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jeudi, 04 juin 2015

The Question of Race in Spengler & its Meaning for Contemporary Racialism


The Question of Race in Spengler & its Meaning for Contemporary Racialism

Picture, above: Michael Kunze, Oswald Spengler


It is a tradition at Counter-Currents to remember the great German philosopher of history, Oswald Spengler, on the anniversary of his birth, the 29th of May. This year, I would like to take the time to critically reflect on Spengler’s views of race within his magnum opus, The Decline of the West (1918–22), and, in particular to discuss the importance these ideas hold for modern day racialists and ethno-nationalists. 

Some of these issues were touched on by Greg Johnson in his 2010 essay, “Is Racial Purism Decadent? [2],” and my arguments here are largely in response to some of the questions he poses therein. In brief, my intent with this piece is to (1) provide a brief overview of Spengler’s racial doctrine, (2) illustrate the disjunctions existing between the Spenglerian conception of “race” and materialistic ones, and (3) to explore what the Spengler being correct on the question of race means for those currently involved in the various shades of racial preservationism common among Counter-Currents’ readership.

When discussing “race,” it is common parlance among racial preservationists to adopt usages of the term derived from the great physical anthropologists and anthropometrists of the early 20th century. It is in works such as Carleton S. Coon’s The Races of Europe (1939) or Bertil Lundman’s Nordens Rastyper (1940), that the highly developed and nuanced models of the different human races are exemplified. And, it is from works such as these that contemporary discourses on race within preservationist circles find their genealogical root. Primary examples of this can be seen in the wide selection of early-twentieth century literature hosted on the website of the Society for Nordish Physical Anthropology (SNPA)[1]—an organization “founded in January 1999 […] by three university students” with the goals of reviving the theories of “the nature and phylogeny of human biodiversity” which dominated academia “prior to 1950.”[2] The SNPA’s website is presently hosted by a racial preservationist web forum, The Apricity, one of whose most active sub-forums is devoted to classifying both forum members and celebrities according to the racial typologies such as Lundman’s or Coon’s.[3] The deep relationship between pre-1950 physical anthropology and contemporary racialist discourse is hardly unique to The Apricity, and can be found throughout racialist websites and forums.

This biological view of race—focusing both on the phenotypical and genotypical variations both within and without Europe—is, however, quite far from what Spengler means when uttering the word “race.” While he does not deny that there is a biological dimension to race, Spengler does not reduce race to biology.[4] Rather, for Spengler, the notion of race was one which included the material, but supervened over it to include psychological and cultural dimensions as well. Later in life, this non-reductionist position would put him at odds with the high-profile members of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (NSDAP), particularly with Alfred Rosenberg, whose racialism bore more in common with Lundman and Coon’s physical anthropology than with Spengler’s anti-materialism.[5] What, however, is meant by an anti-material conception of race? If Spengler did not reduce race to physical characteristics, how did he understand it?

Spenglerian “Race”

In his own words, Spengler defines a race as “the cosmic-plantlike side of life, of Being, [which] is invested with a character of duration.”[6] Race is, he tells us, “determined by the fact that the bodily succession of parents and children, the bond of the blood, forms natural groups, which disclose a definite tendency to take root in a landscape”—with “race” standing in for the “fact of a blood which circles, carried on by procreation, in a narrow or wide landscape.”[7] Prima facie, this definition of the term does not sound too far a cry from those of the physical anthropologists. However, as Spengler develops his thesis within The Decline of the West, his position emerges as one which is far closer to the völkisch landscape mystics of the Bodenbeschaffenheit movement, such as Hermann Keyserling.[8] We see this connection emphasized in the relationship Spengler postulates between race, landscape, language, and culture. In terms of the connection between race and landscape, we see Spengler advocating for a fundamentally formative and governing impact of the latter upon the former:

A race has roots. Race and landscape belong together. Where a plant takes root, there it dies also. There is certainly a sense in which we can, without absurdity, work backwards from a race to its “home,” but it is much more important to realize that the race adheres permanently to this home with some of its most essential characters of body and soul. If in that home the race cannot now be found, this means that the race has ceased to exist. A race does not migrate. Men migrate, and their successive generations are born in ever-changing landscapes; but the landscape exercises a secret force upon the plant-nature in them, and eventually the race-expression is completely transformed by the extinction of the old and the appearance of a new one. Englishmen and Germans did not migrate to America, but human beings migrated thither as Englishmen and Germans, and their descendants are there as Americans.[9]

In this, we see that Spengler’s view on race is such that it can be essentially treated as a function of a specific landscape and place—with individual races being inextricably tied to their geographic birthplaces as peoples.[10] The differences between this conception of racial formation and Darwinian models of evolution are more pronounced when we consider as well that Spengler’s philosophy treated a race not as a collection of related organisms, but rather as a single organism, and that the physical and psychological formation wrought by the landscape was collective rather than individual in nature. This collectivism is seen in the relationship Spengler posits between race and language as well, with the two complementing one another in a way analogous to body and mind in an individual:

In the limit, every race is a single great body, and every language the efficient form of one great waking-consciousness that connects many individual beings. And we shall never reach the ultimate discoveries about either unless they are treated together and constantly brought into comparison with one another.[11]

This relationship between a people’s race and its language, then, is one wherein each necessarily complements one another, with both being fundamentally necessarily to the integral unity of the singular organism. Carrying the metaphorical comparison between the individual and the people further, we see culture emerge from this race-language dyad as the natural expression of the two as they exist in the world. Spengler sees language as essentially two-fold, being divided into talk and speech, with each linguistic mode being proper to one “of the two primary Estates” such that “talk belongs with the castle [the state], and speech to the cathedral [the church].”[12] By means of its expression through these two estates, Spengler sees language as participating in the “waking relation that has Culture, [and] that is Culture.”[13] In this way, culture emerges as the activity of the interaction of the bodily race and mental language of a people with their given landscape.

This conception of mankind which Spengler elucidates is not anti-material in that it denies the material dimensions of race, but is so in that it does not treat a people as being reducible to mere physiological characteristics and differences. For Spengler, the very term “people” is not a simple designation for a group with physical or political or linguistic ties, but is “a unit of the soul,” designating a unified collective spiritual internality shared by all members of the group.[14] For Spengler, this racial soul was expresses most fully through the peoples’ modes of cultural production—namely through the arts. He saw racial virility as being intimately tied to artistic expression, with the development of High Art being “a mark of race,” rather than of learning.[15] He tells us that “the great art by which the Culture finds its tongue is the achievement of race and not that of craft.”[16] In this, Spengler is saying that the art whose expression comes to define a people (e.g. the relationship between Gothic architecture and Western man) is essentially racial in nature, and not a learned skill—insofar as the art itself is the cultural “vocalization” of the race’s experience of the world.[17]

It is with this sense of both the terms “race” and “art” that we can make sense of Spengler’s assertion that “the creators of the Doric temples of South Italy and Sicily, and those of the brick Gothic of North Germany were emphatically race-men, and so too the German musicians from Heinrich Schütz to Johann Sebastian Bach.”[18] For, in this, he is saying that these great artists throughout history exemplified through their works the inner experience of their race, and as such were great men of race. The art of these great men, which forms the core cultural expression of Western man, is for Spengler, thus seen not as the products of artistic education achieved by individuals. Rather, it is a fundamentally racial production, which can no more be separated from the race of the people who birthed it than can that race from its language, nor the race from its landscape. It is through cultural production generally, and through art particularly, that the genius of the race is made manifest—its strength and vitality being translated into forms which supervene over the brute materiality of phenotype and genotype.

Questions of Preservation

If Spengler is correct, what does this mean for contemporary racialists and racial preservationists? To begin, let us examine one of Spengler’s best known statements on the question of racial purity and preservation, from The Hour of Decision (1943):

But in speaking of race, it is not intended in the sense in which it is the fashion among anti-Semites in Europe and America to use it today: Darwinistically, materially. Race purity is a grotesque world in view of the fact that for centuries all stocks and species have been mixed, and that warlike—that is, healthy—generations with a future before them have from time immemorial always welcomed a stranger into the family if he had “race,” to whatever race it was he belonged. Those who talk too much about race no longer have it in them. What is needed is not a pure race, but a strong one, which has a nation within it. This manifests itself above all in self-evident elemental fecundity, in an abundance of children, which historical life can consume without ever exhausting the supply.[19]

In this passage, we see Spengler vehemently rejecting the purity-based racial theories prevalent within the NSDAP. But, what is the nature of this strong rejection? At its root, what we see in Spengler is a sharp contrast between his characterization of (a) the raceless man’s engaging in discourse on race and (b) the man of race’s non-discursive lived experience of race. The former discursive behavior, we see Spengler treat as degenerate and weak—the latter non-discursive behavior, as vital and strong. As Johnson notes, one of the key differences between these two behaviors is the activity’s vector; where “racial consciousness is backwards looking […] the feeling of race is forward-looking.”[20] The former is an after-the-face reflection on the past activities of race men; while the latter is the present experience of the man of race, impelling him to reach new creative heights in the cultural expression of his race.

Spengler would argue, then, that the discursive activities of contemporary racialists and racial preservationists on maintaining racial purity not only miss the point of race entirely by reducing it to mere physical characteristics, but also that such discursive action is a decadent and unhealthy way of approaching race. The man of race would view, Spengler tells us, such concerns with racial purity as entirely backwards-looking, seeking to preserve what his race once was. However, the non-discursive experience of one’s race is correspondingly forward-looking, seeking to actualize and create a strong and vital future culture. Johnson tells us that Spengler would argue that “the racial purist looks to the past, not the future, because he does not have the vitality in him necessary to create a future.”[21] The racial consciousness of the preservationist is defined entirely by his race’s past—a past which is, by definition, immutable and fixed; his engagement with race, then, is wholly discursive, merely talking of past glories and present ills. It is not defined by the action born of the inner experience of race-feeling itself.

These unhealthy manifestations of discursive preoccupations with racial purity run counter to the healthy non-discursive race-feeling and its resulting cultural production not because the discourse of the purist is wrong. Indeed, as Johnson argues, “decadent people can be right, and healthy people can be wrong.”[22] However, in terms of effective action, there are more important things than simply holding “correct” opinions, or engaging in “correct” discourses. What is needed so much more than mere discourse is the action which springs naturally from the healthy man of race’s vitality. In, correctly in my estimation, judging “White nationalism in America” as “as overwhelmingly degenerate movement,” Johnson concludes his musings on Spengler by asking the question: “what would a vital white nationalism look like?” We know now what a movement whose primary activity is discourse on race looks like; it is what we have today—a decadent movement which produces a near endless stream of discussion and literature on the topic of race. How would a vital and healthy movement differ from this? Johnson speculates:

A vital white nationalist movement would be a utopian, progressivist, eugenicist mythical-cultural phenomenon. It would not be founded on empirical studies of how race influences culture. It would not propagate itself through academic conferences and policy studies. It would be founded on a grand culture-creating, race-shaping myth, propagated through art and religion, that enthralls and mobilizes a whole people. It would be less concerned about the race we were or the race we are than about the race we can become.[23]

In terms of Spenglerian views on the question of race, we can imagine a healthy movement as one whose primary activity is not discourse, but cultural production. A healthy movement would not necessarily be wholly unconcerned with “correct” discourse on race, but its dominant and overriding concern would be the cultural production stemming from the non-discursive experience of the vital feeling of one’s race. The healthy movement would by defined not by polemic literature on the “dangers” of race-mixing, but by grand works of art expressing the inner experience of the race. It would be a movement whose “celebrities” were not the authors of books on race, but men whose entire being was devoted to the furtherance of their race’s artistic expression.

In this way, Richard Wagner, stands forth as the near-ideal example of Spengler’s man of race. Wagner was not unconcerned with the question of race, or with discourse on race, but when we look at the scope of his life and work, his activities were overwhelmingly defined by cultural production rather than discourse. We remember Wagner not primarily for his writings on race. Rather, we remember him because the art he produced was a force of nature, which expressed to purely the soul of his race that it drew together thousands upon thousands of the German people—giving rise to sweeping cultural movements. Taking Wagner as our paradigm, then, we should perhaps revise our questions. Rather than asking what would a vital movement look like, perhaps we should ask how can I become a Spenglerian man of race? It is my contention that if we are to succeed—to win, as Johnson puts it—it will not be through the endless discourse we have engaged in thus far; nor will it be through grand plans to re-shape the movement from the top-down.

Our success will come through individual change and progress. It is not necessary that we cease engaging in racialist discourse, or that such discourses are wrong, but this is not the means of our victory. Rather than through imitation of racialist authors like Francis Parker Yockey, our success will come through the imitation of cultural producers like Wagner. Naturally, such a movement would be characterized by physical vitalism and fecundity as well, but it would not be limited to such. It would be equally—if not moreso—characterized by cultural fecundity and strength. In this way, a reevaluation of our very idea of “race” in Spenglerian terms proves to be of the utmost importance in providing a pathway to success.


Bolton, Kerry. “Oswald Spengler: May 29, 1880–May 8, 1936.” Counter-Currents Publishing: Books Against Time. 29 May 2012. http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/05/oswald-spengler/ [3] [accessed 25 May 2015].

Borthwick, Stephen M. “Historian of the Future: An Introduction to Oswald Spengler’s Life and Words for the Curious Passer-by and the Interested Student.” Institute for Oswald Spengler Studies. https://sites.google.com/site/spenglerinstitute/Biography [4] [accessed 25 May 2015].

Brown, David Henry. “Metaphysical Presuppositions in Spengler’s Der Untergang des Abendlandes.” PhD diss., McMaster University 1979.

Coon, Carleton S. The Races of Europe. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1939. http://www.theapricity.com/snpa/racesofeurope.htm [5]

Dreher, Carl. “Spengler and the Third Reich.” The Virginia Quarterly Review: A National Journal of Literature and Discussion. 15, no. 2 (1939). http://www.vqronline.org/essay/spengler-and-third-reich [6] [accessed 25 May 2015].

Duchesne, Ricardo. “Oswald Spengler & the Faustian Soul of the West, Part 1.” Counter-Currents Publishing: Books Against Time. 2 January 2015. http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/01/oswald-spengler-and-the-faustian-soul-of-the-west-part-1/ [7] [accessed 25 May 2015].

———. “Oswald Spengler & the Faustian Soul of the West, Part 2.” Counter-Currents Publishing: Books Against Time. 5 January 2015. http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/01/oswald-spengler-and-the-faustian-soul-of-the-west-part-2/ [8] [accessed 25 May 2015].

“Essays & Excerpts.” Society for Nordish Physical Anthropology. http://www.theapricity.com/snpa/index2.htm [9] [accessed 25 May 2015].

Farrenkopf, John. “Spengler’s Historical Pessimism and the Tragedy of Our Age.” Theory and Society 22, no. 3 (1993): 391–412.

———. “Spengler’s Theory of Civilization.” Thesis Eleven: Critical Theory and Historical Sociology 62, no. 1 (2000): 23–38.

“Introduction.” Society for Nordish Physical Anthropology. http://www.theapricity.com/snpa/introduction.htm [10] [accessed 25 May 2015].

Johnson, Greg. “Is Racial Purism Decadent?” Counter-Currents Publishing: Books Against Time. 10 July 2010. http://www.counter-currents.com/2010/07/is-racial-purism-decadent/ [2] [accessed 25 May 2015].

Lundman, Bertil. Nordens Rastyper: Geografi och Historia. Verdandis Småskrifter 427. Stockholm: Albert Bonnier, 1940.

Noll, Richard. The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994.

Spengler, Oswald. The Decline of the West. 2 vols. Revised edition. Translated by Charles Francis Atkinson. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1961.

———. The Hour of Decision: Germany and World-Historical Evolution. Translated by Charles Francis Atkinson. Honolulu: University Press of the Pacific, 2002.


[1] [11] “Essays & Excerpts,” Society for Nordish Physical Anthropology.

[2] [12] “Introduction,” Society for Nordish Physical Anthropology.

[3] [13] “The Apricity: A European Community.”

[4] [14] Farrenkopf, “Spengler’s Historical Pessimism and the Tragedy of Our Age,” 395; Borthwick, “Historian of the Future”; Johnson, “Is Racial Purism Decadent?”.

[5] [15] Dreher, “Spengler and the Third Reich”; Bolton, “Oswald Spengler.”

[6] [16] Spengler, The Decline of the West, 2:113.

[7] [17] Ibid.

[8] [18] Noll, The Jung Cult, 95–103.

[9] [19] Spengler, The Decline of the West, 2:119.

[10] [20] Brown, “Metaphysical Presuppositions in Spengler’s Der Untergang des Abendlandes,” 223.

[11] [21] Spengler, The Decline of the West, 2:114.

[12] [22] Spengler, The Decline of the West, 2:153.

[13] [23] Ibid.

[14] [24] Spengler, The Decline of the West, 2:165.

[15] [25] Spengler, The Decline of the West,

[16] [26] Ibid.

[17] [27] Farrenkopf, “Spengler’s Historical Pessimism and the Tragedy of Our Age,” 396; Farrenkopf, “Spengler’s Theory of Civilization,” 24–25.

[18] [28] Spengler, The Decline of the West, 2:118–19.

[19] [29] Spengler, The Hour of Decision, 219.

[20] [30] Johnson, “Is Racial Purism Decadent?”

[21] [31] Johnson, “Is Racial Purism Decadent?”

[22] [32] Johnson, “Is Racial Purism Decadent?”

[23] [33] Johnson, “Is Racial Purism Decadent?”





Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com


URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/05/the-question-of-race-in-spengler/


URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Kunze_Spengler_2.jpg

[2] Is Racial Purism Decadent?: http://www.counter-currents.com/2010/07/is-racial-purism-decadent/

[3] http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/05/oswald-spengler/: http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/05/oswald-spengler/

[4] https://sites.google.com/site/spenglerinstitute/Biography: https://sites.google.com/site/spenglerinstitute/Biography

[5] http://www.theapricity.com/snpa/racesofeurope.htm: http://www.theapricity.com/snpa/racesofeurope.htm

[6] http://www.vqronline.org/essay/spengler-and-third-reich: http://www.vqronline.org/essay/spengler-and-third-reich

[7] http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/01/oswald-spengler-and-the-faustian-soul-of-the-west-part-1/: http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/01/oswald-spengler-and-the-faustian-soul-of-the-west-part-1/

[8] http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/01/oswald-spengler-and-the-faustian-soul-of-the-west-part-2/: http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/01/oswald-spengler-and-the-faustian-soul-of-the-west-part-2/

[9] http://www.theapricity.com/snpa/index2.htm: http://www.theapricity.com/snpa/index2.htm

[10] http://www.theapricity.com/snpa/introduction.htm: http://www.theapricity.com/snpa/introduction.htm

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mardi, 02 juin 2015

La concretezza geopolitica del diritto in Carl Schmitt

Ugo Gaudino
Ex: http://www.geopolitica-rivista.org
La concretezza geopolitica del diritto in Carl Schmitt

La produzione teorica di Carl Schmitt è caratterizzata dalla tendenza dell’autore a spaziare in diversi settori di ricerca e dal rifiuto di assolutizzare un solo fattore o ambito vitale. Nonostante gli siano state rivolte frequenti accuse di ambiguità e asistematicità metodologica – in particolar modo da chi sostiene la “purezza” della scienza del diritto -, in una delle sue ultime interviste, rilasciata nella natia Plettenberg, Schmitt ribadì senza mezzi termini la sua radicale scelta esistenziale: «Mi sento al cento per cento giurista e niente altro. E non voglio essere altro. Io sono giurista e lo rimango e muoio come giurista e tutta la sfortuna del giurista vi è coinvolta» (Lanchester, 1983, pp. 5-34).

Un metodo definito sui generis, distante dalle asettiche teorizzazioni dei fautori del diritto positivo ma non per questo meno orientato alla scienza giuridica, sviscerata fin nelle sue pieghe più riposte per ritrovarne la genesi violenta e i caratteri concreti ed immediati, capaci di imporsi su una realtà che, da “fondamento sfondato”, è minacciata dal baratro del nulla.

In quest’analisi si cercherà di far luce sul rapporto “impuro” tra diritto ed altre discipline, in primis quella politica attraverso cui il diritto stesso si realizza concretamente, e sui volti che questo ha assunto nel corso della sua produzione.


Il pensiero di Schmitt può essere compreso solo se pienamente contestualizzato nell’epoca in cui matura: è dunque doveroso affrontarne gli sviluppi collocandoli in prospettiva diacronica, cercando di individuare delle tappe fondamentali ma evitando rigide schematizzazioni.
Si può comunque affermare con una certa sicurezza che attorno alla fine degli anni ’20 le tesi schmittiane subiscano un’evoluzione da una prima fase incentrata sulla “decisione” a una seconda che volge invece agli “ordini concreti”, per una concezione del diritto più ancorata alla realtà e svincolata non solo dall’eterea astrattezza del normativismo, ma pure dallo “stato d’eccezione”, assenza originaria da cui il diritto stesso nasce restando però co-implicato in essa.

L’obiettivo di Schmitt è riportare il diritto alla sfera storica del Sein – rivelando il medesimo attaccamento all’essere del suo amico e collega Heidegger -, che si oppone non solo al Sollen del suo idolo polemico, Hans Kelsen, ma pure al Nicht-Sein, allo spettro del “Niente” che sopravviveva nell’eccezione, volutamente non esorcizzato ma troppo minaccioso per realizzare una solida costruzione giuridica. La “decisione”, come sottolineò Löwith – che accusò Schmitt di “occasionalismo romantico” – non può pertanto essere un solido pilastro su cui fondare il suo impianto teoretico, essendo essa stessa infondata e slegata «dall’energia di un integro sapere sulle origini del diritto e della giustizia» (Löwith, 1994, p.134). Il decisionismo appariva in precedenza come il tentativo più realistico per creare ordine dal disordine, nell’epoca della secolarizzazione e dell’eclissi delle forme di mediazione: colui che s’impone sullo “stato d’eccezione” è il sovrano, che compie un salto dall’Idea alla Realtà. Quest’atto immediato e violento ha sul piano giuridico la stessa valenza di quella di Dio nell’ambito teologico, tanto da far affermare a Schmitt che «tutti i concetti più pregnanti della moderna dottrina dello Stato sono concetti teologici secolarizzati» (Teologia politica, 1972, p.61). Solo nell’eccezione il problema della sovranità si pone come reale e ineludibile, nelle vesti di chi decide sull’eventuale sospensione dell’ordinamento, ponendosi così sia fuori che dentro di esso. Questa situazione liminale non è però metagiuridica: la regola, infatti, vive «solo nell’eccezione» (Ivi, p.41) e il caso estremo rende superfluo il normativo.

La debolezza di tale tesi sta nel fissarsi su una singola istanza, la “decisione”, che ontologicamente è priva di fondamento, in quanto il soggetto che decide – se si può definire tale – è assolutamente indicibile ed infondabile se non sul solo fatto di essere riuscito a decidere e manifestarsi con la decisione. Contrariamente a quanto si potrebbe pensare, decisionismo non è dunque sinonimo di soggettivismo: a partire dalla consapevolezza della sua ambiguità concettuale, Schmitt rivolge la sua attenzione verso la concretezza della realtà storica, che diviene il perno della sua produzione giuridica.

Un cambio di rotta dovuto pure all’erosione della forma-Stato, evidente nella crisi della “sua” Repubblica di Weimar. Il decisionismo rappresentava un sostrato teorico inadeguato per l’ordinamento giuridico internazionale post-wesfaliano, in cui il tracollo dello Stato[1] spinge Schmitt a individuare nel popolo e nei suoi “ordinamenti concreti” la nuova sede del “politico”.

Arroccato su posizioni anti-universaliste, l’autore elabora tesi che vanno rilette in sostanziale continuità con quelle precedenti ma rielaborate in modo tale da non applicare la prospettiva decisionista a tale paradigma cosmopolitico.


Il modello di teoria giuridica che Schmitt approfondì in questa tappa cruciale del suo itinerario intellettuale è l’istituzionalismo di Maurice Hauriou e Santi Romano, che condividono la definizione del diritto in termini di “organizzazione”. La forte coincidenza tra organizzazione sociale e ordinamento giuridico, accompagnata alla serrata critica del normativismo, esercitò una notevole influenza su Schmitt, che ne vedeva il “filo di Arianna” per fuoriuscire dal caos in cui era precipitato il diritto dopo la scomparsa degli Stati sovrani.

Convinto fin dalle opere giovanili che fosse il diritto a creare lo Stato, la crisi irreversibile di quest’ ultimo indusse l’autore a ricercarne gli elementi essenziali all’interno degli “ordinamenti concreti”. Tralasciando la dottrina di Hauriou, che Schmitt studiò con interesse ma che esula da un’analisi prettamente giuridica in quanto fin troppo incentrata sul piano sociologico, è opportuno soffermarsi sull’insegnamento romaniano e sulle affinità tra questi e il tardo pensiero del Nostro. Il giurista italiano riconduceva infatti il concetto di diritto a quello di società – corrispondono al vero sia l’assunto ubi societas ibi ius che ubi ius ibi societas – dove essa costituisca un’«unità concreta, distinta dagli individui che in essa si comprendono» (Romano, 1946, p.15) e miri alla realizzazione dell’«ordine sociale», escludendo quindi ogni elemento riconducibile all’arbitrio o alla forza. Ciò implica che il diritto prima di essere norma è «organizzazione, struttura, posizione della stessa società in cui si svolge e che esso costituisce come unità» (Ivi, p.27).

La coincidenza tra diritto e istituzione seduce Schmitt, al punto da fargli considerare questa particolare teoria come un’alternativa al binomio normativismo/decisionismo, “terza via” di fronte al crollo delle vecchie certezze del giusnaturalismo e alla vulnerabilità del positivismo. Già a partire da Teologia politica il pensiero di matrice kelseniana era stato demolito dall’impianto epistemologico che ruotava intorno ai concetti di sovranità e decisione, che schiacciano il diritto nella sfera del Sein riducendo il Sollen a «modus di rango secondario della normalità» (Portinaro, 1982, p. 58). Il potere della volontà esistenzialmente presente riposa sul suo essere e la norma non vale più in quanto giusta, tramontato il paradigma giusnaturalistico, ma perché è stabilita positivamente, di modo che la coppia voluntas/auctoritas prevalga su quella ratio/veritas.

L’eclissi della decisione osservabile dai primi scritti degli anni ’30 culmina col saggio I tre tipi di pensiero giuridico, in cui al “nemico” scientifico rappresentato dall’astratto normativista Schmitt non oppone più l’eroico decisionista del caso d’eccezione quanto piuttosto il fautore dell’ “ordinamento concreto”, anch’esso ubicato nella sfera dell’essere di cui la normalità finisce per rappresentare un mero attributo, deprivato di quei connotati di doverosità che finirebbero per contrapporsi a ciò che è esistenzialmente dato. Di qui la coloritura organicistico-comunitaria delle istituzioni che Schmitt analizza, sottolineando che «esse hanno in sé i concetti relativi a ciò che è normale» (I tre tipi di pensiero giuridico, 1972, pp.257-258) e citando a mo’ di esempi modelli di ordinamenti concreti come il matrimonio, la famiglia, la chiesa, il ceto e l’esercito.

Il normativismo viene attaccato per la tendenza a isolare e assolutizzare la norma, ad astrarsi dal contingente e concepire l’ordine solo come «semplice funzione di regole prestabilite, prevedibili, generali» (Ibidem). Ma la novità più rilevante da cogliere nel suddetto saggio è il sotteso allontanamento dall’elemento decisionistico, che rischia di non avere più un ruolo nell’ambito di una normalità dotata di una tale carica fondante.


L’idea di diritto che l’autore oppone sia alla norma che alla decisione è legata alla concretezza del contesto storico, in cui si situa per diventare ordinamento e da cui è possibile ricavare un nuovo nomos della Terra dopo il declino dello Stato-nazione.
Lo Schmitt che scrive negli anni del secondo conflitto mondiale ha ben presente la necessità di trovare un paradigma ermeneutico della politica in grado di contrastare gli esiti della modernità e individuare una concretezza che funga da katechon contro la deriva nichilistica dell’età della tecnica e della meccanizzazione – rappresentata sul piano dei rapporti internazionali dall’universalismo di stampo angloamericano.

Sulla scia delle suggestioni ricavate dall’istituzionalismo, il giurista è consapevole che solo la forza di elementi primordiali ed elementari può costituire la base di un nuovo ordine.
La teoria del nomos sarà l’ultimo nome dato da Schmitt alla genesi della politica, che ormai lontana dagli abissi dello “stato d’eccezione” trova concreta localizzazione nello spazio e in particolare nella sua dimensione tellurica: i lineamenti generali delle nuove tesi si trovano già in Terra e mare del 1942 ma verranno portati a compimento solo con Il nomos della terra del 1950.

Nel primo saggio, pubblicato in forma di racconto dedicato alla figlia Anima, il Nostro si sofferma sull’arcana e mitica opposizione tra terra e mare, caratteristica di quell’ordine affermatosi nell’età moderna a partire dalla scoperta del continente americano. La spazializzazione della politica, chiave di volta del pensiero del tardo Schmitt, si fonda sulla dicotomia tra questi due elementi, ciascuno portatore di una weltanschauung e sviscerati nelle loro profondità ancestrali e mitologiche più che trattati alla stregua di semplici elementi naturali. Il contrasto tra il pensiero terrestre, portatore di senso del confine, del limite e dell’ordine, e pensiero marino, che reputa il mondo una tabula rasa da percorrere e sfruttare in nome del principio della libertà, ha dato forma al nomos della modernità, tanto da poter affermare che «la storia del mondo è la storia della lotta delle potenze terrestri contro le potenze marine» (Terra e mare, 2011, p.18) . Un’interpretazione debitrice delle suggestioni di Ernst Kapp e di Hegel e che si traduceva nel campo geopolitico nel conflitto coevo tra Germania e paesi anglosassoni.

Lo spazio, cardine di quest’impianto teorico, viene analizzato nella sua evoluzione storico-filosofica e con riferimenti alle rivoluzioni che hanno cambiato radicalmente la prospettiva dell’uomo. La modernità si apre infatti con la scoperta del Nuovo Mondo e dello spazio vuoto d’oltreoceano, che disorienta gli europei e li sollecita ad appropriarsi del continente, dividendosi terre sterminate mediante linee di organizzazione e spartizione. Queste rispondono al bisogno di concretezza e si manifestano in un sistema di limiti e misure da inserire in uno spazio considerato ancora come dimensione vuota. È con la nuova rivoluzione spaziale realizzata dal progresso tecnico – nato in Inghilterra con la rivoluzione industriale – che l’idea di spazio esce profondamente modificata, ridotta a dimensione “liscia” e uniforme alla mercé delle invenzioni prodotte dall’uomo quali «elettricità, aviazione e radiotelegrafia», che «produssero un tale sovvertimento di tutte le idee di spazio da portare chiaramente (…) a una seconda rivoluzione spaziale» (Ivi, p.106). Schmitt si oppone a questo cambio di rotta in senso post-classico e, citando la critica heideggeriana alla res extensa, riprende l’idea che è lo spazio ad essere nel mondo e non viceversa. L’originarietà dello spazio, tuttavia, assume in lui connotazioni meno teoretiche, allontanandosi dalla dimensione di “datità” naturale per prendere le forme di determinazione e funzione del “politico”. In questo contesto il rapporto tra idea ed eccezione, ancora minacciato dalla “potenza del Niente” nella produzione precedente, si arricchisce di determinazioni spaziali concrete, facendosi nomos e cogliendo il nesso ontologico che collega giustizia e diritto alla Terra, concetto cardine de Il nomos della terra, che rappresenta per certi versi una nostalgica apologia dello ius publicum europaeum e delle sue storiche conquiste. In quest’opera infatti Schmitt si sofferma nuovamente sulla contrapposizione terra/mare, analizzata stavolta non nei termini polemici ed oppositivi di Terra e mare[2] quanto piuttosto sottolineando il rapporto di equilibrio che ne aveva fatto il cardine del diritto europeo della modernità. Ma è la iustissima tellus, «madre del diritto» (Il nomos della terra, 1991, p.19), la vera protagonista del saggio, summa del pensiero dell’autore e punto d’arrivo dei suoi sforzi per opporre un solido baluardo al nichilismo.

Nel nomos si afferma l’idea di diritto che prende la forma di una forza giuridica non mediata da leggi che s’impone con violenza sul caos. La giustizia della Terra che si manifesta nel nomos è la concretezza di un arbitrio originario che è principio giuridico d’ordine, derivando paradossalmente la territorialità dalla sottrazione, l’ordine dal dis-ordine. Eppure, nonostante s’avverta ancora l’eco “tragica” degli scritti giovanili, il konkrete Ordnung in cui si esprime quest’idea sembra salvarlo dall’infondatezza e dall’occasionalismo di cui erano state accusate le sue teorie precedenti.

Da un punto di vista prettamente giuridico, Schmitt ribadisce la sentita esigenza di concretezza evitando di tradurre il termine nomos con “legge, regola, norma”, triste condanna impartita dal «linguaggio positivistico del tardo secolo XIX» (Ivi, p.60). Bisogna invece risalire al significato primordiale per evidenziarne i connotati concreti e l’origine abissale, la presa di possesso e di legittimità e al contempo l’assenza e l’eccedenza. La catastrofe da cui lo ius publicum europaeum è nato, ossia la fine degli ordinamenti pre-globali, è stata la grandezza del moderno razionalismo politico, capace di avere la propria concretezza nell’impavida constatazione della sua frattura genetica e di perderla con la riduzione del diritto ad astratta norma. Ed è contro il nichilismo del Gesetz che Schmitt si arma, opponendo alla sua “mediatezza”, residuo di una razionalità perduta, l’“immediatezza” del nomos, foriero di una legittimità che «sola conferisce senso alla legalità della mera legge» (Ivi, p.63).


AMENDOLA A., Carl Schmitt tra decisione e ordinamento concreto, Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, Napoli, 1999

CARRINO A., Carl Schmitt e la scienza giuridica europea, introduzione a C. SCHMITT, La condizione della scienza giuridica europea, Pellicani Editore, Roma, 1996

CASTRUCCI E., Introduzione alla filosofia del diritto pubblico di Carl Schmitt, Giappichelli, Torino, 1991

ID., Nomos e guerra. Glosse al «Nomos della terra» di Carl Schmitt, La scuola di Pitagora, Napoli, 2011

CATANIA A., Carl Schmitt e Santi Romano, in Il diritto tra forza e consenso, Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, Napoli, 1990, pp.137-177

CHIANTERA-STUTTE P., Il pensiero geopolitico. Spazio, potere e imperialismo tra Otto e Novecento, Carocci Editore, Roma, 2014

DUSO G., La soggettività in Schmitt in Id., La politica oltre lo Stato: Carl Schmitt, Arsenale, Venezia, 1981, pp.49-68

GALLI C., Genealogia della politica. Carl Schmitt e la crisi del pensiero politico moderno, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2010

LANCHESTER F., Un giurista davanti a sé stesso, in «Quaderni costituzionali», III, 1983, pp. 5-34

LÖWITH K., Il decisionismo occasionale di Carl Schmitt, in Marx, Weber, Schmitt, Laterza, Roma:Bari,1994

PIETROPAOLI S., Ordinamento giuridico e «konkrete Ordnung». Per un confronto tra le teorie istituzionalistiche di Santi Romano e Carl Schmitt, in «Jura Gentium», 2, 2012

ID., Schmitt, Carocci, Roma, 2012

PORTINARO P. P., La crisi dello jus publicum europaeum. Saggio su Carl Schmitt, Edizioni di Comunità, Milano, 1982

ROMANO S., L’ordinamento giuridico, Firenze, Sansoni, 1946

SCHMITT C., Die Diktatur, Duncker & Humblot, Monaco-Lipsia, 1921, trad. it. La dittatura, Laterza, Roma-Bari, 1975

ID., Politische Theologie. Vier Kapitel zur Lehre der Souveränität, Duncker & Humblot, Monaco-Lipsia 1922, trad it. Teologia politica. Quattro capitoli sulla dottrina della sovranità, in Le categorie del ‘politico’ (a cura di P. SCHIERA e G. MIGLIO), Il Mulino, Bologna, 1972

ID., Verfassungslehre, Duncker & Humblot, Monaco-Lipsia 1928, trad. it. Dottrina della costituzione, Giuffrè, Milano, 1984

ID., Der Begriff des Politischen, in C. SCHMITT et al., Probleme der Demokratie, Walther Rothschild, Berlino-Grunewald, 1928, pp. 1-34, trad. it. Il concetto di ‘politico’. Testo del 1932 con una premessa e tre corollari, in Le categorie del ‘politico’, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1972

ID., Legalität und Legitimität, Duncker & Humblot, Monaco-Lipsia 1932, trad. it. Legalità e legittimità, in Le categorie del ‘politico’, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1972

ID., Über die drei Arten des rechtswissenschaftlichen Denkens, Hanseatische Verlagsanstaldt, Amburgo, 1934, trad. it. I tre tipi di pensiero giuridico, in Le categorie del ‘politico’, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1972

ID., Land und Meer. Eine weltgeschichtliche Betrachtung, Reclam, Lipsia 1942, trad. it. Terra e mare. Una considerazione sulla storia del mondo raccontata a mia figlia Anima, Adelphi, 2011

ID., Der Nomos der Erde im Völkerrecht des Jus Publicum europaeum, Greven, Colonia 1950, trad. it. Il Nomos della terra nel diritto internazionale dello “ius publicum europaeum”, Adelphi, Milano, 1991

ID., Die Lage der europäischen Rechtswissenschaft, Internationaler Universitätsverlag, Tubinga, 1950, trad. it. La condizione della scienza giuridica europea, Pellicani Editore, Roma, 1996


[1] «Un termine apparentato ad un periodo storico: vale solo da Hobbes ad Hegel», come scrisse in una lettera a Norberto Bobbio, cfr. P. TOMMISSEN, introduzione a C. SCHMITT, Il concetto d’Impero nel diritto internazionale, Settimo Sigillo, Roma, 1996, p.6
[2] Ricchi altresì di significati simbolici espressi mediante le figure veterotestamentali del Leviathan e del Behemoth. Rovesciando l’impostazione hobbesiana, Schmitt sembra prediligere il secondo, mostro terrestre che in battaglia penetra nel territorio nemico anziché annientarlo come fa il soffocante Leviatano (Terra e mare, 2011, pp.18-19). L’analogia con lo scontro in atto tra Germania e paesi angloamericani è lampante (Chiantera-Stutte, 2014, pp.120-121).

samedi, 23 mai 2015

Archives de Julius Evola en français (1971)

entretien,traditions,traditionalisme,tradition,julius evola,révolution conservatrice,italie,traditionalisme révolutionnaire

Archives de Julius Evola en français (1971)

Unique interview en intégralité de Julius Evola en français, vieilli, paralysé mais toujours alerte, quelque temps avant sa mort. Sorte de testament biographique, on y trouvera entre autres les thèmes de l'essence de ses ouvrages, sa période artistique dadaïste, ses rapports avec René Guénon, ainsi qu'avec les régimes politiques de l'époque, et bien d'autres explorations métaphysiques.

