open society, which postures as the champion of truth, becomes dogmatically hostile to the very notion of truth. Its worldview, without which it perishes or overthrows itself, is at bottom the relativistic worldview.

We may restate this realization as follows: the open society remains agnostic about all ideas of truth except its own. About its own relativism, far from being agnostic, it is dogmatic. Even if at first it is open to the idea that it might one day transform from the open and agnostic society into the closed but true society, it hardens over time into a degree of doctrinairism, for the simple reason that all societies wish to preserve themselves. The open society therefore comes finally to hold that the best society cannot be discovered by human investigations. That is how it resolves the paradox at its heart.

But this works as an inadvertent or incidental philosophical defence of the open society: because no society can be the best society, the best society will be that which makes no claims as to the best society, and which therefore permits incessant debate about the best society. The open society seeks to be fundamentally non-dogmatic, but it can only do so on the basis of a fundamentally dogmatic premise. At times the non-dogmatic aspect, at times the dogmatic aspect of the open society, manifests itself, depending essentially on how well off the open society is at any given point in time. When it is winning and prosperous, it can afford to be magnanimous with those who dispute its premise; but when it enters into times of crisis or penury, it, as all human societies, must defend itself more vigorously. The open society both requires and desires, then, great wealth, both in the state coffers and in private pockets. It weds itself necessarily and naturally to capitalism, and takes economic growth to be a fundamental standard for the well-being of society. The open society, which was to be the one least beholden to the merely materialistic concerns of economy and wealth, in the end is bound to them much more stringently than other societies, whose ruling classes are endowed with aristocratic contempt of mammon.

It is among the vulgarest delusions commonly inspired by the American Revolution, that one might remake society from scratch, basing it on true axioms and building it logically from foundation to steeple

These deep tensions at the heart of the open society are felt ever and always by conscious observers, and they make the open society elusive and evasive to analysis. Most human beings are not philosophical, and therefore no human society can be philosophical. This is no less true of the open society than of any other. The open society, which purports to be the one society open to all possible human social orders, is in fact in the last analysis radically closed to all but its own. This makes it identical to all other human societies: what differs in it is not the absence of dogmatic faith in a particular form of social order, but rather the invisibility of that dogmatic faith. The open society is characterized by dogmatic belief in its own openness. While all human societies hold themselves to be the best societies and for that reason celebrate their closure to other ways, the open society is singular in proclaiming itself to be immune to this delusion precisely. It is thus more difficult to free oneself of the dogma of the open society than of any other social dogma. The open society suffers essentially of the ‘double ignorance’, of which the Athenian stranger speaks in the Laws.4

To be sure, the peculiar closedness of the open society never or seldom finds expression in explicit legal prohibitions. There are, in the open society, no laws against investigating the underpinnings of the social order, nor against publishing the results of those investigations. The open society cannot proscribe such investigation without playing into an open hypocrisy which would be a hundred times more damaging to it than this or that firebrand pamphlet published here or there. The open society thus develops countless subtler ways of dealing with its internal enemies.5 Most of the time, it has no need to employ any of these: for it is a universal and virtuous characteristic of human beings in normal times to be loyal and faithful to the society in which they are born, and beneath whose protection, nurturing and education they have come of age. Most human beings born to the open society adhere to its ideals unconsciously and uncritically, and consider it, without any reflection to support this belief, the best society. The members of the open society are strongly reinforced in this loyalty by the peculiar relativistic dogma of the open society; it is harder to see through the illusion of the open society, wherein one speaks constantly of philosophical openness to other ways, than to see through the illusion even of the tyrannical society, which is proudly and obviously closed to other ways. There is thus in the open society even more than in other societies a natural pressure toward the perpetuation of the standing order, and this is quite sufficient to neutralize those few serious efforts to discover and publicize the errors, limitations, or contradictions upon which that order is founded. This preserves the open society quite adequately in all times, save in times of crisis.

We are living, however, in a time of crisis.

In normal times, most human beings do not concern themselves with the truth. They concern themselves with countless other matters which have nothing essential to do with the truth – vital goals and preoccupations which do not depend on the truth nor certainly culminate in it, as survival, wealth, honour, prestige, status, family, etc. So long as society demonstrates itself a generally capable watchman of the public security and the general welfare, most human beings are quite content to live their lives, indifferently ignorant of all deeper philosophical problems. So long as there is a degree of peace and a modicum of prosperity in the open society, the members of the open society are but little tasked to seek out anything so remote from their experience as the ‘truth’, and those few exceptional individuals who concern themselves seriously with the truth in any place and any time, the truly free spirits, are easily outnumbered and easily smothered by the vast enormity of human complacency.

But in times of crisis, everything is thrown to the wind. Society, failing to secure its promises to its citizens, becomes the object of ever stronger doubts and even cynicism. In moments like this, it becomes evident that there is a widening gorge standing between what such a society claims it will achieve, and what it really does achieve; the errors and failings, not to say the lies and mendacity, of society are increasingly brought to light, or at least are more easily felt impinging through the threadbare surface. The question ‘Why?’ comes readily to the minds and the lips of ever more individuals; ‘truth’ becomes a going concern, and one which some can even make their living on. ‘Why are we suffering this way? Why is everything beneath us suddenly so shaken and unsteady? Why has society led us to this impasse?’ It is widely felt that everyone has been enslaved to noxious falsehoods; and it is widely believed that the ‘truth shall set one free’.

What is meant by this sentiment? Not, certainly, what is meant when the philosopher thinks such a thing. Nor even what the artist or the free spirit might think of it. On the contrary. Very few human beings who do not concern themselves with truth in times of plenty, will suddenly begin to seek it in times of dearth. Just as they had abundant distractions from the truth before, now they have much more urgent questions to attend to than philosophical ones. Most people by the formula ‘the truth will set you free’ mean only this: society has failed to secure their desires or perhaps even their needs; its failure is due to an error or a contradiction in its construction. To establish ‘truer’ foundations becomes therefore a pressing requirement. Everyone begins inquiring into the ‘true’ society, by which is meant, a society which can guarantee such things as honour, wealth, survival, status, family, prestige, etc.

If you tell an entrepreneur that the present social system is broken, on account of specific economic policies, and if you argue furthermore and persuasively that he will not succeed in making himself affluent under these present conditions, he will perk up and listen to you. If you tell him then that we must shift our policies, say, from free trade to protectionism, in order to grant him the possibility of making his millions, he may well acquiesce to your logic, or at least he may well take your argument seriously or find himself in some way influenced by it. But if you tell him that free trade must be overhauled because it is based on the lie of the dignity of work and on the spurious excellence of wealth, when in fact there are many loftier things in this world than labour and lucre, he will dismiss you out of hand.

We must have sensitivity to the depth of the present crisis, the degree to which it entitles us to bring the errors of society to the light of day, the extent to which it opens the possibility of a profound shift in principle. Particularly as we have urgent goals, it behooves us to step lightly. It is among the vulgarest delusions commonly inspired by the American Revolution, that one might remake society from scratch, basing it on true axioms and building it logically from foundation to steeple, so long as one has sufficient public support and the right documents in place. This has never been done and never can be done amongst the societies of human beings. Popular movements interpret philosophy through the liquid lens of their native element, populism; they always end differently than they begin. Custom, as Herodotus said, is king – as much with us as with anyone. We can gain nothing by ignoring the fact; we may gain enormously by carefully attending to it.

References:

1 This name itself is of interest, insofar as it clearly echoes the idea of neo-conservatism, which is only apparently its contrary (it becomes clear on any even halfway capable analysis that the two concepts overlap if they do not coincide). This indicates that there has been in some sense a commandeering of both classical liberalism and traditional conservatism toward the realization of an often obscure but ever-present project, one carried out on behalf of precisely the same individuals, who adopt these evidently contrary positions, now one and now the other, either out of real but hidden rivalry between them, or as a kind of shadow play meant to fool democratic voters into believing that they have a legitimate electoral choice, where in fact they are given to choose between two tones of one and the same colour.

2See for instance the recent colloquium held by a group of evidently quite sincere academics on the subject of the ‘Alt-Right’, during which they considered no other book than The Real Right Returns by our own Daniel Friberg, as well as Arktos’ pubication A Fair Hearing. At certain points during this lengthy and in occasionally quite fascinating round-table discussion, the persons involved determined upon proving, in good Marxian fashion, that what they broadly and erroneously refer to as ‘the Alt-Right’ (when they do not absurdly and awkwardly insist on trying to call us ‘fascists’) is somehow secretly or semi-consciously wed to social-Darwinistic capitalism, and that we ourselves are thus proponents of ‘neo-liberalism’. The which would certainly make for a curious state of affairs, given that this same ‘neo-liberalism’ goes to great lengths to suppress our ideas and undercut our resources – even while it mysteriously does precisely the contrary with the very academics who are supposed to be its most relentless critics.

3I shall never tire of recalling that George Soros, pre-eminent representative of globalism, was quite literally the pupil of Karl Popper, perhaps the foremost theorist of the open society. And should one wonder if Soros himself has repudiated the ideas of his master in the many years (and billions of dollars) intervening, it should be sufficient to consider the name of his forefront organization: The Open Society Foundations. If, however, even this does not persuade, cf. his own words on the matter, as can be found here or here, among a great many other places.

4Plato, Laws, Book IX, 863c.

5Consider the famous book of Karl Popper, beginning already from its title: The Open Society and Its Enemies.

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The Mystery of the Prehistorical Arctic – Thule https://arktos.com/2018/12/05/the-mystery-of-the-prehistorical-arctic-thule/ https://arktos.com/2018/12/05/the-mystery-of-the-prehistorical-arctic-thule/#comments_reply Wed, 05 Dec 2018 14:13:51 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=5360 It is altogether characteristic that, contained within an entire group of extremely recent studies on prehistory, ancient ideas should make new appearance, despite the fact that up until yesterday these were considered to be pure myths.

One of these ideas refers to the legendary primordial land of the Hyperboreans. A number of researchers have taken up precisely this idea, thereby calling into doubt the presumed certainty that a simian humanity was the only kind of humanity to exist in prehistory, and going so far as to confront the problem of origins from a new and unprejudiced view, to the point of expressing the suspicion that the Stone Age might be testimony to an authentic civilization of a superior, symbolic-spiritual kind. The Arctic, the North Pole, the fabulous Hyperborea was evidently the primordial fatherland of a highly civilized prehistoric white race – so civilized indeed that it was considered ‘divine’ by the ancients.

This is the strange and evocative conception which is today once again coming to light: the Arctic, the first fatherland of humanity, indeed of ‘solar’ civilization, in the highest sense.

The seeming paradox of this thesis disappears so soon as one recall what physics teaches regarding the so-called ‘procession of the equinoxes’. On account of the inclination of the terrestrial axis, the climate of the Earth shifts from epoch to epoch. Given that hard coal has been rediscovered beneath the polar ice, this means that there were once forests and fires in the arctic zone. The freeze would not have come upon the arctic zone save in a later period. One of the designations for Asgard, home of the ‘divinities’ and original fatherland of the royal Nordic lines, according to the Scandinavian traditions, is the ‘green isle’ or ‘green land’, in modern German Grünes-Land, and hence Greenland. But this land, as its very name shows, seems even in the time of the Goths to have had a vigorous vegetation, and to have not been entirely covered in the freeze. But there is more: in the region of the arctic ice, the recent expedition of the Canadian Jenness, the Danes Rasmussen and Therkel, and the American Birket-Smith made some truly singular archaeological discoveries:1 deep beneath the ice, the remains of a civilization of much higher level than that of the Eskimos, and relicts yet more ancient, prehistoric. The name of the civilization of Thule was given to this civilization.

Thule is the name that the Greeks applied precisely to a region or island of the far north, one often confounded with the lands of the Hyperboreans, whence came the solar Apollo – that is the god of the Doric-Achaean races who descended from the north into Greece. And Plutarch says of Thule that the nights there, for about a month, lasted only two hours: this is precisely the ‘white night’ of the northern countries. And the fact that other Hellenic traditions call the northern sea the Chronid Sea, that is the Sea of Chronos (Saturn), is another significant indication, since Chronos was conceived as one of the gods of the Golden Age, that is the primordial age, the age before humanity.

Now, if we travel to America, we find correspondences in the Aztec civilizations of Mexico so remarkable that they extend even to names. Indeed, the ancient Mexicans called their primordial fatherland Tlapallan, Tullan and also Tulla (the Hellenic Thule).2 And just as the Hellenic Thule was related to the solar Apollo, so the Mexican Tulla was also considered the ‘House of the Sun’.

But let us compare these Mexican traditions with the Celtic. If the most distant progenitors of the Mexicans came to America from some Nordic-Atlantic Land, here too the Irish legends speak to us of the ‘divine race’ of the Tuatha dè Danann, which came to Ireland from the West, from a mystical Atlantic or Nordic-Atlantic land, Avalon. These would appear to be, therefore, two forms of one and the same memory. The two civilizations would correspond to two irradiations, the one American, the other European, taking their point of departure from one and the same centre, from one and the same vanished source (the myth of Atlantis), or else from a source that froze over. But there is more, insofar as, if we depart the field of positive modern investigations, we will find elements that might easily accord with these legendary echoes. Indeed, on the Atlantic European littoral (above all in the so-called culture of the Magdalenes) there are very clear traces of an authentic civilization and of a kind of humanity – the so-called Cro-Magnon man – that appears to have developed in a superior way as compared to the almost animal races of the so-called ‘glacial’ or ‘Mousterian man’ who lived at that time in Europe. The fragments that have come down to us of this civilization are of such a nature as to bring certain researchers to declare that the Cro-Magnons could certainly be considered the Hellenes of the Stone Age. Now, might not this race of Cro-Magnons, which appeared enigmatically in the Stone Age along the Atlantic littoral among inferior and almost simian races, be identical to the Tuatha dè Danann, the ‘divine race’ come from the mysterious Nordic-Atlantic land, of which the Irish legends make mention? And as for the myths regarding the fight between the suddenly arising ‘divine races’ and the races of ‘demons’ or monsters, might these not be best interpreted as the fantastic echoes of the battle waged between those two races, between the Cro-Magnon men, ‘the Hellenes of the Stone Age’, and the bestial ‘Mousterian’ men?

