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Akhnaton on Racial Diversity

foreigners [1]

Faience tiles from the palace of Rameses III at Medinet Habu near Thebes: foreign captives (left to right: Libyan, Nubian, Syrian, Shasu Bedouin, and Hittite), 20th dynasty, 12th century BCE.

595 words

[A]lthough nothing even hints at the existence of a code of ethics attached to the Religion of the Disk, in the amount of evidence yet unearthed, there are, in his Longer Hymn to the Sun, three remarkable lines which express, more eloquently perhaps than any others, the young king’s idea of man—three lines which have not attracted, as far as I know, the special attention of any archaeologists: “Thou hast put every man in his place. Thou framest their lives. Thou givest everyone his belongings, reckoning his length of days. Thou hast made them different in form, in the colour of their skins, and in speech. As a Divider, Thou dividest the foreign people [from one another].”

These words clearly show that, far from putting “all men” on the same level, Akhnaton stressed the differences between one human race and another as an expression of that Will of the Sun that has moulded the world or, in modern speech, as a result of the fact that man, like the rest of creatures of this earth, is a “solar product,” owing his very being to a combination of definite bio-physical conditions. He states here without ambiguity that all features that differentiate one people from another—features among which the racial ones: form and colour, are not only all-important but fundamental: the first ones mentioned—are the Sun’s work:—“As a Divider, Thou hast divided the foreign people . . .”—which logically implies that those differentiating qualities should be taken into account in human legislation, if one is to have a world in which men “live in Truth.” The existence of different—unequal—human races comes within the pattern of the eternal order; has to be, according to the finality which lies, as a guiding principle, within the play of the immanent Creative Power: the “Heat-and-Light-within-the-Disk.” One is not to mix or to forward the mixture of that which the Creative Power has divided—nor, in any way, to hide or suppress the signs of division.

There is, here, of course, no question of struggle between races. There cannot be, in the mind of a man who is entirely “above Time”; who lives, in spirit, in a Golden Age, where all violence, nay, all conflict, is out of place. There is merely the idea of harmony between the different races, every one of which has its place and purpose, its part to play in the universal concert, and should remain different in order to play it perfectly. There is a stress upon differences and division, which logically suggests that men have neither all the same rights nor all the same duties. And this is perhaps the ultimate reason why the ideal of “life in Truth”—life according to one’s place and purpose in the natural hierarchy of beings—cannot be made explicit in any universal list of concrete “do”s and “don’t”s, such as modern Christian critics of the Religion of the Disk would have liked to have found. All one can say is that to “sin” is to lie; to deny the eternal Order of things which are, independently of man, by refusing to live according to it; to say “no” to the Will of the Sun.

Excerpt from chapter 9 of Savitri Devi, The Lightning and the Sun [2], 3rd edition, complete and unabridged, ed. R. G. Fowler (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2013). The title was provided by the editor, R. G. Fowler.