(Le bruit sourd s'estompera après les premières vingt minutes)

lundi, 11 mai 2015

Carl Schmitt’s War on Liberalism

Carl Schmitt’s War on Liberalism

Reinhard Mehring, trans. Daniel Steuer, Carl Schmitt: A Biography [5] (Polity Press, 2014), 700 pp., $45.00.

csarton403.jpgOVER THE past few years, the conviction that the end of the Cold War inaugurated an era of great-power peace to accompany the inevitable spread of democratic capitalism has been shattered. In Georgia and Ukraine, thousands have died as Washington’s attempt to fence in Russia with NATO allies and affiliates has been answered by Moscow’s determination to rebuild a Eurasian sphere of influence. In East Asia, China’s growing assertiveness has alarmed its neighbors and collided with America’s determination to remain the dominant power in the region. Regime-change efforts sponsored by the United States and its allies in Iraq, Libya and Syria have created power vacuums and bloody regional proxy wars, to the benefit of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

In geoeconomics, too, the Pax Americana and the neoliberal version of capitalism are increasingly contested. China, with the help of India, Russia, Brazil and other countries, has sought to organize alternatives to global economic and development institutions like the World Bank and the IMF, which are still dominated by the Western powers. In different ways, Xi Jinping’s China, Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Narendra Modi’s India represent an alternative economic model, in which free markets and state capitalism are blended under strong executive rule.

This moment of crisis for global liberalism coincides with the translation into English of a fresh appraisal of Carl Schmitt, a leading twentieth-century German thinker who, in the course of a long life, was a consistent critic of political and legal liberalism and American hegemony. In Carl Schmitt: A Biography, published in German in 2009 and published in English late last year, Reinhard Mehring, a professor of political science at Heidelberg University of Education, has provided the most thorough study yet of the anfractuosities of the political theorist known to his detractors as “Hitler’s Crown Jurist.”

SCHMITT, WHO was born into a Catholic family in Westphalia in 1888, rose to prominence as a conservative legal academic in the 1920s. His discipline of Staatslehre is much more than narrowly technical “law” or “jurisprudence,” including as it does elements of political philosophy and political science.

Schmitt’s intellectual allies were, by and large, the conservative nationalists of the Weimar Republic, not the more radical Nazis. In his diaries after the Second World War, Schmitt not inaccurately described Hitler as “an entirely empty and unknown individual” who rose “out of the pure lumpenproletariat, from the asylum of a homeless non-education.” However, following Hitler’s seizure of power, Schmitt joined the Nazi Party in May 1933. Thanks to the sponsorship of Hermann Goering, Schmitt was appointed state councilor for Prussia, president of the Union of National Socialist Jurists, editor-in-chief of the German Jurists’ Journal and a professor at the University of Berlin, where he replaced Herman Heller, a Jewish social-democratic legal theorist who had been forced into exile.

At the height of his brief prominence, Schmitt was even received by Mussolini. Schmitt would recall:

I had a longer conversation in private with Mussolini in the Palazzo Venezia on the evening of the Wednesday after Easter. We talked about the relationship between party and state. Mussolini said, with pride and clearly directed against national socialist Germany: “The state is eternal, the party is transient; I am a Hegelian!” I remarked: “Lenin was also a Hegelian, so that I have to allow myself the question: where does Hegel’s world historical spirit reside today? In Rome, in Moscow, or maybe still in Berlin after all?”

Schmitt did not consider the possibility that the world-historical spirit might have taken up residence in Washington, DC.

As Hitler consolidated his tyranny, Schmitt became more abject. He defended Hitler’s Night of the Long Knives on June 30, 1934, and described the anti-Semitic Nuremberg laws against Gentile-Jewish intermarriage as “the constitution of freedom,” even though, according to Mehring, in his youth he had briefly hoped to marry a Jewish woman, Helene Bernstein.

Some of Schmitt’s newly adopted “racial” rhetoric was so excessive—he proposed that the word “Jew” be placed next to the names of Jewish authors in footnotes in legal texts—that some hostile expatriates and devout Nazis alike believed they discerned in his writing not the zeal of the convert, but the cynicism of the opportunist. In 1936, the journal of the SS, Das Schwarze Korps, published several articles questioning his true commitment to Nazi ideology. Schmitt’s friendship with Goering and Hans Frank, who was later hanged for his war crimes as governor-general of German-occupied Poland, saved him from the clutches of the SS. He withdrew into recondite scholarship, which included musings on a Monroe Doctrine for Europe that would justify German expansionism and a history of the alleged struggle among maritime and continental great powers. Detained for a time by the Allies after the war, Schmitt explained: “In 1936, I was publicly defamed by the SS. I knew a few things about the legal, semi-legal and illegal means of power employed by the SS and the circles around Himmler, and I had every reason to fear the interests of the new elite.”

In a legal brief for Friedrich Flick, a German industrialist who had collaborated with the Nazis, Schmitt, having used arguments about the limits of positive law to justify the Hitler regime, opportunistically deployed them to justify war-crimes trials (though preferably not for his client): “Here, all arguments of natural sense, of human feeling, of reason, and of justice concur in a practically elemental way to justify a conviction that requires no positivistic norm in any formal sense.” The Allied occupation authorities were unmoved and imprisoned Flick until 1950, but after detaining Schmitt twice, once for more than a year, they decided that he had been too marginal a member of Hitler’s system for prosecution to be worthwhile.

Like the philosopher Martin Heidegger, who had also disgraced himself by enthusiastically welcoming the Nazi dictatorship when he became rector of Freiburg University in 1933, Schmitt was banned from teaching in German universities from 1945 to his death in 1985. Schmitt nevertheless managed to gather a small coterie of disciples and exercise some influence on German jurisprudence. He continued to write and also had distinguished visitors, including the philosopher Alexandre Kojève. In his old age in his native Plettenberg, Schmitt named his home “San Casciano” after the Tuscan village where Machiavelli spent his final years in exile. In his intellectual diary, the Glossarium, Schmitt bitterly complained: “How harmless were those who sensed the opportunity for intellectual change at the awakening in Germany in 1933, in comparison to those who took intellectual revenge on Germany in 1945.”

In the decades before his death in 1985, Schmitt interpreted current events in terms of what he described and dreaded as “the legal world revolution”—a world order, promoted by the United States and symbolized by the European Union, in which legalistic concepts like human rights and the rule of law became the only source of political legitimacy. What most liberals view as triumphant progress, Schmitt viewed as the disastrous marginalization of continental European statism as an alternative to the maritime liberalism of the Anglo-American world: “World politics reaches its end and is turned into world police—a dubious kind of progress.”

IF SCHMITT were merely one of many German conservatives of the Weimar era who disgraced themselves by collaborating with the Nazis, he would be of interest only to historians. Instead, Schmitt’s reputation as a major thinker endures, sometimes in surprising quarters. American law professors wrestle with Schmitt’s theories about constitutionalism and power, while the Western Left is impressed by his denunciation of liberal globalism as a mask for Anglo-American and capitalist imperialism. In the late twentieth century, the American journal Telos, a meeting place for heterodox leftists and paleoconservatives, helped further the revival of interest in Schmitt’s thought, along with studies by G. L. Ulmen, Joseph J. Bendersky, Gopal Balakrishnan and many others. Some claim, absurdly, that Schmitt influenced the neoconservative movement by way of the political philosopher Leo Strauss, a respectful critic and correspondent in the 1920s.

This interest is justified, because Schmitt is a classic thinker—perhaps the key thinker—of modern antiliberalism. Antiliberalism can be contrasted with preliberalism as a variety of nonliberalism.

Confronted with Enlightenment liberalism in its various versions, preliberalism finds itself at a disadvantage in the battle for modern public opinion, because appeals to preliberal sources of social authority—divine revelations, local customs and traditions—are unlikely to persuade those who are not already believers. Unable to hold their own in debate with liberals, adherents of preliberal worldviews tend to withdraw into sectarianism, which may be defensive and quietist like that of the Amish, or manifested in millenarian violence, like the Salafist jihadism of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

In contrast with preliberalism, modern antiliberalism like Schmitt’s seeks to defeat liberal thought on its own chosen ground of public debate, using its own preferred weapons, rational analysis and secular scholarship. It is modern because it takes for granted the post-Enlightenment intellectual environment of secularism and science. And it is antiliberal because it defines itself against modern liberalism, on point after point. It is a reaction to liberalism that would not exist without liberalism—a Counter-Enlightenment, not an ancien régime.

In the Weimar Republic, Schmitt was associated with Catholic conservatives. Relations were strained when he divorced his first of two wives, Pawla Dorotic, whom he met when she was a Spanish dancer in a vaudeville theater. The Vatican was not impressed by his request for an annulment, on the grounds that the Munich-born Protestant dancer had lied to him about having an aristocratic pedigree as the daughter of a Croatian baron. Moreover, according to Mehring, Schmitt did not attend church during the Nazi years.

But those who argue for his lifelong affinity with strains of Catholic reactionary politics can make a good case. Notwithstanding his embrace of Nazi racism, Schmitt’s sympathies lay with Latin authoritarianism rather than Teutonic totalitarianism. His only child, his daughter Anima, born to his second wife, married a Spanish law professor belonging to Franco’s Falangist party, and she translated some of Schmitt’s writings into Spanish. In Political Theology, he praised the nineteenth-century Catholic counterrevolutionary thinker Juan Donoso Cortés. In later life, he understood modern world events in terms of apocalyptic imagery borrowed from Christian thought, including the idea of a “katechon,” a figure who, by maintaining order, delays the end of the world. The katechon might be thought of as Schmitt’s answer to Thomas Hobbes’s metaphor of the Leviathan.

BUT SCHMITT did not think that the answers to modern problems could be found in Thomism or a restoration of papal authority. There was no going back to the Middle Ages. Schmitt embraced modern populism and tried to turn it to antidemocratic, illiberal ends. In his Verfassungslehre (Constitutional Theory) of 1928, for example, Schmitt praised the French revolutionary thinker Abbé Sieyès, author of What is the Third Estate?, for distinguishing between the pouvoir constituant and the pouvoir constitué, the maker of constitutional government and the constitutional government that is made.

The idea that constitutions exist at the will—and for the benefit—of the sovereign people or nation was central to the French and American Revolutions and goes back to the social-contract theory of John Locke and his successors. It was stated not only by Sieyès but also by Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

As William E. Scheuerman and Renato Cristi point out in their contributions to a 1998 anthology edited by David Dyzenhaus, Law as Politics: Carl Schmitt’s Critique of Liberalism, Schmitt puts an antiliberal spin on the theory of popular sovereignty. Sieyès, like the American Founders, takes it for granted that the exercise of popular sovereignty operates under constraints, even if it is not constrained by constitutions or statutes. Even when acting in revolutionary fashion, by discarding one government and forming another, a sovereign people cannot violate natural law (in the version found in early modern social-contract theory, that is, not the natural law of premodern Scholasticism). Moreover, in a revolutionary interim between governments, the people are expected to act through representative, consultative bodies, such as constitutional conventions. The sovereign people’s natural, extralegal right of revolution is not an excuse for either communal atrocities or the dictatorship of an individual.

By dispensing with these constraints, Schmitt turns the theory of popular sovereignty into a rationale for Caesarist dictatorship. The cryptic first sentence of Political Theology, “Sovereign is he who decides the exception,” shows that the sovereign people have been conflated with the sovereign executive. Social-contract theorists would have written, “Sovereign are they who decide the exception.”

Schmitt does not mean that any malcontent colonel who manages to carry out a putsch is the “sovereign.” Instead, the sovereign is a charismatic leader who saves the people from danger by acting decisively, outside of the law if necessary. Because the paralysis of parliamentary politics can itself pose a danger to the nation, in the view of Schmitt and other antiliberals, the eighteenth-century French and American method of a quasi-parliamentary constitutional convention to represent the sovereign people must seem to be merely the attempted correction of one weak debating society by another.

The decisive leader creates the new order by deeds, not chatter. The Schmittian leader is a plebiscitarian ruler who can have his actions ratified by the acclamation of a grateful people, but he does not act on their instructions. In his Constitutional Theory, Schmitt argued that “the natural form for the direct expression of the popular will is the yea-saying or nay-saying shout of the assembled crowd.” Cristi notes that Schmitt “comes to accept and recognizes the pouvoir consituant of the people only because he has found a way to disarm it.”

THE “FRIEND/ENEMY” distinction is another original concept in Schmitt’s antiliberalism. All political theories that do not advocate for a global government must have some way of determining who belongs in particular polities and who does not. In deciding on the boundaries of new states formed from the partition of dynastic or colonial empires, the standard in international law has been the so-called Latin American doctrine: the borders of newly independent successor states in general should follow the boundaries, however arbitrary, of administrative or political units within the former, larger state.

cs69175327.gifAn alternative approach, the so-called Central European approach, favors redrawing arbitrary political boundaries to create more homogeneous ethnic or linguistic groups. Neither doctrine is inherently illiberal. In his Representative Government, John Stuart Mill thus argued that liberal, representative government is most likely to succeed in countries in which most of the citizens share at least a common language, a thesis that the continuing disintegration of multiethnic states in our time would appear to confirm. In Mill’s words, “Free institutions are next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities. Among a people without fellow-feeling, especially if they read and speak different languages, the united public opinion, necessary to the working of representative government, cannot exist.” Neither approach to defining the citizens of sovereign states equates political independence of one community from another with inherent and unremitting enmity.

In keeping with his decisionist approach to law and politics, Schmitt is not interested in adumbrating general rules like these. The people are more than a collection of human beings in a common territory or sharing various characteristics like language and ethnicity. Rather, for Schmitt, the people must have a mystical solidarity defined by the recognition of common public enemies, who may be external or internal or both. The friend/enemy distinction in a particular context, like the exception or state of emergency in a particular situation, by its nature cannot be identified or limited in advance. Rather, it is the essence of great leadership to grasp, at any given time, which approach to legality or its opposite and which set of public enemies is in the interest of the nation.

Schmitt is sometimes compared to Hobbes as an authoritarian thinker. But the temperaments and mentalities of the two were quite different. The Hobbesian sovereign, while prepared for war and anarchy, prefers peace and quiet. Schmitt’s authoritarianism is histrionic and apocalyptic. What is most extreme is most authentic. The exception is the rule. The emergency is the norm. The nation is constantly on the verge of collapse and threatened by enemies without and within. Parliament is the problem, not the solution. The times demand leaders who can take bold and decisive action, not waste time in idle debate. Quoting Schmitt on parliamentary democracy (“The value of life stems not from reasoning; it emerges in a state of war where men inspirited by myths do battle”), Stephen Holmes observed in 1993, “That is Mussolini, not Hobbes.”

Or worse. The potential for toxic interaction among Schmitt’s ideas about mythicized politics and extralegal power is illustrated by his own short and sordid career as a Nazi apologist. Following the Night of the Long Knives, Schmitt published an article entitled “Der Führer schützt das Recht” (“The Führer protects the law”). In identifying and eliminating enemies of the state, “The Führer protects the law against the worst forms of abuse when, in the moment of danger, he immediately creates law by force of his character as Führer as the supreme legal authority.” In that one sentence, Schmitt collapses executive prerogative, martial law and constituent power into arbitrary, uncontrollable tyranny.

REGIMES THAT resemble Nazi Germany in detail are unlikely to appear again. But antiliberalism in some form, in liberal democracies themselves as well as authoritarian states, will be around as long as liberalism endures, deploying arguments like Schmitt’s as weapons.

Defenders of the liberal constitutional tradition would be well advised to respond to those who are antiliberal thinkers like Schmitt in two ways. To begin with, they need to take seriously the challenges to legality and constitutionalism posed by the hard cases that he dwells on. The reply should be that the tradition of constitutional liberalism within itself has the resources to deal with extreme situations, by means of concepts like the natural right of revolution exercised by constitutional conventions, and executive emergency powers which are adequate in their flexibility without being unconstrained by law or legislative oversight. (Schmitt himself distinguishes “commissarial dictatorship,” or emergency measures to save a constitutional order, from “sovereign dictatorship” that creates a new constitution.)

