Archive for August, 1971

What is Traditionalism? (William Manchester)

Monday, August 30th, 1971

“The world may be explained in sociological terms. David Riesman describes three basic social personalities in The Lonely Crowd. ‘Other-directed’ people pattern their behavior on what their peers expect of them. Suburban America’s men in gray-flannel suits are other-directed. ‘Inner-directed’ people are guided by what they have been trained to expect of themselves. [General Douglas] MacArthur was inner-directed. The third type, the ‘tradition-directed,’ has not been seen in the West since the Middle Ages. Tradition-directed people hardly think of themselves as individuals; their conduct is determined by folk rituals handed down from the past.”

American Caesar, by William Manchester, p. 537

The Plurality and Duality of Civilizations (Julius Evola)

Monday, August 30th, 1971

Recently, in contrast to the notion of progress and the idea that history has been represented as the more or less continuous upward evolution of collective humanity, the idea of a plurality of the forms of civilization and of a relative incommunicability between them has been confirmed.

According to this second and new version of history, civilization breaks down into epochs and disconnected cycles. At a given moment and within a given race a specific conception of the world and of life is affirmed from which follows a specific system of truths, principles, understandings, and realizations. A civilization springs up, gradually reaches a culminating point, and then falls into darkness and, more often than not, disappears.

A cycle has ended. Perhaps another will rise again some day, somewhere else. Perhaps it may even take up the concerns of preceding civilizations, but any connection between them will be strictly analogical. The transition from one cycle of civilization to another – one completely alien to the other – implies a jump, which in mathematics is called a discontinuity. Although this view is a healthy reaction to the superstition of history as progress – which came into fashion more or less at the same time as materialism and Western scientism-nevertheless, we should be cautious, for in addition to a plurality of civilizations we have to recognize a duality, especially when we limit ourselves to those times and essential structures that we can embrace with some measure of certainty.

Modern civilization stands on one side and on the other the entirety of all the civilizations that have preceded it (for the West, we can put the dividing line at the end of the Middle Ages). At this point the rupture is complete. Apart from the multitudinous variety of its forms, pre-modern civilization, which we may as well call “traditional”, means something quite different. For there are two worlds, one which has separated itself by cutting off nearly every contact with the past. For the great majority of moderns, that means any possibility of understanding the traditional world has been completely lost.

This premise is indispensable for the examination of our subject [alchemy]. The hermetico-alchemical tradition forms part of the cycle of pre-modern “traditional” civilization and in order to understand its spirit we need to translate it inwardly from one world to the other. Who undertakes this study without having acquired the ability to rise above the modern mind-set or who has not awakened to a new sensitivity that can place itself in contact with the general spiritual stream that gave life to the tradition in the first place, will succeed only in filling his head with words, symbols, and fantastic allegories. Moreover, it is not just a question of intellectual understanding. We have to bear in mind that ancient man not only had a different way of thinking and feeling, but also a different way of perceiving and knowing. The heart of the matter that will concern us is to re-evoke, by means of an actual transformation of the consciousness, this older basis of understanding and action.

Only then will the unexpected light of certain expression dawn on us and certain symbols be empowered to awaken our interior perception. Only then will we be conducted through them to new heights of human realization and to the understanding that will make it possible for designated “rites” to confer “magical” and operant power, and for the creation of a new “science” that bears no resemblance to anything that goes by that name today.

The Meaning and Context of Zen (Julius Evola)

Monday, August 30th, 1971

We know the kind of interest Zen has evoked even outside specialized disciplines, since being popularized in the west by D.T. Suzuki through his books Introduction to Zen Buddhism and Essays in Zen Buddhism. This popular interest is due to the paradoxical encounter between East and West. The ailing West perceives that Zen has something “existential” and surrealistic to offer. Zen’s notion of a spiritual realization, free from any faith and any bond, not to mention the mirage of an instantaneous and somehow gratuitous “spiritual breakthrough”, has exercised a fascinating attraction on many Westerners. However, this is true, for the most part, only superficially. There is a considerable difference between the spiritual dimension of the “philosophy of crisis”, which has become popular in the West as a consequence of its materialistic and nihilist development, and the spiritual dimension of Zen, which has been rooted in the spirituality of the Buddhist tradition. Any true encounter between Zen and the West, presupposes, in a Westerner, either an exceptional predisposition, or the capability to operate a metanoia. By metanoia I mean an inner turnabout, affecting not so much one’s intellectual “attitudes”, but rather a dimension which in every time and in every place has been conceived as a deeper reality.

Zen has a secret doctrine and not to be found in scriptures. It was passed on by the Buddha to his disciple Mahakassapa. This secret doctrine was introduced in China around the sixth century C.E. by Bodhidharma. The canon was transmitted in China and Japan through a succession on teachers and “patriarchs”. In Japan it is a living tradition and has many advocates and numerous Zendos (“Halls of Meditation”).

As far as the spirit informing the tradition is concerned, Zen may be considered as a continuation of early Buddhism. Buddhism arose as a vigorous reaction against the theological speculation and the shallow ritualism into which the ancient Hindu priestly caste had degraded after possessing a sacred, lively wisdom since ancient times. Buddha mad tabula rassa of all this: he focused instead on the practical problem of how to overcome what in the popular mind is referred to as “life’s suffering”. According to esoteric teachings, this suffering was considered as the state of caducity, restlessness, “thirst” and the forgetfulness typical of ordinary people. Having followed the path leading to spiritual awakening and to immortality without external aid, Buddha pointed the way to those who felt an attraction to it. It is well known that Buddha is not a name, but an attribute or a title meaning “the awakened One”, “He who has achieved enlightenment”, or “the awakening”. Buddha was silent about the content of his experience, since he wanted to discourage people from assigning to speculation and philosophizing a primacy over action. Therefore, unlike his predecessors, he did not talk about Brahman (the absolute), or about Atman (the transcendental Self), but only employees the term nirvana, at the risk of being misunderstood. Some, in fact, thought, in their lack of understanding, that nirvana was to be identified with the notion of “nothingness”, an ineffable and evanescent transcendence, almost bordering on the limits of the unconscious and of a state of unaware non-being. So, in a further development of Buddhism, what occurred again, mutatis mutandi, was exactly the situation against which Buddha had reacted; Buddhism became a religion, complete with dogmas, rituals, scholasticism and mythology. It eventually became differentiated into two schools: Mahayana and Hinayana. The former was more grandiose in metaphysics an Mahayana eventually grew complacent with its abstruse symbolism. The teachings of the latter school were more strict and to the point, and yet too concerned about the mere moral discipline which became increasingly monastic. Thus the essential and original nucleus, namely the esoteric doctrine of the enlightenment, was almost lost.

