Arktos https://arktos.com Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:54:40 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0 Nietzsche: Antichrist or Prophet? https://arktos.com/2018/12/12/nietzsche-antichrist-or-prophet/ https://arktos.com/2018/12/12/nietzsche-antichrist-or-prophet/#comments_reply Wed, 12 Dec 2018 14:23:11 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=5457 Nietzsche, arguably one of the most important Western philosophers of the 19th century, sits firmly within two of Western philosophy’s greatest traditions: social criticism and religious criticism. Nietzsche is perhaps most famous for demonstrating a remarkable contempt for Christian morality, and by extension, the figure of Jesus, at least as that figure was traditionally conceived. But it was not only to Christian traditionalism that Nietzsche objected; attempts to rationalize, or preserve the apparent ‘superstitions’ of the Christian faith with non-supernatural theories provoked the ire of Nietzsche, who saw such things as an artificial gentrification of Christian belief. To discover the true source of Nietzsche’s ‘hatred’ for Christianity, however, involves going beyond his philosophical oeuvre into the thinkers who influenced him, and beyond, into his long-term vision for what was undeniably a 19th century society still caught up in the twilight of Christian cultural dominance.

In developing his solution to the problems which ‘Christian complacency’ brought about, Nietzsche perhaps owed more of his philosophy to the figure of Christ, mercilessly deconstructing the formalism of the Pharisees, than to the Antichrist whose mantle he appears to have taken on.

‘In the entire New Testament,’ Nietzsche writes in The Antichrist, ‘there is only one person worth respecting: Pilate.’1 It makes quite a statement to praise the killer of Christ, but speaking more generally this is a good reflexion of Nietzsche’s attitude towards the flaws of Christianity. On a theoretical basis, the objection to Christianity which Nietzsche appears to raise concerns the ‘guilt’ which Christianity can be seen to instil within its adherents. In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche presents the harnessing of desires for the purpose of achieving one’s goals as a transcendence of the traditional deontological distinction between moral ‘good’ and ‘evil’; thus, the Christian focus on forgiveness, continual recognition of one’s ‘sins’ and the discouragement of the passions, such as lust or wrath, Nietzsche suggested demonstrated Sklavenmoral, the morality of slaves, who, being unable to fulfil their own desires, wallow in the legitimized self-pity and an institutionalized suppression of what would otherwise be considered the natural order of things which only Christianity could offer. In a sense, Nietzsche saw Christianity as stifling the natural artistic and cultural possibilities of the human race, from which Nietzsche believed true power could be wrestled. This sense of ‘stifling’ is reflected in his description of the God of Christianity:

[The Christian God] degenerated into the contradiction of life; instead of being life’s transfiguration and the eternal ‘Yes!’ [God is] a declaration of war against life, against nature, against the will to live!2

Nietzsche’s own impassioned attempt at autobiographical writing manifested itself in Ecce Homo, which perhaps best represents the kind of morality that he intended to promote in Christianity’s stead. Whilst outwardly appearing self-aggrandising, with such chapter titles as ‘Why I Write Such Good Books’ and ‘Why I Am Destiny’, Nietzsche’s wit represents the replacement of the imitation of Christ with the imitation of the perfect version of one’s own self. It is because of this that Pilate is worthy of Nietzsche’s respect; his refusal to accept Jesus as his ‘truth’ (John 18:38) preferring instead to continue to question after the truth, makes him a species of arch-philosopher, as well as a forerunner to Nietzsche himself. The perfectness and completeness of Christianity was its ‘curse’, since, by presenting life as a series of black and white truths, it failed to allow for critical thinking outside of the model which it created for the Sklaven who followed it.

On a related note, the philosophy of Nietzsche may be seen as a reaction against the bourgeois complacency of the 19th century in general. It was not merely deontological slave-morality for which Nietzsche held contempt, but (what he considered to be, perhaps on account of the popular Victorian modes of English philosophy found in Mill and Sidgwick, a uniquely ‘English’) consequentialist master-morality as well. All forms of bourgeois culture were supported by the framework of some kind of political or cultural Christianity at the time, and attempts to move away from traditional Christianity still manifested themselves as petty bourgeois intellectualism which failed to address the constraints placed upon Man by ideology. Alasdair MacIntyre catagorizes Nietzsche alongside the likes of Foucault, the so-called ‘genealogical moralists’ who emphasized the continuous emancipation of the individual from any form of restraint.3 MacIntyre, as part of his own moral project, accepted that Nietzsche’s critique of Enlightenment morality was valid, that deontology entailed an extreme of black-and-white thinking and as such, unwarranted emotional responses to legitimate moral concerns. As such, this kind of ‘Victorian’ morality could only ever be ephemeral, and Nietzsche was right to dismiss it as this.4 Nietzsche’s polemical attacks on bourgeois morality are further seen in Untimely Meditations; there, he attacks David Friedrich Strauss who, by his theory of religion as myth, allowed the intellectual middle class to continue their adherence to the Christian faith, albeit in a groundless and superficial manner, explaining away the miracles of the Bible with contorted naturalistic speculations; in many ways, it might be said Nietzsche had more respect for traditional Christians than for nominally ‘Christian’ theologians who tried to reconcile faith with a rationalist exegesis of the New Testament. David Strauss’ abrogation of remarks in earlier chapters of his work, Das Leben Jesu, for the sake of presenting rationalist explanations, angered Nietzsche, as this directly contradicted his passion for the search for truth. In short, Nietzsche also saw Christianity as the religion of the bourgeois liberal, devoid of real substance and conservative to the point of obstinacy when it came to merely bourgeois values. It therefore commanded little respect from him, he being a man of such avowed independent purpose, and it continues to sit badly with Nietzscheans to this day for similar reasons.

