Friedrich Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil


§ An inscrutable thinker


To begin with, and despite the title of the section under which this article is posted, this is not a review, and perhaps not even a commentary on this great work, but rather a series of thoughts around impressions of it held by several groups, in contrast to what may be a more accurate consideration of the man in question and his work. It seems that all that is needed to claim Nietzsche’s ideas as support for an ideological stance is to have somewhat of a thick skin or simply be alright with blunt criticism of anything one disagrees with. The interesting thing about Nietzsche is that he is at once glorified and vilified by people with widely differing ideologies across the full spectrum, with the exception of those explicitly following a Judeo-Christian kind defense of the weak, the mediocre and anything “human, all too human”.

Atheists claim him as one of their own, as they superficially read his words and take them to mean that Nietzsche was the highest kind of independent mind there was. In truth, Nietzsche can be seen criticizing both the dogmatic religious and the modern hubris of the modern atheist, even if he does not name each specifically and in quite such words. The attention of his sledge hammer is directed most of all to the flowering atheism and scientism that was taking Europe by storm at the time of his writing Beyond Good and Evil, and which atheism (or at least crypto-atheism disguised as a kind of philosophical pantheism) and scientism has since become the norm among the educated, and especially among the liberal-minded. Nietzsche dispenses as much injury upon the religious as upon the anti-religious. What he argued for was not the absence of a morality or a tradition, but the distinction between qualities of it, and their origin.

There is MASTER-MORALITY and SLAVE-MORALITY,—I would at once add, however, that in all higher and mixed civilizations, there are also attempts at the reconciliation of the two moralities, but one finds still oftener the confusion and mutual misunderstanding of them, indeed sometimes their close juxtaposition—even in the same man, within one soul.

Aristocrats claim him, even though he devotes large portions of his thought to demolishing any claims of nobility that modern aristocrats might still hold on to. The nobility to which Nietzsche so often alludes is one that is proven through spirit and resulting action thereof: that is, the Will; the Will to Life and Power (alluded to here in the sense that Gwendolyn Taunton has exposed in the past1). His is a nobility that self-creates through this Will, and whose decisions are based upon results and high aims with a vision of centuries, and which does not rest upon vainglorious pride, but rather the question of how to improve. This nobility, however, does reserve a right to determine notions of what should be or what should not be, and there lies the difference between literal nobility, of which Nietzsche speaks, and the allegorical nobility which the humanist modern man would like to believe in.

Purists, and National Socialist types would cringe if they would have actually studied Nietzsche. For, while he deals a significant amount of damage to the Jew, enough to actually garner enough merit to be awarded the title of “anti-semite” he also gives them credit where it is deserved in a manner not unlike Hitler in Mein Kampf, actually, though with different aims and perhaps coming to different practical conclusions. The nobility of action, which was that of a created spirit, could perhaps be better aligned with Julius Evola’s nobility of the spirit, which was not independent of blood but rather worked through and above it in a supra-eugenic manner.

It stands to reason that the more powerful and strongly marked types of new Germanism could enter into relation with the Jews with the least hesitation, for instance, the nobleman officer from the Prussian border: it would be interesting in many ways to see whether the genius for money and patience (and especially some intellect and intellectuality — sadly lacking in the place referred to) could not in addition be annexed and trained to the hereditary art of commanding and obeying — for both of which the country in question has now a classic reputation.

Anarchists claim him, even though he clearly believes only an incredibly small percentage of the population can be truly free, as a result of innate abilities that not all possess and the opportunities to develop them. Rather than push towards the idea of a world where every individual is completely independent, a natural hierarchy is deemed by Nietzsche as inevitable, whatever social constructs humans might like to dream on about. The roots for these lie deep in our nature and in Nature, and attempting to change them is usually a path towards self-annihilation, and an overall sentiment that is anathema to Life itself.

“We truthful ones”—the nobility in ancient Greece called themselves. It is obvious that everywhere the designations of moral value were at first applied to MEN; and were only derivatively and at a later period applied to ACTIONS.

It is then also common to hear people who in their youth upheld Nietzsche as a pillar of their own ideology, only to later reject what they thought his philosophy consisted of, on the basis of them changing the emphasis and focus of their own narrow-minded understanding. The former anti-religious communist becomes a progressive advocate of combinatorics chaos theory and real politik in an attempt to out-intellectualize the philosopher, while of course, distancing himself from the word ‘intellectual’, even as he poses as one. The former modern aristocrat finds the truth about the depth of corrupt modernity and so turns against the philosopher as if he were part of this, and as if tradition as the answer were wholly incompatible with the ideas of Nietzsche. Each of them have only moved from one misapprehension into another, without ever actually having captured the essence of Nietzsche’s thought.

What is he really about, then? Nietzsche was, in fact, terribly honest and direct, even though people seem to insist upon reading him in the most cryptic of ways, perhaps in an attempt to validate themselves and avoid what he was actually urging humanity towards. In truth, it is quite difficult to finish creating a personal picture of Nietzsche, because one has to read his particular takes on so many things before one can even begin to glimpse what his stated proposal of the Übermensch actually entails. The statement “beyond good and evil” entails precisely what it seems to state, rather than an allegorical turn of phrase, a state in which the superior individual does not concern itself with dichotomies and labels, and rather finds the reality of self-determined action beyond them. Since the great majority of humanity functions through and lives by these symbols, faiths and abstractions, the immediate reality, and more importantly, the patterns and not the appearances that constitute this reality2, to which Nietzsche constantly refers eludes them every time as they refuse to see what is in front of them in favor of their own construct thereof.


Footnotes

1 “To Nietzsche, the figure of Dionysus is the supreme affirmation of life, the instinct and the Will to Power, with the Will to Power being an expression of the Will to Life and Truth at its highest exaltation.” —Gwendolyn Taunton, ‘The Black Sun’, Primordial Traditions, Vol I.

2 A notion elegantly and concisely explained by Brett Stevens in his book Nihilism, as a condensation of Nietzsche, Spinoza and Plato, perhaps even through the digestion of others.