In addition, constitutional liberals can turn the tables on Schmitt by reversing his assignment of strength and weakness. For Schmitt, as for other antiliberals, pluralistic democracy is weak and dictatorship is strong. But one need only contrast West Germany with East Germany during the Cold War, or South Korea and North Korea today, to contest this image of democratic fragility and authoritarian stability. The United States and United Kingdom survived the abortive Nazi empire and the Soviet Union in part because their looser, more consensual systems, with greater opportunities for self-correction by means of dissent and debate, made it easier for them to avoid or recover from strategic blunders.

At this moment in history, there is no significant intellectual challenge to Western liberalism comparable to fascism or Communism, notwithstanding the mixes of liberalism and nonliberalism in China and Russia and the millenarian violence of the preliberal Salafist jihadist movement. But the public philosophy of liberal, constitutional democracy has always left many people, even in its historic homelands, unsatisfied and in search of an alternative. Outside of fundamentalist religious sects, that alternative in generations ahead is likely to be found in some version of modern, secular, antiliberal thought. The greatest challenge to liberalism in the future may not come from outside of the liberal West but rather from within, in the form of reasoned argument by erudite and articulate intellectuals. Carl Schmitt was a model of the sophisticated modern antiliberal thinker. There will be more to come. 

Michael Lind is a contributing editor at The National Interest, cofounder of the New America Foundation and an ASU New America Future of War fellow.

[1] http://nationalinterest.org/feature/carl-schmitt%E2%80%99s-war-liberalism-12704
[2] http://nationalinterest.org/profile/michael-lind
[3] http://twitter.com/share
[4] http://nationalinterest.org/issue/may-june-2015
[5] http://www.amazon.com/Carl-Schmitt-Biography-Reinhard-Mehring/dp/0745652247
[6] http://nationalinterest.org/tag/history
[7] http://nationalinterest.org/tag/nazism
[8] http://nationalinterest.org/tag/liberalism
[9] http://nationalinterest.org/topic/politics

dimanche, 10 mai 2015

Jünger o la mística de la violencia


Jünger o la mística de la violencia
Ex: http://elpais.com
Ha sido el gran acontecimiento del otoño editorial en Alemania. Tres años después de su muerte aparecen los artículos 'malditos' de Ernst Jünger, textos escritos durante la República de Weimar que el pensador germano se negó a incluir en sus obras completas. El nacionalismo, el heroísmo, la guerra y la destrucción son sus claves.

Desde la muerte de Ernst Jünger en 1998 no ha transcurrido un solo año sin que saliese al mercado alemán alguna novedad perteneciente a su legado intelectual. Varios especialistas trabajan con ahínco en distintos ámbitos con el fin de publicar todos los escritos que puedan resultar de interés para la comprensión de un escritor tan polémico como longevo. Después de la publicación de varias correspondencias con distintas personalidades de su tiempo, esta vez le ha tocado el turno a sus artículos 'malditos' durante el periodo de Weimar, una publicación esperada, puesto que Ernst Jünger se negó a incluirlos en la edición de sus Obras completas en Klett-Cotta. Esta editorial, sin embargo, ha reunido todos los artículos políticos escritos entre 1919 y 1933, 145 en total, en un volumen separado, excelentemente comentado y anotado por el politólogo Sven Olaf Berggötz.


Ernst Jünger Sven Olaf Berggötz (editor) Klett-Cotta. Stuttgart, 2001 850 páginas. 98 marcos alemanes

Jünger estaba obsesionado con una revolución, viniese de donde viniese, siempre que fuese nacional

Otro de los alicientes de este volumen es que por fin se ofrecen ordenados cronológicamente los artículos dispersos en varios periódicos o revistas como Arminius, Das Reich, Die Standarte, Der Widerstand o el Völkischer Beobachter, la mayoría de ellos, efímeros órganos de propaganda nacional-revolucionaria, que han servido como arsenal para atribuir a Jünger un claro papel de precursor del nacionalsocialismo o para hacer hincapié en su apología de la violencia. Y no se puede negar que muchos de estos artículos son dinamita, no sólo por su contenido, sino por un estilo fascinante que rompe las limitaciones del panfleto político; no resulta extraño que Jünger se convirtiese en el escritor más solicitado en ese tipo de publicaciones; su prosa limpia y acerada, pero al mismo tiempo de un radicalismo deslumbrante, encontró una entusiástica acogida en numerosos jóvenes, frustrados por la derrota y posterior humillación de Versalles. Tampoco olvidemos que a Jünger le rodeaba el nimbo de su condición de héroe de guerra, era el representante y el símbolo de una generación que lo había sacrificado todo y se creía traicionada por fuerzas oscuras de la retaguardia: la leyenda de la puñalada por la espalda que también Jünger asumió y difundió.

ej8258-1093770.jpgEn estos artículos, que muestran la obsesiva actividad proselitista del autor, no nos encontramos con el Jünger elogiado por Hermann Hesse o H. G. Gadamer, con el ensayista profundo, el novelista imaginativo o el observador preciso, sino con el agitador político que lanza sin ambages su mensaje subversivo. No obstante, en estos escritos también se puede comprobar cierta evolución temática e intelectual. En los primeros textos se ocupa principalmente de la experiencia guerrera, del valor del sacrificio y de la sangre como cemento de una nueva sociedad, a lo que se une un profundo odio a la burguesía y a la República de Weimar. Jünger consideraba que en su generación había surgido un nuevo 'tipo humano', forjado en la guerra de material y de trincheras, a quien, a su vez, correspondía forjar un nuevo mundo: 'Como somos los auténticos, verdaderos e implacables enemigos del burgués, nos divierte su descomposición. Pero nosotros no somos burgueses, somos hijos de guerras y de enfrentamientos civiles...'. Inspirándose en Nietzsche, Spengler y Sorel, y haciendo suyo el pathos del futurismo italiano, Jünger ensalza el odio y la destrucción como elementos creativos: 'La verdadera voluntad de lucha, sin embargo, el odio verdadero, se alegra de todo lo que destruye a su contrario. La destrucción es el único instrumento que parece adecuado en las actuales circunstancias'. En estos pasajes, el escritor adopta un nihilismo heroico que convierte la violencia en un fin en sí mismo, en una experiencia mística del combatiente que debe continuar su lucha en la sociedad civil. En ellos desarrolla una estética pura de la violencia que se mueve en un vacío ético y que, supuestamente, según el autor, debería generar nuevos valores.

Mitrailleurs_allemands_en_1918.jpgEn el terreno ideológico, los artículos reflejan una visión particular y nebulosa que no llega a identificarse con ninguna de las ideologías dominantes. Sus rasgos principales son, en su vertiente negativa, un profundo sentimiento antidemocrático y antipacifista, así como un fuerte rechazo de las instituciones, excluyendo al ejército como encarnación de la idea prusiana. Su odio a la República de Weimar es manifiesto; una República, si bien es cierto, que se ha definido con frecuencia como la 'democracia sin demócratas' y que era el blanco favorito del desprecio de la mayoría de los intelectuales. Aunque Jünger se confiesa nacionalista, en concreto 'nacionalista de la acción', no asocia el concepto con una forma política concreta, más bien se limita a describir vagamente modelos utópicos o retóricos que encontrarán un desarrollo más maduro en su libro El trabajador. Armin Mohler empleó el término 'revolución conservadora' para explicar esta posición política, pero Jünger también se acercó al nacionalismo de izquierdas de un Niekisch e incluso colaboró en su revista Der Widerstand, prohibida con posterioridad por los nacionalsocialistas. La impresión que recibimos es que Jünger estaba obsesionado con una revolución, viniese de donde viniese, siempre que fuese nacional. En sus escritos solía dirigirse a 'los nacionalistas, los soldados del frente y los trabajadores'. Este empeño revolucionario fue el que le acercó al nacionalsocialismo en los primeros años del movimiento: 'La verdadera revolución aún no se ha producido, pero se aproxima irresistiblemente. No es ninguna reacción, sino una revolución auténtica con todos sus rasgos y sus manifestaciones; su idea es la popular, afilada hasta un extremo desconocido; su bandera es la cruz gamada; su forma de expresión, la concentración de la voluntad en un único punto: la dictadura. Sustituirá la palabra por la acción, la tinta por la sangre, la frase por el sacrificio, la pluma por la espada'.

No obstante, en los años treinta se advierte cierto distanciamiento del nacionalsocialismo quizá debido a la influencia de su hermano, F. G. Jünger, y de Niekisch. Jünger rechazó la oferta de Hitler para ocupar un escaño en el Reichstag, y en el año 1933 interrumpió sus colaboraciones, evitando dar el paso hacia el paganismo político nazi, ni siquiera en la forma del colaboracionismo oportunista de Heidegger, Carl Schmitt o Gottfried Benn. La edición de los artículos políticos de Ernst Jünger, de cuyo contenido se deduce claramente su terca resistencia a 'resucitarlos', supone una decisión acertada, sobre todo porque así se dispone de una imagen completa de un escritor controvertido que no dudó en 'maquillar' algunos pasajes escabrosos de su obra temprana; una actitud que despertó rechazo incluso entre sus lectores más afines. Pero también podemos decir que esta obra adquiere una importancia extraordinaria porque explica el comportamiento posterior de una juventud fascinada por la violencia, la cual, por esta causa, fue presa fácil del totalitarismo y víctima de su producto: la guerra total; tampoco tenemos que resaltar mucho su actualidad, pues nos hallamos en una nueva dimensión de la violencia, cuyos portadores asumen hasta sus últimas consecuencias esa visión mística del acto destructivo y del sacrificio que tanto sufrimiento ha traído y traerá a la humanidad.

samedi, 09 mai 2015

André Müller und Ernst Jünger


André Müller und Ernst Jünger

Tatsächlich eine Liebesgeschichte

Von Jörg Magenau

Ex: http://www.deutschlandradiokultur.de

Beitrag hören

Für den "Zeit"-Journalisten André Müller war es ein Lebenstraum, den Schriftsteller Ernst Jünger zu interviewen. Mindestens fünf Mal trafen sich die beiden zwischen 1989 und 1996, drei Gespräche wurden aufgezeichnet. Die Originaltranskripte verraten viel über das väterliche Verhältnis Jüngers zu Müller.

Am Tag vor Ernst Jüngers 100. Geburtstag im März 1995 notierte André Müller:

"Jünger ist ein ganz unanalytischer Mensch, naiv wie ein Kind, unfähig zur Auswahl von Wichtigem, alles notierend auf verzweifelter Suche, in der unbewussten Hoffnung, andere mögen ihn (der sich nicht kennt) finden."

Vermutlich hat er damit Recht. Der Ernst Jünger, den Müller erlebte, ist weit weg vom Weltkriegs-Haudegen der "Stahlgewitter" und dem demokratiefeindlichen Theoretiker des "Arbeiters". Müller entdeckt das Kind im alten Mann. Und der Andere, den er ihm unterstellt, um gefunden zu werden, das könnte dann er selbst, Müller, sein.

André Müller war berühmt für seine Interviews in der "Zeit", die er stets konfrontativ, ja mit einer gewissen Verachtung dem Gesprächspartner gegenüber anlegte. Eigentlich ging es dabei immer nur um ihn selbst und um seinen Nihilismus und um die verzweifelte Suche nach Wahrheit. Nur drei von all seinen zahlreichen Gesprächspartnern hat er wirklich geachtet: Thomas Bernhard, Elfriede Jelinek und eben Ernst Jünger, den er hartnäckig umwarb, bis er endlich einwilligte. Bei Jünger war es sogar ein Liebesverhältnis, und Müller zögerte nicht, es genau so nach Wilflingen zu schreiben und sich ganz zu offenbaren: "Herr Jünger, ich liebe sie." So gelang es ihm, das Vertrauen des Alten zu gewinnen, der für ihn zu einer Vaterfigur werden sollte.

Originaltranskript mit Floskeln und Nichtigkeiten

Mindestens fünf Mal haben die beiden sich zwischen 1989 und 1996 getroffen. Drei dieser Gespräche wurden auf Tonband aufgezeichnet, doch nur das erste, geführt am Tag vor dem Mauerfall, ist dann stark bearbeitet und gekürzt in der "Zeit" erschienen. Jetzt kann man es zusammen mit den beiden anderen, vom Tag nach der Währungsunion 1990 und von einem Wintertag 1993, in voller Länge als Originaltranskription nachlesen, mit allen Floskeln und Nichtigkeiten, die ein Gespräch ja auch ausmachen. Das ist gerade im Falle Ernst Jüngers wichtig, für den das Gespräch – neben dem Traum – eine offene, neugierige Annäherung an Einsichten gewesen ist.

Herausgeber Christophe Fricker hat diese Dokumente belassen wie sie sind und sich auf Anmerkungen und einleitende, sehr hilfreiche Erläuterungen beschränkt. Dazu bietet der Band den Briefwechsel der beiden Gesprächspartner, Postkarten, und Mitschnitte von Jüngers Anrufen auf Müllers Anrufbeantworter. Herausgekommen ist ein Buch, mit dem man Ernst Jünger tatsächlich – und das ist schon eine Sensation – nahekommen kann, weil er sich in seiner Empfindsamkeit zeigt. Nebenbei erfährt man auch etwas über seine Verhältnisse zu Frauen und davon, dass er im Wald beim Spazierengehen laut schrie.

Es wird viel gelacht

"Gespräche über Schmerz, Tod und Verzweiflung" lautet der Untertitel. Das ist auch nicht falsch, und doch ist die Stimmung zumeist gelöst und heiter, es wird viel gelacht, Jüngers berüchtigtes, stakkatohaft-militärisches "Ha Ha!" durchzieht den Text wie ein grundierender Rhythmus. Müller berichtet, dass er, zunächst irritiert von diesem Lachen, mitzulachen versuchte, damit aber wiederum Jünger irritierte, weshalb er es dann unterließ. Der Tod jedenfalls, das ist bekannt, hat Jünger nicht geschreckt. Auch der Tod wurde von ihm als Freund begrüßt und mit einem Lachen quittiert. Komik entfalten die Gespräche auch deshalb, weil sich Müller sehr viel besser an viele Details aus Jüngers Leben zu erinnern scheint. Auf Ereignisse aus dem 1. Weltkrieg angesprochen, weiß Jünger nicht viel mehr zu sagen als: "Das ist lange her" oder "So, so, aha" oder "Wenn Sie das sagen" oder "Ha, ha." Die Gespräche produzieren bei aller Coolness, die beide zur Schau stellen, eine große Nähe und Wärme. Es ist tatsächlich eine Liebesgeschichte. Das macht dieses Buch zu einem berührenden Leseabenteuer.

Christophe Fricker (Hg.): Ernst Jünger – André Müller. Gespräche über Schmerz, Tod und Verzweiflung
Böhlau Verlag, Köln 2015
234 Seiten, 24,90 Euro

Mehr zum Thema

Kurz und Kritisch - Post von der Front
(Deutschlandradio Kultur, Lesart, 30.08.2014)

Erster Weltkrieg - Patchwork von Autorenstimmen
(Deutschlandradio Kultur, Buchkritik, 04.06.2014)

Erster Weltkrieg - Hunger auf Kampf und Abenteuer
(Deutschlandradio Kultur, Buchkritik, 02.04.2014)

Aus den Feuilletons - Ernst Jüngers sexuelle Eskapaden
(Deutschlandradio Kultur, Kulturpresseschau, 23.03.2014)

jeudi, 07 mai 2015

Carl Schmitt (1888-1985): Brief Biography of the Controversial German Jurist


Carl Schmitt (1888-1985): Brief Biography of the Controversial German Jurist

by Colm Gillis

Ex: http://carlschmittblog.com

Carl Schmitt was one of the greatest intellectuals of the 20th century. This is a very brief overview of his remarkable life and career.

Carl Schmitt was born in 1888. Plettenberg, his home town, was a Protestant hamlet, but Schmitt was baptized a Catholic. As was typical for those of Rhenish Catholic stock, Schmitt was possessed of a strong sense of identity. This was combined with an equally strong sense of transnationalism. Circumstances, the Rhenish Catholic outlook, and prevalent sectarianism in Germany at the time, meant that he was exposed to pluralism, religious divisions, political questions, and geopolitics.1

He received first and second-level education in Catholic institutions, acquiring a thorough understanding of the humanities, in particular religion and Greek. At the same time, Schmitt was exposed to materialism.  Familiarity with ideologies like Liberalism bred contempt and Schmitt maintained his religious zeal long after he left behind his formative years.2

After attending Universities in Berlin and then Strassburg, Schmitt received his doctorate in 1910. Following graduation, he honed his legal skills. At Strassburg, Schmitt took a stance against positivistic legal theory. Positivism located legitimacy in the sheer fact of a sovereign government. Analysis of legal rulings was restricted to the intention of the lawgiver. Positivism ruled out the use of, for example, natural law theories, and Schmitt’s Catholic upbringing most likely was what made him averse to such a legal approach.3

At this stage Schmitt’s views on law were informed by the neo-Kantians, who placed a ‘right’ above the state and who saw it as the function of the State to fulfil this right. While professing loyalty to the State and to a perceived right order, Schmitt tended to subordinate the individual, an anti-liberal stance maintained throughout his career.4

Schmitt’s meeting with the barrister and deputy of the Center party, Dr Hugo am Zehnhoff, in 1913 influenced Schmitt profoundly. In particular Schmitt turned away from subjugating law to a set of transcendent norms. Instead concrete circumstances were to provide the basis for law from now on.5


Dr Hugo am Zehnhoff

Before the war, he published two books. But his inclinations at this stage were not overly political. This apoliticism was common amongst German intellectuals at the time. Generally, the existing order was accepted as is. It was felt inappropriate for academics to weigh in on practical issues.6

After passing his second law exam in 1915, Schmitt volunteered for the infantry, but suffered a serious back injury. So he served out WWI performing civil duties in Bavaria which were essential to the war effort. Schmitt administered the martial law that existed throughout Bavaria and elsewhere in Germany. He married his first wife, Pawla Dorotić, a Serb whom he later divorced in 1924, at this time. Pawla’s surname was added to his so as to give himself an aristocratic air, an indication of Schmitt’s determination to advance himself.7


Hindenburg and Ludendorff formed an effective dictatorship in Germany during WWII

In line with much of Conservative German thought at the time, Schmitt viewed the state – not as a repressive or retrograde force that stifled freedom – but as a bastion of tradition securing order. Dictatorship was mused upon. This, in Schmitt’s mind, was constrained by a legal order and could only act within that legal order. Dictatorship was functional, temporary, and provided a measure of order in emergency situations, but was not to be transformative and break from the structure which preceded it and dictated to it. In other words, it was to be a dictatorship in the mould of classical dictatorship which was extant in the Roman republic.8

As for the purpose of the world war itself, Schmitt displayed his ever-present aloofness. While many thinkers in Germany saw the war in very stark terms, as a struggle to uphold the ‘spirit’ or as a struggle against Enlightenment rationalism, Schmitt opined that the war proved the tragic existence of man in the modern world. Men had lost their souls and corrupted by a glut of knowledge and a dearth of spirituality.9

Strassburg’s loss to the Reich after the war meant that Schmitt had to downgrade to a lectureship at the School of Business Administration in Munich, a post which he achieved with the aid of Moritz Julius Bonn. Bonn would remain a close friend. Despite their political differences, Schmitt and Moritz were companions until the end of Weimar.10

While Schmitt would be forever known as a provocative critic of the Weimar republic, he was always loyal to its institutions from its inception, albeit with reservations. Catholics had their hand strengthened by the Weimar republic. Hence, Schmitt and others were unlikely to overthrow an institution that had favoured them. On the other hand, Versailles was perceived as a humiliation and seemingly even worse for Schmitt, a distortion of law. Antipathies were harboured by Schmitt towards the US on these grounds. America was considered it to be a hypocritical entity who impressed upon people a neutral, liberal international law operating alongside an open economic system, but because the latter had to be guaranteed, the former could not be neutral.11   

Differences between jurists that existed before the onset of war were further exacerbated after the war. Hans Kelsen, the normativist scholar, was Schmitt’s main rival. Those like Schmitt opposed what they saw as an unrealistic objectivism.12

After the war, Schmitt turned his back on neo-Kantian perceptions of right. Instead he interpreted the turmoil of the war and post-war anarchy as proof for his ‘decisionist’ theories. Law and legitimate rule were located in the hands of a clearly defined sovereign. Legal procedure would be kept to a minimum. Justice would be substantive as opposed to merely formal.