At this crucial time Zen appeared, declaring the uselessness of these so-called methods and proclaiming the doctrine of satori. Satori is a fundamental inner event, a sudden existential breakthrough, corresponding in essence to what I have called the “awakening”. But this formulation was new and original and it constituted a radical change in approach. Nirvana, which had been variously considered as the alleged Nothingness, as extinction, and as the final end result of an effort aimed at obtaining liberation (which according to some may require more than one lifetime), now came to be considered as the normal human condition. By these lights, every person has the nature of Buddha and every person is already liberated, and therefore, situated above and beyond birth and death. It is only necessary to become aware of it, to realize it, to see within one’s nature, according to Zen’s main expression. Satori is like a timeless opening up. On the one hand, satori is something sudden and radically different from all the ordinary human states of consciousness; it is like a catastrophic trauma within ordinary consciousness. On the other hand, satori is what leads one back to what, in a higher sense, should be considered as normal and natural; thus, it is the exact opposite of an ecstasis, or trance. It is the rediscovery and the appropriation of one’s true nature: it is the enlightenment which draws out of ignorance or out of the subconscious the deep reality of what was and will always be, regardless of one’s condition in life. The consequence of satori is a completely new way to look at the world and at life. To those who have experienced it, everything is the same (things, other beings, one’s self, “heaven, the rivers and the vast earth”), and yet everything is fundamentally different. It is as if a new dimension was added to reality, transforming the meaning and value. According to the Zen Masters, the essential characteristic of the new experience is the overcoming of very dualism: of the inner and outer; the I and not I; of finitude and infinity; being and not-being; appearance and reality; “empty” and “full”; substance and accidents. Another characteristic is that any value posed by the finite and confused consciousness of the individual, is no longer discernible. And thus, the liberated and the non-liberated, the enlightened and the non-enlightened, are yet one and same thing. Zen effectively perpetuates the paradoxical equation of Mahayana Buddhism, nirvana-samsara, and the Taoist saying “the return is infinitely far”. It is as if Zen said: liberation should not be looked for in the next world; the very world is the next world; it is liberation and it does not need to be liberated. This is the point of view of satori, of perfect enlightenment, of “transcendent wisdom” (prajnaparamita)

Basically, this consciousness is a shift of the self’s center. In any situation and in any event of ordinary life, including the most trivial ones, the ordinary, dualistic and intellectual sense of one’s self is substituted with a being who no longer perceives an “I” opposed to a “non-I”, and who transcends and overcomes any antithesis. This being eventually comes to enjoy a perfect freedom an incoercibility. He is like the wind, which blows where it wills, and like a naked being which is everything after “letting go” -abandons everything, embracing poverty.

Zen, or at least mainstream Zen, emphasizes the discontinuous, sudden and unpredictable character of satori disclosure. In regard to this, Suzuki was at fault when he took issue with the techniques used in Hindu schools such as Samkya and Yoga. These techniques were also contemplated in early Buddhist texts. Suzuki employed the simile of water, which in a moment turns into ice. He also used the simile of an alarm, which, as a consequence of some vibration, suddenly goes off. There are no disciplines, techniques or efforts, according to Suzuki, which by themselves may lead one to satori. On the contrary, it is claimed that satori often occurs spontaneously, when one has exhausted all the resources of his being, especially the intellect and logical faculty of understanding. In some cases satori it is said to be facilitated by violent sensations and even by physical pain. Its cause may be the mere perception of an object as well as any event in ordinary life, provided a certain latent predisposition exists in the subject.

Regarding this, some misunderstandings may occur. Suzuki acknowledged that “generally speaking, there are no indications on the inner work preceding satori”. However, he talked about the necessity of first going through “a true baptism of fire”. After all, the very institution of the so-called “Halls of Meditation” (Zendo), where those who strive to obtain a satori submit themselves to a regimen of life which is partially analogous to that of some Catholic religious orders, bespeaks the necessity of a preliminary preparation. This preparation may last for several years. The essence of Zen seems to consist in a maturation process, identical to the one in which one almost reaches a state of an acute existential instability. At that point, the slightest push is sufficient to produce a change of state, a spiritual breakthrough, the opening which leads to the “intuitive vision of one’s nature”. The Masters know the moment in which the mind of the disciple is mature and ready to open up; it is ten that they eventually give the final. Decisive push. This push may sometimes consist of a simple gesture, an exclamation, in something apparently irrelevant, or even illogical and absurd. This suffices to induce the collapse of the false notion of individuality. Thus, satori replaces this notion with the “normal state”, and one assumes the “original face, which one had before creation”. One no longer “chases after echoes” and “shadows”. This under some aspects brings to mind the existential theme of “failure”, or of “being shipwrecked” (das Scheitern, in Kierkegaard and in Jaspers). In fact, as I have mentioned, the opening often takes place when all the resources of one’s being have been exhausted and one has his back against the wall. This can be seen in relation to some practical teachings methods used by Zen. The most frequently employed methods, on an intellectual plane, are the koan and the mondo. The disciple is confronted with a saying or with questions which are paradoxical, absurd and sometimes even grotesque and “surrealistic”. He must labor with his mind, if necessary for years, until he has reached the extreme limit of all his normal faculties of comprehension. Then, if he dares proceed further on that road he may find catastrophe, but if he can turn the situation upside down, he may achieve metanoia. This is the point where satori is usually achieved.

Zen’s norm is that of absolute autonomy; no gods, no cults, no idols. To literally empty oneself of everything, including God. “If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him”, a saying goes. It is necessary to abandon everything, without leaning on anything, and then to proceed forward, with one’s essence, until the crisis point is reached. It is very difficult to say more about satori, or to compare it with various forms of initiatory mystical experience whether Eastern or Western. One is supposed to spend only the training period in Zen monasteries. Once the disciple has achieved satori, he return to the world, choosing a way of life that fits his need. One may think of satori as a form of transcendence which is brought to immanence, as a natural state, in every form of life.

The behavior which proceeds from the newly acquired dimension, which is added to reality as a consequence of satori, may well be summarized by Lao Tzu’s expression: “To be the whole in the part”. In regard to this, it is important to realize the influence which Zen has exercised on the Far-Eastern way of life. Zen has been called “the samurai’s philosophy,” and it had also been said that “the way of Zen is identical to the way of archery,” or to the “way of the sword”. This means that any activity in one’s life, may be permeated by Zen and thus be elevated to a higher meaning, to a “wholesomeness” and to an “impersonal activity”. This kind of activity is based on a sense of the individual’s irrelevance, which nevertheless does not paralyze one’s actions, but which rather confers cam and detachment. This detachment, in turn, favors an absolute and “pure” undertaking of life, which in some cases reaches extreme and distinct forms of self-sacrifice and heroism, inconceivable to the majority of Westerners (e.g. the kamikaze in WWII).