The results of the research of Wirth,3 in short, are apparently these: that in the highest prehistory – around 20,000 B.C. – a great unified white race, of the solar cult, was pressed out of the polar region, which had become uninhabitable on account of the freeze, toward the South, into Europe and America, but above all into a land which has disappeared, positioned to the North of the Atlantic. From this land, this race evidently subsequently moved, in the Palaeolithic Period, toward Europe and Africa, with a movement, in any case, from the West to the East; it evidently penetrated into the Mediterranean basin, creating a cycle of prehistoric civilizations which were intimately related to one another, in which family are included the Egyptian, the Etruscan-Sardinian, the Pelasgian, etc., not to speak of others yet that new waves would founded in their advance across the continent, going so far as to reach the Caucasus and then beyond, up to India, and even to China. Thus, that which has been held to be the ‘cradle of humanity’, the tablelands of Pamir, would be only one of the fairly recent centres of the radiation of an elder race. The Arian and Indo-Germanic races, Homo eurapaeus in general, would be races already derived and in a certain sense already mixed compared to the older and purer lines, the ‘Hyperboreans’, to whom are related prehistoric memories, symbols and even the stone representations of the ‘conquerors come on great foreign vessels’, of the ‘axe’, of the ‘sun’ and of the ‘solar man with raised arms’. A mysterious unity would in this way draw together a group of great civilizations and ancient religions, which were already flourishing in areas wherein even yesterday one posited the presence of animal-like cavemen.

This is, in brief, the strange and evocative conception which, drawing from the world of myth, is today once again coming to light: the Arctic, the first fatherland of humanity, indeed of ‘solar’ civilization, in the highest sense.

And since symbol summons symbol, let us recall this in closing: Even in the Roman epoch, the idea of the region of the north as a mystical country, inhabited by the ‘father of the gods’, by the numen of the first age or the golden age, the idea that the almost nightless Arctic day was not unrelated to the perennial light that envelops the immortals – such ideas were so alive in the Roman epoch that, according to the word of Eumenius,4 Constantius Chlorus, confusing Great Britain with Thule, even directed an expedition toward the north of Great Britain, not so much out of desire for military glory, as to reach the land ‘that more than any other is near the sky’ and almost sensing the divine transfiguration that, it was believed, the Heroes and the Emperors underwent at their death.

Now, these same regions, which saw the dawning of humanity, and which enclose the mystery of a race of primordial white conquerors whose symbol, the axe, is to be rediscovered moreover in the very Roman symbol of the fasces5 – these same Nordic-Arctic regions, from the island of Greenland to North America, are the very same that have been victoriously surveyed very recently from the air by the Italians, in a feat which has something fateful about it, and which bound itself enigmatically precisely to places of a primordial greatness.6

References:

1Reference in fact to an entire series of expeditions, seven in total, performed between 1912 and 1933, by a number of explorers, including those named here: Diamond Jenness (1886–1969), Knud Rasmussen (1879–1933), Therkel Mathiassen (1892–1967), and Kaj Birket-Smith (1893–1977). Knud Rasmussen was the organizer of these expeditions, and the only one to venture out on all of them. The self-proclaimed task of the later expeditions in particular was to uncover the civilizational origins of the Eskimo people. The name of Thule was given reflexively to the discoveries that resulted, since in fact it had actually been merely the name of the original trading station established by Rasmussen and his friend Peter Freuchen, which was named ‘Ultima Thule’ on account of its being the most northerly trading post in the world. Evola probably has in mind here specifically the ‘Fifth Thule Expedition’ of 1921 to 1924, which was by far the most successful, productive and well-documented of these expeditions. Several minor errata: Evola evidently confounds the name and surname of Therkel Mathiassen, and Birket-Smith was in reality a Dane and not an American.

2The name is today commonly transliterated as ‘Tollan’; this obviously in no way discredits Evola’s etymological suggestion.

3Herman Wirth (1885–1981) was a Dutch-German historian who dedicated many of his studies to ancient religions and their symbols, as well as to racial studies particularly surrounding the Nordic races. Evola makes frequent mention of him in his works, and discusses his ideas at some length in Chapter VII of The Myth of the Blood, in which he reviews a number of ideas related to those presented in the present article. Although Wirth received a degree of early acclaim from the Nazis and even from Hitler himself, his attempt to interpret Christianity in the light of a Nordic faith led to his falling out of favour when the neo-pagan strands of Nazi thought began to rise to prominence. His 1928 work Der Aufgang der Menschheit (The Accession of Mankind) has yet to be translated into English.

4The original has ‘Eumanzio’, but this is surely the figure meant: Eumenius, the Roman panegyrist born between 230 and 260 AD. The present reference is probably taken from Eumenius’ Pro restaurandis scholis, in which he lauds the Emperor Constantius I, otherwise known as Constantius Chlorus (250–306), father of Emperor Constantine.

5A Latin term indicating a bundle of rods bound together with an axe, symbol of the authority invested in the civil magistrate. Evola uses the Italian fascio here, the term from which the name ‘Fascism’ arose in self-conscious reference to the Roman tradition.

6Probable reference to two flights (1926 and 1928) over the North Pole in dirigibles conducted by General Umberto Nobile, with the Norge and the Italia respectively. The first was probably the first aircraft to reach the North Pole. The second ended in a Polar crash and an expensive rescue operation, from which misadventure General Nobile emerged with reputation unscathed, and body sporting only several broken bones.

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The Antimodern Condition https://arktos.com/2018/12/03/the-antimodern-condition/ https://arktos.com/2018/12/03/the-antimodern-condition/#view_comments Mon, 03 Dec 2018 16:17:24 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=5307 The antimodern condition is not a temporal condition: it is not against the now. Instead it is a way of looking at the world and understanding our presence within it. In essence it is a statement against progress and the idea of human perfectibility. It is profoundly anti-utopian in that it rejects the idea that we should sacrifice the present for the future. We know that humans are not capable of perfection and that the attempt to reach it is not only bound to fail but dangerous. History tells us that the search for human perfectibility is both futile and highly dangerous. Moreover, we only have one life, and we have ends to meet in the present; so why should we sacrifice this for a hypothetical future?

More concrete are the traditions that our culture is based on. These have created the sense of the familiar that provides us with some comfort. They are social practices that have stood the test of time and help us both to locate ourselves and to maintain a sense of home. We have inherited these traditions from our ancestors and we are charged with passing them on. In this way, we link with the sacred and create a continuity of purpose based on what we share with those who are now dead and those yet unborn. These traditions ground us and provide us with a sense of home. They are what keep things close to us and they do this by imbuing our surroundings with meaning. It is in this way that we can understand what is around us.

The key problem with modernity is that it prevents us from accepting what we are.

The antimodern condition is where we accept things as they are. As such, we focus on the surface of things. We do not believe that there are any hidden structures below everyday reality. There are no necessary outcomes dictated by history. History has no purpose and there are no means by which human destiny can be determined. The antimodernist knows that any attempts to explain history and to reduce all knowledge to the material level are merely strategies to explain outcomes that do not fit preconceived theoretical assumptions. The world is as we see it and its nature is open to us.

We have no desire to repudiate the past or to destroy those institutions built by our ancestors. We acknowledge that they were building for us as well as for themselves. We reject any sense that we are more advanced that those who preceded us and that we are in any position to judge them. Rather we acknowledge that we are the mere repositories of their achievements and that we would be nothing without them. This leaves us with an epistemological modesty. We are where we are not because of ourselves but due to the labours of others. But we are also aware that there is much we do not know.

We expect to make no discoveries in morality and politics. We do not believe that we will find a new morality or a better means for governing society. Instead we believe that we can understand our actions through the template handed down to us by our ancestors and we can govern ourselves through established forms that have stood the time of prime and proven their utility. We do not seek to avoid all change but see change as a necessary evil, which can only be sanctioned if it protects or corrects existing institutions. Long-standing institutions have a proven purpose and utility and this is to be preferred to any attempt to build new modes of governing based on abstract principles. This means that we should not feel the need to justify or explain the past. Rather we should understand that the past justifies and explains us.

We know that the past is fundamentally different from the future. The past is closed and settled while the future is open to possibility. We know that change will always be unpredictable and quite possibly uncontrollable. We are aware that it is easier to destroy than to create, that once we start to dismantle long-standing institutions we cannot rebuild them, and that once we set up new institutions we also know that they will develop in ways that we could not possibly predict.

Society has no end point and no purpose other than its own continuance. The purpose of any society is to transmit knowledge and traditions from one generation to the next. It is this knowledge and traditions that allow individuals to flourish and prosper. But this is not because these individuals have license to remake or to discard what has been inherited. Rather they flourish because of what has been gifted to them, and so we should see each individual as the repository of a society’s knowledge and thus it is their duty to preserve this and pass it on. Our principle aim therefore should be to protect and support our own culture.

The key problem with modernity is that it prevents us from accepting what we are. It forces us instead always to look forwards and never to accept where we are now. But the failure that naturally follows creates a sense of anxiety. We are told that we should aspire for change, but we tend to fall short and so judge ourselves, and others, harshly. Thus we can say that anxiety is the symbol of modernity. This anxiety manifests itself through egoism, where we put ourselves above others. We are right to recognize our own uniqueness, but we fail to recognize the unique of others. We place ourselves at the centre of things and so tend to use others as commodities. We do things because of what it supposedly says about us, and this arises out of the imperative to aspire.

The antimodern condition is where aspiration is replaced by complacency. Our sanguine acceptance of the world and our place in it allows us to find some comfort. We find solace in the banality of the ordinary and complacency helps us to assuage the implacability of the world. We can face the materiality of the world through our meaningful relationships with things. We find ourselves absorbed by a world of meaningful things and so we find can absorb these elements into our ordinary lives.

So, the very essence of the antimodern condition is acceptance. To be antimodern is to accept what we are and where we are. We know that we need fixed points to relate ourselves to the world. We put down roots and traverse well-worn ruts that keep us located. We depend on a sense of stability and permanence and through this we can be complacent within the world. Acceptance is indeed the opposite of aspiration. It is where we can accommodate others apart from our own needs. We are able to see the world as others do and come to terms with things as they are rather than as we would like them to be.

The rejection of aspiration means that we are able to know when we have enough and to appreciate what it means to have a sufficiency for ourselves. We know that we should limit ourselves and the principal reason for this self-constraint is that others too have needs. In limiting ourselves we allow others the freedom to act. We recognize that society depends on freedom, but that freedom depends on order. This sense of order comes from the constraints that are placed on each of us. The antimodern condition is accepting what we are and where we are.

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On Media Neutrality https://arktos.com/2018/11/30/on-media-neutrality/ https://arktos.com/2018/11/30/on-media-neutrality/#view_comments Fri, 30 Nov 2018 15:19:32 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=5290 The growing and increasingly indisputable influence of ‘media bias’ on the ‘free reporting’ of the press has reached such a pitch in our day that it has come to constitute one of the facts which must be addressed by any movement or worldview which would diagnose the ills of our society and offer alternatives to the same. This question is first and most obviously a practical one: if the media is not in fact the impartial body of fact collection and dissemination it likes to pose as being, if in fact it visibly takes sides in the political and social disputes of our day, then it becomes an instrument in the hands of certain powers, and stands against real social, political, or cultural change, and perforce against the aforementioned movements or worldviews. Any ‘dissident community’, ours most emphatically included, is sure to be touched by this state of affairs. We are then forced to ask penetrating questions regarding the nature of the media and the possibility of its being or becoming ‘neutral’; and these questions in turn are certain to lead us deeper, to several essential conditions of the age in which we live.

The first difficulty with the proposed neutrality of the media1 is to be found in its very act of gathering and presenting material. Any organ of the media – be it a newspaper, a television news programme, or an internet news hub – must select and sort its ‘stories’ and ‘reports’, and it can only do so on the basis of certain definite standards which permit it to discriminate between the essential and the unessential, the ‘report worthy’ and the trivial. It cannot rely merely on what is publicly interesting at a given moment, because an essential part of its ideal role in society is rightly seen to be precisely that of introducing the public to the important stories of the day, and to that extent educating the public interest. The press is therefore necessarily the arbiter of what deserves attention and what does not, and it cannot make these determinations in a spirit of perfect ‘neutrality’. Although in general, there is nothing controversial in this selection,2 nonetheless at the periphery, in the choice of secondary material (which nonetheless makes up a sizeable portion of the news reported on any give day), one always finds that the media discriminates between one thing and another on the basis of identifiable and evidently non-neutral standards.

It is the optimistic myth of the proponents of democracy that ‘the people’ should somehow magically in the main favour democracy above all other regimes; this is not only naive, but patently historically false.

This is, it might be argued, relatively unimportant, even if true; for certainly, as has been allowed, the most important stories of the day are not subject to this breach in neutrality. We proceed then to the little deeper layer.

The media is tasked primarily with the presentation of ‘news’. News indicates those events and happenings which make up the important part of the historical events occurring in this very moment, or in the very recent past. The media must then present these events and happenings in their essential outline, and if it is to do so in a neutral way, must present them without taking sides on the vital questions involved. For instance, the media might report on what the major candidates of a political campaign have done and said, but it may not offer its own judgement on the rightness or wrongness of these deeds and sayings. It can point out contradictions in the actions or speech of the candidates – for this ‘sticks to the facts’, and therefore falls easily beneath the umbrella of neutrality – but it cannot formulate judgements as to whether a perfectly consistent act or speech is desirable or undesirable, fair or unfair, advantageous or damaging to a country or a region.

Yet if the media is to constrain itself purely and exclusively to relating ‘facts’,3 it fulfils only half of its duty to ‘inform’ the people. For it is clear that the more important questions regarding any event are not what happened and where and when, but what the relative value of these happenings is, within their historical context. The media, if it is to fulfil its duty as the educator or the supplement to the educators of the people, must touch as well upon the vital questions, the questions of value. Yet the media cannot itself make evaluations on these questions without compromising its neutrality. It is therefore forced to take recourse to intelligent and well-informed individuals, who are not constrained by the bonds of neutrality, to make evaluations for it. These are the so-called ‘pundits’, who are for the reasons outlined absolutely indispensable to the existence of the neutral media.

It is impossible, however, to grant every single political viewpoint its own pundit. A line must be drawn somewhere or other, and the question is ever – where?

