Tag Archives: Modernisation without Westernisation

Tradition, Modernity, & Confucian Revival in China – Worsman

“Tradition, Modernity, and the Confucian Revival: An Introduction and Literature Review of New Confucian Activism” by Richard Worsman (PDF – 611 KB):

Tradition, Modernity, and the Confucian Revival – Richard Worsman

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Worsman, Richard. “Tradition, Modernity, and the Confucian Revival: An Introduction and Literature Review of New Confucian Activism.” History Honors Papers, Paper 14. Connecticut College. 2012. <http://digitalcommons.conncoll.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1018&context=histhp >.

 

Notes: For further reading on the issue of tradition and modernity in China and various ideas of “modernisation without Westernisation,” see Between Tradition and Modernity: Philosophical Reflections on the Modernization of Chinese Culture by Li Zonggui (Oxford: Chartridge Books Oxford, 2015). Also, a collection of studies and perspectives on this process in various Asian countries can be found in Cultural Identity and Modernization in Asian Countries: Proceedings of Kokugakuin University Centennial Symposium (Tokyo: Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics, Kokugakuin University, 1983. <http://www2.kokugakuin.ac.jp/ijcc/wp/cimac/index.html >.)

An academic study over-viewing the theory and development of the process called “modernization without westernization” in Asia can be found in “Modernization without Westernization: Comparative Observations on the Cases of Japan and China and their Relevance to the Development of the Pacific Rim” by Stuart D.B. Picken (NUCB Journal of Economics and Information Science, Vol. 48, No. 2 (2004), pp. 171-179, <http://www.nucba.ac.jp/themes/s_cic@cic@nucba/pdf/njeis482/14PICKEN.pdf > [Alt.]). On the general idea of “modernisation without Westernisation” from a Neo-Eurasianist perspective, see the article “Modernization without westernization is the first step to reject imperialism” by Antonio Grego.

 

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Soseki’s “Kokoro” and Japan’s Modernization – Nguyen

Kokoro (1914) by Natsume Soseki: The Question of Japanese Modernity

By Hoang Nguyen

 

Introductory Remarks: The following article is primarily a review of the novel Kokoro, considered the most important work written by the famous Japanese author Natsume Soseki (1867-1916). Soseki is highly regarded in his native Japan; his works are considered one of the nation’s cultural treasures, his books are required reading in Japanese schools, and his portrait even appears on Japan’s currency. His book Kokoro, in particular, is seen as one of the best representations of the traditional Japanese soul, and as Nguyen’s review reveals, was important in warning the Japanese people against excessive Westernisation. We should note to our readers that another, similar but more in-depth academic analysis of Kokoro was made by Koji Nakamura in his article “Soseki’s Kokoro as a Cross-Cultural Study for Exchange Students from North America and Europe” (alt.), and it will be useful to read that as well to gain a fuller understanding. However, as is evident from most studies on Soseki’s critiques of and warnings against Westernisation, Soseki’s view was limited by his time period (the Meiji era) and preceded the process of true “modernisation without Westernisation,” which manifested itself most clearly over a decade after his death (although it is clear that Westernisation had many limitations even during the Meiji period).

By the 1930’s, Japan began to reassert its ethno-cultural and religious identity and combined it with economic and scientific modernisation, and although this process was disrupted by their defeat in World War II and the ensuing troubling time period (the late 1940s up to the early 1970s), by the later 20th Century (the late 1970s and beyond) they began reasserting their cultural identity once again in a new way. Essentially, despite still facing some cultural problems today which need to be overcome, modernisation without Westernisation is mostly successful in Japan, as Nguyen notes in the beginning of her review, and as Alexander Dugin had also observed in his article “In the Country of the Rising ‘Do’.” However, even if some of Natsume Soseki’s approaches or statements are outdated, this doesn’t mean that Soseki’s literature is irrelevant today. Quite the contrary, by being so ingrained into the culture, Soseki’s works help constantly remind the Japanese to defend their ethno-cultural identity against disintegration by globalisation. Europeans would do well to learn from this. – Daniel Macek (Editor of the “New European Conservative”)

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“Perhaps you will not understand clearly why I am about to die, no more than I can fully understand why General Nogi killed himself. You and I belong to different eras, and so we think differently. There is nothing we can do to bridge the gap between us.” (Sensei from Kokoro)

Japanese Modernity has often been equated with Westernization. The significance of this equation is that it constructs an assumption that modernity is solely based on the Western values. As Japan became a modern nation, assertions were made that the process of modernization was actually the process of Westernization. However, Natsume Soseki, in his most accomplished novel Kokoro, criticized this equation by exposing the modern Japan in conflict with Western values. However, it failed to give a satisfactory alternative solution to the concept of Japanese modernity.

Modernization is by definition a technological process. Although modernity is the result of modernization, modernity necessarily includes not only technological but also social and economic factors. The definition of modernization can be derived from the results of industrial evolution and technological advances which were prevailing in Europe one time in history. However, the definition of modernity should in no way be connected to Western influence since not all countries should follow the same path of economic and social development as the West did.  Therefore, it is obvious that Japan has modernized based on the technological achievements of the West but it is still open to debate whether the modernity of Japan should be the modernity represented by Western countries. Japanese modernity is equal to Western modernity in terms of technological developments, but not necessarily so in social and economic realms.

In KokoroNatsume Soseki told a story happening at the time Japan was modernizing and mentioned a variety of Western influences which were alienating to the Japanese society, at least the society of the Meiji Era. In doing this, Soseki showed us the short-comings of the Western modernity equation, which tries to predetermine a model for the modernity of Japan without any concerns for Japanese long history of traditionsJapanese modernity is a complicated concept and reducing it to a simple Western modernity equation is an eliminating process that sets aside important social and cultural factors.

There are various factors of Western modernity that were criticized in the text. Modern education and capitalism were the two major factors that surfaced in the story. Viewed from a Western modernity viewpoint, these are the necessary factors of modernity. However, throughout the text, Soseki made it clear that trying to attach these factors to Japanese society and the Japanese spectrum of modernity will only create social alienation and miscommunication. Incorporating all these factors into the contrasts between the past and the present, the old and the new, the traditional and the non-traditional, and finally, the dead and the alive, Soseki  drew a spectacular picture of the Japanese society struggling in vain to adapt to Western modernity.

In “Kokoro,” modern education was not helpful in dealing with the reality of life. At this point in history, the Japanese school system had been westernized; therefore, studying activities, especially in higher education, followed strictly the Western model of education. Both the character “I” and Sensei were involved in intellectual activities. However, they do not find any significance value in their studies.

I opened the window of my room, which was on the second floor and, pretending that my diploma was a telescope, I surveyed as much of the world as I could see… Then I threw the diploma down on the desk… In that position, I thought back over my past and tried to imagine what my future would be. I thought about my diploma lying on the desk and, though it seemed to have some significance as a kind of symbol of the beginning of a new life, I could not help feeling that it was a meaningless scrap of paper too.

The diploma, a thing that represents the honor of intellectual activities, has been a symbol of education and reason. The act of “pretending my diploma was a telescope” can be interpreted as the author’s attempt at viewing the world through the knowledge he acquired from school, from the lectures and from his professors. However, that was a failed attempt since he himself admitted that “I could not help feeling that it was a meaningless scrap of paper…” He found no use in the kind of knowledge he acquired. That is why he “threw the diploma down on the desk…” Besides the author who was doubtful about the usefulness of his study, other characters in the story also expressed disbelief in the significance of modern education. Both Sensei and his wife did not know where Sensei’s diploma was even though a diploma is supposed to be important for an intellectual person like Sensei.  For Sensei, at a point of great depression in his life, he felt that “the professors who stood on the platforms seemed very far away, and their voices faint.” That was his disappointment in modern education which is far away from the reality of life. When Sensei sought to be guided in life by the knowledge he acquired from school, he found nothing but faint voices from far-away professors. Modern education based its teachings on Western thoughts; therefore, it does not speak truth to the Japanese society.

As a result, those who received modern education were lost in the gap between the Japanese world and the Western world. Sensei’s wife commented, “I see that higher education has made you adept at empty rationalization.” Ojosan spoke this sentence when she was explaining to the author about her relationship with Sensei. The author kept using his modern reasoning to analyze the relationship between Ojosan and Sensei while Ojosan seemed to insist that “empty rationalization” does not help when it comes to explaining people’s motives.

But sometimes I was inclined to regard his reserve unfavorably. I liked then to think that his reluctance to discuss such a matter was due to timidity born of the conventions of a generation ago. I thought myself more free, in this respect, and more open-minded, than either Sensei or his wife.

The author assumed that his education has made him “more free” and “more open-minded” than Sensei who had the “timidity born of the conventions of a generation ago.” This goes to show that “empty rationalization,” the kind of modern reasoning that the author studied at school, was actually at odds with the Japanese traditional way of thinking, which values human passion more than cold unbiased reason. Reason, in the Japanese way of thinking, is inferior to passion, as Sensei asserted, “I believe that words uttered in passion contain a greater living truth than do those words which express thoughts rationally conceived.” Throughout the whole story, the author kept on analyzing people’s behavior by his modern reasoning. However, as Sensei pointed out, there is something else that the author does not know. “”You have never thought seriously of the reality of death, have you?” I became silent.” Only people of the previous generation could understand “the reality of death.” Both Sensei and the author’s father reacted in a melancholic manner to the death of Meiji Emperor. The author himself could only understand the news as the death of an influential figure. For Sensei and the author’s father, death has a special meaning. Equipped with university knowledge, the author may be good at his field of study but he could never understand the people. However much he studied, he could not understand the spirit of the previous generations (Sensei, Ojosan, his father…). The author’s brother, who also had a university degree, also did not understand Sensei. He said, “That’s the trouble with egoists … They are brazen enough to think they have the right to live idly. It’s a crime not to make the best use of whatever ability one has.”

Obviously, his reasoning was fair. Nevertheless, it is not persuasive because he could not understand that people like Sensei could have a reasonable motive behind their behaviors. It is not what education can teach him. Education could not bridge the gap between different generations. That is also the gap between a traditional Japan and a Westernized Japan that modern education could never fill. Even though Japan has begun to Westernize, to begin “a new life,” the author kept wondering what identity he would absorb in that new life: “… I thought back over my past and tried to imagine what my future would be.” The author thought that with his diploma, he could be sure about his future. However, modern education did not give him the answer to his identity. What will the modern Japanese society? And what is the significance of modern education in shaping such a society and the individuals in that society? These questions remained unanswered to the author as he threw his diploma on the desk and wondered about the future of the society he was living in.

Alienation is the effect of forcing Western modernity on Japanese society. Individualism, originally not associated with modernity, has become so popular in European societies that it entered the spectrum of Western modernity. However, as Japan modernizes, it is not suitable to assume that Japan will absorb individualism the way the West did. When Sensei commented that “… loneliness is the price we have to pay for being born in this modern age, so full of freedom, independence, and our own egoistical selves,” the author “could not think of anything to say.” Members of the modern society enjoy the benefits of individualism. However, the traditional Japanese society itself upholds strong values of communal relationships and several aspects of individualism like independence and self-reliance clash with these values. Therefore, the loneliness that both Sensei and the narrator experienced is the alienation that resulted from the rapid development from the Japanese communal space to a modern individualistic society. K, who acquired many aspects of Western modernity like education and intellectual thoughts, had the same fate. K was alienated from his own society. He did not have any close friends since no one could understand his modern thoughts, which he diligently studied from Western texts. By following his study without concerning his family’s opinions, he became the representative of Western individualism. It was his individualistic tendency that drove him away from his own family and society.

Alienation was described more clearly through the miscommunications of the characters in the story. Western societies value the voice of the individual and encourage conversations in constructing a relationship. However, there are things that cannot be conveyed by words and those belong to the traditional sphere that Western ideals seemed to interfere with. Conversations seemed to only disturb the understanding between people. “It was wrong of me. I had intended to make you aware of certain truths. Instead, I have only succeeded in irritating you.”

When the Sensei tried to explain to the narrator his idea about love, he did not manage to express himself clearly. The narrator only got more confused after listening to Sensei’s explanation.“I was trying to explain my earlier remarks because I thought they had irritated you. But in trying to explain, I find that I have upset you once more.”

The constant misunderstanding and miscommunications between the author and Sensei throughout the first two chapters of the story revealed how far people of different generations were from each other. The author belonged to the modern world while Sensei is forever associated with the past. Sensei always lived haunted by his past. Therefore, not understanding the past, the author could not figure out the meaning of Sensei’s behaviors. Western modernity, the kind of “borrowed” modernity, was not valued by Sensei:“True, my ethics may be different from those of the young men of today. But they are at least my own. I did not borrow them for the sake of convenience as a man might a dress suit.”

Western modernity was not meant forJapan. It was like a suit that Japanese people put on in order to modernize but it will never fit. Sensei valued his own ethics even though it is “different from those of young men of today.” It is that difference that forever separated the traditional, the past and the modern, the present. The title of the story is “Kokoro,” which can be translated as “feeling,” the kind of feeling that words cannot easily convey. The story, then, can be interpreted as the author’s journey to understand “kokoro,” to grasp the deepest feelings of Sensei who, to him, was a “half-hidden figure.” At the same time, it is a journey to understand the past and to figure out what is the meaning of the past to the future of his society. In the Japanese spirit, “kokoro” is a sacred realm and a key element of a communal space. Western modernity, whatever benefits it may bring, did not suffice to become the future of Japan simply because it neglects “kokoro.” Miscommunication between Sensei and the narrator was just one example of the many miscommunications between Japanese traditional spirit and Western modernity spirit.

The unsuitability of Western modernity for Japanese society was emphasized by the difference between different generations and between the past and the present.

But you must not think that K’s inability to discard his old ways and begin his life anew was due to his lack of modern concepts. You must understand that to K, his own past seemed too sacred a thing to be thrown away like an old suit of clothes. One might say that his past was his life, and to deny it would have meant that his life thus far had been without purpose… he was forced to look back and remind himself of what his past had meant. And in doing so he could not but continue along the path that he had so far followed.

The influence of the past on K was so great and so “sacred” that even though K has been immersed in modern concepts in his intellectual activities, he could not help but continue his “old ways.” This is the dilemma of Japan. Wanting to move on and to modernize,Japan has adopted Western ideas. However, the shadow of the past and the traditions are still there and Western modernity provided no means to overcome that shadow.

Perhaps you will not understand clearly why I am about to die, no more than I can fully understand why General Nogi killed himself. You and I belong to different eras, and so we think differently. There is nothing we can do to bridge the gap between us.

Both Sensei and the author were helpless in their attempts to understand each other. It is not only the gap between generations. Even though they are living in the same society, Sensei and the author each belonged to a world of his own. Sensei’s world is the Japan of Meiji emperor and General Nogi. The author’s world is the modern, individualistic and capitalistic Japan. Western modernity assumed that those two worlds can coexist peacefully at the same time within Japanese society.  However, that was a misconception. Japan can modernize technologically but it does not necessarily absorb all the social aspects of a Western modern society. Western modernity forced onto Japanese communal space only created clashes and conflicts which cannot be solved.

One example of those conflicts is the negative effect of capitalism on Japanese society.

If there is any property in your family, then I do think you should see to it that your inheritance is properly settled now… But don’t you think that, while your father is alive, you should make sure that you will receive your proper share? When a man dies suddenly, his estate causes more trouble than anything else.

Sensei saw “estate” as troublesome. And he was honest. Inheritance is a highly valued concept in Japanese society. It is through inheritance that traditions can be passed down from generation to generation, and the glory of the past, as a result, would be preserved. However, capitalism attached monetary value to inheritance, thus turning it into a troublesome thing. In a capitalistic world, money and capital are favored over relationships and humans themselves.  It was money that ruined the relationship between Sensei and his uncle. It was also money that exacerbates K’s relationship with both his foster family and his real family. K’s only connection with his foster family is the money he received for his study. When they stopped offering to sponsor his study, K’s relationship with them also ended. All the relationships that were abandoned in the story were due to material conflicts. Money and capital has grown to become so important in that modern society that people could not but give in to its power and neglect their relationships.  K had no time to worry about his family problems because he had to worry about money matters first:

Whether he should return to his original family because of the unhappy incident, or whether he should consider some way of compromise and remain with his adopted family, was a problem for the future, but what required his immediate attention was the question of how he was to pay for his education.

Moreover, money has been described by Sensei as something “evil.” Sensei expressed his contempt for money, “Give a gentleman money, and he will soon turn into a rogue.” Those people who got controlled by money became, in Sensei’s mind, “the personification of all those things in this world which make it unworthy of trust.” The goal of modernity is not, and should not be, a society where people cannot trust each other. The Japanese spirit that has always valued honor and trust will not be able to wholly accept the concept of capitalism and materialism.

Soseki tried to give an alternative to the problem by using the concept of a hybrid. In other words, he wanted the modern Japanese people to inherit the traditions and the social spirit of the past while still moving on with the technological developments introduced by the West. In this solution, He focused on the tradition of inheritance as the key to defining Japanese modernity. Inheritance was used as a means to transporting the social spirit from generation to generation. A series of inheritance were broken in the story all due to the intervention of Western modernity. Sensei lost part of his inheritance because of his capitalistic uncle. K lost his “inheritance” from the foster family because he decided to follow his individualistic dream. However, those were cases of inheritance defined by money value. The kind of inheritance that is more important in the story is the sacred inheritance of the social spirit, which helps to create the hybrid of traditional values and modern tendencies. K is the perfect example of such a social hybrid. He was born in a temple and seemed to embody the important part of Japanese social spirit, the “concentration of mind.” However, at the same time, he was interested in studying the Bible and the Koran. He also likes to talk about subjects like religion and philosophy, which were obviously full of Western thoughts. K kept on living with his “concentration of mind” while constantly updating himself with Western intellectual knowledge through modern education. He succeeded in keeping the Japanese traditional attitude and the Western modern tendencies in dealing with life. His death has a big influence on Sensei. After K’s death, Sensei became another “K.” In this case, death is a kind of sacred inheritance, as the story unfolded.

The kind of social hybrid that K represented was passed down to Sensei when K died, and at the end of the story, it was passed down to the narrator when Sensei committed suicide. Such was Soseki’s approach to the problem of Japanese modernity. However, it was not a perfect solution. K’s reason for studying the Bible is because “one should read a book so highly valued by others.” This explanation somehow hinted that Japan is adopting Western modernity just because this model has been accepted as universal in the Western world. By making this statement, K lost his own identity. Moreover, when he was struck by the Western platonic love for Ojosan, K could not keep his traditional “concentration of mind” anymore and eventually committed suicide. This clash between Western modernity and Japanese traditions has remained unsolved and there was no answer to it other than death.

The novel Kokoro criticized Western modernity by depicting modern education and capitalism in a negative tone. It also showed us the social alienation resulted from the act of forcing a Western model of modernity onto Japanese society. The story itself was filled with darkness and helplessness, which appropriately reflects the atmosphere of a society gradually losing its own identity. The answer given was death, and only hopeless death could end the tension brought about by the clash between Western and Japanese values.

 

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Nguyen, Hoang. “Kokoro (1914) by Natsume Soseki: The Question of Japanese Modernity.” East Asian Pop Culture, 27 March 2012. <http://easdiary.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/kokoro-by-natsume-soseki-the-question-of-japanese-modernity/ >.

 

Notes on Further Reading: A great deal of Natsume Soseki’s works – mostly novels – have been translated into English (and numerous other languages). His most significant works are I Am A Cat, Botchan, Kusamakura/The Three-Cornered World, Sanshiro, Sorekara/And Then, The Gate, and Kokoro.

For those interested in reading and studying other Japanese literature (which is also useful for the study of Japan’s culture, history, and religious attitudes), we recommend the following two anthologies which were edited by Donald Keene: Anthology of Japanese Literature from the Earliest Era to the Mid-Nineteenth Century (New York: Grove Press, 1955), and Modern Japanese Literature: From 1868 to the Present Day (New York: Grove Press, 1956).

Concerning important modern classic Japanese authors (other than Natsume Soseki) whose works have been translated, we can note the following for readers who are interested: Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Kyoka Izumi, Osamu Dazai, Junichiro Tanizaki, Eiji Yoshikawa, Edogawa Rampo, Yukio Mishima, Yasunari Kawabata, Fumiko Enchi, Yasushi Inoue, Shuhei Fujisawa, and Hisashi Inoue.

 

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Foundations of Eurasianism – Dugin

Foundations of Eurasianism

By Alexander Dugin

 

Introductory Note: This page presents the combined republication of two separate articles by Alexander Dugin, titled “Milestones of Eurasianism” and “The Eurasian Idea.” They have been published together because we believe that these two together give a more complete view of Eurasianist theories and their philosophical roots. However, our audience should be aware that these two texts by themselves are not entirely satisfactory for understanding Eurasianism, and may lead to misunderstandings if read without reference to other key texts. We urge our audience to read the other articles by or about Alexander Dugin and also articles about the subject Eurasianism on this site for a more complete view of Eurasianist theory.  – Daniel Macek (Editor of the “New European Conservative”)

 

Milestones of Eurasism

 

Eurasism is an ideological and social-political current born within the environment of the first wave of Russian emigration, united by the concept of Russian culture as a non-European phenomenon, presenting–among the varied world cultures–an original combination of western and eastern features; as a consequence, the Russian culture belongs to both East and West, and at the same time cannot be reduced either to the former or to the latter.

The founders of Eurasism:

  • S. Trubetskoy(1890–1938)–philologist and linguist.
  • N. Savitsky (1895–1965)–geographer, economist.
  • V. Florovsky(1893–1979)–historian of culture, theologian and patriot.
  • V. Vernadsky(1877–1973)–historian and geopolitician.
  • N. Alekseev– jurist and politologist.
  • N. Ilin– historian of culture, literary scholar and theologian.

Eurasism’s main value consisted in ideas born out of the depth of the tradition of Russian history and statehood. Eurasism looked at the Russian culture not as to a simple component of the European civilization, as to an original civilization, summarizing the experience not only of the West as also–to the same extent–of the East. The Russian people, in this perspective, must not be placed neither among the European nor among the Asian peoples; it belongs to a fully original Eurasian ethnic community. Such originality of the Russian culture and statehood (showing at the same time European and Asian features) also defines the peculiar historical path of Russia, her national-state program, not coinciding with the Western-European tradition. 

Foundations

Civilization concept

The Roman-German civilization has worked out its own system of principles and values, and promoted it to the rank of universal system. This Roman-German system has been imposed on the other peoples and cultures by force and ruse. The Western spiritual and material colonization of the rest of mankind is a negative phenomenon. Each people and culture has its own intrinsic right to evolve according to its own logic. Russia is an original civilization. She is called not only to counter the West, fully safeguarding its own road, but also to stand at the vanguard of the other peoples and countries on Earth defending their own freedom as civilizations. 

Criticism of the Roman-German civilization

The Western civilization built its own system on the basis of the secularisation of Western Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism), bringing to the fore such values like individualism, egoism, competition, technical progress, consumption, economic exploitation. The Roman-German civilization founds its right to globality not upon spiritual greatness, as upon rough material force. Even the spirituality and strength of the other peoples are evaluated only on the basis of its own image of the supremacy of rationalism and technical progress.

The space factor

There are no universal patterns of development. The plurality of landscapes on Earth produces a plurality of cultures, each one having its own cycles, internal criteria and logics. Geographical space has a huge (sometimes decisive) influence on peoples’ culture and national history. Every people, as long as it develops within some given geographical environment, elaborates its own national, ethical, juridical, linguistic, ritual, economic and political forms. The “place” where any people or state “development” happens predetermines to a great extent the path and sense of this “development”–up to the point when the two elements became one. It is impossible to separate history from spatial conditions, and the analysis of civilizations must proceed not only along the temporal axis (“before,” “after,” “development” or “non-development,” and so on) as also along the spatial axis (“east,” “west,” “steppe,” “mountains,” and so on). No single state or region has the right to pretend to be the standard for all the rest. Every people has its own pattern of development, its own “times,” its own “rationality,” and deserves to be understood and evaluated according to its own internal criteria.

The climate of Europe, the small extension of its spaces, the influence of its landscapes generated the peculiarity of the European civilization, where the influences of the wood (northern Europe) and of the coast (Mediterraneum) prevail. Different landscapes generated different kinds of civilizations: the boundless steppes generated the nomad empires (from the Scythians to the Turks), the loess lands the Chinese one, the mountain islands the Japanese one, the union of steppe and woods the Russian-Eurasian one. The mark of landscape lives in the whole history of each one of these civilizations, and cannot be either separated form them or suppressed.