Thus, what C.G. Jung claims is simply ridiculous, namely that Psychoanalysis, more than any other Western school of thought, is capable of understanding Zen. According to Jung, satori coincides with the state of wholeness, devoid of complexes or inner splitting, which psychoanalytic treatment claims to achieve whenever the intellect’s obstructions and its sense of superiority are removed, and whenever the conscious dimension of the soul is reunited with the unconscious and with “Life”. Jung did not realize that the methods and presuppositions of Zen, are exactly the opposite of his own. There is no “subconscious”, as a distinct entity, to which the conscious has to be reconnected; Zen speaks of a superconscious vision (enlightenment, bodhi or “awakening”), which actualizes the “original and luminous nature” and which, in so doing, destroys the unconscious. It is possible though, to notice similarities between Jung’s view’s and Zen’, since they both talk about the feeling of one’s “totality” and freedom which is manifested in every aspect of life. However, it is important to explain the level at which these views appear to coincide.

Once Zen found its way to the West, there was a tendency to “domesticate” and to moralize it, playing down its potential radical and “antinomian” (namely, antithetical to current norms) implications, and by emphasizing the standard ingredients which are held so dear by “spiritual” people, namely love and service to one’s neighbor, even though these ingredients have been purified in an impersonal and non-sentimental form. Generally speaking, there are many doubts on the “practicability” o f Zen, considering that the “doctrine of the awakening” has an initiatory character.

Thus, it will only be able to inspire a minority of people, in contrast to later Buddhist views, which took the form of a religion open to everyone, for the most part a code of mere morality. As the re-establishment of the spirit of early Buddhism, Zen should have strictly been an esoteric doctrine. It has been so as we can see by examining the legend concerning its origins. However, Suzuki himself was inclined to give a different account; he emphasized those aspects of Mahayana which “democratize” Buddhism (after all, the term Mahayana has been interpreted to mean “Great Vehicle”, even in the sense that it extends to wider audiences, and not just to a few elect). If one was to fully agree with Suzuki, some perplexities on the nature and on the scope of satori may arise. One should ask whether such an experience merely affects the psychological, moral or mental domain, or whether it affects the ontological domain, as is the case in every authentic initiation. In that event, it can only be the privilege a very restricted number of people.

The occult war (Julius Evola)

Monday, August 30th, 1971

Excerpt from “Men Among the Ruins” by Julius Evola

Various causes have been adduced to explain the crisis that has affected and still affects the life of modern peoples: historical, social, socioeconomic, political, moral, and cultural causes, according to different perspectives. The part played by each of these causes should not be denied. However, we need to ask a higher and essential question: are these always the first causes and do they have an inevitable character like those causes found in the material world? Do they supply an ultimate explanation or, in some cases, is it necessary to identify influences of a higher order, which may cause what has occurred in the West to appear very suspicious, and which, beyond the multiplicity of individual aspects, suggest that there is the same logic at work?

The concept of occult war must be defined within the context of the dilemma. The occult war is a battle that is waged imperceptibly by the forces of global subversion, with means and in circumstances ignored by current historiography. The notion of occult war belongs to a three-dimensional view of history: this view does not regard as essential the two superficial dimensions of time and space (which include causes, facts, and visible leaders) but rather emphasizes the dimension of depth, or the “subterranean” dimension in which forces and influences often act in a decisive manner, and which, more often not than not, cannot be reduced to what is merely human, whether at an individual or a collective level.

Having said that, it is necessary to specify the meaning of the term “subterranean.” We should not think, in this regard, of a dark and irrational background which stands in relation to the known forces of history as the unconscious stands to consciousness, in the way the latter relationship is discussed in the recently developed “Depth Psychology.” If anything, we can talk about the unconscious only in regard to those who, according to the three-dimensional view, appear to be history’s objects rather than its subjects, since in their thoughts and conduct they are scarcely aware of the influences which they obey and the goals that they contribute toward achieving. In these people, the center falls more in the unconscious and the pre-conscious than in the clear reflected consciousness, no matter what they-who are often men of action and ideologues-believe. Considering this relation, we can say that the most decisive actions of the occult war take place in the human unconscious. However, if we consider the true agents of history in the special aspects we are now discussing, things are otherwise: here we cannot talk of the subconscious or the unconscious, since we are dealing with intelligent forces that know very well what they want and what are the means most suited to achieve their objectives.

The third dimension of history should not be diluted in the fog of abstract philosophical or sociological concepts, but should rather be thought of as a “backstage” dimension where specific “intelligences” are at work.

An investigation of the secret history that aspires to be positivist and scientific should not be too lofty or removed from reality. However, it is necessary to assume as the ultimate reference point a dualistic scheme not dissimilar from the one found in an older tradition. Catholic historiography used to regard history not only as a mechanism of natural, political, economic, and social causes, but also as the unfolding of divine Providence, to which hostile forces are opposed. These forces are sometimes referred to in a moralistic fashion as “forces of evil,” or in a theological fashion as the “forces of the Anti-Christ.” Such a view has a positive content, provided it is purified and emphasized by bringing it to a less religious and more metaphysical plane, as was done in Classical and Indo-European antiquity: forces of the cosmos against forces of chaos. To the former correspond everything that is form, order, law, spiritual hierarchy, and tradition in the higher sense of the word; to the latter correspond every influence that disintegrates, subverts, degrades, and promotes the predominance of the inferior over the superior, matter over spirit, quantity over quality. This is what can be said in regard to the ultimate reference points of the various influences that act upon the realm of tangible causes, behind known history. These must be taken into account, though with some prudence. Let me repeat: aside from this necessary metaphysical background, let us never lose sight of concrete history.

Methodologically speaking, we need to be careful to prevent valid insights from degenerating into fantasies and superstition, and not develop the tendency to see an occult background everywhere and at all costs. In this regard, every assumption we make must have the character of what are called “working hypotheses” in scientific research: as when something is admitted provisionally, thus allowing the gathering and arranging of a group of apparently isolated facts, only to confer on them a character not of hypothesis but of truth when, at the end of a serious inductive work, the data converge in validating the original assumption. Every time an effect outlasts and transcends its tangible causes, a suspicion should arise, and a positive or negative influence behind the stages should be perceived. A problem is posited, but in analyzing it and seeking its solution, prudence must be exercised. The fact that those who have ventured in this direction have not restrained their wild imaginations has discredited what could have been a science, the results of which could hardly be overestimated. This too meets the expectations of the hidden enemy.