Problems With Perennial Philosophy

muhammedhid


I. Admitting biases


Before starting this brief recount of reasons for rejecting some of the aspects of Perennial Philosophy (later ‘Primordial Tradition’), it would only be fair to admit to some of the own biases that affect this judgement. In so doing it will also be useful to point out how this background, and a particular take on them, results in a discrepancy with what I understand to be Perennial Philosophy and what seems apparent from a direct experience and pondering on the general subjects (rather than specific expertise in the contents of The Book of the Dead, for instance).

First of all, my first serious introduction to esoteric studies was through Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine, which I grew to respect a lot without necessarily believing everything it asserted —something the author of the work herself constantly stresses is relevant here: she admits to the fallibility of her writings and constantly reminds the reader she is interpreting and re-transmitting what she thought was an ancient set of teachings. This attitude and approach were more valuable to me in this area of intellectual inquiry than any claims to complete validity (which are only marginally supportable in the social sciences —including History).

Secondly, I received a rather brief but effective introduction to the premises of Perennial Philosophy by a scholarly friend who had spent some time studying them and adhered to them. Our conversation was especially effective because we quickly came to the points of contrast between what I had taken (and personally interpreted) from Blavatsky and the views of Perennial Philosophy behind which my friend stood in a more reasonable and conservative stance than my own burgeoning and militant attitude regarding what is and what can be.

Lastly, my foremost reference regarding the idea of a Tradition from the Golden Age and beyond comes from Julius Evola’s Revolt Against the Modern World. Evola is sometimes mentioned by those who adhere to Perennial Philosophy, but he was not himself an adherent in the same way that Alduous Huxley, for instance, was. The degree of compatibility extends to where all agree that there are teachings and practices from so-called pre-historical times that seek to connect human beings with the greater aspects (whether higher or lower) latent in themselves, and through them towards a greater occult reality. Evola himself, it must be said, was strictly discriminatory between what he found as ‘better’ and ‘worse’ approaches to transcendence; and his specific opinions on those matters I respectfully ponder on and pay attention to although I do not necessarily share.

Most recently, my on-going reading of Gwendolyn Taunton’s Primordial Traditions, Vol I. has brought me back to the subject. Taunton made it possible for me to very clearly see what things my own thought shares with Perennial Philosophy and where the great basic points of divergence are. More of a collection of essays in and around the Primordial Tradition (another, more organic, name for Perennial Philosophy), Primordial Traditions, Vol I. presents the reader with a good introduction to the modern form of a Tradition of and for transcendence.

In general, the greatest value of Perennial Philosophy is as a gateway for scholars into a greater reality, which enables us to also peruse their abilities as researchers, thus excavating and re-discovering much knowledge and teachings in a spreading area of subjects. While a subject remains stuck in the ideas of Perennial Philosophy, he will be tied down by civilized, and thus temporal, thought.


II. Blinded by inclusiveness 


The first thing one notices about Perennial Philosophy is that emphasizes the inclusion of all religious ideas, wishing to see beyond the gaping differences between them. The method followed is not difficult to see: cherry-pick the similarities, especially those that align with tolerance and love (because they are nice and marketable), interpret some aspects to match their vision, and simply dismiss discrepancies and the more violent aspects as temporal cultural distortions of the ‘truth’. Now, besides the obvious difference of opinion, I have no problem with the method itself so long as they acknowledge that theirs is a particular interpretation of traditions as per their own premises and even prejudices; but they do not and as good modern scholars, hide behind the facade of academic pretense to attain the closest thing one can get in the ‘modern age of science’ to a kind of supernatural authority.

Whatever Blavatsky did with Theosophy, I never cared much for; I rather followed the wise advice of an older person in holding on to my own ideas while openly exploring and considering new ones insofar as I could learn from them unbound. At the end of the day, the greatest ‘sins’ to modern eyes of both Blavatsky and Evola, are that they outright rejected Judaism as degenerate, though each in their very own and detailed way. When doing so, they both presented specific reasons that were logical and sound, but most would not accept them simply because today’s status quo demands inclusiveness and brainwashes the population into an emotional need for it.

In hindsight, I find Blavatsky’s approach in The Secret Doctrine to be of a more healthily skeptical and having a scientific mentality than the little I’ve read and heard from Perennial Philosophy. This statement may leave some flabbergasted because Perennial Philosophy is the academically accepted account, which to some of us implies something very different than to others; to the majority, the endorsing by at least a certain percentage of academia means there is a degree of ‘objective truth’ in whatever is being endorsed; to others of us, it only signifies that the ideas do not present a direct or drastic threat to the modes of thinking typical of academia grounded in intellectual discourse and tolerance. In other words, academic endorsement in the social sciences is more of a political and emotional marker than anything else.

The most important point of divergence for my own thinking lies in that while Perennial Philosophy asserts that the differences between religions represent the re-discovery of exact same eternal truths through the lenses of individuals in different historical and cultural contexts that distort those teachings, Blavatsky rather posited the idea of a “Secret Doctrine”, which stood since time immemorial and the knowledge of which sipped through the cracks of not-so-hermetic circles of keepers and adherents to take on interpretations and forms that were closer to the truth in different degrees. Basically, where Perennial Philosophy offers a picture of all religions singing Cumbaya in a circle of irrelevant and superficial differences (a similar dismissal of racial differences is advocated by Politically Correct scientists) that ultimately has no bearing upon the ‘inalienable truth that all of them connect to’, Blavatsky talks about religions that got it certain things right and other things wrong, religions that were simply degenerated beyond recognition, and those that maintained a semblance of the original teaching.

One acquainted with Evola’s Revolt Against the Modern World might notice the similarity in at least this admission of religions differing in terms of relations to the truth rather than simply being equally valid yet distinctly reflecting versions and interpretations of it. Where the one emphasizes reality and human fallibility, the other swims in a mystic pool of happy feelings that wishes to grant equal footing to the ‘subjective opinion’ of all religions.