State and nation

The first Russian slavophiles in the 19th century (Khomyakov, Aksakov, Kirevsky) insisted upon the uniqueness and originality of the Russian (Slav, Orthodox) civilization. This must be defended, preserved and strengthened against the West, on the one hand, and against liberal modernism (which also proceeds from the West), on the other. The slavophiles proclaimed the value of tradition, the greatness of the ancient times, the love for the Russian past, and warned against the inevitable dangers of progress and about the extraneousness of Russia to many aspects of the Western pattern.

From this school the eurasists inherited the positions of the latest slavophiles and further developed their theses in the sense of a positive evaluation of the Eastern influences.

The Muscovite Empire represents the highest development of the Russian statehood. The national idea achieves a new status; after Moscow’s refusal to recognize the Florentine Unia (arrest and proscription of the metropolitan Isidore) and the rapid decay, the Tsargrad Rus’ inherits the flag of the Orthodox empire. 

Political platform

Wealth and prosperity, a strong state and an efficient economy, a powerful army and the development of production must be the instruments for the achievement of high ideals. The sense of the state and of the nation can be conferred only through the existence of a “leading idea.” That political regime, which supposes the establishment of a “leading idea” as a supreme value, was called by the Eurasists as “ideocracy”–from the Greek “idea” and “kratos,” power. Russia is always thought of as the Sacred Rus’, as a power [derzhava] fulfilling its own peculiar historical mission. The Eurasist world-view must also be the national idea of the forthcoming Russia, its “leading idea.”

The Eurasist choice

Russia-Eurasia, being the expression of a steppe and woods empire of continental dimensions, requires her own pattern of leadership. This means, first of all, the ethics of collective responsibility, disinterest, reciprocal help, ascetism, will and tenaciousness. Only such qualities can allow keeping under control the wide and scarcely populated lands of the steppe-woodland Eurasian zone. The ruling class of Eurasia was formed on the basis of collectivism, asceticism, warlike virtue and rigid hierarchy.

Western democracy was formed in the particular conditions of ancient Athens and through the centuries-old history of insular England. Such democracy mirrors the peculiar features of the “local European development.” Such democracy does not represent a universal standard. Imitating the rules of the European “liberal-democracy” is senseless, impossible and dangerous for Russia-Eurasia. The participation of the Russian people to the political rule must be defined by a different term: “demotia,” from the Greek “demos,” people. Such participation does not reject hierarchy and must not be formalized into party-parliamentary structures. “Demotia” supposes a system of land council, district governments or national governments (in the case of peoples of small dimensions). It is developed on the basis of social self-government, of the “peasant” world. An example of “demotia” is the elective nature of church hierarchies on behalf of the parishioners in the Muscovite Rus’. 

The work of L. N. Gumilev as a development of the Eurasist thinking

Lev Nikolaevic Gumilev (1912–1992), son of the Russian poet N. Gumilev and of the poetess A. Akhmatova, was an ethnographer, historian and philosopher. He was profoundly influenced by the book of the Kalmuck Eurasist E. Khara-Vadan “Gengis-Khan as an army leader” and by the works of Savitsky. In its own works Gumilev developed the fundamental Eurasist theses. Towards the end of his life he used to call himself “the last of the Eurasists.” 

Basic elements of Gumilev’s theory

  • The theory of passionarity [passionarnost’] as a development of the Eurasist idealism;
  • The essence of which, in his own view, lays in the fact that every ethnos, as a natural formation, is subject to the influence of some “energetic drives,” born out of the cosmos and causing the “passionarity effect,” that is an extreme activity and intensity of life. In such conditions the ethnos undergoes a “genetic mutation,” which leads to the birth of the “passionaries”–individuals of a special temper and talent. And those become the creators of new ethnoi, cultures, and states;
  • Drawing the scientific attention upon the proto-history of the “nomad empires” of the East and the discovery of the colossal ethnic and cultural heritage of the autochthone ancient Asian peoples, which was wholly passed to the great culture of the ancient epoch, but afterwards fell into oblivion (Huns, Turks, Mongols, and so on);
  • The development of a turkophile attitude in the theory of “ethnic complementarity.”

An ethnos is in general any set of individuals, any “collective”: people, population, nation, tribe, family clan, based on a common historical destiny. “Our Great-Russian ancestors–wrote Gumilev–in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries easily and rather quickly mixed with the Volga, Don and Obi Tatars and with the Buriates, who assimilated the Russian culture. The same Great-Russian easily mixed with the Yakuts, absorbing their identity and gradually coming into friendly contact with Kazakhs and Kalmucks. Through marriage links they pacifically coexisted with the Mongols in Central Asia, as the Mongols themselves and the Turks between the 14th and 16th centuries were fused with the Russians in Central Russia.” Therefore the history of the Muscovite Rus’ cannot be understood without the framework of the ethnic contacts between Russians and Tatars and the history of the Eurasian continent.

The advent of Neo-Eurasism: historical and social context

The crisis of the Soviet paradigm

In the mid-1980s the Soviet society began to lose its connection and ability to adequately reflect upon the external environment and itself. The Soviet models of self-understanding were showing their cracks. The society had lost its sense of orientation. Everybody felt the need for change, yet this was but a confused feeling, as no-one could tell the way the change would come from. In that time a rather unconvincing divide began to form: “forces of progress” and “forces of reaction,” “reformers” and “conservators of the past,” “partisans of reforms” and “enemies of reforms.” 

Infatuation for the western models

In that situation the term “reform” became in itself a synonym of “liberal-democracy.” A hasty conclusion was inferred, from the objective fact of the crisis of the Soviet system, about the superiority of the western model and the necessity to copy it. At the theoretical level this was all but self-evident, since the “ideological map” offers a sharply more diversified system of choices than the primitive dualism: socialism vs. capitalism, Warsaw Pact vs. NATO. Yet it was just that primitive logic that prevailed: the “partisans of reform” became the unconditional apologists of the West, whose structure and logic they were ready to assimilate, while the “enemies of reform” proved to be the inertial preservers of the late Soviet system, whose structure and logic they grasped less and less. In such condition of lack of balance, the reformers/pro-westerners had on their side a potential of energy, novelty, expectations of change, creative drive, perspectives, while the “reactionaries” had nothing left but inertness, immobilism, the appeal to the customary and already-known. In just this psychological and aesthetic garb, liberal-democratic policy prevailed in the Russia of the 1990s, although nobody had been allowed to make a clear and conscious choice.

The collapse of the state unity

The result of “reforms” was the collapse of the Soviet state unity and the beginning of the fall of Russia as the heir of the USSR. The destruction of the Soviet system and “rationality” was not accompanied by the creation of a new system and a new rationality in conformity to national and historical conditions. There gradually prevailed a peculiar attitude toward Russia and her national history: the past, present and future of Russia began to be seen from the point of view of the West, to be evaluated as something stranger, transcending, alien (“this country” was the “reformers’” typical expression). That was not the Russian view of the West, as the Western view of Russia. No wonder that in such condition the adoption of the western schemes even in the “reformers’” theory was invoked not in order to create and strengthen the structure of the national state unity, but in order to destroy its remains. The destruction of the state was not a casual outcome of the “reforms”; as a matter of fact, it was among their strategic aims.

The birth of an anti-western (anti-liberal) opposition in the post-Soviet environment

In the course of the “reforms” and their “deepening,” the inadequacy of the simple reaction began to be clear to everyone. In that period (1989–90) began the formation of a “national-patriotic opposition,” in which there was the confluence of part of the “Soviet conservatives” (ready to a minimal level of reflection), groups of “reformers” disappointed with “reforms” or “having become conscious of their anti-state direction,” and groups of representatives of the patriotic movements, which had already formed during the perestroika and tried to shape the sentiment of “state power” [derzhava] in a non-communist (orthodox-monarchic, nationalist, etc.) context. With a severe delay, and despite the complete absence of external strategic, intellectual and material support, the conceptual model of post-Soviet patriotism began to vaguely take shape.

Neo-Eurasism

Neo-Eurasism arose in this framework as an ideological and political phenomenon, gradually turning into one of the main directions of the post-Soviet Russian patriotic self-consciousness. 

Stages of development of the Neo-Eurasist ideology

1st stage (1985–90)

  • Dugin’s seminars and lectures to various groups of the new-born conservative-patriotic movement. Criticism of the Soviet paradigm as lacking the spiritual and national qualitative element.
  • In 1989 first publications on the review Sovetskaya literatura[Soviet Literature]. Dugin’s books are issued in Italy (Continente Russia [Continent Russia], 1989) and in Spain (Rusia Misterio de Eurasia [Russia, Mystery of Eurasia], 1990).
  • In 1990 issue of René Guénon’s Crisis of the Modern Worldwith comments by Dugin, and of Dugin’s Puti Absoljuta [The Paths of the Absolute], with the exposition of the foundations of the traditionalist philosophy.

In these years Eurasism shows “right-wing conservative” features, close to historical traditionalism, with orthodox-monarchic, “ethnic-pochevennik” [i.e., linked to the ideas of soil and land] elements, sharply critical of “Left-wing” ideologies.

2nd stage (1991–93)

  • Begins the revision of anti-communism, typical of the first stage of Neo-Eurasism. Revaluation of the Soviet period in the spirit of “national-bolshevism” and “Left-wing Eurasism.”
  • Journey to Moscow of the main representatives of the “New Right” (Alain de Benoist, Robert Steuckers, Carlo Terracciano, Marco Battarra, Claudio Mutti and others).
  • Eurasism becomes popular among the patriotic opposition and the intellectuals. On the basis of terminological affinity, A. Sakharov already speaks about Eurasia, though only in a strictly geographic–instead of political and geopolitical–sense (and without ever making use of Eurasism in itself, like he was before a convinced atlantist); a group of “democrats” tries to start a project of “democratic Eurasism” (G. Popov, S. Stankevic, L. Ponomarev).
  • Lobov, O. Soskovets, S. Baburin also speak about their own Eurasism.
  • In 1992–93 is issued the first number of Elements: Eurasist Review. Lectures on geopolitics and the foundations of Eurasism in high schools and universities. Many translations, articles, seminars.

3rd stage (1994–98): theoretical development of the Neo-Eurasist orthodoxy

  • Issue of Dugin’s main works Misterii Evrazii[Mysteries of Eurasia] (1996),Konspirologija [Conspirology] (1994), Osnovy Geopolitiki [Foundations of geopolitics] (1996), Konservativnaja revoljutsija [The conservative revolution] (1994), Tampliery proletariata [Knight Templars of the Proletariat] (1997). Works of Trubetskoy, Vernadsky, Alekseev and Savitsky are issued by “Agraf” editions (1995–98).
  • Creation of the “Arctogaia” web-site (1996) – arctogaia.com.
  • Direct and indirect references to Eurasism appear in the programs of the KPFR (Communist Party], LDPR [Liberal-Democratic Party], NDR [New Democratic Russia] (that is left, right, and centre). Growing number of publications on Eurasist themes. Issue of many Eurasist digests.
  • Criticism of Eurasism from Russian nationalists, religious fundamentalists and orthodox communists, and also from the liberals.
  • Manifestations of an academic “weak” version of Eurasism (Prof. A. S. Panarin, V. Ya. Paschenko, F.Girenok and others) – with elements of the illuminist paradigm, denied by the Eurasist orthodoxy – then evolving towards more radically anti-western, anti-liberal and anti-gobalist positions.
  • Inauguration of a university dedicated to L. Gumilev in Astan [Kazakhstan].

4th stage (1998–2001)

  • Gradual de-identification of Neo-Eurasism vis-à-visthe collateral political-cultural and party manifestations; turning to the autonomous direction (“Arctogaia,” “New University,” “Irruption” [Vtorzhenie]) outside the opposition and the extreme Left and Right-wing movements.
  • Apology of staroobrjadchestvo[Old Rite].
  • Shift to centrist political positions, supporting Primakov as the new premier. Dugin becomes the adviser to the Duma speaker G. N. Seleznev.
  • Issue of the Eurasist booklet Nash put’[Our Path] (1998).
  • Issue of Evraziikoe Vtorzhenie[Eurasist Irruption] as a supplement to Zavtra. Growing distance from the opposition and shift closer to the government’s positions.
  • Theoretical researches, elaborations, issue of “The Russian Thing” [Russkaja vesch’] (2001), publications in Nezavisimaja GazetaMoskovskij Novosti, radio broadcasts about “Finis Mundi” on Radio 101, radio broadcasts on geopolitical subjects and Neo-Eurasism on Radio “Svobodnaja Rossija” (1998–2000).

5th stage (2001–2002)

  • Foundation of the Pan-Russian Political Social Movement EURASIA on “radical centre” positions; declaration of full support to the President of the Russian Federation V. V. Putin (April 21, 2001).
  • The leader of the Centre of Spiritual Management of the Russian Muslims, sheik-ul-islam Talgat Tadjuddin, adheres to EURASIA.
  • Issue of the periodical Evraziizkoe obozrenie[Eurasist Review].
  • Appearance of Jewish Neo-Eurasism (A. Eskin, A. Shmulevic, V. Bukarsky).
  • Creation of the web-site of the Movement EURASIA: eurasia.com.ru
  • Conference on “Islamic Threat or Threat to Islam?.” Intervention by H. A. Noukhaev, Chechen theorist of “Islamic eurasism” (“Vedeno or Washington?,” Moscow, 2001].
  • Issue of books by E. Khara-Davan and Ya. Bromberg (2002).
  • Process of transformation of the Movement EURASIA into a party (2002).

Basic philosophical positions of Neo-Eurasism

At the theoretical level Neo-Eurasism consists of the revival of the classic principles of the movement in a qualitatively new historical phase, and of the transformation of such principles into the foundations of an ideological and political program and a world-view. The heritage of the classic eurasists was accepted as the fundamental world-view for the ideal (political) struggle in the post-Soviet period, as the spiritual-political platform of “total patriotism.”

The Neo-Eurasists took over the basic positions of classical Eurasism, chose them as a platform, as starting points, as the main theoretical bases and foundations for the future development and practical use. In the theoretical field, Neo-Eurasists consciously developed the main principles of classical Eurasism taking into account the wide philosophical, cultural and political framework of the ideas of the 20th century.

Each one of the main positions of the classical Eurasists (see the chapter on the “Foundations of classical Eurasism”) revived its own conceptual development.

Civilization concept

Criticism of the western bourgeois society from “Left-wing” (social) positions was superimposed to the criticism of the same society from “Right-wing” (civilizational) positions. The Eurasist idea about “rejecting the West” is reinforced by the rich weaponry of the “criticism of the West” by the same representatives of the West who disagree with the logic of its development (at least in the last centuries). The Eurasist came only gradually, since the end of the 1980s to the mid-1990s, to this idea of the fusion of the most different (and often politically contradictory) concepts denying the “normative” character of the Western civilization.

The “criticism of the Roman-German civilization” was thoroughly stressed, being based on the prioritary analysis of the Anglo-Saxon world, of the US. According to the spirit of the German Conservative Revolution and of the European “New Right,” the “Western world” was differentiated into an Atlantic component (the US and England) and into a continental European component (properly speaking, a Roman-German component). Continental Europe is seen here as a neutral phenomenon, liable to be integrated–on some given conditions–in the Eurasist project.

The spatial factor

Neo-Eurasism is moved by the idea of the complete revision of the history of philosophy according to spatial positions. Here we find its trait-d’union in the most varied models of the cyclical vision of history, from Danilevsky to Spengler, from Toynbee to Gumilev.

Such a principle finds its most pregnant expression in traditionalist philosophy, which denies the ideas of evolution and progress and founds this denial upon detailed metaphysical calculations. Hence the traditional theory of “cosmic cycles,” of the “multiple states of Being,” of “sacred geography,” and so on. The basic principles of the theory of cycles are illustrated in detail by the works of Guénon (and his followers G. Georgel, T. Burckhardt, M. Eliade, H. Corbin). A full rehabilitation has been given to the concept of “traditional society,” either knowing no history at all, or realizing it according to the rites and myths of the “eternal return.” The history of Russia is seen not simply as one of the many local developments, but as the vanguard of the spatial system (East) opposed to the “temporal” one (West). 

State and nation

Dialectics of national history

It is led up to its final, “dogmatical” formulation, including the historiosophic paradigm of “national-bolshevism” (N. Ustryalov) and its interpretation (M. Agursky). The pattern is as follows:

  • The Kiev period as the announcement of the forthcoming national mission (IX-XIII centuries);
  • Mongolian-Tatar invasion as a scud against the levelling European trends, the geopolitical and administrative push of the Horde is handed over to the Russians, division of the Russians between western and eastern Russians, differentiation among cultural kinds, formation of the Great-Russians on the basis of the “eastern Russians” under the Horde’s control (13th–15th centuries);
  • The Muscovite Empire as the climax of the national-religious mission of Rus’ (Third Rome) (15th–end of the 17th century);
  • Roman-German yoke (Romanov), collapse of national unity, separation between a pro-western elite and the national mass (end of the 17th-beginning of the 20th century);
  • Soviet period, revenge of the national mass, period of the “Soviet messianism,” re-establishment of the basic parameters of the main muscovite line (20th century);
  • Phase of troubles, that must end with a new Eurasist push (beginning of the 21st century).

Political platform

Neo-Eurasism owns the methodology of Vilfrido Pareto’s school, moves within the logic of the rehabilitation of “organic hierarchy,” gathers some Nietzschean motives, develops the doctrine of the “ontology of power,” of the Christian Orthodox concept of power as “kat’echon.” The idea of “elite” completes the constructions of the European traditionalists, authors of researches about the system of castes in the ancient society and of their ontology and sociology (R. Guénon, J. Evola, G. Dumézil, L. Dumont). Gumilev’s theory of “passionarity” lies at the roots of the concept of “new Eurasist elite.”

The thesis of “demotia is the continuation of the political theories of the “organic democracy” from J.-J. Rousseau to C. Schmitt, J. Freund, A. de Benoist and A. Mueller van der Bruck. Definition of the Eurasist concept of “democracy” (“demotia”) as the “participation of the people to its own destiny.”

The thesis of “ideocracy” gives a foundation to the call to the ideas of “conservative revolution” and “third way,” in the light of the experience of Soviet, Israeli and Islamic ideocracies, analyses the reason of their historical failure. The critical reflection upon the qualitative content of the 20th century ideocracy brings to the consequent criticism of the Soviet period (supremacy of quantitative concepts and secular theories, disproportionate weight of the classist conception).

The following elements contribute to the development of the ideas of the classical Eurasists:

The philosophy of traditionalism (Guénon, Evola, Burckhardt, Corbin), the idea of the radical decay of the “modern world,” profound teaching of the Tradition. The global concept of “modern world” (negative category) as the antithesis of the “world of Tradition” (positive category) gives the criticism of the Western civilization a basic metaphysic character, defining the eschatological, critical, fatal content of the fundamental (intellectual, technological, political and economic) processes having their origin in the West. The intuitions of the Russian conservatives, from the slavophiles to the classical Eurasists, are completed by a fundamental theoretical base. (see A. Dugin, Absoljutnaja Rodina [The Absolute Homeland], Moscow 1999; Konets Sveta[The End of the World], Moscow 1997; Julius Evola et le conservatisme russe, Rome 1997).

The investigation on the origins of sacredness (M. Eliade, C. G. Jung, C. Levi-Strauss), the representations of the archaic consciousness as the paradigmatic complex manifestation laying at the roots of culture. The reduction of the many-sided human thinking, of culture, to ancient psychic layers, where fragments of archaic initiatic rites, myths, originary sacral complexes are concentrated. Interpretation of the content of rational culture through the system of the ancient, pre-rational beliefs (A. Dugin, “The evolution of the paradigmatic foundations of science” [Evoljutsija paradigmal’nyh osnovanij nauki], Moscow 2002).

The search for the symbolic paradigms of the space-time matrix, which lays at the roots of rites, languages and symbols (H. Wirth, paleo-epigraphic investigations). This attempt to give a foundation to the linguistic (Svityc-Illic), epigraphic (runology), mythological, folkloric, ritual and different monuments allows to rebuild an original map of the “sacred concept of the world” common to all the ancient Eurasian peoples, the existence of common roots (see A. Dugin Giperborejskaja Teorija [Hyperborean Theory], Moscow 1993.

A reassessment of the development of geopolitical ideas in the West (Mackinder, Haushofer, Lohhausen, Spykman, Brzeszinski, Thiriart and others). Since Mackinder’s epoch, geopolitical science has sharply evolved. The role of geopolitical constants in 20th century history appeared so clear as to make geopolitics an autonomous discipline. Within the geopolitical framework, the concept itself of “Eurasism” and “Eurasia” acquired a new, wider meaning.

From some time onwards, Eurasism, in a geopolitical sense, began to indicate the continental configuration of a strategic (existing or potential) bloc, created around Russia or its enlarged base, and as an antagonist (either actively or passively) to the strategic initiatives of the opposed geopolitical pole–“Atlantism,” at the head of which at the mid-20th century the US came to replace England.

The philosophy and the political idea of the Russian classics of Eurasism in this situation have been considered as the most consequent and powerful expression (fulfilment) of Eurasism in its strategic and geopolitical meaning. Thanks to the development of geopolitical investigations (A. Dugin, Osnovye geopolitiki [Foundations of geopolitics], Moscow 1997) Neo-Eurasism becomes a methodologically evolved phenomenon. Especially remarkable is the meaning of the Land – Sea pair (according to Carl Schmitt), the projection of this pair upon a plurality of phenomena – from the history of religions to economics.

The search for a global alternative to globalism, as an ultra-modern phenomenon, summarizing everything that is evaluated by Eurasism (and Neo-Eurasism) as negative. Eurasism in a wider meaning becomes the conceptual platform of anti-globalism, or of the alternative globalism. “Eurasism” gathers all contemporary trends denying globalism any objective (let alone positive) content; it offers the anti-globalist intuition a new character of doctrinal generalization.

The assimilation of the social criticism of the “New Left” into a “conservative right-wing interpretation” (reflection upon the heritage of M. Foucault, G. Deleuze, A. Artaud, G. Debord). Assimilation of the critical thinking of the opponents of the bourgeois western system from the positions of anarchism, neo-marxism and so on. This conceptual pole represents a new stage of development of the “Left-wing” (national-bolshevik) tendencies existing also among the first Eurasists (Suvchinskij, Karsavin, Efron), and also a method for the mutual understanding with the “left” wing of anti-globalism.

“Third way” economics, “autarchy of the great spaces.” Application of heterodox economic models to the post-Soviet Russian reality. Application of F. List’s theory of the “custom unions.” Actualization of the theories of S. Gesell. F. Schumpeter, F. Leroux, new Eurasist reading of Keynes.

 

The Eurasian Idea

 

Changes in the Original Meaning of Eurasianism

Different terms lose their original meaning through their daily use over the course of many years. Such fundamental notions as socialism, capitalism, democracy, fascism, have changed profoundly. In fact, they have turned banal.

The terms “Eurasianism” and “Eurasia” also have some uncertainties because they are new, they belong to a new political language and intellectual context that is only being created today. The Eurasian Idea mirrors a very active dynamic process. Its meaning has become clearer throughout history but needs to be further developed.

Eurasianism as a Philosophical Struggle

The Eurasian Idea represents a fundamental revision of the political, ideological, ethnic, and religious history of mankind, and it offers a new system of classification and categories that will overcome standard clichés. The Eurasian theory went through two stages—a formative period of classical Eurasianism at the beginning of the 20th century by Russian emigrant intellectuals (Trubeckoy, Savickiy, Alekseev, Suvchinckiy, Iljin, Bromberg, Hara-Davan, et al.) followed by the historical works of Lev Gumilev and, finally, the constitution of neo-Eurasianism (second half of the 1980s to the present).

Towards Neo-Eurasianism

Classical Eurasian theory undoubtedly belongs to the past and can be correctly classified within the framework of the ideologies of the 20th century. Classical Eurasianism might have passed, but neo-Eurasianism has given it a second birth, a new sense, scale, and meaning. When the Eurasian Idea arose from its ashes, it became less obvious, but has since revealed its hidden potential. Through neo-Eurasianism, the entire Eurasian theory has received a new dimension. Today we cannot ignore the large historical period of neo-Eurasianism and must try to comprehend it in it modern context. Furthermore, we will describe the various aspects of this notion.