After considering the state of society and modern civilization, one should ask if this is not a specific case that requires the application of this method; in other words, one should ask whether some situations of real crisis and radical subversion in the modern world can be satisfactorily explained through “natural” and spontaneous processes, or whether we need to refer to something that has been concerted, namely a still unfolding plan, devised by forces hiding in the shadows.

On Jihad and Holy War (Julius Evola)

Monday, August 30th, 1971

(Revolt against the modern world, pages 118-120)

In the Islamic tradition a distinction is made between two holy wars, the “greater holy war” (el-jihadul-akbar) and the “lesser holy war” (el-jihadul-ashgar). This distinction originated from a saying (hadith) of the Prophet, who on the way back from a military expedition said: “You have returned from a lesser holy war to a great holy war.” The greater holy war is of an inner and spiritual nature; the other is the material war waged externally against an enemy population with the particular intent of bringing “infidel” populations under the rule of “God’s Law” (al-Islam). The relationship between the “greater” and “lesser holy war”, however, mirrors the relationship between the soul and the body; in order to understand the heroic asceticism or “path of action”, it is necessary to understand the situation in which the two paths merge, the “lesser holy war” becoming the means through which a “greater holy war” is carried out, and vice versa: the “little holy war”, or the external one, becomes almost a ritual action that expresses and gives witness to the reality of the first. Originally, orthodox Islam conceived of a unitary form of asceticism: that which is connected to the jihad or “holy war”.

The “greater holy war” is man’s struggle against the enemies he carries within. More exactly, it is the struggle of man’s higher principle against everything that is merely human in him, against his inferior natur and against chaotic impulses and all sorts of material attachments. This is expressly outlined in a text of Aryan warrior wisdom: “Know Him therefore who is above reason; and let his peace give thee peace. Be a warrior and kill desire, the powerful enemy of the soul.” (Bhagavadgita 3.43)

The “enemy” who resists us and the “infidel” within ourselves must be subdued and put in chains. This enemy is the animalistic yearning and instinct, the disorganized multiplicity of impulses, the limitations imposed on us by a fictitious self, and thus also fear, wickedness, and uncertainty; this subduing of the enemy within is the only way to achieve inner liberation or the rebirth in a state of deeper inner unity and “peace” in the esoteric and triumphal sense of the word.

In the world of traditional warrior asceticism the “lesser holy war”, namely, the external war, is indicated and even prescribed as the means to wage this “greater holy war”; thus in Islam the expressions “holy war” (jihad) and “Allah’s way” are often used interchangeably. In this order of ideas action exercises the rigorous function and task of a sacrifical and purifying ritual. The external vicissitudes experienced during a military campaign cause the inner “enemy” to emerge and put up a fierce resistance and agood fight in the form of the animalistic instincts of self-preservation, fear, inertia, compassion, or other passions; those who engage in battles must overcome these feelings by the time they enter the battlefield if they wish to win and to defeat the outer enemy or “infidel”.

Obviously the spiritual orientation and the “right intention” (niya), that is, the one toward transcendence (the symbols employed to refer to transcendence are “heaven”, “paradise”, “Allah’s garden” and so on), are supposed as the foundations of jihad, lest war lose its scared character and degenerate into a wild affair in which true heroism is replaced with reckless abandonment and what counts are the unleashed impulses of the animal nature.

It is written in the Koran: “Let those who would exchange the life of this world for the hereafter fight for the cause of Allah; whether they die or conquer, We shall richly reward them.” (Koran, 4:76) The presupposition according to which it is prescribed “When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield strike off their heads, and when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly” (Koran 47:4); or, “Do not falter or sue for peace when you have gained the upper hand” (Koran 47:37), is that “the life of this world is but a sport and a past-time” (Koran 47:37) and that “whoever is ungenerous to this cause is ungenerous to himself” (Koran 47:38). These statements should be interpreted along the lines of the evangelical saying: “Whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it: but whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). This is confirmed by yet another Koranic passage: “Why is it that when it is said to you: ‘March in the cause of Allah.’ you linger slothfully in the land? Are you content with this life in preference to the life to come?” (Koran, 9:38) “Say: ‘Are you waiting for anything to befall us except victory or martyrdom?'” (Koran, 9:52).

Another passage is relevant as well: “Fighting is obligatory for you, as much as you dislike it. But you may hate a thing although it is good for you, and love a thing although it is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not.” (Koran, 2:216). This passage should also be connected with the following one:

“They were content to be with those that stayed behind: a seal was set upon their hearts, leaving them bereft of understanding. But the Apostle and the men who shared his faith fought with their goods and their persons. These shall be rewarded with good things. They shall surely prosper. Allah has prepared them gardens watered by running streams, in which they shall abide forever. That is the supreme triumph.” (Koran, 9:88 – 9:89)

This place of “rest” (paradise) symbolizes the superindividual states of being, the realization of which is not confined to the post-mortem alone,as the following passage indicates: “As for those who are slain in the cause of Allah, He will not allow their works to perish. he will vouchsafe them guidance and ennoble their state; He will admit them to the paradise He has made known to them.” Koran (47:5-7). In the instance of real death in battle, we find the equivalent of the mors triumphalis found in classical traditions. Those who have experienced the “greater holy war” during the “lesser holy war”, have awakened a power that most likely will help them overcome the crisis of death; this power, having already liberated them from the “enemy” and from the “infidel”, will help them avoid the fate of Hades. This is why in classical antiquity the hope of the deceased and the piety of his relatives often caused figures of heroes and of victors to be inscribed on the tombstones. It is possible, however, to go through death and conquer, as well as achieve, the superlife and to ascend to the “heavenly realm” while still alive.