Schmitt placed order before the application of law and he increasingly saw many of the assumptions and modus operandi of Liberalism, democracy, and parliamentarianism to be unworkable, subversive, irrational, prone to elitism, and too politically agnostic in the Germany of his day. His criticisms of domestic law mirrored those of international law – too much faith was placed in supposedly neutral theories of law. Sheer ignorance of power structures or realities on the ground was what kept ‘rule-of-law’ theories going.13


Schmitt mused much on dictatorships like the one headed by Sulla, the Roman dictator

Disillusioned with modern politics, he sought refuge in counter-revolution thinkers, notably de Maistre, Bonald, and Donoso Cortés. Schmitt did much to resurrect the reputation of Cortés in particular, an ex-liberal from Spain who produced far-reaching analyses of mid-19th  century European politics. Cortés’ discourse was framed in highly theological language.14

Schmitt distanced himself from ‘conservative revolutionaries,’ however. Conservative revolutionaries held that traditional conservatism needed to utilize modern techniques to save Germany from atheism, Liberalism and Bolshevism. Schmitt considered their opinions too crude. Diversification was key and Schmitt interacted with the left and right and every shade in between, with the possible exception of Liberals, although he never seems to have found an intellectual soul-mate.15

Yet Schmitt concurred with the conservative revolutionaries in one important respect; namely that he found the age to be dead, lacking in vitality, and overly rationalistic. Liberalism and parliamentarianism were increasingly in the cross-hairs and the first pre-emptive strike was his book Political Romanticism (1919), which was released after the war. This was not a template for later Schmittian works, but was symptomatic of an impatience with relentless individualism. One can read many subtexts from this work that would appear in his more celebrated studies.16

Following Political Romanticism, Schmitt’s targets were pinpointed to greater precision. Dictatorship (1921), Political Theology (1922), and The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy (1923), were three noteworthy books released in the early 1920s. Liberalism’s flawed ontology of mankind was critiqued. Contradictions in Liberalism were exposed. Dangerous phantasms of parliamentarianism were rationally elucidated. Power in the ‘real’ world of politics was discussed. And more. 17

At the same time, Schmitt was aware of the increasing totalitarianism evident in modern politics,  being one of the first to recognize this trend, and even articulating an awareness of the power of modern media. His position was somewhere in between the value-neutral position of Liberalism and the absolute control espoused by Statists. He was acutely aware of the weaknesses of Weimar Germany in the face of ideologies demanding increasing loyalty from their members. In parallel with his fear of totalitarianism was his disgust at the way that private interests were embedding themselves into public institutions. Nevertheless, by 1925, the constitutional lawyer Richard Thoma was accusing Schmitt of authoritarianism, a penchant for the irrational and desiring the hegemony of the Church in Germany.18

Schmitt gained a reputation as a legal theorist who leant strongly on article 48 of the Weimar Constitution during this period. In this article, a provision was made for emergency rule in the event of political breakdown. For Schmitt, as opposed to those like Thoma, law was meaningless without a stable order in place. He took a very realistic perspective, and in fact was not ideologically inclined against democracy or parliament. But he harboured misgivings that the supposed nature of democracy or parliamentarianism, as articulated by his contemporaries, was historically accurate. In any event, the modern forces which Liberalism had unleashed would put paid to whatever the interest-based new order tried to accomplish, Schmitt also surmised.19


Frontispiece of a booklet of the Weimar Constitution

Schmitt spent the bulk of the 1920s at Bonn, and moved there in 1922 after stints at Berlin and Greifswald, leaving Bonn in 1928. In 1926 he got married to Duschka Todorovitsch, another Slav. In the next several years, two of his most important books, The Concept of the Political (1927, with a new and highly amended edition appearing in 1932) and Constitutional Theory (1928) were published. The former, in particular, marked a ‘turn’ in Schmitt’s thought: he was now less inclined towards the Catholic Church. Already he had been turning to Rosseau and his theories of the identity of people and government.20


Schmitt and his wife in the 1920s

Introducing Schmitt’s famous ‘friend-enemy thesis,’ The Concept of the Political was a revolutionary book in political science and philosophy. Continuing in the same vein as earlier works such as Political Theology, Schmitt saw the State as the only body competent to pursue political existence by identifying the friend-enemy distinction. Despite the apparent amorality of the study, many commentators, including his Catholic friend Waldemar Gurion, were impressed by what was undeniably an astute analysis.21

Both the Weimar Republic and Schmitt the intellectual reached the height of their powers in the years immediately before the Wall Street crash. Schmitt would go to Berlin just before the fatal blows were struck against the nascent republic. He now commanded widely-held kudos as a jurist, and the financial crisis would now give him influence as a political adviser.22

Germany was on the precipice at this stage and article 76 of the Weimar constitution particularly disturbed Schmitt. He harboured no illusions about what this provision, which enabled a popularly elected party to do as it pleased with the constitution, signified for those antagonistic towards the State. Schmitt now became close to Johannes Popitz, Franz von Papen, and General Kurt von Schleicher, all of whom represented traditional German values. During the chancellorship of Heinrich Brüning, the Centre party leader, he acted as constitutional advisor to President Paul von Hindenburg. True to his past form, Schmitt provided legal cover for the use of emergency decrees which helped see the republic through the treacherous currents of the early 1930s. Surrounded by practical men, Schmitt and his colleagues were only interested in making Germany a strong and stable country. At this time, he also recognized the need for government to concern itself with economic matters. Schmitt neither sought to repress trade unions nor exalt business interests within the corridors of powers, but advocated the pursuance of an economic policy that was neutral.23

There was more than a touch of Keystone Cops about Schmitt, von Papen, von Schleicher, and other traditional conservatives, as they struggled to manoeuvre and deal with the burgeoning National Socialist movement. One of Schmitt’s treatises, Legality and Legitimacy, was used by supporters of von Papen and von Schleicher to justify the increasingly authoritarian measures required to cope with the turmoil in Germany, which by 1932 had become pervasive. Ill-judged use of Schmitt’s theory handed an initiative to the NSDAP in 1932 during a landmark case in Prussia. In 1932, he also wrote an article in the run-up to elections called The Abuse of Legality, where he repeated his arguments in  Legality and Legitimacy. The most important of his arguments, in this context, was the conviction that the Constitution cannot be used as a weapon against itself.24

In 1932, von Schleicher tried to outwit the NSDAP. He lifted bans on paramilitary groups aligned with the National Socialist movement, but also tried to woo right-wing voters through innovative economic measures. Strategic support was lent to these tactics by Schmitt. However, these plans backfired. The NSDAP grew in strength and Hitler was underestimated by those like the conservatives, who believed in their own superiority and powers of manipulation. Meanwhile, Schmitt’s ideas were commoditized by those like Hans Zehrer and Horst Grüneberg, editors of Die Tat, who found knives in Schmitt’s writings where there were only scalpels.25


Schmitt’s article ‘The Fuehrer protects the right’

One last episode of farce remained before the death of Weimar: Von Schleicher conversed with Hindenburg about banning anti-constitutional parties that were now incapable of being contained in 1933. This conversation was leaked. Schmitt’s name was associated with the backroom shenanigans, and he had an embittered, and personal exchange with Prelate Kaas, leader of the Centre Party, who charged Schmitt with promoting illegality. Schmitt later heard about Hitler’s appointment in a café. Just at this time, he was moving from Berlin to Cologne, a move unrelated to the political trouble. Schmitt’s departure from the capital seemed just as well timed as his arrival.26

True to his form of being able to condense the most momentous of events into a single phrase, Schmitt remarked on January 30 1933 that ‘one can say that Hegel died.’27 Schmitt saw Hitler’s rise to power through the lens of vitality and Kultur. National Socialism had ousted a bureaucracy that had powered the rise of the German state, only to disappear once the work of the bureaucratic State was complete. He joined the NSDAP in May 1933, although it was not a significant gesture, because the purging of the civil service had meant that Schmitt was virtually compelled to join.28

A full professorship in Berlin, a post at the Prussian state council, a nomination to the nascent Akademie für Deutsches Recht, an appointment to the editorial board of the publication of National Socialist legal theorists Das Deutsche Recht, and appointment to the head of higher education instructors of the National-Socialist Federation of German jurists came in quick succession in 1933.29

In 1934 he partly backed that year’s notorious purges in the provocatively titled The Führer Protects the Law. In his opposition to the slaughter of innocents, Schmitt showed his astuteness. He was able to cite both Hitler and Goering, who admitted publicly that mistakes were made in the purges. Schmitt called for a state of normality to be re-imposed, now that the danger to the state had passed. Despite his attempts to quell the bloodshed in Germany, Schmitt’s writings appeared to emigrés as rubberstamping a fanatical government that was out-of-control. His old friend Gurian coined the term ‘Crown Jurist of the Third Reich’ for Schmitt.30

Protestations of emigrés against Schmitt didn’t go unnoticed by the authorities, and their dredging up of Schmitt’s past stance towards the NSDAP stifled, and then reversed, Schmitt’s rise through the ranks. It seemed as if the more Schmitt tried to ingratiate himself – by 1936 he had approved of the Nuremberg laws and also proposed a purging of the law-books of Jewish influence – the more he alienated himself.31

The SS and their publication, Das Schwarze Korps, were the vanguard of ideological purity in the Third Reich. From this platform, they were eventually able to force Schmitt to leave the public bodies he had served in and he retired to academia. Disillusioned, he drew more on the theories of Thomas Hobbes, in particular his theory of obedience being given in return for protection in a 1938 work. Schmitt also explored international law, and would remain a critic of the global order until his death, notably calling for an international system where countries would guard Grossraum, large swathes of territory that powerful States would claim as their backyard as the US had done with the Monroe Doctrine. This should not be confused with racially charged Lebensraum theories.32

In the last phase of the war, Schmitt served in the German equivalent of the Home Guard and was captured by the Soviets. Ironically, the Bolsheviks released him after considering him to be of no value, either because of what he told the Russians or because of his age. Schmitt did not receive the same leniency from the Americans and he spend thirteen months, after his arrest in September 1945, incarcerated, also suffering the ignominy of having his massive library confiscated.  The main accusation levelled against him was that he had provided intellectual cover for the NSDAP Lebensraum policy.33 Chastened by his experiences, Schmitt retreated into what he told his interrogator Robert Kempner was a ‘security of silence’34 and he composed the following lines which served to summate the attitude he adopted after the war

Look at the author most precisely

Who speaks of silence oh so nicely;

For while he’s speaking of quiescence

He outwits his own obsolescence.35

Schmitt did not maintain a strict silence, as the lines suggest, but continued his manner of couching his writings in esotericism, a manner which he adopted during NSDAP rule. After his ordeal at the hands of the Americans, Schmitt retired to a house which was named San Casciano, either after the name of the residence that Machiavelli retired to after he was ousted from power, or after the name of a Christian martyr in the reign of Diocletian who was stabbed to death with a stylo by one of his students.36

Even in his old age, Schmitt divided opinion, but kept producing works of literary quality. The Nomos of the Earth (1950) was Schmitt’s last major work and his key study on international relations. That is not to downgrade the quality of many of his later works, such as Theory of the Partisan (1963), which are still highly relevant in the modern world. He also revised many of his earlier writings so as to keep pace with the new world that had replaced the previous European order that had existed from the 17th century. Theology came back into focus for Schmitt and his Political Theology II (1970) critiqued the classical position adopted by Erik Peterson, in respect of the Church’s position towards politics. Friendships with Jacob Taubes, a Jewish rabbi, and Alexandre Kojève, the outstanding Hegelian philosopher, revived his reputation.37

Schmitt’s downfall somewhat mirrored similar events surrounding Machiavelli. His death in his home town of Plettenberg at the grand age of 97 matched the somewhat similar life-span enjoyed by Hobbes.38 Life for both may have been nasty and brutish, at times, but was definitely not short!

Currently, I am researching a book on Carl Schmitt because I need to know about politics. Any comments or suggested corrections to this post are welcome. I have already authored one book Mysteries of State in the Renaissance. My Amazon page is here.


[1] Carl Schmitt’s International Thought: Order and Orientation William Hooker Cambridge University Press Cambridge 2009 pp. xiii; State, Movement, People: The Triadic Structure of Political Unity Carl Schmitt (Simona Draghici (Trans.)) Plutarch Press Corvalis, Or. 2001 pp. ix; The Concept of the Political (Expanded Edition) Carl Schmitt (George Schwab (Trans.)) The University of Chicago Press Chicago 2007 pp. 4; Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 3-5.

[2]The Concept of the Political (Expanded Edition) Carl Schmitt (George Schwab (Trans.)) The University of Chicago Press Chicago 2007 pp. 4; The Challenge of the Exception: Introduction to the Political Ideas of Carl Schmitt Between 1921 and 1936 (2nd Ed.) George Schwab Greenwood Press New York Westport, Conn. London 1989 pp. 13; Ibid. pp. 6-7; Dictatorship Carl Schmitt (Michael Hoelzl and Graham Ward (Trans.)) Polity Press Malden, MA Cambridge 2014 pp. xvii.

[3] The Concept of the Political (Expanded Edition) Carl Schmitt (George Schwab (Trans.)) The University of Chicago Press Chicago 2007 pp. 4; Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 9, 13.

[4] The Challenge of the Exception: Introduction to the Political Ideas of Carl Schmitt Between 1921 and 1936 (2nd Ed.) George Schwab Greenwood Press New York Westport, Conn. London 1989 pp. 14; Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 10-11.

[5] The Challenge of the Exception: Introduction to the Political Ideas of Carl Schmitt Between 1921 and 1936 (2nd Ed.) George Schwab Greenwood Press New York Westport, Conn. London 1989 pp. 13.

[6] Ibid. pp. 14; Carl Schmitt’s International Thought: Order and Orientation William Hooker Cambridge University Press Cambridge 2009 pp. xiii; Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 13-15.

[7] Dictatorship Carl Schmitt (Michael Hoelzl and Graham Ward (Trans.)) Polity Press Malden, MA Cambridge 2014 pp. x-xi; The Concept of the Political (Expanded Edition) Carl Schmitt (George Schwab (Trans.)) The University of Chicago Press Chicago 2007 pp. 4; Carl Schmitt’s International Thought: Order and Orientation William Hooker Cambridge University Press Cambridge 2009 pp. xiii.

[8] Dictatorship Carl Schmitt (Michael Hoelzl and Graham Ward (Trans.)) Polity Press Malden, MA Cambridge 2014 pp. xi-xii; The Challenge of the Exception: Introduction to the Political Ideas of Carl Schmitt Between 1921 and 1936 (2nd Ed.) George Schwab Greenwood Press New York Westport, Conn. London 1989 pp. 14-15; Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 18-20.

[9] Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 16-18.

[10] Ibid. pp. 22-23.

[11] The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy Carl Schmitt (Ellen Kennedy (Trans.)) MIT Press Cambridge, Mass. London 2000 pp. xxvii-xxviii; Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 28, 53-54; The Geopolitics Of Separation: Response to Teschke’s ‘Decisions and Indecisions’ Gopal Balakrishnan New Left Review Vol. 68 Mar-Apr 2011 pp. 59; The Nomos of the Earth in the International Law of the Jus Publicum Europaeum Carl Schmitt (G.L. Ulmen (Trans.)) Telos Press New York 2003 pp. 12-19.

[12] State, Movement, People: The Triadic Structure of Political Unity Carl Schmitt (Simona Draghici (Trans.)) Plutarch Press Corvalis, Or. 2001 pp. ix-x; Constitutional Theory Carl Schmitt (Jeffrey Seitzer (Trans.)) Duke University Press Durham London 2008 pp. 3; Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 36.

[13] Carl Schmitt’s quest for the political: Theology, decisionism, and the concept of the enemy Maurice A. Auerbach Journal of Political Philosophy Winter 1993-94 Vol. 21 No. 2 pp. 201; Carl Schmitt’s Critique of Liberalism: Against Politics as Technology John P. McCormick Cambridge University Press Cambridge 1997 pp. 2; State, Movement, People: The Triadic Structure of Political Unity Carl Schmitt (Simona Draghici (Trans.)) Plutarch Press Corvalis, Or. 2001 pp. x-xi; The Concept of the Political (Expanded Edition) Carl Schmitt (George Schwab (Trans.)) The University of Chicago Press Chicago 2007 pp. 7, pp. 13; Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 37.

[14] Carl Schmitt’s quest for the political: Theology, decisionism, and the concept of the enemy Maurice A. Auerbach Journal of Political Philosophy Winter 1993-94 Vol. 21 No. 2 pp. 203; Carl Schmitt and Donoso Cortés Gary Ulmen Telos 2002 No. 125  pp. 69-79; The Challenge of the Exception: Introduction to the Political Ideas of Carl Schmitt Between 1921 and 1936 (2nd Ed.) George Schwab Greenwood Press New York Westport, Conn. London 1989 pp. 22-23.

