What Would Evola Do?John Morgan
The follow is the text of the talk that Counter-Currents editor John Morgan delivered to The New York Forum on Saturday.
Tonight I thought I’d talk about Julius Evola, since yesterday (May 19) was his 119th birthday, and I have overseen the publication of many of Evola’s texts in English. Evola’s the sort of figure who people seem to either love or hate, although he’s someone more often referenced than actually read on the Right, which is unfortunate. And really, in order to appreciate Evola, you need to be willing to step back from the everyday world and look at just about everything from the exact opposite perspective that we’re conditioned to look at them these days, and that’s not easy for most people. So in that sense, Evola most definitely isn’t a thinker for everyone. And to be fair, he made it clear in his work that he wasn’t interested in addressing himself to the masses. He wanted to speak to the spiritual elite which he believed was the real driving force behind culture and history. So from a modern perspective, the sort of ideas that Evola propagated are about as far removed from our present-day reality as possible, and yet I think he remains relevant to us, as I’ll get into later. Certainly, the mainstream media thinks Evola is relevant. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the article The New York Times ran in February, which tried to suggest that Steve Bannon is supposedly some sort of disciple of Evola, and which resulted in my inbox becoming clogged with messages from people sending me the link and asking, “Did you see this?”
I have to address this briefly, as it became the source of a lot of annoying rumors. As much as I would like to believe that the White House Chief of Staff is an Evolian, an objective look at the facts quickly dispels this idea. It’s true that Bannon mentioned Evola once in passing in a talk he gave to the Vatican in 2014 where he was speaking about “the global tea party movement,” but to read any significance into it is really making a mountain out of a molehill. Here is everything Bannon has ever said about Evola publicly:
When Vladimir Putin, when you really look at some of the underpinnings of some of his beliefs today, a lot of those come from what I call Eurasianism; he’s got an advisor [Alexander Dugin] who hearkens back to Julius Evola and different writers of the early twentieth century who are really the supporters of what’s called the traditionalist movement, which really eventually metastasized into Italian Fascism. A lot of people that are traditionalists are attracted to that.
All this proves is that Bannon has heard of Evola. It no more indicates that Bannon is a traditionalist than Obama referencing Mao in passing means that he is a Maoist. And it isn’t even an accurate statement, since it certainly can’t be said that traditionalism led to Fascism, as it didn’t even exist prior to the advent of Fascism in Italy in 1922, so clearly Bannon doesn’t even have a good understanding of it, nor is he speaking of it favorably.
Bannon went on to say:
One of the reasons is that they [the traditionalists] believe that at least Putin is standing up for traditional institutions, and he’s trying to do it in a form of nationalism – and I think that people, particularly in certain countries, want to see the sovereignty for their country, they want to see nationalism for their country. . . I’m not justifying Vladimir Putin and the kleptocracy that he represents, because he eventually is the state capitalist of kleptocracy. However, we, the Judeo-Christian West, really have to look at what he’s talking about as far as traditionalism goes – particularly the sense of where it supports the underpinnings of nationalism – and I happen to think that the individual sovereignty of a country is a good thing and a strong thing.
What he said is a bit confusing, since he’s equating Evola and traditionalism with Fascism, and then in turn with Putin, which is pretty ridiculous in itself, but it seems that what he means by “tradition” is “family values” and conservative canards of that sort which wax lyrical about the wonders of the 1950s or the nineteenth century (or I guess these days even the 1980s, which, as an American in his 40s who lived through Reagan’s America, is still baffling to me). What Evola meant by capital-T Tradition was something very different from the lower case-t traditions so beloved by conservatives, but I’ll get into that later.
So really, given that this is the sole reference to Evola that Bannon has ever made, while he is most likely the first major American political figure who has even heard of Evola, it’s nevertheless pretty clear that Evola doesn’t have any real significance for him, and still less for Trump. All it really demonstrates are the failing standards of journalism in America and the increasing stupidity of the Left. It’s just yet another attempt by them to try to link Trump’s administration to fascism. On the plus side, it did have the interesting effect of sending Evola’s main work, Revolt Against the Modern World, to the number one spot in Amazon’s “New Age” category for a couple of months. Although I don’t want to sound as if I’m belittling Bannon, since he does have some fascinating interests, including one report I read which claimed that Bannon has studied the Hindu Bhagavad Gita and cited it on occasion – something which Evola would certainly have approved of.