The media must therefore decide whose voice, and which political views, are acceptable to the public discourse, what persons and which perspectives have a right to be heard. The media is in this way responsible for conferring legitimacy on political views. Surely part of the standards upon which it makes such determinations will be what voices have the greatest sway in the public sphere; these obviously must be given ear in any public forum, for the simple reason that they are present and potent in the affairs of the day.4 Many of the pundits selected by the media to air their opinions will therefore be the representatives of these major political forces. Yet, to say it again, the media has a responsibility which transcends mere aping of the public opinion, insofar as the media is thought to be part and parcel of the educative process of democratic society, which aspect is universally considered indispensable to democratic society by every major theorist of the same, beginning already from the great Enlightenment philosophers like Locke and Rousseau.5 The media must therefore seek in some manner to inform the public on important questions of which the public knows nothing. Then the media must seek as well to inform the political views of the public, to edify and rectify them. Must it not in some cases seek the alteration of the very perspective which the public adopts?

Or, to begin with a more concrete question – by what standards will the media determine which pundits it should invite or report, and which it should shun or ignore?

A specific example of everything which has been said above will help us to clarify this essential point. Supposing a major public figure has just delivered an important address. The media cannot limit itself to printing the speech verbatim, nor to showing video playbacks of the address; to restrict itself to mere ‘reporting’ of this kind would indeed be an obvious dereliction of its truer duties. Neither can the media (save in certain special cases in which, say, a given newspaper or television programme has openly defied the principle of media neutrality, and has publicly adopted some explicit political bias) deliver its own opinions on what has been said, apart from pointing out various ‘objective facts’, such as where the public figure has strained or broken the evident bounds of some prosaic factuality; for the media’s expression of its own opinions regarding the truly important content of the speech, its moral or political side, would obviously compromise the media’s neutrality. The media must give the public some insight as well into the moral and political content and quality of the speech; in order to do this without transgressing its neutrality, it must have recourse to third parties, to commentators, who are not constrained by neutrality. But if these men are not constrained by neutrality, they will in many cases if not in all be committed to one or other of the contrasting political viewpoints of the day; they will be, that is to say, biased or partisan. The media must then select more than a single one of these men; it must present various pundits from a range of different viewpoints, who can competently present their peculiar perspectives and adversarially critique those of the others. The media becomes a forum for the political arguments of the day, without itself taking any position on them; thus it retains at once its neutrality and its duty.

Yet it is impossible to represent all existing viewpoints; there is neither space nor time for such. It is equally undesirable to represent only the most entrenched and conventional of these viewpoints, for this becomes stale and formulaic, and also once again betrays the role of the media in forming public awareness about as many facets of a ‘story’ as possible, as many refreshing and edifying viewpoints as possible. The media will therefore select a number of under-represented voices or perspectives to discuss the politician’s speech – as, for instance, the representatives of various small (or in America ‘third’) parties.

It is evident that certain perspectives will never be permitted a platform by the media. These excluded perspectives are commonly called ‘extreme’; it is hardly an accident that the voice of ‘extremists’ is rarely if ever permitted to breach the charmed circle of media commentary.6 The media, it is clear, draws boundaries around the accepted ground of political thought, and defines the limit between what is acceptable or mainstream, and what is unacceptable or ‘extreme’. Views which approach but do not supersede those boundaries are occasionally permissible; whatever lies beyond these boundaries, is anathema.

The media by its nature draws boundaries around the accepted ground of political thought, and defines the limit between what is acceptable or mainstream, and what is unacceptable or ‘extreme’.

But the media itself does not stand at the periphery, but rather at the centre; it is indeed in reference to this centre that the media feels itself entitled to determine what voices are mainstream and what are ‘extreme’.

Three important points follow from this. In the first place, it is finally clear that, no matter its pretences or its wishes to the contrary, and no matter what our democratic ideologues have to say on the matter, the media emphatically takes its bearings by public consensus, and can do no other. This public consensus is formed and maintained by powers other than the media’s. The media, which is supposed to be in part the political educator of human beings, is in fact radically the product and the servant of the true political educators of human beings – those who stand, as ever, in other spheres.7

In the second place, the ‘extremes’ are revealed to be of two different kinds. Firstly, there are those who take the mainstream view to its excesses, pressing it to its outermost logical conclusions; this includes political views such as communism, radical libertarianism, anarchism, etc. This is the true extreme, and, while it is generally excluded from the media, the boundary line between it and the ‘mainstream’ is somewhat porous and labile, and at times exceptions are made. One is more likely to hear the views of a hard-line communist on a major news network than the views of a hard-line fascist. This because the former actually has some deep ideological affinities with the social order in which we live.

This leads us then to another kind of view, one which is generally designated ‘extreme’, though this term is in fact meaningless with reference to it. These are political worldviews or viewpoints which in fact issue from a radically different fount of premises or principles than those which actuate the better part of human beings in our day – worldviews, therefore, which have nothing essentially (though they of course might have many things incidentally) in common with the mainstream vision which presently governs the societies of the West. These are views, to wit, such as those encapsulated in National Socialism, Fascism, and similar non- or anti-modern attitudes. The fact that these views are called ‘extreme’ is most telling of the contemporary moment; we have grown so accustomed to presupposing that every worldview has its final aims in common with every other (since democratic times, despite their fictions to the contrary, are in fact the most uniform and intellectually monotonous of all times), that we do not perceive the true and deep and transhistorical variety of possible political opinion. Rather say, we somehow sense it without ever realizing it, and shun those worldviews which shed the odour of such diversity; we inoculate ourselves against taking these views seriously, by praising our own ‘diversity’ of opinion to the skies, though it is a diversity of appearance only, like to that of a flock of sheep which have all been dyed in a rainbow of different colours. These ‘extreme’ views, which would better be called radical or revolutionary, depending on when and where they appear, are utterly excluded from the productions of the media – save when their most foolish and blundering representatives are brought on stage for purely educational purposes, to be pilloried in the public eye, that their natural pariah status might be thereby reconfirmed.

The final point to follow from these observations leads us to a yet deeper level of our investigation: for we are finally in a position to understand in what precisely ‘media neutrality’ consists. The media, as we have said, determines the boundaries around the territory of acceptable discourse. It does so by defining the difference between moderate and extreme; and in order to make this definition, it itself must emphatically occupy the former position. It takes up, that is to say, the centre of political discourse, holding fast to that point which represents the unambiguously common ground of all major political viewpoints. The media thereby rests principally on the no-man’s land standing between the real political differences and conflicts brought by the various political parties and movements of the day; because of its central position, it can claim the power of an unbiased arbiter to this contest.

Naturally, it succeeds in this role to varying degrees, and its ability here is conditioned by any number of specific practical difficulties which beset the media in any democratic clime and time, such as the existence of hidden vested interests, the perverting influence of powerful or affluent lobbies or interest groups or individuals, the natural and personal biases to which important media figures inevitably adhere, etc. etc. But these, though important, are but accidental difficulties, whereas we are interested here in the necessary problems of principle involved in the idea of media neutrality itself. And in principle, it is clear from what has just been said that ‘media neutrality’ in a certain sense does not, and cannot, exist; the media cannot possibly do other than commit to certain political views or premises or axioms. Its commitment is shrouded and concealed, because it commits to nothing less than the dogmas of the day, which, being universally accepted, are universally invisible; but this commitment exists nonetheless, and, rather than speaking of media neutrality, we would be much more consistent and accurate to speak of media moderateness or media centrality.

We have said that the media ideally occupies the common ground between the major political disputes of the day. The existence of such common ground is of great interest; for it points to a certain extent of unspoken agreement between all the governing political forces of the day. This state of affairs, which is manifest to anyone who has won the least degree of real distance from our times, is incarnated in a commonplace of our speech: namely, the famed ‘left-right political spectrum’, which, as any and all spectra (be they of colour, of sound, of electro-magnetic forces, etc.) presupposes a fixed substrate of commonality to all of its various parts. That substrate, in the left-right spectrum, is nothing more nor less than the adherence to the political and social ideals which had their birth in the Enlightenment, and which might loosely be reduced to the unshakeable belief in human equality.8 The most important political fact to issue from this basic principle is of course the unquestioning adherence to democracy as the only just system of human governance.

Now, many keen commentators have observed that the ‘left-right political spectrum’ is, for a number of reasons both evident and subtle, presently failing. It can no longer be taken as a clear and unexceptioned gauge of all possible political stances, as it was once uncontroversially taken to be. It appears that a number of political positions have emerged in our day which simply cannot be located on that spectrum, because they seize aspects of it willy-nilly, now from the right, now from the left, now from the centre, and to form from this ‘heterogeneous material’ what seems to be, from the perspective of the spectrum itself, a kind of pastiche of the resulting parts. At the same time, many of these ‘arbitrary’ assemblages have shown such a resilience and durability that it is impossible to accuse them of rank inconsistency – though this does not stop one from doing so under various slurs now in currency, most prominent among them ‘populism’. A ‘populist’ party or movement is taken to be actuated by a political vision which is nothing but the artificial and unsustainable accumulation of various incompatible positions which happen to tickle the fancy of a large contingent of ‘the people’ at a given moment in time. Though it is indisputable that such weird hodgepodge creatures do exist, and are indeed to some extent even autochthonous to democratic climes, it is equally indisputable that not all of the ‘populist’ parties that have emerged in late years are of such a character. It must therefore be acknowledged that the ‘left-right’ spectrum fails to encapsulate the entire range of human beliefs on political things.

But though this has been noted by many, its deeper reasons have remained elusive and almost untouched, no doubt in large part because most of those who are witness to political events in our day unconsciously adopt a kind of pseudo- or crypto-Darwinistic approach to the same, and thoughtlessly chalk everything up to ‘evolution’ and to natural changes in the political climate, when in point of fact it is the political system of the day itself which leads to this confusion.

The failure of the left-right spectrum is the natural consequence of the coming of democracy, of democracy’s taking the place of constitutional republicanism.9 A constitutional republic is based on certain unwavering laws (either unchangeable or very difficult of the changing) which are encapsulated either in a written constitution or else in a body of firmly established legislative and juridical precedent, which acts as an unwritten constitution. A constitution of either sort is precisely as the anchor to the bark; it marks the central point around which the ship may orbit as it will, but never past a certain fixed point which is determined by the length of the chain attached to the anchor – which is to say, the fixed boundaries of the constitution itself.

Democracy is subject to no such limitations. It is the happy myth of the proponents of democracy that ‘the people’ should somehow magically in the main favour democracy above all other regimes, feeling their own best interests to lie in it; this is not only naïve, but patently false in any confrontation with almost any historical manifestation of democracy you please. In point of fact, ‘the people’, better called in democratic times the mass or the multitude, is largely fickle and easily deceived; moreover, precisely in those cases that it is best educated, it sometimes begins to perceive the real and profound problems with the democratic order (broadly speaking, its kakocratic aspect, which vigorously sifts all of society for the most capable of the worst human beings). The masses in democratic times are therefore often enough fain to embrace political orders or ideas which are anything but democratic; this is why democracies have always (save in the very recent past) been looked upon with scepticism, scorn or censure by political theorists, and why they have always been considered by thinking men the least stable and most transient of regimes.

This apparent digression brings us back to the question of the media. We have stated that the media occupies the central ground in the day’s political disputes; but in democratic times it is inevitable that the tectonic plates of political thought shift wide and fast, so that sooner or later gorges and abysses appear between the various dominant worldviews of the day. The distances between these positions are unspannable, because the positions in question rely on incompatible and mutually exclusive principles of statecraft and social order. The media, for reasons we have already discussed, cannot remain neutral in the face of these differences, because in the midst of this cacophony and confusion there is no longer a right gauge of what is ‘mainstream’ and what is ‘extreme’ by which it may orient itself; the media must choose sides, and it will surely do so, if not on the basis of its simple economic interest (what ‘stories sell’ or whence comes its funding), then on the basis of which side best preserves the democratic order which is the evident and necessary prerequisite to any ‘free media’. The media, that is to say, must choose a bias, must toss aside the robes of its fictitious ‘neutrality’ and reveal itself for what it is: deeply and inevitably partisan, since the centre which it holds has now itself become the expression of a distinct and enclosed political commitment, an island separated and distant from all the other views afloat within the sea of democracy.

This is one of the great consequences of the coming of truly democratic times, and it is a consequence which everyone feels, and few know how to explain: it is referred to, somewhat naïvely, as the emergence of ‘media bias’ and the growth of ‘partisan politics’. More precisely, we might say this: we are seeing the emergence of the prejudicing of the media, its emphatic and obvious closure to any number of political views which propose alternatives to the reigning order, and its consequent opening behind the scenes to those powers which seem to be (though they almost never are) capable of protecting the democratic order in which alone the ‘free media’ finds air to breathe. Given the great sway that the media has in any regime in which it exists, and most especially in our hyper-technified, mass modernity, this movement of the press from what might in general be called a ‘neutral’ or central position, to a decidedly sectarian and dogmatically closed position cannot help but lead to vicious ramifications for the entirety of the social order.

The times demand of us that we proudly and consciously take up the warrior ethos which is one of the best parts of our Western heritage in order to confront these difficulties with full awareness of their meaning.

A word then on what all of this might mean to anyone who pertains to one of those political visions which are despised, shunned and slandered by the press: it is obvious, to anyone who has agreed to the conclusions we have posed, that the ‘neutral media’ cannot be salvaged, cannot be saved, because the conditions which have led to its partisanship are ineluctable and irresolvable. The emergence of ‘alternative media’ presents one possible solution to this difficulty; but it is a solution in appearance only, because any given alternative media source will find itself confronting the same difficulty faced by the media generally: namely, that it sooner or later must come to terms with the radical differences in the diverse political viewpoints of the day; that it cannot span those differences, because this would demand of it the capacity to sustain a massive internal contradiction; that it must therefore commit itself either to one of these viewpoints, or at most to a family of these viewpoints; that the different ‘centres’ of the media so understood thus stand in relation to one another, not as positions which respectfully diverge, but as outright antagonists, if not enemies, each vying for control of the ‘narratives’ of the day, and of that political and social space in which decisions on the fate of the nation itself are taken.