Nietzsche’s hatred of Christianity may have deeper roots than merely methodological antitheses, however. From a young age Nietzsche appears to have been influenced by various philosophers, most importantly Feuerbach, who had presented the thesis that it was Man who created God, rather than the other way around;5 he was influenced much more by Arthur Schopenhauer, an atheist who had prefigured Nietzsche in his identification of Christianity as ‘perfect resignation [from the pain of existence]’.6 And it is from Schopenhauer’s Wille zum Leben (Will to Life) that Nietzsche appears to have garnered inspiration for the Wille zur Macht, which may be described essentially as Schopenhauer’s transcending of the restraints of the will, but abandoning the Schopenhauerian glorification of irreligious pessimism, at the same time guarding against the moral nihilism which, Nietzsche observed, Schopenhauer himself did not care for, but which followed as a natural result of the acceptance of Schopenhauerian atheism. Any vestiges of philosophical self-pity and self-annihilation were to be cast away by the Wille zur Macht in favour of the exultation of the aims and desires of the self. Nietzsche’s early career as a classical scholar also appears to have contributed to his anti-Christian sentiments. Nietzsche expressed praise of the ‘agonistic’ culture of ancient Greece, and whilst he appears to still reject elements of any Greek philosophy which drew its principles from deontic morality, it is certainly true that Greek mythology and the cathartic exercise of Greek drama lent themselves better to the will-based morality to which Nietzsche adhered. Nietzsche’s harsh remarks about women appear to have a classical influence as well, with many lifted mainly from Aristotle,7 and whilst traditional Christianity cannot be said to be immune from the same by any means, the rigidly hierarchical and fickle characterizations of men and gods of the pagan classical world fitted in far more perfectly with Nietzsche’s views. Such a deep respect for pagan philosophy might certainly imbue a certain residual level of contempt for an outwardly egalitarian Christianity, at least insofar as the Christian God actively punished those who acted according to their base will, in most instances whilst the pagan gods of mythology themselves tended to act precisely in such a manner.

If we had to give a reason for Nietzsche’s hatred of Christianity, then we might say that Nietzsche hated the idea of institutionalized restraint.

Yet, for all of Nietzsche’s apparent hatred and antagonism, it would be exceedingly unfair to characterize him in completely negative terms re Christianity. Whilst Nietzsche’s characterization of Christianity as a ‘curse’ may appear extreme, he nevertheless remained of the belief that he was doing something positive for civilization, instigating a form of philosophical electroshock treatment to stun the world out of Christian complacency. Not only did Nietzsche reject all pessimism (such as Schopenhauer’s) but he saw the liberation of humanity from Christian complacency as a return to the natural state of the Northern European man.8 At the same time, he criticized nationalism and anti-Semitism, something which he saw as a culturally empty offshoot of bourgeois (and particularly in the case of the latter, Christian) morality, and which were represented in his own time by the music and prose polemics of Richard Wagner, with whom he paradoxically had maintained a friendship.9 Indeed, both nationalism and anti-Semitism were rife in Germany from the middle to the end of the 19th century as a result of the unification movement – something which Germany’s Old Guard, which came to be known as the Alter Konservativen, fervently opposed.

