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Klages and the Biocentric Worldview – Andersen

Ludwig Klages and the Biocentric Worldview

By Joakim Andersen

 

Ludwig Klages (1872–1956) was one of the most interesting thinkers of the twentieth century. He was also one of the most complex. Klages was a philosopher, a psychologist, and a leading graphologist. Together with Alfred Schuler and Karl Wolfskehl, he formed the ‘Cosmic Circle’ in Munich. The Circle consisted of the milieu around the poet Stefan George, but it did not fully adhere to George’s patriarchal worldview.

Klages was a productive and original thinker. Among other things, he was the father of the term ‘id’ which was later to be picked up by Sigmund Freud. Klages also coined the term logocentrist, which today is a term used in certain types of feminist theories. He gave his psychological school the name characterology, and wrote several classics on graphology.

Klages was a man of paradox. In his writings he was an anti-Semite, yet he spent several years editing the works of his Jewish-Hungarian colleague, the natural philosopher Melchior Palagyi, after he had passed away. Klages was not very popular in the Third Reich, but neither did he renounce his theories about Judaism even after the Second World War, either. Recently, Jürgen Habermas stated that there is much of value in Klages, given that he was such an original and interesting thinker. But his unique perspective is now largely forgotten. It is therefore of great value that Arktos Media has published two books consisting of excerpts from his writings, translated by Joseph D. Pryce (Pryce has also written a valuable introduction to both collections). This present review focuses on the first of them, The Biocentric Worldview.

The Biocentric Worldview

‘Wild boar, ibex, fox, pine marten, weasel, duck and otter — all animals with which the legends dear to our memory are intimately intertwined — are shrinking in numbers, where, that is, they have not already become extinct…’ — Klages, 1913

What I appreciate the most in Klages’ thought is his so-called biocentric worldview. Klages claims that the distinction between ‘idealism’ and ‘materialism’ is rather irrelevant. In its place he describes a deeper, less well-known historical conflict. Klages puts Life in the centre, but he also identifies an anti-Life force that gradually infiltrated the world and took it over. Klages uses the German terms Seele and Geist, usually translated as Spirit and Mind. There is an intimate connection between Life and Spirit, but Mind is connected to abstractions, like ‘sin’, ‘will to power’, and similar concepts. Klages illuminates the difference:

‘Just as the philosopher of spirit considers everything that denies spirit to be a “sin”, the philosopher of life regards that which denies life to be an offense… no one speaks of a sin against a tree, but men have certainly spoken in the past — and even today many still speak — of an offense against a tree.’

Among these expressions of anti-Life he mentions moralism, Judaism, and Christianity, as well as capitalism and militarism. Nietzsche’s ‘will to power’ also risks becoming a part of the anti-Life forces and an unhealthy obsession. Klages develops a useful deep ecological perspective, related to and complementing Naess, Abbey, and Linkola. He also describes how ‘progress’ has hurt the world. In the essay ‘Man and Earth’, Klages describes how animals and plants became extinct, but also how folk cultures and authentic human emotions are pushed aside. Klages was an anti-colonialist, and discusses how both species of animals and human cultures are extinguished. In their place everything, is homogenised, and the vampire that is Geist spreads over the world. Thus Klages connects the threat against biological diversity with the threat against cultural.

‘Modern man´s conscious striving for power far surpasses that of any previous epoch… in the service of human needs, the ever-increasing mechanization has brought about the desecration of the natural world.’ — Klages

These essays are also interesting from the perspective of the history and philosophy of science. Klages analyses both psychoanalysis and Socrates, among many other things. He criticises concepts like ‘progress’ and utopianism as being hostile to Life. His perspective places primary value on Spirit and Life, and on the non-conscious and the qualitative. One does well to compare Klages with Guénon’s The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, along with Heidegger and Alexander Jacob’s De Naturae Natura.

Klages and Romanticism

‘Man should look upon the harvested fruits of the unconscious as an unexpected windfall bestowed by Heaven above.’ — Goethe

Among Klages’ own sources we find Nietzsche and the pre-Socratic philosophers. We also find the German Romantics and Goethe. Among the Romantics, Klages focuses on the now largely forgotten Carl Gustav Carus. He demonstrates that German Romanticism has permanent value.

In one’s own life, Klages is of value in showing that too much Geist leads to a worse and less authentic life. When the process has gone too far, one loses the ability to perceive the beauty of a forest, and instead only sees it as something merely quantifiable: as a bunch of timber. Likewise, the Romantics and Klages are also of use in politics. They show that the tendency towards hyper-politicisation and ideological thinking are among the enemies of Life. Family, nature, emotions, beauty, folk culture — they are all threatened by too much Geist. When Karlheinz Weissmann identifies the living as the leitmotiv of conservatism, or when Heinrich von Leo described his mission as protecting the ‘God-given, real life, in its development following its inner forces’, they are clearly related to Klages. Conservatism, defined as taking care of the living, not only animals and plants but also such ‘organisms’ as cultures, can also be biocentric.

When it comes to the philosophy of science, Carus, Goethe, and Klages are also of great use, given their focus on the whole rather than on the parts of things, on the sub- or non-conscious, and on reality and life above the prevailing focus on the mechanical and quantifiable. Klages quotes Carus: ‘…the key to an understanding of conscious thought resides in the realm of the unconscious.’

The Biocentric Worldview is thus of great value due to its deep ecological qualities as well as Klages’ original conception of history. Klages’ description of the rise and vampire-like spread of Geist has much in common with Nietzsche’s description of how ressentiment and slave morality takes over the world. (However, some aspects of Nietzsche are also dangerously close to the vampire.)

Klages is not a determinist. He does not rule out that Spirit and Life may be defended against Mind. He also reminds us that the goal of a Spirit-oriented science is to understand, rather than to reduce and manipulate. His role models are thus heroes, poets, and gods. The anthology is highly recommended.

 

——————–

Andersen, Joakim. “Ludwig Klages and the Biocentric Worldview.” RightOn, 6 November 2015. < https://www.righton.net/2015/11/06/ludwig-klages-and-the-biocentric-worldview/ >.

 

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Interview with Fenek Solère – Macek (Editor)

Interview with Fenek Solère by Daniel Macek, Editor of the New European Conservative

 

Introductory Note: The following is an original interview with Fenek Solère, an Anglophone representative of what is known as the ‘Identitarian Movement.’ We have conducted this interview via email and it is published here on our website New European Conservative for the first time. In this discussion, Solère provides his own particular interpretation of Identitarianism, its major concepts and thinkers, and related Right-wing movements. Of course, it should be noted that we don’t agree with all of Solère’s statements; this interview is not an expression of the official position of the New European Conservative, but rather of Fenek Solère’s personal studies and views. – Daniel Macek (Editor of the New European Conservative)

***

We are aware that you identify as an ‘Identitarian’ which refers to a Right-Wing movement historically connected with the Nouvelle Droite. It happens that different authors don’t always define this term in the same manner and disagree who exactly falls into this category. How do you define the term Identitarian and which thinkers or political leaders do you think can be included in it?

Identity itself is a complex subject. It is composed of many elements and operates on the individual and group level. Some aspects of individual identity you can choose, like the house where you live or the clothes you wear, which to a certain extent define your taste, project your personality or can be taken as an indication of your material circumstances. Other aspects like ‘genetic markers’ locate individuals within a particular group and are far less transient and require more radical interventions if you desire to alter or overcome them. For example, one’s gender or skin colour are pre-determined. Although weight and hair colour can be modified, your starting point is fixed, has is the shape of your skull, the size of your brain or the structure of your nasal bones and septal cartilage.

So for Identitarians of the Nouvelle Droite (ND), Neue Rechte and Nueva Derecha dispensation Human Bio-Diversity (HBD) is something to celebrate, as well as an essential bio-marker for identity. Thus, true Identitarianism mitigates the fear of the other by embracing the fact that we are different and that each group has distinct general attributes that fit them to the environment from which they originate and are reflected in the cultures they have created. Neue Rechte thinker Pierre Krebs stated: ‘The originality and richness of the human heritages of this world are nourished by their differences and their deviations’.

The ND’s notion of ethnopluralism is therefore set in stark contrast to the egalitarian and universalist view that man is an undifferentiated mass. Identitarians in general sympathizing with Alain de Benoist and Charles Champetier’s opinion, ‘that from the socio-historical viewpoint, man as such does not exist, because his membership of humanity is always mediated by a particular cultural belonging’. Identitarians conceive identity to be based on jus sanguinis, a belonging based on primordial, organic and biological factors linked to the soil and national territory, not the liberal left’s post-Second World War civil welfare-state citizenship of jus soli. The former being a pragmatic approach to our inherent and instinctive family, regional, religious, gender or ancestral predilections and prejudices and our perceived in and out groups. The latter being underpinned by supra-national bodies like the UN and EU, which seek to use liberal leftist national governments to erode and destroy European ethnic homogeneity. Whilst at the same time turning identity into a commodity that can be bought and sold. Thus contriving to make the current influx of migrants into a source of profit for cosmopolitan elite, the real 1%, that in turn helps them to perpetuate the modernist market forces that generate their power-base.

Fallacious egalitarian notions which depend on arguments like race is a social construct, need to be challenged whenever and wherever they are encountered. In avoiding so self-evident a truth and denying the right to difference out of some misplaced fear of breaching the new religion of political correctness, we do an immense disservice not only to decades of scientific research but also to thousands of years of evolution.

And just to state for the record, Identitarianism is not National Socialism or Fascism with another face as some academics like Tamir Bar-On in his works Where Have All The Fascists Gone (2007) and Rethinking the French New Right (2013) try to imply, using that familiar technique of guilt by association. A quick perusal of Michael O’Meara’s book New Culture, New Right: Anti-Liberalism in Postmodern Europe (2nd Ed. 2013) is a perfect antidote to such misinformation. Similarly, one could quote from Dr. Tomislav Sunic’s insightful and erudite essay ‘Liberal Double-Talk and Its Lexical and Legal Consequences’ in his book Post-Mortem Report (2010) to disabuse the gullible.

However, it cannot be denied that there is some overlap between Old Right and New Right thinkers, mainly within the spectrum of the Revolutionary Conservative tradition. But it seems to me that today’s Identitarians essentially take their lead from Alain De Benoist, Dominique Venner, Pierre Krebs, Guillaume Faye, Pierre Vial, Alexander Dugin and more recently the new wave of philosopher activists like Markus Willinger and his Generation Identity: A Declaration of War Against the 68’ers (2013).

Personally, I am a firm believer in ethnocultural identity, agreeing with the Italian Pasquale Stanislao Mancini (1817-1888) that ‘Man is born as a member of a family and the nation being the aggregate of families, he is a citizen of the nation to which his father and his family belong’. Or indeed, Mancini’s fellow countryman Giussepe Mazzini (1805-1872) who defined nationality as biological membership of a common community, sharing cultural characteristics such as language, an affinity with a defined territory, and the spiritual will to be part of such an entity. Which for me, once again, perfectly describes the parameters of an individual’s identity. After-all what Briton’s soul is not touched when he dreams of the face of the princess buried with her chariot in Wetwang in East Yorkshire; what Celt is not moved when he sees the Bronze Age Battersea shield or the burial chamber of the ancient Prince in Lavau; what Saxon when he reflects on the majesty of the Sutton Hoo helmet; what Gaul when he ponders the paintings of Lascaux and the Palaeolithic art in the Chauvet Cave; what Slav when he walks by the archaeological remains of cities like Sintashta and Arkaim on the windswept Steppe or stands inside the Lavra complex in Kiev; what German when he realizes that the 7000 year old Neolithic concentric circles at Goseck form an ancient sun observatory far older than Stonehenge; what Swiss when he thinks of La Tene art; what Estonian when he hears the music of Arvo Part; What Italian when he marvels at the fact his Roman ancestors designed and built the aqueduct at the Pont du Gard; what Greek as he stands in the shadows cast by the pillars of the Acropolis in Athens; what Serb’s pulse does not beat faster when he recites Jovan Sterija Popovich’s The Warriors Lament at Kosovo Field; and what Portuguese heart does not burst with pride when he reads the sublime understated poetry of Fernando Pessoa?

The White European ethnos should not be constrained by national boundaries. I agree with Guillaume Faye, ‘To each European his own fatherland, national and regional, chosen on the basis of intimate emotive affinities – And to all Europeans the Great Fatherland, this land of intimately related peoples’. Borders should be permeable to those who are entitled by hereditary and custom to continue the natural osmosis of centuries, to mingle within the related blood lines and wider gene-pool to which they belong. But that vast territory, those reservoirs of blood and precious strands of mitochondrial DNA should always be protected against the mass contamination of out-groups. Which is why, as per Willinger (2013), ‘We Europeans shouldn’t fight one another over petty disagreements’. For there is a very clear and present danger, the enemy are pounding at the Gates of Vienna once more and we should rally to defend the citadel.

 

The term Identitarianism also seems to imply a movement limited to concerns about ‘identity’ (its root word), yet anyone who looks into it can see that Identitarians are typically concerned with far more issues than just the problem of identity. Do you think the name may pose a problem when presenting Identitarian theory to the public?

Our Identity is formed by a common European heritage. It is therefore axiomatic that we concern ourselves with the full range of issues that might give advantage or pose a threat to the continuation of that identity.

If one takes geography as a starting point it is clear that Europe is blessed with high mountains that form defensible natural barriers, riven with deep river valleys that flow into balmy Mediterranean bays and benefits greatly from an indented northern coastline. All these topographical features are key factors in the development and subsistence of small regional communities that could not only survive but also thrive and develop distinct and recognizable cultures of their own.

European identity is a rich matrix of differentiated communes of varying sizes, taking multifarious forms such as city-states, duchies, republics, nations and empires. Each to a greater or lesser extent benefiting from the ready availability of cultivatable land and navigable rivers that in turn provide trade routes to the world beyond.

Based on the Greek roots of Western liberty, defined by Herodotus as ‘a free people’, meaning a people who enjoy national independence and the Roman concept of libertas meaning all citizens treated equally before the law, by the 15th century there were over 500 self-governing entities operating within the land-mass that now falls under the aegis of the European Union.

It would therefore require a mass inversion of human character or a Great Replacement of the population, to borrow Renaud Camus’ terminology, before a psychology formed by centuries of rugged individualism and self-determination could be overturned.

And who would want to change it in the first place? Europe’s history is already a vibrant example of diversity in people, art, language, ideas and even technologies. These features in and of themselves fuelling the economic and political competition between the various inhabitants and nation states comprising the European homeland, leading to what the economic Historian Eric Jones describes has ‘the European miracle’. A dynamism that was sadly lacking in the heavily centralized models of governance adopted by Ming and Manchu China, the Mughal India and the Ottoman Empire.

We are what we have created. And we have created who we are.

One senses such pride in Pericles’ funeral oration of 431 B.C. where he spoke of the freedom, democracy and equality of his native Athens: ‘Thus, choosing to die resisting, rather than to live submitting, they fled only from dishonour’.

Are we so much less than they?

Europe is perhaps the greatest knowledge creating region in the world. We are the descendants of people that with the Emperor Constantine’s move from Rome to Constantinople in 324 A.D, effectively de-coupled Church and State, making it extremely difficult for an Islamic style Theocracy to become established in Europe; divested the King or Emperor of the claim to Godliness and thus placed limitations on temporal authority; developed the concept of individual liberty and communal responsibility; inherited many of the positive features of the Roman Republic, surviving through the Latin literate elite, which nurtured the notions and values of institutions like the senate, a republic, a constitution, a regulated system of jurisprudence and ultimately democracy.

We have created a civil society replete with private enterprise, state welfare, a free church, universities, guilds and freedoms of association beyond the control of the state apparatus. Therefore, we as Identitarians, concern ourselves with issues wider than the theme of identity. Our ideology needs to be all encompassing. But our approach to those issues, be they concerning personal freedom, means and forms of expression, the right to practice a particular religion, employment, economics, culture, art, the environment, foreign policy and defense should be defined through the lens of identity.

It seems to me a simple matter of political expediency to ensure that Identitarianism is presented has the best way to guarantee personal and group self-interest. And people create a culture. An Algerian may live in Paris but that does not make him Renoir’s nephew; a Trinidadian may sleep in a bedsit in Walthamstow but that does not mean he is a descendant of one of Henry V’s brave bowmen at Agincourt; and a Turk may run a kebab stall in Munich but that does not make him Bavarian. Our identity is our culture. Our culture is our identity. And culture and demographics is destiny.

Most identitarians advocate democracy of some sort, but there is some disagreement about what form of democracy should be used as a model (republic, direct democracy, mixed democracy) and whether there should be an aristocratic or elitist element in the government. What political structure do you yourself think Identitarians should aim for?

It is for individual peoples operating on the regional and national level to decide what form of democracy best serves their particular needs and circumstances. This will be greatly influenced by history, geography and socio-economic factors. The ability of a citizen to exercise their right to vote has been hard won and should be defended. It is a privilege that was denied to the majority of our forebears. For example before the 1832 Reform Act in Britain, only 1.8% of the adult population was eligible to vote. The Reform Act itself only increased that to 2.7%. By 1867 the franchise was extended to 6.7% and after 1884 to 12.1%. It was only in 1930 that women became fully enfranchised in the United Kingdom. America was little different, with only white land-owning males allowed to vote in the decades immediately after the American War of Independence and still only 5% able to vote in the years between 1824-1848. It therefore concerns me that with the increasing democratization we see today, little thought has been given to how someone qualifies to vote in the first place and the duties and responsibilities that come with such a right.

There are now for example vast numbers of politically illiterate people living in Europe, originating from continents and countries with either no tradition of democracy, or one rife with corruption, nepotism and Potemkin-style show elections. These people are more often than not accompanied by numerous dependents, who despite living off Western welfare, still do not speak the language of their host countries after generations of co-habitation. These willfully non-assimilating communities also currently qualify to vote in our elections.

And this is exactly why unsavoury individuals like Green Party MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit openly advocates for more immigrants to enter Germany : ‘We, the Greens have to make sure to get as many immigrants as possible into Germany. If they are in Germany, we must fight for their right to vote, we need to change this Republic’. Sentiments which on reflection give a whole new meaning to French political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville’s thesis, espoused in his seminal text Democracy in America (1835/1840), about how modern democracy could lead to tyranny by the majority.

But what majority?

It is relatively simple to organize support along racial, ethnic or religious lines. And once a particular ethnic group or coalition holds the balance of power, it tends to ensure its own interests take priority. Barak Obama’s second term of office was greatly assisted by garnering 93% of the ‘black vote’ and 71% of the ‘Latino vote’ and 73% of the ‘Asian vote’. I predict we will see similar voting patterns emerging in the French Presidential elections of 2017. In this regard Western liberal democracy is being used both consciously and subconsciously as a Trojan Horse. Michael Doyle in his book Ways of War and Peace (1997) says of Immanuel Kant, the Professor of Logic and Metaphysics at Konigsberg University and author of the Critique of Pure Reason (1781): ‘Kant distrusted unfettered, democratic majoritarianism, and his argument offers no support for a claim that all participatory polities – democracies – should be peaceful, either in general or between fellow democracies. Many participatory polities have been non-liberal. For two thousand years before the modern age, popular rule was widely associated with aggressiveness (by Thucydides) or imperial success (by Machiavelli)… The decisive preference of the median voter might well include ethnic cleansing against other democratic polities’.

Britain, the so-called Mother of Democracy, is a case in point. Recognising the tendency for people to vote for those who share their own ethnicity, are sympathetic to their in-group interest, or sometimes just plainly anti-white, led to the steep rise in both black and Muslim political representation in both the Conservative and Labour Parties over the last two decades. Such cynical attempts to pander to these hordes of new voters in order to win elections will however prove pyrrhic. With such notorious characters as Diane Abbott and Bernie Grant barely able to disguise their racial animus with comments like ‘white people love playing divide and rule, we should not play their game’ in the former case, and celebrating the murderous Broadwater Farm riots of October 1985 in the latter instance, by claiming ‘the police got a bloody good hiding’. And these are not isolated incidents. Grant, who was of Ghanaian extraction passing on the mantle of his black dominated constituency to David Lammy, who up until recently was a potential Labour mayoral candidate for London, whose platform included giving a mass amnesty for all illegal immigrants. Some media pundits are already touting with James Bond like certainty that Chuka Umunna, current Labour Shadow Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills, will be Britain’s Obama of the 2020’s. And this is perfectly credible following Labour’s inevitable meltdown in the wake of ultra-Left Jeremy Corbyn’s election to the leadership, a replay of the shambolic steerage of the party under Michael Foot from 1980 to 1983.

But these cases, although rightfully shocking, are a lot less insidious than that epitomized by the Muslim community. Such as with Dr. Mohammad Naseem, who holds a senior position in the Islamic Party of Britain funding the Respect Party, that so flagrantly exploited The Anti-War Coalition to advance Muslim interests in Britain. The machinations of such people giving us an insight into our democratic dilemma. For they very clearly mobilized the fast growing Muslim block vote to defeat the Labour incumbent Oona King (herself a black ethnic) in Bow & Bethnal Green in 2005 and then overturned a substantial Labour majority in Bradford West in the 2012 General Election, returning George Galloway, with a 10, 140 majority. A success that was nearly replicated in Birmingham constituencies like Sparkbrook and Small Heath and the East End of London, in West Ham and East Ham. Locations where similar voting blocks are already beginning to distort the UK’s cherished democracy.

It is noticeable that Galloway publicly congratulated the Muslim Public Affairs Committee for his success in Bradford West. But that should not surprise us because the co-founder of Respect is Salma Yaqoob, an associate of Abjul Miah, an activist in the Islamic Forum of Europe, which calls for the imposition of Sharia in Europe. Yaqoob, along with elected fellow councilor for Birmingham Mohammad Ishtiaq, revealed their political sympathies when they remained seated with arms folded, showing utter contempt, during the award of the George Cross medal to L/Cpl Matt Croucher who had so valiantly thrown himself on top of a Taliban hand-grenade in order to protect his comrades. Such acts of support for terrorism inspiring others, resulting in the Respect Party taking 5 further seats on Bradford Council between 2012-2015.

Then there is the widespread investigations of electoral fraud perpetrated by Muslims in Scotland and Birmingham. The corruption of the first directly elected Muslim Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Bangladeshi born Lutfur Rahman and the expense abuses of the first ever Muslim woman elected to the British Parliament, the so-called Baroness Pola Uddin to consider. Given that Labour have now nominated Sadiq Khan for their candidate for London Mayor and the fact that London is fast becoming a majority non-white city, things do not bode well for democracy in the United Kingdom. Especially when the politically slick Khan presents himself as a moderate by criticizing the Labour leader for failing to sing the National anthem at formal state events and insists that he will fight anti-Semitism and support gay marriage as part of his global appeal to the rainbow coalition of minorities, which is set to eclipse the white heterosexual community in the capital within a decade.

So my response to what form of democracy Identitarians should advance is very simple and should be applied to the whole of Europe, North America, Canada, Australia etc. For it seems to me, to turn Alexis de Tocqueville slightly on his head, we are actually ruled by a pernicious minority, rather than majority, who do seek to keep us, as de Tocqueville rightly asserts as perpetual children, overseeing us like a shepherd might a flock of animals. Where de Tocqueville’s prescience is undeniable is in his identification of how the majority can be swayed, stating: ‘The majority has enclosed thought within a formidable fence. A writer is free inside that area, but woe to the man who goes beyond it, not that he stands in fear of an inquisition, but he must face all kinds of unpleasantness in every day persecution. A career in politics is closed to him for he has offended the only power that holds the keys’.

In order to overcome this position and to reclaim the majority position within the existing democratic process radical steps are required:

 

  • The immediate withdrawal of the franchise from all personages who cannot prove descent from citizens of the state where they currently reside prior to 1950, or at least three full generations;
  • Exemption to the above to be granted only in the case of migrant persons of full European heritage who have migrated legally and have themselves been previously resident in nations where there is a tradition of democracy;
  • The above caveat to be suspended in the case of Slavic peoples who have been subject to Communist Dictatorship;
  • The end of the right of prisoners with serious criminal convictions such as terrorists or those who have been sentenced for electoral misdemeanors or abuse of public office from exercising the right to vote;
  • All members of proscribed religio-terrorist organizations to be prevented from participating in the franchise or proselytizing in the public realm;
  • The cessation of all funding for organizations that promulgate multiculturalism, foreign community cohesion, etc. and the initiation of actions to reclaim all monies spent or unspent from the budget holders of such organizations;
  • The suspension from office of all elected officials who do not meet the familial descent criteria identified above;
  • The seizure of all assets obtained by said elected officials and full and thorough investigations conducted of their personal and business interests and their voting records by an independent panel;
  • The removal from the statute books of the legal notion of civil citizenship;
  • The term ethnic citizenship to be enshrined in all codified laws pertaining to the states in question;
  • The repatriation of all criminal, long term unemployed and economically inactive personages who fail to meet the first criteria stated above;
  • The funded repatriation, using international or foreign aid budgets, of all people failing the familial descent criteria, as per above, to their original ethnic homelands. Following the purchase of the ticket, the remainder of the balance per individual or family unit to go to the receiving countries;
  • The above policy to be in force for a period of five years only, after which, there will be no budget allocated either in regard to foreign aid or repatriation, unless in instances of natural disaster, humanitarian assistance or expended in the national or Western interest;
  • A tiered structure of residency to be introduced providing certain privileges based on factors like longetivity of residence, tax contributions and recognition of public service;
  • The deportation of all Asylum Seekers and refugees who fail to meet the UN’s own criteria of the ‘passage to the nearest safe country’;
  • The removal from public office, university chairs and the welfare infrastructure of all officials who have supported by word or deed the political, economic and cultural ethnocide of people of European identity in their own homelands;
  • The return of the death penalty for all serious crimes including treason;
  • The establishment of a Pan-Atlantic Court to preside over tribunals relating to the above.

 

What are your personal religious views, and how do you think religious revival will occur in conjunction with Right-Wing revolutions?

I was born into a High Anglican family but greatly sympathize with Julius Evola’s description of himself as a Catholic Pagan. I think it was the English Philosopher Thomas Hobbes who called Catholicism ‘the ghost of the deceased Roman Empire sitting crowned upon its grave’. I am drawn to the ceremonial, the beauty of the music and the mystery of the liturgy but cannot abide the current trend in Christianity towards the promulgation of pacifism and the worship of the stranger. First and foremost I sense there is a deep and unacknowledged smugness and condescension underlying this faux charity. Secondly, our Christian values are being misused by a fifth column to undermine Western Civilization, in what I think is a war of moral position, to thwart attempts by Europeans to defend their homeland from a tsunami style invasion from the Global South. Ironically, these new arrivals are mostly non-Christians (Muslims) who have come from failing states and societies where Christians are killed for their religious beliefs, their priests and nuns butchered, places of worship desecrated and their church spires burnt to cinders. So I do not think we need a latter day Nostradamus to predict what is coming.

My personal belief system can never incorporate conversion by the sword as per Charlemagne’s massacre at Verden of 4,500 Saxons, or his enforcement in 785 AD of the Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae which reads: ‘If any one of the race of the Saxons or hereafter any concealed among them shall have wished himself unbaptized, and shall have scorned to come to baptism and shall have wished to remain a pagan, let them be punished by death’. Such stern sentiments captured also in lines from a contemporary poet who wrote the Paderborn Epic: ‘What the contrary mind and perverse soul refuse to do with persuasion/ Let them leap to accomplish when compelled by fear’.

Neither can I easily tolerate the venal sectarian aspects of events like the English Reformation that led to the martyrdom of Catholic men like Thomas More (1478-1535), author of Utopia (1516) and Edmund Campion (1540-1581); or the long list of Protestants whose deaths are recorded in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (1563), Scholars like William Tynedale, who translated the Bible into English and wrote The Obedience of Christen Men (1528); the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in Paris in 1572, which set the tone for the French Wars of Religion between the Calvinist Protestants and their Catholic rivals; and the Thirty Years War in Central Europe which by conservative estimates reduced the civilian population of Germany by up to 40% and allowed Sultan Osman the Second to extend Ottoman influence, which was only stopped by a military confederation of Lithuanian and Polish forces at the battle of Chocim in 1621.

For me, such introspection and divisive religious self-indulgence should never be repeated. Christianity after all has never been as uniform as many think and there were numerous primitive forms prior to the transformation of the church under Emperor Constantine the Great. Many people will be familiar with the Gnostic alternative that competed with Orthodox Christianity. Also, there are the Coptic, Armenian, Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches. Then there are the heretical variations such as Arianism, Donatism, the Albigensians and the Bogomils. One of the earliest translations of the Gospels into the Northern European languages was done by a Goth named Ulfilas, an adherent of Arianism. Then in 835 AD an anonymous poet synthesized the four gospels into an alliterative Beowulf style poem and this is analysed in G. Ronald Murphy’s The Heliand (1992) and The Saxon Saviour: The Germanic Transformation of the Gospel in 9th Century Heliand (1995), where the Gospels are removed from the dry climes of Judea to the dark forests and stormy seas of the European Northlands.

Which leads me to theological and cultural figures like Jakob Wilhelm Hauer (1881-1962), Mathilde Ludendorff (1877-1966) and Sigrid Hunke (1913-1999). The latter, the winner of the Schiller prize for German Cultural Works in the European Spirit and author of From the Decline of the West to the Rise of Europe (1989), herself being influenced by such heretics as Pelagius, Johannes Scotus, and Meister Eckhart, and in her turn influencing ND thinkers like Pierre Krebs and his work Undying Heritage (1981) as well as Alain de Benoist and his On Being a Pagan (1982).

My own brand of faith is heavily influenced by writers like G.K Chesterton, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Myth-makers who introduced me to Christian ideals by using stories within landscapes I recognized and with characters whose thoughts and actions resonated with the pagan past that loomed behind the Christian veneer. Churches being built on the sacred groves of the druids; Christian festivals using fertility symbols like fir trees and eggs; and the Green Man, tongue lolling, eyes leering out from the carved oak that furnishes our great cathedrals from Reims to Canterbury.

With regards to the simultaneous resurgence of Right Wing Revolutions and religious revival, I think you have only to look at the ripe tradition of committed Christians who have led or participated in movements we define today as Right-Wing to find the answer. In the Slavic world you have Conservative and Orthodox intellects like Gogol, Dostoevsky, Ivan Ilyin and Solzhenitsyn. From Romania there was Corneliu Z. Codreanu, who was a member of the Brotherhood of the Cross before forming The Legion of the Archangel Michael. Clerical reactionary movements have a history of success in both Slovakia and Croatia. Italy was 99% Catholic when the classic form of Fascism came to power. Franco’s Spain shared a similar religious majority and Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera’s Falange was almost messianic in character.

Then there are French Catholic Counter-Revolutionary and Counter-Enlightenment thinkers like Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821) and Louis Gabriel Ambroise de Bonald (1754-1840). These were rapidly followed by Catholic priest and political theorist Hughes-Felicite Robert de Lamennais (1782-1854); Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand (1768-1848), author of The Genius of Christianity (1802); and Pierre-Simon Ballanche (1776-1847) who developed a theology of progress. Then there was the Action Francais, National Catholicism and integral traditionalism of Charles Maurras (1868-1952); Maurice Barres (1862-1923) author of the Faith of France (1918); General George Ernest Boulanger (1837-1891); George Bernanos (1888-1948), author of Under Satan’s Sun (1926) and The Diary of a Country Priest (1936); Paul Deroulede (1846-1914), Founder of National League of Patriots; and Edward Drumont, Founder of the Nationalist League of Patriots. All wonderfully complemented by the Christian modernist philosopher Maurice Blondel (1861-1949) and Jean Ousset, a political idealist of Catholic sentiment.

And these Christian men do not stand alone. I was touched by the young women of Renouveau Francais in their firm stance against the toxic FEMEN coven outside Notre-Dame de Paris and likewise the humour and talent of the young girl band Les Brigandes with their tongue in cheek but poignant songs such as Cannabisation Nationale, Chevaucher le Dragon and The Great Replacement. Therefore, like the resurgent interest in Orthodoxy following the fall of the Soviet Union, I foresee a central role for religion in fomenting change in a post-liberal World.

 

What are your views on the connection between ecological theory and present Right-Wing Movements such as Identitarians? What steps do you think we should take to deal with environmental problems?

I believe the ideological tenets of the Radical Right are ecology based. In both ethos and action we should regard ourselves as stewards, not materialist defilers of the natural environment. It was Moritz Arndt, a nineteenth century German nationalist who wrote The Care and Conservation of Forests in 1815. His student, Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl, went on to author Field and Forest in 1853, a landmark text in which he declared: ‘We must save the forest, not only so that the ovens do not become cold in winter, but also that the pulse of life of the German people continues to beat joyfully, so that Germany remains German’.

Indeed, I understand it was Ernst Haekel, founder of the German Monist League who first coined the word ecology in 1867. This influencing Walther Darre, an agronomist by profession, who led the National Socialist Blood & Soil programme. Darre himself emerged from the Artaman League, founded by Willibald Hentschel. The word Artaman itself being a hybrid expression meaning agriculture-man and the League being a central pillar of the Nackt-Kultur movement which found expression in the Wandervogel youth groups of the period.

My thinking echoes that of sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies (1855-1936), whose classic work Community and Society (2013 ed.) introduced the concepts of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft into the philosophical and sociological lexicon, and Hans Freyer (1887-1969), who in parallel with Tönnies, debated the notions of people (or Volk to borrow the German term) and the place they inhabit (heimat/home) and their interactions to form an organic entity in and of itself. There is in my opinion a positive co-dependency between the two; A Gemeinschaft (Community) which exists not only the interconnectedness and interdependence between the people themselves but also in the interaction of the community and the natural world. This is intrinsically linked with the Bio-centrism or Lebensphilosophie (Philosophy of Life) of Ludwig Klages. In other words, Gaia nurturing the character and temperament of the people, inspiring what the Germans term the Volksgeist (Folk-Spirit). And this sits alongside and works in harmony with the biological influence that guides the disparate genetic trajectories of the various races that make up mankind as a whole.

And the German Right was not alone in this regard. In St. Petersburg Ivan Parfenevich Borodin’s culture-aesthetic conservationism was heavily influenced by the German Romantics. Also, in England there was a long tradition of concern with population control, epitomized by Thomas Malthus’s An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798). During the first half of the twentieth century there were a myriad of groups like the English Mistery, the English Array, John Hargrave’s Kibbo Kift and H.J. Massingham’s Council for the Church and Countryside that included various intellectuals such as Nietzschean philosopher Anthony Ludovici, Rolf Gardiner, Lord Lymington, historian Arthur Bryant, poet laureate Sir John Betjeman, British Union of Fascists activist and gentleman farmer Bob Saunders and Major-General J.C.F. Fuller. Gardiner himself went on to found the Soil Association and was intimately involved with Montague Fordham’s Rural Reconstruction Movement which focused on organic farming and Kinship in Husbandry. The latter met in Merton College Oxford in 1941.

Then there were the numerous noted writers in this field. Some examples being Henry Williamson, author of the children’s classic Tarka the Otter (1927), Lady Eve Balfour who wrote The Living Soil (1943) and Jorian Jenks, Editor of the Soil Association’s Journal Mother Earth and his own books, Spring Comes Again (2012 ed.), From the Ground Up (1950), The Stuff Man’s Made Of (1959) and The Land and the People (2003 ed.).

So there is a depth and richness to the Right’s engagement with ecological matters that the faddist (and more often than not socialist) orientated Green Parties across Europe wish to obscure. Janet Biehl and Peter Staudenmaier’s book, Eco Fascism: Lessons from the German Experience (2011) traces this lineage in very precise terms. Another perfect example being Patrick Wright’s book The Village that Died for England (1995) about Tyneham in Dorset, which captures the originality and seriousness with which the British Right approached the preservation and conservation of the environment decades before the Greens came to prominence in the United Kingdom.

Indeed, looking to current thinking in this sphere one is inevitably drawn to advocates like Pentti Linkola in Finland and his work Can Life Prevail (2009); John Seymour (1914-2004) a leading figure in the Self-Sufficiency movement; the radical antiquarian John Michell; Edward Abbey, famous for his groundbreaking Desert Solitaire (1968); Carey McWilliams’ Ill Fares the Land: migrants and migratory labour in the United States (1945); David Foreman, the Founder of Earth First and author of Confessions of an Eco-Warrior (1991) who has spoken on numerous anti-immigration platforms; and Richard Hunt, who established Alternative Green, author of To End Poverty, the Starvation of the Periphery by the Core (1998), whose memory has been defamed with the sobriquet eco-fascist.

For in order to smear the philosophy of Deep Ecology it has now become necessary to besmirch the reputations of some of its leading proponents. Green anarchist Murray Bookchin, who wrote Post Scarcity Anarchism (1971) and the Ecology of Freedom (1987) argued that these people are ‘barely disguised racists, survivalists and macho Daniel Boones’. Harvard educated Theodore J. Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber and his 1995 Manifesto entitled Industrial Society and Its Future, perfectly fitting this narrative.

Regardless of such slanders and the Left’s attempts to hijack some of the Right’s core agenda it is immensely reassuring to see this tradition continue with political parties like Golden Dawn in Greece, dedicating time and resources to green issues and animal welfare. Ultimately, I see identitarian and nationalist militants operating in the tradition of the Wehrbauer, peasant soldiers, defending the land that has fed and nourished our communities for millennia.

 

What is your position on the classic sociological problem of individualism versus communitarianism? Some philosophers see individualism as the fundamental cause of socio-cultural decay. Do you agree with this?

Individualism is to a large extent a fundamental characteristic of Western society. The conundrum of individualism versus communitarianism being so deeply embedded in Western Tradition, that we can trace collectivist themes emerging in Plato’s Republic and a more individualist approach being adopted in the stance of the Greek Sophists.

This divergence grew even wider with the development of a private property owning class in places like England around 1200, so that by the 17th century a yawning chasm existed, allowing political philosophers like Thomas Hobbes to speak openly in terms of the new homo-economicus. Which in due course led to Adam Smith’s laissez-faire economics, personified by his text The Wealth of Nations (1776) and Jeremy Bentham’s Utilitarianism arguing that ‘the free expression of individual wills and interests provide natural harmony and maximal efficiency’. While the origins of Epistomelogical individualism can be traced back to the thinking of British Empiricists like David Hume who wrote A Treatise of Human Nature (1739) and John Locke, who developed his Theory of the Mind, which to an extent formed the modern concept of identity, both rejecting priori truths, instead giving precedence to individual experience in the accumulation of knowledge.

And the British were not alone in such thinking. The French intellectual Rene Descartes, author of Meditation on First Philosophy (1641) and Principles of Philosophy (1644) also endorsed epistemological individualism from a rationalist perspective. This tendency reached a climax with influential thinkers like Kierkergaard, Husserl, Heidegger and Sartre.