But before I get into what Evola has to tell us today, I want to tell a bit about his background. Evola never wrote much about himself, but he did pass on a few things, and scholars have pieced together some of the rest. He was born in 1898 as Giulio Evola in Rome, where he was to live for his entire life, but as an adult he assumed the ancient Roman form of his name, Julius. He’s often referred to as “Baron” Evola, although as far as has been determined, he held no actual title and never used one himself, and thus it seems to be an honorific bestowed by his admirers in reference to his aristocratic origins – Evola’s family originally came from the Sicilian nobility.
He studied engineering at university, although he refused to take a degree since he considered doing so too bourgeois – which is the exact opposite of the attitude of most American university students today, where they’d be happy to forego all the studying and just get the degree. By then, the First World War had broken out, and Evola served as an artillery officer in the Italian army. He didn’t stick with engineering, however, and after the war he soon became the leading exponent of the Dadaist avant-garde art movement in Italy. In fact, I don’t know if this is still the case, but I have heard that at least at one time, one of Evola’s paintings used to be on display in the entrance hall of the Modern Art Museum in Rome.
Not much is known about Evola during this period, but he sometimes hinted at having led a rather bohemian existence. He did write about taking psychedelic drugs at this time, which was one of the experiences which led him to take an interest in mysticism. We also know that he was friends with the Russian Satanist and occultist Maria de Naglowska, who wrote a series of books on sex magick, some of which Evola wrote introductions for – so read what you want into that. Evola was also an avid mountain climber.
The 1920s saw Evola pass through several phases which ended with him coming around to the traditionalist perspective that would remain more or less the same for the rest of his life. He found the nihilism inherent in avant-garde circles untenable, and soon became interested in the Idealist philosophical tradition. It was here that he first encountered the idea that the world which we experience through our senses isn’t the “real” world, something which is also a fundamental teaching of many of the ancient religious and mystical traditions. He also developed the idea of what he termed the “Absolute Individual,” and he called the system of thought surrounding it “Magical Idealism.” Already drawing on Asian sacred doctrines, Evola identified the Absolute Individual with certain Taoist notions, in that the Absolute Individual is a type of man who frees himself from the limitations of the individual ego and attains a transcendent, impersonal perspective akin to what is usually attributed to the gods. He wrote several large books on this theme, which were his first publications.
Evola ultimately found Western philosophy too narrow, however, and before long he became much more interested in occult and religious doctrines, especially, but not only, those of the East. In 1927, Evola was one of the founding members of the UR Group, which many scholars and practitioners have agreed was one of the most serious attempts to study and practice occult techniques anywhere in modern times. Evola’s involvement was short-lived, however, and he left the group the following year.
The 1920s were also, of course, the time when Mussolini and the Fascists took power in Italy. Evola greeted the rise of the Fascists favorably. Early on, the Italian Fascists were strongly Nietzschean and hostile to Christianity, as was Evola himself, as he considered Christianity to be a foreign, weak, Judaic element that had imposed itself on essentially pagan and imperial Europe, and he believed that the egalitarianism and universalism of Christianity’s teachings opened the door for liberalism and Communism. This argument is not unique to Evola, and I’m sure many of you have heard it reiterated elsewhere.
By the late 1920s, however, Mussolini recognized that he needed to reconcile with the Catholic Church if he was going to retain power. Alarmed by this development, Evola published perhaps his most controversial book, Pagan Imperialism, where he called for Fascist Italy to reject Christianity and return to its roots in the ancient traditions of the Roman Empire. The book didn’t have the desired effect, however, as Mussolini signed a pact with the Vatican in 1929, which among other things established it as an independent state. In addition to the book being blacklisted by the Vatican, Evola also earned himself a lot of enemies, including many prominent people within the Fascist Party itself, and for years he only went out in public accompanied by bodyguards. Evola regretted this book in later years, not because of the backlash against it but because he felt that the ideas he had expressed in it weren’t yet mature enough. While Evola always considered Christianity to be something inappropriate for Europeans, his stance on it softened, and in later years it’s clear from his writings that while it wasn’t his ideal, he recognized that a Christian Europe was far preferable to a secular or a Communist one.