Whilst the posthumous editions of Nietzsche published by his sister Elisabeth pushed the philosopher’s ideas towards a National-Socialist bent for many years, modern scholarship has allowed us to realize that Nietzsche is in fact better read not as encouraging the replacement of Christianity with an authoritarian dominance of the weak by the strong per se, but instead as a kind of reinvention of Christianity by and for individuals. Nietzsche may have held deep philosophical grievances about Christianity, but a strangely Christian spirit of overcoming one’s natural inclinations in order to become something greater than oneself remains within Nietzsche. An opponent of power politics and an advocate of free will, Nietzsche in many ways represents the figure of Jesus more purely than many of the bishops and Popes who ‘succeeded’ Christ.10 Indeed, Nietzsche’s own upbringing as the son of a Lutheran pastor cannot have had any little impact upon him. The oft-misrepresented quotation, in fact a lament more than a triumphant declaration, that ‘God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him’11 is in fact the outcry of one of the Western world’s most poignant and fearful moral crises: remove God, and Man is forced to create his own values. Nietzsche knew well the consequences of rejecting the Christian God. In this sense, however much Nietzsche may have disliked the Christian God, we cannot say that he ‘hated’ the concept of deity, period. Whilst it may be controversial to say that Nietzsche believed that every man ought to be his own God, what is certainly true is that Nietzsche reworked the idea of imitating a divine figure, and attempted to focus human creative energy upon the perfection of the self, rather than the emulation of what he considered to be a self-destructive and misleading Christological abstraction. To put it in Danto’s terms, Nietzsche wished for philosophy itself, not some bourgeois institution, to become people’s way of life.12 At the same time, it seems that Nietzsche’s underlying recognition of an inescapable natural order is the true root of his concept of the Overman. Not all people would take well to the life of Nietzsche’s future perfect philosopher, nor would they be able to fulfil the criteria for inclusion in this apparently elite group. Nevertheless, such is the case in every society that there must naturally exist ranks and elites. It appears that, for Nietzsche, the act of striving for philosophical perfection itself was a necessary and sufficient act in separating the Overmen from the rest of society. That in itself is by no means a hateful project, nor is it necessarily incompatible with the aims and values of Christianity, which in certain forms accepts the spiritual differences between those who strive for spiritual perfection (albeit in the imitation of a particular interpretation of Christ, rather than the Overman) and those who wallow in mediocrity. Perhaps, therefore, Christianity’s escape route out of mediocrity lies not only in rediscovering the roots of its traditional ethical positions, but in making Christ into a model Overman worthy of the struggle itself.

Nietzsche is a complex and paradoxical philosopher in many ways, and does not lend himself to reduction to a single judgment. Nor would Nietzsche wish for this, for such ‘comprehensive judgments’ are of the realm of the Enlightenment moralist, not the free-spirited individual, as Nietzsche saw the perfect Man. If we had to give a reason for Nietzsche’s hatred of Christianity, then we might say that Nietzsche hated the idea of institutionalized restraint, which expressed itself in a bourgeois conservation of spent values and an over-simplification of the moral questions of life into a simple dichotomy between ‘good’ and ‘evil’, which almost all religion, not merely Christianity, tends towards. His response to the ensuing moral nihilism was a philosophy of will and a concept of independent value-creation, which can strike one as exceedingly organic, in the best traditions of reactionary European statecraft. All the while, the ‘Christian complacency’ of 19th century bourgeois liberalism which Nietzsche identified was neither truly Christian, being instead rationalist and uncomfortable with Christian orthodoxy, nor complacent, being at heart unstable and morally corrupt. In developing his solution to the problems which this ‘Christian complacency’ brought about, however, Nietzsche perhaps owed more of his philosophy to the figure of Christ, mercilessly deconstructing the formalism of the Pharisees, than to the Antichrist whose mantle he appears to have taken on.

Nietzsche is recognized today as one of liberalism’s most important critics – an epithet he perhaps would be more willing to accept given the political and moral climate of modernity, much of which is the logical conclusion of the frustrations of Nietzsche’s own time. Whether one accepts his critique of Christianity or not, it is his critique of moral theory (including his critique of those which have had the most formative impacts on Christianity) which remains of great important to those contemporary philosophers who attempt to piece together a new system for a New Right. Indeed, if the moral argumentation of the Enlightenment is insufficient, we must find a way in which to conclusively reject it and replace it. Nietzsche offers one of the best refutations of Enlightened mindset, and shows his reader a crucial exit from its near-ubiquitous clutches: independent value-creation. As human beings, we shall never escape the need for moral codes and moral judgments, but we may begin to re-think what it means to be a ‘righteous person’, independently of the expectations of society, with the help of a little Nietzschean thought.

References:

1 H. L. Mencken (trans.), The Antichrist, c. 46.

2 Ibid., c. 18.

3 A. MacIntyre, Three Rival Versions of Moral Inquiry, cc. 2, 9.

4 A. MacIntyre, After Virtue, c. 2.

5 Vid. L. Feuerbach, Das Wesen des Christentums (1841).

6 A. Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, vol. 1, c. 48.

7 W. Durant, The Story of Philosophy, p. 86.

8 The Antichrist, c. 19.

9 vid. ‘Richard Wagner in Bayreuth’ in Untimely Meditations.