Whereas those of the more collectivist orientation include Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his Social Contract (1762), in the early nineteenth century Hegel, who considered the nation-state as the highest embodiment of social morality and of course Karl Marx who, along with Freidrich Engels, himself author of The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (1884) put forth his own collective treatise in the form of The Communist Manifesto (1848). Since World War Two Germany, France and Holland are examples of countries that have attempted to bridge the divide between the individual and socialist collectivism, paving the way for the welfare state.

Like Hegel, Marx and de Tocqueville I see civil society as an ecosystem that facilitates individuals to use their talents for private entrepreneurship but also to come together in groups to achieve shared objectives.

In both cases sensitive and unambiguous regulation is required to ensure that excesses are constrained. As a critic of unfettered individualism, I do see the value in freedom of association, yet, I tend to agree with de Tocqueville that individualism is best served when ‘self-interest is properly understood’.

Communities function at the optimal level when there are common bonds, in the form of recognizable identity and an acknowledged purpose, in the shape of a culture, to promulgate. Individuals operating within such parameters know that their activities may advance their own agenda but there will be interventions should self-interest begin to harm the public good. The challenge is to define that point and apply it sensitively. If we do not, we will end up with tyranny or worse the atomized and dysfunctional society epitomized by Michel Houellebecq, the dissipated and disgruntled misanthrope who wrote Soumission (2015). As per Fareed Zakaria in his book The Future of Freedom, Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad (2003): ‘Supporters of free markets often make the mistake of thinking of capitalism as something that exists in opposition to the state. When it is time to pay taxes, this view can seem self-evident. But the reality is more complex. Although in the twentieth century many states grew so strong as to choke their economies, in a broader historical perspective, only a legitimate, well-functioning state can create the rules and laws that make capitalism work. At the very least, without a government capable of protecting property rights and human rights, press freedoms and business contracts, anti-trust laws and consumer demands, a society gets not the rule of law but the rule of the strong. If one wanted to see what the absence of government produces, one need only look at Africa – it is not a free-market paradise’.

So let us take a moment and consider the question from a psychological perspective. Can we really say collectivists are closely linked individuals who view themselves primarily as parts of a whole, be it a family, a network of workers, a tribe, or a nation? And if so, are such people motivated by the norms and duties imposed by the collective entity they identify with? The reverse being that Individualists are motivated by their own preferences, needs and rights, giving priority to personal rather than group goals?

Are people so easily categorized? Or can their conduct vary according to different stimuli, like threat or opportunity, in turn causing their behavior and attitudes to fluctuate between these polar opposites?

It seems to me that psychology may not be universal. There is potential for culture specific predispositions. And if so, what effect does this have on thought and actions? Does it explain the Muslim residents of the Belgian suburb of Molenbeek beeping their horns in support of the killing of 200 innocent Parisians on Friday 13th 2015? And if collectivism and individualism is viewed through the diffusing prisms of culture and race, does that not reveal itself in the crime rates, family abandonment, levels of self-esteem, feelings of entitlement, and overall behavioral patterns from one group to another?

I would hazard a guess that it does. And if my assumption is correct, it is yet another example where multiculturalist diversity is self-evidently proven not to be a source of strength but in fact a terrible weakness.

 

There are a lot of differing positions among Right Wingers about the philosophy of gender and what the differences between the social roles of men and women should be. What are your thoughts on this matter?

It is true that the Right is a broad church in most matters but it seems to me that our Achilles’ heel is the way our opponents present us as misogynistic. This gender divisive meme has been successfully reinforced with highly selective media coverage, mostly focusing on the shaved heads and swastika tattoos of those understandably angry and disenfranchised white males who cling to what they perceive has a defiant and revolutionary identity. Their views and attitudes treated with contempt and disdain, their social status as losers projected in a way that makes them unattractive to the fairer sex.

And of course this is both deliberate and not without a grain of truth, which is why it is credible and so successful. It is further exploited by television pundits who are very careful about who they select to represent identitarian sentiments in interviews on the street or in the studio. How often have we seen the intellectual mismatch between Right and Left through the distorting camera lens? Well-meaning people, male and female alike, speaking nothing but rational common sense being belittled by some guru orating smugly about the benefits of multiculturalism from the safety of a tree-lined university campus miles from the inner-city?

But this is all changing with the rise of erudite and media savvy women like Marie Le Pen and Marion Marechal Le Pen of the French National Front, Krisztina Morvai and Dora Duro of Hungary’s Jobbik Party, Beata Szydlo of the Polish Law & Justice Party, Kristiina Ojuland, founder of the Estonian People’s Unity Party and Italians like Vittoria Brambilla, Daniela Santanche and Giorgia Meloni of the People’s Freedom Party, La Destra and Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) respectively. The glass ceiling has been shattered so to speak and the long history of socially conservative women contributing to traditionalist or nationalist movements which I wrote about in my ‘Matriarchs in the Mannerbund’ article is gaining momentum once again. Just take a look at the young women in Renouveau Francais, the girl band Les Brigandes and the female militants of Generation Identitaire. There is also a sizable demographic of youthful, middle aged and senior ladies amongst the crowds in Katowice, Tallinn and Dresden. Women standing alongside their men protesting against the immigration invasion. And there we have our answer to the mainstream media promulgating the image of pretty blonde German girls holding up banners at Munich Railway Station reading ‘We Welcome Refugees’. A proper analysis of the rape and sexual abuse statistics highlighting the role played by non-Europeans particularly in the UK, France, Sweden and Norway may enlighten some of our ‘sisters’ who cling to the naïve notion of universal brotherhood.

As for myself, I believe in the full engagement of women within all social and professional spheres based on their capability and inclination. I have said many times, I am not threatened by independent and talented women. Rather the opposite, I find them attractive and interesting. Here I am thinking of role models and archetypes with a philosophical inclination, but they could be from any field of human endeavor, people like Perictione, mother of Plato; Myia, the Pythagorean philosopher who lived around 500 BC; Tullia d’Aragon (1510-1556), who wrote Dialogues on the Infinity of Love (1552); Lady Anne Conway, whose thinking influenced Leibniz and who authored Principles of the most Ancient and Modern Philosophy (1690); Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1623-1673) and her book The Blazing World (1666); Lady Damaris Cudworth Masham (1659-1708) who wrote A Discourse Concerning the Love of God: Occasional Thoughts in Reference to a Vertuous or Christian Life (1696); G.E. Anscombe (1919-2001) a committed advocate for Roman Catholicism who debated C.S. Lewis and introduced the term ‘consequentialism’ into the language of analytic philosophy; Marilyn McCord Adams, American philosopher of the Episcopal Church and philosopher of religion, who published What sort of Human Nature (1999) and Wrestling for Blessing (2005); Patricia Smith Churchland, who specializes in Neuro-philosophy and medical and environmental ethics; and Professor Rae Langton, a Fellow of Newnham College Cambridge, who was recently ranked the fourth most influential woman thinker of modern times.

However, unlike the admirable talents already mentioned I freely admit I resent those who use the scorpion sting of anti-male hate to influence others. This form of politicized feminism is particularly unctuous and I recognize in that strain of thought an agenda to demean motherhood and to undermine those women who wish to be the guardians of the hearth and nurturers of the next generation. Here I am thinking of Feminist theorists like Judith Butler who wrote Gender Trouble (2006); Nancy J. Hirschmann, author of Gender, Class and Freedom in Modern Political Theory (2007); Sandra Harding, who tried to introduce the gender war into science with her work Is There a Feminist Method?; Nancy Tuana, Editor of Feminism and Science (1989); Sara Kiesler’s Gender and Democracy in Computer Mediated Communications; Amy Sheilds Dobson’s Post- Feminist Digital Cultures: Femininity, Social Media and Self-Reconstruction (2015); and Jos/Xe9 Medina, who was responsible for the truly awful The Epistemology of Resistance: Gender and Racial Oppression, Epimestic Injustice and Resistant Imaginations (2012).

Personally, I would certainly favour a natalist approach by European governments to their own indigenous populations and the opposite approach taken to so-called refugees and economic migrants who are currently siphoning off monies to promulgate their own genes, that would be better spent on our own people.

In my opinion, we have for far too long undervalued the role of women in society and seen the family and children has a costly burden when in reality they are our salvation. After all, do we really expect the average Somalian, Syrian or Roma refugee to have sufficient intelligence and diligence to hold down a regular job, generate added value for our society and pay taxes to keep us in our old age? At present the vast majority of such people are welfare dependent or in low wage jobs, suppressing the salary levels across Europe and America and sending what they can home to buy houses in the Balkans or support their families until they can get visas to join their menfolk and then themselves jump on to the European gravy-train.

Are we not better off producing our own children and paying women of European heritage, who so desire, a living wage, to become mothers? So yielding a harvest of high IQ offspring that is far more likely to underpin our future economic growth and have sufficient empathy for their genetic forebears to shoulder the burden their grandparents represent in the twilight of their lives? The traditional family unit may not be ideal for all and relationships blossom and decline but the seed of our future hope must be white and planted deep in the fertile wombs of European women.

 

How do you see the connection between the Traditional School (represented by authors such as Guenon, Evola ,etc.) and Identitarianism? What theory of Tradition do you follow?

I am a great admirer of Rene Guenon (1886-1951) and Julius Evola (1898-1974). Both these traditionalist thinkers have greatly influenced my own views on metapolitics and provide rich repositories of knowledge to nourish the Identitarian ideology which is currently taking shape in Europe and beyond.

Guenon’s The Crisis of the Modern World (1927) is almost his manifesto, or call to arms, for Traditionalists and is only bettered in my humble opinion by his Reign of Quantity and Signs of the Times (1945). What both works offer the reader is an antidote to the vacuous relativism of modernity, something other intellects like Frithjof Schuon, Mircea Eliade, Martin Lings, Titus Burckhardt and Ananda K. Coomaraswamy have recognized in their own works, acknowledging Guenon as the re-founder of Western Esotericism using Eastern ideas. His critique originating from the perspective of ancient wisdom and tradition.

As for Baron Giulio Cesare Andrea Evola, the core of his theories circulate around the fact that mankind is presently living in the Kali Yuga or Dark Age and the underlying tension in his writing is the attempt to find a method to effect a primordial rebirth. I avidly devoured his Revolt Against the Modern World (1934), Men Amongst the Ruins (1953) and his Metaphysics of War (2011, Ed. Arktos), the latter being a collection of essays he wrote during the 1930’s and 1940’s rejecting pacifism and an attempt to re-awaken heroic ideals through the act of war. His argument that the Warrior is someone who is more than a paid mercenary of the current oligarchy and should transcend the political and economic towards a higher spiritual calling certainly appeals to my sense of honour. Within his corpus of writings Evola strives to give examples in the form of Sigismund, King of Hungary and his wife Barbara of Celeje’s Order of the Dragon, a militant Christian force that faced the Ottoman Turks and who counted amongst their ranks such notable characters as Vlad Dracul and members of Elizabeth Bathory’s family.

Evola himself generated many disciples and followers for his Heathen Imperialism (2007, Ed.) and what he called the spiritual element of race rather than pure biological reductionism. Some examples being the Italian Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI), the Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari and CasaPound; the Spanish Falange Espanola; the Swiss militant Armand Amaudruz’s Nouvel Ordre; and the French Troisieme Voie (Third Way). Perhaps the clearest statement of intent coming from a spokesman of the Ordine Nuovo when he stated: ‘Our work since 1953 has been to transpose Evola’s teachings into direct political action’.

For readers who favour a more Esoteric approach to their engagement with tradition, Evola’s The Yoga of Power (1992, Ed.) and The Heremetic Tradition (1995, Ed.) offer a separate access point to his thought which is equally satisfying depending upon your personal preferences. Here, his antecedents or sympathisers are the German Psycho-therapist Karlfried Graf Durkheim who taught gestalt psychology at the Bauhaus in Dessau; occultists like the Swedish founder of the Dragon Rouge, Thomas Karlsson and fellow Italian Massimo Scaligero, author of The Logos and the New Mysteries; and Miguel Serrano, to whom Evola once confessed that Metternich, the State Chancellor of the Austrian Empire (1773-1859), was his conservative ideal.

 

You have once mentioned Alexander Dugin as an influence. What do you think the relationship between Identitarianism and Dugin’s theories of Neo-Eurasianism and the Fourth Political Theory is, or what should it be like?

Well, actually I am a Slavophile in the tradition of Gogol, Dostoevsky and Ilyin rather than a Neo-Eurasianist, but I first came across Alexander Dugin while I was living on Naberezhnaya, in a 19th century apartment overlooking the Moika Canal, in St Petersburg. I remember my girlfriend at the time would read excerpts from Elementy and Milyi Angel to me as we sat in the pale White Nights sunlight on a wrought iron balcony just meters away from where Pushkin died in 1837.

She had just finished writing her dissertation on the mystical Yuzhinskii Circle founded by Yuri Mamleyev in the 1960’s, and into which Dugin was inducted around 1980. Through her I was introduced to the thinking of Yevgeny Golovin and socialized with students who had attended Dugin’s classes when he was the Professor of Sociology at the prestigious Lermontov Moscow University department of Sociology and International Relations. Mamleyev himself having gone on to teach at Cornell and the Sorbonne. It was while he was associated with the Yuzhinskii Circle that Dugin’s thought became grounded in traditionalism, translating both Evola’s Pagan Imperialism (1928) and Rene Guenon’s The Crisis of the Modern World (1942) into Russian.

As a consequence it seems to me that Dugin’s brand of neo-Eurasianism, like Identitarianism, is intrinsically linked to the Traditionalist School which has its origins in characters like the Catholic scholar Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499), one of the leaders of the Philosophia Perennis (Perennial Philosophy) and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494), whose short but eventful life was to leave an indelible mark on the history of Europe. At the tender age of 23 Mirandola proposed to defend his 900 Theses on religion, philosophy and magic against all those who wished to debate him. His Oration on the Dignity of Man became the unofficial Manifesto of the Renaissance.

Dugin referencing the debt in his own Manifesto of the Eurasianist Movement: ‘Eurasianism implies a positive re-evaluation of the archaic, the ancient. It fervently refers to the past, to the world of Tradition. The development of cultural process is seen by Eurasism in a new reference to the archaic, to the insertion of ancient cultural motives in the fabric of modern forms. The priority in this area is given back to the national creativity, to the sources of national creativity, to the continuation and revival of traditions’. This certainly resonates with my thinking on European Identitarianism.

Eurasianism also shares with Identitarianism the notion that identity itself is bound up with specific geography and sacred space: ‘In principle, Eurasia and our space, the heartland Russia, remain the staging area of a new anti-bourgeois revolution’. Dugin in unison with the thinkers of the European New Right standing in stark opposition to the nihilism of modernity and what the French philosophers like Alain de Benoist have termed Mondialism.

Therefore Dugin shares the Identitarian concern with the current monopoly of liberalism in all its guises and its imposition of stifling conformity. His attack on the negative aspects of the Atlanticist West and its consumer led values is just as valid as that of Alain Soral, author of Understanding Empire: Global Government Tomorrow or the Revolt of the Nations (2011). Soral’s book takes the starting point of Tradition to bolster the survival of cultures and peoples from Viscount Melville Sound in Canada’s Arctic North to Madagascar in the Indian Ocean and from San Diego in the Pacific West to Jakarta in the East.

In this regard I recognise strains consistent with Identitarianism in the Eurasianist attempt to debate beyond the frameworks of recent history and discard the clichés of failed ideologies in pursuit of a new one. Like Identitarianism, Dugin’s Eurasianism is an attempt to find an antidote to the crisis of postmodernity, trying to shake up the status quo and offer a fresh political model that avoids the lethargy and gridlock that Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007) so deftly describes in his own works, particularly The Illusion of the End (1994).

Likewise, Eurasianism greatly benefits from the activism of the Eurasian Youth Union which had at one point nearly 50 offices across the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and operates like Generation Identitaire in many respects.

So for me Dugin is in the right camp when it comes to recognizing that integration into Global Society means to lose one’s own identity. In effect we risk becoming identikit humans, a new proletariat in the service of the New World Order.

There are however a number of points where I take specific issue with Dugin. And in that regard I am in interesting company, namely, Dmitri Vasiliev of Pamyat (Memory) and Eduard Limonov of the National Bolshevik Party. The first concern being that he believes ‘Civilizations are cultural and religious communities – not ethnic national ones’ (The Fourth Political Theory, p. 165, Arktos Books, 2012). For me the attributes of an ethnicity and its physical environment are key factors in the gestation of civilization and culture. Also, his proposal for an alliance between the Orthodox and Islamic worlds in opposition to The West seems to me both naïve and misplaced. The two faiths in the first place are inimical to each other and already delineate to a great extent the competition for the same sacred space between racial phenotypes.

It also reflects what some describe has his paranoia about The West’s motives and intentions which, coupled with the overstated Prophet-like ‘end of the world’ Joachimite hermeticism of his expressions, erodes his credibility: ‘The meaning of Russia is that through the Russian people will be realized the last thought of God, the thought of the end of the world… Death is the way to immortality. Love will begin when the world ends. We must long for it, like true Christians…We are uprooting the accursed tree of knowledge. With it will perish the Universe…’ (Dugin quoted in Stephen Shenfield’s Russian Fascism – Traditions, Tendencies, Movements, p. 193, 2000).

And his aggressive response to a question posed by Megan Stack in September 2008 on the ever closer relationship of the West to Ukraine, effectively seeing it ‘as a declaration of war. As a declaration of psychological, geopolitical, economic and open war’, strike me as short-sighted. I much prefer Guillaume Faye’s vision of a Europe extending all the way to Trans-Siberia.

Then there is also the very real danger that Dugin’s ideas can be over-simplified. When he states ‘that ideocratic Russia’, meaning the Slavic World and Eurasia, is irretrievably antagonistic to the plutocratic ‘island’ of the Anglo-Saxon West, he correctly describes, from his perspective, the fundamental clash between mammon and traditionalism. What he fails to appreciate is the rapid resuscitation of the longing for identity in the West and the long term corrosive effects that Mammon, in the form of hydrocarbon wealth, is having on the Orthodox soul and the Central Asian mindset. I lived in Astana for two years, skating with Kazakhs on the frozen Ishim and saw at first hand the Gulag complex in Karaganda, visiting the L.N. Gumliyov University named after the great Eurasianist historian, ethnologist and anthropologist who wrote Ethnogenesis and the Biosphere of the Earth (1978) and Ancient Rus and The Great Steppe (1989). Ask the fair skinned Russians how they are now treated by their Kazakh neighbours, recently filled with a resurgent pride in their Turkic origins, building mosques on an unprecedented scale. Dugin may, might I suggest, just be turning a blind eye to the underlying instincts that drive mankind?

And speaking of Gumilyov, he, like Konstantin Leontyev and Nikolay Danilevsky believed in a Russian-Super-ethnos opposed to Catholic Europe, which in effect lay the groundwork for Dugin’s later Eurasian worldview. Gumilyov’s fame relying largely on the thesis of passionarity which in essence is the theory of the life-cycle of civilization through its initial development, leading to its climatic, inert and convolution phases. Fundamentally, he diagnosed Europe as entering a phase of deep inertia while the passionarity of the Arabic world is high. To passionarity, in my view, one could also add fecundity.

So although there are many synergies between the Identitarian and Eurasian philosophies and there is of course merit in dialogue and pragmatic alliance it is also a plain and self-evident truism that there are fundamental differences that it may be impossible to overcome. Our challenge is to try.

 

The theory of Multipolarism and harmony between autonomous cultures has been identified as an important aspect of New Rightism/Identitarianism. However, there are a few Identitarian authors who deviate from the multipolar line and seek to advocate hostility and conflict with foreign ethnic groups and civilizations, similar to old fashioned nationalists. How do you think this problem should be dealt with?

To return to Dugin for a moment, I have sympathy for his assertion that ‘When there is only one power which decides who is right and who is wrong and who should be punished and who not, we have a form of dictatorship. This is not acceptable. Therefore we should fight against it. If someone deprives us of our freedom, we have to react and we will react’. He continues, ‘The American Empire should be destroyed’, and like him I have no doubt that ‘at one point, it will be!’

But what America is he talking about?

I would hazard a guess that his ire is not directed at farmers in Wisconsin. In fact, I doubt if he is talking about Americans per se but in fact the plastic America of Wall Street and Hollywood, those parasitic elements that have so distorted what Dugin terms the Atlanticist sphere, corporate cosmopolitans like the Brookings Institute for example feeding like vampires under a cloak of hegemonic liberalism. And is that not what politicians and commentators like Paul Wolfowitz and Norman Podhoretz represent? Their star-spangled masks slipping occasionally because they do not represent American interests but that of another select group. Because for them money has no homeland and the liberal democracy they wish to force upon the world is illusory. Dugin actually implies as much, ‘Spiritually, globalization is the creation of a grand parody, the Kingdom of the Anti-Christ. And the US is the centre of its expansion’.

And remember Michael O’ Hanlon, a Senior Fellow at the afore mentioned Brookings Institute, an organisation funded by JP Morgan, Chase & Amp, Goldman Sachs, Google, Facebook, Pepsi and Coca Cola, wrote Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy towards Iran (2009) and more recently Deconstructing Syria: A New Strategy for America’s Most Hopeless War.

And why? Could it be that President Assad was fast developing his 4 Seas Strategy to turn Syria into a trade hub between the Black, Mediterranean, Arabian and Caspian Seas? Could it be that Syria is a sovereign state with a national bank that is not owned by the Rothschilds? And what of Ukraine? Has no one noticed the land grab being perpetrated for the rich black earth west of the Dnieper whilst attention is being focused on Russian aggression in Donetsk? Here again, George Soros plays with his democratic marionettes while bullets fly and cash registers bulge.

So let’s take a closer look at this rivalry between Globalism and Multipolarism. Was the world really divided between the Free West and the Communist East after the death of Stalin? Some argue that both sides were being run by the same people, our globalist masters, and that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the consequence of those same self-serving masters deciding that the eastern experiment had run its course and was no longer worth sustaining. In fact, ironically, the free market of the West served as a better method of destroying pluricultural and organic communities than all the forced collectivisations and centralized bureaucracies in the East. Hence the Ceausescu regime had to fall in Romania, Gorbachev needed to give way to Yeltsin and the German Democratic Republic merge with the Federal Republic so that twenty five years later Angela Merkel could welcome Syrian refugees with open arms into the very heart of Europe. Like Solzhenitsyn said: ‘Nations are the wealth of mankind, its collective personalities; the very least of them wears its own special colours and bears within itself a special facet of divine intention’.

And this essence of distinctiveness is what the Globalists despise. Except when it applies to them. For in their eyes there should only be one form of imperialism – that of the internationalist and mercantilist class. The same class that acts with arrogant impunity, uses its immense wealth and nearly unlimited influence against our racial, national and individual interests, simply because we, the drones they employ, need a paycheck every month to pay our mortgages, clear our credit card bills, purchase petrol at the pump and buy a coffee at Starbucks when we shop at the Mall. A Mall full of shops they own, brimming with merchandise that they tell us we must consume.

What we need is a multi-polar world to re-distribute power, global responsibility and wealth. Multipolarism emphasizes national sovereignty and the differentiation of races and cultures. And this decentralization should extend not just to nations but to regions, local communities and individuals.

It seems to me that Globalism encourages servile dependency, whereas Multipolarism strikes right at the heart of the multiculturalist hegemony. We must first slay the dragon that threatens us all, regardless of where we are from or what prejudices or grievances we may harbor between races, religions and nations. Once the fog of globalism has lifted we will be in a better position to judge the real rather than manufactured opportunities and threats we pose to each other. For the Globalist agenda is fundamentally anti-human. They have thrown up a smokescreen of lies and half-truths to effect a divide and rule strategy. It is for identitarians to see beyond this and guide our communities to a better understanding of the true value of a diverse world, especially when peoples are anchored in their own clearly defined natural environments.

 

Guillaume Faye is a popular reference among Identitarian activists, but some of the theories he has expressed in his later works seem to deviate from typical Identitarian positions (his support for authoritarian government, capitalism, the two-tier economic theory, etc.) How do you feel about the direction of Faye’s thought?

Despite what people may think or say about his recent and more idiosyncratic positions, such as his endorsement of Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations thesis, a term the American borrowed from Albert Camus (1946) and Bernard Lewis writing in The Atlantic Monthly (1990), but which actually stretches back to the French Colonial Experience of the Belle epoch; and the historical debacle in 1986 with Alain de Benoist, where Faye sided with the Yann-Ber Tillenon, Tristan Mordelle and Goulven Pennaod faction, there can be no question of the significance of Guillaume Faye to the New Right and the broader Identitarian movement. He is however clearly more of an Ethno-nationalist than a Communitarian. And whether we follow P.A. Taguieff’s approach regarding the right to difference which he defined as differentialist racism, using the notion of cultural incompatibility rather than skin colour as the criterion for expulsion, or we stick to the hardline racial origins argument, matters little in the end. What does matter, is the fact that ethnic communitarianism has led to ghettos or rather immigrant strongholds from which whites have been ethnically cleansed and from out of which they launch raids against us. Molenbeek in Belgium is just one example. The situation is replicated in the UK, France, Germany, Holland and Sweden.

In Faye’s books, Archeofuturism (2010), Why We Fight: A Manifesto of the European Resistance (2011), Convergence of Catastrophes (2012) and Sex and Deviance (2014) we have, regardless of their quirks and foibles, essential reading materials for all New Right militants, sponsors and sympathisers. These texts provide an interesting and holistic doctrine, which can act as an ideological synthesis, lifting the Right above its current sectarianism to form a common European front against those Faye identifies as the enemies assailing us and attitudes infecting us. An example being: ‘The present dominant values (xenophilia, cosmopolitanism, narcissism, homophilia, permissiveness, etc.) are actually anti-values of de-virilising weakness, since they deplete a civilization’s vital energies and weakens its defensive or affirmative capacities’.

There is of course a debate to be had whether or not he has identified all the culprits and whether he has exonerated some that deserve special attention? But one cannot dispute his stance on mass immigration and the Islamic antagonism to the Western world. What is however questionable are his criticisms of Alain Soral and Christian Bouchet, who he thinks too sympathetic to Islam, while his own detractors in the National Revolutionary Movement in France accuse him of being too pro-Jewish and a National-Zionist. In response he wrote The New Jewish Question (2007). And I am sure Faye will take the opportunity to further review his thinking in this regard when he takes a closer look at the funding mechanisms for Islamic State, the reasons for the destabilization of Syria and the ISRAAID Foundation’s blatant encouragement of economic migrants to penetrate European borders through Greece, Serbia and Croatia.

Certainly de Benoist, when interviewed in 2000 seemed to indicate that he thought Faye was too extreme. But Faye does attract admirers through his work with the Rivarol Journal and his continued association with the national pagan community via Terre et Peuple. With his PhD from Science Po, his journalistic experience gained from his time with Figaro Magazine, Paris-Match and VSD and his sustained contribution to the Nouvelle Droite throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s he clearly deserves his place in the pantheon of Pro-European thinkers alongside Alain de Benoist, Robert Steuckers, Pierre Vial and Dominique Venner.

Personally, I think he has a lot to say to us in this coming decade of internecine racial conflict. It is highly likely that we will be referring to his books and recognizing the fulfillment of his predictions in much the same way as we look today upon Jean Raspail’s seminal work Camp of the Saints (1973).

 

So far you have written one book, the novel titled The Partisan, which portrays Identitarian revolutionaries in a future scenario rising against the threat of an Islamic state in France. Describe for our audience the structure and nature of The Partisan, and how will this compare to future books you plan to write?

The Partisan is a love story. The love between two people, the love of those two people for the militants they call comrades and the love of those patriots for their Motherland. It is an antidote to the cynicism that is injected into our youth from birth. The self-loathing that is facilitated through the teaching of so-called progressive and post-colonial history. It is a recognition that our streets are filled with violent non-assimilating aliens that hate the fact they are not us. Intemperate Gambians, trickster Nigerians, smiling Cameroonians joining with the clandestine columns of Muslims from North Africa that have been marching towards France ever since Charles De Gaulle betrayed the pied-noirs in Algeria and executed Organisation Armee Secrete (O.A.S.) heroes like Roger Degueldre; A man who had earned the Croix de Guerre for his bravery in Indo-China, fought at Dien Bien Phu, before transferring to the elite 1st Foreign Parachute Regiment and was made a Knight of the Legion d’Honneur. The same man who on the day of his execution at Fort d’Ivry on the 7th July 1962 witnessed three of the officers appointed to lead the firing squad refuse to give the order to fire. With only one of the eleven men actually shooting upon the target. For as Delguerde’s O.A.S. comrade rightfully said of the Algerian conflict: ‘It was a war fought in terms of religion and race. We were attacked because we were European – not French but European’.

Does that sound familiar?

And if so, what about the ominous description given by another O.A.S. leader Jean-Jacques Susini speaking of Algiers after the so called liberation by the F.L.N.: ‘I saw a city die, not in its stones but in its humanity. I was walking along a street one day. I was going to buy some Assimil records in Italian, because I intended to seek exile in Italy. All of a sudden, I recalled a time in the distant past when I was a child and I would walk along the same street with my grandfather. Then the street had been alive, teeming with people, both European and Moslem. Stores were open, and there was a certain feeling of happiness, of intensity of life. However, now I was walking on the same street in July 1962. Stores were closed. The Europeans had left, and the Moslem crowds were very dense, because the F.L.N. had scheduled its independence day celebrations. Suddenly I had the feeling that even if the monuments and buildings hadn’t changed, even if Algiers hadn’t been bombarded, the city was dead somehow in human terms. The population was no longer the same. Thus, there was something which had died. It wasn’t the presence of Moslems which bothered me. What bothered me was that there were only Moslems. There wasn’t one European. And these Moslem crowds were not the same ones that I had been used to seeing when I was a child. In those days the crowds were peaceful and went about their daily errands. These crowds were excited, mobilized. The F.L.N. had brought tens of thousands of them into the city in trucks that day for the independence celebrations. Yes, these were crowds that were excited’.

And this description, which could now so easily be applied to Paris, is the backdrop to my novel The Partisan. Gone are the days when we can turn the other cheek. Ethnic war is on the horizon and the book I have written is a fast paced violent and sexy fiction, which is meant to entertain and stimulate our people to respond to the struggle that is coming. The reader follows Sabine, the central character, through a futuristic French landscape that is being subject to the will of Allah and the slash of the sharia scimitar.

The intention is that the reader identifies with her experiences, recognizes and sympathises with her ideological development, moving ever closer to The New Resistance that is formed to oppose this 21st Century Occupation and the oppression of the descendants of Vercingetorix, Count Roland, Charles Martel, Godfrey of Bouillon, Charles of Anjou, Joan of Arc, Maurice de Saxe, Lafayette, Napoleon and Philip Petain.

My desire is for The Partisan to be in the vanguard of a new generation of Identitarian literature. It is the first of a series of books I have planned that will cover scenarios from Paris to St. Petersburg and Valletta to Vilnius. I am hoping my writing will be one of the many sparks that helps light a blaze across this continent. For as Ernest Hemingway said: ‘Once we have a war there is only one thing to do. It must be won. For defeat brings worse things than any that can happen in war’.

Thank you for the interview.

 

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Interview on Gerd-Klaus Kaltenbrunner – Grannenfeld

Gerd-Klaus Kaltenbrunner’s Work and Thought

An Interview with Martin J. Grannenfeld by Lucian Tudor

 

Introductory Note: Gerd-Klaus Kaltenbrunner (1939-2011) was an Austrian Catholic Traditionalist philosopher who was influential among conservatives and traditionalists in the Germanophone world. He is particularly well-known for his extensive corpus of works dealing with conservative, traditionalist, and religious theories and portraits of numerous thinkers involved in these philosophies. However, his works and thought are, unfortunately, not well-known in the Anglophone world. In order to help introduce Kaltenbrunner to the English-speaking world and to encourage further studies and translations, we have chosen to interview Martin Johannes Grannenfeld – a German Catholic Conservative and editor of the website Geistbraus – who is among those who have studied Kaltenbrunner’s works in depth and has been inspired by them.

Lucian Tudor: How did you first become acquainted with Gerd-Klaus Kaltenbrunner and his work?

Martin J. Grannenfeld: It happened by mere chance. Around 2003, I read about the mythological figure of Prester John, a mighty oriental Christian priest-king during the Middle Ages, who was prepared to help the crusaders with a great army. I was somewhat fascinated by this figure, thus I looked for literature about him – and in the Bavarian State Library in Munich I found a book named Johannes ist sein Name. Priesterkönig, Gralshüter, Traumgestalt by an author I didn’t know then – Gerd-Klaus Kaltenbrunner. From the very first sentence I was thrilled. Unlike many other scholars, Kaltenbrunner didn’t demystify the legend. Quite on the contrary, he revealed its metahistorical core, and outlined a fascinating, rich, and deeply symbolic cosmos of ways to see our world and the beyond. I understood immediately that I had found an author whose writings were different from everything I had read before, and who would certainly keep me occupied for quite a while.

Lucian Tudor: Kaltenbrunner has written extensive studies on Dionysius the Areopagite, Prester John, and Anne Catherine Emmerich. Can you tell us about these figures and what you found most significant about them in Kaltenbrunner’s books on them?

Martin J. Grannenfeld: Kaltenbrunner wrote two large books about Dionysius and Prester John. His work about Anne Catherine Emmerich is much shorter and less complex. He intended to write another extensive study about Melchizedek, the mysterious priest-king from the Old Testament, but there exist only drafts of this work.

His book about Prester John was written in 1989 and published in 1993. Its first sentence, “Prester John has never lived and is nonetheless one of the most influential figures of the Middle Ages,” can be regarded as a motto: the mystical, invisible world can be more real than the visible everyday life. Subsequently Kaltenbrunner drafted a complex picture of this metahistorical “John” – comprising not only Prester John himself, but also his spiritual ancestors John the Evangelist, his disciple John the Presbyter, and the esoteric school of “Johannides” – which is not primarily meant as a historical fact, but rather as a “Johannide,” i.e. a mythologic-symbolic way of thinking. In the second half of his book, Kaltenbrunner linked Prester John with the other great myth of the High Middle Ages: the Holy Grail – and interpreted some of the Grail epics against the background of the Johannide philosophy.

The other book, Dionysius vom Areopag. Das Unergründliche, die Engel und das Eine, was published in 1996. It is even more voluminous, comprising more than 1000 pages. Like the book about John, it focuses on one figure – Dionysius the Areopagite – and draws a specific theology out of this encounter. Like John, the figure “Dionysius” is composed from several single persons by the same name: a) Dionysius the Areopagite from the Bible, b) the author of the famous writings, c) the bishop of Paris from the 3rd century, d) the Greek God Dionysos, to whom the name Dionysius is dedicated. Starting with multifarious reflections on the Greek and Christian spiritual background of these figures, Kaltenbrunner finally sketches – inspired by Dionysius’ negative theology – a great picture of a hierarchical world, which comprises everything from the ugliest scarab up to the nine spheres of angels, and above all, the inexpressible and incomprehensible God – the “One,” as Dionysius calls Him.

Lucian Tudor: From your reading, what are the most important principles of Kaltenbrunner’s religious philosophy?

Martin J. Grannenfeld: 1. The Invisible is real. 2. History is full of symbolic meaning. 3. Legends, myths and tradition are important keys to the Eternal. 4. The esoteric core of all religions converges.

Lucian Tudor: How does Kaltenbrunner believe we should understand the Sacred and the mystical experience?

Martin J. Grannenfeld: Kaltenbrunner is strongly influenced by negative theology and Platonism. God only discloses Himself through the hierarchy – the great Jacob’s Ladder where the angels descend and ascend, and our knowledge of the Eternal with them. We can ascend the Ladder, but we can never reach God: the inner core of His essence is beyond our thinking and our language. Kaltenbrunner insists that Buddha, Lao-Tse, Shankara, and Meister Eckhart would have been able to communicate, because they were very far in their hierarchical way of understanding the divine mysteries.

Lucian Tudor: Kaltenbrunner appears to have been very knowledgeable about a variety of religious beliefs and sects; what led him, in particular, to Catholic religiosity?

Martin J. Grannenfeld: Kaltenbrunner, born 1939 in Vienna, was raised as a Catholic. However, after he grew up, his belief took a back seat, and his interest in politics, history and culture became more important. Catholic thinkers like Franz von Baader remained important for him, but it was only in the mid-nineties – after the publication of his Johannes and before his Dionysius – that he rediscovered his faith. Father Georg Alois Oblinger, a Catholic priest who accompanied Kaltenbrunner during his last years, told that one day, while strolling in his garden, Kaltenbrunner suddenly understood that God really existed. He had always had sympathy for the Catholic Church (at least in its traditional form, since he didn’t like the modern liturgy and the Popes Paul VI and John Paul II) – but he had looked to it simply in a cultural way, not in the way of a believer. His Dionysius is a striking testimony of his newly discovered faith: For example (inspired by the Old Testament story of Balaam’s donkey), he asks in all naivety if some sudden, irritated movement of our domestic animals might be caused by sudden encounters with angels, invisible for humans…?

Lucian Tudor: We often encounter nowadays people who ask for “scientific proof” that God and the supernatural exist. How does Kaltenbrunner address this kind of mentality?

Martin J. Grannenfeld: Mostly he ignores it. His Dionysius, the only major book he wrote after he became a believer himself, is obviously addressed towards an empathic, traditionalist reader. Kaltenbrunner’s concern was not primarily apologetics, but the conveyance of his spiritual insights to like-minded persons.

Lucian Tudor: Kaltenbrunner discussed in his works a vast variety of philosophers with differing viewpoints, some of them not even Christian. How did he reconcile his Catholic beliefs with his interest in the works of “Pagan” intellectuals such as Ludwig Klages and Julius Evola?

Martin J. Grannenfeld: Kaltenbrunner had an exceptional knowledge of Occidental thinkers, writers, and artists – some famous, some less known, some virtually forgotten. He wrote several hundred essay-portraits about them, most of which have been collected in his six “Europe” volumes, consisting of two series: Europa. Seine geistigen Quellen in Portraits aus zwei Jahrtausenden (three volumes, 1981-85) and Vom Geist Europas (three volumes, 1987-92). Kaltenbrunner had always pled for an “inspired Christianity” (“geistdurchwehtes Christentum”) without any ideological blinders. This explains why even after his rediscovery of faith he continued to be interested in all the different thinkers he had known and portrayed before. However, Julius Evola and the “Traditionalist” school founded by Rene Guenon held an exceptional position in Kaltenbrunner’s philosophy. Their concept of Integral Tradition, the Sacred, kingship, and priesthood was very close to Kaltenbrunner’s own views. Leopold Ziegler, the Catholic exponent of the Traditionalist school, was especially influential to Kaltenbrunner. His book about Prester John can in fact be read as a transformation of Guenon’s and Evola’s philosophy into the spiritual cosmos of Christianity.

Lucian Tudor: What are essential principles of Kaltenbrunner’s theory of Conservatism?