This directly leads to the rise of the so-called ‘information wars’ or ‘culture wars’ in whose grip we presently find ourselves. The times demand of us that we proudly and consciously take up the warrior ethos which is one of the best parts of our Western heritage in order to confront these difficulties with full awareness of their meaning. Yet this, necessary though it be, does not suffice in address of the deeper question brought before us by our time – the question of truth itself. For the entirety of the ‘truth’ seems in our day to fragment into pieces, and to close itself off into various sectors and hermetically sealed chambers, each one divided from all the others, and each one true only to itself. This phenomenon is denominated ‘postmodernism’.

It should be needless to say that all of this is appearance only; for anyone who has not fallen prey to the delusions involved in ‘postmodernism’, it is evident that we are witness merely to a consequence of the sick time in which we live, and that sooner or later – for better or worse – it must resolve itself. It should be needless to say as much, but in reality it is most evidently not. We seem at present to be overpowered by a growing and increasingly powerful relativism, against which it is impossible to combat, as it like the hydra springs up with two more heads for each one that is truncated: he who speaks of ‘truth’ today with confidence and surety often enough seems to stand before this relativistic wave as a single man before a swelling tide, who would beat it back with a cane.

We therefore risk here at closing a suggestion of the deepest problem, which all of this has presupposed, but not resolved: namely, the modern substitution of ‘information’ for knowledge, which leads one straight into the shallow adulation of brute ‘facts’ in the place of truth, and the belief that ‘having the facts’ suffices for wisdom. One must withdraw, not from the social order or from the conflicts that this order occasions (these must be confronted head on with all our power, enthusiasm, and will), but rather from the deeper presuppositions upon which it has been built; one must fly back to a philosophical state of mind, the only state of mind which truly can be, not indeed ‘neutral’, but impartial, and by which alone all of these obscure but massively consequential facts will finally stand before us, to be rightly judged.

References

1Here and throughout the present essay the term ‘media’ is to be taken to refer to the mainstream media, unless otherwise noted. This is not at all to disregard the existence or the importance of ‘alternative media’; but no one will claim that these alternative media have even a fraction of the influence of the mainstream media; hence it is natural to give more mind to the latter. The question of the potential neutrality of alternative media will be addressed briefly toward the close.

2Certainly when it comes to most of the ‘big stories’ of the day, no one can deny their relative importance. Yet even this is only a general rule, as there have been cases of ‘breaking news’ which were of obviously secondary importance to the life of the nation. Innumerable examples of this can be offered up; to give but a single one, consider the truly absurd and painfully characteristic period in which the United States press seemed for months on end to be able to talk about nothing other than ‘Octomom’, one Natalie Suleman, a woman who had, through artificial fertilization, wound up with eight children. Surely her situation raises interesting questions of all kinds regarding ethics and science, artificial fertilization, the nature of our times, etc.; but the media, so far from confronting these problems in any meaningful way, was perfectly content to float about in its idle, superficial, and spiritual void, reducing the entire affair almost to a soap opera for the daily consumption of the bored and distractable masses.

3This very concept itself opens up a world of deeper difficulties, but we pass over them in the present subject. Suffice it to note that there are extremely good reasons for suspecting that the famous dichotomy between facts and values is itself utterly factitious.

4We state this as a given; nonetheless, the advent of Trump to the White House of the United States has demonstrated that the media is no longer constrained even to present indisputably popular opinions in a neutral way. The reasons for this will become clear as we proceed; suffice it here to mention, however, that the references which are sometimes made to a battle for the future of our nations are in no way exaggerated, and that the reality of this battle is demonstrated daily by the fact that the media has begun to ‘take sides’ against ‘populism’, even when this dark and ill-defined force is responsible for manifesting itself in the highest political offices of Occidental nations.

5Cf. John Locke, Some Thoughts Regarding Education (1693) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Émile. So far as the freedom of press in particular is concerned, consider The Federalist Papers, No. 84, ‘Certain General and Miscellaneous Objections to the Constitution Considered and Answered’.

6When it does, it is generally in the context of a debunking or a kind of zoological display of exotic political taxonomies: which is to say, the views in question are not taken in the least seriously, and are presented precisely with the intent of undermining them. A classic example of this, on a relatively high level, can be seen in Christopher Hitchen’s interview of John Metzger; anyone who cares to view the slaughter, which is not without its lessons particularly for the dissident community, can indulge their curiosity here.

7In democratic societies, these are most especially the wealthy ‘elite’, the moguls of our ‘entertainment industry’, and finally the professors of our academia – though it goes without saying that all of these men are ‘educators’ in something other than the edifying sense that everyone likes to believe.

8They include as well several other features, most obviously the commitment to full human liberty and to unlimited progress; but on a deeper analysis, which we cannot submit here, it is evident that the first of these is in fact sacrificed to human equality in any tolerably pure expression of these ideals (which makes indeed for one of the most intriguing dramas of our day), and that the second is far from being perfectly or unambiguously compatible with it (which makes for another). For a deeper critique of the left-right political spectrum, see my essay ‘What is the Deep Right?

9I have addressed this question at greater length in my essay ‘Decorum and Democracy’.

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Spengler, Epigenetics and the Idea of ‘Race’ – Part 2 https://arktos.com/2018/11/29/spengler-epigenetics-and-the-idea-of-race-part-2/ https://arktos.com/2018/11/29/spengler-epigenetics-and-the-idea-of-race-part-2/#comments_reply Thu, 29 Nov 2018 12:56:00 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=5283 3. Epigenetics

Despite Baker’s admiration for Spengler’s intellect and erudition, he is ‘eliminated at once’, along with Nietzsche, ‘as irrelevant to the ethnic problem’, as he ‘makes it abundantly clear that the Volk was not an ethnic taxon.’1 Baker’s purpose in writing Race was to define and classify races or what he called ‘ethnic taxa’ in a biological way. Spengler would have rejected such categorizing as an expression of the English materialistic Zeitgeist of weighing and measuring all things. For Darwinian scientists such as Baker, Spengler’s definition of a ‘race’ was ‘remarkable’, to use Baker’s word, insofar as it seemed odd.

Liberals are obliged to recognize differences in ‘race’ because of the adverse medical impact in trying to ignore them.

How is it possible that there can be any inheritance of characteristics acquired from collective experiences (history) within a given landscape that go to form a ‘race’, as Spengler defined it? How is it that, as quoted by Baker, according to Spengler, ‘great events first produced the Volker’? Is this nothing more than the debunked theories of Lamarck and Lysenko, and a resort to the supposedly disproven study of Boas on skull measurements? How can any such concept as a Zeitgeist or a Volkgeist (suggesting ‘spirits’) be anything but the romanticism of the German Idealists such as Goethe and Herder? As we have seen, Goethe was one of two (the other being Nietzsche) to whom Spengler paid special tribute for their influence on his thinking. Interestingly, Nietzsche was a precursor of epigenetics, writing in 1886:

That which his ancestors most liked to do and most constantly did cannot be erased from a man’s soul. … It is quite impossible that a man should not have in his body the qualities and preferences of his parents and forefathers, whatever appearances may say to the contrary. This constitutes the problem of race. …2

To understand one another it is not sufficient to employ the same words; we have also to employ the same words to designate the same species of inner experiences, we must ultimately have our experience in common. That is why the members of one people understand one another better than do members of differing peoples even when they use the same language; or rather when human beings have lived together for a long time under similar conditions (of climate, soil, danger, needs, work) there arises from this a group who ‘understand one another’, a people. In every soul in this group an equivalent number of frequently recurring experiences has gained the upper hand over those which come more rarely: it is on the basis of these that people understand one another, quickly and ever more quickly … it is on the basis of this quick understanding that they unite together, closely and ever more closely.3

While there has been confusion in the popular press, which take it as a revival of Lysenko and Lamarck,4 epigenetics does not replace Mendelian inheritance. The concept was explained in a paper published in 1956 by Waddington on an example of the inheritance of an acquired characteristic.5 Dr. Chris Faulk writes: ‘Epigenetics means that the environment can impact your physical characteristics, your phenotype, and potentially even be passed on to your offspring’.6

Not all heritability is genetic, and humans, like all animals, have the ability to adapt to the environment. One of the main mechanisms for altering gene expression is through epigenetics, literally ‘above the genome’. Epigenetics has been in the news lately for its potential impacts on human health, and has even been touted as requiring a complete overhaul of the modern synthesis of evolutionary theory. The basic premise of epigenetics is that chemical marks (DNA methylation, histone modifications, and bound non-coding RNAs) can result in gene expression changes and can be passed down through cell division without changes in a cell’s DNA. If these changes are passed down through the generations, they are considered non-Mendelian, since they do not follow the law of genetic segregation. Practically, epigenetics means that the environment can impact your physical characteristics, your phenotype, and potentially even be passed on to your offspring.7

Liberal academics claim that epigenetics shows that race is a social construct that can be disposed of, yet they are profoundly uncomfortable with it. They contort to make epigenetics fit their ideologies. For example, while stating that ‘race is a social construct’ a team of biologists nonetheless also stated that ‘racial and ethnic categories also reflect the shared experiences’.8 ‘Shared experiences’ are history and culture, the very elements that Spengler stated form a ‘race’. Liberals are obliged to recognize differences in ‘race’ because of the adverse medical impact in trying to ignore them. Certain traits acquired from the environment including those to which pregnant women are subjected, generation after generation, are inherited as acquired characteristics. These become race characteristics for good or ill, physiologically, psychologically, morally, spiritually, and culturally. The Galanter study comments:

[W]e find that CpG9 sites known to be influenced by social and environmental exposures are also differentially methylated between ethnic subgroups. These findings called attention to a more complete understanding of the effect of social and environmental variables on methylation in the context of race and ethnicity to fully understanding this complex process.10

Scientists are obliged to face such realities:

The future of medicine, Dr. Burchard11 argued, carefully considers genetic ancestry, race, ethnicity and culture all at the same time. He published research back in 2011 showing how far the medical research establishment is from factoring in the nuances of race and ethnicity. That 2011 research showed that 94 percent of study participants in modern genetic studies are white, Dr. Buchard said. ‘We study whites a lot, and then we try to generalize that to Sri Lankans, blacks, Asians, and other racial groups. That’s not just socially unjust, it’s bad science and bad medicine.’12

What is of concern to liberal-activist academics is that the concept of genetically fixed races that has been consigned to near-oblivion among respectable academia, might be replaced by the concept of epigenetically formed races. This is environmentalism, but not of the type that accommodates Marxist or liberal ideologies. Becky Mansfield, Associate Professor of Geography at Ohio State University, sees epigenetics as an exciting new science that can be both ‘anti-racist’, but also used as a new theory of race-formation. She claims that ‘racism forms race’ epigenetically. That is to say, the liberals again try to reduce any conception of ‘race’ to being nothing other than a social construct contrived by a white patriarchal conspiracy as a means of exploiting some mysteriously invented population cluster that have arbitrarily been designated racially. However, the liberals are in a quandary. Mansfield for example is bothered by the predicament that focusing on dietary and hence medical problems among the Afro-American population perpetuates ‘race’ as a ‘social construct.’

What I will show is that, far from making race meaningless, epigenetic biopolitics marks a transformation and even intensification of racialization. To the extent that biology is mutable, then evidence that childbearing women of color fail to properly manage their individual and collective bodies doubly proves that race exists, and exists on the body. … Whereas race may have started as a fiction – a social construction – through epigenetic biopolitics it is made quite material, not just in phenomenological embodiment, but in the molecular-environmental development of individuals.13

Professor Mansfield is concerned that studies and warnings about poor diet among Afro-American mothers might result in perpetuating racial stereotypes, which epigenetically become real; yet the option is to ignore these problems to the detriment of public health. That is a predicament for those who deny that ‘race’ has any meaning other than as a socio-political method of exploitation.

Epigenetics might explain the hitherto mysterious mechanism by which a ‘race soul’ might be formed and inherited.

Additionally, and of even more relevance to the Spenglerian approach to race-formation, behavioural epigenetics studies the way experiences (and hence history) can be epigenetically passed on, becoming a collective acquired characteristic; that is, a race-trait, an archetype and a culture. This branch began when Moshe Szyf, molecular biologist and geneticist, and Michael Meaney, neurobiologist, both with McGill University, Montreal, hypothesized whether severe stressors could epigenetically cause neuron changes in the brain.14 Dan Hurley of Discover magazine writes of this:

According to the new insights of behavioral epigenetics, traumatic experiences in our past, or in our recent ancestors’ past, leave molecular scars adhering to our DNA. Jews whose great-grandparents were chased from their Russian shtetls; Chinese whose grandparents lived through the ravages of the Cultural Revolution; young immigrants from Africa whose parents survived massacres; adults of every ethnicity who grew up with alcoholic or abusive parents – all carry with them more than just memories.15

In regard to the epigenetic impact on the Jewish race memory, a recent genetic study of thirty-two Jewish men and women who had experienced trauma during World War II, and of their children, compared with Jewish families who had lived outside of Europe during the war, concluded that there is ‘an association of preconception parental trauma with epigenetic alterations that is evident in both exposed parent and offspring, providing potential insight into how severe psychophysiological trauma can have intergenerational effects’.16

4. Conclusions

The same principles of epigenetics are applicable to all races, or ethne, as responses to challenges and other shared experiences, whose impact is often reinforced by myths, legends, ritual and customs. Indeed that is the purpose of legends, myths and the religious forms they take. It is the meaning of history and the definition of ‘culture’. The steppes shaped the Russian psyche, the seas the English. Spengler explained race-formation by such concepts. Epigenetics might explain the hitherto mysterious mechanism by which a ‘race soul’ – or Jung’s collective unconscious if one prefers – might be formed and inherited.

References

1Ibid., p. 59.

2F. Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (Penguin Books, 1984), p. 184.

3Ibid., p. 186.

4L. Graham, Lysenko’s Ghost: Epigenetics and Russia (London: Harvard University Press, 2016).

5Denis Noble, ‘Conrad Waddington and the origin of epigenetics’, Journal of Experimental Biology, http://jeb.biologists.org/content/218/6/816.

6Chris Faulk, ‘Lamarck, Lysenko, and Modern Day Epigenetics’, School of Public Health, 2013.

7Ibid.