By the end of the 1920s, Evola had also discovered the thinker who was to have a more decisive influence on his life than any other: René Guénon. Guénon was a French metaphysician who was, from the standpoint of religious studies, very possibly the most important thinker of the twentieth century. He wrote dozens of books describing the worldview that he saw as being common to all the world’s religious and esoteric traditions, and cataloguing and explaining their sacred symbols.
Guénon decried all forms of progressivism, and upheld the teachings found in many of the world’s religious traditions which teach that, contrary to the modern view, civilizations begin in a state of perfection and then gradually decay into degeneracy, and that the forms of technical and scientific progress that modern man is so proud of are in fact mere illusions, and that while he gains greater power over the material world, man is in fact becoming weaker and sicker in a physical and spiritual sense.
Another of Guénon’s crucial insights was the idea of Tradition. This idea of Tradition holds that at the core of all the world’s religious and mystical traditions, there is a single metaphysical reality which reveals itself to men at certain crucial points in time, and that it assumes different outward forms depending on the place and time that it manifests itself and solidifies as religion. This may sound suspiciously New-Agey, but Guénon was quite strict on the fact that he did not believe that one could combine several different traditions into one, but had to accept each on its own terms as a metaphysical whole, and also he believed that esoteric knowledge could only be conveyed by properly initiated authorities, and as a result he rejected all of what we would call “New Age” thought as subversive and counter-traditional.
As I mentioned before, it’s important to distinguish between Tradition and tradition in the usual sense. A tradition, as in for example giving gifts to loved ones at Christmas, might be a positive form of cultural continuity, and it might even be connected to the metaphysical in some way (in this case, to the celebration of a holy day), but these lesser traditions form the outermost layer of tradition, and can change with time, whereas the core of Tradition is eternal and unchanging throughout time.
The last important element of Guénon’s worldview that is important to mention is the cycle of ages. All the ancient civilizations, including both the Nordic and Greco-Roman traditions, had a sense of time as occurring in a sequence that begins with a Golden Age, and then passes through a series of gradually declining ages until it reaches a final age of darkness after which everything is destroyed, and then the entire cycle repeats itself. Guénon and Evola, consistently with most other modern spiritual figures, identified the age we are living in now as the final age, or Kali Yuga, as it is called in both Hinduism and Buddhism. In the ancient Scandinavian religion, the equivalent age was the Wolf Age. Lest this seems like just some metaphysical mumbo-jumbo, let me quote a few examples from the Hindu scriptures that describe the characteristics of Kali Yuga:
In Kali Yuga, wealth alone will be considered the sign of a man’s good birth, proper behavior, and fine qualities. And law and justice will be applied only on the basis of one’s power.
Men and women will live together merely because of superficial attraction, and success in business will depend on deceit. Womanliness and manliness will be judged according to one’s expertise in sex.
A person’s propriety will be seriously questioned if he does not earn a good living. And one who is very clever at juggling words will be considered a learned scholar.
He who can maintain a family will be regarded as an expert man, and the principles of religion will be observed only for the sake of reputation.
Cities will be dominated by thieves, the Vedas will be contaminated by speculative interpretations of atheists, political leaders will virtually consume the citizens, and the so-called priests and intellectuals will be devotees of their bellies and genitals.
When irreligion becomes prominent in the family, the women of the family become corrupt, and from the degradation of womanhood comes unwanted population.
These are just a few of many such examples. Whatever one thinks of Hinduism as a religion, this description certainly seems uncannily accurate in our present world.
To get back to Evola, he quickly came to see Guénon as the definitive scholar of esotericism, and many of Guénon’s basic ideas were to form the basis of Evola’s work for the rest of his life. He was no uncritical disciple, however, and there were significant differences in their respective approaches to Tradition. Evola, for instance, identified the Primordial Tradition from which all the other religions later emerged as being the same thing as the Hyperborean, Aryan, masculine, and solar tradition, and saw later religions, especially the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as lunar, feminine, degenerated forms of it. He still believed that they were legitimate vehicles for esoteric knowledge, but that they were lesser forms of religion than, for example, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, or the pre-Christian religions of Europe. By the same token, Evola was not a neo-pagan. While he respected the pagan European religions and frequently referenced them in his work, he thought their time had passed and that there was no meaningful way to resurrect them in the modern world – in fact, he thought that people who try to bring them back were actually counter-traditional.