Martin J. Grannenfeld: Kaltenbrunner pointed out that conservatism cannot be a synonym for intellectual idleness. Referring to a poem by Goethe on breathing in and breathing out, he described conservatism as a sophisticated balance between things that stay and things that change. He thought that the real conservative has to be un-conservative in some matters, open to new solutions in order to prevent destruction of human culture and society as a whole. For example, nowadays, with war and poverty being absent from Europe, the contemporary conservative has to develop new ways of struggle, battle, heroism, and asceticism.

Lucian Tudor: How does Kaltenbrunner understand Tradition, specifically, and how does he believe that traditional values can be revived in the modern world?

Martin J. Grannenfeld: The concept of “Tradition” became important for Kaltenbrunner in the 80’s. As mentioned before, he got more and more influenced by Integral Traditionalism as taught by Guenon and his followers. Parallel to the shift from “conservatism” to “traditionalism,” Kaltenbrunner’s concern in changing today’s world declined. He focused more and more on the single, remote individual, who preserves Tradition during the “spiritual winter” – a human network scattered through space and time, but unified in spirit. During the last fifteen years of his life, he took the most radical consequence of this world-view, becoming a hermit, living on his own in the countryside, without a telephone, without even a door bell, just with his books and his large garden.

Lucian Tudor: Traditionalists are often associated with a “cyclical” view of history in which the world goes through lengthy stages, beginning with a Golden Age and ending in a Dark Age. This is opposed to the “linear” and “progressive” views of history, although there are arguably other perspectives. Considering his Traditionalist influences, could you tell us if Kaltenbrunner held the cyclical view of history or did he offer another view?

Martin J. Grannenfeld: Kaltenbrunner certainly never held the cyclical view in a strictly “pagan” or “Indian” sense that after a huge fire everything starts again. Nevertheless, Kaltenbrunner was a cultural pessimist – his favourite centuries lay a long time in the past: the Greek antiquity, the High Middle Ages, the Baroque Period or the days of Goethe. Unlike Guénon and Evola, however, he was not very interested in speculation about a prehistoric “Golden Age.” As a literary person, an era without written documents did not concern him too much – with the only exception of the first chapters of Genesis, especially about the Nephilim and Melchizedek, with whom he dealt in his Dionysius.

Lucian Tudor: What are the fundaments of Kaltenbrunner’s theory of culture?

Martin J. Grannenfeld: Kaltenbrunner never sketched an explicit theory of culture. Culture meant for him rather a never-ending dialogue with thinkers and poets from all times. He did not approach thinkers from a modern, patronizing, “enlightened” position, but as equals, at eye level, no matter how ancient and strange they may be. In the beginning of his Dionysius he even wrote a personal letter to his hero. Kaltenbrunner is certainly more attracted by non-mainstream authors, individuals, and often forgotten thinkers, but he also adored well-known and famous writers like Goethe, Novalis, and Angelus Silesius.

Lucian Tudor: What did Kaltenbrunner say about social ethics, the individual’s role, and holism?

Martin J. Grannenfeld: A common topos in Kaltenbrunner’s philosophy is, as abovementioned, the remote individual preserving knowledge for the society. Kaltenbrunner often mentioned that the world as a whole is threatened by nuclear, ecological, and spiritual destruction, and that the effort of an elite is required to prevent or at least attenuate the upcoming catastrophe. Hence his sympathy for ascetics, hermits, mystics, monks, thinkers and writers in general. Particularly, the ecological concern is quite special for Kaltenbrunner and distinguishes him from many fellow conservatives, who abandoned environmental issues after the political left took possession of this complex in the late 80s. In his last years, living in harmony with nature became more and more important for Kaltenbrunner – he grew ecological food in his own garden and did not even possess a car. But all this was not condensed into a theory (he did not longer write texts during his last 15 years), but mere practical exercise.

Lucian Tudor: What did Kaltenbrunner conclude about the problem of secret societies and conspiracy theories?

Martin J. Grannenfeld: Frankly speaking, Kaltenbrunner did not see secret societies as a “problem” at all, but as an important means for the conservation of ideas rejected by the mainstream. He wrote a short text on the matter in 1986, entitled “Geheimgesellschaften als exemplarische Eliten” (“Secret Societies as Exemplary Elites”), which was included into the second edition of his book Elite. Erziehung für den Ernstfall. In this sketch, he did not only describe Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, the Illuminati, etc., but also secret societies which managed to grow large and usurp a whole state – like the Bolsheviks in Russia, or formerly the Jesuits in Paraguay. However, he pointed out that this can be a possible escape from the typical loyalty conflict between the secret society and the state which every member has to face; his true sympathies lie without any doubt with the small, hidden groups without any political power. Kaltenbrunner’s text about secret societies could be regarded as a link between his earlier “conservative” and his later “traditional” views: getting less and less interested in changing the world in respect to the political, and more and more concerned about its spiritual renewal.

Lucian Tudor: Can you please summarize Kaltenbrunner’s position on political forms (monarchy, republic, democracy, etc.)? What political form did he see as ideal and did he believe that political corruption could be minimized in a certain system?

Martin J. Grannenfeld: In his heart of hearts, Kaltenbrunner was an aristocrat. Although he was sceptical about a restoration of the traditional nobility, he felt the necessity of a skilled elite in government, culture, and warfare. He did not directly reject democracy, but warned of the mediocrity which often accompanies it. In his early works, no specific sympathy for republic or monarchy is visible – aristocratic republics like Venice are approved by him as well. In the 80s, however, culminating in his Johannes, he is more and more absorbed by the idea of a universal Christian monarchy, with a supra-national emperor exercising spiritual-metapolitical leadership over the occidental Christianity – like it used to be in the best times of the Middle Ages, e.g. under the rule of Frederick Barbarossa or Emperor Charles IV.

Lucian Tudor: We are aware that very little of Kaltenbrunner’s work is available in English and he is not well-known in the Anglophone world. In your opinion, what is the best starting point from Kaltenbrunner’s works? Also, what would you suggest is the best book to translate first out of works?

Martin J. Grannenfeld: I would suggest the same book which happened to be my first one: Johannes ist sein Name – Kaltenbrunner’s great essay about Prester John. This is in my opinion his best written and most inspiring book, comprising everything that makes Kaltenbrunner so unique. It is shorter, more concise and also more optimistic than his later opus magnum Dionysius vom Areopag, and yet more intriguing and unconventional than his earlier political and cultural writings. I really hope that one day an English translation of this work (and of other works by Kaltenbrunner) will be available! This will be a big step to make this great thinker of our time better known.

Lucian Tudor: Thank you very much for the interview.

 

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Grannenfeld, Martin Johannes. “Gerd-Klaus Kaltenbrunner’s Work and Thought: An Interview with Martin J. Grannenfeld.” Interview by Lucian Tudor. Traditional Britain Group, 19 March 2015. <http://traditionalbritain.org/blog/gerd-klaus-kaltenbrunners-work-and-thought-an-interview-with-martin-j-grannenfeld/ >.

 

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Intro to Ludwig Klages – Baer

“The Literary Criticism of Ludwig Klages and the Klages School: An Introduction to Biocentric Thought” by Lydia Baer (PDF – 4.43 MB):

The Literary Criticism of Ludwig Klages

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Baer, Lydia. “The Literary Criticism of Ludwig Klages and the Klages School: An Introduction to Biocentric Thought.” The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Vol. 40, No. 1 (January, 1941), pp. 91-138.

See also: “On The Biocentric Metaphysics of Ludwig Klages” by Joe Pryce: <https://neweuropeanconservative.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/intro-to-ludwig-klages-pryce/ >.

 

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Paganism & Vitalism in Hamsun & Lawrence – Steuckers

Paganism & Vitalism in Knut Hamsun & D. H. Lawrence

By Robert Steuckers

Translated by Greg Johnson

 

The Hungarian philologist Akos Doma, educated in Germany and the United States, has published a work of literary interpretation comparing the works of Knut Hamsun and D. H. Lawrence: Die andere Moderne: Knut Hamsun, D. H. Lawrence und die lebensphilosophische Strömung des literarischen Modernismus [The Other Modernity: Knut Hamsun, D. H. Lawrence, and the Life-Philosophical Current of Literary Modernism] (Bonn: Bouvier, 1995). What they share is a “critique of civilization,” a concept that one must put in context.

Civilization is a positive process in the eyes of the “progressivists” who see history as a vector, for the adherents of the philosophy of Aufklärung [Enlightenment], and for the unconditional followers of a certain modernity aiming at simplification, geometrization, and cerebralization.

But civilization appears as a negative process for all those who intend to preserve the incommensurable fruitfulness of cultural matrices, for all those who observe, without being scandalized, that time is “plurimorphic,” i.e., the time of one culture is not that of another (whereas the believers of Aufklärung affirm that one monomorphic time applies to all peoples and cultures of the Earth). Thus to each people its own time. If modernity refuses to see this plurality of forms of time, it is illusion.

To a certain extent, Akos Doma explains, Hamsun and Lawrence were heirs of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. But which Rousseau? The one stigmatized by Maurras, Lasserre, and Muret, or the one who radically criticized the Enlightenment but without also thereby defending the Old Regime? For this Rousseau who was critical of the Aufklärung, this modern ideology is in reality that exact opposite of the ideal slogan that it intends to universalize though political activism: it is inegalitarian and hostile to freedom, even as it proclaims equality and freedom.

For Rousseau and his proto-Romantic followers, before the modernity of the 18th century, there was a “good community,” conviviality reigned among men, people were “good,” because nature was “good.” Later, in the Romantics, who were conservatives on the political plane, this concept of “goodness” was quite prominent, whereas today one attributes it only to activists or revolutionary thinkers. Thus the idea of “goodness” was present on “Right” as well as on “Left” of the political chessboard.

But for the English Romantic poet Wordsworth, nature is “the theater of all real experience” because man is really and immediately confronted by the elements, which implicitly leads us beyond good and evil. Wordsworth is certainly “perfectibilist”: man in his poetic vision reaches for excellence, perfection. But man, contrary to what was thought and imposed by the proponents of the Enlightenment, is not perfected solely by developing the faculties of his intellect. The perfection of man happens mainly through the ordeal of elemental nature.

For Novalis, nature is “the space of mystical experience, which allows us to see beyond contingencies of urban and artificial life.” For Joseph von Eichendorff, nature is freedom, and in this sense it is a transcendence, as it allows us to escape from the narrowness of conventions, of institutions.

With Wordsworth, Novalis, and Eichendorff, the themes of immediacy, of vital experience, the refusal of contingencies arising from the artificial conventions are in place. From Romanticism in Europe, especially in Northern Europe, developed a well thought out hostility to all forms of modern social life and economics. Thomas Carlyle, for example, praised heroism and disdained the “cash flow society.” This is the first critique of the rule of money. John Ruskin, with his plans for a more organic architecture and garden cities, aimed to beautify the cities and to repair the social and urban damage of the rationalism that had unfortunately arisen from Manchesterism. Tolstoy propagated an optimistic naturalism that owed nothing to Dostoevsky, the brilliant analyst and dramatist of the worst blacknesses of the human soul. Gauguin transplanted his ideal of human goodness in the islands of Polynesia, to Tahiti, among flowers and exotic beauties.

Hamsun and Lawrence, unlike Tolstoy or Gauguin, develop a vision of nature without teleology, without a “good end,” without marginal paradisal spaces: they have assimilated the double lesson of pessimism from Dostoevsky and Nietzsche. Nature, for them, is no longer an idyllic excursion, as in the English Lake District poets. It is not necessarily a space of adventure or violence, or posed a priori as such. Nature, for Hamsun and Lawrence, is above all the inwardness of man; it is his inner springs, his dispositions, his mind (brain and guts are inextricably linked together). Therefore, a priori, in Hamsun and Lawrence, the nature of man is neither demonic nor pure intellectuality. It is rather the real, as real as the Earth, as real as Gaia, the real source of life.

Before this source, modern alienation leaves us with two opposing human attitudes: (1) to put down roots, a source of vitality, (2) to fall into alienation, a source of disease and paralysis. It is between the two terms of this polarity that we can fit the two great works of Hamsun and Lawrence: Growth of the Soil for the Norwegian, The Rainbow for the Englishman.

In Hamsun’s Growth of the Soil, nature is the realm of existential work, where Man works in complete independence to feed and perpetuate himself. Nature is not idyllic, as in some pastoralist utopia. Work in not abolished. It is an unavoidable condition, a destiny, an essential element of humanity, whose loss would mean de-humanization. The main hero, the farmer Isak, is ugly in face and body. He is crude, simple, rustic, but unwavering. He is completely human in his finitude but also in his determination.

The natural space, the Wildnis, this space that sooner or later will receive the stamp of man, is not the realm of human time, that of clocks, but of the rhythm of the seasons, of periodic rotations. In that space, in that time, we do not ask questions, we work to survive, to participate in a rhythm that surpasses us. This destiny is hard. Sometimes very hard. But it gives us independence, autonomy; it allows a direct relationship with our work. Hence it gives meaning. So there is meaning. In Lawrence’s The Rainbow, a family lives on the land in complete independence on the fruits of its own crops.

Hamsun and Lawrence, in these two novels, leave us with the vision of a man rooted in a homeland (ein beheimateter Mensch), a man with a limited territorial base. The beheimateter Mensch needs no book learning, needs no preaching from the media; his practical knowledge is sufficient; thanks to it, he gives meaning to his actions, while allowing imagination and feeling. This immediate knowledge gives him unity with other beings participating in life.

In this perspective, alienation, a major theme of the 19th century, takes on another dimension. Generally, the problem of alienation is addressed from three different bodies of doctrine: (1) The Marxists and historicists locate alienation in the social sphere, whereas for Hamsun and Lawrence, it lies in the inner nature of man, regardless of social position or material wealth. (2) Alienation is addressed by theology and anthropology. (3) Alienation is seen as a social anomie.

For Hegel and Marx, the alienation of the people or the masses is a necessary step in the gradual process of narrowing the gap between reality and the absolute. In Hamsun and Lawrence, alienation is more fundamental; its causes are not socio-economic or political; they lie in our distance from the roots of nature (which to that extent is not “good”). One does not overcome alienation by creating a new socioeconomic order.

According to Doma, in Hamsun and Lawrence, the problem of the cut, of the caesura is essential. Social life has become uniform, tends toward uniformity, automation, excessive functionalization, while nature and work in the cycle of life are not uniform and constantly mobilize vital energies. There is immediacy, while everything in urban, industrial, modern life is mediated, filtered. Hamsun and Lawrence rebelled against this filter.

In “nature” the forces of interiority count, particularly for Hamsun, and to a lesser extent for Lawrence. With the advent of modernity, men are determined by factors external to them, such as conventions, political agitation, public opinion that gives them the illusion of freedom while it is in fact the realm of manipulation. In this context, communities are breaking up: each individual is content with his sphere of autonomous activity in competition with others. Then we arrive at anomie, isolation, the hostility of each against all.

The symptoms of this anomie are crazes for superficial things, for sophisticated garb (Hamsun), signs of a detestable fascination for what is external, for a form of dependence, itself a sign of inner emptiness. Man is torn by the effects of external stresses. These are all indications of loss of vitality in alienated man.

In the alienation of urban life, man finds no stability because life in the metropolis resists any form of stability. Such an alienated man cannot return to his community, his family of origin. For Lawrence, whose writing is more facile but more striking: “He was the eternal audience, the chorus, the spectator at the drama; in his own life he would have no drama.” “He scarcely existed except through other people.” “He had come to a stability of nullification.”

In Hamsun and Lawrence, Entwurzelung, Unbehaustheit, rootlessness and homelessness, this way of being without hearth or home, is the great tragedy of humanity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. To Hamsun, place is vital for humans. Every man should have his place. The location of his existence. One can not be cut off from one’s place without profound mutilation. This mutilation is primarily mental; it is hysteria, neurosis, imbalance. Hamsun is a psychologist. He tells us: self-consciousness from the start is a symptom of alienation.

Already Schiller, in his essay Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung [On Naïve and Sentimental Poetry], noted that agreement between thought and feeling was tangible, real, interior for natural man, but it is now ideal and exterior in cultivated humans (“the concord between his feelings and his thoughts existed at the origin, but no longer exists except at the level of the ideal. This concord is no longer in man, but hovers somewhere outside of him; it is no more than an idea that has yet to be realized; it is no longer a fact of life”).

Schiller hoped for an Überwindung (overcoming) of this caesura, for a total mobilization of the individual to fill this caesura. Romanticism, for him, aimed at the reconciliation of Being (Sein) and consciousness (Bewußtsein), fighting the reduction of consciousness solely to rational understanding. Romanticism values, and even overvalues what is “other” to reason (das Andere der Vernunft): sensual perception, instinct, intuition, mystical experience, childhood, dreams, pastoral life.

The English Romantic Wordsworth deemed this desire for reconciliation between Being and consciousness “rose,” calling for the emergence of “a heart that watches and receives.” Dostoevsky abandoned this “rose” vision, developing in response a quite “black” vision, in which the intellect is always a source of evil that led the “possessed” to kill or commit suicide. In the same vein, in philosophical terms, G. E. Lessing and Ludwig Klages emulated this “black” vision of the intellect, while considerably refining naturalist Romanticism: to Klages, the mind is the enemy of the soul; to Lessing, the mind is the counterpart of life, born of necessity (“Geist ist das notgeborene Gegenspiel des Lebens”).

Lawrence, in some sense faithful to the English Romantic tradition of Wordsworth, believes in a new adequation of Being and consciousness. Hamsun, more pessimistic, more Dostoyevskian (hence his success in Russia and its impact on such ruralists writers as Belov and Rasputin), persisted in the belief that as soon as there is consciousness there is alienation. Once man begins to reflect on himself, he detaches himself from the natural continuum, in which he should normally be rooted.

In Hamsun’s theoretical writings, there is a reflection on literary modernism. Modern life, influences, processes, refine man to rescue him from his destiny, his destined place, his instincts which lie beyond good and evil. The literary development of the 19th century betrays a feverishness, an imbalance, a nervousness, an extreme complexity of human psychology. “The general (ambient) nervousness has gripped our fundamental being and has rubbed off on our feelings.” Hence the writer now defines himself on the model of Zola, as a “social doctor” who describes social evils to eliminate disease. The writer, the intellectual, and develops a missionary spirit aiming at a “political correctness.”

Against this intellectual vision of the writer, Hamsun replies that it is impossible to objectively define the reality of man, for an “objective man” would be a monstrosity (ein Unding), constructed in a mechanical manner. We cannot reduce man to a catalog of characteristics, for man is changing, ambiguous. Lawrence had the same attitude: “Now I absolutely flatly deny that I am a soul, or a body, or a mind, or an intelligence, or a brain, or a nervous system, or a bunch of glands, or any of the rest of these bits of me. The whole is greater than the part.” Hamsun and Lawrence illustrate in their works that it is impossible to theorize or absolutize a clear and distinct view of man. Thus man is not the vehicle of preconceived ideas.

Hamsun and Lawrence note that progress in self-awareness is not the process of spiritual emancipation, but rather a loss, a draining of vitality, of vital energy. In their novels, it is the characters who are still intact because they are unconscious (that is to say, embedded in their soil or site) who persevere, triumphing over the blows of fate and unfortunate circumstances.

There is no question, we repeat, of pastoralism or idyllism. The characters of Hamsun’s and Lawrence’s novels are traversed or solicited by modernity, hence their irreducible complexity: they may succumb, they suffer, they undergo a process of alienation but can also overcome it. This is where the Hamsun’s irony and Lawrence’s notion of the phoenix come in. Hamsun’s irony ridicules the abstract ideals of modern ideologies. In Lawrence, the recurrent theme of the phoenix indicates a certain degree of hope: there will be resurrection. Like the phoenix rising from the ashes.

The Paganism of Hamsun and Lawrence

If Hamsun and Lawrence carry out their desire to return to a natural ontology by rejecting rationalist intellectualism, this also implies an in-depth contestation of the Christian message.

In Hamsun, we find the rejection of his family’s Puritanism (that of his uncle Hans Olsen), the rejection of the Protestant worship of the book and the text, i.e., an explicit rejection of a system of religious thought resting on the primacy of pure scripture against existential experience (in particular that of the autarkical peasant, whose model is that of Odalsbond of the Norwegian countryside).

The anti-Christianity of Hamsun is rather non-Christianity: it does not give rise to religious questioning in the mode of Kierkegaard. For him, the moralism of the Protestantism of the Victorian era (in Scandinavia, they called it the Oscarian era) is quite simply an expression of devitalisation. Hamsun does not recommend any mystical experience.

Above all, Lawrence is concerned with the caesura between man and the cosmic mystery. Christianity reinforces this wound, prevents it from clotting, prevents it from healing. However, European religiosity preserves a residue of this worship of the cosmic mystery: it is the liturgical year, the liturgical cycle (Easter, Pentecost, Midsummer, Halloween, Christmas, Epipany).

But these had been hit hard by the processes of disenchantment and desacralization, starting with the advent of the primitive Christian church, reinforced by Puritanism and Jansensim after the Reformation. The first Christians clearly wanted to tear man away from these cosmic cycles. The medieval church, however, sought adequation between man and cosmos, but the Reformation and Counter-Reformation both clearly expressed a return to the anti-cosmism of primitive Christianity. Lawrence writes:

But now, after almost three thousand years, now that we are almost abstracted entirely from the rhythmic life of the seasons, birth and death and fruition, now we realize that such abstraction is neither bliss nor liberation, but nullity. It brings null inertia.

This caesura is a property of the Christianity of urban civilizations, where there is longer an opening to the cosmos. Thus Christ is no longer a cosmic Christ, but a Christ reduced to the role of a social worker. Mircea Eliade spoke of a “cosmic Man,” open to the vastness of cosmos, the pillar of all the great religions. From Eliade’s perspective, the sacred is reality, power, the source of life and fertility. Eliade: “The desire of the religious man to live a life in the sacred is the desire to live in objective reality.”

The Ideological and Political Lessons of Hamsun and Lawrence

On the ideological and political plane, on the plane of Weltanschauungen, Hamsun and Lawrence had a rather considerable impact. Hamsun was read by everyone, beyond the polarity of Communism/Fascism. Lawrence was labeled “fascistic” on a purely posthumous basis, in particular by Bertrand Russell who spoke about his “madness” (“Lawrence was a suitable exponent of the Nazi cult of insanity”). This phrase is at the very least simple and concise.

According to Akos Doma, the works of Hamsun and Lawrence fall under four categories: the philosophy of life, the avatars of individualism, the vitalistic philosophical tradition, and anti-utopianism and irrationalism.

  1. Life-philosophy (Lebensphilosophie) is a polemical term, opposing the “vivacity of real life” to the rigidity of conventions, the artificial games invented by urban civilization to try to give meaning to a totally disenchanted world. Life-philosophy appears under many guises in European thought and takes shape beginning with Nietzsche’s reflections on Leiblichkeit (corporeity).
  2. Individualism. Hamsun’s anthropology postulates the absolute unicity of each individual, of each person, but refuses to isolate this individual or this person from any communal context, carnal or familiar: he always places the individual or the person in interaction, in a particular place. The absence of speculative introspection, consciousness, and abstract intellectualism make Hamsun’s individualism unlike the anthropology of the Enlightenment.

But, for Hamsun, one does not fight the individualism of the Enlightenment by preaching an ideologically contrived collectivism. The rebirth of the authentic man happens by a reactivation of the deepest wellsprings of his soul and body. Mechanical regimentation is a calamitous failure. Therefore, the charge of “fascism” does not hold for either Lawrence or Hamsun.

  1. Vitalism takes account of all the facts of life and excludes any hierarchisation on the basis race, class, etc. The characteristic oppositions of the vitalist movement are: assertion of life/negation of life; healthy/unhealthy; mechanical/organic. Thus one cannot reduce them to social categories, parties, etc. Life is a fundamentally apolitical category, because it subsumes all men without distinction.
  2. For Hamsun and Lawrence, the reproach of “irrationalism,” like their anti-utopianism, comes from their revolt against “feasibility” (Machbarkeit), against the idea of infinite perfectibility (which one finds in an “organic” form in the first generation of English Romantics). The idea of feasibility goes against the biological essence of nature. Thus the idea of feasibility is the essence of nihilism, according to the contemporary Italian philosopher Emanuele Severino.

For Severino, feasibility derives from a will to complete a world posited as being in becoming (but not an uncontrollable organic becoming). Once this process of completion is achieved, becoming inevitably ceases. Overall stability is necessary to the Earth, and this stability is described as a frozen “absolute good.”

In a literary manner, Hamsun and Lawrence have foreshadowed such contemporary philosophers as Emanuele Severino, Robert Spaemann (with his critique of functionalism), Ernst Behler (with his critique of “infinite perfectibility”), and Peter Koslowski. Outside of Germany or Italy, these philosophers are necessarily almost unknown to the public, especially when they criticize thoroughly the foundations of the dominant ideologies, which is rather frowned upon since the deployment of an underhanded inquisition against the politically incorrect. The cells of the “logocentrist conspiracy” are in place at all the publishers in order to reject translations, keep France in a state of philosophical “minority,” and prevent any effective challenge to the ideology of power.

Vitalistic or “anti-feasibilist” philosophers like Nietzsche, Hamsun, and Lawrence, insist on the ontological nature of human biology and are radically opposed to the nihilistic Western idea of the absolute feasibility of everything, which implies the ontological inexistence of all things, of all realities.

Many of them — certainly Hamsun and Lawrence — bring us back to the eternal present of our bodies, our corporeality (Leiblichkeit). But we can not fabricate a body, despite the wishes reflected in some science fiction (and certain projects from the crazy early years of the Soviet system).

Feasibilism is hubris carried to its height. It leads to restlessness, emptiness, silliness, solipsism, and isolation. From Heidegger to Severino, European philosophy has focused on the disaster of the desacralization of Being and the disenchantment of the world. If the deep and mysterious wellsprings of Earth and man are considered imperfections unworthy of the interest of the theologian or philosopher, if all that is thought abstractly or contrived beyond these (ontological) wellsprings is overvalued, then, indeed, the world loses its sacredness, all value.

Hamsun and Lawrence are writers who make us live with more intensity than those sometimes dry philosophers who deplore the wrong route taken centuries ago by Western philosophy. Heidegger and Severino in philosophy, Hamsun and Lawrence in creative writing aim to restore the sacredness of the natural world and to revalorize the forces that lurk inside man: in this sense, they are ecological thinkers in the deeper meaning of the term.

The oikos and he who works the oikos bear within them the sacred, the mysterious and uncontrollable forces, which are accepted as such, without fatalism and false humility. Hamsun and Lawrence have therefore heralded a “geophilosophical” dimension of thought, which has concerned us throughout this summer school. A succinct summary of their works, therefore, has a place in today’s curriculum.

Lecture at the Fourth Summer School of F.A.C.E., Lombardy, in July 1996.

Analysis: Akos DOMA, Die andere Moderne. Knut Hamsun, D.H. Lawrence und die lebensphilosophische Strömung des literarischen Modernismus, Bouvier, Bonn, 1995, 284 p., DM 82, ISBN 3-416-02585-7.

————

Steuckers, Robert. “Paganism & Vitalism in Knut Hamsun & D. H. Lawrence.” Counter-Currents Publishing, 16-17 July 2012. <http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/07/hamsun-and-lawrence-part-2/ >.

Note: This article was originally published in French as “Paganisme et philosophie de la vie chez Knut Hamsun et David Herbert Lawrence ” (Synergies Européennes, Vouloir, August, 1997). It was republished online at Centro Studi La Runa, 26 March 2009, <http://www.centrostudilaruna.it/paganisme-et-philosophie-de-la-vie-chez-knut-hamsun-et-david-herbert-lawrence.html >.

 

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Intro to Ludwig Klages – Pryce

On The Biocentric Metaphysics of Ludwig Klages

by Joe Pryce

 

Without a doubt, “The Spirit as Adversary of the Soul” by Klages is a great work of philosophy. — Walter Benjamin

Out of Phlegethon!
Out of Phlegethon,
Gerhart
Art thou come forth out of Phlegethon?
with Buxtehude and Klages in your satchel… — From Canto LXXV by Ezra Pound

Oliveira said, “Let’s keep on looking for the Yonder, there are plenty of Yonders that keep opening up one after the other. I’d start by saying that this technological reality that men of science and the readers of France-Soir accept today, this world of cortisone, gamma rays, and plutonium, has as little to do with reality as the world of the Roman de la Rose. If I mentioned it a while back to our friend Perico, it was in order to make him take note that his æsthetic criteria and his scale of values are pretty well liquidated and that man, after having expected everything from intelligence and from the spirit, feels that he’s been betrayed, is vaguely aware that his weapons have been turned against him, that culture and civiltà, have misled him into this blind alley where scientific barbarism is nothing but a very understandable reaction. Please excuse my vocabulary.”
“Klages has already said all of that,” said Gregorovius. —
From Chapter 99 of “Hopscotch” by Julio Cortázar

Ludwig Klages is primarily responsible for providing the philosophical foundations for the pan-Romantic conception of man that we now find among many thinkers in different scientific disciplines, for example, Edgar Dacqué, Leo Frobenius, C. G. Jung, Hans Prinzhorn, Theodor Lessing, and, to a certain extent, Oswald Spengler. — From “Man’s Place in Nature” by Max Scheler

In the field of scientific psychology, Klages towers over all of his contemporaries, including even the academic world’s most renowned authorities. — Oswald Spengler

“The Spirit as Adversary of the Soul” by Ludwig Klages ranks with Heidegger’s “Being and Time” and Hartmann’s “The Foundation of Ontology” as one of the three greatest philosophical achievements of the modern epoch. — Erich Rothacker

Klages is a fascinating phenomenon, a scientist of the highest rank, whom I regard as the most important psychologist of our time. — Alfred Kubin

Ludwig Klages is renowned as the brilliant creator of profound systems of expression-research and graphology, and his new book, entitled “Concerning the Cosmogonic Eros,” possesses such depth of psychological insight and so rich and fructifying an atmosphere, that it moved me far more deeply than I have ever been moved by the writings of men like Spengler and Keyserling. In the pages of this book on the “Cosmogonic Eros,” Klages almost seems to have found the very words with which to speak that which has hitherto been considered to be beyond the powers of speech. — Hermann Hesse

When we survey the philosophical critiques of Nietzsche’s thought that have been published thus far, we conclude that the monograph written by Ludwig Klages, “The Psychological Achievements of Nietzsche,” can only be described as the towering achievement. — Karl Löwith

 

Prelude: The Intellectual Environment

DURING THE CLOSING YEARS of the 19th century, the limitations and inadequacies of the superficial positivism that had dominated European thought for so many decades were becoming increasingly apparent to critical observers. The wholesale repudiation of metaphysics that Tyndall, Haeckel and Büchner had proclaimed as a liberation from the superstitions and false doctrines that had misled benighted investigators of earlier times, was now seen as having contributed significantly to the bankruptcy of positivism itself. Ironically, a critical examination of the unacknowledged epistemological assumptions of the positivists clearly revealed that not only had Haeckel and his ilk been unsuccessful in their attempt to free themselves from metaphysical presuppositions, but they had, in effect, merely switched their allegiance from the grand systems of speculative metaphysics that had been constructed in previous eras by the Platonists, medieval scholastics, and post-Kantian idealists whom they abominated, in order to adhere to a ludicrous, ersatz metaphysics of whose existence they were completely unaware.

The alienation of younger thinkers from what they saw as the discredited dogmas of positivism and materialism found expression in the proliferation of a wide range of philosophical schools, whose adherents had little in common other than the will to revolt against outmoded dogma. “Back to Kant!” became the battle-cry of the neo-Kantians at Marburg. “Back to the things themselves!” proclaimed the “phenomenologist” Edmund Husserl; there were “neo-positivists,” “empirio-critical” thinkers, and even the invertebrate American ochlocracy lent its cacaphonous warblings to the philosophical choir when William James proclaimed his soothing doctrine of “Pragmatism,” with which salesmen, journalists, and other uncritical blockheads have stupefied themselves ever since.

A more substantial and significant revolt, however, emerged from another quarter altogether when several independent scholars began to re-examine the speculative metaphysical systems of the “philosophers of nature” who had flourished during the Romantic Period. Although the astonishing creativity of these men of genius had been forgotten whilst positivism and materialism ruled the roost, of course, men like Nietzsche, Burckhardt, and Bachofen had preserved elements of the Romantic heritage and had thereby, as it were, already prepared the soil in which younger men would sow the precious seed of a Romantic Revival. By the turn of the 20th century the blossoms had emerged in the form of the philosophers of the “vitalist” school. In France, Henri Bergson became the leading proponent of philosophical vitalism, and his slogan of élan vital as well as his doctrine of évolution créatrice thrilled audiences in the salons as well as in the university lecture halls. In Hungary, the astonishingly gifted philosopher and physicist, Melchior Palágyi—a thinker of an altogether higher order than the superficial Bergson—conducted profound research into celestial mechanics, which clearly anticipated the theory of relativity; he developed the theory of “virtual” movement; and his critical powers enabled him to craft a definitive and withering refutation of Husserl’s pseudo-phenomenology, and his insights retain their validity even now in spite of the oblivion to which the disciples of Husserl have consigned them.

In the German-speaking world the doctrines of Lebensphilosophie, or “philosophy of life,” achieved academic respectability when Wilhelm Dilthey became their spokesman. Sadly, candor demands that we draw the reader’s attention to the troubling fact that it was Dilthey who inaugurated a disastrous trend that was to be maintained at German universities for the next hundred years by such able obfuscators and logomachs as Heidegger and his spawn, for, to put it as charitably as possible, Dilthey was the first significant German philosopher to achieve wide renown in spite of having nothing significant to say (that is why, perhaps, Dilthey and Heidegger furnish such mountains of grist for the philosophical proles who edit and annotate and comment and publish and—prosper).

Among these “philosophers of life,” there were “amalgamists,” among whom we find Hans Driesch, who sabotaged his own project by indulging in futile attempts to combine the irreconcilable doctrines of Kantian idealism and vitalism in his theory of the “entelechy,” which, although he proclaimed it to be a uniquely vitalistic notion, is always analyzed mechanistically and atomistically in his expositions. The profound speculative metaphysics of Houston Stewart Chamberlain also succumbed to the Kantian infection, for even Chamberlain seems to have been blind to the ineluctable abyss that divides vitalism and Kantianism.

Finally, and most significantly, we encounter the undisputed master-spirit of the “vitalist” school in the German world, the philosopher and polymath Ludwig Klages, whose system of “biocentric” metaphysics displays a speculative profundity and a logical rigor that no other vitalist on the planet could hope to equal.

The Early Years

Ludwig Klages was born on December 10, 1872, in the northern German city of Hannover. He seems to have been a solitary child, but he developed one intense friendship with a class-mate named Theodor Lessing, who would himself go on to achieve fame as the theorist of “Jewish Self-Hatred,” a concept whose origins Lessing would later trace back to passionate discussions that he had had with Klages during their boyhood rambles on the windswept moors and beaches of their Lower Saxon home.

In 1891 he received his “Abitur,” and immediately journeyed to Leipzig to begin his university studies in Chemistry and Physics. In 1893, he moved to Munich, where he would live and work until the Great War forced him into Swiss exile in 1915.

Klages continued his undergraduate studies in Chemistry and Physics during the day, but at night he could usually be found in the cafés of Schwabing, then as now the Bohemian district of Munich. It was in Schwabing that he encountered the poet Stefan George and his “circle.” George immediately recognized the young man’s brilliance, and the poet eagerly solicited contributions from Klages, both in prose and in verse, to his journal, the Blätter für die Kunst.

Klages also encountered Alfred Schuler (1865-1923), the profoundly learned Classicist and authority on ancient Roman history, at this time. Schuler was also loosely associated with the George-circle, although he was already becoming impatient with the rigidly masculine, “patriarchalist” spirit that seemed to rule the poet and his minions. Klages eventually joined forces with Schuler and Karl Wolfskehl, an authority on Germanistics who taught at the University of Munich, to form the Kosmische Runde, or “Cosmic Circle,” and the three young men, who had already come under the influence of the “matriarchalist” anthropology of the late Johann Jakob Bachofen, soon expressed their mounting discontent with George and his “patriarchal” spirit. Finally, in 1904, Klages and Schuler broke with the poet, and the aftermath was of bitterness and recrimination “all compact.” Klages would in later years repudiate his association with George, but he would revere Schuler, both as a man and as a scholar, to the end of his life.

The other crucial experience that Klages had during this last decade of the old century was his overwhelming love affair with Countess Franziska zu Reventlow, the novelist and Bohemian, whose “Notebooks of Mr. Lady” provides what is, perhaps, the most revealing—and comical—rendition of the turbulent events that culminated in the break between the “Cosmic Circle” and the George-Kreis; Wolfskehl, who was himself an eyewitness to the fracas, held that, although Franziska had called the book a novel, it was, in fact, a work of historical fact. Likewise, the diaries of the Countess preserve records of her conversations with Klages (who is referred to as “Hallwig,” the name of the Klages-surrogate in her “Mr. Lady”: she records Klages telling her that “There is no ‘God’; there are many gods!” At times “Hallwig” even frightens her with oracular allusions to “my mystical side, the rotating Swastika” and with his prophecies of inevitable doom). When the Countess terminated the liaison, Klages, who suffered from serious bouts with major depression throughout his long life, experienced such distress that he briefly contemplated suicide. Fate, of course, would hardly have countenanced such a quietus, for, as Spengler said, there are certain destinies that are utterly inconceivable—Nietzsche won’t make a fortune at the gambling tables of Monte Carlo, and Goethe won’t break his back falling out of his coach, he remarks drily.

And, we need hardly add, Klages will not die for love…

On the contrary: he will live for Eros.

Works of Maturity

After the epoch-making experiences of the Schwabing years, the philosopher’s life seems almost to assume a prosaic, even an anticlimactic, quality. The significant events would henceforth occur primarily in the thinker’s inner world and in the publications that communicated the discoveries that he had made therein. There were also continuing commitments on his part to particular institutions and learned societies. In 1903 Klages founded his “Psychodiagnostic Seminars” at the University of Munich, which swiftly became Europe’s main center for biocentric psychology. In 1908, he delivered a series of addresses on the application of “Expression Theory” (Ausdruckskunde) to graphological analysis at one such seminar.

In 1910, in addition to the book on expression-theory, Klages published the first version of his treatise on psychology, entitled Prinzipien der Charakterologie. This treatise was based upon lectures that Klages had delivered during the previous decade, and in its pages he announced his discovery of the “Id,” which has popularly, and hence erroneously, for so long been attributed to Freud. He came in personal contact with several members of rival psychological schools during this period, and he was even invited—in his capacity as Europe’s leading exponent of graphology—to deliver a lecture on the “Psychology of Handwriting” to the Wednesday Night Meeting of the Freudian “Vienna Society” on the 25th of October in 1911.