Eurasianism as a Global Trend; Globalization as the Main Body of Modern History

In the broad sense the Eurasian Idea and even the Eurasian concept do not strictly correspond to the geographical boundaries of the Eurasian continent. The Eurasian Idea is a global-scale strategy that acknowledges the objectivity of globalization and the termination of nation-states (Etats-Nations), but at the same time offers a different scenario of globalization, which entails no unipolar world or united global government. Instead, it offers several global zones (poles). The Eurasian Idea is an alternative or multipolar version of globalization, but globalization is the currently major fundamental world process that is deciding the main vector of modern history.

Paradigm of Globalization—Paradigm of Atlantism

Today’s nation-state is being transformed into a global state; we are facing the constitution of planetary governmental system within a single administrative-economic system. To believe that all nations, social classes, and economic models might suddenly begin to cooperate on the basis of this new planet-wide logic is wrong. Globalization is a one-dimensional, one victor phenomenon that tries to universalize the Western (Anglo-Saxon, American) point of view of how to best manage human history. It is (very often connected with suppression and violence) the unification of different social-political, ethnic religious, and national structures into one system. It is a Western European historical trend that has reached its peak through its domination of the USA.

Globalization is the imposing of the Atlantic paradigm. Globalization as Atlantism absolutely tries to avoid this definition. Proponents of globalization argue that when there will be no alternative to Atlantism that it will stop being Atlantism. The American political philosopher Francis Fukuyama writes about the “end of History,” which actually mean the end of geopolitical history and of the conflict between Atlantism and Eurasianism. This means a new architecture of a world system with no opposition and with only one pole—the pole of Atlantism. We may also refer to this as the New World Order. The model of opposition between the two poles (East-West, North-South) transforms to the center-outskirt model (center—West, “rich North”; outskirt—South). This variant of world architecture is completely at odds with the concept of Eurasianism.

Unipolar Globalization Has an Alternative

Today the New World Order is nothing more than a project, plan or trend. It is very serious, but it is not fatal. Adherents of globalization deny any alternative plan of the future, but today we are experiencing a large-scale phenomenon—contra-globalism, and the Eurasian Idea coordinates all opponents of unipolar globalization in a constructive way. Moreover, it offers the competing idea of multipolar globalization (or alter-globalization).

Eurasianism as Pluriversum

Eurasianism rejects the center-outskirt model of the world. Instead, the Eurasian Idea suggests that the planet consists of a constellation of autonomous living spaces partially open to each other. These areas are not nation-states but a coalition of states, reorganized into continental federations or “democratic empires” with a large degree of inner self-government. Each of these areas is multipolar, including a complicated system of ethnic, cultural, religious and administrative factors.

In this global sense, Eurasianism is open to everyone, regardless of one’s place of birth, residence, nationality and citizenship. Eurasianism provides an opportunity to choose a future different from the cliché of Atlantism and one value system for all mankind. Eurasianism does not merely seek the past or to preserve the current status quo, but strives for the future, acknowledging that the world’s current structure needs radical change, that nation-states and industrial society have exhausted all their resources. The Eurasian Idea does not see the creation of a world government on the basis of the liberal-democratic values as the one and only path for mankind. In its most basic sense, Eurasianism in the 21st century is defined as the adherence to alter-globalization, synonymous with a multipolar world.

Atlantism is not Universal

Eurasianism absolutely rejects the universalism of Atlantism and Americanism. The pattern of Western-Europe and America has many attractive features that can be adopted and praised, but as whole it is merely a cultural system that has the right to exist in its own historical context along with other civilizations and cultural systems.

The Eurasian Idea protects not only anti-Atlantic value systems, but the diversity of value structures. It is a kind of “poliversum” that provides living space for everyone, including the USA and Atlantism, along with other civilizations, because Eurasianism also defends the civilizations of Africa, both American continents, and the Pacific area parallel to the Eurasian Motherland.

The Eurasian Idea Promotes a Global Revolutionary Idea

The Eurasian Idea on a global scale is a global revolutionary concept, called upon to be a new platform for mutual understanding and cooperation for a large conglomerate of different powers: states, nations, cultures, and religions that reject the Atlantic version of globalization.

If we analyze the declaration and statements of various politicians, philosophers, and intellectuals we will see that the majority of them are adherents (sometimes unaware) of the Eurasian Idea.

If we think about all of those who disagree with the “end of history” our spirits will be raised and the failure of the American concept of strategic security for the 21st century connected with constituting the unipolar world, will be much more realistic.

Eurasianism is the sum of the natural, artificial, objective, and subjective obstacles on the path of unipolar globalization; it offers a constructive, positive opposition to globalism instead of a simple negation.

These obstacles, however, remain uncoordinated in the meantime, and proponents of Atlantism are able to manage them easily. Yet, if these obstacles can somehow be integrated into a united force, they will be integrated into something united and the likelihood of victory will become much more serious.

Eurasianism as the Old World (Continent)

The New World is part of the Second Old World or a more specific and narrow sense of the word Eurasianism applicable to what we call the Old World. The Notion of the Old World (traditionally regarding Europe) can be considered in a much wider context. It is multi-civilizational super space, inhabited by nations, states, cultures, ethnicities, and religions connected to each other historically and geographically by dialectic destiny. The Old World is an organic product of human history.

The Old World is often opposed to the New World, the American continent, discovered by Europeans and transformed into a platform for an artificial civilization, where European projects of modernism were created. It was built upon human-produced ideologies as a purified civilization of modernism.

The United States was the successful creation of the “perfect society,” formed by intellectuals from England, Ireland, and France, while the countries of South and Central America remained colonies of the Old World, and Germany and Eastern Europe were less influenced by this idea of a “perfect society.”

In the terms of Oswald Spengler, dualism between Old and New world can be brought to opposites: culture-civilization, organic-artificial, historical-clinical. 

The New World as Messiah

As a historical product of Western Europe during its evolution, the New World very early on realized its “messiah” destiny, where the liberal-democratic ideals of the Enlightenment were combined with the eschatological ideas of radical protestant sects. This was called the theory of Manifest Destiny, which became the new symbol of belief for generations of Americans. According to this theory, American civilization overtook all cultures and civilizations of the Old World and in its current universal form, it is obligatory for all nations of the planet.

With time, this theory directly confronted not only the cultures of the East and Asia, but came into conflict with Europe, which seemed to the Americans to be archaic and full of prejudice and antiquated traditions.

In turn, the New World turned away from the heritage of the Old World. Directly following World War II the New World became the indisputable leader in Europe itself with the “criteria of verity” of others. This inspired a corresponding wave of American dominance and at a parallel time the beginning of a movement that seeks geopolitical liberation from the brutal, transoceanic, strategic, economic and political control of the “elder Brother.”

Integration of the Eurasian Continent

In the 20th century, Europe became aware of its common identity, and step-by-step started to move towards the integration of all its nations into a common union, able to guarantee full sovereignty, security, and freedom to itself and all members.

The creation of the European Union became the most important event that helped Europe restore its status as a world power alongside the USA. This was the response of the Old World to the excessive challenge of the New World.

If we consider the alliance of the USA and Western Europe as the Atlantic vector of European development, European integration under the aegis of the continental countries (Germany, France) may be called European Eurasianism. This becomes more and more obvious if we take into consideration the theory of Europe from the Atlantic Ocean to the Urals (de Gaulle) or even to Vladivostok. In other words the integration of the Old World includes the vast territory of the Russian Federation.

Thus, Eurasianism in this context may be defined as a project of the strategic, geopolitical, and economic integration of the north of the Eurasian continent, considered the cradle of European history and the matrix of European nations.

Parallel with Turkey, Russia (both ancestors of the Europeans) is historically connected with the Turkic, Mongolian, and Caucasus nations. Russia gives the integration of Europe a Eurasian dimension in both the symbolic and geographic senses (identification of Eurasianism with continentalism).

During the last few centuries, the idea of European integration has been proposed by the revolutionary faction of European elites. In ancient times, similar attempts were made by Alexander the Great (integration of the Eurasian continent) and Genghis Khan (founder of history’s largest empire).

Eurasia as Three Great Living-Spaces, Integrated across the Meridian; Three Eurasian Belts (Meridian Zones)

The horizontal vector of integration is followed by a vertical, vector.

Eurasian plans for the future presume the division of the planet into four vertical geographical belts (meridian zones) from North to South.

Both American continents will form one common space oriented on and controlled by the USA within the framework of the Monroe Doctrine. This is the Atlantic meridian zone.

In addition to the above zone, three others are planned. They are the following:

  • Euro-Africa, with the European Union as its center.
  • Russian-Central Asian zone.
  • Pacific zone.

Within these zones, the regional division of labor and the creation of developmental areas and corridors of growth will take place.

Each of these belts (meridian zones) counterbalance each other and all of them together counterbalance the Atlantic meridian zone. In the future, these belts might be the foundation upon which to build a multipolar world: the number of poles will be more than two; however, the number will be much less than the number of current nation-states. The Eurasian model proposes that the number of poles must be four.

The Meridian zones of the Eurasian project consist of several “Great Spaces” or “democratic empires.” Each possesses relative freedom and independence but are strategically integrated into a corresponding meridian zone.

The Great Spaces correspond to the boundaries of civilizations and include several nation-states or unions of states.

The European Union and the Arab Great Space, which integrates North, Trans-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, for Euro-Africa.

The Russian-Central Asian zone is formed by three Great Spaces that sometimes overlap each other. The first is the Russian Federation along with several countries of the CIS—members of the Eurasian Union. Second is the Great Space of continental Islam (Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan). The Asian countries of the CIS intersect this zone.

The third Great Space is Hindustan, which is a self-dependent civilization sector.

The Pacific meridian zone is determined by a condominium of two great spaces (China and Japan) and also includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Australia (some researchers connect Australia with the American Meridian zone). The geopolitical region is very mosaic and can be differentiated by many criteria.

The American meridian zone consists of the American-Canadian, Central and North American Great Spaces.

Importance of the Fourth Zone

The structure of the world based upon meridian zones is accepted by most American geopoliticians who seek the creation of a New World Order and unipolar globalization. However, a stumbling block is the existence of the Russian-Central Asian meridian space: the presence or absence of this belt radically changes the geopolitical picture of the world.

Atlantic futurologists divide the world into the three following zones:

  • American pole, with the European Union as its close-range periphery (Euro-Africa as an exemption) and
  • The Asian and Pacific regions as its long-range periphery.
  • Russia and Central Asia as fractional, but without it as an independent meridian zone, our world is unipolar.

This last meridian zone counterbalances American pressure and provides the European and Pacific zones ability to act like self-dependent civilization poles.

Real multipolar balance, freedom and the independence of meridian belts, Great Spaces, and nation-states depend upon the successful creation of a fourth zone. Moreover, it’s not enough to be one pole in a two-pole model of the world: the rapid progress of the USA can be counterbalanced only by the synergy of all three meridian zones. The Eurasian project proposes this four-zone project on a geopolitical strategic level.

Eurasianism as Russian-Central Asian Integration; Moscow-Tehran Axis; Fourth Meridian Zone – Russian-Asian Meridian Integration

The central issue of this process is the implementation of a Moscow-Tehran axis. The whole process of integration depends on the successful establishment of a strategic middle and long-term partnership with Iran. Iranian and Russian economic, military, and political potential together will increase the process of zone integration, making the zone irreversible and autonomous. The Moscow-Tehran axis will be the basis for further integration. Both Moscow and Iran are self-sufficient powers, able to create their own organizational strategic model of the region.

Eurasian plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan

The integration vector with Iran is vitally important for Russia to gain access to warm-water ports as well as for the political-religious reorganization of Central Asia (Asian countries of CIS, Afghanistan and Pakistan). Close cooperation with Iran presumes the transformation of the Afghani-Pakistani area into a free Islamic confederation, loyal both to Moscow and to Iran. The reason this is necessary is that the independent states of Afghanistan and Pakistan will be the continuing source of destabilization, that being neighboring countries. The geopolitical struggle will provide the ability to implement a new Central-Asian federation and transform this complicated region into one of cooperation and a prosperity area.

Moscow-Delhi Axis

Russian-Indian cooperation is the second most important meridian axis in integration on the Eurasian continent and the Eurasian collective security systems. Moscow will play an important role, decreasing the tensions between Delhi and Islamabad (Kashmir). The Eurasian plan for India, sponsored by Moscow, is the creation of a federation that will mirror the diversity of Indian security with its numerous ethnic and religious minorities, including Sikhs and Muslims.

Moscow-Ankara

The main regional partner in the integration process of Central Asia is Turkey. The Eurasian Idea is already becoming rather popular there today because of western trends interlaced with Eastern. Turkey acknowledges its civilization differences with the European Union, its regional goals and interests, the threat of globalization, and further loss of sovereignty.

It is strategically imperative for Turkey to establish a strategic partnership with the Russian Federation and Iran. Turkey will be able to maintain its traditions only within the framework of a multipolar world. Certain factions of Turkish society understand this situation—from politicians and socialists to religious and military elites. Thus, the Moscow-Ankara axis can become geopolitical reality despite a long-term period of mutual estrangement.

Caucasus

The Caucasus is the most problematic region to Eurasian integration because its mosaic of cultures and ethnicities easily leads to tensions between nations. This is one of the main weapons used by those who seek to stop integration processes across the Eurasian continent. The Caucasus is inhabited by nations belonging to different states and civilization areas. This region must be a polygon for testing different methods of cooperation between peoples, because what can succeed there can succeed across the Eurasian continent. The Eurasian solution to this problem lies not in the creation of ethnic-based states or assigning one nation strictly to one state, but in the development of a flexible federation on the basis of ethnic and cultural differences within the common strategic context of the meridian zone.

The result of this plan is a system of a half-axis between Moscow and the Caucasian centers (Moscow-Baku, Moscow-Yerevan, Moscow-Mahachkala, Moscow-Grozny, etc.) and between the Caucasian centers and Russia’s allies within the Eurasian project (Baku-Ankara, Erevan-Teheran, etc.).

Eurasian Plan for Central Asia

Central Asia must move toward integration into a united, strategic, and economic bloc with the Russian Federation within the framework of the Eurasian Union, the successor of the CIS. The main function of this specific area is the rapprochement of Russia with the countries of continental Islam (Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan). From the very beginning, the Central-Asia sector must have various vectors of integration. One plan will make the Russian federation the main partner (similarities of culture, economic and energy interests, a common security system). The alternate plan is to place the accent on ethnic and religious resemblance: Turkic, Iranian, and Islamic worlds.

Eurasian Integration of Post-Soviet Territories; Eurasian Union

A more specific meaning of Eurasianism, partially similar to the definitions of the Eurasian intellectuals of the 1920s and 1930s is connected with the process of the local integration of post-Soviet territories. Different forms of similar integration can be seen in history: from the Huns and other (Mongol Turkic, Indo-European) nomad empires to the empire of Genghis Khan and his successors. More recent integration was led by the Russian Romanov Empire and, later, by the USSR. Today, the Eurasian Union is continuing these traditions of integration through an unquiet ideological model that takes into consideration democratic procedures; respects the rights of nations; and pays attention to the cultural, linguistic, and ethnic features of all union members.             Eurasianism is the philosophy of integration of the post-Soviet territory on democratic, non-violent, and voluntary basis without the domination of any one religious or ethnic group.

Astana, Dushanbe, and Bishkek as the Main Force of Integration

Different Asian republics of the CIS treat the process of post-Soviet integration unequally. The most active adherent to integration is Kazakhstan. The President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, is a staunch supporter of the Eurasian Idea. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan similarly support the process of integration, though their support is less tangible in comparison with Kazakhstan.

Tashkent and Ashabad

Uzbekistan and especially Turkmenistan oppose the integration process, trying again to gain the maximum positive results from their recently achieved national sovereignty. However, very soon, due to the increasing rate of globalization, both states will face a dilemma: to lose sovereignty and melt into a unified global world with its domination by American liberal values or to preserve cultural and religious identity in the context of the Eurasian Union. In our opinion, an unbiased comparison of these two options will lead to the second one, naturally sequential for both countries and their history.

Trans-Caucasian States

Armenia continues to gravitate towards the Eurasian Union and considers the Russian Federation an important supporter and conciliator that helps it to manage relations with its Muslim neighbors. It is notable that Tehran prefers to establish a partnership with ethnically close Armenia. This fact allows us to consider two half-axis—Moscow-Yerevan and Yerevan-Tehran—as positive prerequisites for integration.

Baku remains neutral, but its situation will drastically change with the continued movement of Ankara towards Eurasianism (it will immediately affect Azerbaijan). Analysis of the Azerbaijani cultural system shows that this state is closer to the Russian Federation and post-Soviet republics of the Caucasus and Central Asia than to religious Iran and even moderate Turkey.

Georgia is the key problem of the region. The mosaic character of the Georgian state is the cause of serious problems during the construction of a new national state that is strongly rejected by its ethnic minorities: Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Adjaria, etc. Furthermore, the Georgian state does not have any strong partners is the region and is forced to seek a partnership with the USA and NATO to counterbalance Russian influence. Georgia is a major threat, able to sabotage the very process of Eurasian integration. The solution to this problem is found in the Orthodox culture of Georgia, with its Eurasian features and traditions.

Ukraine and Belarus—Slavic Countries of the CIS

It is enough to gain the support of Kazakhstan and Ukraine to succeed in the creation of the Eurasian Union. The Moscow-Astana-Kiev triangle is a frame able to guarantee the stability of the Eurasian Union, which is why negotiations with Kiev are urgent like never before. Russia and Ukraine have very much in common: culture, language, religious, and ethnic similarities. These aspects need to be highlighted because from the beginning of Ukraine’s recent sovereignty Russophobia and disintegration have been promoted. Many countries of the EU can positively influence the Ukrainian government, because they are interested in political harmony in Eastern Europe. The cooperation of Moscow and Kiev will demonstrate the pan-European attitudes of both Slavic countries.

The above-mentioned factors pertain to Belarus, where integration intentions are much more evident. However, the strategic and economic status of Belarus is less important to Moscow that those of Kiev and Astana. Moreover, the domination of a Moscow-Minsk axis will harm integration with Ukraine and Kazakhstan, which is why integration with Belarus must proceed fluently and without any sudden incidents—along with other vectors of the Eurasian integration process.

Eurasianism as Weltanschauung

The last definition of Eurasianism characterizes a specific Weltanschauung: a political philosophy combing tradition, modernity, and even elements of postmodernism. This philosophy has as its priority traditional society, acknowledges the imperative of technical and social modernization (without separating from traditional culture); and strives for the adaptation of its ideological program to post-industrial, informational society, which is called postmodernism. Postmodernism formally removes the counter positions of tradition and modernism, disenfranchising and making them equal. Eurasian postmodernism, on the contrary, promotes an alliance of tradition and modernism as a constructive, optimistic, energetic impulse towards creation and growth. Eurasian philosophy does not deny the realities discovered by the Enlightenment: religion, nation, empire, culture, etc. At the same time, the best achievements of modernism are used widely: technological and economic advances, social guarantees, freedom of labor. Extremes meet each other, melting into a unifying harmonic and original theory, inspiring fresh thinking and new solutions for the eternal problems people have faced throughout history.

Eurasianism is an Open Philosophy

Eurasianism is an open, non-dogmatic philosophy that can be enriched with new content: religion, sociological and ethnological discoveries, geopolitics, economics, national geography, culture, strategic and political research etc. Moreover, Eurasian philosophy offers original solutions in specific cultural and lingual contexts: Russian Eurasianism will not be the same as French, German, or Iranian versions. However, the main framework of the philosophy will remain invariable.

Principles of Eurasianism

The basic principles of Eurasianism are the following:

  • Differentialism, the pluralism of values systems versus the conventional obligatory domination of one ideology (American liberal-democracy first and foremost);
  • Tradition versus suppression of cultures, dogmas, and discoveries of traditional society;
  • Rights of nations versus the “gold billions” and neo-colonial hegemony of the “rich North”;
  • Ethnicities as values and subjects of history versus the depersonalisation of nations, imprisoned into artificial social constructions;
  • Social fairness and human solidarity versus exploitation and humiliation of man by man.

 

——————-

Dugin, Alexander. “Milestones of Eurasianism.” Ab Aeterno, No. 3, (June 2010). Retrieved from: < http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/12/milestones-of-eurasism/ >.

Dugin, Alexander. “The Eurasian Idea.” Ab Aeterno, No. 1, (November 2009). Retrieved from: < http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/11/the-eurasian-idea/ >.

 

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Modernization without westernization is the first step to reject imperialism – Grego

Modernization without westernization is the first step to reject imperialism

By Antonio Grego

Committee for the project «Eurasia»

 

The staff of the Committee for the project «Eurasia» is organized within three different structures, separated and independent, but all of them are interdependent. Two of them contribute to the scientific and academic work of our Group: «Eurasia», a quarterly of Geopolitical Studies, born in 2004. Since that, «Eurasia» has published many analysis and studies focused on Geostrategy and International Relations. Our second structure is the CESEM Institution («Centro Studi Eurasia-Mediterraneo», a think-tank focused on the Eurasian-Mediterranean partnership).

A brand new organization, it has established ties with many Italian universities, aimed at the training and the apprenticeship of our young collaborators. During these eight years our quarterly has organised many open meetings, conventions and workshops with foreign institutions. Our goal is focused on the knowledge of foreign countries, on the introduction of new books of geopolitics and the explanation of Multipolarism and its trends for a mainstream Italian audience.

Furthermore, we have a web journal called «Stato e Potenza» («State and Power»); it has a definitely more political and militant approach to the global situation. It has been created to reach more people with our analysis focused on issues like Eurasianism and the Multipolar system. In this case our analysis is oriented to a daily examination of capitalism and imperialism. Its style is less scientific than «Eurasia» and «CESEM», but the goal is the same: a strategic and economical analysis of the global system we live in.

We cannot forget that we operate and we organize our public initiatives in a difficult country like Italy. You certainly know that the Ministry of Defense and the Italian Armed Forces have been part of NATO since 1949 (its establishment), and our internal policy has always been influenced (if not directed) by Washington D.C. and London. For almost fifty years the chances for criticizing this situation with independent studies have been restrained, despite the activity of the most important Communist Party of Western Europe. However, the communist forces gradually changed their political field, first joining the Euro-Communist project (created by CIA to divide the leftist parties in Western Europe from the USSR) and finally becoming in the Nineties one of the most pro-American political forces in the Italian politics. Let’s make it clear: the former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi raised many doubts before joining the U.S.-led campaign against Gaddafi’s Lybia, while the Democratic Party (the post-Communist and social-democratic formation) was quick in asking for a military intervention.

You can easily understand the Italian scenario within we have to move: a country whose culture has been totally destroyed by Liberalism, nowadays organized in a «left» and a «right». The extreme liberal capitalism was introduced in Italy after the end of the so-called «First Republic» (1948-1992), and it was presented like a panacea for the corruption of the State institutions. It won after the so-called «Mani Pulite» («Clear Hands»), a judicial operation led by Washington D.C. that erased a whole political system and led to the total destruction of the Italian economy based on State industries and the public intervention in the economic field.

Our country was enslaved to the ultra-capitalist era of the unipolar world, with the absolute power of the global finance; in a few years Italy lost most of its industrial assets, bought by Anglo-American societies thanks to deregulated privatizations and denationalizations. Now it seems we are back to those years: after the financial crisis our economy fell into a deep crisis due to its huge debt and the progressive strategic decline of Italy during the Nineties.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Euopean Union decided to impose on Italy a political transition with a so-called «technical government» under Giorgio Napolitano’s supervision. Napolitano is another former Communist who became pro-American during the Seventies. The new Italian Prime Minister is Mario Monti, former president of the European branch of the Trilateral Commission, former commissioner of the European Union and international advisory for Goldman Sachs; the new minister of Defense is admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, member of the NATO General Command, while the new Foreign minister is Giulio Terzi di SantAgata, former Italian ambassador in the United States of America and in Israel. These facts make you clear the political and strategic lines that the new Italian government (not chosen by the Italian people) is going to follow.