But while Evola saw religion as the key to overcoming the problems of the modern world, he didn’t understand it in the sense of going to church on Sundays or following the Ten Commandments. He thought that those outer forms of religion were necessary for the normies, but Evola’s interest was always in the spiritual elite, and the aspects of religion that most interested him were those that could be used to overcome the self and to increase one’s power to a godlike state – essentially the same as the goal of the Absolute Individual that he had written about earlier, but relying on the practices of the mystics and ascetics of the ancient religions. And while the idea of aiming at becoming a god may sound crazy to modern ears, I should point out that many of the pre-Christian religious texts maintain that such a thing is indeed possible for a very few superior, self-realized individuals.
I’ve scarcely done justice to Evola’s esoteric thought, but it’s so massive and complex that there’s no way I can give a comprehensive overview of it in the time I have tonight. Those who are interested in learning more about it should consult Evola’s books on the subject – most of the major ones have already been translated – and especially his main work, Revolt Against the Modern World, where he really outlines his entire worldview. The Path of Cinnabar, his autobiography, also gives a good overview of his ideas.
Introducing Evola’s concept of Tradition, however, is necessary for understanding his relationship with politics, which is what I want to talk about now. As I said, Evola was on the outs with the Fascists after he published Pagan Imperialism. But Evola saw Fascism – not just Italian Fascism, but all the fascist movements of Europe – not as something Traditional in the true sense, since fascism by its very nature was something very modern and revolutionary, but at least as something which preserved certain elements of the traditional world, and which could possibly serve as a bridge toward an eventual restoration of Tradition. For Evola, Tradition could only be maintained in a civilization which had a legitimate hierarchy, in which the priesthood and the warrior class stood in a privileged position over the lower classes. To a Traditionalist, the only legitimate form of government can be a monarch and a nobility ruling in tandem with a priesthood, since, as all sacred traditions have held, the King acts as the bridge between the spiritual and the material worlds. This is necessary so that these upper castes can act as the guardians of Tradition and make sure that the society as a whole continues to be guided by it.
In a time when Europe was torn between Communism on one side and liberal democracy on the other, it was clear to Evola that fascism was by far the best alternative. To Evola, Communism and democracy, especially as represented by the United States, were just two sides of the same coin, since both civilizations have equality as their goal and both allow no place for the sacred to enter into politics. He also saw Fascism as flawed, especially in its socialist aspects – Evola had no tolerance for any form of socialism, whether nationalist or internationalist – but he nevertheless believed that it had the potential to become something better, especially if it were to become guided by Traditional principles.
Evola had no illusions that he could convert the entire Fascist movement into a Traditionalist one, but he did hope that he might be able to help to forge a Traditionalist elite within the Party by influencing some of its intellectuals and leaders. And indeed, Evola did succeed in winning friends among the Fascist elite who were receptive to his message, and in the 1930s Evola was able to begin publishing articles in some of the official Fascist newspapers and journals. He never joined the Fascist Party, however, and in fact referred to his standpoint as “supra-fascist”: transcending what Fascism was already offering. A quote which seems to encapsulate Evola’s attitude toward Fascism is, “To the extent that Fascism follows and defends our principles, so far can we consider ourselves Fascists. So far and no further.” (A quote which I’ve paraphrased to describe my own attitude toward both Trump and the Alt Right.)
Evola didn’t limit himself to Italy, and he forged contacts with fascist and nationalist movements all over Europe during the 1930s. He held Romania’s Iron Guard and its leader, Corneliu Codreanu, in particularly high esteem, respecting them for combining Romanian Orthodox mysticism and rites with their political activities. He also had many contacts among the radical Right in Germany, although during the 1930s the National Socialists kept their distance from him, as they were suspicious of his aristocratic ties (the Nazis saw the old German aristocracy and the Kaiser as an obstacle to their own revolutionary aims). And in fact, Evola didn’t think very highly of the Nazis, either. If you read what he wrote about them, especially in his post-war book, Notes on the Third Reich, he doesn’t have much good to say about them, apart from admitting that the milieu they emerged from in the 1920s had had potential, and that he had respect for the SS for being an order along the lines of what he had desired to see in Italy. But the Third Reich itself he faulted for being too populist and bourgeois, and he disliked the Nazis’ scientific, dogmatic approach to race and their obsession with racial purity. If you compare what he says about the Nazis with his book on Italian Fascism, Fascism Viewed from the Right, it’s quite clear that he believed that Fascism was the more dynamic and less reactionary of the two movements, and he appreciated the fact that Italy had retained its monarchy, whilst Germany was led only by a “bohemian Corporal,” to quote von Hindenburg.