The philosopher also encountered the novelist Robert Musil, in whose masterpiece, Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften, Klages appears—in caricatured form, of course—as the eerie and portentous prophet Meingast, that “messenger from Zarathustra’s mountain.” The novelist seems to have been most impressed by the philosopher’s speculations in Vom kosmogonischen Eros concerning the ecstatic nature of the “erotic rapture” and the Klagesian “other condition” (andere Zustand). Paradoxically, however, Musil’s novel presents Meingast [Klages] as a manic and domineering worshiper of power, which is quite strange when one considers that Klages consistently portrays the Nietzschean “Will to Power” as nothing but a modality of hysteria perfectly appropriate to our murderous age of militarism and capitalism. Anyone familiar with the withering onslaught against the will and its works which constitutes the section entitled Die Lehre der Wille in Klages’s Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele must, in addition, feel a certain amazement at Meingast’s ravings concerning the necessity for a “determined will”! Another familiar (and depressing) insight into the resistance mounted by even sympathetic writers to the biocentric philosophy can be derived from a perusal of Musil’s Tagebücher, with its dreary and philistine insistence that the Klagesian rapture must at all costs be constrained by Geist, by its pallid praise for a “daylight mysticism,” and so on. Admittedly, Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften will remain an astonishing and beautifully-crafted masterpiece of 20th Century belles lettres, in spite of its author’s jejune “philosophical” preachments.

During this same period, Klages rediscovered the late-Romantic philosopher Carl Gustav Carus, author of the pioneering Psyche: Zur Entwicklungsgeschichte der Seele (“Psyche: Towards a Developmental History of the Soul”) in which the unconscious is moved to center-stage (sadly, the Jung-racket falsely credits their master with this discovery). The very first sentence of this work indicates the primacy attributed by Carus to the unconscious: “The key to the understanding of the conscious life of the soul lies in the realm of the unconscious.” During the Romantic Revival that took place in the Germany of th 1920s, Klages would edit a new, abridged version of Psyche, in which Carus is purged of his logocentric and Christian errors. Klages, however, fully accepts Carus’s definition of the soul as synonymous with life, a formulation that he rates as epochally significant. He finds Carus’s statement to be as profound as the aphorism of Novalis in which he locates the soul at the point of contact between the inner and outer worlds.

In 1913, Klages presented his Zur Theorie und Symptomatologie des Willens to the Vienna Congress of International Societies for Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy. In that same year, Klages delivered an address entitled Mensch und Erde to a gathering of members of the German Youth Movement. This seminal work has recently received its due as the “foundational” document of the “deep ecology” movement when a new edition was published in 1980 in coordination with the establishment of the German “Green” political party.

In his Heidnische Feuerzeichen, which was completed in 1913, although it would not be published in book form until 1944, Klages has some very perceptive remarks on consciousness, which he regards as always effect and never cause. He cautions us to realize that, because our feelings are almost always conscious, we tend to attribute far too much importance to them. Reality is composed of images [Bilder] and not feelings, and the most important idea that Klages ever developed is his conception of the “actuality of the images” [Wirklichkeit der Bilder]. He also savages the insane asceticism of Christianity, arguing that a satisfied sexuality is essential for all genuine cosmic radiance. Christ is to be detested as the herald of the annihilation of earth and the mechanization of man.

The pioneering treatise on “expression theory,” the Ausdruckskunde und Gestaltungskraft, also appeared in 1913. The first part of his treatise on the interpretation of dreams (Vom Traumbewusstsein) appeared in 1914, but war soon erupted in Europe, swiftly interrupting all talk of dreams. Sickened by the militaristic insanity of the “Great War,” Klages moved to neutral Switzerland. In 1920 he made his last move to Kilchberg, near Zurich, Switzerland, where he would spend the rest of his life.

The first substantial excerpt from the treatise that would eventually become his Hauptwerk (Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele) was published as Geist und Seele in a 1916 number of the journal Deutsche Psychologie. He soon turned his attention to the more mundane matter of the contemporary world situation, and in 1918, concerned by the spread of “One World”-humanitarianism and other pernicious forms of “humanism,” Klages published the classic Brief über Ethik, in which he re-emphasized his opposition to all ethical and individualistic attempts to improve the world. The modern world’s increasing miscegenation has hatched out a horde of mongrels, slaves, and criminals. The world is falling under the dominion of the enemies of life, and it matters not a bit whether the ethical fanatic dubs his hobbyhorse Wille, Tat, Logos, Nous, Idee, Gott, the “Supreme Being,” reines Subjekt, or absolutes Ich: these phrases are merely fronts behind which spirit, the eternal adversary of life, conducts her nefarious operations. Only infra-human nature, wherein dwells a principle of hierarchical order in true accord with the laws of life, is able to furnish man with genuine values. The preachers of morality can only murder life with their prohibitive commands so stifling to the soul’s vitality. As Klages’s disciple Hans Prinzhorn cautions us, the vital order “must not be falsified, according to the Judæo-Christian outlook, into a principle of purposefulness, morality, or sentimentality.” The “Letter on Ethics” urges us to avoid all such life-hostile values, and to prize instead those moments when we allow our souls to find warmth in the love which manifests itself as adoration, reverence, and admiration. The soul’s true symbol is the mother with her beloved child, and the soul’s true examples are the lives of poets, heroes, and gods. Klages concludes his sardonic “Letter” by informing the reader, in contemptuous and ironical tones, that if he refuses to respond to these exemplary heroes, he may then find it more congenial to sit himself down and listen, unharmed, to a lecture on ethics!

In 1921, Klages published his Vom Wesen des Bewusstseins, an investigation into the nature of consciousness, in which the ego-concept is shown to be neither a phenomenon of pure spirit nor of pure life, but rather a mere epiphenomenal precipitate of the warfare between life and spirit. In this area, Klages’s presentation invites comparion with the Kantian exposition of “pure subjectivity,” although, as one might expect, Klages assails the subjectivity of the ego as a hollow sham. The drive to maximize the realm of ego, regardless of whether this impulse clothes itself in such august titles as “The Will to Power” (Nietzsche), the “Will to Live” (Schopenhauer), or the naked obsession with the “Ego and its Own” (Stirner), is merely a manifestation of malevolent Geist. Klages also ridicules the superficiality of William James’s famous theory of “stream of consciousness,” which is subjected to a withering critical onslaught. After James’s “stream” is conclusively demolished, Klages demonstrates that Melchior Palágyi’s theory more profoundly analyzes the processes whereby we receive the data of consciousness. Klages endorses Palágyi’s account of consciousness in order to establish the purely illusory status of the “stream” by proving conclusively that man receives the “images” as discrete, rhythmically pulsating “intermittencies.”

We should say a few words about the philosopher whose exposition of the doctrine of consciousness so impressed Klages. Melchior Palágyi [1859-1924] was the Hungarian-Jewish Naturphilosoph who was regarded as something of a mentor by the younger man, ever since 1908, when they first met at a learned conference. Like Klages, Palágyi was completely devoted to the thought-world of German Romantic Naturphilosophie. Klages relied heavily on this thinker’s expert advice, especially with regard to questions involving mechanics and physics, upon which the older man had published outstanding technical treatises. The two men had spent many blissful days together in endless metaphysical dialogue when Palagyi visited Klages at his Swiss home shortly before Palágyi’s death. They were delighted with each other’s company, and reveled even in the cut and thrust of intense exchanges upon matters about which they were in sharp disagreement. Although this great thinker is hardly recalled today even by compilers of “comprehensive” encyclopedias, Palagyi’s definitive and irrefutable demolition of Edmund Husserl’s spurious system of “phenomenology” remains one of the most lethal examples of philosophical adversaria to be found in the literature. Palágyi, who was a Jew, had such a high opinion of his anti-semitic colleague, that when Palágyi died in 1925, one of the provisions of his will stipulated that Ludwig Klages was to be appointed as executor and editor of Palágyi’s posthumous works, a task that Klages undertook scrupulously and reverently, in spite of the fact that the amount of labor that would be required of him before the manuscripts of his deceased colleague could be readied for publication would severely disrupt his own work upon several texts, most especially the final push to complete the three-volume Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele. One gets the impression that Klages felt the task that had been imposed upon him was also one of the highest honors, and Klages’s high regard for Palágyi’s thought can best be appreciated when we realize that among the numerous thinkers and scholars whose works are cited in his collected works, the contemporary philosopher who is cited most frequently, and at the greatest length, is none other than Melchior Palágyi.

Klages published his influential anthropological-historical study, Vom kosmogonischen Eros, in 1922, and in the Selbstbericht which serves as an introduction to this work he details the points of agreement and the points of disagreement between his views and those of Friedrich Nietzsche.

In 1923 Klages published his Vom Wesen des Rhythmus (a revised edition of which would be issued in 1934). Then in 1925, two fervent admirers of Klagesian biocentrism—one was Niels Kampmann who would go on to publish some of Klages’s works in book form—brought out the first issue of a scholarly journal, the brilliant Zeitschrift für Menschenkunde, which would continue to publish regularly until the rigors of war eventually forced the editors to suspend publication in 1943 (eight years after the end of the war, the journal began a new career in 1953.)

A revised and enlarged edition of the treatise on characterology appeared in 1926 with the new title Die Grundlagen der Charakterkunde. Klages also published Die psychologischen Errungenschaften Nietzsches in this same year, a work which, more than a quarter of a century after its initial appearance, the Princeton-based Nietzsche-scholar Walter Kaufmann—surely no friend to Klages!—would nevertheless admire greatly, even feeling compelled to describe Klages’s exegesis of Nietzsche’s psychology as “the best monograph” ever written on its subject.

A collection of brief essays entitled Zur Ausdruckslehre und Charakterkunde, was brought out by Kampmann in 1927; many of them date from the early days of the century and their sheer profundity and variety reinforce our conviction that Klages was a mature thinker even in his twenties.

The first two volumes of his magnum opus, the long-awaited and even-longer pondered, Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele, finally appeared in 1929. One year later the Graphologisches Lesebuch appeared, and the third and final volume of Der Geist hit the book-shops in 1932, a year that seems to have been a very busy one indeed for our polymathic philosopher, since he also found time to revamp his slender monograph entitled Goethe als Naturforscher, a short work that can only be compared to the Goethe-books of H. S. Chamberlain and Friedrich Gundolf for breadth of scholarship and insight into the creativity of a great seer and scientist (this study was a revised edition of a lecture that had originally been published in the Jahrbuch des Freien Deutschen Hochstifts in 1928).

Hans Prinzhorn, the psychologist, translator of D. H. Lawrence and compiler of the landmark treatise on the artistry of the mentally-disturbed, had long been a friend and admirer of Klages, and in 1932 he organized the celebration for the sixtieth birthday of the philosopher. The tributes composed the various scholars who participated in this event were collected and edited by Prinzhorn for publication in book-form, with the title Festschrift zum 60. Geburtstag.

National Socialist Germany, World War II, and their Aftermath

Shortly after the NSDAP seized power at the beginning of 1933, one of Klages’s disciples established the Arbeitskreises für biozentrisches Forschung. At first the German disciples of Klages were tolerated as harmless philosophical eccentrics, but soon the Gestapo began keeping a close eye on members and contributors to the biocentric circle’s house organ Janus. By 1936 the authorities forcibly shut down the journal and from that time until the fall of the regime, the Gestapo would periodically arrest and question those who had been prominent members of the now-defunct “circle.” From 1938 onwards, when Reichsleiter Dr. Alfred Rosenberg delivered a bitter attack on Klages and his school in his inaugural address to the summer semester at the University of Halle, the official party spokesmen explicitly and repeatedly condemned Klages and his friends as enemies of the National Socialist Weltanschauung.

Klages traveled widely during the 1930s, and he especially enjoyed his journeys to Greece and Scandinavia. In 1940 he published Alfred Schuler: Fragmente und Vorträge. Aus dem Nachlass, his edition of Alfred Schuler’s literary remains. The “Introduction” to the anthology is a voluminous critical memoir in which Klages rendered profound tribute to his late mentor. However, in the pages of that introduction, Klages introduced several statements critical of World-Jewry that were to dog his steps for the rest of his life, just as they have compromised his reputation after his death. Unlike so many ci-devant “anti-semites” who prudently saw the philo-semitic light in the aftermath of the war, however, Klages scorned to repudiate anything that he had said on this or any other topic. He even poured petrol on the fires by voicing his conviction that the only significant difference between the species of master-race nonsense that was espoused by the National Socialists and the variety adopted by their Jewish enemies was in the matter of results: Klages blandly proclaims that the Jews, after a two-thousand year long assault on the world for which they felt nothing but hatred, had actually won the definitive victory. There would be no re-match. He sneered at all the kow-towing to Jewry that had already become part of the game in the immediate post-war era, because, he reasoned, even as a tactical ploy such sycophantic behavior has always doomed itself to complete and abject failure.

In December of 1942, the official daily newspaper of the NSDAP, the Völkischer Beobachter, published a vicious and ungracious attack on Klages in the edition that appeared on the philosopher’s 70th birthday. During the war years, Klages began compiling notes for a projected full-dress autobiography that was, sadly, never completed. Still, the notes are fascinating in their own right, and are well worth consulting by the student of his life and thought.

In 1944, Barth of Leipzig published the Rhythmen und Runen, a self-edited anthology of Klages’s prose and verse writings stemming from the turn of the century (unfortunately, however, when Bouvier finally brought out their edition of his “Collected Works,” which began to appear in the mid-1960s, Rhythmen und Runen, along with the Stefan George-monograph and such provocative pieces as the “Introduction” to Schuler’s writings, were omitted from the set, in spite of the fact that the original prospectus issued to subscribers announced that these works would, in fact, be included. The reasons for this behavior are—need we say?—quite obvious).

When the war ended, Klages began to face true financial hardship, for his market, as well as his publishers, had been devastated by the horrific saturation bombing campaign with which the democratic allies had turned Germany into a shattered and burnt-out wasteland. Klages also suffered dreadfully when he learned that his beloved sister, Helene, as well as her daughter Heidi, the philosopher’s niece, had perished in the agony of post-war Germany, that nightmare world wherein genocidal bestiality and sadistic cruelty were dealt out by occupying forces with a liberal hand in order most expeditiously to “re-educate” the survivors of the vanquished Reich. Although Klages had sought permission from the occupying authorities to visit his sister as she lay dying, his request was ignored (in fact, he was told that the only civilians who would be permitted to travel to Germany were the professional looters who were officially authorized to rob Germany of industrial patents and those valiant exiles who had spent the war years as literary traitors, who made a living writing scurrilous and mendacious anti-German pamphlets). This refusal, followed shortly by his receipt of the news of her miserable death, aroused an almost unendurable grief in his soul.

His spirits were raised somewhat by the Festschrift that was organized for his 75th birthday, and his creative drive certainly seemed to be have remained undiminished by the ravages of advancing years. He was deeply immersed in the philological studies that prepared him to undertake his last great literary work, the Die Sprache als Quell der Seelenkunde, which was published in 1948. In this dazzling monument of 20th century scholarship, Klages conducted a comprehensive investigation of the relationship between psychology and linguistics. During that same year he also directed a devastating broadside in which he refuted the fallacious doctrines of Jamesian “pragmatism” as well as the infantile sophistries of Watson’s “behaviorism.” This brief but pregnant essay was entitled Wie Finden Wir die Seele des Nebenmenschen?

During the early 1950s, Klages’s health finally began to deteriorate, but he was at least heartened by the news that there were serious plans afoot among his admirers and disciples to get his classic treatises back into print as soon as possible. Death came at last to Ludwig Klages on July 29, 1956. The cause of death was determined to have been a heart attack. He is buried in the Kilchberg cemetery, which overlooks Lake Zurich.

Understanding Klagesian Terms

A brief discussion of the philosopher’s technical terminology may provide the best preparation for an examination of his metaphysics. Strangely enough, the relationship between two familiar substantives, “spirit” [Geist] and “soul” [Seele], constitutes the main source of our terminological difficulties. Confusion regarding the meaning and function of these words, especially when they are employed as technical terms in philosophical discourse, is perhaps unavoidable at the outset. We must first recognize the major problems involved before we can hope to achieve the necessary measure of clarity. Now Klages regards the study of semantics, especially in its historical dimension, as our richest source of knowledge regarding the nature of the world (metaphysics, or philosophy) and an unrivalled tool with which to probe the mysteries of the human soul (psychology, or characterology [Charakterkunde]). We would be well advised, therefore, to adopt an extraordinary stringency in lexical affairs. We have seen that the first, and in many ways the greatest, difficulty that can impede our understanding of biocentric thought confronts us in our dealings with the German word Geist. Geist has often been translated as “spirit” or “mind,” and, less often, as “intellect.” As it happens, the translation of Hegel’s Phänomenologie des Geistes that most American students utilized in their course-work during the 1960s and 1970s was entitled “The Phenomenology of Mind” (which edition was translated with an Introduction and Notes by J. B. Bailey, and published by Harper Torchbooks, New York, 1967).

Lest it be thought that we are perversely attributing to the word Geist an exaggeratedly polysemic status, we would draw the reader’s attention to the startling fact that Rudolf Hildebrandt’s entry on this word in the Grimm Wörterbuch comprises more than one hundred closely printed columns. Hildebrandt’s article has even been published separately as a book. Now in everyday English usage, spirit (along with its cognates) and soul (along with its cognates) are employed as synonyms. As a result of the lexical habits to which we have grown accustomed, our initial exposure to a philosopher who employs soul and spirit as antonyms can be a somewhat perplexing experience. It is important for us to realize that we are not entering any quixotic protest here against familiar lexical custom. We merely wish to advise the reader that whilst we are involved in the interpretation of Klagesian thought, soul and spirit are to be treated consistently as technical philosophical terms bearing the specific meanings that Klages has assigned to them.

Our philosopher is not being needlessly obscure or perversely recherché in this matter, for although there are no unambiguous distinctions drawn between soul and spirit in English usage, the German language recognizes some very clear differences between the terms Seele and Geist, and Hildebrandt’s article amply documents the widely ramified implications of the distinctions in question. In fact, literary discourse in the German-speaking world is often characterized by a lively awareness of these very distinctions. Rudolf Kassner, for instance, tells us that his friend, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, inhabited a world of soul [Seele], not one of spirit [Geist]. In speaking of Rilke’s world as that the soul, Kassner is proclaiming the indisputable truth that Rilke’s imagination inhabits an innocent, or pagan, world, a realm that is utterly devoid of such “spiritual” baggage as “sin” and “guilt.” Likewise, for Kassner, as for Rilke, the world of spirit is the realm of labor and duty, which is ruled by abstractions and “ideals.” I can hardly exaggerate the significance of the spirit-soul dichotomy upon which Kassner has shed so much light in these remarks on Rilke as the man of “soul.” If the reader bears their substance in mind, he will find that the path to understanding shall have been appreciably cleared of irksome obstacles.

Therefore, these indispensable lexical distinctions are henceforth to function as our established linguistic protocol. Bearing that in mind, when the reader encounters the Klagesian thesis which holds that man is the battlefield on which soul and spirit wage a war to the death, even the novice will grasp some portion of the truth that is being enunciated. And the initiate who has immersed his whole being in the biocentric doctrine will swiftly discover that he is very well prepared indeed to perpend, for instance, the characterological claim that one can situate any individual at a particular point on an extensive typological continuum at one extreme of which we situate such enemies of sexuality and sensuous joy as the early Christian hermits or the technocrats and militarists of our own day, all of whom represent the complete dominance of spirit; and at the opposite extreme of which we locate the Dionysian maenads of antiquity and those rare modern individuals whose delight in the joys of the senses enables them to attain the loftiest imaginable pinnacle of ecstatic vitality: the members of this second group, of course, comprise the party of life, whose ultimate allegiance is rendered to soul.

Before we conclude this brief digression into terminological affairs, we would advise those readers whose insuperable hostility to every form of metaphysical “idealism” compels them to resist all attempts to “place” spirit and soul as “transcendental” entities, that they may nevertheless employ our terms as heuristic expedients, much as Ampére employed the metaphor of the “swimmer” in the electric “current.”

Biocentric Metaphysics in its Historical Context

Perhaps a brief summary will convey at least some notion of the sheer originality and the vast scope of the biocentric metaphysics. Let us begin by placing some aspects of this philosophical system in historical context. For thousands of years, western philosophers have been deeply influenced by the doctrine, first formulated by the Eleatic school and Plato, which holds that the images that fall upon our sensorium are merely deceitful phantoms. Even those philosophers who have rebelled against the schemes devised by Plato and his successors, and who consider themselves to be “materialists,” “monists,” “logical atomists,” etc., reveal that have been infected by the disease even as they resist its onslaught, for in many of their expositions the properties of matter are presented as if they were independent entities floating in a void that suspiciously resembles the transcendent Platonic realm of the “forms.”

Ludwig Klages, on the other hand, demonstrates that it is precisely the images and their ceaseless transformations that constitute the only realities. In the unique phenomenology of Ludwig Klages, images constitute the souls of such phenomena as plants, animals, human beings, and even the cosmos itself. These images do not deceive: they express; these living images are not to be “grasped,” not to be rigidified into concepts: they are to be experienced. The world of things, on the other hand, forms the proper subject of scientific explanatory schemes that seek to “fix” things in the “grasp” of concepts. Things are appropriated by men who owe their allegiance to the will and its projects. The agents of the will appropriate the substance of the living world in order to convert it into the dead world of things, which are reduced to the status of the material components required for purposeful activities such as the industrial production of high-tech weapons systems. This purposeful activity manifests the outward operations of an occult and dæmonic principle of destruction.

Klages calls this destructive principle “spirit” (Geist), and he draws upon the teaching of Aristotle in attempting to account for its provenance, for it was Aristotle who first asserted that spirit (nous) invaded the substance of man from “outside.” Klages’s interpretation of this Aristotelian doctrine leads him to conclude that spirit invaded the realm of life from outside the spatio-temporal world. Likewise, Klages draws on the thought of Duns Scotus, Occam and other late mediæval English thinkers when he situates the characteristic activity of spirit in the will rather than in the intellect. Completely original, however, is the Klagesian doctrine of the mortal hostility that exists between spirit and life (=soul). The very title of the philosopher’s major metaphysical treatise proclaims its subject to be “The Spirit as Adversary of the Soul” (Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele).

The indivisible body-soul unity that had constituted the living substance of man during the “primordial,” or prehistoric, phase of his existence, in time becomes the focus of spirit’s war against life. Spirit severs the vital connection by thrusting itself, like the thin end of an invasive wedge, between the poles of body and soul. History is the tragic chronicle that recounts the ceaseless war that is waged by spirit against life and soul. When the ever-expanding breach between body and soul finally becomes an unbridgeable abyss, the living substance is no more, although no man can predict how long man may endure as a hollow shell or simulacrum. The ceaseless accumulation of destructive power by spirit is accompanied by the reduction of a now devitalized man to the status of a mere machine, or “robot,” who soullessly regurgitates the hollow slogans about “progress,” “democracy,” and the delights of “the consumer society” that are the only values recognized in this world of death. The natural world itself becomes mere raw material to be converted into “goods” for the happy consumer.

A Unified System of Thought: Graphology

Let us now turn to a more detailed survey of the elements that comprise the biocentric system of metaphysics. The thought of Ludwig Klages comprises several structural components, which form a series of interdependent and increasingly comprehensive fields of research. Although each component may be profitably examined as a discrete entity, we can only grasp the full grandeur of Klagesian thought when we study the various components in the context of their interrelationships within the comprehensive system that the philosopher has constructed, for it is only when we view his thought as a unified system that we can comprehend its truly unsurpassed metaphysical profundity. Thus, graphology constitutes one element of expression-research, which, in its turn, constitutes one element of characterology. Characterology, finally, is the indispensable element that enables us to formulate a coherent interpretation of the nature of the universe, viz. philosophy in the strict sense.

Although graphology didn’t initially interest the “natural science” psychologists, the investigations that were conducted by Klages eventually evoked the interest of psychiatrists and applied psychologists, who would eventually incorporate some of his teachings in the curriculum of German universities. Graphology was also utilized in such fields as child-guidance and clinical psychology.

Klages was preceded in this field of research by a host of investigators, most of whom relied on intuitive guesses and inspired leaps of deduction in developing their own, occasionally quite profound, theories. Klages, in fact, pays explicit tribute to these pathfinders in numerous of his graphological publications. (Americans might be startled to learn that Edgar Allan Poe himself has an honorable place in the illustrious line of graphological prophets!) Nevertheless, it was only at the end of the 19th century that the interpretation of written script was erected upon an enduring scientific foundation by the Frenchman J.-H. Michon and the German Wilhelm Preyer.

The most renowned of Klages’s contributions to graphology is his idea of the Formniwo, or “style-value.” With the aid of this tool, the researcher can discriminate between various exemplars (handwritten samples) under examination, and can apply a general overall evaluation (negative, positive, or, even, ambiguous), without the guess-work and shoddy formulations of earlier students, who relied on “isolated signs” to guide them. Klages employs this concept of “style-value” to examine organic, or “holistic” entities, and his evaluation proceeds from a global perception of the personal expression through to a more detailed scrutiny. The procedure begins with an analytical inspection carried out on three levels: 1. the person’s driving-forces or motivations (“interests”); 2. the person’s creative impulses and level of intelligence; and 3. the person’s civic or political virtues. Klages tells us frankly that if we are aware of a person’s emotional makeup, the degree to which he or she is a productive and community-minded member of the polis, and how creative the person is, we know pretty much how that person will react to a life-situation.

We can best understand a person’s emotional life and the level of his intelligence through an analysis of the characteristic rhythm that his handwriting displays. Rhythm is manifested in the harmony of spaces and forms, as evidenced in the margins, the spaces between the lines, and between the letters and words. Here we find the most accurate indications as to the nature of the inner life of the person, and how rich or poor is his thought. The creative elements are best observed in the simplification and improvement that we find in the person’s handwriting. Just as mankind is dependent upon the creative genius for improvements in the cultural and technological fields, and upon the simplifications in technique that are brought about by the inventor, so too will these characteristics be evident in an individual’s handwriting. The creative person is always interested in improving his “tools,” as it were. The degree to which the person will be a coöperative and responsible member of the community is reflected in the legibility and fluency of his handwriting. The legibility of a man’s exemplars is obviously going to indicate his ability to communicate successfully. The fluency will demonstrate the person’s level-headedness and sincerity.

The five keys to the evaluation of style are: 1) Rhythm. Klages tells us that there are inherent rhythmic patterns that govern the universe. We are able to recognize and gauge these rhythms in the spatial patterns of a person’s handwriting by examining whether the margins are contextually harmonious, viz., we must scrutinize a particular exemplar with an eye to determining the natural configurations (structural harmonies) formed by the gaps that intervene between the lines, between the words, and also between the individual letters. Because disharmonies are arresting—they “leap to the eye,” as it were—we have no difficulty in establishing the grade of spatial rhythm in an exemplar. The rating of handwriting’s rhythm is more a matter of insight and intuition than of expert reasoning. 2) Symmetry. In a harmonious exemplar we find that the person does not overdevelop one zone at the expense of another zone; i.e., we do not find the bottom loop of a q to be exaggerated as against the upper zone stroke. In short, where we find such a deviation, or loss of proportion, we must assign the exemplar a low grade. An examination of the individual character’s height (as from the bottom of the q to its summit) cannot furnish us with a sufficient basis upon which to evaluate the overall symmetry of a person’s handwriting. Where we find excessive width, pressure, slant, loops, bars, dots, flourishes, or any other such deviation, we must recognize a disturbance of symmetry. The letters, whether they are capitals or minimum letters, must be well developed in a gradual fashion, avoiding a deflated narrowness as well as an inflated width. In short a character is to be judged both on its height as well as on the amount of space that it covers. Wide lower zone loops in an overall narrow handwriting or conjoined with deflated small letters, indicate a lack of symmetry; and unevenness of pressure or slant belong as well to the category of disproportions. 3) Creativeness. Although very few people exhibit a high degree of symmetry in their handwriting, it is a fact that even fewer display creativeness. Most people will not be grieved by this fact, as most people would rather belong to the bovine throng than to the creative elite—even in their handwriting! Only perhaps one in a thousand are willing to become heretics, to break away from the sweaty masses, to display the slightest signs of independence and boldness, to write an individual hand. In fact, only a genius is capable of inventing new and finer characters and connections, even though such creations might make for easier writing without impaired or compromised legibility. However, we must realize that an original hand and a creative hand can be two different things, for an original scribe is not always creative, but a creative person always will compose an original script. An original script must merely avoid the existing patterns; but an original script must add something to the already existing fund of patterns. A creative script must facilitate writing, and only he who writes a great deal, one who must confront and develop his ideas on the wing, as they come and go, will desire more easily written characters, and will experience the urge to create them. Such a person is ordinarily well educated, and will continue to improve his script throughout his life because he is demanding and discriminating. Klages emphatically asserts that eccentricity alone cannot indicate the creative scribe. All innovations in script will be simpler and easier to write—purpose is the rule for the creative scribe, and not merely unnaturalness. 4) Legibility. A letter is written in order to be read, obviously, and any letter that cannot be deciphered by the addressee has clearly failed of its purpose. We do not normally read from letter to letter, or from word to word. Instead, we read from cluster to cluster of words and only stumble when we come across an unfamiliar expression, or an illegible one. In consequence, the only method that we have to establish objectively the legibility of an exemplar is to remove words at random from their context and scrutinize them. Very often, the most intelligent writers will not pass this test. 5) Speed. The elementary law of creativeness is violated if the sample has not been written spontaneously, if it has required an inordinate amount of time in which to be produced. What is needed here is time saving simplicity. In fact, slowly produced writings often give evidence of criminal tendencies in the scribe. Although such scribes will attempt to furnish a genteel, legible, and conforming script, they often attempt to patch up their initially unworthy efforts by closings open letters, by straightening out faulty strokes, and by re-crossing their t-bars. The overall impression such exemplars give is one of uncleanness. A fluently produced sample, on the other hand, will show a right-slanted writing, with irregularly placed i-dots, with most dots placed ahead of the letter itself, with other letters and letter connections with garland shapes rather than angles or arcades, with the left margins tending to widen as the scribe reaches the bottom of the page, with smooth, light, and unbroken strokes.

Klages definitively refuted the doctrine of “fixed signs,” which had so misled his predecessors, who erroneously ascribed “atomistic” character traits to discrete signs without perceiving the contextual matrix from which the signs are born. The biocentric investigator does not concern himself with expressive fragments: for life can only be found in organic wholes. To summarize: idiosyncratic traits are revealed in such formal elements as evenness, regularity, tempo, distribution, pressure, breadth, consistency, variety, connectedness, “angle of incidence,” and initial stress of the handwritten sample, which is a permanent record of expressive gesture, a residue of living being, an examination of which can eventually enable us to embark upon ever more profound investigations of the inner life of man. (The major graphological texts published by Klages are: Die Probleme der Graphologie [“The Problems of Graphology”], published in 1910; the Handschrift und Charakter [“Handwriting and Character”], of 1912, which has gone through 26 editions; and the Einführung in die Psychologie der Handschrift [“Introduction to the Psychology of Handwriting”], which appeared in 1928.)

A Unified System of Thought: Expression Analysis

From this brief glance at the narrow field of biocentric graphology, we now proceed to a more comprehensive division of the Klagesian system of thought, viz. the “analysis of expression” (Ausdruckskunde). According to Klages, the larger part of our knowledge of the inner life of those around us stems from our ability to comprehend the meanings inherent in each person’s gestures and facial expressions. This knowledge is not mediated by consciousness, for we must grasp the inner life of another directly, if we would grasp it at all. Every expressive movement is the precipitate of a lived impulse, and, unlike the viewpoint advanced by certain “behaviorists,” these impulses are not reducible to the simple antithetic pair: pleasure or pain. Every expressive movement can be interpreted so as to reveal the form, duration, and sequence of the inner impulses. Klages subtly differentiates between several types of movements: the expressive movement, the mechanical movement, and the volitional movement. The expressive movement is regarded as one aspect of the impulse movement; the reflex movement is regarded as an element of the expressive movement; the mechanical movements earlier existed as impulse movements and are to be grouped under this head; volitional-movement is an impulse-movement controlled by the will. The types of movements are differentiated by their relationship to their aims. Volition movements are shaped by expectations of successful outcomes. Expressive movements are symbolic enactments; thus, the facial expression that embodies terror is the symbolic performance of the motions that represent the actions of one who would escape from a situation that evokes terror.

Klages rejects the Darwinian theory of expression, which interprets all expressive movements as the rudimentary remains of actions that once were purposive. This view reflects Darwin’s insistence on rationalizing the “mechanisms” of nature, in spite of the obvious fact that expressive gestures have their origins in the subjectivity of the organism in which they arise. Pace Darwin, Klages insists that the living being never responds to the same stimulus with the same response: it responds to similar impressions with similar reactions. Instincts are similar only in species that are similar, and the process of individuation can only be consummated after the development of judgment and will. The will is not rooted in the affects, for its task is to bind, or repress, the affective life. The power of the will can be expressed as a quantum of driving force that is non-qualitative. It harnesses life in order to direct it to a goal, and the regulation of volition-movement is completely different from expressive movement. The expressive movement has no aim other than itself; the impulse-movement derives its aims from its environment; and for the volitional-movement, the conscious willing of the aim is of the essence. Actions (in contrast to pathic, dream-like states) are volitional movements (handwriting belongs under this head). Since the personality comprises a constellation of dynamic relationships, every movement expresses personality in its essential nature, for the character of an individual is revealed in every action. However, one must study aspects of expression that are outside the realm of volition, not subject to the control of consciousness, and beyond the governance of intention and learned skills. Volitional movement expresses the personality of the willing person; it does not originate in vitality, for it is chained to the causal nexus originating in the conscious mind. By itself, the volition is not expressive; the important thing is the individual course of the movement. There is present in all of an individual’s expressive movements a unity of character, and any movement on the part of a person will assume that type or manner of movement which is characteristic of that individual. Klages asserts that the writing movement, for instance, is the manifestation of the will to express oneself with the aid of a certain writing system, the volition, which is the current state of some personality. Therefore, handwriting is a volitional movement and carries the idiosyncratic stamp of any personality.

Volitional movements cannot exist without impulse movements, but the impulse movement can exist without the volitional one. Every state of the body expresses an impulse system, and every attitude finds its appropriate expression. Every movement of the body is a vital movement that has two constituent parts, the impulse and the expressive. Therefore, an expressive movement is the visible manifestation of the impulses and affects that are symbolically represented in the vital movement of which it is a component part. The expression manifests the pattern of a psychic movement as to its strength, duration, and direction.

Now how is it possible for human beings to perceive, and to interpret, the expression of the soul? Klages answers this by explaining that the capacity for expression is coördinated with the human being’s capacity for impression. Impression is split into two functions: a passive (“pathic”) one, which receives the impression; and an active one, which makes it possible for one to become aware of one’s own nature as well as that of others—only through this objectification can expression have meaning. It is the very foundation of all genuine research into the study of expressive gestures.

Klages cautions the student to avoid all vain quests after qualitative states of expressive movement; instead, we must examine vital “essences,” because, in the end, isolated segments of expression must not be divorced from their organic matrix. This point of view recapitulates Klages’s criticisms of the graphological theory of “isolated signs,” which can never reveal the global structure that embodies the elements of personality.

The study of expressive movement does not derive its findings from the analysis of purely “objective” states, for the entities examined by the biocentric researcher are experienced as living beings. Klages’s affirmation of the value of expression is in perfect harmony with his high evaluation of the pathic or ecstatic abandonment of the ego in a surrender to the actuality of the living images. We can locate an individual’s capacity for such self-abandonment on a continuum that is graduated according to the living content. According to the entity in which it occurs, each rhythmic pulsation gives birth to another and yet another vital content, whether it is manifested as a faint arousal of the soul or as pathic frenzy. Paradoxically, one person’s rage may be shallower and feebler than the mere breathing of another person. The man who able to observe this, and who is thereby enabled to understand the implications of his observations, so that he can distinguish authentic personality from the mere precipitate of its psychic activity, such as a handwritten exemplar, has perceived the agency through which each formal, or functional, element alternately expresses a ‘minus’ character or a ‘plus’ character. He is able to determine, as between one instance of expressive movement and another, whether he is witnessing the strength of a vital impulse or the weakness of an antagonistic inhibition, and can then correctly evaluate the character’s true traits.

The power of creativity, or formative ability [Gestaltungskraft], which is the measure of one’s capacity for enhanced intensity of expressive force, has its only source in nature. However, every vital impulse is impeded by certain binding forces, or inhibitions. This duality is referred to by Klages as the “dual significance of expression.” Thus, if we witness an individual’s performance of a violent act, this act may be the result of the attractive force of the goal towards which he is aiming; or it may, on the other hand, indicate merely a lack of inhibition on the part of the person in question. The will to domination may indicate strength of will, of course; but it may also indicate an embittered affective life. Likewise, sensitivity may arise from emotional delicacy; but it may also be the result of emotional irritability. Such judgments can only be validated on the basis of a global examination of the individual under review.

As we shall see shortly, Klages’s philosophy holds that the historical evolution of culture can only be interpreted as murderous record, a chronicle of ever-mounting horror in the course of which the vital power of expressive forces recedes before the soulless world ruled by the will, most perfectly embodied in the all-powerful state. But the enlightened biocentrist will turn from this dead Dingwelt (thing-world) to seek refreshment in the en-souled Ausdruckswelt (expression-world).

A Unified System of Thought: Characterology

From the study of expressive movement we proceed to characterology (Charakterkunde). Just as graphology led to the more comprehensive science of expression, the science of expression, in turn, provides the fund of empirical observations that supports the biocentric characterology. Klagesian characterology, in fact, constitutes the most comprehensive study of the human being that has ever been formulated. (Characterology, in its turn, constitutes the indispensible structural component of the biocentric scheme of metaphysics).

The Grundlagen der Charakterkunde presents Klages’s system of psychology in great detail, and because his psychological exposition in that treatise is so intimately interrelated with the philosophical exposition contained in Der Geist and in his other philosophical publications, we will treat the characterology and the metaphysics as indivisible aspects of one vast symphony of thought. However, we will say a few words at this point about the most original feature of biocentric characterology, viz., the presentation of character as a dynamic structural system, comprising such elements as the material (Stoff), the structure (Gefüge), the specific type or idiosyncratic quality (Artung), the architectonics (Aufbau), and the constitutional disposition (Haltungsanlagen).

The material comprises such innate capacities as recollection, cognition as it is embodied in conceptual thought, critical “penetration” (or acumen), intensity, sensibility, and many other capacities, all of which are innate, i.e., conditioned by the genetic endowment of the particular character. From the outset, Klages rejects with some contempt the inadequate “tabula rasa” tradition of British empiricism, which he correctly traces back to its source in Locke and his school. This innate material occurs in various combinations that vary from person to person, and although Klages ordinarily voices opposition to methodologies that are based upon quantitative “formalism,” he agrees that the material is measurable in at least a metaphorical sense, for it constitutes our personal possession, the “capital,” as it were, with which we are equipped.