[15] Carl Schmitt: The Conservative Revolutionary Habitus and the Aesthetics of Horror Richard Wolin Political Theory 1992 Vol. 20 No. 3 pp. 428-429; Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 56-62, 135-139. He made his disassociation from conservative revolutionaries quite forceful at times, for instance complaining when his name nearly appeared in the same collection of essays as the Austrian corporatist thinker Prof. Othmar Spann. Schmitt also associated with leftist thinkers like Benjamin and Kirchheimer, both who were indebted to him. Schmitt did attract right wing students who were pessimistic about the German state, but these  were only interested in those parts of his lectures construed as anti-Weimar and the subtlety of Schmitt’s thought was ignored.

[16] Carl Schmitt’s quest for the political: Theology, decisionism, and the concept of the enemy Maurice A. Auerbach Journal of Political Philosophy Winter 1993-94 Vol. 21 No. 2 pp. 206; Political Romanticism Carl Schmitt (Guy Oakes (Trans.)) MIT Press Cambridge, Mass. London 1986. 

[17] The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy Carl Schmitt (Ellen Kennedy (Trans.)) MIT Press Cambridge, Mass. London 2000 pp. xvi.

[18] Ibid. pp. xiv, xli; Carl Schmitt’s quest for the political: Theology, decisionism, and the concept of the enemy Maurice A. Auerbach Journal of Political Philosophy Winter 1993-94 Vol. 21 No. 2 pp. 207; State, Movement, People: The Triadic Structure of Political Unity Carl Schmitt (Simona Draghici (Trans.)) Plutarch Press Corvalis, Or. 2001 pp. viii.

[19] The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy Carl Schmitt (Ellen Kennedy (Trans.)) MIT Press Cambridge, Mass. London 2000 pp. xxvii-xxx; Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 72-73; Four Articles: 1931-1938 Carl Schmitt (Simona Draghici (Trans.)) Plutarch Press Corvalis, Or. 1999 pp. x-xi; In his introduction to one of Schmitt’s books, Christopher Dawson writes; To the traditionalist this alliance of liberal humanitarianism with the forces of destruction appears so insane that he is tempted to see in it the influence of political corruption or the sinister action of some hidden hand. It must, however, be recognised that it is no new phenomenon; in fact, it has formed part of the liberal tradition from the beginning. The movement which created the ideals of liberal humanitarianism was also the starting point of the modern revolutionary propaganda which is equally directed against social order and traditional morality and the Christian faith. In The Necessity of Politics: An Essay on the Representative Idea of the Church and Modern Europe Carl Schmitt (E.M. Codd (Trans.)) Sheed & Ward London 1931 pp. 15-16.

[20] State, Movement, People: The Triadic Structure of Political Unity Carl Schmitt (Simona Draghici (Trans.)) Plutarch Press Corvalis, Or. 2001 pp. xi; Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 44; The Concept of the Political (Expanded Edition) Carl Schmitt (George Schwab (Trans.)) The University of Chicago Press Chicago 2007; Constitutional Theory Carl Schmitt (Jeffrey Seitzer (Trans.)) Duke University Press Durham London 2008; The Challenge of the Exception: Introduction to the Political Ideas of Carl Schmitt Between 1921 and 1936 (2nd Ed.) George Schwab Greenwood Press New York Westport, Conn. London 1989 pp. 25-26.

[21] Carl Schmitt’s International Thought: Order and Orientation William Hooker Cambridge University Press Cambridge 2009 pp. 1-5; The Concept of the Political (Expanded Edition) Carl Schmitt (George Schwab (Trans.)) The University of Chicago Press Chicago 2007; Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 93-94.

[22] Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 85; State, Movement, People: The Triadic Structure of Political Unity Carl Schmitt (Simona Draghici (Trans.)) Plutarch Press Corvalis, Or. 2001 pp. xi.

[23] The Definite and the Dubious: Carl Schmitt’s Influence on Conservative Political and Legal Theory in the US Joseph W. Bendersky Telos 2002  No. 122  pp. 36, 43; Movement, People: The Triadic Structure of Political Unity Carl Schmitt (Simona Draghici (Trans.)) Plutarch Press Corvalis, Or. 2001 pp. viii-xii. It’s significant that Heinrich Muth noted that someone who strove in the manner of Schmitt could not logically have been in league with groups like the NSDAP; The Concept of the Political (Expanded Edition) Carl Schmitt (George Schwab (Trans.)) The University of Chicago Press Chicago 2007 pp. 14; Political Romanticism Carl Schmitt (Guy Oakes (Trans.)) MIT Press Cambridge, Mass. London 1986 pp. ix-x; Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 114-116, 121-122.

[24] Legality and Legitimacy Carl Schmitt (Jeffrey Seitzer (Trans.)) Duke University Press Durham London 2004 pp. xvi, xx-xxi; State, Movement, People: The Triadic Structure of Political Unity Carl Schmitt (Simona Draghici (Trans.)) Plutarch Press Corvalis, Or. 2001 pp. xi; Constitutional Theory Carl Schmitt (Jeffrey Seitzer (Trans.)) Duke University Press Durham London 2008 pp. 20-23; Political Romanticism Carl Schmitt (Guy Oakes (Trans.)) MIT Press Cambridge, Mass. London 1986 pp. x-xi.

[25] Legality and Legitimacy Carl Schmitt (Jeffrey Seitzer (Trans.)) Duke University Press Durham London 2004 pp. xxi; Constitutional Theory Carl Schmitt (Jeffrey Seitzer (Trans.)) Duke University Press Durham London 2008 pp. 22; Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 152-153; The Challenge of the Exception: Introduction to the Political Ideas of Carl Schmitt Between 1921 and 1936 (2nd Ed.) George Schwab Greenwood Press New York Westport, Conn. London 1989 pp. vi.

[26] Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 184-189.

[27] Carl Schmitt: The Conservative Revolutionary Habitus and the Aesthetics of Horror Richard Wolin Political Theory 1992 Vol. 20 No. 3 pp. 424.

[28] Ibid. pp. 425; State, Movement, People: The Triadic Structure of Political Unity Carl Schmitt (Simona Draghici (Trans.)) Plutarch Press Corvalis, Or. 2001 pp. xiii.

[29] State, Movement, People: The Triadic Structure of Political Unity Carl Schmitt (Simona Draghici (Trans.)) Plutarch Press Corvalis, Or. 2001 pp. xii.

[30] Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 215-216, 23-224; The Leviathan in the State Theory of Thomas Hobbes: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol Carl Schmitt (George Schwab and Erna Hilfstein (Trans.)) Greenwood Press Westport, Conn. London 1996 pp. xvi.

[31] Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 224-228; For an excellent summary of Schmitt’s true attitudes towards the Jews see New Evidence, Old Contradictions: Carl Schmitt and the Jewish Question Joseph Bendersky Telos 2005 No. 132 pp. 64-82.

[32] The Leviathan in the State Theory of Thomas Hobbes: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol Carl Schmitt (George Schwab and Erna Hilfstein (Trans.)) Greenwood Press Westport, Conn. London 1996 pp. xii-xiii; Carl Schmitt, theorist for the Reich Joseph W. Bendersky Princeton University Press Princeton, N.J. Guildford 1983 pp. 224-228; The Geopolitics Of Separation: Response to Teschke’s ‘Decisions and Indecisions’ Gopal Balakrishnan New Left Review Vol. 68 Mar-Apr 2011 pp. 68.

[33] Carl Schmitt’s International Thought: Order and Orientation William Hooker Cambridge University Press Cambridge 2009 pp. xiii; Political Theology II: The Myth of the Closure of Any Political Theory Carl Schmitt (Michael Hoelzl and Graham Ward (Trans.)) Polity Press Cambridge 1970 pp. 1.

[34] Political Theology II: The Myth of the Closure of Any Political Theory Carl Schmitt (Michael Hoelzl and Graham Ward (Trans.)) Polity Press Cambridge 1970 pp. 1.

[35] Ibid. pp. 1.

[36] Ibid. pp. 2.

[37] Ibid.; Constitutional Theory Carl Schmitt (Jeffrey Seitzer (Trans.)) Duke University Press Durham London 2008 pp. 2; Carl Schmitt’s International Thought: Order and Orientation William Hooker Cambridge University Press Cambridge 2009 pp. 2; The Nomos of the Earth in the International Law of the Jus Publicum Europaeum Carl Schmitt (G.L. Ulmen (Trans.)) Telos Press New York 2003; The Theory of the Partisan: Intermediate Commentary on the Concept of the Political Carl Schmitt (A.C. Goodson (Trans.)) Michigan State University Lansing 2004; Letters of Jacob Taubes & Carl Schmitt Timothy Edwards (Trans.) Accessed from http://www.scribd.com on 25/10/14; Alexandre Kojève-Carl Schmitt Correspondence and Alexandre Kojève, “Colonialism from a European Perpective (Erik de Vries (Trans.)) Interpretation 2001 Vol. 29 No. 1 pp. 91-130.

[38] Carl Schmitt’s International Thought: Order and Orientation William Hooker Cambridge University Press Cambridge 2009 pp. xiii; Hobbes lived until the age of 91, an even more remarkable feat than Schmitt’s longevity!

History and Decadence: Spengler's Cultural Pessimism Today


History and Decadence: Spengler's Cultural Pessimism Today
Dr. Tomislav Sunic expertly examines the Weltanschauung of Oswald Spengler and its importance for today's times.

by Tomislav Sunic

Ex: http://traditionalbritain.org

Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) exerted considerable influence on European conservatism before the Second World War. Although his popularity waned somewhat after the war, his analyses, in the light of the disturbing conditions in the modern polity, again seem to be gaining in popularity. Recent literature dealing with gloomy postmodernist themes suggests that Spengler's prophecies of decadence may now be finding supporters on both sides of the political spectrum. The alienating nature of modern technology and the social and moral decay of large cities today lends new credence to Spengler's vision of the impending collapse of the West. In America and Europe an increasing number of authors perceive in the liberal permissive state a harbinger of 'soft' totalitarianism that my lead decisively to social entropy and conclude in the advent of 'hard' totalitarianism'.

Spengler wrote his major work The Decline of the West (Der Untergang des Abendlandes) against the background of the anticipated German victory in World War I. When the war ended disastrously for the Germans, his predictions that Germany, together with the rest of Europe, was bent for irreversible decline gained a renewed sense of urgency for scores of cultural pessimists. World War I must have deeply shaken the quasi-religious optimism of those who had earlier prophesied that technological intentions and international economic linkages would pave the way for peace and prosperity. Moreover, the war proved that technological inventions could turn out to be a perfect tool for man's alienation and, eventually, his physical annihilation. Inadvertently, while attempting to interpret the cycles of world history, Spengler probably best succeeded in spreading the spirits of cultural despair to his own as well as future generations.

Like Giambattista Vico, who two centuries earlier developed his thesis about the rise and decline of culture, Spengler tried to project a pattern of cultural growth and cultural decay in a certain scientific form: 'the morphology of history'--as he himself and others dub his work--although the term 'biology' seems more appropriate considering Spengler's inclination to view cultures and living organic entities, alternately afflicted with disease and plague or showing signs of vigorous life. Undoubtedly, the organic conception of history was, to a great extent, inspired by the popularity of scientific and pseudoscientific literature, which, in the early twentieth century began to focus attention on racial and genetic paradigms in order to explain the patterns of social decay. Spengler, however, prudently avoids racial determinism in his description of decadence, although his exaltation of historical determinism in his description often brings him close to Marx--albeit in a reversed and hopelessly pessimistic direction. In contrast to many egalitarian thinkers, Spengler's elitism and organicism conceived of human species as of different and opposing peoples, each experiencing its own growth and death, and each struggling for survival. 'Mankind', writes Spengler, should be viewed as either a 'zoological concept or an empty word'. If ever this phantom of mankind vanishes from the circulation of historical forms, 'we shall ten notice an astounding affluence of genuine forms.. Apparently, by form, (Gestalt), Spengler means the resurrection of the classical notion of the nation-state, which, in the early twentieth century, came under fire from the advocates of the globalist and universalist polity. Spengler must be credited, however, with pointing out that the frequently used concept 'world history', in reality encompasses an impressive array of diverse and opposing cultures without common denominator; each culture displays its own forms, pursues its own passions, and grapples with its own life or death. 'There are blossoming and ageing cultures', writes Spengler, 'peoples, languages, truths, gods and landscapes, just as there are young and old oak trees, pines, flowers, boughs, and peta;s--but there is no ageing mankind.'. For Spengler, cultures seem to be growing in sublime futility, with some approaching terminal illness, and others still displaying vigorous signs of life. Before culture emerged, man was an ahistorical creature; but he becomes again ahistorical and, one might add, even hostile to history: 'as soon as some civilisation has developed its full and final form, thus putting a stop to the living development of culture." (2:58; 2:38).

Spengler was convinced, however, that the dynamics of decadence could be fairly well predicted, provided that exact historical data were available. Just as the biology of human beings generates a well-defined life span, resulting ultimately in biological death, so does each culture possess its own ageing 'data', normally lasting no longer than a thousand years-- a period, separating its spring from its eventual historical antithesis, the winter, of civilisation. The estimate of a thousand years before the decline of culture sets in corresponds to Spengler's certitude that, after that period, each society has to face self-destruction. For example, after the fall of Rome, the rebirth of European culture started andes in the ninth century with the Carolingian dynasty. After the painful process of growth, self-assertiveness, and maturation, one thousand years later, in the twentieth century, cultural life in Europe is coming to its definite historical close.

As Spengler and his contemporary successors see it, Western culture now has transformed itself into a decadent civilisation fraught with an advanced form of social, moral and political decay. The First signs of this decay appeared shortly after the Industrial Revolution, when the machine began to replace man, when feelings gave way to ratio. Ever since that ominous event, new forms of social and political conduct have been surfacing in the West--marked by a widespread obsession with endless economic growth and irreversible human betterment--fueled by the belief that the burden of history can finally be removed. The new plutocratic elites, that have now replaced organic aristocracy, have imposed material gain as the only principle worth pursuing, reducing the entire human interaction to an immense economic transaction. And since the masses can never be fully satisfied, argues Spengler, it is understandable that they will seek change in their existing polities even if change may spell the loss of liberty. One might add that this craving for economic affluence will be translated into an incessant decline of the sense of public responsibility and an emerging sense of uprootedness and social anomie, which will ultimately and inevitably lead to the advent of totalitarianism. It would appear, therefore, that the process of decadence can be forestalled, ironically, only by resorting to salutary hard-line regimes.

Using Spengler's apocalyptic predictions, one is tempted to draw a parallel with the modern Western polity, which likewise seems to be undergoing the period of decay and decadence. John Lukacs, who bears the unmistakable imprint of Spenglerian pessimism, views the permissive nature of modern liberal society, as embodied in America, as the first step toward social disintegration. Like Spengler, Lukacs asserts that excessive individualism and rampant materialism increasingly paralyse and render obsolete the sense of civic responsibility. One should probably agree with Lukacs that neither the lifting of censorship, nor the increasing unpopularity of traditional value, nor the curtailing of state authority in contemporary liberal states, seems to have led to a more peaceful environment; instead, a growing sense of despair seems to have triggered a form of neo-barbarism and social vulgarity. 'Already richness and poverty, elegance and sleaziness, sophistication and savagery live together more and more,' writes Lukacs. Indeed, who could have predicted that a society capable of launching rockets to the moon or curing diseases that once ravaged the world could also become a civilisation plagued by social atomisation, crime, and an addiction to escapism? With his apocalyptic predictions, Lukacs similar to Spengler, writes: 'This most crowded of streets of the greatest civilisation; this is now the hellhole of the world.'

Interestingly, neither Spengler nor Lukacs nor other cultural pessimists seems to pay much attention to the obsessive appetite for equality, which seems to play, as several contemporary authors point out, an important role in decadence and the resulting sense of cultural despair. One is inclined to think that the process of decadence in the contemporary West is the result of egalitarian doctrines that promise much but deliver little, creating thus an economic-minded and rootless citizens. Moreover, elevated to the status of modern secular religions, egalitarianism and economism inevitably follow their own dynamics of growth, which is likely conclude, as Claude Polin notes, in the 'terror of all against all' and the ugly resurgence of democratic totalitarianism. Polin writes: 'Undifferentiated man is par excellence a quantitative man; a man who accidentally differs from his neighbours by the quantity of economic goods in his possession; a man subject to statistics; a man who spontaneously reacts in accordance to statistics'. Conceivably, liberal society, if it ever gets gripped by economic duress and hit by vanishing opportunities, will have no option but to tame and harness the restless masses in a Spenglerian 'muscled regime'. 

Spengler and other cultural pessimists seem to be right in pointing out that democratic forms of polity, in their final stage, will be marred by moral and social convulsions, political scandals, and corruption on all social levels. On top of it, as Spengler predicts, the cult of money will reign supreme, because 'through money democracy destroys itself, after money has destroyed the spirit' (2: p.582; 2: p.464). Judging by the modern development of capitalism, Spengler cannot be accused of far-fetched assumptions. This economic civilisation founders on a major contradiction: on the one hand its religion of human rights extends its beneficiary legal tenets to everyone, reassuring every individual of the legitimacy of his earthly appetites; on the other, this same egalitarian civilisation fosters a model of economic Darwinism, ruthlessly trampling under its feet those whose interests do not lie in the economic arena. 

The next step, as Spengler suggest, will be the transition from democracy to salutary Caesarism; substitution of the tyranny of the few for the tyranny of many. The neo-Hobbesian, neo-barbaric state is in the making: 

Instead of the pyres emerges big silence. The dictatorship of party bosses is backed up by the dictatorship of the press. With money, an attempt is made to lure swarms of readers and entire peoples away from the enemy's attention and bring them under one's own thought control. There, they learn only what they must learn, and a higher will shapes their picture of the world. It is no longer needed--as the baroque princes did--to oblige their subordinates into the armed service. Their minds are whipped up through articles, telegrams, pictures, until they demand weapons and force their leaders to a battle to which these wanted to be forced. (2: p.463)

The fundamental issue, however, which Spengler and many other cultural pessimists do not seem to address, is whether Caesarism or totalitarianism represents the antithetical remedy to decadence or, orator, the most extreme form of decadence? Current literature on totalitarianism seems to focus on the unpleasant side effects of the looted state, the absence of human rights, and the pervasive control of the police. By contrast, if liberal democracy is indeed a highly desirable and the least repressive system of all hitherto known in the West--and if, in addition, this liberal democracy claims to be the best custodian of human dignity--one wonders why it relentlessly causes social uprootedness and cultural despair among an increasing number of people? As Claude Polin notes, chances are that, in the short run, democratic totalitarianism will gain the upper hand since the security to provides is more appealing to the masses than is the vague notion of liberty. One might add that the tempo of democratic process in the West leads eventually to chaotic impasse, which necessitates the imposition of a hard-line regime.