The early 1940s saw the pinnacle of Evola’s involvement with Italian Fascism when he published a book called Synthesis of a Doctrine of Race. In this book, Evola outlined his idea of the various races of humanity as being like Platonic ideal types, and held that character was as important as biological factors in determining one’s racial essence. While Evola by no means discounted the importance of biology – this is something that his critics often get wrong – he did believe that it was possible for someone of purely Aryan blood to exhibit characteristics one usually finds among Jews or blacks, and that the converse was possible as well. Mussolini himself read the book and was very impressed with it, as he had been looking for a form of racial ideology which Fascism could adopt that would be distinct from Nazi race theory. He invited Evola for a meeting and tasked him with helping to develop a uniquely Fascist form of racialism.
Evola’s involvement with Fascism was cut short in July 1943, when Mussolini was overthrown by his own Fascist Grand Council after the Allies invaded the southern tip of Italy. Evola travelled to Germany and joined with those Fascist leaders who sought to reconstitute a new Fascist state in northern Italy, plans which came to fruition when Mussolini was rescued from prison by Otto Skorzeny in September. Evola was present at Hitler’s headquarters with other Italian leaders when Mussolini was brought there, and he assisted in setting up what became known as the Italian Social Republic. Evola returned to Rome and remained there until it was occupied by the Allies in June 1944. According to Evola’s diary, secret service men came to his mother’s door looking for him, and his mother delayed the men while Evola escaped out the back and then travelled north.
Evola found the Italian Social Republic disappointing, as it was even more strongly socialist in nature than Fascism’s original incarnation. But by this time, in the aftermath of their defeat in Russia and the imminent invasion of the Reich itself by the Allies, the National Socialists in Germany were becoming a lot less strict about picking their allies. Some researchers have claimed that Evola, acting on the Germans’ behalf, made use of his many contacts in the fascist and nationalist groups across Europe to keep many of them engaged in the war. We also know that in 1944, the SS brought Evola to Vienna, where they had archived the many esoteric and Masonic texts they had confiscated during their sweep across Europe. Evola was tasked with cataloging the materials and determining exactly what it was they had. And this was the work that Evola was engaged in during late 1944 and early 1945, while Allied bombers streaked overhead. Evola relates how, during this period, he “tested his fate” by going on solitary walks through the city during air raids, when everyone else was cowering in shelters. And on March 12, 1945, a Russian bomb exploded near Evola on one of these walks, injuring his spine, and he was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
After the war, Evola never again engaged with practical politics in any way, but he remained unapologetic for his views on Fascism and National Socialism, and even in his post-war writings he always restated that they had been superior to anything in our contemporary world. He also became something of a guru to the various Right-wing and neo-fascist groups which emerged in Italy in the first three decades after the war. Indeed, in 1951 he was charged with conspiring to revive Fascism. He was ultimately acquitted of the charges, and as part of his defense, he said, “My principles are only those which were accepted and seen as normal by every well-born person everywhere in the world prior to 1789.”
Although he remained on friendly terms with political activists, it seems that Evola himself gave up on the idea of a political solution to the problems of our age after 1945. His advice, as he offered in post-war writings such as his book Men Among the Ruins, was to establish orders of elite individuals who could preserve Traditional principles and pass them down through a chain of initiations until an age would return in which their seeds could again bear fruit. But Evola had no interest in the democratic party politics of our age.
Evola continued to write after the war, but his life otherwise remained unremarkable due to the constraints of his injury. He died at his apartment in Rome on June 11, 1974. But he had already left his mark on the Italian political scene. The leader of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement, Giorgio Almirante, famously remarked of Evola that he was “our Marcuse, only better.”
So what does Evola have to say to us today? Would he tell us to vote for Trump or Le Pen? Would he tell us to build bombs and blow up the local shopping mall? Would he tell us to find a cave in a mountain somewhere and meditate for the rest of our lives?
Evola never developed anything like a political program or a plan of action, so in that sense I don’t think he has anything to offer. Evola always addressed the individual who has higher aspirations. So where I think he has value is in helping a Right-inclined individual to cope with living in a liberal, degenerate age.