In holding on to a kind of democratic/humanist ideal in mind, the Perennial Philosophers argue for this dream of human-wide brotherhood, even if they do not themselves like democracy or humanism in themselves; the reason for this is that the disease behind them is the same: the unwillingness to see that there is better and worse, even though this leads to the danger of mass prejudices. Modern intellectual types, especially those involved in academia and recognized by society as authorities have a hard time discriminating against certain kinds of characteristics; in today’s world, you can discriminate against political ideas and such, but you should not make differences of race or belief a central subject in anything. Truth and reality in all this is utterly unimportant; thus we distinguish…


III. Not far enough in either direction


Typical of any idea on spirituality that is well-received among circles of academics and well-to-dos, the present ‘Perennial Philosophy’ / ‘Primordial Tradition’ is theoretically one of commitment but mainly one of moderation where the typical social norms of the time are left relatively respected; never mind the more extremist solutions placed forth by those who would act in the plane of the relevant; never mind even those crazy and (oh, the Horror!) of those  shady and less than acceptable connections of Evola.

The desire of Perennial Philosophers to be accepted leads them to put logic aside in place of rationalizations (these two are not the same, for those not paying enough attention). They talk about faith and the necessity of pragmatic asceticism, both of which I would agree in a way, it is not so in the extremist or wholly committed way that would break rightfully and inevitably break this society apart and bring the opportunity of reconstruction. What is more, because Perennial Philosophy is primarily academic and over-intellectual  it is at the same time in a constant fear of not being deemed reasonable enough.

At the end of the day, it is not logical and skeptical enough as to uphold reason completely, nor is it fanatic enough to attain the occult power of the true ascetic. It defends this mediocre stance by stating that art and religion escape logic and reason, and that it thus can only be apprehended but never understood. With this, I might generally agree, but again, they do not go far enough; they do not go far enough to understand that all such divergences in perceptions are the illusion, and that even if they acknowledge it in words they are not actively realizing that all reality is one.

If art and religion have a connection to human reality and emotion, there is also a logical (because structured) explanation to it that does not demean or decrease its power and truth. In reality, everything with an order should be explainable logically; that we cannot explain the next level only points out a present limitation in our capacity and understanding.

 

Tradition and Antitradition (RATMW 29)

⊕ REVOLT AGAINST THE MODERN WORLD ⊕

Chapter 29

Tradition and Antitradition

tradition-and-antitradition

Julius Evola posits that the most prominent remains of the spirituality of the Golden Age are found in the trail of Aryan traditions, although he also explains how this influence poured into other cultures and mixed with other influences. Furthermore, he is very clear that such a spirituality did not survive in its entirety, nor wholly in its original form. Very early on in this chapter, he provides a clarification regarding the term Aryan, which many would agree deserves some cleaning and explaining. The term has seen some distortion, and the ruling thinking authorities after World War II would have us believe this distortion originated in National Socialist theories. In truth, the distortion has its origin in purposeful propaganda of the enemies of Germany, which was efficiently aimed at making anything coming from the ideological opposition sound ludicrous or just plain barbaric.

Evola’s comment is as follows:

The traces of the Northern and solar spirituality can be found in historical times mainly in the area of the Aryan civilizations. Considering the abuse that has been made of the term aryan in some contemporary milieus, such a term should be used with some reservations; in other words, it should not be made to correspond to a merely biological or ethnic concept (in this regard it would be more appropriate to talk about a boreal or a Northern-Atlantic race, depending on the case at hand), but rather to the concept of a race of spirit, whose correspondence to a physical race has varied from one civilization to another. “Aryan” corresponds more or less to “heroic”; the connection with the origins still exists as a dimmed legacy, but the decisive element is the tendency toward inner liberation and the reintegration in an active and combative form.

—Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, Chapter 29: ‘Tradition and Antitradition’, p. 231

He goes on to contrast the nature of the Maya as a Demetrian type of civilization (explained here), with the Inca and the Aztec as having a clear solar-warrior influence, especially in the case of the former. Among the Maya, however, there is still the influence of solar legends, but these have been left behind or eclipsed.

It seems that among the Maya originated the figure of the god Quetzalcoatl, who was a solar Atlantean god who came to be worshiped in an emasculated type of cult that was of a peaceful, contemplative, and self-mortifying nature.

(…)

This should probably be related to the invasions of the races of the Nahuatlans, Toltecs, and finally the Aztecs who overcame the Maya and their crepuscular civilization, forming new states. These are the races that retain in a more distinct way the memory of Tula and Aztlan, that is, of the Northern-Atlantic seat, and thus can be considered part of the “heroic” cycle.

Very interesting relations are found between solar legends and the struggle of gods with giants, which figure not only in Scandinavian mythology, but also in South American legends. However, he points out a unique development in the American civilization’s take on this degenerated or changed tradition.

In the most distant memories of these civilizations we find again —as in the Edda— the theme of the struggle against the giants and a recent generation affected by the flood. The themes of holy war and heroic death as a sacrifice that confers immortality, which were found among the Aztecs as well as among northern European stocks or Arab people, in Central and South American civilizations were mixed with some kind of frenzy of human sacrifices; these sacrifices, even in the form of collective slaughters, were performed in order to maintain contact with the divine but with a dark fierce exaltation derived from destroying life, the likeness of which is to be found nowhere else in the world.


§ Judaism


Next comes the second portion of the chapter, devoted to contrasting the Aryan tradition of the east and the Hebrew (anti?) tradition. This is not the first time that a scholarly type, a respected type, such as Evola, echoes passing statements in Mein Kampf, perhaps without knowing it. The angle here is, of course, different, for Julius Evola is tracing traditions, symbols and history  in a succinct manner, Adolf Hitler was stating his thoughts, leaving the work of study, meditating and developing those ideas for himself to the reader.

When referring to the Hebrew cycle, which itself derives from the Semitic with roots in the Chaldean tradition, Evola writes:

Here we find a fundamental and characteristic motif: the transformation into sin of what in the Aryan version of the myth was regarded as a heroic, bold deed, often crowned with success, but that in Gilgamesh’s myth [the Chaldean legend] had a negative outcome only because the hero was caught asleep. In the context of Hebrew Semitism, the one who attempts to take possession of the symbolic Tree is univocally transformed into a victim of woman’s seduction and a sinner.

He further points out characteristic tones and attitudes of the Hebrew tradition which one might discover if reading the Torah, the Talmud and other religious and non-religious treatises by those inheriting this spirit. Evola points out that Hebrew legacy reveals a curious lack of consistency in that it wavers between a little of the heroic here, and then self-penitent later, the warrior there, and then the pitiful, and so on.