The structure comprises such differentiations as: temperamental or reserved, wandering or fixed, emotionally stable or unstable. Within each personality there is a unique tempo of affective excitability that can be analogized to an emotional wave, whose quantum of reactivity is functionally related to an individual’s internal organic processes. Unlike the purely innate capacities, the characteristics can be adequately expressed as a correlation between the magnitude of an impulse and the force of resistance to that impulse (we had occasion earlier to refer briefly to this relationship as it pertains to the analysis of expressive gestures).

The quality relates to the formal aspects of volition and the tendencies of the affects, which unite to form the system of drving-forces or “interests.” Specific driving-forces are by their nature directional, as we can see by examining the different goals toward which a greedy person or domineering person seem to be impelled. Architectonics constitutes the correlated interrelationships that weave all the other elements of the character together.

Finally, the dispositions (or attitudes) comprise those traits that are obvious even to the cursory glance of an external observer, and among these traits we find courage, talkativeness, diffidence, and obnoxiousness.

However, the most important of all the elements that make up the character is the qualitative estimation of an individual’s capacities of feeling and volition. Volition is a limited instantiation of the will, and the will is of the very essence of spirit; in fact the will is the darkest and most destructive of spirit’s manifestations, the demon of negation, the very essence of the void.

The constellation of the driving-forces constitutes the personality, and these driving forces are as diverse and multiform as life. The drive is manifest as an urge that issues in a movement, and that movement is generated under the influence of the non-conceptual, vital experience of a power to which Klages has given the name symbol. The driving-forces are polarized, for a drive that has its source in an excess of energy (thus entailing an impulse to discharge energy) must be contrasted with the drive that arises out of a lack of energy (which will give rise to the attempt to recoup energy). There are drives that can be stirred without regard to time, as well as drives that manifest periodicity

The instincts are opposed to the will. The will devises conscious, purposive projects that are in conflict with the immediate desire for gratification of the instincts. In opposition to the world as it is felt, the will erects conscious purposiveness and the life-hostile, moralistic codes of ethics. The authentic content of the personality is drawn from the living world, but the will ruthlessly imposes form upon that content by constricting, inhibiting, directing, or suppressing the instincts and affects. The will possesses no original, creative power of its own. The will is incarnated in man as the ego, which can be expressed metaphorically as the rudder on a vessel whose only function is controlling the vessel’s course. The will-as-ego is characterized by self-awareness and insistent activity. The instinctual drives, on the other hand, give birth to an unconscious, “pathic” surrender to the living cosmos. The instincts and affects are revealed in the love for knowledge, Eros, the quest for truth, and the admiration of beauty. The will reveals its nature in duty, conscience, ambition, greed, and egomania. The will seeks to repress or extirpate the vital impulses, and the destructive effects of the will in action can even be fatal to the organism, as we can see in the case of the political revolutionary who embarks on a fatal hunger-strike. The shattered health and twisted mind resulting from the obsessive asceticism of the religious zealot is too familiar to require further elaboration.

Philosophical Works

The strictly philosophical writings of Ludwig Klages comprise a wide range of materials. In length they range from pithy articles contributed to various lexicons and encyclopedias, through extended essays and revamped lectures, and culminate in his full-dress, formal treatises, the most comprehensive of which is the epochal Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele [3 volumes, 1929-32]. Der Geist contains an astonishing 1500 pages of text as well as an elaborate scholarly apparatus devoted to source notes and ancillary material, the closely-printed text of which would make a fair-sized book on its own!

One of his shorter essays, the Brief Über Ethik, which was published shortly after the German defeat in 1918, is of exceptional interest to the student of race. Unlike many of his optimistic contemporaries, Klages viewed the catastrophic mongelization that was poisoning the Aryan race as an ineluctable doom, the fatal and irremediable dissolution of life under the savage assault of triumphant spirit. In the Brief, his intense study of the psychological aspects of man’s disastrous evolution, enabled him to trace the 20th century’s accursed proliferation of “slave”-types and men without character to a single poisonous source, for the production of such wretched types, he proclaims, “has arisen, arises now, and will arise, always and everywhere, as the direct result of racial bastardization and pollution of the blood!” On similar grounds, he excoriates the modern world’s monstrous plague of moralistic fanaticism in the Brief, asserting that the rapidly increasing legions of ethical preachers constitute one more manifestation of the dysgenic breeding that is destroying our culture. The moral maniac’s twisted psyche within as well as his distorted physiognomy without clearly demonstrate that such a creature “is merely the spiritual expression of tainted blood!” Because the modern world regards the man of ethics, will, and reason as the sole proper vehicle of ego and spirit, no one should be surprised that traditional and healthy value must go to the wall. Race, breeding, nobility, depth of soul, beauty, courage, and blood, are one and all devoid of substance to the moralist and the egalitarian crusader. To them, man is his mind, his morals, and his ego, and the man who has given his sole allegiance to ego and spirit, has simultaneously surrendered all interest in the particular man. Henceforth he compulsively devotes his attentions to man as generality. Klages ridicules all respect for “humanity,” that ghost of an abstraction, as a willful repudiation of every vital power of discrimination, and he who stubbornly refuses to immerse himself in the undiffentiated ochlocratic mob will always be assailed as an enemy of “mankind.” This humanitarian insanity is, paradoxically, also the root of the murderous career of Christian and post-Christian civilization, for those who preach so incessantly of “love” and who babble so cretinously of “compassion,” have but one response to those who do not endorse their “spiritual” values: that response is murder. The egalitarian can never face the obvious fact that wherever and whenever you order a man to love, you have guaranteed that he will respond with hate.

The racialist theoreticians whom Klages most admired and cited most pertinently in his collected works were Gobineau, Ludwig Woltmann, and L. F. Clauss. Klages’s analysis of the racial dimension of the science of expression is indebted to the analytical studies of race and expression published by Clauss, especially in the formulation by Klages of what we will call the racial continuum of expression and excitability. No objective observer would wish to deny the obvious fact that the Mediterranean division of the Aryan race is typically characterized by a greater ease of expression than is found in the Nordic Aryan. Klages enforces the validity of this truth quite vividly through the ingenious use of national stereotypes as illustrative heuristic expedients; thus, his typological extremes extend from the Italian, in whom we find the maximum ease of expressive gesture as well as the greatest degree of temperamental excitability, passes through the various intermediary increments, and arrives at the opposite extreme of the racial continuum of expression, where Klages situates the only possible candidate for title of least expressive and most temperamentally reserved of European Aryans, viz., the Englishman.

In his critical exposition of the doctrine of the “temperaments,”Klages extends his investigation of individual differences to encompass an analysis of the capacity for stimulation of the will that is peculiar to the different races. Several qualities that are falsely considered by many researchers to be permanently and deeply rooted in man, e.g., the tendency to seek for perfection and the adoption of an “idealistic” point of view, vanish almost completely in the course of a lifetime. On the other hand, the least variable property of a character is this “capacity for stimulation of the will,” which Klages calls the “constant of temperament.” The magnitude, or degree, of the capacity for such stimulation varies significantly between the races as well, and because it constitutes a temperamental “constant,” it provides a permanent index of racial differences. The Oriental race, for instance, is characterized by a will that is far less excitable than the will of the Aryan, and Klages draws upon the great Count Gobineau for an illustration: “Consider…buying and selling as they are practiced in an Oriental bazaar. An Oriental will bargain for the same article with perfect equanimity for days on end, whereas the European loses patience after an hour, and often much sooner. Joseph Arthur de Gobineau makes a fine artistic use of these differences of character in his Nouvelles Asiatiques.”

Like Gobineau, Woltmann, and Clauss, Klages was a universal scholar who possessed the same wide-ranging vision and the treasures of living wisdom that all of these men shared. And we can be apodictically certain that every one of these scholars would have rejected with utter scorn the narrow-minded theory, endorsed even by many modern writers who consider themselves to be the true heirs of the great racialists of yore, which holds that the quality of a man can be reduced to a mathematical expression. Without a doubt, Klages would have felt that the egalitarian lunacy that now rules the world is only slightly more ludicrous than the attempts that are made by modern anti-egalitarians to reduce man to his IQ. And when certain writers attempt to place characterology on a “scientific” basis through the use of factor-analysis—in other words, by pouring even more formalistic mathematics into the sauce!—we can imagine his ironic smile as he whispers: sancta simplicitas!

Klages traces the origins of the modern, mongrelized world’s moralistic fanaticism and criminality back to its source in another devastatingly ironic essay, Das Problem des SOKRATES, in which he dismantles the beloved figure of Socrates as if he were a defective toaster-oven. Because Socrates is regarded by Klages as the very antithesis of the true philosopher, we will examine in some detail this unconventional and irreverent analysis of Socrates and his thought. Without qualification or proviso, Klages launches his attack. He sees Socrates as an utter fraud, a dissembling hypocrite, a complete ignoramus in scientific matters whose arrogance and lack of curiosity are truly astonishing. Why did Socrates ignore the truly epochal cosmological discoveries that were being made by the Hylozoists? A true philosopher would have been enthralled by the discoveries of these great scholars, but Socrates could care less. Heraclitus, Protagoras, and the Hylozoists were the true philosophers, not this rachitic ghoul, this professional sponger and house-guest, this most sophistical of sophists who habitually sought to diminish the genuine achievements of his hated contemporaries, not by surpassing them, but by dismissing them instead as contemptible—sophists!

No figure in the intellectual history of Greece had a more skilful touch when it came to lodging dust in his spectators’ eyes. We witness the Socratic gambit par excellence when this logomach employs the most childish word-games conceivable in order to transform his blatant lack of creative talent into that which he has successfully persuaded all subsequent generations was, in reality, the most dazzling array of talents ever united within one mortal frame. Socrates obviously couldn’t master science: therefore science is an unworthy avocation! A prominent Sophist has arrived in town, and the word is out that he has prepared his lectures with a scrupulous care for formal elegance and a proper observance of the canons of logic: therefore, says Socrates, he’s nothing but logic-chopping hustler with a fancy prose style and a yen for a fast buck! From the dawn of time this has been, is now, and ever will remain, the bitter complaint leveled by the work-shy parasite against the gainfully employed citizen.

In addition to his other dubious gifts, Socrates is also an unparalleled expert at forestalling criticism, for his hidden motivation seems almost childishly transparent when we find him assuring his audience, with all the candor and guilelessness of a Uriah Heep, that the only thing that he knows is that he knows nothing! And this pish posh and flummery is still luring philosophical yokels to the Socratic side-show 2,400 years later!

In fact, the whole repertoire of Socratic methods is exactly what Hegel and Klages say that it is: a bare-faced and unworthy swindle. Furthermore, although hardly any commentator has drawn attention to the fact, Socrates was completely successful in one of his more sinister ploys, for his most subtle dialectical maneuvers can even be said to have ominous political implications in addition to their philosophical ones. We are alluding to the sly manipulation whereby Socrates assures his auditors that the truths that they seek are already within them, for his seemingly innocent claim conceals the fact that by this very means Socrates is engineering a monstrous and underhanded tyranny over naïve youths who can scarcely realize that, invariably, everything that they will “discover” within them has already been planted there by an autocratic and mendacious charlatan!

But what of the great martyr to “free thought,” the plaster bust whom endless generations have been taught to revere as a saint and genius? Nonsense, says Klages. Not for the first, and certainly not for the last time, Klages confounds our expectations by explicitly endorsing his predecessor Hegel’s view, for Hegel effortlessly proved that Socrates got just what what coming to him. Hegel found that the conduct of the court during the trial of Socrates was legally unimpeachable and he wholeheartedly endorsed the verdict of the court. Klages also draws on Hegel’s account when he directs our attention to this charlatan’s truly mortal offenses against Athens, for who among this sophist’s accusers could forget for one moment the brutal crimes that were committed against the citizenry of Athens by Kritias, who in addition to being one of the the dearest pupils of Socrates, was also the bloodiest of all the Thirty Tyrants? And was not another cherished apostle—and, perhaps, a bit more—of Socrates, i.e., the slimy Alcibiades, known by both court and citizenry as the conscienceless traitor who bore the ultimate responsibility for the defeat and downfall of Athens in the Peloponnesian War? This obvious truth was disputed by no sane Athenian.

No Greek thinker known to history, in fact, has a flimsier claim to the august title of true philosopher than this mongrelized gargoyle whose moral mania and theatrically grandiose death anticipate both the ethical idiocy and the shabby demise of the founder of the Christian cult, and Klages explicitly speaks of Socrates as the ancient world’s first Christian martyr. In the end, the only genuine achievements that can be credited to Socrates, Klages insists, were in the fields of epistemology and philosophical linguistics. And in all candor, who would seek to challenge the view that Socrates had about as much capacity for meaningful metaphysical speculation as your average floor-polisher? The rest is smoke and mirrors, a petty swindler’s sleight of hand.

Another brief philosophical text by Klages has become his best-known and most controversial work. In 1913, publisher Eugen Diederichs and the organizers of the anniversary celebration of the “Battle of the Nations” (which had taken place at Leipzig during the Wars of Liberation against Napoleon) invited the philosopher to address the representatives of the German Youth Movement. He delivered his Mensch und Erde, a stunning and prophetic attack on the enemies of Mother Earth, which was later published in a commemorative volume featuring a striking piece of cover-art by the neo-pagan painter Fidus. This seminal work has only recently received its due as the first statement of the philosophy of “deep ecology” when a new edition was published in 1980 in coordination with the establishment of the German “Green” political party. In this “roll-call of the dead,” Klages laments the destruction of wildlife and landscape by encroaching “civilization,” and, in attacking the very idea of “Progess,” Klages praises the chthonic gods who have been driven into the underworld. He deplores the extinction of animal species and their wild habitats, the loss of ancient forests, and the annihilation of aboriginal peoples. He condemns Capitalism, Christianity, and utilitarianism as weapons aimed at the destruction of the ecology. Even tourism is excoriated as just another agent of environmental destruction, and Klages laments the murder of the whales long before such a concern was widespread .

“Without a doubt,” Klages says, “we are living in the age of the waning of the Soul,” and he insists that when Spirit has finally silenced the “primal song of the landscape,” the earth will be converted into “one gigantic Chicago interspersed with agriculture.” Our machines are attended by machine-men, whose noisy and glittering amusements are unable to conceal the fact that the world has been stripped of all life-enhancing symbols and ritual observances. Our hearts are barren, and “their inner rivulets can no longer water the blossoms of song and holy feasts; there remains only this bleak and grey workaday world,” in this age of soul-destruction.

“Progress” is simply an “unfettered lust for murder,” and all of nature must perish “before its poisonous breath.” Our age has lost all “knowledge of the world-creating, world-weaving force of all-unifying Eros.” “Originating with Socrates and coming through Kant all the way down to the present age, the hoarse demand of the Will resonates in every one of the refractions, disguises, and transformations assumed by our ethical systems, that it is the duty of man to control himself, to subject his desires to the rule of reason, to moderate his feelings when he can’t manage to exterminate them entirely.” Moralistic preachers, devoted to the “improvement” of man, are nothing but criminals against life, whose immunity to the lessons of experience is reflected in their oblivion to the data of our historical experience. The “inborn” conscience, as a matter of fact, is not at all an original fact of existence, for it cannot be found anywhere else in the animal kingdom; conscience is merely spirit’s poison at its work of destroying the soul of man. Under this influence, the soul can no longer dwell amid the pulsating flux of images, for a despotic rationality, in tandem with this moral mania, finally substitutes for the endless “becoming” of the actuality of the world of nature, the disconnected, dead world of “being.” “Whatever falls under the ray of intellect is immediately turned into a mere thing, a numbered object of thought connected only mechanically with other objects. The paradox enunciated by the modern sage, ‘we perceive but what is dead’, is a lapidary formulation of a profound truth.” Klages tells us that Life must soon perish, “for the hour of returning has been missed.”

The philosopher’s meditations on the myths and mysteries of the ancient Mediterranean world form the substance of the treatise entitled Vom kosmogonischen Eros, which appeared in 1922. Paradoxically, perhaps, in view of the anti-Socratism that we’ve been discussing, Klages follows the classic Platonic exposition in the “Symposium” regarding the nature of Eros, which is held to be compounded of antitheses such as wealth and poverty, fullness and emptiness, possession and want. This insight accounts for the dual nature of all striving, for every impulse and every desire arises from a lack of something that we yearn to possess and perishes at the moment when that which we have yearned to possess falls into our hands.

The duality that constitutes the substance of man is also clarified in the Eros-book. In primordial ages, man’s nature comprised the connected poles of body and soul, whose vital bonds it is spirit’s mission to sever from the moment that man enters into the realm of recorded history. Klages also clarifies the unique status of the image in his course of his exposition of biocentric phenomenology: “Wherever we find a living body, there we also find a soul; wherever we find a soul, there also we find a living body. The soul is the meaning of the body, and the image of the body is the manifestation of the soul. Whatever appears has a meaning, and every meaning reveals itself as it is made manifest. Meaning is experienced inwardly, the manifestation outwardly. The first must become image if it is to communicate itself, and the image must be re-internalized so that it may take effect. Those are, in the most literal sense, the twin poles of actuality.” (Klages’s exposition had, for once, been anticipated by Friedrich Paulsen, in whose textbook, “An Introduction to Philosophy,” we find the following remark: “Either we must regard the entire body, including the nervous system, as a system of means external to the soul, or we must regard the entire body as the visible expression, or physical equivalent, of life” [emphasis added]).

Life is not governed by spirit, for “the law of spirit” demands that spirit divorce itself utterly from the “rhythms of cosmic life.” Only the living image possesses a truly vital autonomy, for the image alone is independent of spirit. The image remains totally unaffected by whether or not the receiver of the sensuous image recollects its visitation afterwards. The thing, on the other hand, is thought into the world of consciousness. It exists as a dimension of a person’s inwardness. Life is not directed towards the future, for the future is not a property of actual time. The great error of Promethean man was in his elevating that which was to come to the same stage of actuality as the past. The “man of ‘world-history’” is a man dedicated to voids. He has annihilated and is annihilating the actuality of what has been in order to devote himself more completely to the projects of a hallucination called the future. He insists on shattering the fruitful connection of the near and the far in order to erect in its place the present’s Wandering Jew-like fascination “with a distant phantasm of futurity.” Actual time is a “stream coursing from the future into the past.”

This “cosmogonic Eros” of which Klages speaks is the life-creating son of the Mother Goddess of the prehistoric Ægean world, and must not be confused with the vapid cupids that can still be found on ancient Roman frescoes, whose pale plaster descendants so gaudily adorn the walls and ceilings of the palaces of rococo Europe. A more authentic incarnation is found in the Theogony of Hesiod, in which the poet calls Eros one of the first beings, born without father or mother. Likewise, in the Orphic hymns, Kronos is his father; Sappho calls him the offspring of Earth and Heaven; and Simonides traces the descent of Eros to the union of Aphrodite and Ares. Hesiod’s treatment, by far the most profound, portrays Eros as the force of attraction upon which the very existence of the material world depends. When Hesiod makes Eros the offspring of the rainbow and the westwind, he is indicating, by the use of metaphor, that spring, the season in which they prevail, is the time of love. For Hesiod, Eros is “the most beautiful of all the deathless gods.” The historical aspect of Klages’s text is largely an apologia for the Weltanschauung of Bachofen, with its forthright celebration of the “world of woman” and the life of “primitive” peoples (his most elaborate presentation of the Magna Mater and her world will appear in the crucial chapter on the “Great Mother” in Der Geist, which bears the telling subtitle “Marginal Observations on Bachofen’s Discoveries”).

Eros is to be distinguished from “love” and “sex,” both of which are tied to that obnoxious entity the “self” (Selbst), which tends to become the center of gravity in the life of man as history progressively tears his soul from the earth, turning the richly-endowed individual into a hollow mask and robot, divorced from Eros and earth. All Eros is Eros of distance (Eros der Ferne), and a moment’s reflection will suffice to demonstrate that nothing is more characteristic of our modern planetary technology than its tendency toward the annihilation of distance. Likewise, the will-to-possesion, the impulse for domination, and the thoughtless addiction to “information” that characterizes modern man are all condemned by Klages as attempts to lift the veil of Isis, which he sees as the ultimate “offense against life.” “The intellectual will to power is the crime against life itself, causing man to meet life’s vindictive retaliation.” For behind the veil, there is “nothingness,” which is to say spirit and the will to desubstantialize the cosmos. This “modern man” has traveled very far indeed from the Naturvölker, who prefer life to cogitation, and who experience the erotic bond without commingling their precious egos, whose desire is impersonal and not focused upon an insane idealization and apotheosis of the loved one. For Klages, the most vital manifestation of Eros is not the “love unto death” of sentimental “tragedy,” but is, instead, a surrender of the will to the impersonal forces of the cosmos. There is an Eros of the home as well as of the homeland, an Eros of the implement that we have fashioned with our own hands as well as an Eros of the art work that we have created with the implement’s aid. Eros inhabits, in fact, any object of perception to which we feel intimately connected, and all such objects and events become living symbols of our joys or of our sorrows. The ego has nothing to do with these erotic bonds, anymore than it has anything to do with maternal love.

Soul and Spirit

The very title of Klages’s metaphysical treatise, Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele, “The Spirit as Adversary of the Soul,” refers to the ceaseless and savage battle waged by spirit against the soul. The mounting onslaught of spirit against the living soul has constituted the innermost essence of the life of man. Whereas spirit once existed in a temporary and uneasy symbiosis with the soul, in the course of human history spirit’s destructive power waxes ever stronger, until spirit eventually abandons the symbiotic compromise that endured whilst the powers of life were still exalted, and erupts into the waning empire of the living soul as a savage and unyielding dæmon whose malevolent career reaches its grisly climax in our apocalyptic age of “virtual” reality, compassion-babble, hydrogen bombs, and racial chaos.

But just what is this “soul”? In the first place, the soul is not something exclusively human, for all phenomena possess soul, viz., the sea, animals, mountains, the wind, and the stars. In fact, all phenomena are “en-souled.” Now the soul possesses two poles, the archetypal soul and the substantial soul, or, to look upon these matters from a slightly different angle, a passive receptor pole and an active effector pole. The passive receptor pole is, in the thought of Klages, the truly characteristic aspect for the soul’s life. From its birth, the soul leads a pathic, or passive, dream-existence, in which its life is filled with visionary images. The soul only becomes released for activity in the phenomenal world when the bearer of that soul is confronted by the polarity of another soul, which forces each soul to reveal its nature to the other. The original characteristics of the soul are night, dreaming, rhythmic pulsation, infinite distance, and the realm of the unconscious.

The “elementary” substances that constitute the earth originated under the complex influence of telluric and cosmic forces, and the symbiotic interaction of all telluric phenomena was required in order to bring the animate world into being. According to the doctrine of the “actuality of the images,” the plant represents the transitional stage between the element and the living creature. (The botanist Jagadis Bose performed experiments that he felt conclusively demonstrated the capacity of plants to experience pain). The plant experiences life in the form of growth and maturation, as well as in the creation of offspring through the processes familiar to natural science. Spontaneous movements of various kinds are characteristic of plant-life, viz., the turning of the leaves and buds to the light, the sending of the root-system into the soil in order to extract nourishment from the earth, the fixing of supportive tendrils to fixed surfaces, etc. Klages draws our attention to the fact that there are several varieties of plant that are indubitably capable of self-motility. There are, at this threshold of another realm of being, organisms such as sea squirts, mussels, oysters, sponges, and zoophytes, which become fixed in their habitat only after the early stages of the lives. (When Verworrn published his experiments on the psychical life of the protista in 1899, he attributed sensation to these organisms, a position that certainly has much to recommend it. But when he attempted to demonstrate that even the will is in evidence at this stage of life, one can only shake one’s head in disbelief, for that which this author adduces as evidence of volition in the protista is the simple phenomenon of reaction to stimuli! Thus, Verworrn equates the reactive responses in the protista to the action of the will in man, in whom the “volitional” processes are more highly developed. This is certainly a case of blindness to a difference of essence.)

In the next developmental stage, i.e., that of the animal, the soul is now captured in a living body. The drives and instincts make their first appearance during this phase. The characteristic functions of the creature comprise physical sensation (as represented by the body-pole) and contemplation (the psychical pole). The living body is the phenomenon of the soul, and the soul is the meaning of the living body. However, in opposition to the realm of the lower animals, wherein sensation dominates contemplation, we find that in the higher animals, contemplation is strengthened at the expense of the physical sensations, as the result of spirit’s invasion of the life-cell, which occurs at this time. Now if one were to consider “the waking state” to be synonymous with consciousness itself, than one must consclude that consciousness is present in animal and man alike. According to Klages, however, it is only the capacity for conceptual thought that characterizes consciousness, so that we must attribute consciousness proper only to man. In the animal, the image cannot be divorced from the sensory impression. In man, on the other hand, the content of the visual image can be separated from the act of perception that receives that content throught the sensorium. Therefore, although the animal undoubtedly possesses instincts, only man is truly conscious.

The biological processes that constitute plant life and animal life are also operative in man, but with the intervention of spirit (at least during the initial phase of development, during which spirit and life maintain some kind of balance), he is capable of creating symbolic systems of communication and expression, viz., art and poetry, as well as myth and cult. The processes of life establish the polar connection between the actual images of the world (or, the “macrocosm”) and the pathic soul that receives them (or, the “microcosm”).

The human soul comprises the totality of the immediate experiences of man. It is the soul that receives its impressions of actuality in the shape of images. “The image that falls upon the senses: that, and nothing besides, is the meaning of the world,” Klages insists, and one such immediate act of reception can be seen in the manner in which one comprehends the imagery employed by a great poet or the skillfully drawn portrait executed by a gifted artist. The actualities received by the “pathic” soul are experienced in the dimensions of space and time, but they have their coming-to-be and their passing-away solely within the temporal order. In sharp contrast to the traditional Christian insistence that virtue constitutes a valorization of the “spirit” at the expense of a denigrated body, Klages sees man’s highest potential in the state of ecstasy, i.e., the privileged state of rapture in which the connected poles of body and soul are liberated from the intrusive “spirit.” What the Christian understands by the word soul is, in fact, actually spirit, and spirit—to simplify our scheme somewhat for the sake of expediency—is the mortal adversary of the soul. Another way to express this insight would be the formula: spirit is death, and soul is life.

Spirit manifests its characteristic essence in formalistic cognition and technological processes and in the hyper-rationalism that has pre-occupied western thought since the Renaissance. Both mathematical formalism and “high” technology have reared their conceptual skyscrapers upon a foundation formed by the accumulation of empirical data. Spirit directs its acolytes to the appropriation and rigidification of the world of things, especially those things that are exploitable by utilitarian technocrats. Spirit fulfils its project in the act, or event, that occurs within the spatio-temporal continuum, although spirit itself has its origin outside that continuum. Spirit is manifest in man’s compulsive need to seize and control the materials at hand, for only “things” will behave consistently enough for the spirit-driven utilitarian to be able to “utilize” them by means of the familiar processes of quantification and classification, which enable “science” to fix, or “grasp,” the thing in its lethal conceptual stranglehold.

We must draw a sharp distinction between the thing and its properties on one side, and the “essence” (Wesen) and its characteristics on the other. Only an essence, or nature, can be immediately experienced. One cannot describe, or “grasp,” an essence by means of the conceptual analysis that is appropriate only when a scientist or technician analyzes a thing in order to reduce it to an “objective” fact that will submit to the grasp of the concept. The souls of all phenomena unite to comprise a world of sensuous images, and it is only as unmediated images that the essences appear to the pathic soul who receives their meaning-content. The world of essences (phenomena) is experienced by the pathic soul, which is the receptor of the fleeting images that constitute actuality [Wirklichkeit der Bilder]. These images wander eternally in the restless cosmic dance that is the Heraclitean flux. The image lives in intimate connection with the poles of space and time.

The world of things, on the other hand, is rationally comprehended as a causally connected system of objects (noumena). In the course of historical time man’s ability to perceive the living images and their attendant qualities is progressively impoverished until finally spirit replaces the living world of expressive images with the dead world of mere things, whose only connections are adequately expressed in the causal nexus, or, to use the language of science, the “laws of nature.”

In the final act of the historical tragedy, when there is no longer any vital substance upon which the vampire spirit may feed, the parasitic invader from beyond time will be forced to devour itself.

Paradise Lost

We see that the philosophy of Klages has both a metaphysical dimension as well as a historical one, for he sees the history of the world as the tragic aftermath to the disasters that ensued when man was expelled from the lost primordial paradise in which he once enjoyed the bliss of a “Golden Age.” When man found himself expelled from the eternal flux of coming-to-be and passing-away of the lost pagan paradise, he received in exchange the poor substitute known as consciousness. Paradise was lost, in effect, when man allowed his temporally-incarnated life-cell to be invaded by the a-temporal force that we call spirit.

Klages is quite specific in putting forward a candidate for this “Golden Age” which prospered long before spirit had acquired its present, murderous potency, for it is within the pre-historic Ægean culture-sphere, which has often been referred to by scholars as the “Pelasgian” world, that Klages locates his vision of a peaceful, pagan paradise that was as yet resistant to the invasive wiles of spirit.

Now who are these “Pelasgians,” and why does the Pelasgian “state of mind” loom so largely in Klages’s thought? According to the philosopher, the development of human consciousness, from life, to thought, to will, reveals itself in the three-stage evolution from pre-historic man (the Pelasgian), through the Promethean (down to the Renaissance), to the Heracleic man (the stage which we now occupy). For Klages, the Pelasgian is the human being as he existed in the pre-historic “Golden Age” of Minoan Crete, Mycenean Hellas, and the related cultures of the Aegean world. He is a passive, “pathic” dreamer, whose predominant mode of being is contemplation. He consorts directly with the living Cosmos and its symbols, but he is doomed.

The “Pelasgians” occupy a strategic place in the mythos of Ludwig Klages, and this “Pelasgian Realm” of Klages closely resembles the mythic Golden Age of Atlantis that looms so large in the Weltanschauung of E. T. A. Hoffmann. But who, in fact, were these Pelasgians? According to the pre-historians and mythologists, the Pelasgians were an ancient people who inhabited the islands and seacoasts of the eastern Mediterranean during the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. Homer, in a well-known passage in the Odyssey (XIX, 175 ff), places them on Crete, but another writer, Dionysius Halicarnassus, could only tell us that the Pelasgians were autokhthonoi, or “indigenous” throughout Hellas. Homer also refers to “Lord Zeus of Dodona, Pelasgian,” in the Iliad (II, 750). Plutarch says of them that “they were like the oak among trees: the first of men at least in Akhaia,” while Pliny believes that Peloponnesian Arkadia was originally called Pelasgis; that Pelasgos was an aristocratic title; and that the Pelasgians were descended from the daughters of Danaos.

The most famous Pelasgian settlement was at Dodona, and Thucydides (we discover with relief) informs us that all Greece was Pelasgian before the Trojan war (approximately 1200 B. C.): “Before the Trojan War no united effort appears to be made by Hellas; and to my belief that name itself had not yet been extended to the entire Hellenic world. In fact, before the time of Hellen, son of Deucalion, the appelation was probably unknown, and the names of the different nationalities prevailed locally, the widest in range being ‘Pelasgians.’” (Book One of the “History of the Peloponnesian War,” Oxford text, edited by H. Stuart-Jones; translated by Arnold J. Toynbee). Homer mentions them in the Iliad (ii, 840), and, in the Odyssey (xix, 172-7), the poet describes them as “divine.” Racially, there seems to be no doubt that the Pelasgians were an Aryan people, and physical anthropologists inform us that the twenty skulls discovered at the Minoan sites of Palakaistro, Zakro, and Gournia turn out to be predominantly dolicocephalic, with the cranial indices averaging 73.5 for the males, and 74.9 for the women (Prehistoric Crete, by R. W. Hutchinson, London, 1962). The historian Herodotus, like Thucydides, groups all of the pre-classical peoples of the Hellenic world under the name Pelasgian: “Croesus made inquiries as to which were the greatest powers in Hellas, with a view to securing their friendly support, and, as a result of these inquiries, he found that the Lacedaemonians and the Athenians stood out among the people of the Dorian and Ionian race respectively. Of these people that had thus made their mark, the latter was originally a Pelasgian and the former a Hellenic nationality….As regards the language spoken by the Pelasgians, I have no exact information; but it is possible to argue by inference from the still-existing Pelasgians who occupy the city of Creston in the hinterland of the Tyrrhennians; from the other Pelasgians who have settled in Placia and Scylace on the Hellespont; and from the various other communities of Pelasgian race which have changed their national name. If inferences may be legitimately drawn from this evidence, then the original Pelasgians were speakers of a non-Greek language, and the Athenian nation must have learned a new language at the time when they changed from Pelasgians into Hellenes. At all events, the inhabitants of Creston and of Placia, who in neither case speak the same language as their present respective neighbors, do speak the same language as one another…In contrast to this, the Hellenic race has employed an identical language continuously, ever since it came into existence. After splitting off from the Pelasgian race, it found itself weak, but from these small beginnings it has increased until it now includes a number of nationalities, its principal recruits being Pelasgians It is my further opinion that the non-Hellenic origin of the Pelasgians accounts for the complete failure of even this nationality to grow to any considerable dimensions” (Herodotus, Book I, chapters 56 to 58; translated by Arnold J. Toynbee). The rest, as they say, is silence (at least in the Classical sources), and we can see why this obscure people should appeal to the mythologizing “Golden Age” bent of Klages. Modern authorities regard the Pelasgians as inhabitants of a purely Neolithic culture pertaining only to the area of Thessaly bounded by Sesklo in the east and the Peneios valley in the west (the area which is now known as Thessaliotis).

Although the philosopher’s alluring portrait of the Pelasgians was formulated before modern archaeology had completed our image of Ægean prehistory, the picture which Klages paints, in the Eros-book and in the “Magna Mater” chapter of Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele, of a vibrant, healthy, and physically beautiful people, in touch with the gods and with Nature, requires little—if any—correction in the wake of the new researches. The figures who move so gracefully through the enchanted atmosphere of the Palace frescoes at Knossos, as they carry their brightly-colored gifts of vase, flowers, and pyxis, to the Goddess, are straight out of a poet’s dream. The young women walk barefoot, and wear hip-hugging, flared skirts to which flounces are attached at knee and hem; their long raven-tresses are worn in a chignon, adorned with red and white ribbons, and their jackets are brightly colored, usually pink or sky-blue. The gifts that they bring to the Mother Goddess are also brilliantly colored: a porphyry pyxis; poppies of red and white, and a bottle striped with silver, gold, and copper bands. They wear bracelets and necklaces dressed with strands of beads. They appear graceful and serene with their white breasts in profile in the tholos tombs as well.

This Minoan, or “Pelasgian,” world was characterized by a dialectical fusion of two strains of religiosity: on the one hand, we meet with the Ægean worship of the Mother Goddess, with all that that entails with regard to ritual and style of living; and, on the other, we confront the Indo-European sky-god, or Father God, and the two strains seem to co-exist in an uneasy, unstable—but certainly fruitful—truce. Mythologists tell us that this heritage is reflected in the tales that indicate the marriages between the Indo-European sky-god Zeus with various incarnations of the Ægean Mother-Goddess (in some of the myths, Zeus is, himself, born on Crete!). In time, of course, the Father God will achieve dominance in the Hellenic world, but Klages is more interested in traces of the religion of the Goddess as it survives from the Stone Age into the world of the second millennium B.C. Our philosopher, in effect, merges the misty Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of the ancient Aegean into a single magical world-space, wherein an innocent race lives at one with Nature and the Goddess. Klages treats the Pelasgians as the primeval Hellenes, who worshiped the Goddess, as she was embodied in female idols in the form of figurines of the famous steatopygous Fertility-Goddess type, with huge belly and swollen buttocks (even though this iconographic image, represented most clearly in the “Venus of Willendorf,” proceeds from a much-earlier cultural stratum, the Palaeolithic. The later Greeks celebrated Demeter, the Life-Mother, in the Eleusinian mysteries). The Palace Culture of Minoan Crete would exemplify the matriarchalist style of the (late) Pelasgian world, especially as prehistoric Knossos had a far more sophisticated attitude toward women than did, say, the later Periclean Athens. For instance, in the legend of Ariadne, the fact that her presence is indicated at the funeral games shows us that women were free to mingle with men at their will, and the version of the myth which shows Ariadne as in charge of the palace in her father’s absence shows the great value which the Cretans placed on women. This centrality of woman is indicated in all of Minoan art, which depicts her as beautifully-animated; in fact, one of the most elegant of the ebon-tressed, slim-waisted, and crimson-lipped women depicted on the frescoes on the Palace of Knossos, was nicknamed La Parisienne by a French visitor at the turn of the century! Klages is drawn more toward the “pacifist,” thalassocratic (sea-ruling) aspect of the Minoans of the second millennium B.C., than toward the covetous Bronze Age Greeks of the mainland with their heavily-fortified cities and unending wars (the Bronze Age mainlanders seem to have loved war for its own sake; another troubling element in their civilization is their reliance on slavery, especially of women). These are the Mycenaeans, who would eventually sack, and destroy, the Minoan Culture. It is a notable fact that most of our evidence about the “Pelasgian” religious beliefs and practices stems from Minoan Crete: very little material survives from Mycenae and the other mainland sites. On Crete, however, we find the dove-goddess image and the snake-goddess image, the stepped altars and shrine models, in religious sanctuaries overflowing with such sacred items. Clearly, the Goddess ruled on Minoan Crete, and, in fact, the Goddess Potnia, whose name crops up repeatedly in the Linear B tablets, might indeed be the “Lady of the Labyrinth,” which is to say, the Lady of the Place of the labrys, or the double ax—the Palace of Knossos itself. Another Knossos cult-figure was the anemo ijereja, of “Priestess of the Winds”; there is also qerasija, which could well mean “the Huntress.” According to some historians, offerings to the Goddess were entirely bloodless, and were usually gifts of honey, oil, wine, and spices like coriander and fennel; sheep and their shepherds were associated with Potnia, but certainly not in the aspect of blood-sacrifices. On the mainland, however, we find the Mycenaeans slaughtering rams, horses, and other animals in their vaulted tombs. We also find the cult of the Goddess on the Cycladic islands (to which “Greek islands” American “millionaires” and other arch-vulgarians habitually cart their flatulent girths on “vacations”). The famous Cycladic figurines represent the Mother Goddess as well, under the aspects of “the divine nurse” or the “Goddess of Blessing.” In these figurines the Goddess is almost invariably represented with the pubic delta and the stomach emphasized. I will have more to say about this religion of the “Mother Goddess” later on, in the section devoted to the ideas of Bachofen, but for now I’d like to note that in the early phase of Minoan religion, the relationship of ruler and deity was not that of father-and-son, but of mother-and-son. For Minoan Crete, the Mother Goddess was represented on earth by the priest-king. Some lovely manifestations of this reverence for the Goddess can be found in the faience statuettes of the bare-breasted Mother Goddess which were found by Sir Arthur Evans in the Palace of Knossos: one of them shows the Goddess holding up a serpent in each of her hands; the other statuette shows the snakes entwining themselves around her arms. These figures appear in both “peak sanctuaries” and in household shrines, and have been designated by pre-historians as the “Snake Goddess” or the “Household Goddess.” The “Household Goddess” is often associated with the motif of the double-axe, the emblem of the Palace at Knossos, and also with the horns-of-consecration, which associate her with the sacred bull of the Palace of King Minos.