First of all, I would say that, regardless of what one thinks of the heavy-duty metaphysics underlying his ideas, the concept of Tradition is a valuable one regardless. In our time, when politics is getting pettier than it has ever been before, I think it’s important that we keep in mind that our final goal is not simply ending immigration or voting out the liberals. Ultimately, we stand for a set of principles that have guided our civilization from its origins and that stand above everyday politics. Even if we could send out all of the non-whites from America and Europe tomorrow, the rot that is afflicting all of our minds and souls would still be there. We have to try to put ourselves in the mindset of our ancestors and what made them great. Our approaches might change, but the principles we stand for are timeless. When I’ve tried to think about what it is that most fundamentally distinguishes the various and sundry strands of the Right from the liberals, what it ultimately comes down to is that we believe that there is an essential meaning to things. There is something essential in being an American or a German or an Italian, and that’s why not just anyone can become one, just as there is something essential in being a man or a woman . . . and similarly, there is an essential difference between being a white person engaged in the life of your civilization as opposed to being a pop culture, fast food junkie sleepwalking through history who happens to have white skin.
Second, Evola was certainly hostile to political movements that relied on the masses rather than an elite, and even Fascism was woefully inadequate for him, which means that he no doubt wouldn’t have thought very highly of the populism of our time. But rather than being a dogmatist, I think Evola is just being realistic here. I’ve been involved with the Right in some capacity for about twenty years now, and there’s an ever-growing list of saviors that the Right has latched onto, developed unrealistic expectations for, and then become disillusioned with. Twenty years ago there was Jörg Haider. Ten years ago there was Ron Paul. Three years ago there was Putin. Last year, of course, we had Trump. I don’t mean to suggest that these people aren’t worth supporting or that there is no difference between them and their opponents. Nevertheless, we have to bear in mind that none of these people are Rightists in the true sense, and could not act as true Rightists even if they wanted to be, so any support we give to them or people like them is simply to choose the least bad option, not a good option. The system as it is currently constituted will never allow a candidate with genuine Right-wing principles to attain real power. This is something that Evola recognized and why he held himself aloof from the endless games and maneuverings and compromises of party politics, and this is why we should try not to pin our hopes and dreams to any of democracy’s shooting stars, but recognize that we’ve got to keep working in the shadows regardless of whatever’s happening on stage.
And lastly, the idea that we are living in Kali Yuga and that everything is inevitably doomed to collapse may seem like quite a black pill. But as I said before, I think it does accurately describe our situation. And also I think some people who claim to be Traditionalists tend to be too pessimistic when it comes to this, and actually overlook what Evola actually said about the possibilities of our time. In later life, Evola advocated for what he terms apoliteia, by which he meant disengagement from political affairs. But if you really examine what he says on the subject, he never advised that one shouldn’t become involved in politics. Rather, what he meant is that one shouldn’t become attached to whatever result might come from such activities. In this, again, Evola is being consistent with what many of the sacred texts have to say on this. So in other words, sure, get involved with a political party or join the military or vote for Trump or whatever, but do so because it helps you to attain the goals that you set for yourself rather than because you have staked everything on its success and will be shattered if it fails. In Kali Yuga, political restoration may not be possible, but the opportunity still remains for the individual to triumph over modernity in his own way. Besides which, the fact that we may lose the battle doesn’t mean that we are absolved of the responsibility of fighting it and standing for what is true.
The best illustration of this that I know of comes from the Bhagavad Gita. At the opening, a Prince, Arjuna, is preparing to fight a battle against an opposing army. Although he knows his cause is just, he hates war, and knows that there are members of his own family on the other side who he may have to kill in order to win. The god Krishna is acting as his advisor. Just before the battle, Arjuna loses his resolve, and tells Krishna that he will put down his weapons and go into the forest to meditate instead of fighting. Krishna basically says to him, “Stop being such a pussy! You’re a kshatriya (the Hindu warrior caste)! It’s your job to do your duty and fight for justice. Meditating in the forest is for brahmanas (priests).” The rest of the Gita is Krishna explaining the entire metaphysics of existence, and Arjuna’s place in it, and at the end, of course Arjuna does his duty.