These elements are still sporadic and reveal a curious oscillation, which is typical of the Jewish soul, between a sense of guilt, self-humiliation, deconsecration, and carnality and an almost Luciferian pride and rebelliousness.

This wavering and oftentimes contradictory series of attitudes could have its origin in that what we know as Judaism is an intellectual and super imposed set of dogmas that were not the natural outgrowth of a people, but the borrowings and constructions of an intellectual priesthood always trying to subdue a people of different ethnic origins which kept pulling in their own directions, sometimes reverting to their original beliefs.

Not without relation to all this, in ancient Judaism we find a very visible effort on the part of a priestly elite to dominate and coalesce a turbid, multiple, and turbulent ethnical substance by establishing divine Law as the foundation of its “form,” and by making it the surrogate of what in other people was the unity of the common fatherland and the common origins. This formative action, which was connected to sacred and ritualistic values and preserved from the first redactions of the ancient Torah to the elaboration of the Talmuds, the Jewish type arose as that of a spiritual rather than a physical race. But the original substratum was never totally eliminated, as ancient Jewish history shows in the form of the recurrent betrayals of God and his becoming reconciled with Israel. This dualism and the ensuing tension help to explain the negative forms that Judaism assumed in later times.

Here, we might introduce a useful observation. It is hard not to see the relation between this description of the dynamics of Judaism and the goals of globalist Communism with its origins in the Jewish-German writer Karl Marx. Despite the fact that there is always a great effort to divorce him and his ideas from his ethnic background, there is a clear history of these precise ideas being put forward through different theories by Jewish thinkers specifically. Privately, however, the idea of Israel as the chosen people is always maintained, though in evolved and updated form. Unsurprisingly, we see Jewish activists and politicians throughout Europe pushing agendas of multiculturalism while Israel itself is kept strictly race-pure through very harsh polices based on ethnic discrimination.

Moreover, a connection was established with a human type, who in order to uphold values that he cannot realize and that thus appear to him increasingly abstract and utopian, eventually feels dissatisfied and frustrated before any existing positive order and any form of authority ( especially when we find in him, though in an unconscious way, the old idea according to which the state of justice willed by God is only that in which Israel rules) so as to be a constant source of disorder and revolution. Finally we must consider another dimension of the Jewish soul: it is like somebody who, having failed to realize the values typical of the sacral and transcendent dimension in the course of the attempt to overcome the antithesis between spirit and “flesh” (which he exasperates in a characteristic way), eventually rejoices wherever he discovers the illusion and the irreality of those values and whenever he ascertains the failure of the yearning for redemption; this becomes for him some kind of alibi and self-justification.

(…)

The Diaspora, or the scattering of the Jewish people, corresponded to the by-products of the spiritual dissolution of a cycle that did not have a “heroic” restoration and in which some sort of inner fracture promoted processes of an antitraditional character. (…) when this substance returned to a free state and when it separated itself from the “Law,” that is, from the tradition that had formed it, all these factors acted upon the Jewish substratum in a more dramatic and decisive way than in other people.


§ Islam


Evola then turns to Islam, acknowledging the origin and borrowings from Judaism, while emphasizing the contrasting factors.

As in the case of priestly Judaism, the center in Islam also consisted of the Law and Tradition, regarded as a formative force, to which the Arab stocks of the origins provided a purer and nobler human material that was shaped by a warrior spirit.

Furthermore, Evola writes on the uniqueness and independence of Islam from Judaism (something that is not the case with Christianity) in the following three points:

(a) it [Islam] claimed independence from both Judaism and Christianity;

(b) the Kaaba, with its symbolism of the center, is a pre-Islamic location and has even older origins that cannot be dated accurately;

(c) in the esoteric Islamic tradition, the main reference point is al-Khadir, a popular figure conceived as superior to and predating the biblical prophets (Koran 18:59-81).

 And unto the attitudes derived from metaphysical concepts, a very defining characteristic (which some of us may find abhorrent in how destructive it is to the human soul) that sets Islam apart from both Judaism and Christianity:

Islam rejects a theme found in Judaism and that in Christianity became the dogma and the basis of the mystery of the incarnation of the Logos; it retains, sensibly attenuated, the myth of Adam’s fall without building upon it the theme of “original sin.” In this doctrine Islam saw a “diabolical illusion” (talbis Iblis) or the inverted theme of the fall of Satan (Iblis or Shaitan)…

Evola goes on to briefly comment on the completeness of Islam, its ascetism of action and its spiritual purification without the need of a priestly caste.


§ India


 After giving a brief explanation of certain basic tenets of the tradition of people in the land of the Aryans, going through a combination of ethnic and mythological commentaries, Evola repeatedly goes back to the theme of Indian Aryans alluding to blond divinities of white skin. This is, however, in the older mythological recounts.

He explains how the original Aryan tradition of India was one shaped by a warrior, solar and ascetic mentality, that only later morphed into forms that included contemplative methods and the inclusion of priestly caste. This, he claims, was most probably because of the influence of the autochthonous races that the Aryans conquered. Thus, the original high Indo-Aryan tradition has more to do with the Scandinavian spirit, than with the degenerated, life-renouncing traditions with which India is today associated.

the ‘Nordic’ elements within the Indo-Aryan civilization were:

(1) the austere type of the ancient atharvan, the lord of fire, he who first opened the paths through sacrifices, as well as the type of the brahmana, he who dominates the brahman and the gods through his formulas of power;

(2) the doctrine of the absolute Self;

(3) the virile and conscious asceticism oriented to the Unconditioned that also characterized the Buddhist doctrine of awakening;

(4) the doctrine of pure action and heroism expounded in the Bhagavadgita, which was credited with a solar origin and a regal heritage;

(5) the Vedic view of the world as “order” (rta) and law (dharma);

(6) the patriarchical right, the cult of fire, the symbolically rich ritual of the cremation of the dead, the caste system, the cult of truth and honor, the myth of the universal sacred sovereign (cakravartin);

In all these elements we find the traditional poles of “action” and “contemplation” closely intertwined and elevated to a higher meaning.

Thus, Evola contrasts what he refers to as the Vedic cult, based on the ancient spiritual treatises of the Hindu Aryans, and the more confused and orgiastic character of the Southern influences, including the invasion of pantheism into the conceptualizations of spirituality. He discusses some the conceptual confusions, the changes that brought decadence of thought, including the more escapist overtones with which we most associate India today.