Social protests in Italy rise day after day, and in a long period this could benefit our publishing activity. However the pressure and the open hostility by mainstream media toward critic voices is still high, especially in relation with the international politics. In Italy four different reviews of geopolitics are currently published, but on the other hand televisions and other medias ignore these topics; their approach to geopolitics is very superficial and mainly based on the American propaganda. We try to challenge mainstream cultural elites with an activity which relies only on our own economical resources, with many sacrifices but always aiming at the higher dignity and professionalism.

The international situation

The current world order is the result of two main events, happened during the last decade of the past century: the liberal and capitalist counter-revolution in the USSR and the birth of a common market and monetary free area in the European Union. These two events resulted in a stronger influence of the Transatlantic partnership, because of the expansion of the American power in Eastern Europe, from the Baltic countries to the Balkans; moreover, we saw the victory of capitalism in the geopolitical European space, an important event as described in Zbigniew Brzezinski’s publications. The Warsaw’s Pact quick decline and the geopolitical weakening of Russia have been other important factors.

The European Union is currently paying a high price for its military and economical dependance on the American superpower: in Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal workers and small factories are going to be wiped out due to the financial crisis and the financial measures. Brussel’s solutions are focused to help only the private banking system, forgetting the people. This is a complete non-sense because that’s the same sector that led to the current crisis through speculation and the sub-prime derivates market. Meanwhile our countries keep on spending billions to support military campaigns ordered by the United States of America and Great Britain.

The situation we are witnessing is a clear example of the skill of capitalism to perpetuate itself through Space and Time, showing the inadequacy of the optimistic and dogmatist views of the Marxist ideology. Capitalism has never been in danger of its own existence, it can’t destroy itself without the presence of another factor: the political force of a party and a State and its army, the Socialism in a powerful country. At the same time this can be considered like a realist prevision of the Marxist theory: capitalism could contain the seeds for its own destruction.

Globalization has shown two different faces: the worst one consisting in the violent will of expansion of the American power all over the world, the other has seen the spreading of new technologies and economical development in different parts of the planet. This process of modernization is without any doubt positive from the perspective of countries like China, Pakistan, Brazil and India, and could lead to a global change that could create the preconditions for a multipolar order. This can have other effects, like the beginning of a self-destruction of capitalism: in its moment of biggest success, the capital system doesn’t represent only a «division of workforce», but even a «world division» in areas of influence and direct conquer.

Carl Schmitt’s idea of «Great Spaces» has been confirmed in the past years: these constructions exist in a midway between the global order and the single National States. It became reality with the return of Russia as a power after Eltsin’s dark age, and it has been proved when States like China, India, Iran, Turkey and Brazil gained more and more influence. This process was not a simple «Westernization» of the world, but something more and deeper.

On the political side, the idea of «Westernization» isn’t enough to fully understand what’s happening in the world; it could be seen as a part of a bigger process which also includes modernization, a slide from modernity to post-modernity and a general analysis of what we consider as the «West». Every «political resistance» that the unipolarism is now meeting in different part of the world relies on peculiar histories and traditions which capitalism hasn’t been able to defeat. Political and social struggle must rely on these cultures.

The American imperialism represents a brand new structure of global will of power, something we had never seen before in history: a process aimed at the expansion of its influence worldwide, but still different from the old European colonialism. If we consider the world as we know we should infer that the Anglo-American power and its influence have won.

However this conclusion (as Samuel Huntington wrote) has been an illusion for the cultural and political elites in the White House since 1992: the global spreading of the so-called «American Way of life» (its subculture, its movies, its food) cannot lead to a decisive victory. In his famous book «The Clash of Civilizations», Huntington wrote about the Japanese «Wakon-Sai» and the Chinese «Ty-Jong», eras of technical modernization without any Western influence.

The president of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Hu Jintao, recently claimed that China seeks to defend its own tradition from any foreign (Western, we can add) influence. Non-Western cultures have three different paths on their way: defending their cultural identity while achieving modernization (like Hu Jintao said), rejecting both «Westernization» and modernization (just like some Islamic movements and Lin Biao’s Chinese school) or a mid-way of what we can call an inclusive «Westernization», like that we are witnessing now in Turkey.

We believe that the first step to reject imperialism and to seek a real multipolar system can be chosen only by the first way: modernization without «Westernization». In our view the other two way of thinking modernity aren’t winning strategies: on the contrary, they are going to strengthen global capitalism. We can observe this in many cases: Tukey’s Neo-Ottomanism is directed by the USA in organizing

Middle East after the so-called «Arab Spring», and so it is the same for many political and religious groups in Middle East and Asia. The United States of America are seeking a strategy of containment for every possible global competitor, spreading chaos and poverty to weaken them: this can be reached in many different ways, even using some ideologies like a certain radical Ecologism and reactionary ideologies (often with some kind of a religious background) in non-Western parts of the world. At the same time, even some ultra-nationalist movements can be used for their goals, as we can see in some parts of Eastern Europe.

The strategic and technological power will be the key for all those countries willing to increase their influence.

Nowadays, Russia and China are America’s most influential global competitors. The People’s Republic of China has a stronger political system than the Russian; it is based on a Communist and patriotic system and it is seeking an intelligent approach to the global market to improve its own social and technical development. Beijing still relies on the strategy called «non-intromission» in States’ internal affairs (Zhou Enlai explained this at the Bandung Conference), but is studying new tactics to contain Western aggressive policies in Asia.

We are going to see some kind of a new «Cold War» in Africa very soon. Libya and Sudan have been two preliminary examples of that (although Beijing’s reaction to Western aggressions hasn’t been strong). Russia and China are the only non-Western global powers, they are Permanent Members in the United Nations Security Council, they have got nuclear weapons and important military industries. Plus, Russia has got another very important weapon: the world’s biggest resources in oil and gas, and many other raw materials like coal, steel and uranium.

The Soviet defeat marked a dark era not only for its political meaning, but even more for geopolitics: Russia lost its «Great Space», which Vladimir Putin is trying to build again within the Eurasian Union. Without its strategic routes to the South and the East (Central Asia, Ukraine, Belarus), Russia would lose a huge part of its potential.

A new multipolar order would not automatically lead to the defeat of imperialism, to a fair world and an era of peace. This could lead incited to a global conflict and many regional wars, especially in Northern and Central Africa, in the Middle East and in South-Western Asia. The Cold War ended years ago, but the nuclear power still exists and the multipolar order will be a challenge between nuclear superpowers. Multipolarism has already existed in history: for example during the Thirties, after the end of the British imperial power. It resulted in a terrible conflict between the West and the Tripartite Pact, and a subsequent war against the USSR.

The nuclear power was officially born during the days of May 1945. The criminal attack on Japan was a clear message to Moscow: «Now we can fully destroy you». From that moment, Stalin planned how to defend his country from the American imperialist madness. The Russian answer was the very beginning of the Cold War with the Mutual Assured Destruction era.

Now nine Nations have nuclear weapons: the United States of America, Great Britain, France, Israel, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea. Four of them are NATO members or part of the Western sphere, five of them joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and share partnerships with Russia and China. Of course nobody will declare war on the counterpart (this would be a suicide) with a first strike, so we can assume that conventional weapons will still be used in the future wars, adding some new high-technology and ICT (Information & Communication Technologies) systems. We think that future wars will be fought in the most underveloped areas of the world, where the superpowers strategies and interests will collide.

The Italian case

As we wrote in the beginning of this analysis, Italy is currently in a very difficult position. After the recent regime change, our new government includes a former Goldman Sachs and Trilateral Commission associated member as a Prime Minister, a NATO personality as minister of Defense and a former ambassador to Washington D.C. and Israel is our Foreign minister. This is enough for you to understand the real nature of this «technical government», collecting military, political and economical personnel from Atlantic structures.

The social situation of Italy is worsening day after day: this system is literally crushing every social conquer that Italian workers won during the past decades. Young people have no perspective for their future but in-occupation and unemployment; the State has no chance to get back its sovereignty and independence. The War on Libya marked a milestone. Sivlio Berlusconi’s government, with all its political faults, was still a strict ally of Russia’s Putin and Libya’s Gaddafi. Our State-run oil and gas company, ENI, launched cooperation projects with its Russian and Libyan counterparts like we had never seen before.

Italy is a kind of bridge in the Mediterranean Sea which links Europe to Northern Africa and Middle East. For this reason Italy has been like a NATO aircraft carrier since the end of the Second World War. We have had more than one hundred American and NATO military bases and facilities on our soil since the beginning of the Cold War. More or less every American aggression in the past decades was launched from Italy: the first Gulf War, the War on Serbia, the invasion of Afghanistan, the second Gulf War and the latest War on Libya. We have been forced to a war against an allied country and its people only to follow Western orders (those coming from the nuclear Western powers, France, Great Britain and the USA). If Italy had a different government and a sovereign political system, our country could play an important role to improve a strategic partnership between the Arab countries and Europe and in defending peace and security in areas like the Balkans and Syria.

Fernand Braudel thought the Mediterranean Sea to be an independent economical space that could be totally independent because of its culture, its economy and its political balance. With its internal differences, the Mediterranean Space has been a beacon of light for centuries in the past. Despite some weird interpretations that we totally reject, the example of Roma and its Empire are totally different from the modern American imperialism: Rome’s institutions still today are some of the highest examples that the word has ever known in fields like administrative law, politics and the State system. This model was melted with the Greek one, able to improve and grow up throughout the centuries, and it was translated to other historical experiences like those of Constantinople (during the long era of the Byzantine peace and harmony) and Moscow, the headquarters of a great empire which is the center of the international balance.

Unfortunately it seems that Italy today has forgotten its own lessons and its rich heritage (political, historical and cultural); our country is living in a condition of extreme ethic, political and social decadence.

Because of that, the American influence found the ground to establish its «cultural» model meeting light or no resistance at all in our society and cultural life. One of our main problems is the historical fragmentation of the Italian political and geographical condition; Italy is united by its culture and literature, but sadly divided by its economical internal conditions. The division of Italy (North, Center and South) is shown by two different phenomena: the Northern League, struggling from more than twenty years for the political independence of Northern Italy, and crime organizations based in the Southern regions, like the Mafia.

The economical scenario of modern Italy is based on small and medium-sized factories. In some cases these industries exploit workers, but more often they suffer from the policies of big companies like Agnelli’s FIAT, Pirelli (tires), Benetton (clothing production), linked to the biggest global lobbies and oligopolies. Every year the Italian State supply these big companies with public money, but workers have never seen the results of these operations, which benefit only super managers like FIAT’s Marchionne and Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, whose policies often lead to serious mistakes and damages for our public interests.

Recently Italy has reformed the Article n. 18 of the Workers’ Statute (originally written in 1970), so it is now possible to fire workers without any right cause. Only a judge could decide if the workers has been fired on the basis of a right cause, but even if the worker wins the lawsuit (and that’s not sure) he couldn’t take back his former workplace. Italian banks have shown the same cynical approach: they aren’t funding anymore small factories nor citizens who want to buy houses; their variable rates of interests are too high and their bonds aren’t sustainable for the middle class.

Tens of Italian workers, small businessmen and traders fell into a deep crisis with their own families and the rates of suicides for economical reasons is increasing day after day. Thousands of Italians are losing their job, unemployed young people rate has never been so high (36%), and the public sector and retirement pensions are being targeted by new taxes, while bonus for super managers and big assets were left untouched. Some isolated cases (controls on the fiscal renditions of celebrities) in the last two months must be considered as pure forms of propaganda by an ultra-capitalist government which considers public money more important than a worker’s life.

The same for the European Union: this is a political construction built on economical basis decided by bureaucrats that the people of Europe have never chosen nor elected. Southern Europe is now paying the price for the guidelines that the Brussels-Paris-Berlin alliance implemented under the direction of the White House and London. It can be viewed as a giant octopus ruled by lobbies struggling to keep Europe under NATO’s control.

If the present scenario is dark, our perspectives are brighter: the current system known as the so-called «Second Republic», the main responsible for the triumph of the Anglo-Saxon model in Italy (a majority election system based on a duopoly that Italian never truly accepted) has failed and corruption is creating a deep lack of confidence towards all the political parties. After years of fierce struggle, the two main parties (Bersani’s Democratic Party and Berlusconi’s «Popolo della Libertà») support Mario Monti’s government. The opposition (the Northern League, recently stricken by judiciary scandals and the only movement of the Italian parliament opposing Brussel’s policies) has never been so weak.

The Italian people are going to face serious challenge now and in the next future; the liberal guidelines ordered by Brussels are likely to be implemented until the end of the term of office and next elections (May 2013). We must not ignore that some analysts are saying that the elections could be delayed, allowing Mr. Monti’s government to operate for some additional months. The social situation in the country, the conditions of workers, families and retirees will be something to focus on during the next twelve months. May’s administrative elections will be an interesting test to understand what Italians really think of this situation. The lack of credibility that politics, parties and the parliamentary system is suffering could bring a low turnout as a result. As a paradox, this discredit could lead to an increased support for «non-political» personnel, like the current government itself, but people see and know what this government is doing. This is not a «technical government», but the cynical result of the influence shared by Western lobbies, banking system, big private monopolies, NATO, the High Finance and it embodies the extreme and worst trends of the two main political parties.

 

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Grego, Antonio. “Modernization without westernization is the first step to reject imperialism.” Евразия: Международное Евразийское Движение, 18 May 2012. <http://evrazia.org/article/1985 >.

 

Notes on further reading: The concept in the above article has also been expressed by Alexander Dugin in his article “The Multipolar World and the Postmodern”. An academic study over-viewing the theory and development of the process called “modernization without westernization” in Asia can be found in “Modernization without Westernization: Comparative Observations on the Cases of Japan and China and their Relevance to the Development of the Pacific Rim” by Stuart D.B. Picken (NUCB Journal of Economics and Information Science, Vol. 48, No. 2 (2004), pp. 171-179, <http://www.nucba.ac.jp/themes/s_cic@cic@nucba/pdf/njeis482/14PICKEN.pdf > [Alternative download from our website: Modernization without Westernization – Picken]).

An example of a book written from a specifically Chinese perspective on this topic and focusing almost entirely on China (thus it is not a good resource for studies of developments outside of China) is Between Tradition and Modernity: Philosophical Reflections on the Modernization of Chinese Culture by Li Zonggui (Oxford: Chartridge Books Oxford, 2015). A collection of studies and perspectives on this process in various Asian countries can be found in Cultural Identity and Modernization in Asian Countries: Proceedings of Kokugakuin University Centennial Symposium (Tokyo: Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics, Kokugakuin University, 1983. <http://www2.kokugakuin.ac.jp/ijcc/wp/cimac/index.html >.)

 

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Discussion of Kitaro Nishida’s Philosophy – Arisaka

“The Nishida Enigma: ‘The Principle of the New World Order’” by Yoko Arisaka (PDF – 189 KB):

The Nishida Enigma – Yoko Arisaka

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Arisaka, Yoko. “The Nishida Enigma: ‘The Principle of the New World Order’.” Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 51, No. 1 (Spring 1996): pp. 81-99. Retrieved from: <http://www.arisaka.org/mnipponica.pdf >.

 

Notes on further reading: Studies of Japanese philosophy can be found by researching the website known as The Japanese Philosophy Blog and also the official website of Nichibunken (see publications search), The International Research Center for Japanese Studies, which can be used for research to find numerous resources in Japanese history, culture, religion, society, etc.

In particular, we should mention that Arisaka’s article above deals primarily with Nishida’s cultural and political philosophy, and only briefly mentions his philosophy in the fields of religion, ontology, science, and ethics. For more complete information on Kitaro Nishida’s philosophy, see for example the resources listed at the Japanese Philosophy Blog: Category Nishida Kitaro.

Other posts on the New European Conservative related to Japan and Japanese thought include the following: Alexander Dugin’s “In the Country of the Rising ‘Do’,” Riki Rei’s Review of Naoki Inose’s Persona: A Biography of Yukio Mishima, Justin Raimondo’s biographical sketch “Mishima: Paleocon as Samurai”, Hoang Nguyen’s review of Natsume Soseki’s Kokoro, Kosaku Yoshino’s “Theoretical Reflections on Nationalism”, Anton L. Sevilla’s discussions of Tetsuro Watsuji’s and Nikolai Berdyaev’s ethical theories, and Alexander Dugin’s speech at Tokyo University titled “New Paradigm of Science.”

 

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Huntington, Fukuyama, & Eurasianism – Dugin

Huntington, Fukuyama, and Eurasianism

By Alexander Dugin

Translated from the Spanish by Lucian Tudor

 

The Anti-Americanism typical of the “Russian structure” is a continuation of the intellectual of the Slavophiles. These latter thought that one cannot fully assume Russian identity more than by getting rid of the footprint of the West, liberating oneself of this European [i.e., Western-European] manner of viewing oneself which became the norm after Peter the Great. But Europe today is no longer the Europe of the epoch of the Slavophiles, nor of the first Eurasianists. Europe is distinct from the West, that is, from the sphere of influence of the United States. Becoming Russian, today, is to liberate oneself at all levels from Western and American influence. Westernism is not solely an intellectual position, but simultaneously a contagious disease and a betrayal of the fatherland. It is for that reason that we must restlessly fight the West. In fighting against the West, the Russians affirm themselves as Russians, belonging to Russian culture, to Russian history, to Russian values.

Samuel Huntington described in a realistic manner the obstacles which inevitably face the supporters of a Unipolar World and the fanatics of the End of History. When the last formal enemy of the United States, the Soviet Union, disappeared, some imagined that the West had reached the conclusion of its liberal-democratic development and that it was going to access the “earthly paradise” of the techno-mercantile society. That was the idea of Francis Fukuyama when he wrote his famous piece about the End of History. Huntington had the merit of showing all that which contradicted the optimism then professed in the medias of globalist communication. Analyzing these phenomena, he arrived at the conclusion that they could be included under a single denomination: civilizations. This is the key word.

But that word also means the reappearance of a premodern concept in a postmodern form. The Islamic civilization, for example, existed before modernity. But in the modern epoch, colonization and secularism delegitimized the use of this term; now only Muslim “ethnic groups” were recognized. After decolonization, nation-states appeared which had a “Muslim population,” but it is only with the Iranian Revolution (where we find some traits characteristic of Traditionalism and of the Conservative Revolution) when the emergence of a Muslim state properly speaking was seen, where Islam was politically recognized as the source of power and law. Theorizing about the transition from State to Civilization, Huntington formulated a new political-scientific concept, named to thus implicitly take (and draw attention to) a new dimension of international politics which was born after the demise of the USSR. Following that, the Atlanticist milieus discovered that they would face an enemy which, unlike the Soviet Union, is not based on an explicitly formalized ideology, but which nonetheless has begun to question and undermine the foundations of the liberal and Americano-centric “New World Order.” The enemy is now the civilizations, and no longer only countries or states – a turning point.

Among all civilizations, only the Western civilization has presented itself as universal, pretending to be in this way “the civilization” (singular). In formal terms, now nobody replicates it, rather in reality the great majority of men and women who live outside of the European or American space reject this dominion, and continue to be rooted in different historical-cultural types. This is what explains the current resurgence of civilizations. Huntington concluded, concerning that, that the planetary dominion of the West will face new challenges. He advised being conscious of this danger, to prepare oneself for the reappearance of certain premodern forms in the postmodern era, and to try to protect oneself against them to guarantee the security of Western civilization.

Fukuyama was a globalist optimist. Huntington is a globalist pessimist, who analyzed the risks and measured the dangers. We can draw out a Eurasianist lesson from his analysis. Huntington was right when he said that civilizations will reappear, but he was wrong to be upset by it. In contrast, we should rejoice about the resurgence of civilizations. We should applaud it and support it, preparing the catalysts of this process and not passively observing it.

The clashes between civilizations are almost inevitable, but our task must consist of reorienting the hostility, which will not stop growing, against the United States and Western Civilization, instead of against neighboring civilizations. We must organize the common front of civilizations against one civilization which pretends to be the civilization in singular. This prioritary common enemy is globalism and the United States, which is now its principal vector. The more the peoples of the Earth will be convinced of that, the more the confrontations between non-Western civilizations can be reduced. If there must be a “clash” of civilizations, it has to be a clash between the West and the “rest of the world.” And Eurasianism is the political formula which suits this “rest.”

There is another point which, obviously, we cannot follow Huntington on: when he calls for the strengthening of transatlantic relations between Europe and the United States. The new generation of European leaders has already responded positively to this call – something which we may lament. The destiny of Europe is not on the other side of the Atlantic. Europe must clearly establish itself as a distinct civilization, free and independent. It has to be a European Europe, not American and Atlanticist. It must construct itself as a postmodern democratic empire, through the reclaiming of its cultural and sacred roots, as a part of its future as well as something residing in its past. A Europe which does not also rise up against the United States would betray its roots at the same time that it would condemn itself to not having a future. Europe also does not belong to the Eurasian space. Certainly, it can and should even be Eurasianist to the extent it adheres to this “universal idea that there is no universal civilization,” but it does not have to integrate itself into the geographic space of Eurasia. What Russians desire most is simply that Europe be itself, that is, European. Eurasianism does not consist of imposing its identity on others, but rather to help all the different identities to affirm themselves, to organically develop themselves, and to prosper. The Russian philosopher Konstantin Leontiev said that we must always defend the “flourishing multiplicity.” This is the preferred motto of the Eurasianists.

 

Translated from: “Huntington, Fukuyama y el Eurasismo,” Página Transversal, 6 January 2015.

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Dugin, Alexander. “Huntington, Fukuyama, and Eurasianism.” Tankesmedjan Motpol, 4 April 2015. <http://www.motpol.nu/lucian/2015/04/04/huntington-fukuyama-and-eurasianism/ >.

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Eurasia – Dugin

Eurasia Above All: Manifest of the Eurasist Movement

By Alexander Dugin

Translated by Martino Conserva

 

Introductory Note: We should note to our audience that while the present text is among the manifestos of the Russian Eurasia Movement, it should not be taken as a sufficient view into either Alexander Dugin’s philosophy or the Neo-Eurasianist philosophy in general. For example, the ideas of organic, participatory democracy as well as the idea of the Reich or “Empire” in the non-imperialist sense are not represented here. Furthermore, it should be remembered that although it is not entirely clear from the present article, Dugin’s Neo-Eurasianism can be seen as a Russian form of “Revolutionary Conservatism,” drawing its philosophical foundations not only from the original Eurasianist theorists, but also the philosophers of the German “Conservative Revolution” (Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, Carl Schmitt, Werner Sombart, etc.), the Perennial Traditionalist school (Julius Evola, René Guénon, Frithjof Schuon, Mircea Eliade, etc.), and the European “New Right” (Alain de Benoist, Julien Freund, Armin Mohler, etc.). We urge our audience to read the other texts by or about Alexander Dugin on this site for a more complete understanding.  – Daniel Macek (Editor of the “New European Conservative”)

Crisis of ideas in contemporary Russia

In our Russian* society – especially in the social and political sphere – at the beginning of the new millennium a deficiency of ideas is painfully felt. The majority of the people – including governors, politicians, scientists, workers – are guided in life, in political choice by a set of momentary factors, casual concerns, transient ephemeral calls. We are quickly losing any general representation about the sense of life, about the logic of history, about the problems of man, about the destiny of the world.

Existential and social choice has been substituted by aggressive advertising. In the place of meaningful and accountable political ideology stands some effective (or ineffective) PR. The outcome of the struggle of ideas is defined by the volume of investments in entertainment. Dramatic clashes of peoples, cultures and religions are turned into shows inspired by transnational corporations and oil holdings. Human blood, human life, human spirit became statistical abstraction, consumer cost, at its best – demagogic figure of speech in mellifluous and ambiguous humanitarian lamentations, hiding a double standard.

In the place of totalitarian uniformity, a totalitarian indifference has come. The majority of political parties and formalised social movements pursue tactical purposes. Practically nowhere can be found an explicit and consequent ideology capable to snatch man from a state of sleepy indifference, to make life worth living.