8J. M. Galanter, et al. ‘Differential methylation between ethnic sub-groups reflects the effect of genetic ancestry and environmental exposures’, eLife, January 3, 2017; https://elifesciences.org/content/6/e20532.

9CpG sites: regions of DNA nucleotide sequences, changes of which result in epigenetics.

10Galanter, et al., op. cit.

11Esteban Burchard of the University of California, San Francisco.

12‘Culture etched on our DNA more than previously known, research suggests’, CBS News, January 11, 2017; http://www.cbsnews.com/news/culture-etched-onto-our-dna-more-than-previously-known-research-says/.

13B. Mansfield, ‘Epigenetic Biopolitics, Race, Population and Environmental Health’, eLife, January 3, 2017; http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/bwep/colloquium/papers/Mansfield-EP-EpigeneticBiopolitics-Race.pdf.

14Dan Hurley, ‘Grandma’s experiences leave a mark on your genes,’ Discover, May 2013.

15Ibid.

16Rachel Yahuda et al., ‘Holocaust exposure induced intergenerational effects on FKBP5 Methylation,’ Biological Psychiatry, Vol. 80, No. 5, September 1, 2016, pp. 372–38.

Bibliography

Baker, John R. (1974), Race, New York.

Boas, F. (1912), ‘Changes in Bodily Form of Descendants of Immigrants’, American Anthropologist, Vol. 14, No. 3.

Briggs A. (1985), The Nineteenth Century: The Contradictions of Progress, New York.

Chamberlain, Houston Stewart. (1911), Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, London.

Condorcet, Marquis de. (1802), Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind, Baltimore.

Dan Hurley, D. (2013), ‘Grandma’s experiences leave a mark on your genes,’ Discover, May.

Demandt, A. (2017). Decline of the Occident, Studies on Oswald Spengler, Cologne / Weimar / Vienna.

Eliade, M. (1959), The Sacred and the Profane, New York.

Faulk, Chris. (2013), ‘Lamarck, Lysenko, and Modern Day Epigenetics’, School of Public Health, http://www.mindthesciencegap.org/2013/06/21/lamarck-lysenko-and-modern-day-epigenetics/.

Fink, S. Robert Rollinger (2018), Oswald Spenglers Kulturmorphologie, Studies in Universal and Cultural History, Springer VS, https://www.uibk.ac.at/zivilrecht/team/barta/buch-oswald-spengler-barta.pdf.

Fukuyama, F. (1989), ‘The End of History?’, The National Interest, Summer, http://www.wesjones.com/eoh.htm.

Galanter, J. M. et al. (2017) ‘Differential methylation between ethnic sub-groups reflects the effect of genetic ancestry and environmental exposures’, eLife, January 3; https://elifesciences.org/content/6/e20532.

Gobineau, Arthur de. (1983), Inequality of the Races, Torrance.

Graham, L. (2016). Lysenko’s Ghost: Epigenetics and Russia, London.

Grant, Maddison. (1918), Passing of the Great Race, New York.

Gravlee, C. C. and Bernard Leonard. (2003), ‘Boas’s Changes in Bodily Form: The Immigrant Study, Cranial Plasticity, and Boas’s Physical Anthropology’, American Anthropologist, Vol. 105, No. 2, 4 June, http://nersp.osg.ufl.edu/~ufruss/documents/boas.paperII.pdf.

Gravlee, C. C., Russell Bernard, William R. Leonard. (2003), ‘Heredity, Environment, and Cranial Form: A Re-Analysis of Boas’ Immigrant Data’, American Anthropologist Vol. 10, No. 1.

Hegel, G. W. F. (2001), The Philosophy of History, Ontario.

Hughes, Henry Stuart. (1992), Oswald Spengler: A Critical Estimate, New Brunswick.

Jung, C. G. (1930), The Complications of American Psychology, in Collected Works, Vol. 10, London.

— (1931). ‘Mind and Earth,’ Collected Works, Vol. 10, London.

Mansfield, B. (2017), ‘Epigenetic Biopolitics, Race, Population and Environmental Health’, eLife, January 3; http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/bwep/colloquium/papers/Mansfield-EP-EpigeneticBiopolitics-Race.pdf.

Mosley, O. (1968), My Life, London.

Nietzsche, F. (1984). Beyond Good and Evil, Middlesex.

Noble, D. ‘Conrad Waddington and the Origin of epigenetics’, Journal of Experimental Biology, http://jeb.biologists.org/content/218/6/816.

Spengler, O. (1919), Prussianism and Socialism, Munich.

— (1921), ‘Pessimism,’ (Preußische Jahrbücher, No. 184.

— (1924), ‘Political Duties of German Youth,’ Munich.

— (1962), The Hour of Decision (1936), New York.

— (1966), Spengler Letters 1913–1936, London.

— (1971), The Decline of the West (1918/1922), London.

— (1992) Man and Technics (1931), European Books Society, London.

Sternhell, Z. (1994), The Birth of Fascist Ideology, Princeton, New Jersey.

Tarpley, Webster G. (2016), ‘Oswald Spengler: Race Theorist of the Trump Regime?’ March 31; http://tarpley.net/oswald-spengler-race-theorist-of-the-trump-regime/.

Thomson, Alexander Raven. (1932), Civilisation as Divine Superman, London.

Vico, G. (1948), The New Science of Giambattista Vico (1730) Cornell University Press.

Voegelin, E. ‘Race and State,’ (1999), The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin (1933) Columbia.

Waddington, C. H. (1953), ‘Genetic assimilation of an acquired character’, Evolution, Vol. 7, No. 2, June.

Yahuda Rachel , et al. (2016), ‘Holocaust exposure induced intergenerational effects on FKBP5 Methylation,’ Biological Psychiatry, Vol. 80, No. 5, September 1.

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Spengler, Epigenetics and the Idea of ‘Race’ – Part 1 https://arktos.com/2018/11/28/spengler-epigenetics-and-the-idea-of-race/ https://arktos.com/2018/11/28/spengler-epigenetics-and-the-idea-of-race/#comments_reply Wed, 28 Nov 2018 13:44:10 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=5271 1. Introduction

Oswald Spengler affronts both the positivism of Liberalism and Marxism on the one hand (which are based on a lineal ‘march of history’ from ‘primitive to modern’, ending in a utopian ‘end of history’, at which humanity has reached its apex of striving), and the ‘Right’ on the other, from which Spengler himself emerged, but which has nevertheless often rejected his non-zoological definitions of ‘race’. Both concepts, whether of ‘Right’ or Left’, Spengler saw as hangovers of 19th century materialism, the Zeitgeist which was primarily represented by England. Hence, Marxism for example was just as much a product of that Zeitgeist as the Manchester School of Free Trade, and Darwinism. Indeed, these doctrines were often conflated (Social Darwinism), while Darwinism was brought to Germany by Haeckel and largely displaced German Idealism in the name of science. Because the present Zeitgeist remains that of the 19th century, with Free Trade now more entrenched over much of the Earth than ever, under the name of ‘globalization’ and ‘democracy’, materialist doctrines remain dominant. Spengler’s explication of such concepts as the race soul, the spirit of the age, and the metaphysical imprint of the landscape on race-formation, seem absurd to the scientism of the present, which is the legacy of the positivism of prior centuries. However, a new biological science, epigenetics, offers an explanation as to how race-formation can, as Spengler suggested, be shaped by history and culture giving meanings beyond calliper measurements and gene clusters.

Spengler stated that there is no such nebulous entity as ‘mankind’, and ‘no march of history’, understood as some kind of Darwinistic evolution from ‘primitive to modern’, in which every human participates in a market economy and votes for Westminster-style parliaments.

Oswald Spengler as a man of the ‘Right’ is anathema to the whole genre of the Left, as well as the Liberalism of the 19th century ‘Whig’ variety, if for no other reason (although there are a multitude) than that his organic, cyclical interpretation of history rejects the positivist, progressive-lineal history that continues to be the dominant outlook among academia. Spengler stated in his magnum opus The Decline of The West, and elsewhere, that there is no such nebulous entity as ‘mankind’ in historical terms, and ‘no march of history’, understood as some kind of Darwinistic evolution from ‘primitive to modern’, culminating in a global utopia in which every human, from Sweden’s fjords to the Kalahari and Amazon, participates in a market economy and votes for Westminster-style parliaments. This is precisely what one proponent of this positivist approach, Dr. Francis Fukuyama, optimistically predicted would be the ‘end of history’.1 It is the same outlook that possessed the Victorians, who saw the 19th century as the culmination of all anterior human striving, reflected in the Industrial Revolution. This was expressed in a particularly cogent manner by A. R. Wallace, as influential a proponent of biological evolution as Darwin, when in 1898 he ebulliently stated in his cheerfully titled The Wonderful Century:

Not only is our century superior to any that have gone before it but … it may be best compared with the whole preceding historical period. It must therefore be held to constitute the beginning of a new era of human progress. … We men of the 19th Century have not been slow to praise it. The wise and the foolish, the learned and the unlearned, the poet and the pressman, the rich and the poor, alike swell the chorus of admiration for the marvellous inventions and discoveries of our own age, and especially for those innumerable applications of science which now form part of our daily life, and which remind us every hour or our immense superiority over our comparatively ignorant forefathers.2

This utopian optimism, supposedly ‘proven’ by 19th century science and industry, was itself hardly new. Marquis de Condorcet had said much the same in the prior century.3 It seems that every century of the ‘Winter’ epoch of the West throws up a new prophet of ‘progress’ – de Condorcet, A. R. Wallace, Marx, Francis Fukuyama in our time – and in the name of such ‘progress’ wars and revolutions can be fought. The more democratic in name, the bloodier these ideologies seem to become (Jacobinism, Bolshevism). This is not to say that the prophets of a universal ‘march of progress’ went unchallenged. Rather, such types are not the norm, but are aberrations that emerge during what Spengler called the ‘Winter’ epoch of a Civilization, where the spirit has become ossified, and the instinct etiolated. To the contrary, throughout preceding culture epochs, the usual historical outlook is cyclic, and is reflected even in the conceptions of time among cultures in a traditional sense, as examined by Mircea Eliade.4 Spengler provided 20th century scholarship to the traditional cyclical outlook. In the West, Giambattista Vico (1668–1744), considered the father of historical-philosophy, had already stated that civilizations go through epochs similar to those of Spengler: Poetic, Heroic, Reasonable (Rationalism),5 analogous to Spengler’s Spring, Summer, Autumn/Winter.

World War I interrupted the optimism of the 19th century, as the war era brought not only economic distress, but a collapse of the social, moral and spiritual fabric of Western society, albeit a fabric that men such as Spengler could point out had long been in a state of decay. To paraphrase Nietzsche, the Great War gave a push to that which had been falling. There were those who saw the war’s aftermath and its culture-chaos as a victory of what Spengler in the final chapter of The Decline of The West calls the fight between ‘Money and Blood’, in which ‘Money’ won. Poets such as Ezra Pound and W. B. Yeats agreed with Spengler in regarding the democratic era as a façade for plutocracy, and they deplored the commercialization of the arts as a product of the epoch: culture as a commodity like everything else.

While Spengler emerged as a leading proponent of the so-called ‘Conservative Revolution’ in Weimar Germany, itself a reaction to this chaos, his continuation of the German Idealist legacy that placed spirit above matter in the formation of the Volk put him in opposition to many emerging elements of the ‘Right’ in Germany before the war, and those on much of the ‘Right’ outside of Germany after the war, over the question of ‘race’. Ironically, the Hitlerites owed more to English Darwinian and various Malthusian conceptions than to German Idealism, although the two mixed uneasily in the Third Reich. While the Left regard Spengler as a ‘racist’ philosopher, racial theorists conversely saw his rejection of biological racial taxonomy as having something of the ‘Left’ about it. Indeed, Spengler commits a heresy in citing the work of Franz Boas of Columbia University, who provided statistical analysis for the hypothesis that landscape changes skull shape among first generation immigrant children of Sicilians and Jews, and that the skulls of such children tend towards an ‘American’ skull type.

Yet Spengler did not reject race; rather he affirmed it. However, in his rejection of every facet of the Zeitgeist of 19th century materialism, Spengler affirmed the German Idealist philosophers, Hegel,6 Herder, Fichte, Goethe, and later Nietzsche, who had defined nationality, Volk and nation, as expressions of a ‘spirit’ of the land that impresses on its inhabitants in a metaphysical sense. For today’s materialism, this seems unscientific, whether from a Left-wing total rejection of ‘race’ as an illegitimate concept, or from the viewpoint of those scientists who insist – in the face of much adversity – that race is primarily based on gene clusters.7 Indeed, with respect to this legacy, Goethe was the basis of Spengler’s historical method. He is cited throughout The Decline of The West. Of the method of historical morphology developed from Goethe, Spengler states:

Culture is the prime phenomenon of all past history and future world-history. The deep, and scarcely appreciated, idea of Goethe, which he discovered in his ‘living nature’ and always made the basis of his morphological researches, we shall here apply – in its most precise sense – to all the formation of man’s history, whether fully matured, cut off in the prime, half opened or stifled in the seed. It is the method of living into (erfühlen) the object, as opposed to dissecting it.8

This is what Spengler calls Goethe’s ‘looking into the heart of things’, ‘but the century of Darwin is as remote from such a vision as it is possible to be’. We look in vain for any treatment of history that is ‘entirely free from the methods of Darwinism’.9 Spengler credits Goethe with describing the ‘epochs of the spirit’ of a civilization that agrees with his own, preliminary, early, late, and civilized stages,10 which Goethe called in an 1817 essay, Epochs of the Spirit, the Ages of Poetry, Theology, Philosophy, and the Prosaic. They equate with Spengler’s seasonal metaphors (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) which he calls ‘spiritual epochs’.

Ironically, and tragically, the predominant outlook adopted by the Hitlerites was not that of German idealist conceptions of the Volk, which implies a cultural-spiritual identity; but that of English biologism, including Darwinism, and hence, materialism, Darwinism itself having been imparted to Germany by Haeckel, and race doctrine by the Englishman Houston Stewart Chamberlain. In particular, Spengler’s Decline of The West stood in contradiction to the race doctrine of Hitler’s chief ideologue, Alfred Rosenberg, whose Myth of the Twentieth Century was intended as a sequel to Chamberlain’s Foundations of the Nineteenth Century. When Spengler refused to be appropriated by the Third Reich, despite Goebbels’ efforts,11 he became persona non grata, and his final book, The Hour of Decision, was proscribed, albeit widely read.12

Epigenetics implies that common experiences, or ‘history’, can shape the collective psyche of a group and can be passed along.