The doctrine of reincarnation, understood as the primacy of the destiny of a recurrent and yet ephemeral reappearance in the conditioned world (saṃsāra)—a doctrine not found in the early Vedic period—became predominant. Thus, ascetism aimed at achieving a liberation that had the meaning of escapism rather than a truly transcendent fulfillment.

Buddhism is then seen as a rejection of the degeneration into which the older Aryan spirituality had fallen in its admixture with the beliefs of the lower castes and local customs.

Buddhism promoted a “heroic” theme (the attainment of immortality) over and against the echoes of a primordial, divine self-knowledge that had been preserved in various doctrines of the priestly caste;


§ Iran / Persia


 Julius Evola points out that the Aryan tradition in Iran preserved the action basis of ascetism more firmly than India.

The warrior character of the cult of Ahura Mazda speaks for itself, as do

(a) the ancient Iranian cult of fire, part of which is the well-known doctrine of the hvareno or “glory”;

(b) the rigorous patriarchical system;

(c) the Aryan ethic of truth and faithfulness;

(d) the view of the world as ŗtam and āśā, as cosmos, rite, and order, a view connected to that dominated Uranian principle that eventually led to the metaphysical idea of the empire and the corresponding view of the sovereign of “king of kings,” once the original plurality of the first conquering stocks was overcome.

The rest of the section is devoted to recounting parallels between the Indian and the Iranian Aryan traditions, as well as the connection legend of Zarathustra and its links to the Hyperborean origins of the Aryan spirit.

To end the chapter, we slide from Iranian Aryan tradition into Mithraism, discussing its emphasis on a militaristic  and spiritual brotherhood that was later seen in certain European stocks, and which resurfaces during the crusades with the religious military orders. Finally, Mithraism declines, Evola tells us, when the hero Mithras is transformed into a kind of savior and mediator, instead as the heroic model it originally was.

The Cycles of Decadence and the Heroic Cycle (RATMW 28)

⊕ REVOLT AGAINST THE MODERN WORLD ⊕

Chapter 28

The Cycles of Decadence and the Heroic Cycle

We finally arrive at one of the larger chapters in which Julius Evola makes a brief recap while revealing the grander scheme of everything he has been speaking until that point. The cycles of decadence refer to the stages that took place after that legendary Golden Age when man and culture, at least that of the Hyperborean, was complete, unified and transcendent. A wordless apprehension of the cosmos and a will to action that only in later ages became abstracted and codified in myths and elaborations made in order to maintain what did not come naturally anymore.

“Fate or the twilight (rok) of the gods takes place with the collapse of the Bitfrost bridge that connects Heaven and earth.”

In Foot Note: “bridge collapses when the sons of Muspell step on it. The lord of Muspell is Surtr, who comes from the south to battle the Aesir.”

Furthermore, as the primordial traditions branch out, change through time and mix with Southern traditions, its symbols see transpositions and meanings are twisted or perceived differently. For instance, the transition of the Light Wolf to the Dark Wolf, so to call them, reflects the degeneration of an older cult —or perhaps a myth evolving to suit the times.

“The wolf was associated with Apollo and with the light (lykos, lyke), not only among the Hellens, but also among the Celts.”

“The wolf — in the Nordic tradition — that was related to the primordial warrior element takes on a negative meaning when this element loses control and becomes unleashed.”

—Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, p. 221

While the Golden Age is said to be the only age when true regality took place (perhaps that warrior-philosopher / guardian Plato described in The Republic), and the Silver Age is then defined by the usurpation of the priestly case of some of the ruling powers of the divine kingship, pushing the latter aside, leaving them with only the more mundage tasks and in a somewhat subservient role. The Bronze Age then sees the revolt of the warrior caste rising by the power of raw strength.

This third age sees the rise of several different types of civilizations arise and coexist within a certain time period. Evola provides us with an outline of the civilizations that developed after the Primordial one from the first age (of “virile spirituality”, as the author tells us). Part of this degeneration in the third age degrades both the masculine and the feminine to their more brute and sexual aspects, instead of their original, more comprehensive origins and understanding.


The six types of civilizations and tradition that came after the primordial one (the Golden Age). These are:

  1. Demetrian: representing the pure Southern Light (the Silver Age, Atlantic cycle societies ruled by a priestly caste).
  2. Aphroditism: as a degenerated version of the Demetrian. [frequent associations between Aphrodistic goddesses and violent and brutally warlike divine figures.]
  3. Amazonism: which was a deviated attempt at lunar restoration. [The Amazons, who had usurped the Hyperborean battle-axe, came to the rescue of Venus’ city, Troy, against the Acheans; they were eventually exterminated by another hero, Heracles, the rescuer of Prometheus. Heracles grabbed from their queen the symbolic belt of Ares-Mars and the axe (λαβρύς) that was the symbole of the supreme power of the Lydian dynasty of the Heraclideans.]
  4. Titanism: in a different, almost Luciferian context, which was a degeneration of the Northern Light —the Bronze Age, age of warriors and giants. [male without divine element —the Nephilim — materialistic and violent. Cain?]
  5. Dionysism: as a deviated and emasculated masculine spirituality generation passive and promiscuous forms of ecstasis. [p. 224 Footnote: the highest possibility of Dionysian principle was upheld in the Indo-Aryan myth of the soma, a heavenly and lunar principle that induces a divine intoxication (mada) and that is related to the regal animal, the eagle, and with a struggle against female demons.]
  6. Heroism: as the restoration of the Olympian-solar spirituality and the overcoming of both the Mother and the Titan figures. [Hesiod called this lineage the race of ‘heroes’ to whom it is given the possibility of attaining immortality and partaking, despite all, in a state similar to that of the primordial age.]

 It is interesting that Evola mentions a passage from the Bible in which a time of “heroes and giants” dominated. He explains that the essence of both of these is the same, but that their triumph or failure to transcend is what defines them as one or the other.