Americanism and the need for an alternative

The most rigorous – but at the same time most harmful – world-view project has been formulated by consequent liberals. These forces, geopolitical oriented towards the US and the West, take as a sample for copying the American politics, American economy, American type of the society, American culture, American civilisation ideal. This camp has its dignity – their project is logical and consistent, its theory and practice are linked. But also logical are world evil, death, dissolving, division and loss of organic wholeness. The liberals say a decisive “yes” to that “uniform world”, confused, vain, individualist, oligarchic, deprived of any moral, spiritual and traditional orienting points, which the US – world superpower – strive to create on a planetary scale, understanding their technological and economic superiority as a mandate for a privately-owned hegemony on a planetary scale. This Americanisation of Russia, of the whole world, this slavish submission to the new world gendarme – gendarme of shows – obviously is not very much pleasant to many people. But this opposition more often appears only emotionally, fragmentarily, inconsistently. Peoples and whole socio-political movements are inertially satisfied with the old thongs, with the residuals of different, more harmonious and noble epochs, with anything at least in some way differing from the Atlantist tsunami which drags along the remains of our own Russian civilisation. The hostility to the American way of life, to the famous “new world order” is a fully positive quality, which should be greeted with favour anywhere we meet it. But it is not enough. An active counterproposal, a realistic, concrete and capable alternative is indispensable for us. Conditions at the beginning of the millennium are considerably new. And those who want a different future, rather than that controlled chaos and neon-light disintegration imposed on us by America, are compelled not only to say “no”, but also to formulate, to put forward, to demonstrate and to defend a different, our own, civilisation Plan.

The most massive, most generalising world-view offering such an alternative to the American hegemony, to the unipolar world, to the triumph of West, is Eurasism.

The founding-fathers of Eurasism

Historically, Eurasism existed for 20 years as an attempt to interpret to the logic of socio-political, cultural and geopolitical development of Russia as a uniform and basically continuous process from Kievan Rus to the USSR. The Eurasists have detected behind the dialectics of national destiny of the Russian people and the Russian State a unitary historical mission, differently expressed at the various stages. One major thesis of early Eurasists (count N.S.Trubetskoy, P. Savitsky) sounded like this: “The West against mankind ”, i.e. the nations of the world blossoming complexity of cultures and civilisations against the unitary, totalitarian Western pattern, against the economic, political and cultural domination of the West. Russia (both ancient, and orthodox-monarchic, and Soviet) saw the Eurasists as a stronghold and avant-garde of this world process, as a citadel of freedom against the unidimensional hegemony on mankind of an irreligious, secularised, pragmatical and egotistical excrescence – the Western civilisation, claiming for supremacy and for juridical, material and spiritual domination. On this basis the Eurasists accepted the USSR as a new – paradoxical – form of the original path of Russia. Disapproving atheism and materialism in the cultural sphere, they recognised behind the external facade of communism the archaic national features, behind Soviet Russia the legitimate geopolitical heritage of the Russian mission.

Being consequent and convinced Russian patriots, the Eurasists came to a conclusion about the inadequacy of the traditional forms, in which the National Idea in Russia was vested during the last centuries. The Romanov motto – “Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality” – was only a conservative facade hiding behind itself quite modern contents, basically copied from Europe.** Soviet patriotism expressed the national idea in class terms, which neither grasps the essence of the civilizational problem, nor did it recognise the meaning of the historical mission of Russia. The secular nationalism of the Romanov was but a formal imitation of the European regimes. Soviet patriotism ignored the national element, broke off the connection to traditions, swept aside the Belief of the fathers.

A synthetical new approach was indispensable. Such approach was also developed within the framework of Eurasist philosophy, within the social and political movement of the Eurasists. The founding-fathers of Eurasism for the first time gave the highest possible estimation to the multi-national (imperial) nature of the Russian State. They were especially attentive to the Turkish factor. The role of the heritage of Gengis-Khan, trustee of the Tatar statehood assimilated by Moscow in the XVI century, was seen as a decisive turn of Russia to the East, to its origins, to its own values. In the orthodox legend just this epoch is linked to the Sacred Rus, to the transformation of Moscow in the Third Rome (after the fall of Tsargrad and the end of the Byzantian Empire). The mission of the Sacred Rus was expressed in the self-assertion of its own Eurasian culture, of an original social system, distinct in its main features from that path followed by the countries of the Roman Catholic and Protestant West.

Russia was conceived by the Eurasists as the avant-garde of the East against the West, as a forward defence line of traditional society against modern, secular, ordinary, rationalised society. But in the centuries-old struggle for preserving a cultural “ego”, Russia differently from other Eastern societies actively acquired experience of the West, adopted the techniques it applied, borrowed some methods – but every time with the only purpose to confront the West with its own weapons. In modern language, this is called “modernisation without westernization”. Therefore Russia also managed longer than other traditional societies to effectively counter the pressure of the West.

From this the Eurasists came to a major conclusion: Russia needs not simply to go back to its roots, but to combining a conservative and a revolutionary new start. Russia must actively modernise, develop, partially open to the surrounding world, but strictly saving and hardening its own identity. Therefore some called the Eurasists as the “Orthodox Bolsheviks”.

Alas, historically, this remarkable movement was not appreciated in due measure. The impressing successes of Marxist ideology made the refined conservative-revolutionary perspective of the Eurasist ineffective, superfluous. By the end of the ‘30s, the original impulse of the Eurasist movement, both in Russia and among the Russian emigration, had definitively died away.

The relay race of the Eurasist idea was run henceforth not so much by politicians and ideologists, how much by scientists (first of all the great Russian historian Lev Gumilyov).

Neo-Eurasism

The dramatic events of the last decades in Russia, all over the world, have made again the Eurasists’ ideas urgent, essential. The West coped with its most serious civilizational opponent – the USSR. Marxist ideology suddenly lost its appeal. But a general new alternative to Westernism and liberalism (which today are embodied in their fullest development by the US and American civilisation – from which even the Europeans, the grandparents of the world monster, begin to feel nervous) has not appeared yet. And could not appear anyway.

The separate pieces – pre-Revolutionary nationalism, clericalism, the all-inertial Sovietism or the extravagant imagination of ecologism and leftism – could not turn into a united front. There was no common world-view base, no common denominator. The occasional rapprochement of positions of the opponents to globalism and Americanisation did not result in a true synthesis of world-views.

In this moment the most attentive minds, the purest hearts and the most flaming souls were converted too to the Eurasist heritage. In it they discerned a saving source, a germ of that doctrine, that ideology, which ideally met the requirements of the present historical moment.

Neo-Eurasism began to be built as a social, philosophical, scientific, geopolitical, cultural current since the end the ‘80s. Distancing from the heritage of the Russian Eurasists of the ‘20-30s, having incorporated the spiritual experience of the staroobryad tradition of Russian Orthodoxy, being enriched by the social criticism of Russian populists and socialists, having interpreted in a new way the achievements of the Soviet stage of domestic history, and at the same time having mastered the philosophy of traditionalism and conservative revolution, geopolitical methodology and original revolutionary doctrines of the “new left” (i.e. those intellectual currents, which were elaborated in the West, but directed against the dominant logic of its development) – Neo-Eurasism became the most serious world-view platform in modern Russian society, acquiring the form of complete scientific school, of a system of social and cultural initiatives.

Neo-Eurasism laid the bases of modern Russian geopolitics, gained a strong personnel potential of supporters in government structures and ministries and offices linked to the military sector, basing on Eurasist geopolitics many serious operational international, military and economic projects.

Neo-Eurasism influenced modern domestic politology, sociology, and philosophy.

Neo-Eurasism gradually became a relevant conceptual instrument of Russian state monopolies requiring a strategic pattern for developing a long-term strategy of macroeconomic activity, depending not from momentary political processes, but from historical, geographical and civilizational constants.

Neo-Eurasism laid the basis of the whole set of vanguard currents in youth culture, gave a vivifying impulse to creative, passionate development of the whole direction in art.

Neo-Eurasism had a strong impact upon political parties and movements in modern Russia – we find large borrowings from neo-Eurasist ideological arsenal in the programmatic documents of “Unity”, KPFR [Communist Party], OVR [Otetchestvo-Vsyo Rossiya], LDPR [Liberal-democratic Party], the movement “Russia” and of a series of smaller movements and parties. However these borrowings remain fragmentary, combined with other sometimes heterogeneous and even contradictory elements (all this makes large Russian parties rather tactical, de-ideologized formations created for the solution of short-term, local political problems).

The new social and political subject

The time has come to make the following step, to add Eurasism a concrete social and political dimension. Neo-Eurasist ideology gradually exceeded the level of pure theoretical elaboration. The new government of Russia is seriously engaged in the solution of strategic problems facing the country, and is obviously not satisfied with the primitive and destructive recipes imposed by the West and the bearers of Western influence in Russia: it needs a world-view and social and political support. The present authorities, their specificity, their social image, considerably differ both from the post-Soviet period and from the times of uncritical passion for reckless liberalism. A new state world-view, a new domestic pattern of polit-correctness have ripened. This is testified by that persevering search of a National Idea in which the authorities are today engaged.
If the usual political and party system is suitable for the decision of momentary problems (though we consider it as inadequate even in the narrow pragmatical sense), in an medium-term perspective (let alone a long-term strategic sight) it has no chance at all, and requires radical reforming. The existing system evolved during the process of demolition of the Soviet model and its substitution by a liberal-democratic pro-Western formation. But today neither the former, nor the latter is acceptable for Russia. And furthermore, it is inappropriate in the face of the very difficult situation the country is confronted to – a consequence of ludicrous policies previously followed. What we need are parties and movements based on a world-view, reflecting the interests of concrete strata of the population, merged with the people, educating, training and defending it, instead of exploiting the trust (and naivety) of the masses for the sake of private or group benefit.

All conditions have blossomed for the appearance of a rigorous Eurasist movement in new Russia. And those who stood at the origins of Neo-Eurasism, who formed the theoretical premises and bases of Russian geopolitics, Eurasist philosophy, conservative-revolutionary politology and sociology, who spent years fighting for the ideals of Eurasia, for the revival of the Russian people and our Great Power – those made the decision to form the new social and political movement “EURASIA”.

Who shall be the participants to the movement “Eurasia”?

To whom are we addressing the call to enter and to back our movement? To each Russian, educated and not, influential and the last of the dispossessed, to the worker and to the manager, to the needy and the well-off person, to the Russian and the Tatar, to the orthodox and the jew, to the conservative and the modernist, to the student and to the defender of the law, to the soldier and the weaver, to the governor and the rock-musician. But only to the one who loves Russia, who cannot think of himself without it, who has realised the necessity of a severe effort, which is required from all of us so that our country and our people remains on the map of the new millennium (from which they persistently attempt to erase us), to the one who wants, passionately wants, that all of us at last would raise in a mighty power, would cast away from our common organism its parasitic excrescence, would tear the veil of mental mist, would affirm above the country, the continent, the world our solar Russian ideals – ideals of Freedom, Equity, Fidelity to the Origins.

Radical Centre

The movement “Eurasia” is founded on the principles of radical centre. We are neither leftists nor rightists, we are neither slavishly compliant to the authorities, nor oppositionists at any cost, barking with a reason and without . We realise that today’s authority in Russia, the President of Russia Vladimir Vladimirovic Putin requires help, support, solidarity, cohesion. But at the same time blind submission to the leaders, uncritical connivance to authority only because it is authority, are today not less (if not more) pernicious than straight rebellion. We are centrists to the extent that the President and the authority act for the sake of the Power, for the sake of the people. And not in a populist and transient way, but in a medium and long-term perspective. Here again we will be for the President fervently, radically, up to the end, not paying attention to small inaccuracies, accepting all hardships and difficulties, which will arise since Russia will seriously be set by the purpose of rescuing itself and all the rest of the world from the terrible threat creeping from the West. Anything more centrist than our unconditional and total support to the patriotic power-building of the authority (even in its most unpopular actions) simply could not be. So, our forerunners, the Eurasists, supported the hated orthodox fundamentalist and Marxist regimes because they confronted the West – the worst of evils. But our radical centrism is not passive. We clearly realise that the present authority in Russia according to the logic of things has no (and cannot have) clear representation of the fundamental strategic purposes, of the philosophical and spiritual dramatic problem which is born by the new millennium – terrible, risky, threatening, problematic, misunderstood during centuries of bloody battles and cruel sufferings … In this sense the authority today is lost and requires help, orienting points, landmarks, specifying which is the task of the people, its most active, strong-willed, clever, idealistic, patriotic side (this also should gather in our movement, to become its core).

Here the roles are changed, and now is the turn of the authority to listen to the voice of Eurasia. This voice is not the servile “yes, sir? ” of condescending and artificial parties, good for chairs and tv-screens. It is the mighty radical appeal of the earth, the vote of generations, the cry from the depths of our spirit and our blood.

Priorities of the Eurasia movement

Our movement spreads the Eurasist principles to all levels of life.

In the religious sphere it means constructive solid dialogue between the creeds traditional for Russia, – Orthodoxy, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism.*** The Eurasian branches of world religions have many differences from those forms which have taken roots in other regions of the world. There is a common style of Eurasist spiritual view, which, however, does not eliminate at all differences and originality of tenets. This is a serious and positive basis for rapprochement, mutual respect, mutual understanding. Due to the Eurasist approach to religious questions many inter-confessional frictions can be bypassed or arranged.

In the sphere of foreign policy, Eurasism implies a wide process of strategic integration. Reconstruction on the basis of the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] of a solid Eurasian Union (analogue to the USSR on a new ideological, economic and administrative basis).

The strategic integration of internal spaces of the CIS should be gradually spread also to wider areas – to the countries of the Moscow-Teheran-Delhi-Beijing axis. An Eurasist policy is invoked to open for Russia an exit to the warm seas, not through war and sufferings, but through peace and open friendly co-operation.

Eurasist policies towards the West implies prioritary relations with the European countries. Modern Europe – as opposed to the epoch when the founding-fathers of Eurasism acted – does not represent anymore the source of “world evil”. The quick political events of the XX century contributed to transfer this doubtful record even more westward – to Northern America, to the US. Therefore at a present stage Russia can find in Europe strategical partners interested in the revival of its former political power. Eurasist Russia should play the role of the deliverers of Europe, but this time from the American political, economic and cultural occupation.

The Eurasist policy of Russia is directed towards active co-operation with the countries of the Pacific region, first of all with Japan. The economic giants of this area should see in the Eurasist policies of Russia the orienting point for a self-supporting political system, and also for a strategic potential of resources and new markets.

At a planetary level Eurasism means active and universal opposition to globalisation, is equal to the “anti-globalist movement ”. Eurasism defends the blossoming complexity of peoples, religions and nations. All anti-globalist tendencies are intrinsically “Eurasist”.

We are consequent supporters of “Eurasist federalism”. This means a combination of strategic unity and ethno-cultural (in definite cases economic) autonomies. Different ways of life at a local level in combination with strict centralism in the basic moments, linked to State interests.

We should revive the traditions of the Russian people, contribute to the recovery of Russian demographic growth. And most important, awake in the people its intrinsic organic spirituality, morale, high ideals, living and fervent patriotism. Without the prioritary revival of the Russian nation, the Eurasist project has no chance to become a reality. Understanding this fact is the base of our world-view.

Eurasism in social sphere means the priority of the public principle above the individual, subordination of economic patterns to strategic, social problems. The whole economic history of Eurasia proves that the development of economic mechanisms here happens according to an alternative logic than the liberal-capitalist, individualist patterns of personal benefit which evolved in the West on the basis of Protestant ethics. The liberal logic of management is alien to Eurasia, and despite enormous efforts there is no way to break this deep-rooted feature of our people. The collective, communitarian principle of governing the economy, the contribution of the criterion of “equity” in the distribution process – all this represent a steady feature of our economic history. Eurasism insists on a positive account and evaluation of this circumstance, and on this basis gives preference to socially-oriented economic patterns.

Eurasism implies a positive re-evaluation of the archaic, of 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 original cultural motives in the fabric of modern forms. The priority in this area is given back to national motives, to the sources of national creativity, to the continuation and revival of traditions.

Being a new and fresh world-view, just having taken a definite form, Eurasism primarily addresses itself to the youth, to the people whose consciousness has not been spoiled yet by random jumps from one inadequate ideological pattern to another, even less adequate. The Eurasist ideal is the strong, passionate, healthy and beautiful man (instead of the bastard cocaine-addict of mondialist discos, the half-assed gangster or the slut for sale). We are in the condition to offer different, positive values, instead of the cult of ugliness and pathology, instead of the cynicism and servilism before the surrogates of world shows. We shall not allow our children to be killed, violated, degraded, perverted, sold or chained to a needle. Our ideal is a celebration of physical and spiritual health, force and worthiness, faith and honour.

The movement “Eurasia” can become a reality only in the event that many people will gather around it. Much can be done even by a single man, but, as Lautréamont said, everyone should care for poetry!

To an even greater extent – everyone should care for Eurasia!

Now everything depends on our efforts. Nobody is promising just victories, raise of welfare or entertainment industry shares. Ahead stays daily laborious work, often invisible from the outside.

Ahead stay difficulty and battle, loss and labours, but ahead also stay pleasure and Great Purpose!

———————–

Added Notes:

* Rossiskiy, i.e. with reference to citizenship of the Russian Federation. – Tr.

** Dugin here uses the term “Europe” (and thus also “European”) in the common Russian sense – also used by many Westerners – which equates “Europe” with the “West” in the old-fashioned sense, and therefore excludes not only Russians but most Eastern Europeans as well. This must be distinguished from the meaning of Europe in the much broader sense as is commonly used by many other peoples, whereby Eastern Slavic peoples are also considered European. – Ed.

*** We can also add to this list Paganism, for, as Leonid Savin – a major leader of the Eurasia Movement – has pointed out, “Russia is the only country in Europe that still has authentic pagan societies (Republics of Mari-El, Mordovia, Komi) with very interesting rites and traditions” (quoted from his Euro-Synergies interview, “Establish a Multipolar World Order”). It is also significant that Russian Eurasianism – along with Kazakh Eurasianism – aims for a respect for and study of Pagan religions and therefore also the maintenance of surviving Pagan communities. As Savin further commented, “Europe must learn from the Russian experience of coexistence of different religions (not forgetting paganism and shamanism – this belief is widely found in Siberia). In Europe, they use the term tolerance but we, Eurasianists, prefer the term complimentarity, proposed by Lev Gumilev, meaning a subconscious sympathy between different ethnic groups.” – Ed.

 

—————-

Dugin, Alexander. “Eurasa Above All.” Arctogaia, 1 January 2001. <http://arctogaia.com/public/eng/Manifesto.html >.

See also: “Main Principles of Eurasist Policy” by Alexander Dugin

 

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Mishima: Paleocon as Samurai – Raimondo

Yukio Mishima: Paleocon as Samurai

By Justin Raimondo

 

In Runaway Horses, Yukio Mishima’s portrait of a young right-winger and would-be assassin, the main character, Isao, is inspired by a pamphlet, The League of the Divine Wind, by Tsunanori Yamao—a work of pure imagination, albeit based on historical reality, which takes up all or most of Chapter 9. This is the story of the Shinpuren Incident of 1876, in which a band of rebellious samurai rose up against the “reforms” of the Meiji Restoration. These were radical traditionalists of a uniquely consistent sort: they disdained such Western inventions as guns and cannon, and wielded spears and swords to attack the local garrison.

It was a highly stylized gesture of defiance against the onset of modernity, just the sort of thing that would interest Mishima, whose aesthetics as well as his politics made him sympathetic to the motivations of the rebels, who chafed at the failure of the authorities to resist “foreign influence” and “expel the barbarians.” Mishima lists the outrages that inflame them, starting off with “In Meiji 3, permission was granted to an imperial prince to study in Germany.”

The traditions of the samurai class were being systematically dismantled: not only were their subsidies and subventions, which came out of the Imperial Treasury, dramatically reduced and eventually cut off, to add insult to injury they were told to cut off their top-knots and turn in their swords. It became a crime to carry a sword in public. For the followers of Oen Hayashi—who held white fans over their heads as they walked under electric wires for fear of contamination by Western emanations–that was the last straw.

Oen was a Shinto priest and scholarly defender of the old gods, whose zeal on their behalf inspires a group of young samurai. His views, propagated after his death by the League of the Divine Wind, are clearly Mishima’s, who sums up Oen’s politics thusly:

Cherishing as he did the ideal of glorifying the Imperial Tradition within the land and upholding the national honor in the face of foreign incursion, he was appalled by the vacillation of the Shogunate officials at the time of Perry’s arrival and also by the tactics of those who turned away from the policy of ‘Expel the Barbrians’ but tried to use it to overthrow the Shogunate. He became a recluse and gave himself over to the contemplation of occult wisdom.

Against the arrival of Commodore Perry and modernity, the leaders of the League approach the elder gods with a petition to act. The opening line of Tsunanori’s story sets the stage: “One day in the summer of 1873–the Sixth Year of the Meiji era–four stalwart men of high ideals gathered at the Imperial Shrine in Shingai Village.” They are there to consult the will of the gods in the ritual known as Ukei: in Mishima’s version, a fresh-cut peach branch festooned with paper pendants inscribed with questions for the gods is waved over the Sacred Mirror, and the answers drop from the branch like rain, or tears:

The first of these was in accordance with the wishes of Harukata Kaya and read as follows: ‘To bring an end to misgovernment by admonishing authority even to the forfeiture of life.’

Kaya was bent upon the use of argument, of subduing their enemy without shedding any blood but his own. He wished to insure that his admonition achieved its goal by emulating Ysautake Yokoyama, the samurai of the Satsuma Clan who, in Meiji 3, set the seal upon his heroic remonstrance by slaying himself with his sword as soon as he had delivered his petition. Kaya’s comrades, however, had misgivings about the efficacy of such a course.

The second appeal laid out before the judgement of the gods was “to cut down the unworthy ministers by striking in darkness with the sword,” i.e. a terrorist campaign targeted at the sell-outs and traitors who were delivering Old Nippon over to the foreigners. A poem written on the headband of the 16-year-old Tadao Saruwatari, sums up the feelings of the rebels:

Our land divided, sold to barbarians,
The Sacred Throne in peril.
May the gods of heaven and earth
Behold our loyal devotion.

The leaders of the League twice implored the gods, and twice the answer was the same: the time for action was not propitious. On the third try, however, the gods were apparently in a good mood–or, perhaps, a bad one–because they not only gave the go ahead, but deemed the League a divine army that was to spark a general rising. Their destiny sealed, the League set about making preparations. Nothing was done, of course, without consulting the Divine Will: the battle plan, the division of the forces and their various tasks, the timing–all were calculated according to the sanctions of tradition and the will of the war god Hachiman.

Numbering less than two hundred, they would take on the garrison of the castle of Kumamoto, defended by two thousand government troops. Perhaps some hi-tech firepower might have given them some advantage – say, a cannon or two – but, as Mishima notes, they hotly disdained using the weapons of the foreigners, and rode into battle with swords, spears, and halberds – although they also made several hundreds primitive Molotov cocktails using two bowls packed with gunpowder and gravel.

With the advantage of surprise – and surprise certainly describes the reaction of the garrison, as these oddly-garbed figures, bearing swords and spears, swarmed through the barracks – the League achieved a victory as sweet as it was short: all two thousand defenders fled “like frightened women.” Yet they soon regrouped, and, heartened by reinforcements, went on the counterattack.

The League fought valiantly, but, in the end, they were overwhelmed by superior numbers, not to mention the modern weaponry of their opponents. The defeated army of the gods, gathered together in the sanctuary of a nearby Shinto shrine, determined to fight on, and yet it soon became all too clear that resistance was futile. Government troops swarmed over the countryside like ants in search of sugar. Driven to the ground, the survivors took the only honorable course: they committed seppuku, ritual suicide, one-by-one and in groups. Young and old, priests and samurai, commoners and nobility–yes, and even one woman!–they all went into the next life without hesitation or regret, slitting their throats, falling on their swords, and disemboweling themselves in the gruesome ritual known in the West as hari-kiri.

This, for them–and for the author—was the supreme duty, the proof of their purity, and any other course would have been unthinkable, under the circumstances, and they did it as simply, as easily, as naturally as a Westerner would close his eyes and go to sleep. Their fate prefigured that of the author, and, as he wrote Runaway Horses, Mishima was no doubt already planning his dramatic denouement, an act that would shock the world–but not yet.

Mishima was a writer of extraordinary talent, and so prolific that I cannot even get a handle on how many novels he actually wrote: the number we usually encounter is 40, but that’s not counting the serialized “popular” novels, some of which were never published between book covers, and not thought of as serious by the author. In addition, he produced such a quantity of short stories, essays, plays, screenplays, poems, and polemics that it seemed as if, behind his byline, lurked a literary team rather than a single author.

In his personal life, too, the same energy was evident: at the height of his fame, Mishima was everywhere, socializing with the high and the low, appearing on television, religiously going to the gym where he devoted himself to body-building and kendo, at one point starring in a gangster movie, and traveling the world from Bangkok to Manhattan, reveling in life even as he dreamt endless dreams of death.