One inhabitant of the Palace of King Minos was the princess Ariadne, to whom we alluded briefly above. After the loss of Theseus, the fate of Ariadne would be intimately intertwined with that of Dionysus, the problematical Greek divinity whose cult excited so much controversy and such fierce opposition among the Greeks of the Classical Age. Dionysus was the orgiastic god in whom Klages, following Nietzsche, locates the site of an untrammeled sensuous abandon. This Thraco-Grecian deity, whose nature was so brilliantly interpreted by Nietzsche in the latter half of the 19th century, and by his worthy successor Walter F. Otto in the first half of the 20th century, becomes in the Klagesian view the ultimate symbol of heathen life, the epiphany of that frenzied ecstasy that the god’s followers achieved by means of the drunkenness and wild dancing of the maenads, those female adherents of the god of the vine, who experienced genuine enthusiasm, i.e., “the god within,’ as they followed the progress of their far-wandering god, who gave to man the inestimable gift of wine. These maenads celebrated their secret Dionysian cultic rituals far from the accustomed haunts of man, and any man was slaughtered on the spot if he should be apprehended whilst illicitly witnessing the ceremonies reserved for the gods’ female followers. These maenads were alleged to be in the possession of magical powers that enabled the god’s worshipers to bring about magical effects at great distances. And “all Eros is Eros of distance!”

Philosophical Roots and Biological Consequences

Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele contains a comprehensive survey of the philosophical literature that relates to “biocentric” concerns, and in these pages Klages closely scrutinizes the troubled seas and fog-shrouded moorlands of philosophy, both ancient and modern, over which we, unfortunately, have only sufficient time to cast a superficial and fleeting glance. We will, however, spend a profitable moment or two on several issues that Klages examined in some detail, for various pivotal disputes that have preoccupied the minds of gifted thinkers from the pre-Socratics down to Nietzsche were also of pre-eminent significance for Klages.

One of the pre-Socratic thinkers in particular, Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 536-470 B.C.E.), the “dark one,” was looked upon by Ludwig Klages as the founding father of “biocentric,” or life-centered, philosophy. Klages and Heraclitus share the conviction that life is ceaseless change, chaos, “eternal flux” [panta rhei]. Both thinkers held that it is not matter that endures through the ceaseless patterns of world-transformation: it is this ceaseless transformation itself that is the enduring process, which alone constitutes this ever-shifting vibrancy, this soaring and fading of appearances, this becoming and passing away of phenomenal images upon which Klages bestowed the name life. Likewise, Klages and Heraclitus were in complete accord in their conviction that natural events transpire in a succession of rhythmical pulsations. For both thinkers, nothing abides without change in the human world, and in the cosmos at large, everything flows and changes in the rhythmical and kaleidoscopic dance that is the cosmic process. We cannot say of a thing: “it is”; we can only say that a thing “comes to be” and that it “passes away.” The only element, in fact, in the metaphysics of Heraclitus that will be repudiated by Klages is the great pre-Socratic master’s positing of a “Logos,” or indwelling principle of order, and this slight disagreement is ultimately a trivial matter, for the Logos is an item which, in any case, plays a role so exiguous in the Heraclitean scheme as to render the notion, for all practical and theoretical purposes, nugatory as far as the basic thrust of the philosophy of the eternal flux.

Another great Greek philosopher, Protagoras of Abdera (c. 480-410 B.C.E.), is fulsomely acclaimed by Klages as the “father of European psychology and history’s pioneer epistemologist.” When Protagoras asserted that the content of perception from moment to moment is the result of the fusion of an external event (the world) with an inner event (the experiencing soul), he was, in effect, introducing the Heraclitean flux into the sphere of the soul. No subsequent psychologist has achieved a greater theoretical triumph. The key text upon which Klages bases this endorsement is Sext. Emp., Pyrrh. I (217): “…matter is in flux, and as it flows additions are made continuously in the place of the effluxions, and the senses are transformed and altered according to the times of life and to all the other conditions of the bodies.” (218) “Men apprehend different things at different times owing to their differing dispositions; for he who is in a natural state apprehends those things subsisting in matter which are able to appear to those in a natural state, and those who are in a non-natural state the things which can appear to those in a non-natural state.” Thus, the entire sphere of psychical life is a matter of perception, which comprises the act of perception (in the soul) and the content of perception (in the object). This Protagorean insight forms the basis for the distinction between noumenon and phenomenon that will exert such a fructifying influence on Western thought, especially during the period of German Romanticism.

Greek thought has a significant bearing on crucial discoveries that were made by Klages. We have learned that there are two forces that are primordially opposed to each other, spirit and life; in addition, we have seen these forces cannot be reduced to each other, nor can they be reduced to any third term; body and soul constitute the poles of unified life, and it is the mission of spirit to invade that unity, to function as a divisive wedge in order to tear the soul from the body and the body from the soul. Thus, spirit begins its career as the disrupter of life; only at the end of history will it become the destroyer of life. We find a piquant irony in the oft-expressed view that accuses Klages of inventing this “spirit” out of whole cloth, for those who have sneered at his account of the provenance of spirit as a force that enters life from outside the sphere of life, dismissing the very idea from serious consideration by reducing the concept to a caricature (“Klagesian devil,” “Klages with his spirit-as-‘space-invader’,” and so on), offer quite an irresistible opening for a controversialist’s unbuttoned foil, because such statements reveal, at one and the same time, an ignorance of the history of philosophy in our professors and commentators that should curdle the blood of the most trusting students, as well as an almost incomprehensible inability, or unwillingness, to understand a scrupulously exact and closely-argued text. This intellectual disability possesses, one must confess, a certain undeniable pathos. As it happens, the question as to the provenance of spirit has always enjoyed a prominent position in the history of philosophical speculation (especially in the narrow field of epistemology, i.e., the “theory of cognition”), and the Klagesian viewpoint that has been so ignorantly and persistently excoriated is explicitly drawn from the philosophy of—Aristotle! It was Aristotle, “the master of those who know,” who, in discussing the divided substance of man, discovered that he could only account for the origin of one of the components, viz., spirit [Gk. nous], by concluding that spirit had entered man “from outside”! Likewise, the idea of a “tripartite” structure of man, which seems so bizarre to novice students of biocentrism, has quite a respectable pedigree, for, once again, it was Aristotle who viewed man as having three aspects, viz., Psyche-Soma-Nous (Soul-Body-Spirit).

The speculations of the Greek philosophers who belonged to the Eleatic School provided the crucial insights that inspired Klages’s masterful formulation of the doctrine of the “actuality of the images.” The specific problem that so exercised the Eleatics was the paradox of motion. The Eleatics insisted that motion was inconceivable, and they proceeded from that paradoxical belief to the conclusion that all change is impossible. One of the Eleatics, Zeno, is familiar to students of the history of philosophy as the designer of the renowned “Zeno’s Paradoxes,” the most famous of which is the problem of Achilles and the Tortoise. Zeno provided four proofs against the possibility of motion: 1) a body must traverse in finite time an infinite number of spaces and, therefore, it can never ever begin its journey; 2) here we have Zeno’s application of his motion-theory to the “Achilles” problem that we’ve just mentioned—if Achilles grants a lead or “head start” (analogous to a “handicap”) to the tortoise against whom he is competing in a foot-race, he will never be able to overtake the tortoise, because by the time Achilles has reached point A (the starting-point for the tortoise), his opponent has already reached point B. In fact, Achilles will never even reach point A, because before he can traverse the entire distance between his starting-point and point A, he must necessarily cover one-half of that distance, and then one-half of the remaining distance, and so on and so on ad infinitum, as it were! 3) the arrow that has just been launched by the archer is always resting, since it always occupies the same space; and 4) equivalent distances must, at equivalent velocity, be covered in the identical time. But a moving body will pass another body that is moving in the opposite direction (at the identical velocity) twice as quickly as when this body is resting, and this demonstrates that the observed facts contradict the laws of motion. Betraying a certain nervousness, historians of philosophy usually dismiss the Eleatics as superficial skeptics or confused souls, but they never condescend to provide a convincing refutation of their “obvious” or “superficial” errors.

Klages, on the other hand, finds both truth and error in the Eleatics’ position. From the standpoint of an analysis of things, the Eleatics’ are on firm ground in their insistence on the impossibility of change, but from the standpoint of an analysis of appearances, their position is utterly false. Their error arose from the fact that the Greeks of this period had already succumbed to the doctrine that the world of appearances is a world of deception, a reservoir of illusory images. This notion has governed almost every metaphysical system that has been devised by western philosophers down to our own time, and with every passing age, the emphasis upon the world of the things (Noumena) has increased at the expense of the world of appearances (Phenomena). Klages, on the other hand, will solve the “Problem of the Eleatics” by an emphatic demonstration that the phenomenal images are, in fact, the only realities.

During the Renaissance, in fact, when ominous temblors were heralding the dawn of our “philosophy of the mechanistic apocalypse,” there were independent scholars (among whom we find Giordano Bruno and Paracelsus) who speculated at length on the relationship that exists between the macrocosm and the microcosm, as well as on the three-fold nature of man and on the proto-characterological doctrine of the “Temperaments.”

But the key figure in the overturning of the triadic world-view is undoubtedly the French thinker and mathematician René Descartes (1596-1650), who is chiefly responsible for devising the influential schematic dualism of thinking substance and extended substance, which has dominated, in its various incarnations and permutations, the thinking of the vast majority of European thinkers ever since. Descartes explicitly insists that all of our perceptions as well as every “thing” that we encounter must be reduced to the status of a machine; in fact, he even suggests that the whole universe is merely a vast mechanism (terram totumque hunc mundum instar machinæ descripsi). It is no accident, then, that Cartesian thought is devoid of genuine psychology, for, as he says in the Discours de la méthode, man is a mere machine, and his every thought and every movement can be accounted for by means of a purely mechanical explanation.

Nevertheless, there have been several revolts against Cartesian dualism. As recently as two centuries ago, the extraordinarily gifted group of “Nature Philosophers” who were active during the glory days of German Romanticism, pondered the question of the “three-fold” in publications that can be consulted with some profit even today.

We have seen that the specifically Klagesian “triad” comprises body-soul-spirit, and the biocentric theory holds that life, which comprises the poles of body and soul, occurs as processes and events. Spirit is an intruder into the sphere of life, an invader seeking always to sever the poles, a dæmonic willfulness that is characterized by manic activity and purposeful deeds. “The body is the manifestation of the soul, and the soul is the meaning of the living body.” We have seen that Klages was able to trace proleptic glimpses of this biocentric theory of the soul back to Greek antiquity, and he endeavored for many years to examine the residues of psychical life that survive in the language, poetry, and mythology of the ancient world, in order to interpret the true meanings of life as it had been expressed in the word, cult, and social life of the ancients. He brilliantly clarifies the symbolic language of myth, especially with reference to the cosmogonic Eros and the Orphic Mysteries. He also explores the sensual-imagistic thought of the ancients as the foundation upon which objective cognition is first erected, for it is among the Greeks, and only among the Greeks, that philosophy proper was discovered. During the peak years of the philosophical activity of the Greek thinkers, spirit still serves the interests of life, existing in an authentic relationship with an actuality that is sensuously and inwardly “en-souled” [beseelt]. The cosmological speculation of antiquity reveals a profound depth of feeling for the living cosmos, and likewise demonstrates the presence of the intimate bonds that connect man to the natural world; contemplation is still intimately bound-up with the primordial, elemental powers. Klages calls this “archaic” Greek view of the world, along with its later reincarnations in the history of western thought, the “biocentric” philosophy, and he situates this mode of contemplation as the enemy of the “logocentric” variety, i.e., the philosophy that is centered upon the Logos, or “mind,” for mind is the manifestation of spirit as it enters western thought with the appearance of Socrates. From Plato himself, through his “neo-Platonic” disciples of the Hellenistic and Roman phases of antiquity, and down to the impoverished Socratic epigones among the shallow “rationalists” of 17th and 18th century Europe, all philosophers who attempt to restore or renew the project of a philosophical “enlightenment,” are the heirs of Socrates, for it was Socrates who first made human reason the measure of all things. Socratic rationalism also gave rise to life-alien ethical schemes based upon a de-natured creature, viz., man-as-such. This pure spirit, this distilled ego, seeks to sever all natural and racial bonds, and as a result, “man” prides himself upon being utterly devoid of nobility, beauty, blood, and honor. In the course of time, he will attach his fortunes to the even more lethal spiritual plague known as Christianity, which hides its destructive force behind the hypocritical demand that we “love one’s neighbors.” From 1789 onwards, a particularly noxious residue of this Christian injunction, the undifferentiating respect for the ghost known as “humanity,” will be considered the hallmark of every moral being.

The heirs of the Socratic tradition have experienced numerous instances of factional strife and re-groupings in the course of time, although the allegiance to spirit has always remained unquestioned by all of the disputants. One faction may call itself “idealistic” because it considers concepts, ideas, and categories to be the only true realities; another faction may call itself “materialistic” because it views “things” as the ultimate constituents of reality; nevertheless, both philosophical factions give their allegiance, nolentes volentes, to the spirit and its demands. Logocentric thought, in fact, is the engine driving the development of the applied science that now rules the world. And by their gifts shall ye know them!

The bitterly antagonistic attitude of Klages towards one of the most illustrious heirs of Socrates, viz., Immanuel Kant, has disturbed many students of German thought who see something perverse and disingenuous in this opposition to the man whom they regard uncritically as the unsurpassed master of German thought. Alfred Rosenberg and the other offical spokesmen of the National Socialist movement were especially enraged by the ceaseless attacks on Kant by Klages and his disciple Werner Deubel. Nevertheless, Kant’s pre-eminence as an epistemologist was disputed as long ago as 1811, when Gottlob Ernst Schulze published his “Critique of Theoretical Philosophy,” which was then, and remains today, the definitive savaging of Kant’s system. Klages endorses Schulze’s demonstration that Kant’s equation: actuality = being = concept = thing = appearance (or phenomenon) is utterly false, and is the main source of Kant’s inability to distinguish between perception and representation. Klages adds that he finds it astonishing that Kant should have been able to convince himself that he had found the ultimate ground of the faculty of cognition in—cognition! Klages cites with approval Nietzsche’s “Beyond Good and Evil,” in which Kant is ridiculed for attempting to ground his epistemology in the “faculty of a faculty”! Klages shows that the foundation of the faculty of cognition lies not in cognition itself, but in experience, and that the actuality of space and time cannot have its origins in conceptual thought, but solely in the vital event. There can be no experienced colors or sounds without concomitant spatio-temporal characteristics, for there can be no divorce between actual space and actual time. We can have no experience of actual space without sensory input, just as we have no access to actual time without thereby participating in the ceaseless transformation of the phenomenal images.

Formalistic science and its offspring, advanced technology, can gain access to only a small segment of the living world and its processes. Only the symbol has the power to penetrate all the levels of actuality, and of paramount importance to Klages in his elaborate expositions of the biocentric metaphysics is the distinction between conceptual and symbolic thought. We have previously drawn attention to the fact that drive-impulses are manifest in expressive movements that are, in turn, impelled by the influence of a non-conceptual power that Klages calls the symbol. Likewise, symbolic thinking is a tool that may profitably be utilized in the search for truth, and Klages contrasts symbolic contemplation with the logical, or “formalistic,” cognition, but he is at pains to draw our attention to the errors into which an unwarranted, one-sided allegiance to either type of thought can plunge us. Although Klages has been repeatedly and bitterly accused by Marxists and other “progressives” as being a vitriolic enemy of reason, whose “irrationalism” provided the “fascists” with their heaviest ideological artillery, nothing could be further from the truth. On occasions too numerous to inventory, he ridicules people like Bergson and Keyserling who believe that “intuition” lights the royal road to truth. His demolition of the Bergsonian notion of the élan vital is definitive and shattering, and his insistence that such an entity is a mere pseudo-explanation is irrefutable and might have been published in a British philosophical journal. In the end, Klages says, “irrationalism” is the spawn of—spirit!

Our ability to formulate and utilize concepts as well as our capacity to recognize conceptual identities is sharply opposed to the procedure involved in the symbolic recognition of identities. The recognition of such conceptual identities has, of course, a crucial bearing on the life of the mind, since it is this very ability that functions as the most important methodological tool employed by every researcher involved in the hard sciences. Symbolic identification, on the other hand, differs widely from its conceptual counterpart in that the symbolic type derives its meaning-content from the “elemental similarity of images.” Thus, the process of substantive, or conceptual, identification confronts its opposite number in the “identity of essence” of symbolic thought. It is this “identity of essence,” as it happens, which has given birth to language and its capacity to embody authentic meaning-content in words. Jean Paul was quite right, Klages tells us, in describing language as a “dictionary of faded metaphors,” for every abstraction that is capable of verbal representation arose from the essentiality of the meaning-content of words.

He draws a sharp distinction between the true symbol (Gk. symbolon, i.e., token) and the mere sign whose significance is purely referential. The true meaning of an object resides in its presence, which Klages refers to as an aura, and this aura is directly communicated to a sensory apparatus that resists all purely linguistic attempts to establish formulas of equivalence or “correspondence.” The sensual imagination participates in an unmediated actuality, and intuitive insight (Schauung) allows us to gain access to a realm of symbols, which rush into our souls as divine epiphanies.

Life resists rules, for life is eternal flux. Life is not rigid being, and therefore life will always evade the man-traps of mind, the chains of the concept. Life, comprising the poles of body and soul, is the physical event as phenomenal expression of the soul. There can be no soul-less phenomena and there can be no souls without (phenomenal) appearances, just as there can be no word-less concepts and no words without meaning-content. The physical world is the image-laden appearance (phenomenon) that manifests a psychical substance. When the dæmonic object encounters the receptive, or “pathic,” soul, the object becomes a symbol and acquires a “nimbus,” which is a pulsating radiance surrounding the moment of becoming. This nimbus is referred to as an “aura” when applied to persons, and both nimbus and aura represent the contribution of the object to the act of perception.

Non-symbolic, formalistic thought, on the other hand is irreverent, non- contemplative, and can best be characterized as an act that is enacted in the service of spirit, which imperiously and reductively ordains that the act of perception must also be an act of the will. Thus the will attains primacy even over the de-substantialized intellect, and Klages—who has persistently been dismissed as an obscurantist and irrationalist—never misses an opportunity to re-iterate his deep conviction that the essence of spirit is to be located in the will and not in the intellect.

As we’ve seen, Klages holds that the living soul is the antithesis of the spirit. The spirit seeks to rigidify the eternal flux of becoming, just as the soul, in yielding passively to the eternal flux, resists the raging Heracleic spirit and its murderous projects. Body and soul reach the peak of creative vitality when their poles are in equipoise or perfect balance, and the high point of life is reached in the experience of sensuous joy. Spirit’s assault upon the body is launched against this joy, and in waging war against the joy of the body, spirit also wages war against the soul, in order to expel the soul, to make it homeless, in order to annihilate all ecstasy and creativity. Every attempt that has been made by monistic thinkers to derive the assault on life from the sphere of life itself has misfired. Such troublesome anomalies as the supernatural visions and cases of dæmonic possession that transpired during the Middle Ages, as well the crippling cases of hysteria so familiar to psychologists in our own time, can never be satisfactorily explained unless we realize that the souls of these unfortunates were sundered by the acosmic force of spirit, whose very essence is the will, that enemy and murderer of life. The conceptual “Tower of Babylon” reared by monists in their ludicrous efforts to derive the force that wages war against life from life itself is no less absurd than would be the foredoomed attempt of a firefighter to extinguish a blaze by converting a portion of the fire into the water that will extinguish the fire!

There is, however, one privileged example of a manifestation of the will in the service of life, and this occurs when the will is enlisted for the purposes of artistic creation. The will, Klages insists, is incapable of creative force, but when the artist’s intuition has received an image of a god, the will functions “affirmatively” in the destructive assaults of the artist’s chisel upon the marble that is to embody the image of the divinity.

Actuality (the home of the soul) is experienced; being (the home of spirit) is thought. The soul is a passive surrender to the actuality of the appearances. Actuality is an ever-changing process of coming to be and passing away that is experienced as images. Spirit attempts to fix, to make rigid, the web of images that constitutes actuality by means of conceptual thought, whose concrete form is the apparatus of the scientist. Cognition represents identical, unfaltering, timeless being; life is the actuality of experience in time. When one says of time that it “is,” as if it were something rigid and identical behind the eternal flux, then time is implicitly stripped of its very essence as that which is “temporal”; it is this temporal essence which is synonymous with becoming and transformation. When one speaks of a thing or a realm that is beyond, i.e., that “transcends,” the unmediated, experienced actuality of the living world, one is merely misusing thought in order to introduce a conceptual, existential world in the place of the actual one, which has the inalienable character of transitoriness and temporality.

It is within the “pathic” soul that the categories of space and time originate. Acosmic spirit, on the other hand, invaded the sphere of life from outside the spatio-temporal cosmos. Klages scorns the schemes of philosophical “idealists” who attempt to ground the structures of space and time in some transcendental world. He also distinguishes a biocentric non-rational temporality from “objective” time. Biocentric thought, true to its immanentist (“this-worldly”) status, recognizes that the images that pulsate in immanentist time are excluded by their very nature from any participation in objective time, for the images can only live within the instantaneous illumination of privileged moments. Klages savages the platitudes and errors of logocentric thinkers who adhere, with almost manic rigidity, to the conventional scheme of dual-axis temporality. In ordinary logic, time is viewed as radiating from the present (that extension-less hypostasis) backward into time-past and forward into time-to-come: but the whole scheme collapses in a heap as soon as we realize that the future, the “time-to-come,” is nothing but a delirious void, a grotesque phantom, a piece of philosophical fiction. Only the past possesses true actuality; only the past is real. The future is merely a pale hallucination flitting about in deluded minds. True time is the relationship that binds the poles of past and present. This union occurs as a rhythmical pulsation that bears the moment’s content into the past, as a new moment is generated, as it were, out of the womb of eternity, that authentic depository of actual time. Time is an unending cycle of metamorphoses utterly unrelated to the processes of “objective” time. True time, cyclical time, is clocked by the moments that intervene between a segment of elapsed time and the time that is undergoing the process of elapsing. Time is the soul of space, just as space is the embodiment of time. Only within actual time can we apprehend the primordial images in their sensuous immediacy. Logic, on the other hand, can only falsify the exchange between living image and receptive soul.

Let us examine the biological—or, more properly, ethological—implications of the doctrine of “primordial images” [Urbilder]. Bear in mind, of course, the crucial distinction that is drawn by Klages between the science of fact (Tatsachenwissenschaft) and the science of appearances (Erscheinungswissenschaft): factual science establishes laws of causality in order to explain, e.g., physiological processes or the laws of gravitation; thus, we say that factual science examines the causes of things. The science of appearances, on the other hand, investigates the actuality of the images, for images are the only enduring realities.

The enduring nature of the image can be seen in the example of the generation of a beech-tree. Suppose a beech-tree sheds its seed upon the forest floor, in which it germinates. Can we say of the mother-tree that it lives within the child? Certainly not! We can chop down the mother tree and burn it to ashes, whilst the offspring continues to prosper. Can we say that the matter of which the old tree was composed survives intact within the younger tree? Again, no: for not an atom of the matter that made up the seed from which the young beech grew exists within it. Likewise, not an atom of the matter of which a man’s body is composed at the age of thirty survives from that same man’s body as it was on his tenth birthday. Now, if it is not the matter of which the organism is composed which endures through the ages, what then is it that so endures? “The one possible answer is: an image.” Life and its processes occur outside the world of things. On the contrary: life comprises the events in the world of the images.

Thus, we see that the doctrine of the “actuality of the images” [Wirklichkeit der Bilder] holds that it is not things, but images, that are “en-souled” [beseelt], and this proposition, Klages tells us, forms the “key to his whole doctrine of life [Lebenslehre].” Things stand in a closed chain of causality, and there is no reciprocal action between the image and the thing, no parallelism, and no connection, and the attempts that have been undertaken by various philosophers to equate the thing and the image merely serve to rupture the chain of causality in its relevant sphere, i.e., the quantitative scientific method. The receptive soul is turned towards the actuality of the image, and when we say on one occasion that an object is “red,” and on another that this same object is “warm,” in the first case the reference is to the reality of things, whereas in the second case the reference is to the actuality of images. By using the name of a color, we indicate that we are differentiating between the superficial qualities, or surface attributes, of things; when we say that a colored object is “warm” or “cold,” on the other hand, we are pointing to the phenomenal “presence” that has been received by the pathic soul. In fact, there are a whole host of common expressions in which this attribution of subjective, psychical states to visible phenomena occurs. We say, for instance, that red is “hot” and that blue is “cold.” In the Vom Wesen des Bewusstseins (1921), a treatise on the nature of consciousness, Klages adduces an astonishingly vast inventory of words that are routinely utilized in descriptions of subjective as well as perceptual phenomena. Someone will speak of his a “bitter” feeling of resentment at some slight or injury. The expression that love is “sweet” occurs in almost every language. Likewise, joy is often described as “bright,” just as grief or sorrow are often referred to as “dark.” We also have “hot” anger (or the familiar variant, the “‘heat’ of the moment”).

Images are the charged powers, or natures, that constitute the basis of all phenomena of cosmic and elemental life as well as of cellular, organic life. All that exists participates in the life of the images. Air, fire, earth, and water; rocks, clouds, planets and suns; plant, animal and man: all of these entities are alive and have souls that share in the life of the cosmos. It isn’t matter that constitutes the stuff of reality, for matter perishes; but the image, which remains alive as it wanders through the rhythmically pulsating cosmos, never dies. It changes through the processes of maturation and growth in the organism, and it transforms itself through the millennia in the species. The images alone have life; the images alone have meaning. The souls of those who now live are images that are temporarily wedded to matter, just as the souls of the dead are images that have been released from matter. The souls of the dead revisit us in their actual form in dreams (Wirklichkeitsform der Traumerscheinung), unconstrained by the limitations of material substance. The souls of the dead are not expelled from the world to live on as immortal “spirits” housed in some transcendent “beyond”; they are, instead, dæmonically vital presences, images that come to be, transform themselves, and vanish into the distance within the phenomenal world that is the only truly existing world.

The human soul recalls the material palpability of the archaic images by means of the faculty that Klages calls “recollection,” and his view in this regard invites comparison with the Platonic process of “anamnesis.” The recollection of which Klages speaks takes place, of course, without the intervention of the will or the projects of the conscious mind. Klages’s examination of “vital recollection” was greatly influenced by the thought of Wilhelm Jordan, a nineteenth century poet and pioneer Darwinist, whose works were first encountered by the young philosopher at the end of that century. In Jordan’s massive didactic poem Andachten, which was published in 1877, the poet espouses a doctrine of the “memory of corporeal matter.” This work had such a fructifying influence on the thought of Klages, that we here give some excerpts:

It is recollection of her own cradle, when the red stinging fly glues grains of sand into a pointed arch as soon as she feels that her eggs have ripened to maturity. It is recollection of her own food during the maggot-state when the anxious mother straddles the caterpillar and drags it for long distances, lays her eggs in it, and locks it in that prison. The larva of the male stag-beetle feels and knows by recollection the length of his antlers, and in the old oak carves out in doubled dimensions the space in which he will undergo metamorphosis. What teaches the father of the air to weave the exact angles of her net by delicate law, and to suspend it from branch to branch with strings, as firm as they are light, according to her seat? Does she instruct her young in this art? No! She takes her motherly duties more lightly. The young are expelled uncared-for from the sac in which the eggs have been laid. But three or four days later the young spider spreads its little nest with equal skill on the fronds of a fern, although it never saw the net in which its mother caught flies. The caterpillar has no eye with which to see how others knit the silken coffins from which they shall rise again. From whence have they acquired all the skill with which they spin so? Wholly from inherited recollection. In man, what he learned during his life puts into the shade the harvest of his ancestors’ labors: this alone blinds him, stupefied by a learner’s pride, to his own wealth of inherited recollections. The recollection of that which has been done a thousand times before by all of his ancestors teaches a new-born child to suck aptly, though still blind. Recollection it is which allows man in his mother’s womb to fly, within the course of a few months, through all the phases of existence through which his ancestors rose long ago. Inherited recollection, and no brute compulsion, leads the habitual path to the goal that has many times been attained; it makes profoundest secrets plain and open, and worthy of admiration what was merely a miracle. Nature makes no free gifts. Her commandment is to gain strength to struggle, and the conqueror’s right is to pass this strength on to his descendants: her means by which the skill is handed down is the memory of corporeal matter.

The primordial images embody the memory of actual objects, which may re-emerge at any moment from the pole of the past to rise up in a rush of immediacy at the pole of the present. This living world of image-laden actuality is the “eternal flux” [panta rhei] of Heraclitus, and its cyclical transformations relate the present moment to the moments that have elapsed, and which will come around again, per sæcula sæculorum.

Thus we see that the cosmos communicates through the magical powers of the symbol, and when we incorporate symbolic imagery into our inmost being, a state of ecstasy supervenes, and the soul’s substance is magically revitalized (as we have already seen, genuine ecstasy reaches its peak when the poet’s “polar touch of a pathic soul” communicates his images in words that bear the meaning of the actual world within them).

When prehistoric man arrives on the stage, he is already experiencing the incipient stages of the fatal shift from sensation to contemplation. Spirit initiates the campaign of destruction: the receptor-activity is fractured into “impression” and “apperception,” and it is at this very point that we witness, retrospectively, as it were, the creation of historical man. Before the dawn of historical man, in addition to the motor-processes that man possessed in common with the animal, his soul was turned towards wish-images. With the shift of the poles, i.e., when the sensory “receptor” processes yield power to the motor “effector” processes, we witness the hypertrophic development of the human ego. Klages is scornful of all egoism, and he repeatedly expressed bitter scorn towards all forms of “humanism,” for he regards the humanist’s apotheosis of the precious “individual” as a debased kowtowing before a mere conceptual abstraction. The ego is not a man; it is merely a mask.) In the place of psychical wishes, we now have aims. In the ultimate stages of historical development man is exclusively devoted to the achievement of pre-conceived goals, and the vital impulses and wish-images are replaced by the driving forces, or interests.

Man is now almost completely a creature of the will, and we recall that it is the will, and not the intellect, that is the characteristic function of spirit in the Klagesian system. However, we must emphasize that the will is not a creative, originating force. Its sole task is to act upon the bearer of spirit, if we may employ an analogy, in the manner of a rudder that purposively steers a craft in the direction desired by the navigator. In order to perform this regulative function, i.e., in order to transform a vital impulse into purposeful activity, the drive impulse must be inhibited and then directed towards the goal in view.

Now spirit in man is dependent upon the sphere of life as long as it collaborates as an equal partner in the act of perception; but when the will achieves mastery in man, this is merely another expression for the triumph of spirit over the sphere of life. In the fatal shift from life to spirit, contemplative, unconscious feeling is diminished, and rational judgment and the projects of the regulative volition take command. The body’s ultimate divorce from the soul corresponds to the soullessness of modern man whose emotional life has diminished in creative power, just as the gigantic political state-systems have seized total control of the destiny of earth. Spirit is hostile to the demands of life. When consciousness, intellect, and the will to power achieve hegemony over the dæmonic forces of the cosmos, all psychical creativity and all vital expression must perish.

When man is exiled from the realm of passive contemplation, his world is transformed into the empire of will and its projects. Man now abandons the feminine unconscious mode of living and adheres to the masculine conscious mode, just as his affective life turns from bionomic rhythm to rationalized measure, from freedom to servitude, and from an ecstatic life in dreams to the harsh and pitiless glare of daylight wakefulness. No longer will he permit his soul to be absorbed into the elements, where the ego is dissolved and the soul merges itself with immensity in a world wherein the winds of the infinite cosmos rage and roar. He can no longer participate in that Selbsttödung, or self-dissolution, which Novalis once spoke of as the “truly philosophical act and the real beginning of all philosophy.” Life, which had been soul and sleep, metamorphoses into the sick world of the fully conscious mind. To borrow another phrase from Novalis (who was one of Klages’s acknowledged masters), man now becomes “a disciple of the Philistine-religion that functions merely as an opiate.” (That lapidary phrase, by the way, was crafted long before the birth of the “philosopher” Karl Marx, that minor player on the left-wing of the “Young Hegelians” of the 1840s; many reactionaries in our university philosophy departments still seem to be permanently bogged down in that stagnant morass—yet these old fogies of the spirit insist on accusing Fascists of being the political reactionaries!)

Man finally yields himself utterly to the blandishments of spirit in becoming a fully conscious being. Klages draws attention to the fact that there are in popular parlance two divergent conceptions of the nature of consciousness: the first refers to the inner experience itself; whilst the second refers to the observation of the experience. Klages only concerns himself with consciousness in the second sense of the word. Experiences are by their very nature unconscious and non-purposive. Spiritual activity takes place in a non-temporal moment, as does the act of conscious thought, which is an act of spirit. Experience must never be mistaken for the cognitive awareness of an experience, for as we have said, consciousness is not experience itself, but merely thought about experience. The “receptor” pole of experience is sharply opposed to the “effector” pole, in that the receptive soul receives sensory perceptions: the sense of touch receives the perception of “bodiliness”; the sense of sight receives the images, which are to be understood as pictures that are assimilated to the inner life. Sensation mediates the experience of (physical) closeness, whilst intuition receives the experience of distance. Sensation and intuition comprehend the images of the world. The senses of touch and vision collaborate in sensual experience. One or the other sense may predominate, i.e., an individual’s sense of sight may have a larger share than that of touch in one’s reception of the images (or vice versa), and one receptive process may be in the ascendant at certain times, whilst the other may come to the fore at other times. (In dreams the bodily component of the vital processes, i.e., sensation, sleeps, whilst the intuitive side remains wholly functional. These facts clearly indicate the incorporeality of dream-images as well as the nature of their actuality. Wakefulness is the condition of sensual processes, whilst the dream state is one of pure intuition.)

Pace William James, consciousness and its processes have nothing to do with any putative “stream of consciousness.” That viewpoint ignores the fact that the processes that transpire in the conscious mind occur solely as interruptions of vital processes. The activities of consciousness can best be comprehended as momentary, abrupt assaults that are deeply disturbing in their effects on the vital substrata of the body-soul unity.These assaults of consciousness transpire as discrete, rhythmically pulsating “intermittencies” (the destructive nature of spirit’s operations can be readily demonstrated; recall, if you will, how conscious volition can interfere with various bodily states: an intensification of attention may, for instance, induce disturbances in the heart and the circulatory system; painful or onerous thought can easily disrupt the rhythm of one’s breathing; in fact, any number of automatic and semi-automatic somatic functions are vulnerable to spirit’s operations, but the most serious disturbances can be seen to take place, perhaps, when the activity of the will cancels out an ordinary, and necessary, human appetite in the interests of the will. Such “purposes” of the will are invariably hostile to the organism and, in the most extreme cases, an over-attention to the dictates of spirit can indeed eventuate in tragic fatalities such as occur in terminal sufferers from anorexia nervosa).

Whereas the unmolested soul could at one time “live” herself into the elements and images, experiencing their plenitudinous wealth of content in the simultaneous impressions that constitute the immediacy of the image, insurgent spirit now disrupts that immediacy by disabling the soul’s capacity to incorporate the images. In place of that ardent and erotic surrender to the living cosmos that is now lost to the soul, spirit places a satanic empire of willfulness and purposeful striving, a world of those who regard the world’s substance as nothing more than raw material to be devoured and destroyed.

The image cannot be spoken, it must be lived. This is in sharp contradistinction to the status of the thing, which is, in fact, “speakable,” as a result of its having been processed by the ministrations of spirit. All of our senses collaborate in the communication of the living images to the soul, and there are specific somatic sites, such as the eyes, mouth, and genitalia, that function as the gates, the “sacred” portals, as it were, through which the vital content of the images is transmitted to the inner life (these somatic sites, especially the genitalia, figure prominently in the cultic rituals that have been enacted by pagan worshipers in every historical period known to us).

An Age of Chaos

In the biocentric phenomenology of Ludwig Klages, the triadic historical development of human consciousness, from the reign of life, through that of thought, to the ultimate empire of the raging will, is reflected in the mythic-symbolic physiognomy which finds expression in the three-stage, “triadic,” evolution from “Pelasgian” man—of the upper Neolithic and Bronze Ages of pre-history; through the Promethean—down to the Renaissance; to the Heracleic man—the terminal phase that we now occupy, the age to which two brilliant 20th century philosophers of history, Julius Evola and Savitri Devi, have given the name “Kali Yuga,” which in Hinduism is the dark age of chaos and violence that precedes the inauguration of a new “Golden Age,” when a fresh cycle of cosmic events dawns in bliss and beauty.

And it is at this perilous juncture that courageous souls must stiffen their sinews and summon up their blood in order to endure the doom that is closing before us like a mailed fist. Readers may find some consolation, however, in our philosopher’s expressions of agnosticism regarding the ultimate destiny of man and earth. Those who confidently predict the end of all life and the ultimate doom of the cosmos are mere swindlers, Klages assures us. Those who cannot successfully predict such mundane trivialities as next season’s fashions in hemlines or the trends in popular music five years down the road can hardly expect to be taken seriously as prophets who can foretell the ultimate fate of the entire universe!

In the end, Ludwig Klages insists that we must never underestimate the resilience of life, for we have no yardstick with which to measure the magnitude of life’s recuperative powers. “All things are in flux.” That is all.

 

—————-

Pryce, Joseph. “On The Biocentric Metaphysics of Ludwig Klages.” Revilo-Oliver.com, 2001. <http://www.revilo-oliver.com/Writers/Klages/Ludwig_Klages.html >. (See this essay in PDF format here: On the Biocentric Metaphysics of Ludwig Klages).

Note: This essay has been republished in print as an introduction to the Ludwig Klages anthology The Biocentric Worldview (London: Arktos, 2013).

Another good overview of Klages’s thought in English was made in Lydia Baer, “The Literary Criticism of Ludwig Klages and the Klages School: An Introduction to Biocentric Thought.” The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jan., 1941), pp. 91–138.