“not all ‘heroes’ become immortal by escaping Hades; this is the fate of only some of them (…) The heroes who become immortal are those whose adventure succeeds; in other words, they correspond to those who are really capable of overcoming, thanks to an inner impulse towards transcendence.” —pp. 224-225

“Lordship over the origins; not to be the original force but to possess it; the quality of the αύτοϕυής [to be a light unto oneself] and of the αύτοτέλεστος [to have oneself as an end], in which the Hellas was often associated with the heroic ideal.”

The Civilization of the Mother (RATMW 27)

⊕ REVOLT AGAINST THE MODERN WORLD ⊕

Chapter 27

The Civilization of the Mother

chapter27-thecivilizationofthemother-dianadelacaza

As if answering to my own doubts and questions, the next chapter in Julius Evola’s Revolt Against the Modern Wold deals with further details of what he terms “The Civilization of the Mother”. Such a type of civilization is seen as the mark of the second cycle, the Silver Age, and is characterized by the preponderance of the feminine seen as the generative principle of all reality. In this view, every single manifested and differentiated entity and object is a son or daughter of the Great Mother of All.

The description itself is an umbrella term to refer to a particular aspect of civilizations. Moreover, Evola considers it a decisive aspect that determines much of the character of the society and spirit that arises from it. Most people will probably not see through this esoteric conceptualization too clearly because it requires an analysis that sees in several dimensions rather than being restricted to linear modes of thinking or reliant on the pseudo science of trying to explain culture and civilization through simplistic mathematical formulas.

It is of paramount importance to point out that this Civilization of the Mother, which is closely linked to Atlantic civilization and Southern tendencies, is of a higher quality and thinking than the gross naturalistic cults with which we are acquainted today and we hear talked about when academics refer to the matriarchies of prehistory.

“Indeed, the general symbol of the Silver Age and of the Atlantic cycle was not a demonically telluric or a coarsely naturalistic symbol (as in the case of the cycle of the coarse prehistoric feminine idols), but one in which the feminine principle was elevated to a higher form, almost like in the ancient symbol of the Moon as a purified or heavenly Earth (ούράνιη αιθερίη λη)1, and as such, ruling over anything terrestrial; a spiritual or moral authority was therefore bestowed upon feminity over purely material and physical virile instincts and qualities”

—Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, Chapter 27: ‘The Civilization of the Mother’

The cults and myths alluded to include all of those with a strict relation to fertility, which later became mixed up and which we have received in confusion with older solar-Hyperborean concepts of warrior-like striving. The Southern tends towards the chthonic, the underground and the unconscious and contrasts with the ascendence to higher levels of super-human consciousness and instead seeks a reconnection with an unknown and more primitive side of human nature.

“The Mothers presided over the subterranean world and the occult, conceived of in terms of the night and darkness and in opposition to coelum2, which also suggests the generic idea of the invisible, though in its higher, luminous, and heavenly aspect.”

—Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, Chapter 27: ‘The Civilization of the Mother’

There is, furthermore, a marked connection between the nature of the Mother civilizations and the idea of equality and communism. Realizing it puts Julius Evola’s description and critique of modern secular civilization and society into context so that we understand that he is not simply being misogynistic when he speaks abhorrently of the effeminate character of the now globalized tendencies towards social justice and promiscuity of deeper values. But he does make clear that here is also a great loss of meaning that progressively gets worse from the ancient Silver Age to our current Dark Age of materialism in its worse manifestation.

While the old Civilization of the Mother could not be said to be pacifist and was indeed very martial despite its preponderance of feminine symbols and it represented and elevation of woman to a divine status, later manifestations of decadence tended towards the lazy and cowardly pacifism accompanied by promiscuity as gross interpretations of what where previously symbols and metaphors. This tendency was, however, already present in and seems to be a general characteristic of Southern, Mother Nature worship systems.

“Effective forms of gynaecocracy developed in those places where the symbol became reality.”

—Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, Chapter 27: ‘The Civilization of the Mother’


1 Greek: ‘Heavenly-Ethereal/Empyreal States’.

2 Latin: ‘Heaven’ .

North and South (RATMW 26)

⊕ REVOLT AGAINST THE MODERN WORLD ⊕

Chapter 26

North and South

north-and-south

In chapter 26 of Revolt Against the Modern World, Julius Evola extends the discussion from the last chapter and stops for a while to give the reader some more information regarding not only the Northern (Polar) versus Western (Atlantic/Atlantean?) myth as origin or point of reach with the divine, but also the distinction between the general Northern male-solar versus the Southern female-lunar orientation of cults in general and their eventual blending and transformation as a result of migrations.

Now, besides going further into the details that distinguish the northern from southern cults, Evola engages in judgement of the moral worth of each of these. It is evident beyond doubt that he has a strong predilection for the patriarchal, the masculous, while immediately writing off anything with overtones of femininity as either out of balance and degenerate. This is very telling, and if I am perceiving this correctly, the balance that Evola adheres to is not so much a balance as a domination of the masculine.

However, the way Evola explains this, is that the realms of the feminine and the masculine are supposed to play different roles. When we look at some of his favorite examples, like the Roman, we find something that does not appear to be in balance at all. What is even more evident from this chapter is that the author considers the Hyperborean through Aryan principles of conquest and imposition to be the only and the best way. This is, of course, not explained and is only heard as a background assumption.

This reading between the lines of what Julius Evola exposes is very important. While his book is a very good source of information, and his observation are invaluable, one must be able to appreciate this without letting his bias creep and hide behind unjustified assumptions. While he decries the overtaking of effeminate qualities over modern society, he does not explain why this is wrong. Furthermore, rather than the other host of obvious problems with the overtaking of materialism and a forgetting of the meaning ancient rites, it would appear from the last chapter of the first section of Revolt Against the Modern World as if he wants to blame the root of the problem of modernity on the preponderance of a feminine judgement.

I believe his mistake is in believing that the feminine cannot be deadly, that it cannot be decisive. What he is referring to is actually a weakening of the spirituality, an increasing dependency  on the material for meaning, as well as the gradual overtaking of the power of a plebeian mentality. Julius Evola does a very good job in pointing these out, and goes over them through different angles, yet seems to remain stubborn in his underhand implication of the inferiority of the feminine as a guiding principle.