Spengler seemed to have been refuted as much as Lamarck and Lysenko, from every vantage point of science. The primary mystery, like the mechanism by which Jung’s concept of the collective unconscious can be somehow inherited, was how landscape can seemingly magically impress itself on clusters of individuals to form them into a ‘race’? The very idea seems to lie more in the realm of the supernatural than of science. However, there is presently a scientific revolution taking place that is altering many perceptions and giving possible answers to perplexing questions on the now-reconsidered ‘inheritance of acquired characteristics’. Although this is often confused in the popular press with the debunked theories of Lamarck and the USSR’s Lysenko, this branch of biology called ‘epigenetics’ does not replace the laws of Mendelian genetics, but shows that genetics is not the only mechanism by which characteristics can be passed along. Indeed, the original exponent of epigenetics, who coined the word in 1942, was the eminent British geneticist C. H. Waddington.13 What epigenetics seems to indicate is that the experiences of one generation can affect the character of subsequent generations. If this is correct, then it implies that these common experiences, or ‘history’, can shape the collective psyche of a group and be passed along. Such traits are also reinforced through generations by being maintained as collective memories in myths, legends, religions and customs.

Hence in hypothesizing that history shapes and forms ‘race’, epigenetics could be at least one of the factors that enables this process to occur. It means that rather than ‘race’ being the creator of history, as per the race theories that dominated the Third Reich,14 Spengler’s contention – and that of other conservative philosophers in the German Idealist tradition such as Eric Voegelin,15 namely,that history forms ‘race’ – becomes scientifically plausible, as does Jung’s theory of the inherited collective unconscious, archetypes, the ‘national spirit,’ and the spiritus loci.16

Rootedness of families in landscape produces what Spengler called ‘race’, defined as ‘a character of duration’.17 This ‘conception of a morphology of world history’, ‘of the world-as-history in contrast to the morphology of the world-as-nature’,18 is important in considering the decline and fall of civilizations as an organic process of life cycles, which genetic interpretations overlook or discount.

2. Spengler on ‘Race’

Spengler, in rejecting a zoological interpretation of history as well as a zoological categorization of ‘race’, stated that ‘what I for the first time have pointed out is that “nation”, like state, art, mathematics, is only a term, that race-forms like art-forms are determined by the style of a culture and cannot as stationery substances be made the foundation of history.’19 Spengler stated that ‘races’ have a ‘plant-like’ quality, insofar as ‘a race has roots.’ ‘Race and landscape belong together. Where a plant takes root, there it dies also.’ A race is permanently fixed in ‘its most essential characters of body and soul’ to its home. If the race can no longer be found in its home, it has ceased to exist.20

A race does not migrate. Men migrate, and their successive generations are born in ever-changing landscapes; but the landscape exercises a secret force upon the plant-nature in them, and eventually the race-expression is completely transformed by the extinction of the old and the appearance of a new one. Englishmen and Germans did not migrate to America, but human beings migrated thither as Englishmen and Germans, and their descendants are there as Americans.21

In The Hour of Decision, he wrote of this conception in contrast to a materialistic conception of race:

But in speaking of race, it is not intended in the same sense in which it is the fashion among anti-Semites in Europe and America to use it today: Darwinistically, materialistically. Race purity is a grotesque word in view of the fact that for centuries all stocks and species have been mixed, and that warlike – that is, healthy – generations with a future before them have from time immemorial always welcomed a stranger into the family if he had ‘race’, to whatever race it was he belonged. Those who talk too much about race no longer have it in them. What is needed is not a pure race, but a strong one, which has a nation within it.22

Spengler accepted the race-forming force of the landscape in changing the physiology and soul. Carl Jung said much the same.23 Spengler referred to studies that had shown that ‘Whites of all races, Indians and Negros have come to the same average in size of body and time of maturity’, referring to the research of American anthropologist Franz Boas that indicated the impact of environment on the change in skull shape of American-born children of Sicilian and German-Jewish migrants.24 Spengler stated that assumptions should not be made about race based on ancient skulls, such as those of the Etruscans, Dorians and others.25 He wrote that ‘of all expressions of race, the purest is the House’, expressing the ‘prime feeling of growth’ of a race.26 Hence, he studied the meaning of Doric columns, the domed mosque, and Gothic spires, each expressing the soul of a civilization much better than cranial angles. To Spengler one could tell more of the élan of a race or an individual representative of the leadership stratum of a race by a portrait painting than by an examination of the skull. A portrait captures a certain look of character and bearing, of the noble or of the craven, which skeletal indices do not indicate.

To Spengler one could tell more of the élan of a race or an individual representative of the leadership stratum of a race by a portrait painting than by an examination of the skull.

Clearly, Spengler’s views on ‘race’ were antithetical to the National Socialists, and continue to be so by those of the ‘Right’ who are inspired by a genetic determinism. Nonetheless, Spengler remains intrinsically heretical to liberalism. His conception of ‘race’ is as objectionable as any other at a time when it is academically fashionable to deny that any such a concept exists. Spengler rejected every notion as ‘mankind’ as a historical and cultural unit. Each civilization is self-contained and follows its own life-course, to the extent that Spengler even rejects the notion of a continuity between the Classical and Western Civilizations which have long been assumed, by contending that there is a gulf that divides spiritual outlooks between peoples, reflected in the arts, architecture and even the sciences, including mathematics. Between the Doric Column and the Gothic Spire there was no kinship of Volk spirit. Hence, there is no ‘world history’, ‘history of mankind’, ‘world civilization’, etc. Such a rejection of any form of universalism or positivism forever makes Spengler anathema to large sections of the still-dominant liberal paradigm across academe. Nonetheless, given the times, or the Zeitgeist, in recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in Spengler, perhaps motivated by a broad unease at the direction of society under the impress of what is called ‘globalization’. The symposium entitled ‘Between Adoration and Contempt – the Transfer of the Cultural Morphology of Oswald Spengler into the Europe of the Interwar Period (1919–1939)’ held at the Leibniz Institute for European History (IEG) in Mainz in June 2012 is an example of the interest, as are the activities of The Oswald Spengler Society. Many academic studies are now forthcoming, such as the volume, Oswald Spenglers Kulturmorphologie,27 Michael Thöndl’s Rassebegriff, and Demandt’s Untergänge des Abendlandes.28

However, as one should expect, a more positive reconsideration of Spengler is also going to create a reaction. Some reaction has been prompted by the assumption to the U.S. presidency of Donald Trump. In this context the spectre of Spengler as a ‘pessimistic’29 ‘fascist’ arises. One present commentator, in describing Trump as a ‘fascist,’ using the straw-man argument that defines ‘fascism’30 to suit the writer’s intent, introduced Spengler to American readers by stating that The Decline of the West ‘may be considered one of the most extreme and comprehensive formulations of historical pessimism and cultural pessimism in recent centuries. It reeks of Trumpism.’ The writer, Dr. Tarpley, then attempts to summarize the outlook of Spengler:

Here Spengler is speaking as a historian or a would-be a philosopher of history. For him, the historical process is simply an unending chaos. History has no program, no goal, no reason – nothing but the most brutal caprice. No time and place is better than any other time and place – here Spengler takes over the famous slogan of the reactionary romantic Leopold von Ranke that all historical epochs are at the same distance from heaven, meaning that they are all from equal value. There is no lawfulness. There is no such thing as cause and effect – at one point Spengler argues that the very notion of causality is a provincial belief held in the Western world, or more precisely, a Baroque phenomenon (referring to the bombastic and highly ornamented style of the 1600s in Europe). In Spengler’s concept of history, there is no progress, and no development to be seen.31

While Dr. Tarpley fails to provide any connection between Spengler and ‘Trumpism’, he describes Spengler as the ‘race theorist’ who was influential in the assumption to government of National Socialism, captioning a picture of Spengler:

German ‘race scientist’ Oswald Spengler, who shares much responsibility for the coming of the National Socialist regime. Trump’s followers are students of Spengler’s book, The Decline of the West. Has Trump been reading this book as a manual for seizing power as a Caesarist?32

Dr. Tarpley does not present any example of a ‘Trump follower’ having read Spengler, for his allegation that Trump followers are ‘students’ of The Decline of The West. However Dr. Tarpley does provide a summary of why Spengler remains abhorrent to those who adhere to 19th century positivism, as defined by Dr. Tarpley:

We must therefore turn away from the artificial national identity demanded by Trump and reaffirm the democratic universalism of American ideas and the American mission. There is no ethnocultural basis for an American nation in Philly cheese steaks or the National Football League, as demagogues like Trump and Michael Savage seem to believe. Rather, the nation needs a mission. This can only be to lead the world into an era of economic recovery and unprecedented material and cultural prosperity. And this must be supplemented by assuming a role second to none in the permanent colonization of nearby space objects as an imperative of economic and cultural development – in the service of optimism. With that, the pessimistic mysticism and solipsism of Gumplowicz,33 Spengler, and Trump will be finished once and for all.34

The irony should be evident that Dr. Tarpley’s sense of the USA’s global ‘mission’, culminating in the colonisation of space, is Faustian.

One ‘race scientist’ (to use Dr. Tarpley’s term) who does provide a cogent description of Spengler’s actual views in a chapter dedicated to race theorists, is Oxford University biologist Dr. John R. Baker. Dr. Baker adhered to a genetic view of race that was at odds with Spengler’s but his description of Spengler’s views is objective and insightful, and not prejudiced by assumptions. In the chapter ‘From Kossinna to Hitler’, Baker dismisses the contention that the German philologist and archaeologist Gustaf Kossinna (1858–1931) was a significant influence on National Socialist race theory, before proceeding to Spengler.35 Of Spengler, Baker states that he was ‘in intellect and erudition … greatly superior to most of those who have been regarded – rightly or wrongly – as the precursors of Nazism.’36 Baker outlines Spengler’s morphology of cultures, and does so with admirable cogency. He states that while critics were quick to point out inaccuracies in Spengler’s lengthy tome, ‘it was not found so easy to challenge the main conceptions’ of this ‘absorbing book’, ‘which retains much of its interest and value today.’ For Baker, the most important question is what Spengler meant by Volk. Baker retains the use of Volk, regarding English terms such as ‘nation,’ ‘people,’ ‘folk’ and ‘race’ as inadequate. He cites Spengler that Völker ‘are neither linguistic nor political nor zoological, but on the contrary spiritual units.’ Quoting Spengler, Volk is defined as ‘a society of men that feels itself to be a unit.’ As a biologist possessing what Spengler might describe as an ‘English’ outlook, Baker quotes what he regards as a ‘remarkable statement’ for Spengler’s claim that it is, in Baker’s words, ‘the action of a group of men that turns into a Volk.’ Of this, Baker quotes Spengler as stating that ‘[t]he great events of history were in fact not carried out by Völkern; on the contrary, the great events first produced the Völker.’ Quoting from The Decline of The West, ‘to make Spengler’s outlook on the ethnic problem perfectly clear’, 37 Baker cites Spengler’s rejection of ‘bodily inheritance.’ Volk is not held together by bodily inheritance, which might change. The decisive factor is that ‘their soul lasts.’ ‘It cannot be often enough repeated that this physiological origin exists only for science and never for Volk consciousness, and that no Volk has advanced itself for this ideal of ‘pure blood.’ Belonging to a race is nothing material, but something cosmic and ordained. The felt harmony of a destiny.’38

References

1Francis Fukuyama, ‘The End of History?’, The National Interest, Summer 1989, http://www.wesjones.com/eoh.htm.

2Quoted in Asa Briggs (ed.), The Nineteenth Century: The Contradictions of Progress (New York: Bonanza Books, 1985), p. 29.

3Marquis de Condorcet, Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind (1794), ‘Introduction’.

4Eliade, M. The Sacred and the Profane (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1959).

5G. Vico, The New Science of Giambattista Vico ([1730] Cornell University Press, 1948).

6G. W. F. Hegel, The Philosophy of History (Ontario: Batoche Biiks, 2001), pp. 96-97.

7Adversity in the sense of being treated literally as heretics. As this is written, for example, psychologist Richard Lynn has had his status as emeritus professor revoked by the University of Dublin, on the vote of its student association, because his views are considered ‘racist’ and ‘sexist’.

8Spengler, The Decline of the West (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1971), Vol. I, p. 105.

9Ibid.

10Ibid., Vol. II, p. 37.

11Goebbels to Spengler, 20 October 1933, in Spengler Letters 1913-1936 (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1966), p. 289.

12Henry Stuart Hughes, Oswald Spengler: A Critical Estimate (New Brunswick: Transaction Books, 1992), p. 131.

13C. H. Waddington, ‘Genetic assimilation of an acquired character’, Evolution, Vol. 7, No. 2, June 1953, http://www.chd.ucsd.edu/_files/winter2009/waddington-assimilation.pdf.

14The ‘one blood drop’ anti-miscegenation laws which made the Nuremberg Laws seem comparatively moderate, and which was the dictum to inspire the ‘blood drop’ symbol of the Ku Klux Klan.

15 E. Voegelin, ‘Race and State’, (1933) in The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1999).

16C. G. Jung, The Complications of American Psychology (1930).

17Spengler, (1971), op. cit., Vol. II, Chapter V, ‘Cities and Peoples: (B) People, Races, Tongues’, p. 113.

18Ibid., Vol. I, ‘Introduction’, p. 5.

19Oswald Spengler to Hans Klöres, 1 September 1918; Oswald Spengler, Spengler Letters 1913-1936 , p. 67.

20Spengler (1971), op. cit. Vol. II, p. 119, ‘Peoples, Races, Tongues’.

21Ibid.

22Spengler, The Hour of Decision (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962), p. 219.

23C. G. Jung, The Complications of American Psychology (1930); ‘Mind and Earth’, (1931).