Julius Evola, Revolt Against The Modern World

Islam, which originated among the Semitic races also consisted of the Law and Tradition, regarded as a formative force, to which the Arab stocks of the origins provided a purer and nobler human material that was shaped by a warrior spirit. The Islamic law (shariah) is a divine law; its foundation, the Koran, is thought of as God’s very own word (kalam Allah) as well as a nonhuman work and an “uncreated book” that exists in heaven ab eterno. Although Islam considers itself the “religion of Abraham” it is nevertheless true that (a) it claimed independence from both Judaism and Christianity; (b) the Kaaba, with its symbolism of the center, is a pre-Islamic location and has even older origins that cannot be dated accurately; (c) in the esoteric Islam tradition, the main reference point is al-Khadir, a popular figure conceived as superior to an pre-dating the biblical prophets (Koran 18:59-81). In early Islam the only form of asceticism was action, that is, jihad, or “holy war”; this type of war, at least theoretically, should never be interrupted until the full consolidation of the divine Law has been achieved. Finally, Islam presents a traditional completeness, since the shariah and the sunna, that is, the exoteric law and tradition, have their complement not in vague mysticism, but in full-fledged initiatory organizations (turuq) that are categorized by an esoteric teaching (tawil) and by the metaphysical doctrine of the Supreme Identity (tawhid). In these organizations, and in general in the shia, the recurrent notions of the masum, of the double perogative of the isma (doctrinal infallibility), and of the impossibility of being stained by any sin (which is the perogative of the leaders, the visible and invisible Imams and the mujtahid), lead back to the line of an unbroken race shaped by a tradition at a higher level than both Judaism and the religious beliefs that conquered the West.

Julius Evola
On Islam and Tradition, (Revolt Agains The Modern World, pages 243 – 244)

Even though it began relatively recently, I will briefly refer to another tradition, Islam, which originated among the Semitic races and succeeded in overcoming those negative motifs. As in the case of priestly Judaism, the center in Islam also consisted on the Law and Tradition, regarded as a formative force, to which the Arab stocks of the origins provided a purer and nobler human material that was shaped by a warrior spirit. The Islamic law (shariah) is a divine law; its foundation, the Koran, is thought of as God’s very own word (kalam Allah) as well as a nonhuman work and an “uncreated book” that exists in heaven ab eterno. Although Islam considers itself the “religion of Abraham”, even to the point of attributing to him the foundation of the Kaaba (in which we find again the theme of the “stone”, or the symbol of the “center”), it is nevertheless true that (a) it claimed independence from both Judaism and Christianity; (b) the Kaaba, with its symbolism of the center, is a pre-Islamic location and has even older origins that cannot be dated accurately; (c) in the esoteric Islam tradition, the main reference point is al-Khadir, a popular figure conceived as superior to an pre-dating the biblical prophets (Koran 18:59-81). Islam rejects a theme found in Judaism and that in Christianity became the dogma and the basis fof the mystery of the incantation of the Logos; it retains, sensibly attenuated, the myth of Adam’s fall without building upon it the theme of “original sin”. In this doctrine Islam saw a “diabolical illusion” (talbis Iblis) or the inverted theme of the fall of Satan (Iblis or Shaitan), which the Koran (18:48) attributed to his refusal, together with all his angels, to bow down before Adam. Islam also not only rejected the idea of a Redeemer or Savior, which is so central in Christianity, but also the mediation of a priestly caste. By conceiving the Divine in terms of an absolute and pure monotheism, without a “Son”, a “Father”, or a “Mother of God”, every person as a Muslim appears to respond directly to God and to be sanctified through the Law, which permeates and organizes life in a radical unitary way in all of its juridicial, religious, and social ramifications. In early Islam the only form of asceticism was action, that is, jihad, or “holy war”; this type of war, at least theoretically, should never be interrupted until the full consolidation of the divine Law has been achieved. it is precisely through the holy war, and not through preaching or missionary endeavor, that Islam came to enjoy a sudden, prodigious expansion, originating the empire of the Caliphs as well as forging a unity typical of a race of the spirit, namely, the umma or “Islamic nation”. Finally, Islam presents a traditional completeness, since the shariah and the sunna, that is, the exoteric law and tradition, have their complement not in vague mysticism, but in full-fledged initiatory organizations (turuq) that are categorized by an esoteric teaching (tawil) and by the metaphysical doctrine of the Supreme Identity (tawhid). In these organizations, and in general in the shia, the recurrent notions of the masum, of the double perogative of the isma (doctrinal infallibility), and of the impossibility of being stained by any sin (which is the perogative of the leaders, the visible and invisible Imams and the mujtahid), lead back to the line of an unbroken race shaped by a tradition at a higher level than both Judaism and the religious beliefs that conquered the West.

On the dark age (Julius Evola)

Monday, August 30th, 1971

from Revolt Against the Modern World by Julius Evola, 1896

In reference to what I previously said concerning what ancient traditions called the Dark Age (Kali Yuga), I will now describe some of the features of this age found in an ancient Hindu text, the Visnu Purana. I will put in brackets what I consider to be the contemporary applications.

Outcastes and barbarians will be masters of the banks of the Indus, Darvika, the Chandrabhaga and Kashmir. These will all be contemporary rulers [of this age] reigning over the earth: kings [rulers] of violent temper…..They will seize upon the property of their subjects; they will be of limited power and will for the most part rapidly rise and fall; their lives will be short, their desires insatiable, and they will display but little piety. The people of various countries intermingling with them will follow their example…..The prevailing caste will be the Shudra…..Vaisyas will abandon agriculture and commerce and gain a livelihood by servitude or the exercise of mechanical arts [proletarization and industrialization]…..Kshyatrias instead of protecting will plunder their subjects: and under the pretext of levying customs will rob merchants of their property [crisis of capitalism and of private property; socialization, nationalization, and communism]…..Wealth [inner] and piety [following one’s dharma] will decrease day by day until the whole world will be wholly depraved. Then property alone will confer rank [the quantity of dollars – economic classes]; wealth [material] will be the only source of devotion; passion will be the sole bond of union between the sexes; falsehood will be the only means of success in litigation….. Earth will be venerated but for its mineral treasures [unscrupulous exploitation of the soil, demise of the cult of the earth]….. Brahmanical clothes will constitute a Brahman…..weakness will be the cause of dependence [cowardice, death of fides and honor in the modern political forms]…..simple ablution [devoid of the power of the true rite] will be purification [can there really be anything more in the alleged salvation procured in the Christian sacraments?]….. In the Kali age men corrupted by unbelievers…will say: “Of what authority are the Vedas? What are gods or Brahmans?…..” Observance of caste, order and institutes [traditional] will not prevail in the Kali age. Marriages in this age will not be conformable to the ritual, nor will the rules which connect the preceptor and his disciple be in force…..A regenerated man will be initiated in any way whatever [democracy applied to the spiritual plain] and such acts of penance as may be performed will be unattended by any results [this refers to a “humanistic” and conformist religion]…..all orders of life will be common alike to all persons….. He who gives away much money will be the master of men and family descent will no longer be a title of supremacy [the end of traditional nobility, advent of bourgeoisie, plutocracy]….. Men will fix their desires upon riches, even though dishonestly acquired…..Men of all degrees will conceit themselves to be equal with Brahmans [the prevarication and presumption of the intellectuals and modern culture]…..The people will be almost always in dread of dearth and apprehensive of scarcity; and will hence ever be watching the appearances of the sky [the meaning of the religious and superstitious residues typical of modern masses]….. The women will pay no attention to the commands of their husbands or parents…..They will be selfish, abject and slatternly; they will be scolds and liars; they will be indecent and immoral in their conduct and will ever attach themselves to dissolute men….. Men having deviated into heresy, iniquity will flourish, and the duration of life will therefore decrease.