In the conclusion of her essay, Lydia Baer summarises her studies of Klages’s theories thus (quoted from pages 137-138):

Biocentric criticism in literature rests on the philosophic and psychological background established by Ludwig Klages. It is proud to call itself romantic and it disdains every humanistic premise. It enlists under its standards, however, poets and writers who have stood preponderantly for the humanistic tradition, determining, much in the fashion of the classic romantic controversy, the biocentric and the logocentric traits. Very roughly speaking, the alleged antithesis biocentric-logo centric corresponds to the claim of romantic-classic polarity; however, Klages has exercised extreme selective care in formulating his definitions of romanticism, and all the values lie on that side. The enthusiasm of his followers, which he himself deprecates as at times “over-zealous” in drawing hasty conclusions, carries biocentric criticism to the point of excess and sometimes misinterpretation of the founder.

In its essence biocentric criticism is vitalistic. It glorifies Life, as carefully distinguished from mere Existence,158 but it is not necessarily optimistic in its outlook.159 It is non-moral and non-ethical, its religion is paganism, its mysticism is thorough-going. Its standard of perfection is the completeness of soul content (meaning) of the work of art, its birth in fire, flame, and intoxication, thus constituting its own reason for being. In judging it, the biocentric critic demands that neither the author nor the work be a product of reasoned reflection; neither must have been dominated by volition or activism, nor manifest a high degree of consciousness or personality. “Live dangerously” and “surrender yourself to the cosmos” are keynotes of biocentric criticism. The proof of value lies in successful symbolic thinking, that is, wealth of imagery. The great standards of Wonder, Love and Example are unceasingly symbolized in the infinite variety of the Cosmos, in the constantly recurring pattern of the Mother and the Child, and finally in the continued re-appearance of poets, gods, and heroes.

The biocentric quest leads to “Kulturpessimismus,” to a longing for a Golden Age, primitive forms of life, and unconscious modes of living.

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On Being a Pagan – Benoist

On Being a Pagan by Alain de Benoist (PDF – 52.8 MB):

On Being a Pagan – Alain de Benoist

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Note: This is the complete book by Alain de Benoist, On Being a Pagan (Atlanta: Ultra, 2004), the English translation of the French original: Comment peut-on être païen? (Paris: A. Michel, 1981). The book is also available in Spanish translation as ¿Cómo se puede ser pagano? (Molins de Rei: Nueva República, 2004), in German translation as Heide sein zu einem neuen Anfang (Tübingen: Grabert, 1982), in Italian translation as Come si può essere pagani? (Roma: Basaia, 1984), in Dutch translation as Heiden zijn vandaag de dag (Monnickendam: Stichting Deltapers, 1985), and in Russian translation as Как можно быть язычником (Москва: Русская Правда, 2004).

Another notable work by Alain de Benoist on religious matters is the book written in cooperation with Thomas Molnar, L’éclipse du sacré: discours et réponses (Paris: Table ronde, 1986), translated into Italian as L’eclisse del sacro (Vibo Valentia: Edizioni settecolori, 1992). We should mention that it needs to be recognised, in this regard, that Benoist is not rigidly anti-Christian (in fact, there are many Christians in the New Right, who have found ways to reconcile Pagan values with Christianity). See in Spanish the commentary on the New Right and its approach to religion by Rodrigo Agulló (Interview on his book Disidencia Perfecta, published at El Manifiesto, 9 June 2011): <http://www.elmanifiesto.com/articulos.asp?idarticulo=3729 >. The section of Agulló’s Disidencia Perfecta dealing with religion has been excerpted and published as “¿Qué religión para Europa? La polémica del neopaganismo” in Elementos No. 82.

On religious and spiritual issues, we also recommend that people consider Mircea Eliade’s understanding of Paganism, Christianity, and religion in general. A good introduction to Eliade’s studies is provided by the excerpts from his The Sacred and the Profane, made available on our site here: <https://neweuropeanconservative.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/sacred-profane-eliade/ >.

 

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La Nueva Derecha Europea en Español (The European New Right in Spanish)

La Nueva Derecha Europea en Español

(The European New Right in Spanish)

Note in English: Due to the fact that the Spanish is one of the most important languages (along with French, Italian, and German) in which many key works of the European New Right have been published, we have created this page to bring attention to some of the more significant Spanish-language resources on the European New Right which are available on the Internet and which we have chosen to republish on our website. These include certain selected issues of Sebastian J. Lorenz’s online journal Elementos which we have deemed to be the most important, along with Alain de Benoist’s and Charles Champetier’s “Manifesto of the New Right” (Spanish version).

Aquí vamos a poner en conocimiento de los recursos más importantes en el idioma español para el pensamiento de la Nueva Derecha Europea. El recurso más importante es la revista de Sebastián J. Lorenz: Elementos: Revista de Metapolítica para una Civilización Europea, que se ha anunciado y publicado en línea en su sitio web: <http://elementosdemetapolitica.blogspot.com.es/ >. Hemos seleccionado y publicado en nuestra página web lo que hemos considerado que son los números más esenciales de esta revista en lo que respecta a las ideas de la Nueva Derecha. En el espacio a continuación vamos a enumerar y enlace en el espacio por debajo de estos números de Elementos y sus contenidos, junto con el manifiesto de Alain de Benoist y Charles Champetier.

Aquí también queremos mencionar los libros más importantes de la Nueva Derecha en español que están disponibles en formato impreso: Alain de Benoist, ¿Es un Problema la Democracia? (Barcelona: Nueva República, 2013); Benoist, La Nueva Derecha: Una respuesta clara, profunda e inteligente (Barcelona : Planeta, 1982); Alain de Benoist, Guillaume Faye, & Carlos Pinedo Cestafe, Las Ideas de la “Nueva Derecha”: Una respuesta al colonialismo cultural (Barcelona: Nuevo Arte Thor, 1986); Guillaume Faye, Pierre Freson, & Robert Steuckers, Pequeño Léxico del Partisano Europeo (Molins de Rei, Barcelona: Nueva República, 2012); Tomislav Sunic, Homo Americanus: Hijo de la Era Postmoderna (Barcelona: Ediciones Nueva Republica, 2008); Dominique Venner, Europa y su Destino: De ayer a mañana (Barcelona: Áltera, 2010); Rodrigo Agulló, Disidencia Perfecta: La Nueva Derecha y la batalla de las ideas (Barcelona & Madrid: Altera, 2011); Jesús J. Sebastián Lorente (ed.), Alain de Benoist: Elogio de la disidencia (Tarragona: Ediciones Fides, 2015).

 

Manifiesto: La Nueva Derecha del año 2000 por Alain de Benoist y Charles Champetier

(Nota: Este libro también fue publicado en forma impresa como: Manifiesto para un renacimiento europeo [Mollet del Vallès, Barcelona: GRECE, 2000])

 

ELEMENTOS Nº 15 – “Moeller van den Bruck: Conservadurismo Revolucionario”  (publicado 1 Junio 2011)

Contenidos:

Arthur Moeller van den Bruck y la Nouvelle Droite, por Sebastian J. Lorenz

Moeller van den Bruck: un rebelde conservador, por Luca Leonello Rimbotti

Moeller van den Bruck: ¿un “precursor póstumo”?, por Denis Goedel

Moeller y Dostoievski, por Robert Steuckers

Moeller y la Kulturpessimismus de Weimar, por Ferran Gallego

Moeller y los Jungkonservativen, por Erik Norling

Moeller y Spengler, por Ernesto Milá

Moeller y la Konservative Revolution, por Keith Bullivant

Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, por Alain de Benoist

 

ELEMENTOS Nº 16 – “Un Diálogo Contra la Modernidad: Julius Evola y Alain de Benoist”  (publicado 9 Junio 2011)

Contenidos:

Julius Evola, por Alain de Benoist

Posmodernidad y antimodernidad: Alain de Benoist y Julius Evola, por Marcos Ghio

Julius Evola, reaccionario radical y metafísico comprometido. Análisis crítico del pensamiento político de Julius Evola, por Alain de Benoist

Evola y la crítica de la modernidad, por Luisa Bonesio

La recepción internacional de Rebelión contra el mundo moderno, por Giovanni Monastra

Rebelión contra el mundo moderno, por Julius Evola

 

ELEMENTOS Nº 24 – “Europeismo Identitario”  (publicado 25 Mayo 2012)

Contenidos:

Hacia el reencuentro de Europa: Lo que piensa la Nueva Derecha, por Diego L. Sanromán

Europa a la búsqueda de su identidad, por Isidro J. Palacios

La cuestión europea: Bases ideológicas de la Nueva Derecha, por Carlos Pinedo Cestafe

Europa: la memoria del futuro, por Alain de Benoist

Una cierta idea de Europa. El debate sobre la construcción europea, por Rodrigo Agulló

La memoria en herencia: Europa y su destino, por Dominique Venner

Siglo XXI: Europa, un árbol en la tempestad, por Guillaume Faye

La identidad europea, por Enrique Ravello

Europa: no es herencia sino misión futura, por Giorgio Locchi

El proyecto de la Gran Europa, por Alexander Dugin

¿Unión Europea o Gran Espacio?, por J. Molina

 

ELEMENTOS Nº 26 – “Economía Orgánica. Una Alternativa a la Economía de Mercado” (publicado 11 Junio 2012)

Contenidos:

Salir de la Economía, por Rodrigo Agulló

La Economía no es el Destino, por Guillaume Faye

La Economía Orgánica en la Nueva Derecha, por Carlos Pinedo

Adam Müller: la Economía Orgánica como vivienca romántica, por Luis Fernando Torres

Friedrich List: Sistema Nacional de Economía Política, ¿proteccionismo?, por Arturo C. Meyer, Carlos Gómez y Jurgen Schuldt

Crear la Economía Orgánica, por A.L. Arrigoni

El principio de reciprocidad en los cambios, por Alberto Buela

¿Homo oeconomicus o idiota moral?, por Ramón Alcoberro

Por una Economía Mundial de dos velocidades, por Guillaume Faye

La Economía Local contra la Economía Global, por Edward Goldsmith

Dictadura de la economía y sociedad mercantilista, por Stefano Vaj

Crisis económica: aproximación a un modelo económico alternativo, por Juan P. Viñuela

La crítica de la Economía de Mercado de Karl Polanyi, por Arturo Lahera Sánchez

Por la independencia económica europea, por Guillaume Faye

¿Decrecimiento o barbarie?, por Serge Latouche

Decrecimiento: hacia un nuevo paradigma económico, por Luis Picazo Casariego

La Economía del Bien Común: un modelo económico alternativo, por Christian Felber

Charles Champetier: por una subversión de la lógica economicista, por Diego L. Sanromán

 

ELEMENTOS Nº 28 – “Contra el Liberalismo: El Principal Enemigo” (publicado 29 junio 2012)

Contenidos:

El liberalismo, enemigo principal, por Alain de Benoist y Charles Champetier

El liberalismo en las ideas de la “Nueva Derecha”, por Carlos Pinedo Cestafe

Liberalismo, por Francis Parker Yockey

Frente al Peligro de la Hegemonía Liberal, por Marco Tarchi

La esencia del neoliberalismo, por Pierre Bourdieu

El error del liberalismo, por Alain de Benoist

Liberalismo y Democracia: Paradojas y Rompecabezas, por Joseph Margolis

El liberalismo y las identidades, por Eduardo Arroyo

Dinámica histórica del Liberalismo: del mercado total al Estado total, por Tomislav Sunic

Neoliberalismo: la lucha de todos contra todos, por Pierre Bourdieu

La impostura liberal, por Adriano Scianca

Una crítica liberal del liberalismo, por Adrián Fernández Martín

Leo Strauss y su crítica al liberalismo, por Alberto Buela

Charles Taylor: una crítica comunitaria al liberalismo político, por Carlos Donoso Pacheco

El liberalismo norteamericano y sus críticos: Rawls, Taylor, Sandel, Walzer, por Chantal Mouffe

La crítica comunitaria a la moral liberal, por Renato Cristi

 

ELEMENTOS Nº 31 – “Armin Mohler y la “Konservative Revolution” Alemana” (publicado 12 Agosto 2012)

Contenidos:

El movimiento de la Revolución Conservadora, por Robert Steuckers

La herencia del movimiento de la “Revolución Conservadora” en Europa, por Ian B. Warren

La Revolución Conservadora, por Keith Bullivant

La crisis de la democracia en Weimar:Oposición ideológica de la Revolución

Conservadora,por José Ramón Díez Espinosa

La Revolución Conservadora en Alemania, por Marqués de Valdeiglesias

Ideas para Europa: la Revolución Conservadora, por Luca Leonello Rimbotti

Revolución Conservadora y nacionalsocialismo, por Andrea Virga

Evola y la Revolución Conservadora, por Giano Accame

La Konservative Revolution como doctrina de la decadencia de Alemania, por Miguel Ángel Simón

La influencia de Armin Mohler sobre la cosmovision de la Nueva Derecha, por Robert Steuckers

De la «Konservative Revolution» a la «Nouvelle Droite»: ¿apropiación o rehabilitación?, por Sebastian J. Lorenz

La Revolución Conservadora y la cuestión de las minorías nacionales, por Xoxé M. Núzez Seixas

El sinsentido de la Revolución Conservadora Historia de la idea, nacionalismo y habitus, por Henning Eichberg

Índice de los autores de la «Konservative Revolution”, según Armin Mohler

 

ELEMENTOS Nº 32 – “Imperio: Orden Especial y Espiritual” (publicado 11 septiembre 2012)

Contenidos:

La idea de Imperio, por Alain de Benoist

Translatio Imperii: del Imperio a la Unión, por Peter Sloterdijk

¿Hacia un modelo neoimperialista? Gran espacio e Imperio en Carl Schmitt, por Alessandro Campi

¿Europa imperial?, por Rodrigo Agulló

Imperialismo pagano, por Julius Evola

El concepto de Imperio en el Derecho internacional, por Carl Schmitt

Nación e Imperio, por Giorgio Locchi

El Imperium a la luz de la Tradición, por Eduard Alcántara

Imperio sin Imperator, por Celso Sánchez Capdequí

Imperio: Constitución y Autoridad imperial, por Michael Hardt y Antonio Negri

La teoría posmoderna del Imperio, por Alan Rush

El Imperium espiritual de Europa: de Ortega a Sloterdijk, por Sebastian J. Lorenz

 

ELEMENTOS N° 37 – “Federalismo Poliárquico Neoalthusiano” (publicado 28 Noviembre 2012)

Contenidos:

El primer federalista. Johannes Althusius, por Alain de Benoist

Carl Schmitt y el Federalismo, por Luis María Bandieri

Nacionalismo, Democracia y Federalismo, por Ramón Máiz

Europa federal y el principio de subsidiariedad, por Rodrigo Agulló

España, ¿federación o autodeterminación?, por Sebastian J. Lorenz

Plurinacionalidad, Federalismo y Derecho de Autodeterminación, por Jaime Pastor

El federalismo pluralista. Del federalismo nacional al federalismo plurinacional, por Miquel Caminal

Federalismo plurinacional, por Ramón Máiz

Estado federal y Confederación de Estados, por Max Sercq

De la Confederación a la Federación. Reflexiones sobre la finalidad de la integración europea, por Joschka Fischer

Federalismo versus Imperialismo, por Juan Beneyto

Europa. De imperio a federación, por Josep M. Colomer

Entrevistas imaginarias con el Presidente de Europa y el Jefe del Gobierno europeo

 

ELEMENTOS Nº 39 – “Una Crítica Metapolítica de la Democracia: De Carl Schmitt a Alain de Benoist, Vol. I” (publicado 23 Enero 2013)

Contenidos:

Democracia, el problema

Democracia representativa y democracia participativa, por Alain de Benoist

La crítica de la democracia, por Felipe Giménez Pérez

La democracia: Un análisis a partir de los críticos, por Eva Garrell Zulueta

La crítica decisionista de Carl Schmitt a la democracia liberal, por Antonella Attili

Rectificación metapolítica de la democracia, por Primo Siena

La crítica de Nietzsche a la Democracia  en Humano, demasiado humano, por Diego Felipe Paredes

Teoría democrática: Joseph Schumpeter y la síntesis moderna, por Godofredo Vidal de la Rosa

La crisis de la Democracia, por Marcel Gauchet

Democracia morbosa. Variaciones sobre un tema de Ortega, por Ignacio Sánchez Cámara

La democracia capitalista como forma extrema del totalitarismo. Entrevista con Philip Allot, por Irene Hernández Velasco

Sobre Nietzsche contra la democracia, de Nicolás González Varela, por Salvador López Arnal

La Democracia como Nematología. Sobre El fundamentalismo democrático, de Gustavo Bueno, por Íñigo Ongay de Felipe

 

ELEMENTOS Nº 40 – “Antonio Gramsci y el Poder Cultural. Por un Gramscismo de Derecha” (publicado 11 Febrero 2013)

Contenidos:

El gramscismo de derecha, por Marcos Ghio

Antonio Gramsci, marxista independiente, por Alain de Benoist

La estrategia metapolítica de la Nueva Derecha, por Carlos Pinedo

Un gramcismo de derechas. La Nueva derecha y la batalla de las ideas, por Rodrigo Agulló

El Poder Cultural, por Alain de Benoist

Gramsci, la revolución cultural y la estrategia para Occidente, por Ricardo Miguel Flore

El concepto de hegemonia en Gramsci, por Luciano Grupp

Gramsci y la sociología del conocimiento,por Salvador Orlando Alfaro

Antonio Gramsci: orientaciones, por Daniel Campione

Cómo Ganar la Guerra de las Ideas: Lecciones de la Derecha Gramsciana Neoliberal, por Susan George

 

ELEMENTOS Nº 41 – “Una Crítica Metapolítica de la Democracia: De Carl Schmitt a Alain de Benoist, Vol. II” (publicado 18 Febrero 2013)

Contenidos:

Democracia antigua y “Democracia” moderna, por Alain de Benoist

¿Es eterna la democracia liberal? Algunas opiniones al respecto,por Pedro Carlos González Cuevas

La democracia según la Escuela de Frankfurt y Carl Schmitt: ¿Opuestos y complementarios?, por Emmanuel Brugaletta

Carl Schmitt y René Capitant. Parlamentarismo y Democracia, por Xavier Marchand

La democracia federalista, por Sergio Fernández Riquelme

Tres modelos de democracia. Sobre el concepto de una política deliberativa, por Jürgen Habermas

Carl Schmitt y la paradoja de la democracia liberal, por Chantal Mouffe

Elitismo y Democracia: de Pareto a Schumpeter, por Mercedes Carreras

Democracia como sistema, democracia como ideología, por Pelayo García Sierra

Filósofos para una nueva democracia, por Braulio García Jaén

¿Hacia un nueva democracia? Habermas y Schmitt, por Ellen Kennedy

El invierno de la democracia, por Guy Hermet

Los enemigos de la democracia: la dictadura neoliberal, por Eduardo Álvarez Puga

Democracia sin demócratas, de Marcos Roitman, por Josep Pradas

 

ELEMENTOS N° 43 – “La Causa de los Pueblos: Etnicidad e Identidad” (publicado 18 Marzo 2013)

Contenidos:

La causa de los pueblos, por Isidro Juan Palacios

El etnocidio contra los pueblos: Mecánica y consecuencias del neo-colonialismo cultural, por José Javier Esparza

Etnopluralismo: las ideas de la Nueva Derecha, por Carlos Pinedo

El Arraigo por Alain de Benoist

La Europa de las etnias: nuestro único futuro posible, por Olegario de las Eras

La cuestión étnica: Aproximación a los conceptos de grupo étnico, identidad étnica, etnicidad y relaciones interétnicas, por Maria Cristina Bari

Visiones de la etnicidad, por Manuel Ángel Río Ruiz

Sobre la identidad de los pueblos, por Luis Villoro

La etnicidad y sus formas: aproximación a un modelo complejo de la pertenencia étnica, por Eduardo Terrén

El problema del etnocentrismo en el debate antropológico entre Clifford Geertz, Richard Rorty y Lévi-Strauss, por Rafael Aguilera Portales

La negación de la realidad étnica, por Guillaume Faye

Etnicidad y nacionalismo, por Isidoro Moreno Navarro

Etnicidad sin garantías: contribuciones de Stuart Hall, por Eduardo Restrepo

Etnia y etnicidad: dos categorías en construcción, por Carlos Ramiro Bravo Molina

 

ELEMENTOS N° 47 – “Elogio de la Diferencia. Diferencialismo versus Racismo” (publicado 28 Mayo 2013)

Contenidos:

Identidad y diferencia, por Alain de Benoist

Sobre racismo y antirracismo. Entrevista a Alain de Benoist, por Peter Krause

Diferencialismo contra racismo. Sobre los orígenes modernos del racismo, por Gilbert Destrées

El racismo. Génesis y desarrollo de una ideología de la Modernidad, por Carlos Caballero Jurado

Hacia un concepto convencional de raza, por Sebastian J. Lorenz

Nihilismo Racial, por Richard McCulloch

El antirracismo como religión de Estado, por Guillaume Faye

Un asunto tenebroso: el problema del racismo en la Nueva Derecha, por Diego Luis Sanromán

El racismo como ideología política. El discurso anti-inmigración de la Nueva Derecha, por José Luis Solana Ruiz

Sobre viejos y nuevos racismos. Las ideas de la Nueva Derecha, por Rodrigo Agulló

 

ELEMENTOS Nº 54 – “La Falsa Ideología de los Derechos Humanos” (publicado 30 Agosto 2013)

Contenidos:

Más allá de los Derechos Humanos. Defender las Libertades, por Alain de Benoist

Reflexiones en torno a los Derechos Humanos, por Charles Champetier

El Derecho de los Hombres, por Guillaume Faye

Derechos Humanos: una ideología para la mundialización, por Rodrigo Agulló

En torno a la Doctrina de los Derechos Humanos, por Erwin Robertson

¿Derechos del hombre?, por Adriano Scianca

¿Son universales los Derechos Humanos?, por François Julien

Los Derechos Humanos  como derechos de propiedad, por Murray Rothbard

La religión de los Derechos Humanos, por Guillaume Faye

Derechos comunes y Derechos personales en Ortega y Gasset, por Alejandro de Haro Honrubia

Derechos Humanos: disyuntiva de nuestro tiempo, por Alberto Buela

 

ELEMENTOS Nº 61 – “La Condición Femenina. ¿Feminismo o Feminidad?” (publicado 28 Noviembre 2013)

Contenidos:

Visión ontológico-teológica de lo masculino y lo femenino, por Leonardo Boff

El ser oculto de la cultura femenina en la obra de Georg Simmel, por Josetxo Beriain

El feminismo de la diferencia, por Marta Colorado López, Liliana Arango Palacio, Sofía Fernández Fuente

La condición femenina, por Alain de Benoist

La mujer objeto de la dominación masculina, por Pierre Bourdieu

Feminidad versus Feminismo, por Cesáreo Marítimo

Afirmando las diferencias. El feminismo de Nietzsche, por Elvira Burgos Díaz

La mujer como madre y la mujer como amante, por Julius Evola

El “recelo feminista” a proposito del ensayo La dominacion masculina de

Pierre Bourdieu, por Yuliuva Hernández García

Friedrich Nietzsche y Sigmund Freud: una subversión feminista, por Eva Parrondo Coppel

Hombres y mujeres. Un análisis desde la teoría de la polaridad, por Raúl Martínez Ibars

Identidad femenina y humanización del mundo, por Rodrigo Guerra
Simmel y la cultura femenina, por Raquel Osborne

La nueva feminidad, Entrevista a Annalinde Nightwind

El hombre no es un enemigo a batir, Entrevista con Elisabeth Badinter

 

ELEMENTOS Nº 64 – “El Eterno Retorno de Mircea Eliade”  (publicado 20 Marzo 2014)

Contenidos:

Bibliografía comentada de Mircea Eliade, por José Antonio Hernández García

Antropología y religión en el pensamiento de Mircea Eliade, por Pedro Gómez García

Mircea Eliade y el ideal del hombre universal, por Ioan Petru Culianu

Mircea Eliade y la Revolución Conservadora en Rumanía, por Claudio Mutti

Paisaje espiritual de Mircea Eliade, por Sergio Fritz Roa

Ingenieros de almas. Cioran, Elíade y la Guardia de Hierro, por Luis de León Barga

La experiencia de lo sagrado según Mircea Eliade, por François Chirpaz

Muerte y religión en Mircea Eliade, por Margarita Ossorio Menéndez

El paradigma del mito-ontológico de Mircea Eliade y su significación metodológica, por Nataly Nikonovich

Eliade y la antropología, por José Antonio González Alcantud

Mircea Eliade: hombre histórico, hombre mítico, por Hugo Basile

Mircea Eliade: un parsifal extraviado, por Enrico Montarani

Las huellas de la ideología en el pensamiento antropológico. El caso de

Mircea Eliade, por Pedro Jesús Pérez Zafrilla

Mircea Eliade, el novelista, por Constantin Sorin Catrinescu

 

ELEMENTOS Nº 70 – “Alexander Dugin y la Cuarta Teoría Política: La Nueva Derecha Rusa Eurasiática” (publicado 29 Mayo 2014)

Contenidos:

Alexander Dugin: la Nueva Derecha rusa, entre el Neo-Eurasianismo y la Cuarta Teoría Política, por Jesús J. Sebastián

Más allá del liberalismo: hacia la Cuarta Teoría Política, por Alexander Dugin

Necesidad de la Cuarta Teoría Política, por Leonid Savin

La Cuarta Teoría Política y la “Otra Europa”, por Natella Speranskaya

El Liberalismo y la Guerra Rusia-Occidente, por Alexander Dugin

Alexander Dugin, o cuando la metafísica y la política se unen, por Sergio Fritz

La Cuarta Teoría Política, entrevista a Natella Speranskaya, por Claudio Mutti

El quinto estado: una réplica a Alexander Dugin, por Marcos Ghio

La Tercera Teoría Política. Una crítica a la Cuarta Teoría Política, por Michael O’Meara

La gran guerra de los continentes. Geopolítica y fuerzas ocultas de la historia, por Alexander Dugin

La globalización para bien de los pueblos. Perspectivas de la nueva teoría política, por Leonid Savin

Alianza Global Revolucionaria, entrevista a Natella Speranskaya

Contribución a la teoría actual de la protesta radical, por Geidar Dzhemal

El proyecto de la Gran Europa. Un esbozo geopolítico para un futuro mundo multipolar, por Alexander Dugin

Rusia, clave de bóveda del sistema multipolar, por Tiberio Graziani

La dinámica ideológica en Rusia y los cambios del curso de su política exterior, por Alexander Dugin

Un Estado étnico para Rusia. El fracaso del proyecto multicultural, por Vladimir Putin

Reportaje sobre Dugin (revista alemana Zuerst!), por Manuel Ochsenreiter

Dugin: de la Unión Nacional-Bolchevique al Partido Euroasiático, por Xavier Casals Meseguer

 

ELEMENTOS Nº 79 – “Contra Occidente: Salir del Sistema Occidental” (publicado 29 Agosto 2014)

Contenidos:

Occidente debe ser olvidado, por Alain de Benoist

Occidente como decadencia, por Carlos Pinedo

¿Existe todavía el mundo occidental?, por Immanuel Wallerstein

¿Qué es Occidente?, por Juan Pablo Vitali

Romper con la civilización occidental, por Guillaume Faye

Sobre Nietzsche y el masoquismo occidental, por Carlos Javier Blanco Martín

Hispanoamérica contra Occidente, por Alberto Buela

El paradigma occidental, por H.C.F. Mansilla

El decadentismo occidental, por Jesús J. Sebastián

Critica del sistema occidental, por Guillaume Faye

¿El ascenso de Occidente?, por Immanuel Wallerstein

René Guénon, ¿profeta del fin de Occidente?, por Antonio Martínez

Más allá de Oriente y Occidente, por María Teresa Román López

Civilización y hegemonía de Occidente, por Jaime Parra

Apogeo y decadencia de Occidente, por Mario Vargas Llosa
Europa vs. Occidente, por Claudi Finzi

Occidente contra Occidente. Brecha intelectual francesa, por José Andrés Fernández Leost

Civilización e Ideología occidentales, por Guillaume Faye

Occidente como destino. Una lectura weberiana, por Jacobo Muñoz

 

ELEMENTOS Nº 82 – “El Debate sobre el Paganismo de la Nueva Derecha (Vol. 1)” (publicado 11 Octubre 2014)

Contenidos:

¿Cómo se puede ser pagano? (I), por Alain de Benoist

La cuestión religiosa y la Nueva Derecha, por José Javier Esparza

¿Qué aliento sagrado puede salvarnos? Carta abierta a José Javier Esparza, por Javier Ruiz Portella

La tentación pagana, por Thomas Molnar

Paganismo, la nueva religión europea, por Guillaume Faye

¿Qué religión para Europa? La polémica del neopaganismo, por Rodrigo Agulló

La Derecha pagana, por Tomislav Sunic

Monoteísmo versus Politeísmo, por Alain de Benoist

El paganismo: religión de la vida terrenal, por José Vicente Pascual

La religión en las sociedades occidentales, por Alain de Benoist

El paganismo de Hamsun y Lawrence, por Robert Steuckers

El eclipse de lo sagrado, ¿o el sagrado eclipse?, por Paul Gottfried

La reacción contra la modernidad y la secularización del cristianismo, por Adolfo Galeano Ofm

El Paganismo como concepción del Mundo, por Ramón Bau

Contra Dawkins: qué esconden sus preferencias por el politeísmo, por Javier del Arco

Politeísmo versus monoteísmo: el desarrollo de la crítica a la religión cristiana en la obra de Friedrich Nietzsche, por Herbert Fre

El origen de la Navidad. Las raíces paganas de una fiesta cristiana, por Alfredo Martorell

 

ELEMENTOS Nº 83 – “El Debate sobre el Paganismo de la Nueva Derecha (Vol. 2)” (publicado 11 Octubre 2014)

Contenidos:

¿Cómo se puede ser pagano? (II), por Alain de Benoist

Lo sagrado en la cultura europea, por Carlos Martínez-Cava

Marx, Moisés y los Paganos en la Ciudad Secular, por Tomislav Sunic

Dioses y titanes: entrevista con Guillaume Faye sobre el paganismo, por Christopher Gérard

¿Es preciso ser cristiano? La Derecha tradicional, por José Javier Esparza

La religión de Europa, por Alain de Benoist

¿Qué religión para Europa?, por Diego L. Sanromán

Entre el paganismo y la derecha radical, por Stéphane François

Europa: pagana y cristiana, por Juan Pablo Vitali

Humanismo profano y neopaganismo moderno, por Arnaud Imatz

Del politeísmo al monoteísmo: los riesgos de los fundamentalismos, por Juan Antonio Estrada

El Frente Nacional de Marine Le Pen y la derecha pagana, por Fernando José Vaquero Oroquieta

La cuestión del paganismo. Entrevista a Alain de Benoist, por Charles Champetier

Paganismo y nihilismo, por Daniel Aragón Ortiz

El neopaganismo pessoano, por Antonio López Martín

El nuevo paganismo ¿triunfo del ilusionismo?, por José Miguel Odero

Paganismo y Cristianismo, por Eduard Alcántara

 

ELEMENTOS Nº 84 – Julien Freund: Lo Político en Esencia (publicado 31 Octubre 2014)

Contenidos:

Julien Freund: una introducción, por Juan Carlos Corbetta

Julien Freund, un politique para nuestro tiempo, por Jerónimo Molina

Julien Freund y la impolítica, por Alain de Benoist

Evocación de Julien Freund, por Günter Maschke

Julien Freund, por Dalmacio Negro Pavón

Conflicto, política y polemología en el pensamiento de Julien Freund, por Jerónimo Molina

Julien Freund, analista político: contextos y perspectivas de interpretación, por Juan C. Valderrama Abenza

Lo público y la libertad en el pensamiento de Julien Freund, por Cristián Rojas González

El realismo político. A propósito de La esencia de lo político, de Julien Freund, por Felipe Giménez Pérez

Julien Freund. Del Realismo Político al Maquiavelismo, por Jerónimo Molina

Situación polémica y terceros en Schmitt y Freund, por Jorge Giraldo Ramírez

Orden y situación política en Julien Freund, por Juan C. Valderrama Abenza

Las nociones de mando y obediencia en la teoría política de Julien Freund, por Jerónimo Molina

Julien  Freund: la paz como medio de la política, por José Romero Serrano

Julien Freund: entre liberalismo y conservadurismo, por Sébastien de la Touanne

 

Otros Ensayos:

“Alain de Benoist y su crítica del capitalismo” por Carlos Javier Blanco Martín

“La Nueva Derecha Criolla” por Francisco Albanese

 

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New Right in Europe – Wegierski

The New Right in Europe

By Mark Wegierski

 

The European New Right (ENR) presents itself as a contradictory phenomenon. While many of its arguments sound radical and original, they owe a great deal to traditional European thought — especially Catholic organicism. Although the ENR has rejected the far Right, some questionable links remain. Despite this, it may become the ideology of choice for those intellectuals still opposed to capitalism — a possible place for that intellectually-honest part of the Left attempting to come to terms both with the collapse of “really existing socialism” and a triumphant Western consumerist society predicated on managerial-therapeutic capitalism.

The ENR cannot be understood independently of its history. As Marco Tarchi, a leader of the Italian New Right put it: “What we must do today is to illuminate the fundamental novelty of the New Right, to put the emphasis on the term ‘new’ and no longer on the term ‘Right.’ Otherwise we will still be clinging to the heritage of the decrepit and worm-eaten currents of thought of the 1950s and 1960s which, in the face of all opposition, are still churning out the same old slogans with their whole perception of reality built around bygone political divisions. The desire to restore chauvinistic nationalisms is part of this archaic way of thinking. . . . It is up to us, to our generation, definitively to surpass these outworn ideas.”[1]

The ENR has made a major effort to break with its far Right roots. In this sense, it is misleading to call a tendency strongly opposed both to Anglo-American conservatism (with its emphasis on bourgeois individualism, capitalism, and property rights) and traditional Continental conservatism (with its emphasis on monarchy and Church) “right-wing.” The conventional notion of “right-wing” in the Anglo-American context is so different from what the ENR represents that it is almost useless when it comes to describing the latter phenomenon.

The ENR came into being in the 1960s to provide a satisfactory analysis of what ails the West and the world, and to identity possible brakes for the ineluctable logic of “progress.” It saw as the primary feature of late modernity the tendency to shatter religious, cultural, and national traditions stretching back hundreds or even thousands of years, and to replace them with banal victimologies. It is explicitly opposed to American hegemony and, in Britain, it identities with the Celtic fringe. The ENR claims that England had diverged from the continent in its Calvinism, capitalism and Whiggery, and that America then diverged still further. European intellectual lite — Left, Right, and Center, particularly in France — revolves around a knee-jerk anti-Americanism. The ENR is no exception, and has developed a Left-sounding critique of American intervention in Vietnam and around the globe, American cultural imperialism in France, the problems of poverty and homelessness in America, the Calvinistic messianism and puritanism of the US, and so forth.[2]

The ENR has not yet worked out a precise genealogy of what it views as the Anglo-American deviation, though the outcome of the English Civil War and the later struggles which led to the exclusion of the Stuarts from the English and Scottish thrones have played a large part in determining the Anglo-American trajectory. Along with anti-Americanism, anti-capitalism is also central to the ENR. Here “capitalism” is seen as the encroaching system of US-based media/corporate oligarchy: gross materialism and the homo ceconomicus, or the homunculus of Nietzsche’s Last Man. It also implies the whole burgeoning world of technology and its attempt to manipulate human and physical nature. Through anti-capitalism, the ENR links with the Left and various ecological movements. According to Perspectives, a leading ENR organ: “The collapse of communism is not only a political victory for the American New World Order but a moral triumph for the American Way of Life. We can all now look forward to a future of unbridled consumption, in which we will all be equal and free to buy the same things. However, there are those in Europe who still value the roofed diversity of its peoples, and all the qualities which make us more than mere units of consumption. These people actually oppose the liberal-capitalist system. They want an organically rooted society instead of more Disneylands, and they flout accepted political convention by talking about transcending the old notions of Left and Right in a new synthesis of radical thought. They are active in fields of culture and metapolitics, waging a war of ideas. They seek a European renaissance. This attachment to identity is an inconvenience to the multinationals, an insult to Ronald McDonald and a direct attack on Coca-Colonization.”[3]

This anti-capitalism is connected with the ENR’s opposition to Calvinism — something it shares with nearly all varieties of Catholic-derived Continental right-wing thought — but also with its opposition to Judeo-Christianity. This radical, anti-traditional aspect of the ENR is also shared by the anti-clerical Lett and Nazism. The ENR engages in biting anti-clerical polemics of an almost Voltairean style. It sees the roots of totalitarianism and persecution in European history as a result of Judeo-Christian values, notably the Old Testament, with its tales of ferocity and retribution. “The body count amassed by the servants of the God of love . . . is now incalculable . . . Had Nicolae Ceaucescu lived a few hundred years ago he would have made a not untypical prince of the Church-on frequent precedent, a saint. . . . The concept of totalitarianism, the evil seed of the Inquisition, Auschwitz and the Gulag, was brought to Europe and forced on it by the followers of Jesus Christ. . . . “[4]

A group calling itself the “Organisation de Defense Juive” violently protested against GRECE on December 9, 1979, claiming that opposition to “Judeo-Christian totalitarianism” was disguised anti-Semitism. (They seemed to forget that the criticism of Christianity as the seed of Auschwitz is common among Jewish and Left historians). GRECE’s response to these accusations was unequivocal: “Jewish monotheism became truly totalitarian only when it ceased to be Jewish and claimed to submit people who held different religious views to the law of a single God. . . . The children of Athens and of Jerusalem, the pagan and Jewish victims of religious intolerance, suffered as a result of Christian persecutions.”[5] However, this condemnation of Christianity and exculpation of Judaism is disingenuous. The ENR stresses the Near Eastern, alien origins of Christianity, implying that the Jews are also aliens in Europe. The tact that such views were prominent in Nazism contributes to the ENR’s ostracism from mainstream politics.

Although there is a long tradition of criticism of Judeo-Christianity from Voltaire to Nietzsche, the ENR creates problems for traditional conservatives. It is ironic to find laudatory articles on Joseph de Maistre and Nietzsche within a few pages of each other in Elements.[6] For a school ostensibly critical of modernity and its “disenchantment of the world,” these vitriolic attacks against traditional religion may be counterproductive. Clearly not all Christians are like Ceaucescu. It the problem of late modernity is the disappearance of all rooted, truly meaningful, and relatively stable belief-systems, then even from the ENR standpoint any traditional religion, even Christianity, must be better than no religion at all.

The ENR also takes its anti-Christianism further by recycling the most traditional European religion: paganism. This is quite a trick. It may even be dishonest: a ducking of the issue of the ENR’s atheism (a more difficult position to hold for alleged “restorers of the sacred”). What can this mean, thousands of years alter paganism has disappeared? This embrace of paganism may be an attempt to re-evaluate the relation between humanity and nature along Heideggerian lines, while vindicating particularity and locality.

