Evola and Second Degree Initiations (Some Quotations from RTG)

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From Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger:

  • p. 62:

    This brings us to the consideration οf the second degree οf the trial through self-knowledge, which belongs to the transcendent dimension and which conditions the final solution οf the existential problem. With the first degree, in fact, with the recognition οf “one’s own nature” and the making οf one’s own law, this problem is only resolved partially, οn the formal plane. That is the plane οf determination, or, if one prefers, individuation, which furnishes one with an adequate base for controlling one’s conduct in any circumstances. But this plane has nο transparency for one who wants to get to the bottom of things; absolute meaning is not yet to be found therein. When the situation remains at this stage, one is active in wanting to be oneself, but not with regard to the fact οf being thus and not otherwise. Το a certain type, this can seem like something so irrational and obscure as to set in motion a crisis that endangers everything he has gained hitherto along the lines indicated. It is then that he must undergo the second degree οf self-proving, which is like an experimental proof οf the presence within him, in greater or lesser measure, οf the higher dimension ο transcendence. This is the unconditioned nucleus that in life does not belong to life’s sphere, but to that οf Being.
  • p. 63:

    This unity with the transcendent is also the condition for preventing the process οf self-unification from taking a regressive path. There is in fact a possibility of a pathological unification οf the being from below, as in the case of an elementary passion that takes over the whole person, organizing all his faculties to its own ends. Cases of fanaticism and possession are no different in kind. One must consider this possible reduction to absurdity οf “being oneself” and of the unity οf the self. This is a further reason to require our particular type οf man to undergo the trial οf self-knowledge at the second degree, which concerns, as we have said, the presence οf the unconditioned and the supra-individual as his true center.
  • pp. 63-64:

    It is easy to see how this requires one to surpass and prove oneself, beyond one’s own nature and one’s own law. The autonomy οf him who makes his own will coincide with his own being is not enough. Moreover, it requires a rupture οf levels that can sometimes have the character οf violence done to oneself, and one has to be sure to remain on one’s feet even in the void and the formless. This is positive anomie, beyond autonomy. In less qualified types, in those in which the original inheritance, as I called it, is not sufficiently alive existentially, this trial almost always requires a certain “sacrificial” disposition: such a man has to feel ready to be destroyed, if need be, without being hurt thereby. The result οf trials or experiences οf this kind remains undetermined, and has always been so, even when the ultimate consecration οf inner sovereignty was sought within the institutional frameworks provided by Tradition. It is all the more so in today’s social climate, in circumstances where it is almost impossible to create a magical circle οf protection in this confrontation with transcendence, with that which is in fact not human.
  • p. 65:

    Naturally, we are not dealing here with normal existence, but with those possible forms οf it that are already differentiated, that have a certain intensity, while still being defined in a chaotic ambience, in the domain οf pure contingency. They are not infrequent today, and in the times to come they will surely proliferate. The state in question is that of the man who is self-confident through having as the essential center of his personality not life, but Being. He can encounter everything, abandon himself to everything, and open himself to everything without losing himself. He accepts every experience, no longer in order to prove and know himself, but to unfold all his possibilities in view οf the transformations that they can work in him, and of the new contents that offer and reveal themselves οη this path.
  • Additionally, in pp. 71-72:

    He sets himself above the moral plane not with pathos and polemics but with objectivity, hence through knowledge—the knowledge of causes and effects—and through conduct that has this knowledge as its only basis. Thus for the moral concept of “sin” he substitutes the objective one of “fault,” or more precisely “error.” For him who has centered himself in transcendence, the idea of “sin” has nο more sense than the current and vacillating notions of good and evil, licit and illicit. Αll these notions are burnt out of him and cannot spiritually germinate again. One might say that they have been divested of their absolute value, and are tested objectively on the basis of the consequences that in fact follow from an action inwardly free from them.
  • Finally, and to clarify and distinguish from “existentialist” positions and bourgeois thinkers, in p. 81:

    The affinity of these ideas with the positions already defined here is, however, relative, because existentialism is characterized by an unacceptable overvaluation of “situationality.” “Dasein” for Heidegger is always “being-in-the-world.” The destiny of the “boundary situation” is, for Jaspers as well as for Marcel, a liminal fact, a given in the face of which thinking halts and crashes. Heidegger repeats that the characteristic of “being-in-the-world” is not accidental for the Self: it is not as though the latter could exist without it, it is not that man firstly is, and then has a relation with the world-a causal, occasional, and arbitrary relationship with that which is. Αll this might well be the case, but only for a human type different from that which concerns us. As we know, in this human type an inner detachment, albeit coupled with an absolute assumption of his determined nature, limits any “situational” conditions and, from a superior point of view, minimizes and relegates to contingency any “being-in-the-world.”