Born Kimitake Hiroaka, a small, spindly Mama’s boy, he grew up in wartime Japan a bookish odd-man-out, burdened with a morbid imagination and a predilection for perversions that included but were not limited to homosexuality. Much of his best known earlier work is largely an attempt to work through and come to terms with his childhood demons. Taken from his mother after a mere week or so of life, and forced to attend to his witch of a grandmother in her sickbed, he was not allowed to play with other children, especially boys, and was forced to stay inside playing with origami and reading. He soon devoured all the books in his well-read grandmother’s library: the stories of Hans Christian Anderson, as well as Oscar Wilde, and the poems of Rilke and the Decadents.

His first novel, Hanazakari no Mori (“The Forest in Full Bloom”), was steeped in the spirit and history of Ancient Japan: it consists of profiles of aristocratic figures from widely disparate historical eras. The Japan Mishima evoked was a memory of a time when the grasping egotism and “modern” crudity of contemporary Japanese militarists was unthinkable: When it was a “forest in full bloom,” Japan was a courtly society, where ancient forms were followed to the letter as a matter of course. Mishima’s language, studded with rare words like polished jewels, was elegant, archaic, and yet precise. As one of his translators put it: “He knew the exact word for everything.”

Mishima’s literary debut was overshadowed, however, by the start of the war–an event that transformed everything for the seventeen year old author. As Japan’s fortunes took a turn for the worse, Mishima and his school-fellows lived with the prospect of conscription—and certain death—hanging over them like a tsunami about to crash onto their once-peaceful beach. For the first time since a fortunate wind blew the approaching Mongol fleet off course–that, by the way, is where the League of the Divine Wind got its name–Japan faced the prospect of foreign invasion. The idea that they would die young, and gloriously, was part of the air they breathed.

Mishima became associated with a group of nationalist writers, the Bungei Bunka, for whom the war was a holy task. Known as the Roman-ha (Japanese Romanticists), their goal, in literary-emotional terms, was “purity of sentiment,” as Henry Scott-Stokes puts it in The Life and Death of Yukio Mishima, while their politics consisted of an eclectic mix of Emperor-worship and Marxism: like Mishima, they pined for the Old Japan, which they idealized. They hated the zaibatsu (huge industrial combines that dominated wartime Japan) and Westernized politicians, valorized the samurai, and reveled in the “irony” that defeat, too, could be sweet if it was experienced as the denouement of a heroic gesture.

Mishima’s father, Azusa, was a demanding, unsympathetic character who had squandered the family’s money in an unsuccessful bid to become an entrepreneur: he regularly invaded the boy’s room and tore up his manuscripts, rationalizing his brutality with the view that writing was unproductive and could only divert his young son away from the straight and narrow. In spite of the boy’s literary prowess–he was already being praised by the Bungei Bunka as a genius–Azusa finally prevailed upon him to study law at Tokyo University. That in itself was a feat of some magnitude, since Mishima had always ignored his father’s hectoring as much as possible.

The reason for this unusual concession was no doubt because Mishima found the law intellectually challenging: but there was not much studying done that year. The war was moving rapidly toward its end, and air raids were constant. Students were yanked out of the classroom and mobilized to support the war effort: Mishima and his fellow future lawyers of Japan were put to work in a factory making kamikaze planes:

This great factory worked on a mysterious system of production costs: taking no account of the dictum that capital investment should produce a return, it was dedicated to a monstrous nothingness. No wonder then that each morning the workers had to recite a mystic oath. I have never seen such a strange factory. In it all the techniques of modern science and management, together with the exact and rational thinking of many superior brains, were dedicated to a single end: Death. Producing the Zero-model combat plane used by the suicide squadrons, this great factory resembled a secret cult that operated thunderously–groaning, shrieking, roaring.

This description of the factory appeared in Confessions of a Mask–the book that catapulted him to fame. Fame, however, was in the future: for now, he was just a lonely aesthete amid the unfolding disaster of wartime Japan. As he ran to the air raid shelter, he clutched the pages of what he thought of as his “last” novel, The Middle Ages, an historical tale based on the life and death of Prince Yoshihisa, the son of a Shogun who lived in the 15th century. Yoshihisa attempted a coup, but was killed in battle: what followed was a long period of chaos and fighting, known as the era of the Onin wars, that nearly destroyed Japanese society. Kyoto, the capital, was burned to the ground–a condition that was about to be replicated in contemporary Japan. The feeling of impending disaster was everywhere, and it was just like Mishima to translate this foreboding into a tale out of the fifteenth century.

Japan was slowly but surely being defeated, and as the Americans inched closer to the Japanese homeland, Mishima received the call to report for duty: he was being drafted. As it turned out, however, he was so sickly and thin that they rejected him, much to his relief: the military doctor mistakenly diagnosed him with incipient tuberculosis. Later, in Confessions, he would remark that he had been “forsaken even by Death.” He had escaped, and yet Death still haunted him: or, rather, the desire to embrace it haunted him. He had been denied a glorious death by the army doctor, but he believed he would meet his end in a final cataclysm, as enemy bombers dropped fire from the skies and Tokyo was aflame. “It was in death,” he wrote, “that I had discovered my real ‘life’s aim.’”

As the Japanese government prepared for surrender, Mishima was immersed in his books, writing his first published stories, and making contacts with older authors who would prove instrumental to his career. Hiroshima was devastated, and then Nagasaki: the Americans dropped leaflets over Tokyo laying out the terms of surrender. The Japanese government capitulated.

Mishima was in shock: the Emperor went on the radio to declare that he wasn’t a god, after all. Of this time, he wrote:

The war ended. All I was thinking about, as I listened to the Imperial Rescript announcing the surrender, was the Golden Temple. The bond between the temple and myself had been severed. I thought, now I shall return … to a state in which I exist on one side and beauty on the other. A state which will never improve so long as the world endures.

The death of his sister, Mitsuko, underscored the end of the world he had known: she succumbed to typhoid in October, 1945. The old Japan was crashing down all around him, but to this larger catastrophe Mishima was numbed and oblivious: he simply withdrew into his own private world. He was determined to become a writer, and not only that, but a literary star: one senior literary figure, to whom he brought his work, criticized him for his extravagant Romanticism, and asked him if he wanted to be an original or a popular author: Mishima unhesitatingly chose the latter.

The “reforms” of the MacArthur Regency, the economic and social tumult that surrounded him, did not, at the time, concern him: his family home had escaped any damage, and he hid himself away in what he called his “castle.” Amidst the physical destruction of Tokyo, and the disintegration of all the old values, including the aristocratic “courtly” literary traditions he and his fellows of the Roman-ha upheld, he wasn’t merely indifferent to it all, including the momentous political developments–he was determinedly oblivious. His focus was exclusively on the development of his unique literary imagination, and his efforts to break into the Bundan, the exclusive and inbred club of the Japanese literary establishment.

If Mishima was indifferent to such worldly concerns as politics, then politics weren’t indifferent to him. Postwar Japan was dominated by the Left, and the political trials and purges carried out under the occupation, with the full and enthusiastic cooperation of the Japanese Communist Party, extended into the literary realm. In the winter of 1945, as Mishima was gathering a book of stories for publication, a committee of leftist writers and critics issued an indictment of “literary war criminals,” among whom Mishima’s former mentors and sponsors figured prominently. This was followed by an official purge executed by the American occupation authorities.

Mishima’s effort to storm the castle of the Bundan met with intractable resistance: his association with the Roman-ha as well as his extravagant subjectivism, his stylistic archaicism, and his decidedly un-“progressive” subject matter all kept him out of print, albeit only temporarily.

Mishima was inwardly beset by all sorts of demons, which he mercilessly dissected in his famous Confessions, the book that made him as a writer. Yet he had a will of steel, and this was reflected not only in his ambition, but in his highly disciplined sensibility, which approached every task with a relentless concentration. Still a law student, he studied diligently and prepared for his entrance examination to the civil service with the same fierce concentration that produced reams of stories and a first novel, The Thieves, the story of a young couple that enter into a suicide pact, albeit not out of love for each other.

His career as a civil servant—he was accepted as a minor functionary into the Ministry of Finance—didn’t last very long, and Azusa bitterly opposed his decision to leave his job and become a full-time writer. But when it became apparent that Mishima would persist, his father turned to him and said: “Well then, go ahead, but make sure you are the best writer in the land.” Father and son, so unlike each other in every other way, shared a belief in this possibility. Mishima, for his part, was certain of his destiny: indeed, this certitude seemed almost fully formed from early youth.

Not long before his spectacular death, Mishima was asked by the Tobu department store, one of the biggest such establishments in Japan, to help put together a photographic exhibition of his life and work: it was displayed from November 12 – 19, in 1970. During that time, one-hundred thousand visited the display with it’s black-draped photographs arranged around an antique samurai sword that was to be the instrument of Mishima’s death a few days later. The catalogue, bound in black, contained an introduction by Mishima, in which he said of the exhibition:

I made only one suggestion: that was to divide my forty-five years of life–a life so full of contradictions–into Four Rivers, ‘Writing,,’ ‘Theater,’ ‘Body,” and ‘Action,’ all finally flowing into The Sea of Fertility.

This last was the title of his tetralogy, consisting of Spring Snow, Runaway Horses, The Temple of Dawn, and The Decay of the Angel, which covers the period from 1912 to 1975, and can be considered his literary and philosophical testament.

The rivers of writing and action flowed together in the evolution of his political views, from the non-committal anti-political stance of his early works, which are steeped in the personal and the subjective, to his fulsome embrace of Japanese nationalism, albeit of a unique sort.

John Nathan, in his introduction to the new edition of his 1974 biography of Mishima, regrets that his analysis of the writer’s political ideology was overshadowed by Mishima’s personal pathology–the obsession with death revealed in Confessions, and in much of his fiction, rooted in sado-masochistic eroticism. In re-reading the work he hadn’t opened in many years, Nathan confides he was “troubled by the skepticism my argument required me to sustain. In declining to accept Mishima’s words or actions at face value, I failed to recognize the courage and unflinching honesty that are there to be observed.”

In a piece published on New Year’s Day, 1967, Mishima explained that his Westernized lifestyle–he lived in a Western-style house, wore Western clothes, etc.–did not really contradict his nationalist sentiments because “My true life as a writer is in the pure Japan of the Japanese language I use every night in my study. Compared to this, “he averred, “nothing else is of any importance.” Nathan writes:

In the biography, my commitment to reveal Mishima’s nationalism as specious, and as a device for achieving death, prompted me to dismiss this claim as ‘a lame and silly argument’…. Today, I am persuaded, indeed moved, by the same logic I once ridiculed.

Mishima’s fate, Nathan continues, “now appears as one of two historical moments” that seem to have underscored the predicament of modern Japan. Not that Nathan gives up entirely his tiresomely predictable way of looking at Mishima through the lens of amateur psychology: after all, Mishima’s work is the very exemplar of “psychological” fiction, in that the real action is taking place inside the characters’ skulls. So that all the physical action – and there is a lot of that, too–proceeds logically from a clear albeit unique motivation. Yet there was a growing political consciousness, a current that flowed from the merging rivers of writing and action, that represented Mishima’s mature thought.

As he outgrew his exoticism, and shed the skin of a sensitive youth, Mishima underwent a remarkable transformation. One of his critics once remarked that what scared him about Mishima is that he seemed to have sprouted up so fast as a writer that he was all flower and no leaves. And there was something distinctly unhealthy about his extreme aestheticism, with its overtones of Wilde and Raymond Radiguet.

All that began to change, however, as he approached the pinnacle of his success: his novels were being made into films, and there was talk that he was up for a Nobel. For much of his youth, he had swum exclusively in the rivers of writing and theater: as for the body, the thin and sickly Kimitake Hiroaka, with his thin shoulders and pallid complexion, was banished, finally, like a ghost that has lingered too long on this earth, replaced by the chiseled physique of a dedicated bodybuilder. This led directly to the rising of the river of theater, especially when he posed semi-naked in a notorious series of photographs, one of which has him in the classic pose of St. Sebastian, tied to a post and stuck full of arrows. It was a most un-Japanese way of calling attention to himself, and this was made worse when he ventured onto the stage as an actor, appearing in a couple of cheap gangster movies. It was an embarrassment, but Mishima was clearly enjoying himself, and, for all his avowed traditionalism, his innate exhibitionism overrode the Japanese sense of propriety.

The last of the four rivers to swell from a stream into a rushing torrent was that of action, and it propelled him toward his fate. This was really, however, the river of ideology, which for Mishima was his own unique brand of Japanese nationalism: it might be called Japan’s version of paleoconservatism. He didn’t think of himself standing athwart history yelling “Stop!” Instead, he demanded that history must reverse course, and go back to that juncture where a wrong turn was taken.

For Japan, as far as Mishima was concerned, that juncture was located precisely. On February 26, 1936, when he was 11 years old, the young army officers of the Imperial Way faction, at the head of 1,400 troops, seized the Tokyo center and assassinated a number of government officials. They were rising against the power of the “Control” faction, led by Hideki Tojo and a group of old-line bureaucrats who would later come to be charged as war criminals and executed.

At the time, there was great division in military circles and the emperor’s court as to which direction Japanese expansionism ought to take: should they go eastward, and occupy China, or go north and take on the Soviet Union? The Imperial Way faction, being staunchly anti-Communist, wanted to make war on the Kremlin and build a Nipponese empire in the north. The Control group wanted to conquer the Chinese coastline and make its way inward to the Han heartland: this meant also taking on the colonial powers of the West–including the United States—whose interests in China and Southeast Asia were at stake.

The Imperial Way group believed that the Emperor had lost control to a cabal of bureaucratic technocrats, exemplified by Tojo, who had betrayed the traditions of old Japan in their rush to modernize. The Imperial Way solution was to appeal to the Emperor Hirohito to take direct control of the government, and dispense with his scheming ministers and other Westernizers: thus their name Koda-ha, or Imperial Way. They particularly resented to power of the zaibatsu, the great industrial combines that monopolized industry and extended their talons into the government and the Imperial Court. The Emperor, they believed, had been misled: their rebellion was a direct appeal to Hirohito – who firmly rejected their entreaties. Indeed, the Emperor directed the army to put down the rebellion, even as some councilors urged him to compromise: the uprising was crushed, its leaders committed seppuku, and the February Incident went down in the history of Japan was yet another eruption of Nipponese irrationality and “extremism,” like the Shimpuren Incident.

Mishima, however, was sympathetic to the rebels, and it is easy to see why. If the Imperial Way had won, and Tojo and his group cast aside, Japan would never have gone to war with the West, and the devastation of Japan, the occupation, and the radical process of Westernization would all have been avoided. Japan would not have been relegated to the role of an international castrati, forbidden to have a real army, and locked into a mandatory pacifism in which the specter of death had been banished, and, along with it, any sense of meaning, or so Mishima came to believe. “Surely some great God died when the Ni Ni Roku Incident failed,” he wrote. It figured prominently in his later works: the short story “Patriotism,” the prose poem “Voices of the Heroic Dead,” a play, Toka no Kiku, and also in Runaway Horses, where the hero, Isao, invokes it as the inspiration for his own plans for an uprising.

In “Patriotism,” the hero, Lieutenant Takeyama, is the commander of a unit that receives the order to move against the February rebels. As a friend and sympathizer of the rebel leaders, this puts him in a predicament: he will not take up arms against his comrades, yet is unwilling to disobey the direct order of the Emperor. He is shamed that he has been left out of the rebellion: The only way out is to commit seppuku. What follows is the longest, most detailed description of ritual suicide in Japanese literature, bloody and gory and yet strangely idealized. As Lieutenant Takeyama’s intestines are spilling out onto the floor, Mishima remarks: “It would be difficult to imagine a more heroic sight than that of the lieutenant at this moment, as he mustered his strength and flung back his head.”

“Voices of the Heroic Dead” was controversial with both the Left and the Right: the former because it valorized the kamikazee fighters as well as the rebel officers of Ni Ni Roku, and the latter because it criticized Emperor Hirohito for repudiating his own godhood and failing to support the Imperial Way. Here we are taken into a séance, in which the voices of the perished kamikazee pilots and the coup leaders of the Imperial Way group reproach the Emperor Hirohito: “Why did the emperor have to become a human being?” The ghosts of these departed patriots echo this refrain throughout the text. Mishima disdains the second half of the Showa era – Hirohito’s reign – as a time of national listlessness and a “smiling full-bellied peace,” that led to boredom and nihilism. Lassitude had set in:

Strength is decried, the body disdained
Pleasure has lost its substance
Joy and grief alike vanish in an instant
Purity is marketed, dissipation enfeebled
Feeling is dulled, sharpness blunted
Virulent and manly spirits have fled the earth….

This anomie is what he had succumbed to in his youth, and now was learning to conquer. The sickly Kimitake Hiroaka, who cowered in his room and watched the destruction of Tokyo from a distance, as if it were a play, longed for action, for commitment, for belief–and this desire was manifested in his emerging nationalist politics.

The emergence of Mishima as an ideologue of the Emperor system is widely misunderstood: he was not an authoritarian, but rather a critic of Westernized Japanese democracy, which was merely the old bureaucratic zaibatsu-dominated system wearing a “democratic” mask. He saw the Emperor and the Shinto system of Emperor-worship as the essence of the Japanese spirit. The postwar order emasculated Japanese culture, which had previously been represented by both the Chrysanthemum and the Sword: after the Defeat, however, only the Chrysanthemum remained. The Sword was permanently sheathed, the American-imposed “constitution” forbade any form of military activity, and Japanese culture was represented by such pacifistic activities as ikebana (flower arranging), while the darker side was entirely missing.

This dark side, however, was about to reassert itself, Mishima was sure of it, and he did his own part to help it along with the creation of his Tatenokai group, or Shield Society, a group of young patriots he gathered around him in reaction to the tumult of the 1960s, when the Left made giant inroads in Japan (and around the world). This tumult reached a crescendo in Japan with the riots, in the spring of 1960, that greeted the ratification of the US-Japan Security Treaty, which was opposed by both the radical Left and the nationalist Right, albeit for antipathetic reasons.

The student leftists, who took to the streets and battled the police, fascinated Mishima, who admired them for their style if not the substance of their pro-Communist politics. He went out into the streets and reported on the riots for the Mainichi Shimbun. “Patriotism” was written about this time, and his political sensibility began to be more fully developed. The Tatenokai – which he called “the world’s smallest and most spiritual army”—was the culmination of this trend in his thinking: together with these hundred or so patriotic young recruits, in their spiffy designer uniforms, he jumped head-first into the river of action.

Through his connections with influential Liberal Democratic Party mandarins, Mishima managed to get permission for the Tatenokai to participate in training sessions with the Japanese Defense Force. They spend weeks in the JDF training camps, and Mishima is in his element: the world of action. Yet that is just the beginning of his journey down this particular river ….

Mishima’s death is the most well-known aspect of his life, which seems somehow appropriate, given his life-long morbid focus on the subject. It is, however, unfortunate, because the irony is that he was such a creative force: his collected works fill some thirty-plus thick volumes. In his day to day life, too, he was a veritable tornado of activity: he did everything with high energy and intensive focus, whether it was his writing, his body-building, his extensive socializing with a wide network of friends and fellow writers. In the final months and weeks of his life, the pace of his normally hectic activity picked up: he rushed to finish the final volume of “The Sea of Fertility” tetralogy, which was published as The Decay of the Angel.

He had been planning his final gesture of defiance for years, and finally the day approached: he put all his affairs in order, and proceeded with his usual thoroughness and alacrity. Mishima’s initial plan was to somehow enlist the aid of the Japanese Defense Force, which, together with the Tatenokai, would occupy Parliament and demand the revision of the constitution. This fell through, however, when Mishima’s inquiries met with a total lack of interest on the part of JDF officers. The plan was revised: they would take a senior JDF commander hostage, force the authorities to gather the soldiers in a place where Mishima would address them, and then, together, the Tatenokai and the rebel soldiers would carry out a coup, place the Emperor in command of the nation, and reassert Japan’s signal cultural, political, and military identity.

It was a ridiculous scheme, sure to fail, and Mishima–who was no fool–must have known that. Yet he went ahead with it. We can only assume that he knew how it would have to end, and that he wanted it to end precisely as it did.

On November 25, 1970, Mishima was awake and up early with the songbirds. Yoko, his wife, was out of the house, having taken the children to school. He dressed carefully, donning a fundoshi and his Tatenokai uniform. He assembled the items he was taking with him: a brown attache case, which contained a number of daggers, some papers, and a long samurai sword. He placed the final manuscript of The Decay of the Angel on a table in the hallway, in an envelope addressed to the publisher: they were scheduled to come pick it up later in the day. He then made a few phone calls to friendly reporters, hinting that something big was in the works—without saying precisely what was going to happen—and told them to show up at the Ichigaya base of the Japanese defense force in the center of Tokyo. As the morning wore on, a young man in the uniform of the Tatenokai walked through the garden to the front door: Mishima greeted him, and handed him three envelopes, with instructions that these should be taken out to the waiting car and read by the four members of the Tatenokai who had been chosen to accompany him on his final dip in the rive of action. Then he gathered up his briefcase, and left the house.

General Mashita, commander of the Eastern Army, was waiting for his visitors when they arrived at the base, and they were led into his office. After a few preliminary pleasantries, Mishima took off his sword, hanging in its scabbard on his belt, and placed it against the chair as he sat down.

“Tell me,” said General Mashita, “what is this sword you have with you? Did anyone ask you about it on the way in? I am not very clear about the rules on swords, as we don’t carry them anymore ourselves.”

Mishima assured him it was okay, and began to talk about the sword: an antique, made in the seventeenth century by the famous classical smith Seki no Magoroku. “Would you like to see it?”

Mashita indicated that he would, and as he held it, one of the Tatenokai inched forward, according to the plan. Mishima said to the young man: “A handkerchief?” This was the cue, and Mishima’s young follower moved toward the General, who, oblivious to the hidden meaning of the scene playing out before him, returned to his desk to get a tissue with which to wipe the sword. There was more small talk as Mashita examined the blade after wiping it, remarking that he had never seen such a superb weapon in private hands. Mishima looked at his flustered acolyte, who took the hint and moved toward the General, stepped behind him and reached for the General’s neck ….

Mishima and his followers moved quickly: after binding and gagging Mashita, they barricaded the door with heavy furniture. What they didn’t realize, however, was that they were being observed through a peephole in the office door, which allowed anyone outside in the anteroom to look in and see what was happening. The gig was soon up.

Twice unarmed officers tried to break into the room and free the General, and twice they were repulsed by Mishima, who slashed at them with his sword, wounding several. At this point, the Japanese officers–who were confirming by the minute Mishima’s contemptuous dismissal of contemporary Japanese men as all chrysanthemum and no sword–asked what Mishima’s demands were. He readily complied with a written statement slipped under the door: the soldiers of the garrison must assemble in front of the headquarters no later than the hour of noon. Mishima would then be allowed to address them from the balcony outside Mashita’s office window. A ninety-minute truce would be declared, during which time Mishima and his men would not face attack from the JDF. If the officers would not agree, Mishima said he would kill the General and commit suicide. After some urging from Mashita, the officers radioed their commanders, who told them to handle the situation as they saw fit. They agreed to Mishima’s demands.

The soldiers gathered in response to an announcement over the loudspeaker system–and a siren wailed, as if in terror at what was to follow. The news media–already alerted by Mishima–was there in droves, and Mishima crowed: “What a lot of people for the party!”

The four Tatenokai appeared on the balcony, bearing banners that spelled out the conditions under which Mashita’s safety was assured. Mishima’s manifesto, printed as a leaflet, was dropped, and carried by the wind to its intended recipients, who glanced at it with curiosity but hardly any understanding: in it, Mishima appealed to the armed forces to stop being a “toy,” as mandated by the pacifistic Constitution, demanded the restoration of the Emperor to his rightful place as ruler, and complained “we have waited in vain for the Jieitai [JDF] to rebel. If no action is taken, the Western powers will control Japan for the next century!”

The manifesto ended with these stirring words (yes, stirring even to a foreigner):

Let us restore Nippon to its true state and let us die. Will you value only life and let the spirit die? … We will show you a value which is greater than respect for life. Not liberty, not democracy. It is Nippon! Nippon, the land of history and tradition. The Japan we love.

