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Klages and the Biocentric Worldview – Andersen

Ludwig Klages and the Biocentric Worldview

By Joakim Andersen

 

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

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

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

The Biocentric Worldview

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

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

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

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

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

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

Klages and Romanticism

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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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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Gustave le Bon – Benoist

Gustave Le Bon

By Alain de Benoist

Translated by Matthew Peters

Translations: German, Portuguese

Gustave Le Bon
Psychologie des foules [The Crowd]
Paris: PUF, 1971

“The crowd is always intellectually inferior to the isolated individual, but from the point of view of feelings and of the acts these feelings provoke, the crowd may, according to circumstances, be better or worse than the individual. Everything depends on the nature of the suggestion to which the crowd is exposed.”

This diagnosis was made by a man of imposing stature and an ironic and severe appearance, a slightly haughty face, an immense forehead, piercing eyes, and an old-fashioned beard evoking the gods of the Renaissance. He was named Gustave Le Bon. He was born in 1841 at Nogent-le-Rotrou.

Descended from a family of soldiers and magistrates, of Bourguignon and Breton ancestry, Gustave Le Bon was a friend of Théodule Ribot (Les maladies de la personnalité [Diseases of Personality]) and Henri Poincaré (La science et l’hypothèse [Science and Hypothesis]). His body of work, which is one of the most important in the last two centuries, is dominated by two titles: Psychologie des foules (The Crowd, 1895) and L’évolution de la matière (The Evolution of Matter,1905).

An indefatigable traveler, it was his accounts of his first expeditions (to North Africa, India, and Nepal) that first attracted attention to him. “The point that has remained most clearly fixed in my mind,” he wrote in Les lois psychologiques de l’évolution des peuples (Félix Alcan, 1894), “is that each people possesses a mental constitution as fixed as its anatomical characteristics, a constitution which is the source of its sentiments, thoughts, institutions, beliefs, and arts.”

A forerunner of social psychology, he was interested as much in ethnography as in anthropology, sociology, the philosophy of history, physics, biology, the history of civilizations and political doctrines, cartography, and even the psychology of horses and horse riding!

A man of science, living alone in his laboratory, in 1878 he invented the first clock that could rewind itself through daily variations in temperature. Shortly after, he proved the existence of radioactivity. Long before Einstein, he demonstrated the falsity of the dogma of the indestructibility of matter by establishing that matter and energy are just one and the same thing under different aspects (Mémoires de physique, L’évolution de la matière, La naissance et l’évanouissement de la matière).

In 1902, he founded the famous Bibliothèque de philosophe scientifique (Library of Scientific Philosophy), an imprint still published today by Flammarion.

Dedicated to Théodule Ribot, The Crowd both established its author and all but gave rise to a new field of study. By 1929, the book was in its 37th printing. The central idea of The Crowd is that the individual becomes another person upon joining a crowd, a “cell” whose behavior ceases to be autonomous and who subordinates himself more or less fully to the group, whether permanent or temporary, of which he is one of the constituents.

The “Mental Unity of Crowds”

In a largely uninteresting Preface, Otto Klineberg, a professor at the Sorbonne, recalls one of the essential principles of the psychology of the form (Gestalttheorie): the whole is more than the simple sum of its parts.

As with the theory of wholes, the crowd is therefore more than the mere addition of the individuals of which it consists. “It is for these reasons,” writes Le Bon, “that juries are seen to deliver verdicts of which each individual juror would disapprove, that parliamentary assemblies adopt laws and measures of which each of their members would disapprove in his own person. Taken separately, the men of the Convention were bourgeoisie of peaceful habits. United in a crowd, they did not hesitate, under the influence of some leaders, to send the most manifestly innocent people to the guillotine.”

Suggestion becomes exaggerated by being reciprocated. The criminal crowd that murdered de Launay, the governor of the Bastille, on July 14, 1789, consisted largely of idle onlookers, shopkeepers, and artisans. Likewise the butchers of Saint Bartholomew’s Day and the Wars of Religion, the “tricoteuses” of 1793, the Communards, etc.

The same excesses could also be observed on the other side: “The renunciation of all its privileges which the nobility voted for on the celebrated night of August 4, 1789, would have never been accepted by any of its members taken in isolation.”

One can therefore state a “law of the mental unity of crowds,” characterized by “the disappearance of conscious personality and the orientation of feelings and thoughts in the same direction.” “We have entered the era of crowds,” writes Le Bon, who emphasizes the consequences of the (legal) irruption of the masses into political life. With disturbing consequences—if it is true that “crowds having no power other than that for destruction, their domination always represents a period of disorder.”

Baron Motono, a former Japanese minister for foreign affairs who translated The Crowd into Japanese, wrote: “With the progress of civilization, the races, just like the individuals of each race, tend to become increasingly differentiated. It is therefore not towards equality that humanity advances, but rather towards a progressive inequality” (L’œuvre de Gustave Le Bon, Flammarion, 1914).