There are other implications in Evola’s exposition that have a more apparent reasonable explanation, which is why I am inclined to give thought and consideration to their validity. This is that the warmer climates tend to produce more contemplative and relaxed traditions, while those of the north tend to strive for excellence and the most suitable as well as pragmatic. The environment of each place seems to give place to each of these different general attitudes. However, I believe there are a lot of holes in these, his more general assumptions that seem to stem out more from dogma than from the scholarly esoteric study that he otherwise so marvelously presents.

For one, great civilisations seem to spring in places where race mixture happened, and therefore most probably a mixture of cultures happened. But my observation should not be taken as favouritism for this outcome, because I personally find the ultimate result of civilisation to be rather negative. It protects people and it gradually foments living in an illusory human-made world that makes them insensitive and greedy. On the other hand, it may also be the case that we simply have not learned to handle the power of civilisation well enough to be responsible and maintain a clear head with the power it affords human beings.

The Northern-Atlantic Cycle (RATMW 25)

⊕ REVOLT AGAINST THE MODERN WORLD ⊕

Chapter 25

The Northern-Atlantic Cycle

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Julius Evola now takes us on the second cycle, the one assigned the precious metal silver to it, and termed by Evola as the Northern-Atlantic cycle. The idea is that the original dwellers of the polar regions were forced to migrate from north to south and then from west to east. These series of migrations are said to have taken place over time and have eventually covered many places around the world, though not every place (Australia, for instance, would seem to me excluded from this). Julius Evola states that this primordial set of races have been identified by anthropology as the Cro-Magnon man, who is recognised as being culturally superior to its contemporary humanoids.

As conquering races advanced, they would enslave or kill off the native races, although they would end up mixing sooner or later. Independently of the mixing, the culture and tradition would naturally evolve into variations befitting place, times and people, possibly reflecting their very particular conditions and character. Since Evola identifies the northern, polar races with the divine and the light, he identifies the chthonic cults of the Earth as dark and demonic.

I understand that Evola is being expedite in his explanations, but it would seem as if he cuts categories too perfectly, which does not seem to reflect reality. Perhaps his theory is right, however, and what we detect and see today is only manifested chaos through entropy at work. It may be that initially things were really that clear, after all, humanoid population numbers had not reached a fraction of the infestation levels that plague the face of the Earth today. Be that as it may, Evola identifies two groups, one which retained the northern, polar or Uranian orientation and spirit; and a latter which became transformed by its contact with southern and demonic influences.

The famous flood, or other cataclysms recorded by culture across the globe, is the memory of the event that separates this cycle from the previous one. The myth of a primordial land either to the North or the West also remains, although the Western seat actually comes after in chronological terms. These memories become confused through long periods of time. What is interesting about these myths is that, like H.P. Blavatsky never tired of saying, they contain several levels of knowledge ranging from the historical and very concrete to metaphysical descriptions of the nature of man to descriptions of the nature of the universe and reality itself. The voyage to the ethereal and unreachable seat in the West or North then becomes an allusion to spiritual transcendence through ritual.

“The mystery of the West always marks a particular stage in the history of the spirit that is no longer the primordial one; it corresponds to a type of spirituality that cannot be considered to be primordial and therefore it is defined by the mystery of transformation. It is characterized by a dualism and by a discontinuous passage: a light is kindled, another fades away. Transcendence has cone underground. Supernature, unlike the original state, is no longer nature: it is the goal of an initiation and the object of a problematic quest.”

—Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, Chapter 25: ‘The Northern-Atlantic Cycle’

The Pole and the Hyperborean Region (RATMW 24)

⊕ REVOLT AGAINST THE MODERN WORLD ⊕

Chapter 24

The Pole and the Hyperborean Region

norway-1415914_960_720

 In chapter 24 of Revolt Against the Modern World, Julius Evola provides a brief overview of the notion of polar/hyperborean region as the origin of higher mankind in the myths of different traditional cultures around the world. The references are either to a place that lies “higher” or surrounded by water; besides this, there are also legends and data indicating an origin and center of the world (in the spiritual sense) up North.

“Aryan texts from India, such as the Vedas and the Mahābhārata preserve the memory of the Artic seat through astronomical and calendar-related allusions that cannot be understood other than through an actual reference to such a seat.”

—Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, Chapter 24: ‘The Pole and the Hyperborean Region’

It is important, however, to distinguish between legends containing this Artic theme, which Evola calls ‘the mystery of the North’, from those that make allusions to an Atlantic theme, which Evola calls ‘the mystery of the West’, because although related and often confused, they have different origins and overall meanings. The first cycle is supposed to have come to an end because of a tilting of the axis of the earthand was followed by a second cycle which Evola terms “the Atlantic cycle”, because of the dominance of a (now) West-oriented origin/center of spiritual/higher mankind.

Here follows a summary table of some of the references that Evola makes to different traditions regarding this idea.

India References in the Kūrma Purāṇa [1] [2] [3] and the Padma Purāṇa [1] [2]. (All 18 Major Puranas)
China References in Lieh-tzu. [1] [2]
Iran/Persia References in the Vendidad. [1]
Scandinavia References in Gylfaginning. [1] [2] [3]
Tibet In the memory of Tshang Shambhala. [1]
Quiches In the memory of Tulla, the region of light: “When they [the four primordial ancestors] get there they only find ice; also, the sun seldom appears.” [1]
Toltecs In the memory of Tula/Tullan, the original homeland of the Toltecs’ forefathers.
Azetecs In the memory of the region of Aztlan. [1]
Greece In the memory of the region of Thule.

The interested reader may also want to reference The Artic Home of the Vedas by Bal Gangadhar Tilak.


1 Julius Evola here references the writings of Lieh-tzu who “describes the myth of the giant Kung-Kung who shatters the ‘column of heaven,'”. Revolt Against the Modern World, Chapter 24, page 189

The Golden Age (RATMW 23)

⊕ REVOLT AGAINST THE MODERN WORLD ⊕

Chapter 23

The Golden Age

space-54999_960_720-saturn

 This is a very brief chapter in Evola’s book which concisely sums up the similitudes and most prominent points of the glorious first ages that are described by different civilizations in the most distant path. The most prominent feature of this golden age, no matter what the culture that expressed it, was one of man living in the most natural symbiosis with the universe around it. This did not imply a “primitive” stage, but rather in one the higher faculties of man were involved and in which what became the “customs” and “rules” of Tradition were simply common sense.