Nevertheless, in the Visnu Parana there are also references to elements of the primordial or “Manu’s” race that have been preserved in this Dark Age in order to be the seed of new generations; what appears again is the well-known idea of a new and final epiphany “from above”:

When the practices taught by the Vedas and the institutes of law shall nearly have ceased, and the close of the Kali age shall be nigh, a portion of that devine being who exists of his own spiritual nature in the character of Brahma, and who is the beginning and the end, and who comprehends all things, shall descend upon the earth…..He will then reestablish righteousness upon earth; and the minds of those who live at the end of the Kali age shall be awakened, and shall be pellucid as crystal. The men who are thus changed by virtue of that peculiar time shall be the seeds of [new] human beings, and shall give birth to a race who shall follow the laws of the Krita age, or age of purity [primordial age].

In the same text and chapter it is said that the stock from which this divine principal will be born lives in the village of Shambhala; Shambhala – as I previously suggested – refers to the metaphysics of the “center” and the “pole,” to the Hyperborean mystery and the forces of primordial tradition.

American Morality (Julius Evola)

Monday, August 30th, 1971

Julius Evola, Eros and the Mysteries of Love: The Metaphysics of Sex The much-vaunted sex appeal of American women is drawn from films, reviews and pin-ups, and is in large print fictitious. A recent medical survey in the United States showed that 75 per cent of young American women are without strong sexual feeling and instead of satisfying their libido they seek pleasure narcissistically in exhibitionism, vanity and the cult of fitness and health in a sterile sense.

American girls have ‘no hang-ups about sex’; they are ‘easy going’ for the man who sees the whole sexual process as something in isolation thereby making it uninteresting and matter-of-fact, which, at such a level, it is meant to be. Thus, after she has been taken to the cinema or a dance, it is something like American good manners for the girl to let herself be kissed – this doesn’t mean anything. American women are characteristically frigid and materialistic. The man who ‘has his way’ with an American girl is under a material obligation to her. The woman has granted a material favour. In cases of divorce American law overwhelmingly favours the woman. American women will divorce readily enough when they see a better bargain. It is frequently the case in America that a woman will be married to one man but already ‘engaged’ to a future husband, the man she plans to marry after a profitable divorce.

“Our” American Media (Julius Evola)

Monday, August 30th, 1971

Julius Evola, Revolt against the Modern World Americanisation in Europe is widespread and evident. In Italy it is a phenomenon which is rapidly developing in these post-war years and is considered by most people, if not enthusiastically, at least as something natural. Some time ago I wrote that of the two great dangers confronting Europe – Americanism and Communism – the first is the more insidious. Communism cannot be a danger other than in the brutal and catastrophic form of a direct seizure of power by communists. On the other hand Americanisation gains ground by a process of gradual infiltration, effecting modifications of mentalities and customs which seem inoffensive in themselves but which end in a fundamental perversion and degradation against which it is impossible to fight other than within oneself.

It is precisely with respect to such internal opposition that most Italians seem weak. Forgetting their own cultural inheritance they readily turn to the United States as something akin to the parent guide of the world. Whoever wants to be modern has to measure himself according to the American standard. It is pitiable to witness a European country so debase itself. Veneration for America has nothing to do with a cultured interest in the way other people live. On the contrary, servility towards the United States leads one to think that there is no other way of life worth considering on the same level as the American one.

cover Our radio service is Americanised. Without any criterion of superior and inferior it just follows the fashionable themes of the moment and markets what is considered ‘acceptable’ – acceptable, that is, to the most Americanised section of the public, which is to say the most degenerate. The rest of us are dragged along in its wake. Even the style of presentation on radio has become Americanised. “Who, after listening to an American radio programme, can suppress a shudder when he considers that the only way of escaping communism is by becoming Americanised?” Those are not the words of an outsider but of an American sociologist, James Burnham, professor at the University of Princeton. Such a judgement from an American should make Italian radio programmers blush for shame.

The consequence of the ‘do your own thing’ democracy is the intoxication of the greater part of the population which is not capable of discriminating for itself, which, when not guided by a power and an ideal, all too easily loses sense of its own identity.

European Decadence (Julius Evola)

Monday, August 30th, 1971

Present Western “civilization” awaits a substantial upheaval (rivolgimento), without which it is destined, sooner or later, to smash its own head. It has carried out the most complete perversion of the rational order of things. Reign of matter, gold, machines, numbers; in this civilization there is no longer breath or liberty or light. The West has lost its ability to command and to obey. It has lost its feeling for contemplation and action. It has lost its feeling for values, spiritual power, godlike men (uomini-idii). It no longer knows nature. No longer a living body made of symbols, gods, and ritual act, no longer a harmony, a cosmos in which man moves freely like “a kingdom within a kingdom”, nature has assumed for the Westerner a dull and fatal exteriority whose mystery the secular sciences seek to bury in trifling laws and hypotheses. It no longer knows Wisdom. It ignores the majestic silence of those who have mastered themselves: the enlightened calm of seers, the exalted reality of those in whom the idea becomes blood, life, and power. Instead it is drowning in the rhetoric of “philosophy” and “culture”, the speciality of professors, journalists, and sportsmen who issue plans, programs, and proclamations. Its wisdom has been polluted by a sentimental, religious, humanitarian contagion and by a race of frenzied men who run around noisily celebrating becoming (divenire) and “practice”, because silence and contemplation alarm them.

It no longer knows the state, the state as value (stato-valore) crystallized in the Empire. Synthesis of the sort of spirituality and majesty that shone brightly in Chinaa, Egypt, Persia, and Rome, the imperial ideal has been overwhelmed by the bourgeois misery of a monopoly of slaves and traders.

Europe’s formidable “activists” no longer know what war is, war desired in and of itself as a virtue higher than winning or losing, as that heroic and sacred path to spiritual fulfilment exalted by the god Krishna in the Baghavad Gita. They know not warriors, only soldiers. And a crummy little war (guerricciola) was enough to terrorize them and drive them to rehashing the rhetoric of humanitarianism, and pathos or, worse still, of windbag nationalism and Dannunzianism.