Le Bon himself also believed that “the racial factor must be placed above all others, for on its own it is is much more important than all the others in determining the ideas and beliefs of crowds.”

This explains why the traits of character manifested by crowds, being ruled by the unconscious, are “possessed by the majority of the normal individuals of a race in much the same degree.” The “psychological crowd” thus acts to reveal the collective soul, in the sense of Jung: “The heterogeneous is swamped by the homogeneous, and the unconscious qualities predominate.”

Which goes to explain the short-range quality of mass action: “The decisions of a general nature made by an assembly of distinguished men, but of different specialties, are not sensibly superior to the decisions that would be made by a meeting of imbeciles. They can only assemble, in fact, those mediocre qualities that everyone possesses. Crowds accumulate, not intelligence, but mediocrity.”

Traditions guide the people. Only the exterior forms of traditions are modified, which gives the illusion of societies breaking with their past. “A Latin crowd,” notes Le Bon, “however revolutionary or however conservative it be supposed, will invariably appeal to the state to realize its demands. It is always distinguished by a marked tendency towards centralization and by a leaning, more or less pronounced, in favor of a dictatorship. An English or an American crowd, on the contrary, sets no store on the state, and appeals only to private initiative. A French crowd lays particular weight on equality and an English crowd on liberty. These differences of race explain how it is that there are almost as many different kinds of crowds as there are nations.”

Le Bon adds: “The ensemble of common characteristics imposed by environment and heredity on all the individuals of a people constitute the soul of this people.”

Crowds are also intolerant and “feminine” (“but the most feminine of all,” says Le Bon, “are Latin crowds”). Among them, instinct almost always prevails over reason. Inclined towards simple-mindedness, to excessive judgments, they do not tolerate contradictions. “Always ready to rise up against a weak authority, they bow down with servility before a strong authority.”

Men of Action

To know the art of impressing the imagination of crowds is to know the art of governing them. “It is always the marvelous and legendary side of events that most especially strikes crowds. Moreover, all the great statesmen of every age and every country, including the most absolute despots, have regarded the popular imagination as the basis of their power.”

Napoleon said to the Council of State: “It was by becoming a Catholic that I ended the Vendéan War; by becoming a Muslim that I established myself in Egypt; by becoming an Ultramontane that I won over the priests in Italy.”

“Man can generally do more than he believes, but he does not always know what he can do” (Hier et demain). The leaders of crowds reveal this to him. The leaders of crowds are not men of thought, but men of action. They have more energy than pure intelligence. Their ascendancy takes the form of a grand design that catalyzes wills and orients instincts.

Simple ideas make the conquests of crowds easier, above all ideas that are rich in promises, among which Le Bon cites “the Christian ideas of the Middle Ages, the democratic ideas of the last century, the socialist ideas of today.”

Georges Sorel, the author of Réflexions sur la violence [Reflections on Violence], wrote: “If psychology someday succeeds, among us, in being annexed to the domain of knowledge that a man must possess to have the right to call himself truly cultivated, we will owe the result to the persevering efforts of Gustave Le Bon.”

The Crowd has been translated into a dozen languages, including Russian, Turkish, Japanese, and Arabic. Heralding the great revolutionary convulsions of the present century, indeed the most recent developments of psychological warfare, it was in the 1920s the bedside reading of officers of the École supérieur de guerre, and among them, in 1922, the young Captain de Gaulle. Durkheimian obscurantism, which has since oppressed French sociology, has been unable to conceal its importance.

The book is 82 years old. It has not aged a day.

Note:

The only book on Gustave Le Bon published since the Second World War is that of Robert Nye, The Origins of Crowd Psychology: Gustave Le Bon and the Crisis of Mass Democracy in the Third Republic (London: Sage Publications, 1975). Although it is almost exclusively focused on the political aspect of Le Bon’s work, it contains a significant number of hitherto unknown details. Its author, a history professor at the University of Oklahoma, gives us more than a study of Le Bon, for he has also investigated the individuals who knew Le Bon during his lifetime.

In 1976, a Society of the Friends of Gustave Le Bon (Société des amis de Gustave Le Bon) was founded on the initiative of Pierre Duverger (34 rue Gabrielle, 75018 Paris). Chaired by Jacques Benoist-Méchin, it proposes to reprint four books by Le Bon: Psychologie de socialisme, Les lois psychologiques de l’évolution des peoples, Les opinions et les croyances, and Psychologie de l’éducation.

 

Source: Alain de Benoist, Vu de droite: anthologie critique des idées contemporaines (Paris: Le Labyrinthe, 2001 [1977]), pp. 282–284.

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De Benoist, Alain. “Gustave Le Bon.” Counter-Currents Publishing, 7 May 2012. <http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/05/gustave-le-bon/ >.

 

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