10 B. Magnus in The Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche, p. 1.

11 W. Kaufmann (trans.) The Gay Science, c. 125.

12 A. C. Danto, Nietzsche as Philosopher, c. 8.

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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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Racial Esoteric Moralization https://arktos.com/2018/12/05/racial-esoteric-moralization/ https://arktos.com/2018/12/05/racial-esoteric-moralization/#comments_reply Wed, 05 Dec 2018 17:55:01 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=5379

Join us for the inaugural episode of Apollonian Transmission, featuring co-hosts author Mark Brahmin and author and Arktos Editor-in-Chief John Bruce Leonard. The topic is the use and appearance of encoded messages in myth, propaganda, art and Religion for the purposes of “Racial Esoteric Moralization.” In this series, Brahmin and Leonard will be looking at contemporary films, where it is evident an ancient, deeper, “shared symbolism” is being drawn upon to develop Racial Esoteric Moralization and especially Jewish Esoteric Moralization.

In this first episode, Mark Brahmin explains the thesis of his upcoming book series on the topic of Racial Esoteric Moralization being published through Arktos. These books will treat the phenomenon of Racial Esoteric Moralization appearing through art, myth, religion and propaganda through the span of human history, from Sumer to the latest Steven Spielberg film. Here we understand myth and religion, particularly in its salient and abiding forms, as frequently, consciously developed for the purposes of moralizing one’s in-group rather than forming from what Jung described as “the collective unconscious.”

Nowhere, Brahmin argues, is this tendency and ability to develop moralizing myth more developed than among Jews and proto-Jews. And yet myth, religion and art is “mating song”, directs breeding. Hence it is “all important.” It cannot be neglected but rather mastered toward our ends as it was, with various degrees of success, in the Apollo, Mars and Jupiter Cults. You will not want to miss this stunning first episode. Nor any that follow. The accurate, intelligent and sober explication and understanding of myth, symbol and esoteric messaging is “The Apollonian Transmission.”

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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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Julius Evola: The Mask and Face of Contemporary Spiritualism https://arktos.com/2018/12/05/julius-evola-the-mask-and-face-of-contemporary-spiritualism/ https://arktos.com/2018/12/05/julius-evola-the-mask-and-face-of-contemporary-spiritualism/#comments_reply Wed, 05 Dec 2018 11:12:17 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=5333 The Arktos crew discusses the publication of an original Arktos translation of Julius Evola’s review of contemporary spiritualism, The Mask and Face of Contemporary Spiritualism.

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The Mask and Face of Contemporary Spiritualism https://arktos.com/product/the-mask-and-face-of-contemporary-spiritualism-hardback/ https://arktos.com/product/the-mask-and-face-of-contemporary-spiritualism-hardback/#comments_reply Wed, 05 Dec 2018 10:06:14 +0000 https://arktos.com/?post_type=product&p=5315 A survey of the present currents in esoteric studies, and an unmasking of their true relation to Traditional spiritualism, The Mask and Face of Contemporary Spiritualism is a guidebook for the spiritual seeker through the bewildering labyrinth of disciplines and dead-ends of contemporary spirituality.

Julius Evola, one of the foremost Traditionalists of the past century, brings his inimitable analysis to everything from spiritism and anthroposophy to Satanism and Catholicism, tackling as he goes Freudianism, Nietzscheanism, the fiction of Dostoevsky, and figures as diverse as Aleister Crowley, Rudolf Steiner and Anton LaVey. At once metaphysical and practical, this book offers the priceless perspective of an author who dedicated decades to his own profound investigations into the “supersensible,” culminating in a thorough critique of contemporary spiritualism — and a masterful revelation of higher teachings.

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The Mask and Face of Contemporary Spiritualism https://arktos.com/product/the-mask-and-face-of-contemporary-spiritualism/ https://arktos.com/product/the-mask-and-face-of-contemporary-spiritualism/#comments_reply Wed, 05 Dec 2018 10:05:55 +0000 https://arktos.com/?post_type=product&p=5317 A survey of the present currents in esoteric studies, and an unmasking of their true relation to Traditional spiritualism, The Mask and Face of Contemporary Spiritualism is a guidebook for the spiritual seeker through the bewildering labyrinth of disciplines and dead-ends of contemporary spirituality.

Julius Evola, one of the foremost Traditionalists of the past century, brings his inimitable analysis to everything from spiritism and anthroposophy to Satanism and Catholicism, tackling as he goes Freudianism, Nietzscheanism, the fiction of Dostoevsky, and figures as diverse as Aleister Crowley, Rudolf Steiner and Anton LaVey. At once metaphysical and practical, this book offers the priceless perspective of an author who dedicated decades to his own profound investigations into the “supersensible,” culminating in a thorough critique of contemporary spiritualism — and a masterful revelation of higher teachings.

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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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