24Franz Boas, ‘Changes in Bodily Form of Descendants of Immigrants’, American Anthropologist, Vol. 14, No., 3, 1912, pp. 530–562. Boas was criticized both at the time and subsequently for his data. Recently the statistics have been re-evaluated, with methods not available in Boas’s time, and it is contended that Boas was correct. See: C. C. Gravlee, and Bernard Leonard. ‘Boas’s Changes in Bodily Form: The Immigrant Study, Cranial Plasticity, and Boas’s Physical Anthropology’, American Anthropologist, Vol. 105, No. 2, 4 June 2003, http://nersp.osg.ufl.edu/~ufruss/documents/boas.paperII.pdf. C. C. Gravlee, H. Russell Bernard, William R. Leonard. ‘Heredity, Environment, and Cranial Form: A Re-Analysis of Boas’ Immigrant Data’, American Anthropologist Vol. 10, No. 1, 2003.

25Spengler, op. cit.

26Ibid., p. 120.

27Sebastian Fink, Robert Rollinger (ed.) Oswald Spenglers Kulturmorphologie, Studies in Universal and Cultural History (Springer VS, 2018), https://www.uibk.ac.at/zivilrecht/team/barta/buch-oswald-spengler-barta.pdf.

28A. Demandt, Decline of the Occident, Studies on Oswald Spengler (Cologne / Weimar / Vienna, 2017). For a reference list on the large corpus of Spengler studies see: The Oswald Spengler Society, ‘Sources;’ https://www.oswaldspenglersociety.com/sources.

29The bugbear of Spengler’s ‘pessimism’ was addressed by Spengler himself in an essay, ‘Pessimism,’ (Preußische Jahrbücher, No. 184, 1921).

30Spengler had some impact on Fascism, and in Britain Sir Oswald Mosley referred to the influence of Spengler, the challenge of Fascism being to overcome Spengler’s ‘fatalism’ in rejuvenating a civilization. Mosley (1968), pp. 321, 323–325, 328–331. The leading ideologue of British Fascism, Alexander Raven Thomson, is often referred to as Spengler’s British interpreter, but his own magnum opus, Civilisation as Divine Superman, is quite original and suggests that Spengler’s ‘fatalism’ can be overcome be reconstituting society as an organic state. Spengler himself, while remaining sceptical of National Socialism, frankly stated in the concluding passages of The Hour of Decision that the Fascist legions of Italy might be provisional forms of the new Caesarism that overthrows democratic plutocracy. In the last several decades there has finally been some actual scholarship on Fascism, among the best being that of Zeev Sternhell, who controversially writes that ‘Fascism can in no way be identified with Nazism’, Fascism, in Sternhell’s view, not being predicated on racial notions based on ‘biological determinism’ (Sternhell, The Birth of Fascist Ideology, Princeton University Press, 1994, pp. 4–5).

31Webster G. Tarpley, ‘Oswald Spengler: Race theorist of the Trump Regime?,’ http://tarpley.net/oswald-spengler-race-theorist-of-the-trump-regime/.

32Ibid.

33Ludwig Gumplowicz, was a founder of modern sociology. He considered ‘race’ to be a cultural and historical unit, not a biological entity. This was in line with the German school of idealism, and the concept of the Volk, which Spengler, and others such as Voegelin, continued; distinct from biological theories of race often transplanted into Germany from elsewhere, such as Arthur de Gobineau’s Inequality of the Races (France), Houston Stewart Chamberlain’s Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (Britain), and Maddison Grant’s Passing of the Great Race, all of which had an influence on National Socialist race theory, while Spengler remained in conflict with it. Interestingly, despite his wide influence, Gumplowicz does not seem to have influenced Spengler. At least no mention of him is found in The Decline of The West, The Hour of Decision, Man and Technics (Arktos, 2015), Prussianism and Socialism, or the numerous articles and lectures, such as ‘Political Duties of German Youth,’ (1924), given by Spengler, as far as I can ascertain. In particular one could reasonably expect his name to occur, if he were an influence, in Spengler’s correspondence, but no such entry is to be found in Spengler Letters 19131936 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1966).

34Tarpley, op. cit.

35John R. Baker, Race (Oxford University Press, 1974), pp. 51–52.

36Ibid., pp. 52.

37Ibid., p. 54.

38Ibid., pp. 54–55. Baker does not cite the page numbers for his quotes from Spengler.

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Futurism – Revolt Against the Past and the Nation of Tomorrow, Part 2 https://arktos.com/2018/11/26/futurism-revolt-against-the-past-and-the-nation-of-tomorrow-part-2/ https://arktos.com/2018/11/26/futurism-revolt-against-the-past-and-the-nation-of-tomorrow-part-2/#view_comments Mon, 26 Nov 2018 10:30:09 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=5252 From the interpretation of Mafarka the Futurist presented in the first part of this essay, the goal of futurism appears as an affirmation of pure virility, and the love of the spiritual woman as power, in order to reach a transcendent union between matter and spirit. Out of this conclusion we can explain the futurists’ renouncement of all old ideals, and their peculiar nationalism.

Concerning ideals, we could call an ideal a perfect form, or the most beautiful part of Becoming, but in the end it is in itself just Becoming, and its value depends on how it is used – if its user sees it from above or from below. A man of high spiritual race, a man who has experienced Being, recognizes in the ideal an expression of that same essence which is at the root of himself. When he embraces the ideal, the result is the synthesis between matter and spirit, and the ideal righteously shines with the glow of eternity. It is not the ideal that restores the man, but rather the man that restores the dormant and passive ideal to active Being. Thus a man who truly stands above Becoming, through his dignity and might, is not bound to any single ideal – the Aryan concept of transcendence is to reach beyond good and evil, at the fullest sense of the phrase. He has the power to devour every form of Becoming, to reach and embrace the core of Being in even the lowest of things, and to point every form of beauty upwards, weather it appears in something ideal or depraved. This is the sign of the overman, who as pure Being loves the world and his fate, whatever it throws at him.

The true relationship with the ideal is something reserved for the very few, those divine sons of the gods who seem to breathe eternity in their actions and art.

To act beyond ideals is something characteristic of the hero or the awakened one – sometimes his act is immoral or even vile, but it does not matter, as the source of the act is something higher. Often the cruelty of the hero enhances the impact of his sublime greatness. One example is Achilles, who abandons his kin and his friend Patroclus in battle due to his anger, and dishonourably mutilates the body of his worthy equal Hector due to the same anger. But Achilles’ anger is not a phenomenon of Becoming, but rather a divine wrath, the manifestation of his divine blood through the warrior’s unbound violence: he is completely self-sufficient in his wrath, in his Being, and thus he is not condemned by antiquity, but worshipped as one of the greatest heroes, one who sacrificed himself and everything for the sake of his superhuman will.

It goes without saying that this true relationship with the ideal is something reserved for the very few, those divine sons of the gods who seem to breathe eternity in their actions and art. The great masses view the ideal from below; they live more or less under the feminine sign of Becoming, and, as they cannot be masculine Being by themselves, they need to be given truth from outside. In a healthy, Traditional society, they are given imperatives by the divine kings, but when those of higher being are not there to fill the ideal with Being, the ideal becomes twisted. Given over to his own judgement, a man of the mass can only view the ideal as a dogma, as he believes that it is the ideal in itself which carries true Being; the realm beyond good and evil is completely inaccessible for his spiritual race. He believes that dogma is the source of everything else in the world of becoming, which robs the rest of the world and his act of true being; or even worse he believes dogma to be the source of spirituality and Being itself.

To further depict dogma, we can use the suggestive duality between Man and Woman. A dogma is a lack of virility, the inability of the masculine power to act on the feminine power as she is. The first type of dogma is like a fetish, where one part of Becoming is thought to be the only true Becoming and the source of every action, material or spiritual – the dogmatist becomes like the man who cannot love woman if she does not fulfil his fetish, or at the extreme he whose source of arousal is the fetish, and not the woman herself. The other type of dogma is like the romanticizing of a woman. Here the dogmatist mistakes a part of Becoming with Being, which robs them both of their value – he is like the man who projects his own masculine feeling of virtue, honour or modesty on the the woman he loves (which are spiritual concepts which she can’t truly grasp, but which she can manifest as the will of her man), and also give these as the reason why he loves that woman. The romanticist denies the sexual attraction towards woman as his polar opposite, which is the true foundation of love, and thus he becomes something which is not man, who loves something which is not woman.

The futurists seek to restore the state to its superhuman origin, through the will of the overman, and to marry and subordinate the people to the state as woman is married to man.

Now we can see that there is no contradiction when the futurists nihilistically deny all values and ideals of the past, at the same time as they worship a virile heroism. They simply talk about the feminine and masculine part of existence separately. Futuristic nihilism is a denial of the dogmas which arose when the the ancient world died, when Europe lost its connection with Being and could only worship a legacy of empty forms, bereft of the virility which impregnates Becoming with value. These dogmas are a misconception of the nature of the feminine Becoming, and when futurism declares that the world is only matter and power, they show us the true essence of Becoming in itself. And when they then worship heroism and the pure act, they give us the essence of Being in itself. Futurism as a whole becomes the union between these two principles: they proclaim the virile conquest of Woman by Man when they proclaim the heroic will acting upon the world of matter. They come to the Aryan conclusion that the material, individual life is completely without value, meaning and salvation, but that they through its heroic annihilation can both affirm the essence of life, and transcend it.

Finally we can explain the futurist nation of tomorrow. The futurists want to create a nation with heroism as its foundation, a heroism which has its source in the spiritual virility of the overman, and which extends to encompass and heighten the whole people in its own struggle. Futuristic nationalism realizes the Traditional knowledge, that the state represents the spiritual, masculine and active part of the nation, while the people and family represents the materialistic, feminine and passive part. The futurists seek to restore the state to its superhuman origin, through the will of the overman, and to marry and subordinate the people to the state as woman is married to man. (An Empire is a polygamous state, and thus it is more virile than a nation and at a lesser risk than a nation of degenerating into a mere servant of its first wife.) In order to do this, it is necessary for them to revolt against every power which the feminine Becoming has over the state, just as a true man must battle the influence of matter on his will. From this stems the futurists’ violent revolt against sentimentality, against the past and against the traditions of the people: they need to free the transcendent will from any dogmas, so it can once again be the centre of a nation. First then does the people reach their full potential, when they are the manifestation of the will of the state, just as woman must love man, and Becoming must be the manifestation of Being.

Without the pure act which futurism tries to restore, what are conservatism and nationalism but empty dogmas?

After this exposition, the aversion against futurism from the viewpoint of conservatism or normal nationalism seems trivial. Without the pure act which futurism tries to restore, what are conservatism and nationalism but empty dogmas? In conservatism we find a mere romanticization of the past, of a religion or a civilization as the foundation of the state, and in nationalism a fetishization of the people and the mother as the source of everything. In the futurist revolt against the past, we are closer to the Aryan spirituality of action than any reactionary preservation of the past could ever bring us.

But futurism failed. What we have so far covered could be called the initial impulse and goal of futurism – but as soon as they began their actual artistic and political mission, they undoubtedly came short of it. They did not manage to find the pure, unbound act they sought, and thus they could not devour the power and beauty of modernity in the eternal, but rather were devoured by it. The reason is that they immediately turned the future into a dogma, and their movement into an ‘-ism’. Futurism became an abstract programme, a definite style that all art was supposed to adhere to. Their art lost the overhuman playfulness above all ideals that it could have had, and, even worse, they tried to include the masses in the inherently virile and esoteric nature of their art. The futuristic dogma was to control everyone and everything of society, from food and love to war and politics. Instead of a nation with the heroic act as its centre, the result was an abstract nation which would be plagued by a nearly ridiculous totalitarianism, where everything must be new and avant-garde. This was not necessary, but futurism made itself into an empty worship of modernity.

The futuristic critique shows us that no ideal of the past in itself can capture the spiritual act which is the essence of tradition, but through futurism’s failure we see that an ideal of the future is equally, and probably much more, foolish. The futurists criticized Gabriele D’Annunzio for his sentimental style, classicism and divination of female beauty – but did he not know how to carry every experience upwards, to devour every ‘degenerate’ pleasure in his own virility? Was not Fiume, the state founded from above through the artist’s will, with music as blood and war as nurture, a greater accomplishment than the failed political project of futurism? Was it not closer to the futurists’ nation of tomorrow? And they also criticized Mussolini for his mutability – sometimes he favoured the futuristic ideals, sometimes the past ideals of ancient Rome – but did he not stand closer to futuristic virility by never becoming the slave of an ideal and by incorporating everything in his will to power? Was his Italy not the futuristic dream of a people made bride to the virile state, an attempt towards an Empire of the sun, which outshone the futurists’ own poetry? The futuristic failure shows that the type of ideal seems to be secondary to the quality of the will behind it, to the spiritual race which lives through it.

Thus the greatness of futurism does not lie in its works or its legacy, but in its initial impulse, in its heroic spark, in its thirst for a destructive creativity and in its yearning for the Absolute. Who knows what would awaken, if this spark appeared again in our time, if there were men who knew how to kindle and nurture the flame it yearns to be. That would truly be the source of an art and a nation of tomorrow.

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Futurism – Revolt Against the Past and the Nation of Tomorrow, Part 1 https://arktos.com/2018/11/26/futurism-revolt-against-the-past-and-the-nation-of-tomorrow-part-1/ https://arktos.com/2018/11/26/futurism-revolt-against-the-past-and-the-nation-of-tomorrow-part-1/#comments_reply Mon, 26 Nov 2018 10:25:53 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=5250 In the manifestos of the Italian futurism, we face an assault on every ideal that is at the foundation of an exoteric conservative or nationalistic worldview. For the futurists, the past is a weakness: the art, morality and traditions of generations past are but chains which bind the artist and his heroic will in the foul catacombs of the dead. Instead the futurists proclaim a man of tomorrow, who at the threshold of modernity embraces every new, titanic power to its fullest extent, who does not hesitate to sacrifice all memories of olden times in order to rise towards the endless, empty skies. Art is no longer to be the painting hanging in a museum, but rather the smoke of industries, the roaring of fighter planes and the body of the brave Arditi, torn apart by artillery – the new god of thunder.