Julius Evola, Revolt against the modern world Europe has lost its simplicity, its central position, its life. A democratic plague is eating away at its roots, whether in law, science, or speculation. Gone are the leaders, beings who stand out not for their violence, their gold, or for their skills as slave traders but rather for their irreducible qualities of life. Europe is a great irrelevant body, sweating and restless because of an anxiety that no one dares to express. Gold flows in its veins; its flesh is made up of machines, factories, and laborers; its brains are of newsprint. A great irrelevant body tossing and turning, driven by dark and unpredictable forces that mercilessly crush whoever wants to oppose or merely escape the cogwheels.

Such are the achievements of Western “civilization”. This is the much ballyhooed result of the superstitious faith in “progress”, progress beyond Roman imperiousness, beyond radiant Hellas, beyond the ancient Orient – the great ocean.

And the few who are still capable of great loathing and great rebellion find themselves ever more tightly encircled.

Translation from Imperialismo pagano, Atanor, Todi-Roma 1928.

Julius Evola and Russian Traditionalism (Alexandre Douguine)

Monday, August 30th, 1971

1) The Discovery of Evola in Russia

Julius Evola’s works were discovered in the 1960s by the very esoteric group of anti-communist intellectual thinkers known as “the dissidents of the right.” They were a small circle of people who had conscientiously refused to participate in the “cultural life” of the USSR and who had instead chosen an underground existence for themselves. The disparity between the presented Soviet culture and the actual Soviet reality was almost entirely what made them seek out the fundamental principles that could explain the origins of that evil, absolutist idea. It was through their refusal of communism that they discovered certain works by anti-modernist and traditionalist authors: above all, the books by Rene Guenon and by Julius Evola. Two central personalities animated this group – the Islamic philosopher Geidar Djemal and the nonconformist poet Eugene Golovine. Thanks to them, these “dissidents of the right” knew the names and the ideas of the two greatest traditionalists of our century. In the 1970s, one of the first translations of an Evola work (The Hermetic Tradition) appeared and it was distributed within the group according to the methods of Samizdat [note: Samizdat was the system in the former USSR through which officially “impermissible” books made their way around the country; generally these were copies of copies and not well-produced, but they tended to get their point across.]. However, the original translations were particularly bad in quality because they were made by incompetent amateurs far removed from the group of authentic intellectual traditionalists.
In 1981, a translation of Heidnische Imperialismus appeared in a similar manner as the only book of its type available from the Library of Lenin in Moscow. This time around, the distribution through Samizdat had become much larger and the quality of the translation was much better. Little by little, they moved the true current of traditionalism away from anti-communism and towards anti-modernism by extending their complete refusal of Soviet existence to a rejection of the modern world, very much in accordance with the integral traditionalist vision. It should be noted, though, that the ideas of the traditionalists in question at this particular point in time were very far-removed from the other “dissidents of the right” who were generally orthodox Christians, monarchists, and nationalists. Evola, then, was more popular among those who were interested in spiritualism in a broader sense: yoga, theosophy [note: a religious/philosophical school of thought founded by Russian occultist Helena Blavatsky], psychism [note: a theosophic concept relating to all mental phenomena; C.G. Jung discussed it occasionally as well], and so forth.
Throughout Perestroika, all forms of anticommunist dissidence manifested themselves and from the “dissidents of the right” came the current political and cultural ideologies of the Right – nationalist, nostalgic, anti-liberal, and anti-Western. In this context and after the development of strict traditionalist ideas as a result of Glasnost, the names of Guenon and Evola were introduced into Russia’s cultural ensemble. The first works of Evola’s appeared in the 1990s in widely-read parts of the press known to be “patriotic” or “conservative” and the subject of traditionalism became the theme among virulent polemics and was a very big issue in the Russian Right as a whole. Papers like Elementy, Nach Sovremennik, Mily Anguel, Den, etc., began to publish fragments of Evola’s writings or articles inspired by him or ones in which his name and quotes were referenced. Little by little, the “conservative” camp came to have an ideological structure that produced a separation between the old, nostalgic, monarchist Right and the other more open, non-conformist, and less-orthodox Right – sometimes referred to as the “novye pravye” in Russian, one may be inclined to draw parallels to the “nouvelle droite,” but it was a quite separate and altogether different phenomenon from the European ND. One could categorize this second group of “patriots” as being part of the “Third Way” or “national revolutionaries” and so forth. The breaking point came exactly over the acceptance or rejection of Evola’s ideas or perhaps more appropriately over parts of Evola’s ideas that could not be considered “conservative” or “reactionary” in nature, as in the idea of the “Conservative Revolution” and the “Revolt Against the Modern World.”
Recently, the first book – Heidnische Imperialismus – had 50,000 copies published. A television show devoted to Evola has even been made for a popular channel. Thus, one can see that Russia’s discovery of Evola has taken place on a rather broad scale. He who once constituted the hypermarginal intellectual nucleus of Russia before Perestroika has now become a significant political and ideological phenomenon. But it is clear that Evola wrote his books and formulated his ideas in a very different temporal, cultural, historical, and ethnic context. This, therefore, poses a problem: what parts of Evola’s philosophy are relevant to modern Russia and what parts need to be reworked, improved, or even rejected in these circumstances? This requires a brief analysis comparing and contrasting the sacred traditionalism of Evola and the strictly Russian political phenomenon.

2) Against the Modern West

From the very beginning, it is obvious that the rejection of the profane and venal modern world that manifested itself in Western Civilization in the last few centuries is common to both Evola and the entirety of the intellectual tradition of Russian slavophilia. Russian authors like Homyakov, Kirievsky, Aksakov, Leontiev, and Danilevsky among philosophers as well as Dostoevsky, Gogol, and Merejkovsky among novelists criticized the Western world in almost the exact same language as did Evola. One can see that they all had the same hate for the rule of the mob – that is to say, the modern democratic system – and that they regarded it as spiritual degradation and total profanity. Similarly, one can also see the same diagnoses for the sickness of the modern world – profane Freemasonry, deviant Judaism, the advancement of the plebeian, the deification of “reason” – in Evola and the “conservative” Russian culture. Obviously, the reactionary tendency here is shared, and thus Evola’s criticism of the West is totally in-step with and acceptable to the party line of Russian conservatism.