Although Spengler does not provide a satisfying answer to the question of Caesarism vs. decadence, he admits that the decadence of the West needs not signify the collapse of all cultures. Rather it appears that the terminal illness of the West may be a new lease on life for other cultures; the death of Europe may result in a stronger Africa or Asia. Like many other cultural pessimists, Spengler acknowledges that the West has grown old, unwilling to fight, with its political and cultural inventory depleted; consequently, it is obliged to cede the reigns of history to those nations that are less exposed to debilitating pacifism and the self-flagellating feelings of guilt that, so to speak, have become the new trademarks of the modern Western citizen. One could imagine a situation where these new virile and victorious nations will barely heed the democratic niceties of their guilt-ridden formser masters, and may likely at some time in the future, impose their own brand of terror that could eclipse the legacy of the European Auschwitz and the Gulag. In view of the turtles vicil and tribal wars all over the decolonized African and Asian continent it seems unlikely that power politics and bellicosity will disappear with the 'Decline of the West'; So far, no proof has been offered that non-European nations can govern more peacefully and generously than their former European masters. 'Pacifism will remain an ideal', Spengler reminds us, 'war a fact. If the white races are resolved never to wage a war again, the coloured will act differently and be rulers of the world'. 

In this statement, Spengler clearly indicts the self-hating 'homo Europeanus' who, having become a victim of his bad conscience, naively thinks that his truths and verities must remain irrefutably turned against him. Spengler strongly attacks this Western false sympathy with the deprived ones--a sympathy that Nietzsche once depicted as a twisted form of egoism and slave moral. 'This is the reason,' writes Spengler, why this 'compassion moral',  in the day-to day sense 'evolved among us with respect, and sometimes strived for by the thinkers, sometimes longed for, has never been realised' (I: p.449; 1: p.350).

This form of political masochism could be well studied particularly among those contemporary Western egalitarians who, with the decline of socialist temptations, substituted for the archetype of the European exploited worker, the iconography of the starving African. Nowhere does this change in political symbolics seem more apparent than in the current Western drive to export Western forms of civilisation to the antipodes of the world. These Westerners, in the last spasm of a guilt-ridden shame, are probably convinced that their historical repentance might also secure their cultural and political longevity. Spengler was aware of these paralysing attitudes among Europeans, and he remarks that, if a modern European recognises his historical vulnerability, he must start thinking beyond his narrow perspective and develop different attitudes towards different political convictions and verities. What do Parsifal or Prometheus have to do with the average Japanese citizen, asks Spengler? 'This is exactly what is lacking in the Western thinker,' continues Spengler, 'and watch precisely should have never lacked in him; insight into historical relativity of his achievements, which are themselves the manifestation of one and unique, and of only one existence" (1: p.31; 1: p.23). On a somewhat different level, one wonders to what extent the much-vaunted dissemination of universal human rights can become a valuable principle for non-Western peoples if Western universalism often signifies blatant disrespect for all cultural particularities. 

Even with their eulogy of universalism, as Serge Latouche has recently noted, Westerners have, nonetheless, secured the most comfortable positions for themselves. Although they have now retreated to the back stage of history, vicariously, through their humanism, they still play the role of the indisputable masters of the non-white-man show. 'The death of the West for itself has not been the end of the West in itself', adds Latouche. One wonders whether such Western attitudes to universalism represent another form of racism, considering the havoc these attitudes have created in traditional Third World communities. Latouche appears correct in remarking that European decadence best manifests itself in its masochistic drive to deny and discard everything that it once stood for, while simultaneously sucking into its orbit of decadence other cultures as well. Yet, although suicidal in its character, the Western message contains mandatory admonishments for all non-European nations. He writes: 

The mission of the West is not to exploit the Third World, no to christianise the pagans, nor to dominate by white presence; it is to liberate men (ands seven more so women) from oppression and misery. In order to counter this self-hatred of the anti-imperialist vision, which concludes in red totalitarianism, one is now compelled to dry the tears of white man, and thereby ensure the success of this westernisation of the world. (p.41)

The decadent West exhibits, as Spengler hints, a travestied culture living on its own past in a society of indifferent nations that, having lost their historical consciousness, feel an urge to become blended into a promiscuous 'global polity'. One wonders what would he say today about the massive immigration of non-Europeans to Europe? This immigration has not improved understanding among races, but has caused more racial and ethnic strife that, very likely, signals a series of new conflicts in the future. But Spengler does not deplore the 'devaluation of all values nor the passing of cultures. In fact, to him decadence is a natural process of senility that concludes in civilisation, because civilisation is decadence. Spengler makes a typically German distinction between culture and civilisation, two terms that are, unfortunately, used synonymously in English. For Spengler civilisation is a product of intellect, of completely rationalised intellect; civilisation means uprootedness and, as such, it develops its ultimate form in the modern megapolis that, at the end of its journey, 'doomed, moves to its final self-destruction' (2: p.127; 2: p. 107). The force of the people has been overshadowed by massification; creativity has given way to 'kitsch' art; genius has been subordinated to the terror reason. He writes:

Culture and civilisation. On the one hand the living corpse of a soul and, on the other, its mummy. This is how the West European existence differs from 1800 and after. The life in its richness and normalcy, whose form has grown up and matured from inside out in one mighty course stretching from the adolescent days of Gothics to Goethe and Napoleon--into that old artificial, deracinated life of our large cities, whose forms are created by intellect. Culture and civilisation. The organism born in countryside, that ends up in petrified mechanism (1: p.453; 1: p.353).

In yet another display of determinism, Spengler contends that one cannot escape historical destiny: 'the first inescapable things that confronts man as an unavoidable destiny, which no though can grasp, and no will can change, is a place and time of one's birth: everybody is born into one people, one religion, one social stays, one stretch of time and one culture.' Man is so much constrained by his historical environment that all attempts at changing one's destiny are hopeless. And, therefore, all flowery postulates about the improvement of mankind, all liberal and socialist philosophising about a glorious future regarding the duties of humanity and the essence of ethics, are of no avail. Spengler sees no other avenue of redemption except by declaring himself a fundamental and resolute pessimist:

Mankind appears to me as a zoological quantity. I see no progress, no goal, no avenue for humanity, except in the heads of the Western progress-Philistines...I cannot see a single mind and even less a unity of endeavours, feelings, and understanding in thsese barren masses people. (Selected Essays, p.73-74; 147). 

The determinist nature of Spengler's pessimism has been criticised recently by Konrad Lorenzz who, while sharing Spengler's culture of despair, refuses the predetermined linearity of decadence. In his capacity of ethologist and as one of the most articulate neo-Darwinists, Lorenz admits the possibility of an interruption of human phylogenesis--yet also contends that new vistas for cultural development always remain open. 'Nothing is more foreign to the evolutionary epistemologist, as well, to the physician,' writes Lorenz, 'than the doctrine of fatalism.' Still, Lorenz does not hesitate to criticise vehemently decadence in modern mass societies that, in his view, have already given birth to pacified and domesticated specimens, unable to pursue cultural endeavours,. Lorenz would certainly find positive renounce with Spengler himself in writing: 

This explains why the pseudodemocratic doctrine that all men are equal, by which is believed that all humans are initially alike and pliable, could be made into a state religion by both the lobbyists for large industry and by the ideologues of communism (p. 179-180).

Despite the criticism of historical determinism that has been levelled against him, Spengler often confuses his reader with Faustian exclamations reminiscent of someone prepared for battle rather than reconciled to a sublime demise. 'No, I am not a pessimist,' writes Spengler in Pessimism, 'for Pessimism means seeing no more duties. I see so many unresolved duties that I fear that time and men will run out to solve them' (p. 75). These words hardly cohere with the cultural despair that earlier he so passionately elaborated. Moreover, he often advocates forces and th toughness of the warrior in order to starve off Europe's disaster. 

One is led to the conclusion that Spengler extols historical pessimism or 'purposeful pessimism' (Zweckpressimismus), as long as it translates his conviction of the irreversible decadence of the European polity; however, once he perceives that cultural and political loopholes are available for moral and social regeneration, he quickly reverts to the eulogy of power politics. Similar characteristics are often to be found among many pets, novelists, and social thinkers whose legacy in spreading cultural pessimism played a significant part in shaping political behaviour among Europrean conservatives prior to World War II. One wonders why they all, like Spengler, bemoan the decadence of the West if this decadence has already been sealed, if the cosmic die has already been cast, and if all efforts of political and cultural rejuvenation appear hopeless? Moreover, in an effort to mend the unmendable, by advocating a Faustian mentality and will to power, these pessimists often seem to emulate the optimism of socialists rather than the ideas of these reconciled to impending social catastrophe.

For Spengler and other cultural pessimists, the sense of decadence is inherently combined with a revulsion against modernity and an abhorrence of rampant economic greed. As recent history a has shown, the political manifestation of such revulsion may lead to less savoury results: the glorification of the will-to-power and the nostalgia of death. At that moment, literary finesse and artistic beauty  may take on a very ominous turn. The recent history of Europe bears witness to how daily cultural pessimism can become a handy tool of modern political titans. Nonetheless, the upcoming disasters have something uplifting for the generations of cultural pessimists who's hypersensitive nature--and disdain for the materialist society--often lapse into political nihilism. This nihilistic streak was boldly stated by Spengler's contemporary Friedrich Sieburg, who reminds us that 'the daily life of democracy with its sad problems is boring but the impending catastrophes are highly interesting.'

Once cannot help thinking that, for Spengler and his likes, in a wider historical context, war and power politics offer a regenerative hope agains thee pervasive feeling of cultural despair. Yet, regardless of the validity of Spengler's visions or nightmares, it does not take much imagination observe in the decadence of the West the last twilight-dream of a democracy already grown weary of itself.

Content on the Traditional Britain Blog and Journal does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Traditional Britain Group

dimanche, 26 avril 2015

La teoria del "nomos" in Carl Schmitt: la geopolitica come baluardo contro il nichilismo?


La teoria del "nomos" in Carl Schmitt: la geopolitica come baluardo contro il nichilismo?

di Ugo Gaudino

La complessa produzione di Carl Schmitt, tanto affascinante quanto labirintica, ha dato un contributo fondamentale alla comprensione del nichilismo e ai processi di secolarizzazione e neutralizzazione che l’hanno provocato. Spinto da un’inesorabile volontà di esorcizzare la crisi e la negatività in cui stava precipitando la decadente Europa d’inizio Novecento, il giurista tedesco si confronta impavidamente con la “potenza del Niente” – esperienza cruciale per la comprensione di quell’epoca e per restare dentro alla filosofia, come ammonivano Junger ed Heidegger in Oltre la linea –, tentando di opporre all’horror vacui soluzioni di volta in volta sempre più solide, concrete ed elementari, nel corso di un itinerario intellettuale lungo, tortuoso e per certi aspetti contraddittorio.

1. Intellettuale eclettico dalla penna sottile e dai molteplici interessi, nonché figura di primissimo piano tra i malinconici testimoni della crisi di un’epoca (quella dell’Europa degli Stati sovrani e della sua migliore creazione, il cosiddetto ius publicum europaeum), l’ambiguità di un personaggio definito non a torto “la sfinge della moderna scienza giuspubblicistica tedesca” non pregiudica la grandezza della sua prestazione, frutto di una visione del mondo disincantata che tenta di addomesticare il caos senza pretendere di neutralizzarlo completamente.

Il nucleo propulsivo della produzione schmittiana sta nel suo essere situato nel contesto di crisi dell’Europa di inizio Novecento, tanto storico-politica quanto logico-teorica. In questa sede si cercherà di far chiarezza sul secondo aspetto, analizzando i tentativi dell’autore di far fronte alla crisi del razionalismo moderno e della mediazione tra Idea e Realtà. Di fronte alle minacciose lande aperte dal nichilismo, Schmitt non reagisce affidandosi a procedimenti antitetici e costruendo edifici metafisici ormai obsoleti nell’età della tecnica né tantomeno crogiolandosi nello spleen come molti intellettuali sedotti dal “Niente”: il giurista di Plettenberg cerca invece di forzare la crisi, di radicalizzarla risalendone alle origini, decostruendola e provando a cogliervi il momento genetico di nuovo, possibile ordine per l’Occidente decadente.

Di qui la prima fase del suo percorso, quella del “decisionismo”, primo tentativo di opposizione al nichilismo. Partendo dalla consapevolezza dell’origine contraddittoria della politica, basata sulla coappartenenza originaria di violenza e forma, Schmitt afferma l’innegabilità degli aspetti entropici e distruttivi della stessa. Tramontata ogni pretesa di mediazione definitiva tra ideale e contingente da parte della ragione, la politica resta in balìa di questa frattura genealogica, in una dialettica in cui la trascendenza dell’Idea non è mai ontologicamente piena ma permeata da un’assenza originaria, immersa nelle sabbie mobili del cosiddetto “stato d’eccezione” che rispetto all’ordine si pone come ombra ed eventualità che può rovesciarlo da un momento all’altro.

La via d’uscita per imporsi sull’eccezione è individuata nella “decisione”, che nasce dal Nulla e tenta di costruire un edificio politico-giuridico nonostante le basi estremamente fragili: l’eccezione, per quanto pericolosa, è realisticamente considerata necessaria per partorire e mantenere l’ordine. Una prospettiva agli antipodi delle utopie dei normativisti, i quali trascurano la possibilità che l’ordine possa auto-rovesciarsi e restano ciecamente aggrappati alla regola ignorando che essa vive “solo nell’eccezione”, come affermato in Teologia politica. Chi decide sullo “stato d’eccezione” è per Schmitt “sovrano”, inteso come colui che riesce a compiere il salto dall’Idea alla Realtà e che ha l’ultima parola su quelle situazioni liminali in cui l’ordinamento è minacciato da gravi crisi che possono sconvolgerne le fondamenta.

Per quanto suggestiva, la fase del decisionismo sembra eccessivamente legata alla categoria dello Stato moderno, di cui il giurista appare profondamente nostalgico (pur non essendo uno “statolatra” tout court come vorrebbero farlo apparire alcuni: lo Stato è soltanto un “bel male” prodotto dalla cultura europea onde evitare la dissoluzione delle guerre civili). Pertanto, vista la crisi dei “Leviatani”, cui Schmitt assiste in prima persona nell’agonizzante Repubblica di Weimar, le strade da percorrere per neutralizzare il “Niente” sono quelle che conducono a istanze pre-statali, sopravvissute alla crisi della razionalità moderna – di cui lo Stato era un prodotto – e nelle quali ricercare l’essenza del “politico” dopo il tracollo della statualità.

2. Si apre così la seconda fase del pensiero schmittiano, incentrata sulla teoria degli “ordini concreti”: questa, ancorandosi alla concreta storicità e spazialità, rappresenta un passo in avanti rispetto alla fluidità dello “stato d’eccezione” e un ponte di collegamento con le successive elucubrazioni sul nomos. Vanificata l’illusione statocentrica, Schmitt dirige la sua lente d’ingrandimento sulle Ortungen dei popoli, soggetti in grado di decidere sulla propria esistenza politica – e quindi sulla dicotomia “amico/nemico” – anche andando “oltre” lo Stato.

Così come l’essenza del politico è ricercata al di là dello Stato, anche il diritto è ormai slegato da questo, che ha perso definitivamente il monopolio della politica che Weber gli riconosceva: pertanto, riprendendo l’istituzionalismo di Maurice Hauriou e di Santi Romano, Schmitt arriva a sostenere che le norme non coincidono né con universali astratti né con decisioni sovrane ma costituiscono il prodotto di determinate situazioni storico-sociali e di contesti in cui si articola il corpo di una nazione. Questa evoluzione ordinamentalista è una tappa necessaria per la costruzione di un edificio giuridico svincolato dallo Stato e fondato sulla concretezza di una normalità non più dipendente dal prius della decisione – in quanto creata dal sovrano – ma preesistente nella prassi di un “io sociale” sedimentatosi col tempo intorno alle consuetudini e allo ius involontarium. La decisione finisce per essere assorbita completamente in “ordinamenti concreti” dai tratti comunitaristici, emotivi ed irrazionali che sembrano avvicinarsi di molto alla concezione del Volk propugnata dal nazionalsocialismo, con cui nel corso di questi anni Schmitt ebbe un rapporto controverso. Negli ultimi anni di Weimar, infatti, il giurista si era fermamente opposto ai movimenti estremisti che avrebbero potuto mettere in pericolo la vita pubblica del Reich, tanto da denunciare l’incostituzionalità del partito nazista nel 1930. Nell’ottica schmittiana, “custode” della Costituzione era solo il Presidente del Reich, il cui ruolo fu difeso strenuamente fino all’ascesa di Hitler. Allora, principalmente per ragioni di opportunismo legate alla carriera prima ancora che per presunte affinità ideologiche, diventò membro del partito, da cui comunque fu allontanato nel 1936, accusato di vicinanza ad ambienti reazionari, conservatori e non ariani da Alfred Rosenberg.

Nonostante la palese eterodossia di un cattolico romano che rifiutava tanto il razzismo biologico quanto il tracotante imperialismo di marca hitleriana (da cui diverge il suo concetto di Grossraum), è innegabile che Schmitt in quegli anni abbia tentato, invano, di rendere compatibili le sue idee con la dottrina nazionalsocialista. Di qui l’ambizioso proposito, contenuto nel saggio del 1934 Stato, movimento, popolo, di delineare un modello costituzionale per il Terzo Reich, visto come la possibile realizzazione del “ordine concreto” in cui l’unità è assicurata dalla combinazione di questi tre elementi – probabilmente anche con l’obiettivo di arginare gli eccessi del Führer. Tuttavia, queste analogie non fanno di Schmitt un Kronjurist ma dimostrano solo la volontà dell’autore di svincolarsi dall’apparato teorico ancora legato alla dimensione statale e la necessità di elaborare un novus ordo capace di fungere da baluardo per il nichilismo.
La valorizzazione delle coordinate spazio-temporali, l’esaltazione del popolo e dell’elemento terrigno, uniti ai saggi di diritto internazionale maturati nel corso degli anni Venti e Trenta non sono dunque da considerare come tratti apologetici del regime quanto piuttosto come preludio alla teoria del nomos e ad una nuova idea di diritto priva di caratteri astratti e legata alla concretezza degli eventi storici, in cui si situa per diventare ordinamento e si orienta per modellare un ambiente, non sottraendosi alla storicità e alla temporalità ma rappresentando anzi un fattore che li co-determina.