“The first era is essentially the era of Being, and hence of truth in a transcendent sense. This is evident not only from the Hindu designation of Satya Yuga (sat means being, hence satya or “truth”) but also from the Latin name “Saturn”, who is the king or god of the Golden Age.”

—Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, Chapter 23: ‘The Golden Age’, page 184.

 The second great feature of this age is its ‘deathlessness”, which might be interpreted in a variety of ways which we will not currently go into. This had to do with the spiritual overcoming of death, which was not granted but earned through excellence and struggle. The idea is that in this Golden Age the gods living on Earth (humankind of the highest order) were so endowed by a “purity of heart, justice, wisdom” that this overcoming was simply something natural to them.

The adjective “golden” is in relation to an esoteric application of the properties with which we associate the elemental metal: “incorruptible, solar, luminous and bright”.

“In the Vedic tradition the ‘primordial germ,’ hiraṇya-garbha, was golden; it was also said: ‘For gold indeed is fire, light, and immortality.’

—Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, Chapter 23: ‘The Golden Age’, page 186.

Frequent were also the references in cultures from the Indian, Chinese, Greek to the Aztec about the abode of the gods during this golden age being in a “middle land” of some sort, or an island of bliss. This forgotten or now non-existent place was also said to lay either at a very high place or far to the north.

It is also said by these ancient traditions that this Golden Age will come back because such is the cyclic nature of the universe and everything that exists within it. This does not mean that things will be exactly the same, but that a new reincarnation and revival of the old gods will take place1.

“According to the Eddic myth, immediately following the ragna-rokkr(“the twilight of the gods”) a new race and a new sun will rise; then the Aesir will be brought together again, and they will discover the mysterious golden tablets that they possessed in the time of the origins.”

—Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, Chapter 23: ‘The Golden Age’, page 186.

Evola’s source: Gylfaginning, 52.


1 The simplified popular myths of Christianity’s “Kingdom of God / New Jerusalem” are a gross vulgarization and misinterpretation of the esoteric messages behind much older and complex traditions. This is precisely the root of the failure of Christianity: it’s cutting away from esoteric truths and its eventual floating around towards fantastical dogmatism. Curiously, as Catholics priest became more “involved”, they started to imbue themselves with Qabalistic notions. Christianity did a good job destroying the variety and depth of knowledge that existed before, doing as much as it could to destroy the Greek tradition, and now it turns to the only thing that survived as a living esoteric tradition: Jewish mysticism. Ironic, perhaps… though some would differ.

The Doctrine of the Four Ages (RATMW 22)

⊕ REVOLT AGAINST THE MODERN WORLD ⊕

Chapter 22

The Doctrine of the Four Ages

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In the second part of his magnum opus, Julius Evola takes us on a first step towards understanding the blunders of academia and the concepts that the ancient world had about the development of humankind. Many traditional civilizations seemed to have variations on a myth which saw humankind as going through four or five (differences are in the details and do not seem to contradict each other) in which there was a clear descent from a divine origin to a more materialistic and quarrelsome one. This was a descent from a state of grace and order to one of increasing chaos and deception.

One key aspect that should be highlighted here is that every one of these myths made it clear that when divinity walked on Earth, it existed in parallel with inferior races. That is, more primitive and animal-like races were not believed to have descended from higher beings. These higher beings were rather the fathers and initiators of cultures through the traditions of a higher caste 1.

“As far as the development of science is concerned, we are blinded by a gross misunderstanding; that is, to assume a judgemental attitude toward those times in which men saw effects in the causes, on the basis of times in which men with effort ascended from the effects to the causes; in which people only care about effects; in which it is said that it is useless to be concerned about causes; and in which people have forgotten what a cause really means.”
—J. de Maistre, Soires de St. Petersburg (Paris, 1924), 1.63.
Quoted by Julius Evola in Chapter 22 of Revolt Against the Modern World on page 182

Tikal was abandoned towards the end of the 9th century A.D.

The predominant ideas in these myths is also that knowledge is not built up from the ground by collecting very partial and inconclusive parts as modern science does, but rather received from above in a holistic manner that saw universal connections.

“A very different science, which originated from above and was therefore very dangerous. This explains why in the beginning science was always mysterious and confined to the temples, in which it eventually became extinct when the only thing this ‘flame’ could do was to burn.”
Ibid.

There are references to more esoteric and mystic interpretations that are held by deeper and more spiritual studies, but Evola makes a very wise decision in avoiding going into those recesses and focusing on a wider and more profane audience. In keeping things ‘sober’ for the reader, Evola’s main point remains around the idea of decay and the pointing out of the direction which knowledge and the methodology humankind uses to explore the universe have taken in the modern world.

“In any event one must realize that these and similar indications will play a minimal role for those who are not determined to change their own frame of mind. Every epoch has its own ‘myth’ through which it reflects a given collective climate. Today the aristocratic idea that mankind has higher origins, namely, a past of light and of spirit, has been replaced by the democractic idea of evolutionism, which derives the higher from the lower, man from animal, civilization from barbarism. This is not so much the ‘objective’ result of a free and conscious scientific inquiry, but rather one of the many reflections that the advent of the modern world, characterized by inferior social and spiritual strata and by man without traditions, has necessarily produced on the intellectual and cultural plane. Thus we should not delude ourselves: some ‘positive’ superstitions will always produce alibis to defend themselves.”
—Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, Chapter 22: ‘The Doctrine of the Four Ages’


1 This leads us to the clarification of a big misunderstanding regarding the Maya. The Maya of the great classical cities (Copan, Tikal, etc., most located in Guatemala), who were the descendants of the originators of their great lore and high knowledge, died out long ago. These, as a peak, were the ones who brought about the death of their own culture and lineage. When the Spanish arrived, all that was left of the Mayas was a corrupt and reduced aristocracy, and inferior castes that held on to a totemic cult that can still be seen in Guatemala today. Nothing remains of the solar aristocratic tradition whose peoples brought knowledge, built temples and communicated with the (higher) divine.

Modern "Mayas" in Guatemala. Only in name, not in Tradition.

Modern “Maya” in Guatemala; Maya in name, but not in Tradition.