More often than not, one can see that Evola’s criticisms are more closely related to the Russian mentality rather than the broader European one – the same type of generalization, the frequent evocation of mythological and mystical goals, the distinct notion that the internal spirit world is organically separated from the immediate modern realities of perversion and deviance. In general, the Russian conservative tradition of contemporarily explaining historical events in a mythological sense is somewhat obligatory. The appeal of the supernatural/irrational level here is in perfect step with the Russian mindset that renders rational explanation the exception rather than the rule.

One may also note the influence that Russian conservatives exercised on Evola: in his works, he often cites Dostoevsky, Merejkovsky (whom he personally knew) and several other Russian authors. On the other hand, the frequent references he makes to Malynsky and Leon de Poncins partially carry on the counter-revolutionary tradition so typical of being European. One can also cite his references to Serge Nilus, the compiler of the famous Protocols of the Elders Of Zion, which Evola reedited in Italy.

At the same time, it’s clear that Evola knew relatively little about the Russian conservative milieu, and in fact he was not even particularly interested in it owing to his antichristian idiosyncrasy. A propos of the Orthodox tradition, he only made a few insignificant comments. Yet the similarity between his position towards the crisis of the modern world and the anti-modernism of the Russian authors is due largely to the community of organic reactions – Great Men and ‘individuals’ in the case of Evola and heroes in the case of the Russians. But thanks to this spontaneity of anti-modern convergences, the gravity of Evola’s deviation is made all the more interesting and all the more critical.

At any rate, this interpretation of Evola’s ideas fits perfectly within the framework of the modern “novye pravye” ideology to the extent that the latter actually brings more to his vision of the degradation of modernity by sometimes applying his ideas more globally, more radically, and more deeply. In this regard, Evola’s theories are very much accepted in modern Russia, where anti-Westernism is an extremely potent ideological and political factor.

3) Rome and Third Rome

One particular layer of Evola’s thoughts is felt by the Russians to be of imminent and extreme importance: his praise for the Imperial Ideal. Rome represents the focal point of Evola’s worldview. This sacred living power which had manifested itself all across the Empire was to Evola the very essence of the West’s traditional heritage. To Evola, the ruins of Nero’s palace and of Roman buildings were like a direct testament to a physical, organic sanctity whose integrity and continuity had been shattered by the Kafkaesque “castle” of the Catholic Vatican Guelph. [NOTE: For those not familiar with Kafka’s work, this is a reference to his book entitled “the Castle,” which is about a man who takes what should be a relatively simple job in a distant place surveying the land of a local noble, but who is unable to begin — much less complete — his job owing to the opposition from the bureaucracy of his own employer (whom he never meets in-person and only through a proxy or a proxy of a proxy) and who is further frustrated by the fact that the Count’s huge, oppressive castle is always visible from any part of the town but that he can never actually go there to begin his task. Obviously this is a metaphorical indictment against the overall judeo-christian system and how it relates to seemingly unattainable salvation. Similarly, Guelph refers to a German/Italian coalition of the Middle Ages that supported the royal house of Guelph against the Imperial German Ghibelline dynasty that was hostile to the Pope and to Catholicism.] His Ghibelline train of thought was clear: Imperium against Church, Rome against the Vatican, the immenent and organic sacrality against the devotational and sentimental abstractions of faith, implicitly dualist and Phariseean.

But a similar line of thought is seemingly naturally felt by the Russians, whose historical destiny has always been profoundly tied to that of Imperium. This notion was dogmatically rooted in the Orthodox Concept of staret [NOTE: the starets were spiritual advisers, but not priests: Rasputin could be considered one of these] philosophy – “Moscow: the Third Rome.” It should be noted that the “first Rome” in this cyclic orthodox interpretation was not Christian Rome, but rather Imperial Rome, because the second Rome (or the “new Rome”) was Constantinople, the capital of the Christian Empire. Thus the same idea of “Rome” held by the Orthodox Russians corresponds to the understanding of sacrality like the importance of that which is Sacred and such as the necessary and inseparable “symphony” between the spiritual authority and the temporal realm. For traditional orthodoxy, the catholic separation between the King and the Pope is simply unimaginable and close to blasphemy, and this very concept is actually called the “Latin heresy.”

Again, one can see the perfect convergence between Evola’s dogma and the commonplace mindset of Russian conservative thought. And still again, the clear spiritual exaltation of Imperium in Evola’s books is of inestimable value to the Russians in terms of what they view as their true and traditional identity. The “symphonic imperialism” of the Orthodox Russians easily brings to mind Julius Evola’s concept of “pagan imperialism,” or rather “Ghibelline imperialism.”

There is one other important detail that bears mentioning here. It’s known that the “author of the Third Reich,” Artur Müller van den Bruck, was deeply influenced by the writings of Feodor Dostoevsky, for whom the concept of “the Third Rome” was vitally significant. One can see van den Bruck’s same eschatological vision of “the Final Empire,” born from a metaphorical convergence between the ideas of the paracletic montanists [NOTE: montanists were the ancient forerunners of the contemporary pentecostal sects, i.e., the ones who believe in personal divine revelation and speaking in tongues] and the prophecies of Joachim de Flora [NOTE: de Flora was the abbot of Corazzo who authored a very prescient essay about the “age of reason” around the year 1200 in which he wrote “in the new day, man would not have to rely on faith, for everything would be founded on knowledge and reason.”]. Van den Bruck — whose ideas were sometimes cited by Evola — adapted the concept of the Third Rome from the Russian Orthodox tradition and applied it to Germany, where it was subsequently elaborated upon spiritually and socially by the National Socialists. One interesting fact is that Erich Mueller, the protegé of Nikisch [NOTE: Ernst Nikisch, a German nationalist of the same era] — who was greatly inspired by van den Bruck — once remarked that if the First Reich had been Catholic [NOTE: ie, the Holy Roman Empire], the Second Reich Protestant [NOTE: ie, Prussia under Friedrich the Great], the Third Reich would have to be exactly Orthodox! But Evola himself participated largely in the intellectual debates of German conservative-revolutionary circles (he was a member of von Gleichen’s “Herrenklub,” which itself was a continuation of the “Juniklub”founded by van den Bruck) where similary subjects were discussed in a very lively manner. It’s now easy to see another way in which the Russian conservative mindset is linked to Evola’s theories. Obviously, it’s not possible to say their ideas on these particular issues were identical, but at the same time, there are extraordinary connections between the two that help to explain the assimilation of Evola’s ideas into Russia’s mindset, where its views are far less “extravagant” than those belonging of traditional conservative Europe, which is by and large contemporarily Catholic and Nationalist, and is quite rarely Imperialist.

Recommended Reading