The toy soldiers of the Jieitai read this with incomprehension. Their bafflement only grew as Mishima himself appeared on the balcony. By this time the noise level, already high with the helicopters whirling overhead and the soldiers shouting to each other, reached a crescendo of abuse rising up from the ranks of the men Mishima had hoped to inspire. His plan was to speak for 30 minutes: seven minutes into his speech, however, he gave up. The Jieitai were rebelling, alright–against him. There was nothing to be done but carry out the final act of the drama that had been so long in rehearsals.

Mishima had jumped atop the parapet to be seen by the troops, and now he dropped down back onto the balcony. Inside Mashita’s office, the General’s gag had been loosened, and, as it became apparent what Mishima was about to do, Mashita yelled: “Stop!”

But there was no stopping him. Mishima stripped down to his loincloth, and knelt on the floor, expelling the air from his stomach and shouting a last salute to the Emperor. Then he forced a dagger into his stomach, and cut crosswise, in the prescribed manner. Seppuku is not butchery: it requires precision. As his entrails spilled out, he bent his neck to receive the death blow from Morita, his chief acolyte, who brought down the sword with much force–but missed his mark. Twice more Morita tried, and failed, to decapitate Mishima, instead wounding him grievously. One of the others came forward, who had experience in fencing and kendo, took the sword, and divided Mishima’s head from his body with a single clean stroke.

Today Mishima is looked upon as a fanatic, a crazy person, at best a talented yet flawed writer whose personal demons devoured him in the end: his politics are considered a diversion away from what he was really about, a mere façade for the darkness in his soul. Yet his view of Japan has been vindicated by the gradual rearmament of the Japanese military, and the rise of a new nationalism in Japan, which–while it has hardly inspired a new Shimpuren Incident, or a replay of the February rising of 1936–is reasserting itself. He wanted to live in a nation that had regained a sense of its self, its true self–not the consumerist imitative ikebana-Hello Kitty caricature, but the real, historical Japan, whose origins are lost in the mist of Mount Fuji, the dwelling place of the gods.

 

————–

Raimondo, Justin. “Mishima—Paleocon as Samurai.” Taki’s Magazine, 12 May 2008. <http://takimag.com/article/mishimapaleocon_as_samurai/print#axzz3PfJypKJo >.

 

Notes: For further reading about Mishima and his works, see Riki Rei’s Review of Naoki Inose’s Persona: A Biography of Yukio Mishima, and also the Yukio Mishima Webpage. For an introduction to Natsume Soseki, a famous Japanese novelist who was an influence on Mishima, see Hoang Nguyen’s discussion of Soseki’s Kokoro and Japan’s modernisation.

For further reading and a list of useful resources about modern Japan and its culture, see the page of Alexander Dugin’s “In the Country of the Rising ‘Do’.”

For those interested in researching Japanese literature in general (which is also useful for the study of Japan’s culture, history, and religious attitudes), we recommend the following two anthologies which were edited by Donald Keene: Anthology of Japanese Literature from the Earliest Era to the Mid-Nineteenth Century (New York: Grove Press, 1955), and Modern Japanese Literature: From 1868 to the Present Day (New York: Grove Press, 1956). Concerning important modern classic Japanese authors (other than Yukio Mishima) whose works have been translated, we can note the following for readers who are interested: Natsume Soseki, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Kyoka Izumi, Osamu Dazai, Junichiro Tanizaki, Eiji Yoshikawa, Edogawa Rampo, Yasunari Kawabata, Fumiko Enchi, Yasushi Inoue, Shuhei Fujisawa, and Hisashi Inoue.

 

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On Japan – Dugin

In the Country of the Rising “Do”

By Alexander Dugin

Edited by Daniel Macek

 

Introductory Note: We have edited the following article to fix a number of significant errors and awkward translations made by the original translator (who was not specified by the original publishers). The reason we have chosen to republish this article is because the nature of Japan as it has been in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries is very significant for Europeans. It is not uncommon to find references to the practices of East Asian nations – Japan being the most prominent – among European cultural conservatives, who admire the successes of Japanese restriction of immigration (resulting in a nation that is retains its traditional ethnic types as the vast majority of the population, yet is still culturally rich) combined with its economic successes, as well as the creative combination traditional cultural and religious values with modern science and technology. We believe that this article by Alexander Dugin, despite being very limited, provides an important insight into the Japanese condition. – Daniel Macek (Editor of the “New European Conservative”)

Part 1. The Divine Wind

In this people’s language there is a special word for defining such a science as geo-politics – Chiseygaku, literally “teaching on the well-ordered land.” Such a people cannot be something ordinary.

In this people’s language there is the word Oshym (o-shima); it means “great island.” Such a people has access to the ultimately deep layers of dreams.

In this people’s language the “sovereign,” the “emperor,” is called Tenno, the “Heavenly one.” Such a people itself tastes of heavenly fish.

A gold carp had been rising along the waterfall, but because of its absent-mindedness it didn’t notice that the water had passed and it was moving to the sky. Higher, higher… The red carp is growing, wings come out of him, its scales are getting thicker… and it is now the great red dragon that is swimming in the sky.

Professor Tamotsu Murata [村田保] told that story in the ancient little restaurant in Asakusa residential area, explaining the canvas which hanged there on a wall. The slender old professor from a Samurai family was writing haiku poetry on a paper sheet, whose opposite side was dotted with mathematic formulas. He was finishing a book on the problem of continuality.

“I think we should seek the source of continuum in the mystery of a moment,” he had said not long before. “One day many years ago, when I was totally young, not such as I am now (the impenetrable visage, in which the smile is expressed by the unnoticeable movement of the hair), I was standing in a tiny yard, looking at the sky, and suddenly I understood, that I am; that there is I and only I. And not I as something which had occurred and is lasting, but as something momentary. Continuity is born from a revelatory moment.”

The Japanese read Western philosophy, but understand it in utterly their own way.

Professor Murata asked me to comment his views after his lecture about Kant. The gist of his report was reducible to the following. “Kant shouldn’t have separated the transcendent sphere of reason and empirical world of sensuality. There IS a connexion between them – language is the connexion.”

I answered: “It is an excellent idea, but then we arrive to the conclusion that language is a magical instrument, a magic hermetic means, with the help of which one can turn the rarefied to the dense and the dense to the rarefied.”

“Indeed, how exactly you understood me,” agreed old professor Tamotsu Murata. “And could you subject this approach to criticism?”

“Yes, I could,” I answered, “you have been reading Kant, who belonged to the context of modernity, as being a Japanese, who belongs to a context of non-modernity.”

All Japanese belong to the eternal present. And the fact that Japanese professors, refined and educated in an utterly European way, can treat the classics of rationalism in such a way, foretells that Japan will still shine over the world, like the bloody eye of the non-quantitative, momentarily continual goddess Amaterasu.

Que Japon vive et revive cent mille fois [That Japan lives and relives a hundred thousand times]! When I talked to Parvulesco after my return from Japan, he told the pity of my not letting him know of my trip beforehand. “Mon cher [my dear] Alexander, I would have organized your meeting with my daughter, who teaches French in Tokyo University, and she wouldn’t have had trouble with arranging for you to have audience with Tenno.”

“I will certainly go there again, Jean!”

A mask of the sacred theater “no” hanged on the canvas with the carp. Professor Tamotsu Murata suddenly leapt to his feet from the tatami – he seemed to be thrown up from below – and began to slightly stir the canvas and the mask. The mask revived, reflecting the entire range of emotions – sinister, merry, ironical, cruel ones.

“And if one looks from different perspectives, in it there will appear the entire life. One and the same, seen in different ways, it is no longer one and the same…”

And on other wall of the secret little restaurant of Asakusa there was a faded personage with small horns – the demon Anita, the keeper of hell. There are so many fish in hell…

Then a head of a fish was served to us. It was as big as a wheel of a wagon. I didn’t know that there could be such huge fish. The floor in the restaurant was black and earthen. Its roughness was a cipher key. I caught myself at the fact that I understand a lot more than I notice: All the evenness tries to get closer to death.

The Japanese are the keepers of life. That which is dense, that which can make you breathless, that which is underwater, which is aerial, made of a piece of red dingy cloth, from a dog’s side, from a porcelain cruel doll, from a house as big as a suitcase, from the tinkling of copper bells which notifies the spirits of peoples’ arrival to the jinja [sanctuary] and of their readiness to throw a coin. The jinjas were everywhere that I went along the way – to say little, I saw inside them a lot! One who wants to know what the pure substance of life is should visit Japan.

In the Japanese language, there is “no” and no word “I.” The roaring “hai” (“yes”) is said without voice inflexion, with gleaming black Japanese eyes, with unbelievable wild energy means all in aggregate. Yes – it is the great enthusiasm of sacred holography, when the Universe is focused upon the small piece of land. From the sacred geography to the sacred holography.

At the reception in the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs was Professor Masaru Sato [佐藤優], who looked like a sumo wrestler. A bit fractally, aggressively, being overfilled by the energy of the mountains, he spoke about Japanese Eurasianism, about necessity of Japan’s return to its former greatness.

“We had a national thinker – Okawa. He was a consistent advocate for the continental bloc – Tokyo-Moscow-Berlin. He foresaw the pernicious consequences of the anti-Russian attitude, and was persuaded that Japan would be able to maintain its influence in the Pacific region only through strategic partnership with Russia.”

“We Japanese,” Sato-san continued, “are in some sense communists, but only with the Emperor. We are for the collectivity, but a hierarchised, sacred one…” The communists of magic.

This is important: everything modernistic in Japan is extremely perfunctory. They have managed it! Yes, they have managed it. The modern is deactivated there, deprived of its metaphysics.

Just as professor Murata in utterly natural way adds to Kant a mere trifle, language as an instrument of operative magic, and the Catholic (!) professor Yoichiro Murakami [村上 陽一郎] operates with the concepts of Buddhism to describe main trends of the history of science, and translates Jung and Pauli (this is called the West!), so the ordinary Japanese turn McDonalds into a jinja. A lantern with hieroglyphs and a swastika, bringing luck, along with several comrades from two million “deities” of Shinto, momentarily turn a hamburger temple of the “New World Order” into the traditional Japanese snackbar. And Professor Toshio Yokoyama [横山 俊夫] from Kyoto interprets “civility” as the traditional attitude of the Japanese to gods, flowers, animals, and people. The civil society in such an interpretation is the society of a sacred rite.

In such case I am a supporter of civil society. A citizen is one who follows the “do”; he who does not follow the “do” is not. “Do” in Japanese is the immanent godliness, including the transcendent aspect as its natural extension. The spirit of Japan (“do”) is unbreakable.

In Japan they have a good attitude towards Americans. The motive? Americans were once able to defeat the godlike Japanese, so therefore they are godlike too. There is no concept of evil. There is only the concept of the path, “do.” In Japan they have a bad attitude towards America. The motive? How can one have a good attitude towards it?

In Japan one could leave a wallet with money on a street and return for it in a week. It would be just there. There is a sufi parable on how a wise sheikh, who knew everything and was a sultan’s chief adviser, left his purse in the market. He remembered that in a week and went to take it back. His murids were bewildered: “either the sheikh has gone out of his mind or there is something we do not understand.” In Asia, purses disappear in the bazaar even if they are firmly gripped in hand. Japan is not Asia, it is beyond Asia. It is the country where the ethical norms of the contemplative sheikh are made a reality.

Japan is unreal. It seems to me that there cannot be such a country.

Technology here is an element of “do.” Assembling electronic devices is an equivalent of the arts of making ritual ekibanas or of the tea ceremony. It is an electronic version of Yemoto, the “do” keepers.

There are no Japanese without “do.”

“Are there avant-garde artists here? Drug addicts? Transvestites? Those who inhabit the modern West?”

“They were here at one time, but disappeared somewhere with time.”

There are drug addicts among newcomers; the Chinese, the Taiwanese, the Filipinos. The Japanese cannot be affected by anything. Their customary everyday life is a continuous luxurious hallucination. Under Kyoto bridges people, who live in containers, watch TV. Even in garbage nooks, strange living aesthetics reigns.

Watch out: schoolchildren! They walk in the streets, in the Metro, in historic parks and mountain museums by well-shaped squares. All are in uniform. One ought get in their way. The divine wind once destroyed the Mongolian fleet: Kamikaze. People and wind are relatives. The Japanese schoolchildren are the relatives of the aimed divine wind.

Kami-kaze, the “Divine Wind.” By this one can find a clue to the fascinating figure of Rimbaud: “Le vent de Dieux jettait des glacons aux marres…”

Old Believers of the Beguny (“runners” or “escapists”) persuasion in previous times had a teaching about a secret “Oponskom Tsardom” [Опоньском царстве]. I then understood what was meant by that. It was Shinkoku – the doctrine of “Sacred Japan.”

Shinto priests teach: the ancient good spirits Izanagi-no-mikotu and Izanami-no-mikotu once married with each other and gave birth to the islands Honshu and Kushu. Those main islands resulted only from their lawful wedlock. Before that there appeared spiders and ghosts, and also the small islands. Then they bore also many good spirits and the first emperor Tenno. The brother islands drew out of themselves mountains, rivers, giant red-white fish, which swim in Japan in every pool, offering themselves to skillful cooks (Polyakov and I made friends with one of such fish – this was the fish-professor from Tokyo University), forests, tea, sacred narrow-muzzled dogs, which guard sanctuaries, spirits and conifers, sunbeams and soft clouds, which can be only over the Near-Moscow-Localities. The Emperor bore the Japanese. The Japanese and Japan constitute one kindred alliance. Heaven and earth, a rice sprout, clay, a stream, a stone, a vacuum cleaner, a peasant and a policeman are one kindred organism. In the Japanese the wind, the wind of sweet clouds flows through their veins instead of blood, nourishing the eyes by the flesh of dream. And it is always so. So has it always been and so will it always be.

Shinkoku – where there is nothing to exclude and to include.

Japan is a Eurasian esotericism. It is the clue to ourselves, Oponskom Tsardom. The altar of Eurasia.

In the garden of emperor’s palace, on the remains of a tower built by a Shogun – of which there was no higher in the world, but which was standing for only several years – we spoke with Polyakov about advantage of ontological reflections for heuristic solutions in modern physics, about the equation of Navier and Stokes, about prospects of development of the unified theory of substance on the basis of phase change analysis in works of the physicist called Sinai. Masuda dozed off on a sunlit bench. Suddenly a raven appeared before us. Without speaking, we understood that it was the Shogun’s warrior. It guarded the emperor’s garden, keeping vigilant watch over who was there, where they were, what they did and what they said. The raven was in the size of around two metres. In the eyes of two big-bellied tourists, who perspiringly ascended the tower’s remains with perspiration, the pupils were rolled unseeingly – it seemed they did not see the raven with a pointed coal-black beak. It disappeared noiselessly.

All partitions in Japan are opened, they are made of paper. The membranes between the dimensions have a special structure – very well-ordered, carefully fixed. The approximateness of metamorphoses is conceptualized here, permeated with mathematics.

Japanese cars have the snout of Shinto spirits.

Tetsuya Masuda pointed at an undistinguished, imperceptible stone, which lied at the entrance to a little restaurant on a narrow Kyoto street. “This is a garden.” By the Japanese a stone, a blade of grass, a stem, a little pool, is anyway a garden. They take a fragment of what is and penetrate it with their sacred Japanese attention, and a garden is born. The garden-bringing people.

In Kyoto we were served a fish whose sides were cut off and the raw meat laid beside. From the fish was left its snout, skeleton and caudal fin. It made gasping-for-breath movements by its mouth, blew a little bubble. In the half-dark room I counted nine levels – the floor, the “bar” stand, the table, the benches and so forth – which were at the different distance from an imaginary line. It was as if all the planes must have been shifting as in a multi-mirror elevator. Masuda told the story about his French friend, who had been so horrified by discovering the fact that a fish was breathing that he started to shout at him for him to urgently bring a knife and to “save a poor animal from misery.” Masuda obediently went for a knife, but he could not get it from the owner, who sincerely did not understand what was going on. When he still returned with a knife, the Frenchman with a great effort, in hysteric anguish, had already crushed fish skull with the wooden saucer and had been gazing round perplexedly. “He made the fish suffer rather than attentively observe its death-transfer and participate in it with all his being – the mouth, tongue, stomach…” We looked at the fish, at the small black bubble near its mouth… Polyakov touched its moist nose with a chopstick…

The city’s view was psychedelic. There was not a single direct line; the entire area consisted of a huge number of squares. The area is overflowing with meaning and symbolism, like a Russian cemetery. Everything is satiated with Being. Japan has ontological architecture.

With Polyakov, we founded a new teaching: the Kyoto-Helsinki ontological teaching, the second root of Eurasia.

Eurasia is Japan-centered in our geometry; so teaches Chiseygaku.

The last evening brought us to the Tokyo’s Near-Moscow-Localities. I noticed almost at once upon my arrival to Japan that it had a Russian sky. But only on the last day before my return did it became clear that near Tokyo there were the grasses and flavours of the Near-Moscow-Localities.

Profuse, abundant, black, bloody saps of the earth, a small island of grass and of Russ plus computer lights of Shinkansen, luminous sky-scrapers, twinkling highways, and neon hieroglyphs blink around. It seems to me, that when a Russian dies, he first finds himself in here and drinks the Japanese beer Kirin, until he understands what is what.

Nikolay-do. Before Whitsunday, Matins are served by the Metropolitan of All Japan himself. The icons are all Russian. On the right from the altar there is a picture: the Russian field, the forest, a Russian beauty stands in a crown, with a halo and with a cross in hand; the saint Olga. On the icon there is a fragment of Russian Shinkoku. The icon of Russian field, the Russian forest: two holographic realities. Somewhere in mediastinum of dream they are bound, interwoven by roots. The roots of Oponskom Tsardom, the construction of the Vladivostok-Hokkaido tunnel, Shinkansen from Tokyo to Berlin.

The words inter-flow in a whole, indivisible stream. In kanji one can not only read and write, but also think – think of a whole piece of world, which is indivisible, complete, pulsating from an over-richness of inner Being.

A thought on Japan is the thought about wholeness.
The red rising heart.
The light of the Orient.
They ought rule again and again.
For all the Pacific sphere to co-succeed.

Part 2. The Geonauts

I have been honoured by the visit of the Japanese professor Shukei Yamaguchi [山口 実]. One more of them. Now they visit me every day. That is the right way; if you start to go on visits, go on. Japanese like density very much, as we Russians do, but in another way.

He asked me to explain what “being a Russian” means.

I answered…

He studied Jung’s heritage, and the director of a Jungian college in Switzerland seemed to give his blessing to him to write a research paper on the classification of basic temperaments (introverted and extraverted ones) by different countries and nations. That is a very good idea.

Yamaguchi was coming to the conclusion that Western peoples are of an extraverted type, while Eastern ones are of introverted type, and in Europe the Germans are relatively introverted (“the thinking, reflecting introverted people”). In his classification, the Russians are the “intuitive introverted people,” the Hindus (like the Germans) are the “reflecting introverted people,” and the Japanese are the “sensual introverted people.”

It is clear that the sphere of “introvertedness” is the mental continent of Eurasia.

Introvertedness gravitates towards inner experience, towards “likeness,” towards “unity,” towards “interfusion.” “The inner world is the world of life,” Yamaguchi said. Speaking with him I made out that he worships Absolute Life. That is the essence of Eurasian worship; the Absolute Life. Hence follow some very important definitions:

“Therefore an introverted person, as he is concerned more with his inner life than with the outside material world, is liable to see reality in some form of all-including unity or interfusion. He likes to feel united with Nature. He would not assert himself, because that would mean that he should be independent or separated from the world or other people. He would try to form a group with friends and tends to submerge himself in it. He does not like to be different from other people. When he has to make judgment, he tends to see reality from the point of view of similarity, not from difference. Thus he is inclined to say first ‘yes,’ but later he often says ‘no,’ much to detriment of his credibility.” (Yamaguchi)

It is a description of us, me, the Russian people, the Japanese people, and all good and interesting people in this world.

Next Yamaguchi described the Japanese psychology. For instance, the O-tsuki-mi rite. It is when the Japanese silently, for hours, look at the moon. Their Unconscious bathes then in the moonlight, is cured and cleaned, as the land washes itself in ocean waters, removing scum. The Japanese thoroughly care for their Unconscious, clean, and nurse it.

Each Japanese sees the Moon from his own angle and it changes colour. This is the practice tamamushi-iro. Things change colour based on on how one looks at them; the colour is the voice of the Psyche. True distinctions arise where through different people the common mysterious beam of light of the Absolute Life, which was married to the nation, radiates.

The Japanese hate to subdue the surrounding world, because they do not distinguish themselves from it. And again professor Yamaguchi gives a surprisingly precise sentence: “The Japanese does not like clear distinction, but tends to leave things in ambiguity.” It is as if we are during the lectures of “the New University” [“Нового Университета”]…

At the lection “The Secret Mother” I gave a definition of the human being, which set the groundwork of new Eurasian anthropology: “A man is an inaccurate movement of the Possible.” By “a human,” I had meant a Russian. As it had become clear, the Japanese meet that definition ideally.

I retold Yamaguchi the story of professor Murata and Kant. He listened to me with the great interest. When I had come to the language, which bridges the abyss between the empirical world and the reason, he suddenly interrupted me, waving his hands in the air: “They are connected through the Absolute Life, which radiates through people and things… Kant is incomprehensible without Bergson and Jung!”

Everything is clear with you, I gave up. And that Japanese, who has been living in the West for more than 20 years, has not understood anything of the world in which he has found himself in. And he will never understand. And thank God! Thank you… This imparts to me great strength for my work. To him too, evidently.

Then the professor asked me to tell him about Russia. I answered: “The most important thing in Russia is geonautics, “land-floating,” the theory of liquid land. We conceive of it as a dense tea, not as a stone. Vapours of land rise and form the land ocean. These are multi-dimensional worlds, breathing in Being. The land, the Russian land, has its own Navier-Stokes equation. The Russians walk on land by their entire body, not by their heels. Therefore the Russians are the aerially introverted people. For them the land is not something firm, but something moist and viscous. The Russians drift on land, that is why they do not understand anything. Except for the Japanese; quite to the contrary, they have an understanding of the Japanese.”

Yamaguchi’s eyes were gleaming, double-gleaming, burning. “And how do the Russians make judgments? Logically? Intuitively? Emotionally? Egoistically?”

“No, none are correct. The Russians make judgments according to principle of maximum stupidity. They choose just what is least reasonable and it will bring them a lot of inconvenience. They evade the choice, sabotage it. Choosing absurdly and not to the point, not what is needed and not when it is needed, they make it clear: your proposal, your conditions of choice are idiotic by themselves. And it is proper to answer idiotism by idiotism. It is the active abstentionism. We just do not want to live along the imposed regulations. We are swimming. The essence of Russia is ironic seriousness; the ironic stupidity. Showing ourselves as fools, we laugh at those who do not consider themselves as such. When a Russian is reading Dostoyevsky, he is dying of laughter; Dostoyevsky is an amazingly laughable author.”

“You don’t say! His works are a distressing drama for us… And what about Russian messianism?”

“It is very important. That messianism is pointed towards the West. It is a messianism of the introvertedness. We, as well as other peoples of the East, are an introverted people, although not passive and natural, but aggressive and preternatural. We march under introvertedness as under a standard, extend it over the world, weigh heavily over the membranes of the West, which we do not like, but, by the way, understand. It may be just because of that, that we dislike it so much.”

“But the Russians are very gifted at the sphere of art, beauty…”

“Yes, but not out of aestheticism. When only three hundred years ago we were imposed upon by the Western culture, which was extroverted in its essence, we chose the least rational, least reasonable in it – the sphere of art, where there is more space for the Irrational. But that was a mere substitute for the real land-floating. Quite a poor one, but we succeeded in it, that is true.”

And then the professor couldn’t stand any more. Interrupting me, he said: “I would like to express my emotions by singing.” In his profile there was a phrase “professional whistler.” When I had first seen it I thought “they call probably flautists that.” No, he was a natural, literal “professional whistler.”

Professor Shukei Yamaguchi began to whistle. It was the autumn whistling, dedicated to the thin spider lines of evening, which noiselessly fly down from the sakura branches. The autumn whistling. He whistled the classic academic whistling, helping himself with his hand. The Japanese national whistling. It stays in my ears, that strange whistle…

 

—————–

Dugin, Alexander. “In the Country of the Rising ‘Do.'” Международное Евразийское Движение, 2001. <http://evrazia.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=522 >.