On the surface, the futuristic art and its ideas might force some of the Right to renounce the movement; the futurists saw a higher beauty in the chaotic experimentalism of modernity than in the classical concepts of harmony and perfection, a higher virility in the passionate and short experience of the lover than in the stable bonds of family and marriage, and a higher dignity in the act of the absolute individual than in the care for the people and its traditions. They dreamed of a seemingly paradoxical nationalism without a past, which did not have its origin in the dull masses of the people, but rather in the heroic hearts of the chosen few, of the overmen of tomorrow.

Beauty is for the futurists not an abstract idea that can be captured by academicians or immortalized through a work of art, but rather a living thing, inseparable from the struggle and experiences of the artist himself.

In some senses, the futurists pushed modernity to its absolute limit, but it it is not difficult to sense the heroic qualities of their quest. Their writings are a summons toward sublime heroism and a beautiful death at the end of youth, and their paintings embody bravery, showing the pure act rendered through the explosive shrapnel of geometric forms in a dynamic sweep. The aim of this essay is to analyse the futurists from an Evolian point of view, and show how they almost managed to manifest a transcendent heroism – through the forms of modernity, rather than against them – and why they ultimately failed.

The futuristic revolt against the past stems from their identification of art with the artist. Like Nietzsche, they do not see any inherent value in external forms or ideas, but rather see value as something originating internally, something manifested through action by a superhuman will. Beauty is for the futurists not an abstract idea that can be captured by academicians or immortalized through a work of art, but rather a living thing, inseparable from the struggle and experiences of the artist himself. Art is in essence an act, and when it is completed, it is but a faint memory. Thus the elevation and study of old masters gives rise to a false beauty, in which the artist does not take part of his true art, but rather its residues; to emulate the old masters is to live through corpses instead of one’s own, breathing body. So to take past forms as the sole origin for one’s art becomes a complete castration of that art’s true essence. Thus the futurists proclaim that “There is no longer any beauty except the struggle. Any work of art that lacks a sense of aggression can never be a masterpiece.” – Art, politics and life itself are to be viewed as different faces, different struggles of the same, absolute will. But what is this will?

Evola himself characterized futurism as a ‘chaotic dynamism’, which would turn this will into a brute force stuck in a titanic rather than heroic worship of the future. It would thus be easy to dismiss futurism as an overreaction against the feminine and superficial – in a word, bourgeois – culture of Europe before the First World War. The futurists often declared sentimentalism to be their greatest enemy – the weakness characterized by a romanticizing of beauty, of a perfect past and its heroes, together with a frail body and the incapability of recreating the life of those heroes in one’s own flesh. The result of this sentimentalism is an art which is empty, mere petty aesthetics and abstract, passive ideals, easy to digest by the bourgeois in his salon. It is an art of a dead Europe.

To be sure, there is no worth in such a bourgeois mentality, but the fact that weak men cannot inherit and live the traditions of the past does not necessarily mean that the past in itself is worthless. Why should the past not be able to teach us about heroism, to show us how we should act in our time? Why should we not be able, for instance, to perceive the conquering spirit of the Caesars in their triumphal arcs – why should these be dead forms, if we would possess the will to light again the flame of Empire?

There is no logical reason for this, but I believe there is a heroic reason – an instinct to embrace a virile impulse in modernity, and to push it to its absolute extreme, playfully, as if it was just game. The Faustian curiosity to see what lies at the future side of the horizon of time, no matter the cost and sacrifices. I aim to show that this is an act which destroys one’s ties with the forms of tradition, but which in its pure, heroic nihilism is also unbound and self-sufficient. Viewed in this manner, the futuristic will becomes more than a antithesis towards sentimentality; it becomes a genuine yearning towards something absolute, and which thus strives towards the transcendent origin of all traditions. It was a will, with more potential than any exoteric preservation of forms, to break through the descending cycle of modernity.

At the core of Tradition lies the duality of matter and spirit, of Becoming and Being. Firstly, Being is the foundation of everything, and the goal of every true Becoming – an act which does not act towards Being is an act reduced to an empty form and worthless illusion, and it results in materialism, degeneration and modernity. Secondly, Being cannot be a part of Becoming, as a single being, with beginning and end, can’t be the origin of the world which contains it – an act which confuses Being with something Becoming results in idolatry and pseudo-tradition, and it might as well not know Being at all. Being is transcendent and devoid of all determinations, and without Becoming, it is indeed pure nothingness – but through Becoming it lives, it manifests itself. Tradition is the act, whose origin is in Being and which transcends and elevates Becoming into a true manifestation. Tradition is to truly become who we are.

If the violent nihilism of the futurists uncovered purity, is their revolt against the past and their nation of tomorrow not greater than the sentimental love any ordinary nationalism or conservatism shows toward the past?

Now what does this make of the past and the ancestors? Every people, religion and civilization is something Becoming, and can only interpret Being, express it through the conditions of their existence and the unique qualities of their race. When Being is at the centre of existence, these expressions are true, absolute, and show the way towards transcendence – they are Tradition. But if they have forgotten Being, they are but empty forms of the lowest plane of existence. Evola realizes that Tradition cannot be an abstract teaching or a specific form to be accepted passively, but that Tradition demands of its user a constant experience of Being and an active search for transcendence. The spirituality of Evola is not faith or dogmaticism, but rather heroism. Either through action or knowledge, it is only the heroic struggle of the chosen few, the true Aryans who possess a spiritual race above and beyond their material race, which can reach true Tradition. They are those who experience and live Being, those who show the way to their kin of a lower spiritual race, and they are the true and only origin of every Traditional people, religion or civilization.

So the past and the ancestors in themselves are neither the source nor essence of Tradition, and if Europe has forgotten Being, if it only knows the material forms of the past, if the old gods are truly dead, then what fault is there in revolting against the past? Is it not greater to search for that pure act, that transcendent heroism which knows no bounds and which is the source of everything valuable and beautiful in life? Evola himself had no patience for that backwards mentality which tries to recreate dead cultures or religions in order to attain a tradition it does not know how to live; he instead sought a way to manifest the spiritual essence of these past, dead things in his own time. If the violent nihilism of the futurists uncovered purity, is their revolt against the past and their nation of tomorrow not greater than the sentimental love any ordinary nationalism or conservatism shows toward the past?

To demonstrate that this is the true essence of futurism, the work Mafarka The Futurist is essential.

Written in 1909 by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the creator and leading figure of futurism, it is one of the movement’s earliest and most virile works. It is a violent and erotic story, which incorporates both mythical themes and brave avant-gardism in the depiction of an African warlord, the Arab Mafarka, who conquers the continent for the sake of his own will to power. But in his quest, Mafarka is constantly tormented by Woman – on one hand he seeks her through the sexual union and pleasure of love, on the other hand he is disgusted by her. His solution is an ascetic renunciation of Woman: he seeks to build a son of metal, a son to whom he himself will give birth, without the need of Woman. Through his hermaphroditic death he gives life to the bird Gazourmah, who rises to rule over both heaven and earth.

The mythical themes of the novel resembles the Aryan concepts of sexuality, asceticism and transcendence as depicted by Evola. It is unclear whether Marinetti consciously used traditional themes in his prophetic depiction of the futurist spirit, or if he neared them unconsciously through the heroic essence of futurism, but if we accept the resemblances and apply Evola’s teachings, the story of Mafarka unfolds as a story about the will to reach beyond, and futurism reveals itself as a movement of transcendent virility. Mafarka wants to reach beyond his enemies, beyond himself and beyond the whole world of Becoming, in order to carry Becoming upwards, back to pure Being, where Being and Becoming are united in their hermaphroditic origin. This interpretation of futurism goes further than Evola himself would, and maybe I am misguided, but I believe that it is able both to adequately explain the artistic and political theses of futurism, and to give an origin to the art of the futurists which matches its aesthetic impact.

If we view Being and Becoming through the suggestive duality of Man and Woman, as depicted by Evola in his metaphysics of sex, the original unity of Being and Becoming in Tradition is represented by the hermaphroditic unity of Man and Woman; but when Woman divides herself from Man, the fall of existence commences. Unity is shattered into multitude, time and space determine existence and man at bottom appears as someone dependent on matter and its forms, who believes it to be the his whole being. Woman has devoured and dominated Man, and he has become an individual, a hunger forever yearning for the illusions of matter. This is the essence of our dark age, the Kali Yuga, but there is a possibility of awakening, in which Man once more lays Woman under himself, devours her and carries her upwards. This is the turning point of the cycle, the end of times and the twilight of the gods; the domination of Woman is inseparable from the destruction of the world she has created, from the death of the individual and every single being, but at the end of the process, transcendent unity is reached. The force of Woman should not be condemned from any moralistic standpoint – she is beyond all morals – but rather it is the unity between Man and Woman which is required, in order for all illusions to vanquish, and a new golden age to dawn.

Male and female are not merely two genders, two biological facts, but rather the manifestation of the two powers, Being and Becoming, as Man and Woman. Thus the sexual encounter is not primarily the false immortality promised by the prolongation of a material species, but rather a potential experience of transcendence and the true, Aryan immortality of unity beyond the two. Evola shows how this transcendence is present in even the most profane love, but also how every transcendence has an inherently sexual character. In transcendence, the male Being once more conquers the female Becoming, and the heroic power needed for this feat is virility, understood as a transcendent and spiritual force.

Now Mafarka’s simultaneous yearning towards and disgust for Woman is representative of the relationship between Man and his separated Woman in the Kali Yuga; on one hand Woman is the other part of existence, and he needs to be reunited with her and carry her upwards towards unity, but on the other hand she is the world of matter and darkness, and every contact with her is a loss of virility and an attachment to an illusionary existence. To wholly devour Woman, and not be devoured by her, is an extraordinary spiritual feat at the bottom of the cycle, and thus the greatness Mafarka seeks forces him into the celibacy of creating his own son.

To fully understand Aryan celibacy, we must first follow Evola’s distinction of Woman into two different manifestations. The first is the mother and the wife, which Evola places as the lower of the two, as she seeks to bind man to herself, and force his unbound virility to serve the world of Becoming and the sub-personal species. The other is the lover, who can bring forth and serve the super-personal virility in Man’s desire. It is also clear that the lover demands a higher type of man, lest she should be dangerous and dissolve him in his base desires: the higher the form is in Tradition, the higher is its demand of spiritual race in its user. It is known in Tradition that men are of different essences, of different spiritual races, which they must realize in their given way to become who they are, and thus manifest Being. Just as there are different castes in the traditional society, there are different tiers of love. That Evola sets the lover higher than the mother does not mean that there should be no families, but rather that the higher man must seek the lover as sure as the lower must seek the wife and family.

At the highest form of love, the one practised by heroes, the lover transcends from being an individual woman of the flesh, to a spiritual woman, woman as the pure power of Becoming. This is the myth of the Valkyrie, the divine woman who the hero attains or rescues. In the reunion with his Valkyrie, man no longer meets woman through pleasure, but through action and power, which are the essence of our temporal world, of the female Becoming. In his heroic death, he loves Becoming through the sacrifice of everything in his individual and the destruction of every bond to Becoming, and thus Woman does not bind him, but instead carries him upwards, to Valhalla, the home of the gods and heroes. This spiritual woman is also the kundalini of Hinduism, the goddess who rests within the man himself, and who can be awakened and forced upward by man’s ascetic struggle until they are reunited under the sign of Being. The love of the spiritual woman is a love which does not bind man to a lower existence, but instead lets him reach a hermaphroditic state within himself, within his Being, where he through the heroic death or enlightenment gives birth to the unity beyond man and woman.

The futurists sought to devour modernity and the individual through the endless purity of the virile will.

Evola makes a distinction between a life-denying, moralistic asceticism, and an Aryan asceticism which is larger than life. The first is that of the slave, which has its origin in the neurotic fear of one’s ‘sinful’ body and a lack of virility, while the second is that of the hero, which has its origin in a high virility and the feeling that this body and world are not enough. An ascetic of the second type conquers Becoming by defeating every power it has over the part of him that is true Being; he realigns the original relationship between Being and Becoming, and thus returns to the divine and heroic realm which he has always felt to be his true home. From this higher point of existence, he can if he wishes return to the lower world of Becoming, and his act becomes the true manifestation of Being, the heroic synthesis between matter and spirit. Celibacy in the Aryan tradition, understood as the heroic love of the spiritual woman, is an asceticism of the second type, which denies the material woman the seed, the male power, in order for it to awaken the spiritual woman and force her upwards towards reunification. This celibacy has been common amongst the warriors and priests of traditional societies, in their struggle towards eternity.

Now Mafarka, who has left his temporary kingdom in order to build his son, gives a speech to his men, who have come to beg of him his return. His kingdom does not interest him, as it in victory and peace is no longer a manifestation of his will and struggle – completed, it is but a dead form – and instead of serving his own creation, he gives his men a divination of the pure, futuristic will. Firstly, he declares that it demands a heroic asceticism: ‘You have to believe in the absolute, definitive power of the will, which must be cultivated and intensified by following a cruel regime, until the moment when it gushes from our nerve centres and leaps beyond the limits of our muscles with inconceivable force and speed.’ Secondly he shows how this gives power over the feminine Becoming by awakening the spiritual woman within man himself: ‘Our will must come out of us so as to take hold of matter and change it to our fancy. So we can shape everything around us and endlessly renew the face of the earth. Soon, if you appeal to your will, you will give birth without resorting to the woman’s vulva. That’s how I killed Love, by replacing it with the sublime voluptuousness of Heroism!’ Finally, this gives birth to the god within himself, the transcendent, hermaphroditic unity which demands the extinction of his individual: ‘At last, here I am as I wanted to be: destined for suicide, and ready for the birth of the god that each man carries in his heart! His life requires my death! So much better! … The rapture of cracking like an eggshell, from which the perfect chick will soar!’ Only by following this and meeting their own death at the storming seas can his men become free and worthy beings.

By giving birth to the futuristic child Gazourmah through celibacy, Mafarka completely annihilates his material being in favour of recreating the unity which dominates both heaven and earth, both male and female. He even sacrifices his own pride, honour and glory as a warrior, for he shall not die on the battlefield as a hero, but rather shall be forgotten, ‘miserably like a woman, in giving birth to my child!’ This shows that the futuristic will is not a titanic affirmation of one’s material self through the power of modernity. The futurists rather sought to devour modernity and the individual through the endless purity of the virile will, in the same way that a true man devours the woman in his endless love, and carries them both upwards toward the transcendent.

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