For the ENR the Golden Age is the primordial Indo-European past. This is lifted straight out of German Romanticism and 19th century anthropology. The immediate suspicion is that “Indo-European” is simply a polite substitution for “Aryan.” Allegedly, in this pagan, tribal Indo-European paradise, there were no fratricidal wars between different branches of European peoples, and every member of the tribe lived a meaningful lite in relative economic prosperity. The spatial and temporal boundaries of this world are not precisely drawn — it could in-dude ancient India, Greece, Germanic tribal lite at the time of Tacitus, Slavic tribal lite around the 9th century A.D., and so forth.[7] The ethnographical work of Georges Dumezil, which identified the so-called “frifunctionality” of the Indo-European priest, warrior, and farmer, is often cited. This romanticized past is important because many of the ENR referents, such as paganism, naturalism, particularism, a sort of feminism, and ecology, are predicated on it.

This paganism fits well with Alain de Benoist’s “spherical” concept of time, according to which “(everything is in the instant) . . . the past and future consitute dimensions present in every actual moment. . . . The present actualizes all past moments and prefigures all future ones. To accept the present by joyously assuming the instant is to be able to enjoy all instants at the same time. Past, present, and future are three perspectives, equally actual now, that are given to every moment of historical becoming . . . [this] delivers to him the possibility of connecting with tradition, indeed in a cultural and ethnic sense. Tradition is not the past but is ‘beyond time’; it is ‘permanent’ and ‘within us,’ and it becomes ‘our tradition’ by being reactualized.”[8]

Despite such an elaborate metaphysics, this could be interpreted simply as a call for a return to one’s ethnic and cultural roots — a staple of traditional conservative thought. At any rate, there may be a contradiction in the ENR’s embrace of paganism. Is paganism meant to be a “manly,” “heroic” warrior-creed opposing the weakness of Christianity (allegedly a masochistic “slave-morality”), or a kind of sentimental nature-worship opposed to a savagely inquisitorial Christianity, with its crusades and witch-burnings?

The ENR’s “paganism” entails a naturalism towards mores and sexuality. Unlike still traditionalists, ENR members have a relatively liberated attitude towards sexuality. Thus Benoist had no qualms about giving an interview to Gaie France, which features homoerotic images as well as cultural commentary.[9] ENR members have no desire to impose what they consider the patently unnatural moralism of Judeo-Christianity on sexual relations. However, while relatively more tolerant in principle, they still value strong family life, fecundity, and marriage or relations within one’s own ethnic group. (Their objection to intraethnic liaisons would be that the mixture of ethnic groups diminishes a sense of identity. In a world where every marriage was mixed, cultural identity would disappear). They also criticize Anglo-American moralism and its apparent hypocrisy: ” . . . a video depicting a man and woman having sexual intercourse . . . is liable to confiscation by the [British] state. One graphically depicting teenage girls being disembowelled by razor blades affixed to the lingers of a repulsive ghoul, by contrast, tops the rental figures quite lawfully across the land, goes into tour editions, each more disgusting and genuinely obscene than the last, and is not indeed the most unpleasant revelling in blood and gore to sit lawfully on the video shops’ shelves.”[10] In this, they are closer to a worldly Europe than to a puritanical America obsessed with violence. According to the ENR: “Our ancestral Indo-European culture . . . seems to have enjoyed a healthy natural attitude to processes and parts of the body concerned with the bringing forth of new life, the celebration of pair-bonding love, and the perpetuation of the race.”[11]

In its desire to create a balanced psychology of sexual relations, the ENR seeks to overcome the liabilities of conventional conservative thought: the perception of conservatives as joyless prudes, and the seemingly ridiculous psychology implied in conventional Christianity. It seeks to address “flesh-and-blood men and women,” not saints. Since some of the Left’s greatest gains in the last few decades have been made as a result of their championing sexual freedom and liberation, the ENR seeks to offer its own counter-ethic of sexual joy. The hope is presumably to nourish persons of the type who can, in Nietzsche’s phrase, “make love alter reading Hegel.” This is also related to the desire for the reconciliation of the intellectual and warrior in one person: the reconciliation of vita contemplative and vita activa.

This naturalism leads the ENR to re-evaluate “the feminine” and reject what it sees as Christianity’s denigration of women. The ENR has begun developing a counter-ethic of feminism which, while respecting women and “the feminine,” rejects the US ideologization of gender by politically-correct feminism. These ideas promise to overcome the poisoned atmosphere of sexual relations and the neopuritanism of radical feminism. “In pre-Christian Europe, amongst the Celts and the Norse for example, women, without in any way renouncing their femininity or seeking to be ersatz men, enjoyed essentially equal rights.”[12]

The ENR’s naturalism also leads it to defend the supposedly natural and normative nature of ethnic or kinship links. Thus the ENR departs from traditionalism by emphasizing the small nations and the historical regions of Europe, rather than the large and homogenizing nation-states: “The emergence of the idea of nation-state in the 18th century is a phenomenon arising not from a consciousness of identity, but, on the contrary, from the bourgeoisie’s social and political conception of the state.”[13] Similarly,”. . . the Europe of the big states . . . is not, and never has been, a natural Europe. It is the product of rival imperialisms, of conquests, of aggressive and violent acts, both military and socioeconomic . . . . The real Europe, the natural Europe, is one of numerous small states, numerous national communities, principalities, and free cities which are united and brought together above the level of their differences and divergences by a common civilization, forged over the course of two millennia . . . . It was this natural Europe that the big imperialist states, and their conscripted supporters, destroyed and replaced with their own version. Great Britain, France, Germany and Russia were mainly to blame for this development.”[14]

The ultimate goal is the Europe of a Hundred Flags — a patchwork quilt of colorful, traditional principalities. The ENR does not emphasize national uniformity — the traditional right-wing position — but difference. This is part of the ENR’s overall anti-totalitarian stand. The emphasis is on philosophical pluralism: opposition to the reduction of life to any one variable or force (e.g. the class-struggle, economy, nation, or race), in favor of multiplicity and particularity. This is complemented by an aestheticism, in the tradition of the interwar German “Conservative Revolution” — a visceral reaction of “high taste” to the vulgarized modern world of “rubbish.” ENR publications are filled with finely-rendered reproductions of heroic art from Europe’s long history. The locus is on “romantic realism” — though they are not averse to some modernist painters. This is not only a trank celebration of European art, but also a deliberate attempt to vindicate the heroic aspects of life, for European people deadened by consumerism and Americanization.

In contrast to its emphasis on mythopoeia, the ENR tends toward what Ferraresi calls its scientism: “. . . in a cultural context which privileges science as the highest form of knowledge, one of the stated goals . . . is the propagation of scientific developments which will dissipate the prejudices and ‘taboos’ of the reigning ideology, i.e., egalitarianism and democracy. The ‘hard new’ sciences like anthropology, biology, genetics, ethology, sociobiology, psychology, psychiatry, etc. are thus systematically plundered, and those results are selected that support the notions of heredity, invariance, innateness, the biological determination of social and ethical attitudes . . . . The outcome is a set of savage rules, which are then put forward by right-wing ideologues as ‘laws of nature’.”[15] This scientistic locus was at one time very prominent, e.g., when the ENR sought to integrate the thought of the Vienna Circle and Bertrand Russell. This must be seen as intellectually jejune: it clashes with other proclivities for irrationalism and romanticism.

While the ENR’s “scientific” efforts are questionable, the accusation of lack of compassion is less plausible. Although the ENR unabashedly defends aristocracies or hierarchies, as both “natural” and organic, it also criticizes liberal-capitalist modernity as “soft in ideas, but hard in practice.”[16] The ENR argues that liberal capitalism conceals a crashing harshness behind its soft rhetoric of freedom and equality, a real “war of all against all.”[17] Summarizing his critique of late modernity, Benoist writes: “I am appalled by the remarkable capacity of the majority of people to adapt without complaint to a society which I estimate to be, and I mean what I say, the worst kind of society ever to have existed. The worst, because the most subjected to the tyranny of the economy; the worst, because the least organic and therefore the most inhuman.”[18]

Although some ENR members at one time advocated technocracy, they have now embraced ecology, as one of the most hopeful tendencies on the planet today. The 1993 GRECE colloquium was dedicated to ecology. To the extent that it sets limits not only on the physical exploitation of the planet, but also on the grotesque excesses of consumerism, ecology is seen as a hopeful development. The ENR hopes that ecology will continue to evolve a paradigm seeking to preserve cultural rootedness as well as the physical integrity of nature. Its preferences are for communitarian ecology. The ecological call for sacrifices in consumption would be much more meaningful if they were sacrifices for something more local, tangible, and particular than abstract ecological principles. It would apply to this land, this countryside, this country. Communitarian ecology calls for the careful shepherding of resources and stewardship of nature for the sake of a particular community deriving its sustenance from these resources. This also implies that either all communities will accept such policies, or that particular communities must be capable of repelling possible incursions from other communities refusing to accept this model. Such an ecological program cannot be based on wholesale de-urbanization, but rather on saner and more ecological management.

A central premise of this critique is that late capitalism is not a rational system of resource allocation. Enormous amounts of resources are wasted in advertising to inflame demand for unnecessary products, obsolescence is “built-in” to keep consumption high, etc. The personal and psychological rewards resulting from such a decrease in consumption, for a decrease in quantity will be an increase in the quality of life, the emergence of time for pause and reflection, as well as a sense of participation in and belonging to a genuine, friendlier, and safer community.

A large sector in the ENR subscribes to what they call le Gramscisme de Droite. The ENR (like Gramsci) reverses Marx’s idea of base and superstructure. It believes that changes in the ideological superstructure among the cultural and elite opinion-forming groups determine social change.[19] Gramsci called on intellectuals to change society in a socialist direction. The ENR adopts this approach tot their own programs. This is called metapolitics. The ENR also identifies with the appeal to populism in Gramsci, although it rejects the rest of the Marxist apparatus.

The ENR explicitly repudiates racism and searches for allies in the Third World against the US.[20] Although the ENR is a European phenomenon, it also seeks alliances with Islam, East Asian semi-authoritarian regimes, India; etc. against the Anglo-American world. This is an extension of the idea of pluralism in international politics — a multiplicity of power centers and cultural spheres instead of one militarily, economically, and culturally hegemonic power-center. One hegemonic power severely constricts the choices available to humanity, and moves it along one predetermined path. This fits well with the ENR view of itself as a kind of laboratory of ideas.[21] Thus it is proud of its intellectualism and its eschewing of raw political conflict. Nouvelle Ecole, one of the ENR’s main journals, refuses to endorse political candidates, and is opposed to Le Pen’s National Front. Finally, in terms of tactics, there is clearly the attempt to generate a mystique. ENR figures do not want to be perceived as stodgy, pet-it-bourgeois philistines, but as perceptive critics.

Try as it might, the ENR has not escaped Left-liberal criticism. Many routinely consider its members to be barely-disguised fascists, or part of “the eternal reactionary Right.”[22] The definition of “reactionary” here is peculiarly wrong. Intellectually, the stand “against all totalitarianisms” clearly entails the rejection of the Nazi reductionism of race. However, the ENR has a tendency to dance on the rim of the volcano by including certain politically risque imagery in its publications (e.g., photographs of Hitler in heroic poses) and questionable announcements.[23]

Although the ENR sees itself rooted in the 1968 revolutionary tradition, Pierre-Andre Taguieff has traced its origins to the classical French Right.[24] But to what extent can one be held accountable for positions held decades earlier and now strenuously rejected? Similarly, the ENR cannot be held responsible for the adoption of some of its ideas by groups such as Le Pen’s National Front, or the Anglo-American or German Right.[25]

The tendency to exaggerate in relation to the ENR is typified by Seymour Martin Lipset, who writes: “The best publicized European radical rightist tendency . . . has been the French ‘New Right.’ This movement . . . has, like the intellectual Right of pre-WWI France, focused its criticism on ‘alien’ anti-European forces, foreign immigrants, and radical and liberal forces. Supported by press lord Robert Hersant . . . once an overt anti-Semite and youthful collaborator with the Germans in WWII, the views of the New Right reach wide circles of the population, and may have helped stimulate widespread anti-Semitic violence in 1980.”[26]

Some of the ENR’s dabbling in politics, however, is problematic, although mostly in theory. Thus some ENR members support Zhirinovsky (or similar figures), Serbia, and a putative German-Russian alliance at the expense of most East European countries — all in the name of anti-Americanism.[27] The ENR also runs into problems with traditional religion and nationalism. Roman Catholicism is probably the only remaining serious traditional religious force (of historical duration) in Europe today. However strenuously the ENR rejects it, the similarities of some of its positions to those of traditional Catholic organicism are all too obvious (anti-capitalism, the stress on the social, and attacks on gross materialism and consumerism).[28] It is ironic that the ideas of Rene Geunon, and especially Julius Evola (such as the “political soldier,” considered pagan and terroristic in their implications by some dogmatic liberal critics[29]), are being taken up by a professedly Catholic tendency. As both C. G. Jung and Camille Paglia have indicated, Catholicism was clearly more “pagan” than Protestantism. One of the main Protestant accusations against Roman Catholicism was that it was a disguised paganism (with its worship of Mary and the Saints, its sumptuous churches, and its religious icons and relics). However, “the integralist French Catholic Right . . . considers the New Right as ‘Masonic adepts of the Satanic Revolution against the one true living God’. . . .”[30]

Relations to traditional nation-states are also problematic. To what extent should the regionalization and break-up of nation-states be encouraged? Is this not an invitation to community dissolution? What about countries such as Poland that will clearly not let go of their national identity? What about the threat of a Greater German),, perhaps lurking behind this proposed “regionalization,” possibly involving the reconstruction of a German-dominated East Prussia, Silesia, and Western Pomerania, as well as the weakening (or disintegration) of France by the secessions of Brittany, Provence, Normandy, etc.? What about relations with the US? Does the ENR realize that some of its most cherished ideas, i.e. ecology and even neopaganism, are very popular in the US, especially in California? Does it intend to expand its activities to the US, presumably among the libertarian Left or ecological and New Age circles?

The ENR has an extremely simplistic vision of the US — reducing it to Disneyland, Coca-Cola, etc. Clearly the US is more than New York, L.A., and San Francisco, more than “rap, crack et Big Mac.” It is a huge country of diverse regions and towns. Is the ENR more critical of “narrow-minded small–town America” (which American conservatives consider “the heartland”), or “big-city America” (which most American conservatives consider nightmarish, but Left-liberals defend as centers of progress)? Is it America’s Puritanism (of which little seems to be left in actual family mores), or a burgeoning decadence which is their target? At any rate, the center of anti-Americanism today is the US itself. Considering the fact that the US is being consumed by self-hatred and anti-Americanism, the ENR will have to rethink its position vis a vis the moral residues of contemporary American society. Because of the ENR’s violent anti-Americanism, it has hardly any relations with American paleoconservatives. The emphasis on federalism, cultural particularity and local autonomy, however, may pave the way for a new dialogue.

Two problems with ENR theory are rather obvious. First, there is the tension between elitism and populism. On the one hand, it identifies with the Olympian elitism of figures such as Nietzsche and Evola, harboring contempt for the masses. On the other, it wants to embrace an “organic democracy” rooted in Herder, German romanticism, the German Conservative Revolution and, to a certain extent, Carl Schmitt. Second, there is its over-reliance on the ancient Greek heritage, as reflected in the name of one of its main groups, GRECE. Even a superficial reading of Nietzsche betrays his condemnation of the influence of the Greek heritage in the development of Europe. Although “the gifts of the Greeks” can be considered multivalent, clearly traditions of both political democracy and science had their origins in Athens. Is it legitimate to trace the errors of contemporary Europe only to the Judeo-Christian heritage? Should not the classical heritage also come in for some careful scrutiny?

At any rate, the obsessive search for the origins of present European decline leads the ENR astray. One of the most obvious reasons for its adoption of a “metapolitical” position may be due to the fact that ideas such as neopaganism are difficult to relate to today’s sociopolitical realities. Consequently, the ENR is often accused of being a typical French salon phenomenon focused on German thinkers, in line with the old WWII “collaborationist” tradition (the ENR has sought to rehabilitate some of those figures), practising “Biedermaier” politics.

It is all too easy to overemphasize the ENR’s radicalism. In some sense it may be nothing more than an esoteric version of de Gaulle’s political program and an expression of Gallicism, with all of its cultural pride, joie-de-vivre, intellectual flashiness, and unabashed eroticism. After all, de Gaulle’s political genius has been consistently underestimated in the Anglo-American world. An anti-Nazi, anti-Communist, and anti-American (he led the Free French, dealt with Communist terror after the Liberation, and continued to oppose les deux hegemonies to the end of his life); a compassionate but strong nationalist, as well as a decolonizer; a champion of the unity of a “Europe of fatherlands” full of respect for tradition and the Catholic Church, while suspicious of progressivism, liberalism, and democracy, he is someone with whom the ENR could easily identity.

The ENR’s hopes for the future can be summarized as follows: 1) A return to meaningful politics (aiming at a restoration of the public sphere) against an apolitical, juridically-determined, economically-focused liberalism and formally egalitarian democracy. This politics would have to be both erotic and aesthetic, and predicated on “organic democracy.” 2) A restoration of community spirit. The ENR would like to see the dissolution of the US into regional and ethnic states. It prefigures a genuinely pluralistic global framework in opposition to American liberal universalism. (Pluralism of cultures across the planet requires some exclusivity of cultures in given areas and regions). 3) A braking of tendencies towards consumerism, commodification, commodity-fetishism, consumer-tribes, technologization, etc., by means of a “rooted radicalism” and “communitarian ecology.”

Following the recent victory in Italy of Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, today a more dynamic Right seems to have some chance of succeeding in Europe. Although Berlusconi’s victory has little to do with the ENR, the Northern League’s regionalism is fully in line with ENR ideas, while the softening of doctrinaire positions which made possible the victory of the National Alliance in the South may also have something to do with ENR influence. Yet Berlusconi and many sectors of the conventional Right have placed a born-again capitalism at the center of their program. This leads to a harshness toward social problems and a contempt for anyone who cannot compete. This conventional Right ignores the fact that humanistically-trained, aristocratically-minded people who could lead a genuine cultural Right are probably the least able to prosper in the projected brave new capitalist world. The obsessive focus on “the discipline of the market” is antithetical to the rooted popular culture and ENR’s “high culture.”

The circulation of ENR journals is rather small, but intellectual influence can rarely be measured by circulation figures. By pursuing its “metapolitical” strategy, the ENR has created a new climate where some Right ideas can be voiced more freely and with less opprobrium. What makes the ENR arguments attractive is that often they are simply good, persuasive arguments. After all, the substitution of a particularistic “right to be different” for a belief in an innate, absolutistic white and European supremacy was a much-needed shift. The ENR has also understood that the orthodox Christian approach to sexual and family morality, in an extremely permissive and sexually-obsessed age, was untenable. The ENR has also renewed much of the criticism of capitalism from an organicist-aristocratic context at a time when the Left seems to have fallen silent on this matter in its uncritical and opportunistic embrace of liberalism. Only in today’s dessicated political landscape are people shocked by these positions, as the organic and Catholic Right — partially linked to various pre-Marxian socialisms as well as syndicalism and anarcho-syndicalism — had traditionally been in the forefront of the critique of capitalism. (In the 19th century, John Ruskin could readily claim: “I am a Tory of the sternest sort, a socialist, a communist”). ENR ideas are also intimately intertwined with central aspects of French identity and national character. Thus the ENR is divided concerning European unification, perhaps because it sees it as a possible vehicle for the continuation of French hegemony through such archetypically French figures as Jacques Delors.

At any rate, under no circumstances can the ENR be characterized as a “neo-fascist” residue destined to play only a very limited role in the future of Europe. Despite certain obvious problems and inconsistencies, the ENR has clearly transcended its origins in the far Right. Its formulations on certain issues have been pioneering, though often, and ironically, coming out of nothing more than a reactivation of half-forgotten arguments in the great store of non-fascist organicist thought. The ENR today is very much in the forefront of key debates concerning personal and cultural identities, and “the sources of the self” The intellectually-honest Left could benefit by appropriating some of these ideas. On the whole, the ENR represents the most intellectual, sophisticated, least dogmatic and most positive element “on the Right,” engaged in the reconfiguration of the political landscape alter the collapse of communism and the terminal crisis of liberalism have rendered traditional categories hopelessly obsolete.

Notes:

  1. See “The Italian ‘Nuova Destra’: An Interview with Marco Tarchi,” in Perspectives, No. 3 (Winter 1991-92), p. 23.
  2. See Elements, Nos. 69, 70 and Perspectives, No. 4, devoted respectively to the theme: “Le Nouvel Ordre Americaine,” “Etats-Unis: Danger!” and “Beware the USA!”
  3. Insert to Perspectives, No. 3 (Winter 1991-92).
  4. The Scorpion, No. 13 (Winter 1989-90), p. 52
  5. See Michalina Vaughan, “Nouvelle Droite: Cultural Power and Political Influence,” in David S. Bell, ed., Contemporary French Politics (London & Canberra: Groom Helm, 1982), p. 63.
  6. Elements, No. 79 (January 1994), pp. 25-28.
  7. See in particular the “Heritage” section of Alain de Benoist’s Vu de droite (Paris: Copernic, 1977).
  8. Thomas Sheehan, “Myth and Violence: The Fascism of Julius Evola and Alain de Benoist,” in Social Research, Vol. XLVIII (Spring 1981), pp. 64-65.
  9. The Sting, No. 12 (Autumn 1992), p. 4.
  10. The Scorpion, No. 13 (Winter 1989-90), p. 52.
  11. The Scorpion, No. 13 (Winter 1989-90), p. 51. Thus, at the end of a long interview, Benoist states: “There are other comforts: the arts, contemplation and, of course, women. I do not have to tell you of all people, moncher Michel, who loathes as much as I do the misogyny so common on the Right, that the pleasures of the flesh are one of the paths to the spirit, and that the best argument which was ever given for justifying the existence of frontiers is the profound joy we feel in crossing them.” See The Scorpion, No. 10 (August 1986), p. 32. This is a translation of an interview originally published in Elements.
  12. The Scorpion, No. 13 (Winter 1989-90), p. 51. Another example of the ENR’s pagan feminism is Brigid Clarke’s “The Black Virgins of Europe,” which praises the Cult of the Virgin Mary in Roman Catholicism as a residue of pagan Goddess worship. See Perspectives, No. 3 (Winter 1991-92), pp. 25-27.
  13. Ulric Smith, “Nationalism: A Poison,” in Perspectives, No. 7 (Winter 1993-94), p. 16.
  14. Yann Fouere, “Towards a Natural Europe,” in Perspectives, No. 5 (Winter 199293), p. 18. Originally published in the Breton nationalist journal, Gwenn ha Du (August-September 1992).
  15. Ferraresi, op. cit., p. 145.
  16. According to Francois-Bernard Huyghe: “It is an ideology that fiercely denounces all manifestations of inequality, yet advocates horrendous economic inequality and ruthless individual survivalism.” See La “Soft-Ideologie” (Paris: Laffont, 1987).
  17. See Benoist’s indictment of Hayek as a savage ideologue of the harshest capitalism, for whom social justice, trade unions, society, and politics are illegitimate concepts, in Elements, No. 68 (Summer 1990), pp. 5-14. Similarly, addressing the British context, Perspectives claims that: “The hidden agenda behind the Conservative government’s assault on trade unions has been revealed. Far from championing the freedom of individual employees, it clearly regards them as little more than slaves to be sold on the international labour market. A Trade and Industry Department publication called Britain — The Preferred Location, aimed at attracting foreign money, enthuses: ‘Employers are now under no statutory obligation to recognize a union. Many companies do not do so . . . Wages and salaries are markedly lower than those in the US, Japan or many countries within the European Community, and so too are the add-on costs of social security and other benefits’.” See Perspectives, No. 6 (Summer 1993), p. 5.
  18. The Scorpion, No. 10 (Autumn 1986), p. 32.
  19. See Tomislav Sunic, Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right (New York: Peter Lang, 1990), especially the section “The Gramscism of the Right,” pp. 29-32.
  20. See Alain de Benoist, Europe. Tiers Monde. Meme Combat (Paris, R. Laffont, 1986).
  21. Thus Benoist has debated Thomas Molnar, an American paleoconservative and Catholic traditionalist. See Alain de Benoist (with Thomas Molnar) L’ Eclipse du Sacre (Paris, Lo Table Ronde, 1986). Similarly, it has made an opening to the Left and some of its eclectic thinkers, notably Gramsci, the Frankfurt School, etc. The ENR also finds Jean Baudrillard extremely invigorating, with his criticism of American “hyperreality.”
  22. Ferrazesi, op.cit., p. 147.
  23. Jean-Jacques Mourreau, “L’Europe Malade de Versailles.” in Elements, No. 69 (Fall 1990), p. 42. Consider the following two problematic examples in Perspectives. One is an obituary for Arno Breker attempting to dissociate his art from the people he served. See Perspectives, No. 2 (Summer 1991), p. 10. The other is a call in the previously cited Tarchi interview for the “normalization” of the experience of Italian fascism after the 1970′s. That may have already happened. Yet the suggestion that Nazism could be similarity “normalized” is another matter. See Perspectives, No. 3 (Winter 1991-92), p. 24. Worse yet, The Sting newsletter practically advertises the work of Ernst Zundel, a Holocaust revisionist and neo-Nazi, as follows: “Across the Atlantic maverick publisher E. Zundel has been having a rough time for daring to publish and broadcast his ‘revisionist’ ideas. There is irony in a ‘bigot’ being harassed by the ‘champions of free speech’ for his views. He broadcasts into Germany from a kind of pirate radio (shades of the 30′s -more irony!) Whether he is a “hate-monger” or not he is courageous: a small donation will get you info [followed by Zundel’s address and telephone number in Toronto].” See The Sting, No. 15 (Winter 1993), p. 1. The most recent issue of the same newsletter includes the following passage: “In Canada, Mr. Zundel’s publicity-catching gimmicks have unquestionably made doubt about the Nazi gassing claim more acceptable.” See The Sting, No. 16 (Spring 1994), p. 1. This raises the suspicion that certain ENR members are not so much “reactionaries” as outright neo-Nazis. In English-speaking countries, the ENR is often confused, even among some of its adherents, with the far Right.
  24. See the interview with Pierre-Andre Taguieff “Origines et Metamorphoses de la Nouvelle Droite,” in Vingtieme Siecle, No. 40 (October-December 1993), pp. 3-22. The second part of this interview is translated in this issue of Telos. In his work, Sur La Nouvelle Droite, Jalons d’un Analyse Critique (Descartes, 1994), Taguieff traces the long march of the ENR from a pro-Western, white racialist position in the 1960′s, to its advanced, “differentialist” stance of the 1980′s, “from race to culture.” The first chapter of this book is translated in this issue of Telos.
  25. The politically-correct Left in France, as typified by its “Appeal to Vigilance by Forty Intellectuals” against “the far Right” in 1993, adopts the mode of inquisitors and commissars, calling for blacklists, bannings, etc., and ironically targeting the ENR more vociferously than the National Front. Most of these documents are translated in this issue of Telos. The ENR has quickly responded to what it considers this “McCarthyism of the Left.” See David Barney, Charles Champetier and Claude Lavirose, La Nouvelle Inquisition: ses Acteurs, ses Methodes, ses Victimes (Le Labyrinthe, 1993).
  26. Seymour Martin Lipset, “The Revolt Against Modernity,” in Per Torsvik, Ed., Mobilization, Center-Periphery Structures and Nation Building (Bergen: Universitetforlaget, 1981), p. 477. Bela Kopeczi, a leading Hungarian Communist Party intellectual (and Hungary’s Minister of Culture at the time), while condemning ENR tendencies, has at least given them philosophical credence: “This ‘third way’ of philosophy, idealist and subjectivist in principle, posits the epistemological dependence of being on consciousness, and places the subject at its center of interest, although, as it tries to base itself on science, and especially history, it tries to mask this. In accordance with this philosophical direction, life, as it were, mediates between subject and object. Life always becomes subjectified as feeling, while feeling objectifies itself as life, which creates the appearance of the elimination of the dualism. This role is also fulfilled by the category of myth, which was brought into the vocabulary of philosophy by Nietzsche. The mythical objectivity of the ‘philosophy of life’ (Lebensphilosophie) appears in the subject, which suggests a certain type of objectivity.” Bela Kopeczi, Neokonserwatyzm i Nowa Prawica, tr. into Polish by Ester Lawnik (Warsaw: Ksiazka i Wiedza, 1986), pp. 25-26.
  27. In this, they follow Ernst Niekisch and the “National Bolsheviks” of interwar Germany, who proposed an alliance of Germany with Stalin’s “workers’-state,” at the expense of “reactionary” East European societies. Niekisch is often pointed to as a prototypical ENR hero for his resistance to Nazism, but the main point of his daring attack on Hitler in 1938 was that Nazism was a disguised Catholicism and therefore a “death-wish philosophy” — hardly the most devastating criticism. See Francois Lapeyre, “Ernst Niekish, Un Destin Allemand,” in Elements, No. 73 (Spring 1992), pp. 32-33. The strong rhetorical opposition to the Versailles Treaties (and affection for a big Germany) in some of their historical articles could also be interpreted as a further threat to Eastern Europe. See Jean-Jacques Mourreau, “L’Europe Malade de Versailles,” op. cit., pp. 23-42.
  28. This would be close to Derek Holland’s “Third Position” in England, which attempts to synthesize “Catholic traditionalism, European nationalism, and the ENR.” See “Polityczni Zolnierze,” in Stanczyk, No. 17 (1992), pp. 39-44.
  29. Ferraresi, op. cit., pp. 137-140, links the ENR to far Right terrorists.
  30. Cited in Jarosiaw Tomasiewicz, “Przeciwko Rownosci i Demokracji: Nowa Prawica we Francji,” in Mysl Polska (November 1-15 1993), p. 5.

 

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Wegierski, Mark. “The New Right in Europe.” Telos, Vol. 1993, No. 98-99 (December 1993), pp. 55-69.

Note: The text of this article was obtained from its online republication at: <http://www.amerika.org/texts/the-new-right-in-europe-mark-wegierski/ >.

Additional notes: While this essay by Wegierski serves as a good overview of some of the major features of the New Right, in order to more adequately understand the concepts and reasoning behind New Right philosophy, it is important to read certain key works by Alain de Benoist. See the works listed at the “Manifesto of the New Right”.

 

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Manifesto of the New Right – Benoist & Champetier

“Manifesto of the French New Right in the Year 2000” by Alain de Benoist and Charles Champetier (PDF – 264 KB):

Manifesto of the French New Right (English)

The following is the original French version of this work:

Manifeste: la Nouvelle Droite de l’an 2000 (PDF – 208 KB):

Manifeste: la Nouvelle Droite de l’an 2000 (Français)

The following is the Spanish translation of this work:

Manifiesto: La Nueva Derecha del año 2000 (PDF – 204 KB):

Manifiesto: la Nueva Derecha del año 2000 (Español)

The following is the Italian translation of this work:

La Nuova Destra del 2000 (PDF – 202 KB):

La Nuova Destra del 2000 (Italiano)

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Notes on publications and translations of the Manifesto:

Alain de Benoist’s and Charles Champetier’s “Manifesto of the French New Right in the Year 2000” (Telos, Vol. 1999, No. 115, [March-May 1999], pp. 117-144) was the first edition of the English version, which was also published in a second edition as Manifesto for a European Renaissance (London: Arktos, 2012). The full text of this manifesto was also included as an appendix within the third edition of Tomislav Sunic’s Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right (London: Arktos, 2011). The text used to create the file available on this site was retrieved from: <http://www.amerika.org/texts/manifesto-of-the-french-new-right-in-year-2000-alain-de-benoist-and-charles-champetier >. The text in English is alternatively available in HTML format here: <http://home.alphalink.com.au/~radnat/debenoist/alain9.html >.

The “Manifiesto: la Nueva Derecha del ano 2000” (Hespérides, Vol. IV, No. 19 [March-May 1999], pp. 13-47) was the first edition of the Spanish version, which was also published in a second edition as Manifiesto para un renacimiento europeo (Mollet del Vallès, Barcelona: Grup de recerca i estudi de la cultura europea, 2000), which has in turn been recently republished by Arktos (London, 2013). The text of the Spanish translation was retrieved from: <http://www.red-vertice.com/disidencias/textosdisi19.html >.

The “Manifeste: la Nouvelle Droite de l’an 2000” (Eléments, No. 94, [February 1999], pp. 11-23) was the first edition of the original French version, which was also published in a second edition as Manifeste pour une renaissance européenne (Paris: GRECE, 2000). The text of the French retrieved from: <http://www.grece-fr.net/textes/_txtWeb.php?idArt=71 >.

The “La Nuova Destra del 2000” (“La Nuova Destra del 2000” (Diorama letterario, Firenze, 229-230, October-November 1999) was the first Italian translation of the manifesto, which was published in a newer edition as Manifesto per una Rinascita Europea (Rome: Nuove Idee editore, 2005). The file made available on this site was retrieved from: <http://www.alaindebenoist.com/pdf/la_nuova_destra_del_2000.pdf >.

Other translations: The manifesto was also translated into German as “Manifest: Die Nouvelle Droite des Jahres 2000” (published in Aufstand der Kulturen [Berlin: Edition Junge Freiheit, 1999]), into Dutch as “Manifest voor Europees herstel en vernieuwing” (TeKos, Wijnegem, 95, octobre-décembre 1999), into Danish as “Manifest. Det nye højre år 2000” (Nomos, Valby, III, 2005, 1), into Hungarian as “Manifesztum az európai újjászületésért” (A51 [2002], pp. 239-285), into Czech as “Manifest: Nova pravice v roce 2000” (Tradice budoucnosti. Ed. Orientace 1/2008), into Croatian as “Manifest za Europsku Obnovu, Nova Desnica u 21. Stoljeću” (included as an appendix to Tomislav Sunic, Europska Nova Desnica [Zagreb, Croatia: Hasanbegović, 2009]), into Portuguese as Manifesto Para Um Renascimento Europeu (USA & EU: Editora Contra Corrente, 2014), into Polish as Manifest Grupy Badań i Studiόw nad Cywilizacją Europejską (GRECE) (published online: Konserwatyzm.pl, 2013), and into Ukrainian as Маніфест Нових Правих (published online: Національний альянс, 2009, http://nation.org.ua/)

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Further Reading (Major works by Alain de Benoist):

The following works are considered to be the most important books (along with the above Manifesto) by Alain de Benoist which establish the intellectual foundations of the New Right movement:

Vu de Droite: Anthologie critique des idées contemporaines (Paris: Copernic, 1977), which was translated into German as Aus Rechter Sicht: Eine kritische Anthologie zeitgenössischer Ideen (Tübingen: Grabert, 1983-1984), into Italian as Visito da Destra: Antologia critica delle idee contemporanee (Napoli: Akropolis, 1981), into Portugese as Nova Direita, Nova Cultura: Antologia critica das ideias contemporaneas (Lisboa: Afrodite 1981), and in an abridged format into Romanian as O perspectivâ de dreapta: Anthologie criticâ a ideilor contemporane (Bucarest: coll. « Dreapta europeanâ », 2, Anastasia, 1998).

Les Idées à l’Endroit (Paris: Libres-Hallier, 1979), which was translated into Italian as Le Idee a Posto (Napoli: Akropolis, 1983), into Spanish as La Nueva Derecha: Una respuesta clara, profunda e inteligente (Barcelona: Planeta, 1982), into Greek as Oi ιδέες sta ορθο (Αθήνα: Ελεύθερη Σκέψις, 1980), and partially into German as Kulturrevolution von Rechts: Gramsci und die Nouvelle Droite (Krefeld: Sinus-Verlag, 1985).

Démocratie: le problème (Paris: Le Labyrinthe, 1985), which was translated into English as The Problem of Democracy (London: Arktos, 2011), into German as Demokratie: das Problem (Tübingen & Zürich: Hohenrain, 1986), into Italian as Democrazia: il problema (Firenze: Arnaud, 1985), and into Spanish as ¿Es un Problema la Democracia? (Barcelona: Nueva República, 2013).

Au-delà des droits de l’homme: Pour défendre les libertés (Paris: Krisis, 2004), which was translated into English as Beyond Human Rights: Defending Freedoms (London: Arktos Media, 2011), into German translation as Kritik der Menschenrechte: Warum Universalismus und Globalisierung die Freiheit bedrohen (Berlin: Junge Freiheit, 2004), into Italian as Oltre i diritti dell’uomo: Per difendire le libertà (Rome: Il Settimo Sigillo, 2004), and into Spanish as Más allá de los Derechos Humanos: defender las libertades (published online 2008 at Les Amis d’Alain de Benoist: <http://www.alaindebenoist.com/pdf/mas_alla_de_los_derechos_humanos.pdf >).

In German, an important collection of essays by Alain de Benoist has been published in the book  Schöne Vernetzte Welt: Eine Antwort auf die Globalisierung (Tübingen: Hohenrain-Verlag, 2001). Another German collection had also been published as Aufstand der Kulturen: Europäisches Manifest für das 21. Jahrhundert (Berlin: Edition Junge Freiheit, 1999). In Spanish, see also the following two publications: Benoist’s Más Allá de la Derecha y de la Izquierda: El pensamiento político que rompe esquemas (Barcelona: Ediciones Áltera, 2010), and a collection of essays by Benoist and Guillaume Faye titled Las Ideas de la “Nueva Derecha”: Una respuesta al colonialismo cultural (Barcelona: Nuevo Arte Thor, 1986). In Russian, a notable collection of translated essays by Alain de Benoist (Ален де Бенуа) has been published as Против либерализма: к четвертой политической теории (Санкт-Петербург: Амфора, 2009).

Also worth mentioning is a book by Benoist that is only available in French known as Critiques – Théoriques (Lausanne & Paris: L’Age d’Homme, 2003),  but from which selected essays (two important examples being “A Critique of Liberal Ideology” and “The Idea of Empire”) have been translated into multiple languages – including English, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Russian, among some others – and published in various magazines or journals. In addition, we would like to make note of a collection of essays on racism and anti-racism, which includes Benoist’s important essay “Racisme: remarques autour d’une définition” (translated into English as “What is Racism?”): the book Racismes, Antiracismes, edited by Andre Béjin and Julien Freund (Paris: Librairie des Méridiens, 1986), translated into Italian as Razzismo e antirazzismo (Firenze: La roccia di Erec, 1992).

Finally, it is worth mentioning the joint work of Alain de Benoist and Alexander Dugin on the theory of Eurasianism and the Fourth Political Theory, L’appel de L’Eurasie, conversation avec Alain de Benoist (Paris: Avatar Éditions, 2013), translated into Spanish as ¿Qué es el eurasismo? Una conversación de Alain de Benoist con Alexander Dugin (Tarragona: Ediciones Fides, 2014).

Read more about Alain de Benoist’s life and work at his official website: <http://www.alaindebenoist.com/ >, and see also F. Roger Devlin’s review of Alain de Benoist’s Memoire Vive: <https://neweuropeanconservative.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/benoists-vivid-memory-devlin/ >.

 

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