Note: The original Russian version of this article (titled “В стране восходящего ‘До’”) can be found here: <http://www.evrazia.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=683 >.

Notes on Resources for further reading:

See also Dugin’s speech at Tokyo University called “New Paradigm of Science,” which deals with religious, scientific, and ontological philosophy, partly addressing Asian perspectives: <https://neweuropeanconservative.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/new-paradigm-of-science-dugin/ >.

For further research on Japanese religious beliefs, we suggest the books Shinto: Origins, Rituals, Festivals, Spirits, Sacred Places by C. Scott Littleton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002) and Shinto: the Kami Way by Sokyo Ono (North Clarendon, VT: Tuttle Publishing, 1962).

For research on Japanese literature – which also gives good insight into Japan’s history, culture, and religion – we recommend the following two anthologies, edited by Donald Keene: Anthology of Japanese Literature from the Earliest Era to the Mid-Nineteenth Century (New York: Grove Press, 1955), and Modern Japanese Literature: From 1868 to the Present Day (New York: Grove Press, 1956).

On the Oskorei blog, Joakim Andersen had written an article titled “Lästips: Nationalism och manga” (“Suggested reading: Nationalism and Manga”, in Swedish),  which can also help understand the attraction that some Right-wingers have towards modern Japanese culture as a superior conservative Pagan culture.

On the idea of “Modernization without Westernization” in Japan and China, see the article “Modernization without westernization is the first step to reject imperialism” by Antonio Grego.

A starting point for further research on Japanese philosophies can be found on the website The Japanese Philosophy Blog.

The official website of Nichibunken (日文研), The International Research Center for Japanese Studies, can be used for research to find numerous resources in Japanese history, culture, religion, society, etc. See the publications search for resources readily available online.

 

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Types of Conservatism – Dugin

Types of Conservatism

by Alexander Dugin

 

Introductory Note: While Alexander Dugin’s brief explanations of the various types of conservatism – as seen in this excerpt from his book on Putin – are arguably very limited and provide imperfect descriptions of their basic ideas, his exposition is useful for illustrating differences between the basic types of conservatism; that is, for setting down a basis for key distinctions. In addition, we should note that his explanation here of the basic formula of the Conservative Revolution – while valid to an extent – is not really the ideal formulation. Rather, “Revolutionary Conservatism” as defined by Arthur Moeller van den Bruck and Armin Mohler (among others) is best seen as the concept of maintaining eternal values and positive traditions, discarding all outdated, negative, and transient customs or values, and accepting positive new values and practices; essentially combining stability and dynamism and combining conservation and revolution. Finally, the full implications of Eurasianism are not entirely clear from Dugin’s brief comments in the final portion of this excerpt. Eurasianism – explained in its briefest form in Dugin’s essay “Main Principles of Eurasist Policy” – is essentially a Russian form of Revolutionary Conservatism (inspired by the original Eurasianists, the German Conservative Revolution, and the European New Right) and which will likely become increasingly important and influential not only in Russia, but in very many Asian and European nations. Furthermore, while some European cultual conservatives may initially be suspicious of Eurasianism on ethnic and cultural terms, its basic principle of recognising the mixed ethno-cultural foundations of Russia (in Slavic, Turkic, and Finno-Ugrian peoples) can be sympathised with from a European conservative perspective, for the majority of European nations are themselves rooted in ancient ethnic mixtures and many European nations have always been composed of multiple ethnic and sub-ethnic groups. At the same time, it is significant that both Eurasianists and European conservatives share in common their opposition to the unrestricted, cosmopolitan mixing of ethnic groups in modern liberal systems. – Daniel Macek (Editor of the “New European Conservative”)

The Essence of Conservatism

Conservatism in its most general sense means a positive attitude towards historical tradition. It holds up the political and social history of a state as a role model, striving to preserve the continuity of the people’s national and cultural roots. The past is viewed by all denominations of conservatism as a positive phenomenon. Not everything in the past is perceived as positive, but a consistent conservative will never deliberately tarnish any period in the history of his people and state.

Moreover, conservatism is based on the premise that the people and the state have a certain historical mission, which can vary from universalist religious messianism to humble awareness of the importance of their national identity. The present, the past and the future in the eyes of a conservative are tied together in a single integral project striving toward a clear national goal. In making any political or economic decision, a conservative always turns to the past and ponders the future. A conservative thinks in terms of landmarks and epochs, disregarding quick profit. His temporal, geographical, and value-related horizon is always broad.

A conservative is a dedicated bearer of national culture and seeks to comply with its norms. A conservative always over-exerts himself: from mandatory prayer to cold showers in the morning. A conservative consistently duty, honour, the public benefit, loyalty to tradition, and his good reputation over comfort, benefit, profit or popularity.

A conservative is reserved and prefers to speak prudently and thoughtfully. A conservative is civil and always has an extra pair of glasses, even if he has perfect eyesight.

A conservative is unsettled by objective reality and carefully selects books for reading. A conservative never considers himself as such.

A conservative smiles, turning up the corners of his mouth, and never expresses himself with his hands.

Anyone who does not comply with these requirements is not a proper conservative, he is just…

Fundamental Conservatism

Conservatism has an underlying philosophy. To be a conservative means to say ‘no’ to what we have now and to express one’s disagreement with the current state of things.

There is fundamental conservatism, which is called traditionalism.

Traditionalism is a form of conservatism that argues that everything is bad in its entirety in today’s world, not just in certain aspects. ‘The idea of progress, technical development, Descartes’ subject-object dualism, Newton’s watchmaker argument, contemporary positivistic science and the education based on it, pedagogics, and what we call modernism and post-modernism – they are all bad.’ A traditionalist likes only what had existed prior to modernism. In the twentieth century, when there seemed to be no social platform left for such conservatism, a constellation of thinkers and philosophers appeared out of nowhere and started to defend, radically and consistently, the traditionalist position: René Guénon, [1] Julius Evola, [2] Titus Burkchardt, [3] Leopold Ziegler [4] and all those known as traditionalists. They proposed a programme of fundamental conservatism, described traditional society as a timeless ideal, and the contemporary world (modernism) and its basic principles as a product of decline, degradation, the mixing of castes, the disintegration of hierarchy, representing a shift of focus from the spiritual to the material, from Heaven to Earth, and from the eternal to the transient. Fundamental conservatives exist today in both the Orthodox and Catholic milieus. They completely reject modernism and believe that religious laws are absolutely relevant, and that the contemporary world and its values are an embodiment of the Antichrist, and which cannot offer anything good in the first place. These tendencies are common among Russian Old Believers. There is still a Paraclete Union in the Urals which does not use electric lighting because it is ‘the light of Lucifer,’ and they use only pine splinters and candles; there are also sects which strictly prohibit coffee. When a group of young people in eighteenth-century Russia started to wear chequered trousers in accordance with the current fashions, the Fedosevans [5] summoned an assembly in the town of Kimry, sometimes called the ‘trousers assembly,’ and discussed whether wearing chequered trousers should be excommunicated. Part of the assembly insisted that they be separated from the community and the other part voted against it.

The US has its own conservative tradition that is naturally based on the priorities of America’s national interests. Marked by a significant degree of messianism (‘the American civilisation is the peak of human history’), American conservatism respects the past and strives to preserve and strengthen the positions of its great country in the future. American conservatives profess loyalty to patriotic values as well as to religious, political, social and cultural norms that were established throughout the course of their historical development. This is natural and, as a consequence, American conservatism is flourishing: the US has achieved incredible power internationally, which makes its citizens justifiably proud and convinced of the righteousness of their ways. In America, fundamental conservatism is professed by a significant share of the republication electorate, and TV programmes which feature Protestant fundamentalists criticising all things modern and postmodern and tearing them to shreds are watched by millions of people…

But the direct emulation of ‘Republican’ American conservatism by Russia yields absurd results: it turns out that what is to be ‘conserved’ are values that are not only foreign to the historical and traditional Russia, but which are basically absent from contemporary Russian society.

Russia is an ancient land-based empire with a strong collectivist spirit, traditionally tough administrative rule and a very specific messianism. The US is a relatively new sea-based entity, intentionally designed as a laboratory experiment for the introduction of ‘progressivist’ bourgeois democratic principles that matured among ultra-Protestant sects. What is valued in the American civilisation is a sin and a disgrace for the Russians. What they respect is disgusting to us, and vice versa.

Russia was moving towards the East and the US was moving towards the West. Yes, they have won and we have lost. They proved to be stronger. But, according to our logic, God is not power, God is the truth. This is what a proper and consistent Russian conservatism says. Obviously, American conservatism says exactly the opposite. Globalism can be both recognised and attacked in the US itself (this is their world domination project; some Americans agree with it and some do not). In Russia, globalism was imposed on us from the outside. We can put up with it and recognise our defeat, and join the American value system. This position is possible, as is collaborationism. But it would be the opposite of conservatism.

All peoples have their own conservatism because each nation develops its own value system, and this constitutes its national identity. The cultural outcome of American history does not have anything in common with the cultural outcome of Russian history. A conservative is always loyal to his traditions, his people and his ideals – not only in their heyday, but also when they are desecrated and despised by all.

Liberal Conservatism

The second type of conservatism is ‘status quo conservatism’ or liberal conservatism. It says ‘yes’ to modernism as today’s main trend, but at each stage of the trend’s implementation it tries to slow it down: ‘Please, slow down, let’s not do it today, let’s postpone it.’ The liberal conservative Fukuyama initially concluded that politics had disappeared and was about to be replaced by the ‘global marketplace’ where nations, states, ethnic groups, cultures and religions would vanish (this is liberalism in its purest form), but then he decided that we should slow down and introduce postmodernism quietly, without revolutions. He wrote that it was necessary to temporarily strengthen the nation-states (in this case, what he is proposing is liberal conservatism).

A liberal conservative is afraid that the accelerated dismantling of modernism, which is taking place within postmodernism, can release pre-modernism. For instance, the former Leftist turned liberal Jürgen Habermas [6] is afraid that postmodernism will destroy the subject, engulf humanity in chaos, and bring back the creepy shadows of tradition.

The Bin Laden character, irrespective of whether he actually existed or was invented by Hollywood, is a caricature of postmodernism collapsing into pre-modernism.

Right-wing Conservatism

If liberal conservatism is nonsensical and just another ‘refuge of a scoundrel’ (Samuel Johnson), [7] Right-wing conservatism, on the contrary, is quite acceptable and natural. In contemporary Russia, a Right-wing conservative is a person who seeks the revival of his motherland’s international imperial greatness, the nation’s economic prosperity and the revival of the moral values and spirituality of the people. He thinkers that this aim can be reached through a competent use of market mechanisms and the system of religious, monarchical, and centralist-leaning values.

Such Right-wing conservatism can focus on cultural-political issues (the consolidation of traditional denominations, the revival of national customs, the restoration of a segment of social, public and political institutions) or on economic aspects. When it comes to economy, a Right-wing conservative project must logically develop in line with the theory of a ‘national economy,’ summed up by the German economist Friedrich List [8] and implemented in Russia by Count Sergei Witte. [9] This project can be called ‘economic nationalism.’ Its extreme formula is roughly as follows: an absolutely free domestic market with a severe customs control system and thorough regulation of foreign economic activity in the interests of domestic entrepreneurship.

A national economy does not involve the nationalisation of large monopolies but insists on the consolidation of large businesses around political authorities with thhe transparent and clear aim of finding a collective solution to facilitate the nation’s mission, the strengthening of the country and the achievement of prosperity for all the nation’s people. It can be achieved via a certain ‘patriotic code,’ which implies the assumption of moral responsibility by national businessmen before the country, people and society. This model in today’s political spectrum roughly corresponds to what is usually called ‘the Right-wing centre.’ It seems that Putin himself prefers the ‘Right-wing’ centre of conservatism to any other type of conservatism.

Left-wing Conservatism

The notion ‘Left-wing’ is usually not associated with conservatism. The Left wants change and the Right wants to conserve the existing state of things. But in Russia’s political history the public sector, which is related to the ‘Left-wing’ value system, has always been extremely significant and developed, and communal factor, both in the form of Orthodox conciliarism [10] and Soviet collectivism, had long become a dependable political and economic tradition. A meaningful combination of socialism and conservatism was already evident in the Russian narodniki (populists) of the nineteenth century, who were devoted to national problems and strove for a fair distribution of material wealth. Left-wing conservatism also existed in other countries: as social Catholicism [11] in France and Latin America, and as German National Bolshevism (Niekisch, [12] Wolffheim, [13] Laufenberg, [14] etc.). A distinctive representative of social conservatism is Georges Sorel, [15] who wrote Reflections on Violence. [16] He argued that Leftists and Rightists (monarchists and Communists) were against one common enemy: the bourgeoisie. Left-wing conservatism is close to the Russian National Bolshevism of N. Ustryalov, [17] who identified Russian national myths in Left-wing Marxist ideology.

In contemporary Russian politics, social (Left-wing) conservatism is fully legitimate. Russian Left-wing conservatives seek to preserve Russia’s civilisational values, strengthen our geopolitical power and bring about a national revival. Left-wing conservatives believe that the best way to implement this mission is through the nationalisation of mineral resources and large private companies engaged in the export of natural resources, as well as by increasing government control in the spheres of energy, transport, communications, and so on. Such social conservatism can insist on the legitimacy and the natural character of the Soviet approach, viewing it as part of the general national dialectics. Another trend is so-called social conservatism, which can be considered as a sub-family of the Conservative Revolution. Both Left-wing and Right-wing conservatism, by definition, must have common ultimate aim: the revival of statehood, the preservation of national identity, the international rise of Russia, and loyalty to our cultural roots. The approaches toward achieving this common goal, however, differ between the two schools of thought.

Conservative Revolution

There is yet another, and very interesting, type of conservatism. It is usually referred to as the Conservative Revolution, and it dialectically links conservatism with modernism. This trend was adopted by Martin Heidegger, Ernst and Friedrich Jünger, [18] Carl Schmitt, [19] Oswald Spengler, [20] Werner Sombart, [21] Othmar Spann, [22] Friedrich Hielscher, [23] Ernst Niekisch, and others.

The philosophical paradigm of the conservative revolutionary stems from the general conservative view of the world as an objective process of degradation, which reaches its peak with modernism (a view shared by traditionalism). But, unlike the traditionalists, conservative revolutionaries think: why does God, who created this world, ultimately turn a blind eye to evil, and why do God’s enemies win? One might suspect that the beautiful Golden Age, which fundamental conservatives defend, already contained a gene that brought this degradation. Then the conservative revolutionaries say to the fundamental conservatives: ‘You propose to go back to the state when man only suffered from the initial symptoms of the illness, a hacking cough, and talk about how well-off man was back then, when today this same man is on his deathbed. You merely contrast a coughing man with a dying man. Conservative revolutionaries was to find out how the infection itself originated and why the man started to cough…’ ‘We believe,’ the conservative revolutionaries say, ‘in God and in Providence. But we think the original source, God Himself, the Divine Source, contains the intention to organise this eschatological drama.’ With this vision, modernism acquires a paradoxical character. It is not just an illness of today’s world, but a discovery in today’s world of a phenomenon which began to take root in the very same past that is so dear to traditionalists. Modernism is not improved as a result of this realisation by the conservative revolutionaries, while tradition loses its decisive positivity.

The basic formula of the Conservative Revolutionary Arthur Moeller van den Bruck is, ‘The conservatives used to try to stop the revolution, but now we must lead it.’ It means that in joining, modernism’s destructive tendencies, in part out of pragmatism, one must identify and recognise the germ that served as the initial cause of its destructive tendencies – namely, modernism itself. Then the conservative must carefully and permanently root it out of existence and, in doing so, bring about God’s secret, parallel, additional, and subtle design. The conservative revolutionaries want not only to slow time down as do liberal conservatives or to go back to the past like traditionalists, but to tear out the root of all evil in the world’s fundamental structure.

The Conservative Choice

Contemporary Russian conservatism must be simultaneously non-Communist (the Communist dogma has always denied the fact that the Soviet regime was a continuation of Tsarism and treated recent democratic reforms in an extremely negative light), non-liberal (liberalism is too revolutionary and insists on a radical break from both the Soviet past and the Tsarist legacy), and non-monarchic (monarchism wants to exclude both the Soviet and the recent liberal democratic periods from national history).

The peculiarity of Russian political life in the twenty-first century is that its main stages have been direct and severe opposition to each other and succeeded each other not through natural continuity, but through revolutions and radical disruptions. This seriously challenges the formula of contemporary Russian conservatism: the continuity and identity of Russia and the Russian people are not plainly visible on society’s surface; in order to establish consistent conservative views, one must make an effort that will raise us to the level of a new historical, political, civilisational and national consolidation. Contemporary Russian conservatism is not a given, but a task to be undertaken.

Consistent Russian conservatism must combine the historical and geographical layers of our national existence. I would like to remind you that, during the very first years of Soviet rule, the Eurasianists insisted on the civilisational continuity of the USSR in relation of the Russian Empire.

Contemplating contemporary Russian conservatism is basically contemplating Eurasianism, which is a synthesis of Russian political history on the basis of a unique geopolitical and civilisational methodology. Russia, viewed as Eurasia, reveals its permanent essence and its historical identity – form the mosaic of Slavic, Turkic and Ugrian tribes through Kievan Rus’ [24] and Muscovy to the great continental empire, first ‘white’ and then ‘red,’ to today’s democratic Russia, which is a little indecisive but is now pulling herself together for a new historical leap.

I am convinced that political history will very soon force us to clarify our positions and polish our rhetoric to make it more precise. We have no choice but conservatism: we will be pushed towards it from the outside, as well as from within. But what shall we do with the spirit of revolution, the will, the blazing flame of rebellion which secretly languishes in the Russian heart and disturbs our sleep, inviting us to follow it to faraway lands? I think that we should invest our continental strength in a new conservative project. And let ibe the new edition of our Revolution, the Conservative Revolution, the National Revolution in the name of a big dream…

Notes

[1] René Guénon (1886-1951) was a French writer who founded what has come to be known as the traditionalist school of religious thought. Traditionalism calls for a rejection of the modern world and its philosophies in favour of a return to the spirituality and ways of living of the past. His central works are The Crisis of the Modern World and The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times. –Ed.

[2] Julius Evola (1898-1974) was the most important Italian member of the traditionalist school, which is to say that he opposed modernity in favour of an approach to life consistent with the teachings of the ancient sacred texts. His main work is Revolt Against the Modern World. –Ed.

[3] Titus Burkchardt (1908-1984) was a Swiss German art historian who also participated in the traditionalist school. –Ed.

[4] Leopold Ziegler (1881-1958) was a German philosopher. Although not strictly part of the traditionalist school, his thought did bear similarities to theirs, and he was in contact with representative of the school as well as with the Conservative Revolutionaries. –Ed.

[5] A congregation of Old Believers. –A.D.

[6] Jürgen Habermas (b. 1929) is a German Marxist philosopher. –Ed.

[7] Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was an English poet and essayist. According to his friend and biographer James Boswell, Johnson once said, ‘Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.’ –Ed.

[8] Friedrich von List (1789-1846) was a German philosopher and economist. –Ed.

[9] Sergei Witte (1849-1915) was an advisor to the last two Tsars of Russia. He oversaw the industrialisation of Russia and was the author of the 1905 October Manifesto, which was written in response to the Revolution of 1905 and the subsequent need for democratic reforms, and was the precursor to the Russian Empire’s constitution. –Ed.

[10] Conciliarism in Orthodoxy refers to the belief that the Church should be governed by a council of bishops, rather by a single one. –Ed.

[11] Catholic social teaching addresses issues related to social justice, opposing capitalism and socialism in favour of distributism. It originated in Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum encyclical of 1891. –Ed.

[12] Ernst Niekisch (1889-1967) was a German politician who was initially a Communist, but by the 1920s sought to merge Communism with nationalism. He published a journal, Widerstand [Resistance], and applied the term National Bolshevik to himself and his followers. He rejected National Socialism as insufficiently socialist, and was imprisoned by them in 1937, and was blinded under torture. Upon his release in 1945, he supported the Soviet Union and moved to East Germany, but became disillusioned by the Soviets’ treatment of workers and returned to the West in 1953. –Ed.

[13] Fritz Wolffheim (1888-1942), a Communist, was one of the first o develop the idea of National Bolshevism in 1919. He later became involved with a nationalist organisation called the League for the Study of German Communism, which included some National Socialists, although Wolffheim, being of Jewish descent, was unable to make much of these connections. He was imprisoned in Ravensbrück concentration camp in 1936 and died there. –Ed.

[14] Heinrich Laufenberg (1872-1932) was a former Communist who was one of the first politicians to formulate National Bolshevism in Germany in 1919. –Ed.

[15] Georges Sorel (1847-1922) was a French philosopher who began as a Marxist and later developed Revolutionary Syndicalism. He advocated the use of myth and organised violence in revolutionary movements. He was influential upon both the Communist and Fascist movements. –Ed.

[16] Georges Sorel, Reflections on Violence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). –Ed.

[17] Nikolai Ustrialov (1890-1937) was a professor and Slavophile who fled the Soviet Union following the Russian Revolution and joined the anti-Soviet White movement. Originally opposed to Communism, he later sought a fusion of elements of Soviet Communism with Russian nationalism. He returned to the Soviet Union in 1935, believing that National Bolshevik ideas were becoming more acceptable, but was charged with espionage and executed in 1937, during the Great Purge. –Ed.

[18] Ernst Jünger (1895-1998) was one of the most prominent of the German Conservative Revolutionaries, but that was only one phase in a long and varied career. He volunteered for and fought in the German Army throughout the First World War, and was awarded the highest decoration, the Pour le Mérite, for his service. After the war, he wrote many books and novels, was active in German politics, experimented with psychedelic drugs, and travelled the world. He remained ambivalent about National Socialism at first, but never joined the Party, and he had turned against the Nazis by the late 1930s. He rejoined the Wehrmacht at the outbreak of war, however, and remained in Paris as a captain, where he spent more time with Picasso and Cocteau than enforcing the occupation. His objections to the Nazis were influential upon the members of the Stauffenberg plot to assassinate Hitler in July 1944, which led to his dismissal from the Wehrmacht. After the war, Jünger’s political views gradually moved toward a sort of aristocratic anarchism. His brother, Friedrich Jünger (1898-1977) was also a veteran of the First World War and participated in the Conservative Revolution, and also became a writer and philosopher. –Ed.

[19] Carl Schmitt (1888-1985) was an important German jurist who wrote about political science, geopolitics and constitutional law. He was part of the Conservative Revolutionary movement of the Weimar era. He also briefly supported the National Socialists at the beginning of their regime, although they later turned against him. He remains highly influential in the fields of law and philosophy. –Ed.

[20] Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) was a German philosopher who is regarded as one of the principal Conservative Revolutionary figures of the Weimar period in Germany. His most important work was his two-volume 1922/23 book, The Decline of the West, in which he theorised that all civilisations go through an inevitable cycle of ages of rise and decline in power, with the present age of the West currently entering its declining period. –Ed.

[21] Werner Sombart (1863-1941) was a German economist and sociologist who was very much opposed to capitalism and democracy. –Ed.

[22] Othmar Spann (1878-1950) was an Austrian Catholic philosopher and economist who held neoconservative views based on the ideals of German Romanticism. He is credited with developing the idea of the corporate state, which was soon to become so integral to Fascism, and which Spann believed could be applied everywhere for the benefit of humanity. In spite of this, he did not support National Socialism, and he was imprisoned after the Anschluss in 1938 and forbidden to teach at the University of Vienna (where he had taught since 1919). He attempted to return to teaching after 1945, but was again rejected. –Ed.

[23] Friedrich Hielscher (1902-1990) was a German thinker who was involved in the Conservative Revolution and who was an active neo-pagan throughout his life. He participated in the anti-Nazi resistance during the Third Reich. –Ed.

[24] Kievan Rus was a loose tribal confederation that had its capital in Kiev, and from which the modern-day states of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are descended. It last from the tenth until the thirteenth centuries. –Ed.

—————

Excerpts from: Dugin, Alexander. Putin vs. Putin: Vladimir Putin Viewed from the Right, pp. 145-157. London: Arktos, 2014. (See this article in PDF format here: Types of Conservatism).

 

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