And that’s how I see those of us here tonight. In spite of the million other things you could have been doing in this enormous and hyperactive city tonight, you decided to come here and meet with a group of some of the most hated people in America to listen to a lecture on Julius Evola. That clearly indicates that there’s something in you that has decided that there are more important things than just doing what everyone else expects you to do. So really, we’re already creating the “order” that Evola called for in order to preserve Tradition in the face of degeneracy. So let’s not despair about the latest headlines, but keep our heads up in the knowledge that, whatever happens, we are the ones who stand for what is timeless, and our day of victory will come, whether it is tomorrow or a thousand years from now.
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Remembering Julius Evola (May 19, 1898–June 11, 1974)
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Ce qui est vraiment en jeu en Ukraine
Brilliant! Wish I could have been there!
“Even if we could send out all of the non-whites from America and Europe tomorrow, the rot that is afflicting all of our minds and souls would still be there. We have to try to put ourselves in the mindset of our ancestors and what made them great. Our approaches might change, but the principles we stand for are timeless.”
So long as such ideas as these propel us, this contemporary society will not be irredeemable. A very fine speech indeed.
“To the extent that Fascism follows and defends our principles, so far can we consider ourselves Fascists. So far and no further.” (A quote which I’ve paraphrased to describe my own attitude toward both Trump and the Alt Right.)”
This helped me ruminate on a lot of ideas I’ve had lately, so thank you for this speech. As well, it is time for me to delve more into Evola. Fantastic speech with the closing that tied up the general talk, would love to attend the next New York Forum (or those in the US-NE). Best
Very useful overview and summary of Evola’s development and ideas. This makes it clear the influence he and his ideas have had (whether directly or not) on someone like Guillaume Faye, who can in fact be seen as a kind of inheritor of Evola or someone who took the torch from him and carries it on.
There is a facet of Evola that bothers me, call it almost Trotskyite, in that there is a sense of “the Master in Exile”: if only you fools would listen to me (and make me king) all would be fine. To use Vox Day’s vocabulary, among this self-described esoteric elite, there is a whiff of the “Secret King”, i.e. the Gamma male, who overestimates his own ability and radically underestimates the difficulty of application in the real world. Perhaps I am being unfair to Evola or mischaracterizing him, but there is a fine line between holding oneself and the world to high standards, and holding them to impossible standards that tend to justify one’s own (never tested and essentially untestable) greatness.
Guenon’s thought — which has similar aspects to a Rousseuian “noble savage” view of the world — also strikes me as echoed in Ted Kacnyski’s “Industrial Society and Its Future”. To the extent there is such a similarity or correspondence, it clarifies for me why Guenon (and Evola?) has always struck me as a kind of negative or pessimistic idealist, who is a danger to the actual fulfillment of Western man’s potential. Faye, in my view, has broken free of that negativity, and presents a far more uplifting vision, even while preserving the potentially dark and self-undoing Faustian / Odinic elements of Western man that cannot be wished away. Faye is not “optimistic” but he is inspiring. I’m not sure one can derive such inspiration from a Guenon or even an Evola.
Guillaume Faye expressed his position on Julius Evola and Evolianism in the article linked below:
From memory, I believe that the Italian revolutionary nationalist Gabriele Adinolfi takes a broadly similar position in his book Pensées corsaires: he expresses a high regard for Evola’s thought, but he’s also highly critical of Evolians in general. In a recent article, Adinolfi remarks that Evola “has been an alibi for a number of sluggards, cowards, and losers who have found refuge in his stoic pessimism without asking themselves what he really meant.”
Of course, it could be argued that Evola’s thought is inherently impractical, and that the distinction between the good Evola and the bad Evolians is a specious and self-serving one, an alibi for those who regard themselves as good Evolians. This distinction would allow such Evolians to take a view analogous to that of G. K. Chesterton on Christianity: “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”
Thanks very much for the referal to the Faye article, which I had never read. It’s gratifying to know that my own instinctual response was in sympathy with Faye’s own analysis. (And I take Greg’s point that Faye was critizising Evolians not Evola, but the fact is the currents of thought Evola’s followers find in the work is there.)
Faye truly is a genius. He criticism in that article was spot on, extremely penetrating essay.
If one repatriates all non whites tomorrow or after tomorrow the ot fife ting our minds and soul would have been purged. To disassociate from the influence and degeneracy that such association implies it will mean that a catharsis has taken place within the minds and souls. A complete paradigm shift , overcoming the present chains that chains the essence of being what it should be.
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