Una riflessione dai tratti fortemente geopolitici che sembra neutralizzare la “potenza del Niente” valorizzando l’elemento spaziale in cui collocare l’idea politica, ormai lontana dagli abissi dello “stato d’eccezione”.

3. Il termine nomos viene impiegato nel suo senso originario e ricondotto alla prima occupazione di terra e a quelle attività pratico-sociali di appropriazione, divisione e sfruttamento della medesima. Il diritto è quindi unità di ordinamento e localizzazione (Ordnung und ortung) che non nasce con strumenti razionali ma neppure dalla decisione quanto dalla conquista del territorio: nella terra è situato il nesso ontologico che collega giustizia e diritto.

Di qui la necessità avvertita dal giurista esperto del mondo classico di recuperare l’etimologia autentica del termine νεμειν, che si articola in tre significati: “prendere, conquistare” (da cui i concetti di Landnahme e Seenahme, sviluppati in Terra e mare nel ’42); “dividere, spartire”, ad indicare la suddivisione del terreno e la conseguente nascita di un ordinamento proprietario su di esso; “pascolare”, quindi utilizzare, valorizzare, consumare. Soffermandosi sulla genesi della parola nomos Schmitt vuole restituirle la “forza e grandezza primitiva” salvandola dalla cattiva interpretazione datale dai contemporanei, che l’hanno “ridotta a designare, in maniera generica e priva di sostanza, ogni tipo di regolamentazione o disposizione normativistica”, come afferma polemicamente ne Il nomos della terra, pubblicato nel 1950 e summa del suo pensiero giuridico e politico. L’uso linguistico di “un’epoca decadente che non sa più collegarsi alle proprie origini” funzionalizza il nomos alla legge, non distinguendo tra diritto fondamentale e atti di posizione e facendo scomparire il legame con l’atto costitutivo dell’ordinamento spaziale.

Bersaglio di Schmitt è il linguaggio positivistico del secolo XIX che in Germania aveva reso nomos con Gesetz, ossia legge, errore d’interpretazione ricondotto all’abuso del concetto di legalità tipico dello Stato legislativo centralistico. Il nomos indica invece la piena immediatezza di una forza giuridica non mediata da leggi, di un atto di legittimità costitutivo che conferisce senso alla legalità delle stesse, di una violenza non indiscriminata né indeterminata ma ontologicamente ordinatrice. Il riferimento al celebre frammento 169 di Pindaro sul nomos basileus e al nomos sovrano in Aristotele non fanno che rinforzare la tesi secondo cui la dottrina positivistica, malgrado l’ammonimento degli esponenti della scuola “storica” come Savigny, sarebbe rimasta intrappolata nel quadro nichilistico del suo tempo, da cui Schmitt tenta di uscire riallacciandosi a quegli elementi primordiali che rappresentano una risorsa simbolica fondamentale, da cui l’uomo nasce e a cui s’aggrappa per organizzare la sua vita. Assumendo la piena consapevolezza di essere “animali terrestri” si cerca di evitare la disgregazione dell’epoca contemporanea.

4. Partendo dalla terra, che salva dall’oblio filosofico, coadiuvato da Heidegger e Junger, lo Schmitt di Terra e mare e de Il nomos della terra ritorna alla dimensione ctonia e tellurica dell’individuo, ripercorrendo la storia del mondo e armandosi contro due minacce che rappresentano facce della stessa medaglia: da un punto di vista metafisico il nichilismo della tecnica, che ha prodotto la drastica separazione tra ordinamento e localizzazione, eliminando le differenze e trasformando il nomos in legge, si rispecchia geopoliticamente nell’universalismo di stampo angloamericano, che con la sua weltanschauung utopistica ha provocato la dissoluzione dello ius publicum europaeum, cardine dell’ordine politico dell’Europa moderna.

È opportuno segnalare che questa teoria non riposa su basi radicalmente antitetiche rispetto alle elaborazioni precedenti: l’idea di Giustizia che si manifesta nel nomos è ordine che si rende visibile attraverso il disordine, presa di possesso, recinzione e nel contempo esclusione, radicamento nello sradicamento. L’ultimo Schmitt, in altre parole, traduce in termini spaziali i concetti chiave elaborati negli anni ’20. La sovranità, collocata in precedenza nel tempo concreto della modernità come epoca dell’eccezione ma ancora in uno spazio astratto, ora si radica intensamente nella concretezza spaziale e più precisamente nel vecchio continente. In seguito alla prima rivoluzione spaziale moderna, con l’irruzione sulla scena storica del mare (spazio liscio, vuoto, anomico) e con la scoperta e l’occupazione dell’America prende forma l’ordine europeo degli Stati: il nuovo nomos è riorganizzazione dello spazio, rivolgimento, rivoluzione.

Così come lo Stato moderno non espunge davvero da sé il caos, ma ne è anzi attraversato e continuamente ferito, il nuovo ordine moderno prende forma confinando questo disordine al di fuori di sé, nello spazio extraeuropeo, ma mai cercando di neutralizzarlo in via definitiva.
L’irrazionalità della guerra viene dunque confinata nelle amity lines del mare mentre sul suolo continentale, a mo’ di razionalizzazione effettiva del sacrificio, resta la guerre en forme tra Stati che si riconoscono reciprocamente come sovrani e che non mirano all’annichilimento o alla criminalizzazione del nemico. Una delle maggiori conquiste del diritto pubblico europeo è stata infatti la limitazione della guerra (Hegung des Krieges) e la trasformazione dal bellum iustum delle guerre civili di religione in conflitti “giusti” tra pari, tra hostes aequaliter iusti. Quest’atto di contenimento non è stato frutto delle ideologie razionalistiche, bensì della particolare condizione di equilibrio di cui l’Europa moderna ha goduto fino al 1914. Un assetto fondato non solo sulla dialettica vecchio/nuovo mondo – strumentalizzata da Schmitt, secondo alcuni, per difendere l’imperialismo e il colonialismo europeo -, ma anche sul rapporto tra terraferma e libertà del mare che ha fatto in primis le fortune dell’Inghilterra, che ha scelto di diventarne “figlia” trasformando la propria essenza storico-politica ed arrivando a dominare lo spazio liscio e uniforme.

Ma è nello stesso humus culturale anglosassone che le logiche di neutralizzazione passiva proliferano: il culto del razionalismo, ignaro d’eccezione e di localizzazioni e che tutto uniforma con i suoi sterili meccanismi, che impone la soppressione degli elementi irrazionali ignorando che l’Es, per citare un celebre Freud, prima o poi riesploderà in forme ancor più brutali. Torna infatti la iusta bella, che mira al totale annientamento del nemico, rappresentato stavolta dai soggetti che non si piegano al mondialismo informe e ad una condizione “utopica” che in realtà è guerra civile globale: lo sradicamento dell’u-topos conduce alla deterritorializzazione, che è perdita del nomos in quanto orientamento e ricaduta nel vortice nichilistico che l’ottimismo positivista cercava di esorcizzare con l’uso astratto della ragione.

Ciò che Schmitt cerca di affermare, pertanto, è che solo assumendo consapevolmente la propria origine abissale, la negatività di base e la possibilità della fine inscritta in sé stesso un ordinamento può sperare di sottrarsi al nichilismo: lo ius publicum europaeum ha perduto concretezza trasformando il nomos in astratta legge globale ed abbracciando ideologie internazionaliste e pacifiste che hanno solo gettato il continente in conflitti drammatici e devastanti. Facendogli perdere, inoltre, la sua specificità ed inglobandolo in quella nozione di Occidente tanto indeterminata quanto adatta per un’epoca in cui l’ordine politico sembra esser stato ingabbiato dai gangli del Niente.

Bibliografia essenziale:

AMENDOLA A., Carl Schmitt tra decisione e ordinamento concreto, Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, Napoli, 1999
CASTRUCCI E., Nomos e guerra. Glosse al «Nomos della terra» di Carl Schmitt, La scuola di Pitagora, Napoli, 2011
CHIANTERA-STUTTE P., Il pensiero geopolitico. Spazio, potere e imperialismo tra Otto e Novecento, Carocci Editore, Roma, 2014
GALLI C., Genealogia della politica. Carl Schmitt e la crisi del pensiero politico moderno, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2010
PIETROPAOLI S., Schmitt, Carocci, Roma, 2012
SCHMITT C., Politische Theologie. Vier Kapitel zur Lehre der Souveränität, Duncker & Humblot, Monaco-Lipsia 1922, trad it. Teologia politica. Quattro capitoli sulla dottrina della sovranità, in Le categorie del ‘politico’ (a cura di P. SCHIERA e G. MIGLIO), Il Mulino, Bologna, 1972
ID., Verfassungslehre, Duncker & Humblot, Monaco-Lipsia 1928, trad. it. Dottrina della costituzione, Giuffrè, Milano, 1984
ID., Der Begriff des Politischen, in C. SCHMITT et al., Probleme der Demokratie, Walther Rothschild, Berlino-Grunewald, 1928, pp. 1-34, trad. it. Il concetto di ‘politico’. Testo del 1932 con una premessa e tre corollari, in Le categorie del ‘politico’, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1972
ID., Land und Meer. Eine weltgeschichtliche Betrachtung, Reclam, Lipsia 1942, trad. it. Terra e mare. Una considerazione sulla storia del mondo raccontata a mia figlia Anima, Adelphi, 2011
ID., Der Nomos der Erde im Völkerrecht des Jus Publicum europaeum, Greven, Colonia 1950, trad. it. Il Nomos della terra nel diritto internazionale dello “ius publicum europaeum”, Adelphi, Milano, 1991
VOLPI F., Il nichilismo, GLF editori Laterza, Roma, 2009

Tante altre notizie su www.ariannaeditrice.it

jeudi, 19 mars 2015

Entretien avec David Cumin sur Carl Schmitt


Entretien avec David Cumin: «Carl Schmitt est un catholique prussien, un Prussien catholique»

Maître de conférences (HDR) à l’Université Jean Moulin-Lyon III, Faculté de Droit, et membre du CLESID, David Cumin est un spécialiste reconnu de l’œuvre de Carl Schmitt dont il a publié une Biographie politique et intellectuelle en 2005Nous revenons ici sur l’actualité et la réalité d’une pensée controversée.

cscu51095HRWDSL._UY250_.jpgPHILITT : Dans votre biographie politique et intellectuelle de Carl Schmitt, vous relativisez sans occulter le rôle qu’il a joué dans l’administration du IIIe Reich. Pourquoi réduit-on l’œuvre de Schmitt à cet épisode, et pourquoi est-ce, selon vous, une erreur ?

David Cumin : J’ai été le premier en France, dans ma thèse soutenue en 1996 à démontrer l’engagement de Carl Schmitt dans le IIIe Reich. Autrefois, cet engagement était plus ou moins occulté, négligé voire oublié. Et c’est en 1994 à la bibliothèque universitaire de Strasbourg que j’ai exhumé tous les textes de Carl Schmitt juriste et politiste de la période qui s’étend de 1933 à 1945. Personne ne l’avait fait depuis la Libération, et c’est en lisant, traduisant, analysant ces textes que j’ai pu avérer ce fait là.

Son engagement a été très fort, mais on ne peut pas réduire la production intellectuelle de Schmitt aux années 1939-1945. Il a écrit avant et après cette période, et il y a des points de ruptures certes, mais aussi une vraie continuité sur certains sujets. Par exemple après 1933, par opportunisme, il intègre la doctrine raciale dans sa conception du droit et de la politique, mais de façon superficielle et controversée. Controversée par les nationaux-socialistes eux-mêmes ! On lui reprochera, à la suite d’une enquête de la SS en 1936, d’être un vrai catholique et un faux antisémite. Dès lors, sa carrière est bloquée. Il aurait peut-être apprécié d’être le juriste du IIIe Reich, mais il n’y est pas parvenu, parce que sa conception raciale était superficielle. Le véritable juriste du IIIe Reich était un rival de Schmitt : Reinhard Höhn.

Si on réduit le personnage et son œuvre à cette période c’est évidemment pour des raisons polémiques, pour les discréditer. Et pourtant, nombreux sont les critiques de Schmitt qui ne connaissent pas ses écrits de la période 1939-1945, qui n’ont toujours pas été traduits pour nombre d’entre eux. Il y a d’ailleurs des textes de cette période qui n’ont rien d’antisémites ou de raciaux, notamment sur le concept discriminatoire de guerre qui reste un texte majeur de droit international.

PHILITT : Voyez-vous une contradiction entre l’héritage intellectuel des grands penseurs politiques classiques (Hobbes, Thucydide, Machiavel, Bodin) porté par Carl Schmitt d’une part, sa catholicité d’autre part, et son adhésion au NSDAP (Parti national-socialiste des travailleurs allemands) ?

David Cumin : Effectivement, Schmitt est un classique, imprégné de culture française, latine, catholique. Il a pour références Bonald, Maistre, Cortès… C’est un Européen catholique ! Mais en même temps il est un nationaliste allemand. Et il se trouve qu’il a, en 1933, les mêmes ennemis qu’Hitler. Il est contre Weimar, contre Versailles et contre le communisme. Or, c’est à ce moment qu’il arrive au sommet de sa carrière, mais il doit concilier sa culture classique et sa catholicité avec son adhésion au NSDAP. Même si ce dernier n’est pas anticatholique dès 1933 puisqu’un Concordat relativement favorable à l’Église catholique est signé, le problème se pose plus tard, et se cristallise autour du problème de l’embrigadement de la jeunesse. Cette lutte contre l’Église met Schmitt dans une situation inconfortable, mais il la surmonte : depuis toujours il a connu la difficulté d’être à la fois catholique et prussien de naissance. En 1938 dans un livre sur Hobbes il formule une critique de l’Église qu’il accuse d’avoir une influence indirecte ou cachée, lui qui faisait l’éloge d’une autorité visible. Mais définitivement, Schmitt est un paradoxe ! Tout en étant catholique, il a divorcé. Ses deux épouses étaient des orthodoxes serbes, autre paradoxe… Mais ce qui est absolument essentiel chez Schmitt, c’est l’ennemi. Pour lui l’ennemi primait sur tout, il disait :  « l’ennemi est la figure de notre propre question ».

PHILITT : Faut-il donc considérer la pensée de Schmitt, et celle de la Révolution conservatrice allemande de manière globale, comme un réel moteur du NSDAP ou comme une simple caution intellectuelle ? 

David Cumin : Ce n’est pas un moteur, ce n’est pas non plus une caution. C’est davantage une connivence. Le NSDAP est un parti de masse, un parti de combat, mais qui n’a pas de réelles idées neuves. Toute la production intellectuelle est due à la Révolution conservatrice allemande, pour autant beaucoup d’auteurs sont distants : Ernst Jünger se distingue immédiatement, Martin Heidegger s’engage mais sera vite déçu. Carl Schmitt est peut-être celui qui s’est le plus engagé, mais comme nous l’avons dit dès 1936 sa carrière est bloquée. Et n’oublions pas que le NSDAP est composé, tout comme la Révolution conservatrice allemande, de différents courants. Par exemple certains sont catholiques, d’autres se réclament du paganisme etc…

Mais il y a tout au plus des passerelles, des connivences, le principal point commun étant le nationalisme et l’ennemi : Weimar, Versailles, le libéralisme et le communisme. D’ailleurs, le NSDAP méprisait les intellectuels, et plus particulièrement les juristes. Encore un problème pour Schmitt, donc.

PHILITT : Une erreur du NSDAP n’est-elle pas d’avoir voulu bâtir une notion d’État stable et pérenne sur des idées (celles de la Révolution Conservatrice Allemande) nées d’une situation d’urgence et d’instabilité, celle de l’entre-deux guerres ?

David Cumin : Effectivement, des deux côtés il y a une pensée de l’urgence, de l’exception, de la crise, de la guerre civile. Les partis communistes, socialistes, le NSDAP, ont tous à l’époque leurs formations de combats. Mais attention sur la question de l’État. Si la plupart des conservateurs, comme Schmitt, mettent au départ l’accent sur l’État, le NSDAP lui met le Volk, le Peuple, la race, au centre. Et après 1933, Schmitt va désétatiser sa pensée : il théorise la constitution hitlérienne selon le triptyque État – Mouvement – Peuple. L’État n’est plus qu’un appareil administratif, judiciaire et militaire. C’est donc le parti qui assume la direction politique, et la légitimité est tirée de la race, du peuple. L’État est en quelque sorte déchu, et le Peuple est réellement au centre. Schmitt pense alors le grand espace, qui reste une pensée valable au lendemain de la guerre ! Dans le contexte du conflit Est-Ouest, ce n’est pas l’État qui est au centre mais c’est bien cette logique des grands espaces qui domine.

PHILITT : Toujours s’agissant du contexte historique, l’appellation de Révolution conservatrice allemande est-elle justifiée ? Les penseurs de ce mouvement intellectuel peuvent-ils réellement être rangés dans le triptyque réaction/conservatisme/progressisme ou faut-il considérer ce mouvement comme spécifique à une époque donnée et ancrée dans celle-ci ?

David Cumin : C’est un moment spécifique à une époque, en effet, et l’expression me semble très judicieuse. Armin Mohler, qui fut secrétaire d’Ernst Jünger, a écrit La Révolution conservatrice allemande en 1950, traduit en France une quarantaine d’années plus tard. C’est donc lui qui a forgé l’étiquette, qui me semble très appropriée. Ce sont des conservateurs, qui défendent les valeurs traditionnelles, mais ils sont révolutionnaires dans la mesure où ils luttent contre la modernité imposée à l’Allemagne (le libéralisme, le communisme). Ils sont révolutionnaires à des fins conservatrices. Ils admettent la modernité technique, qui les fascine, mais veulent la subordonner aux valeurs éternelles. Leurs valeurs ne sont pas modernes. Et ce qui est intéressant, c’est qu’ils s’approprient les concepts modernes de socialisme, de démocratie, de progrès notamment, pour les retourner contre leurs ennemis idéologiques. Par exemple la démocratie pour Schmitt n’est pas définie comme le régime des partis, la séparation des pouvoirs, mais un Peuple cohérent qui désigne son chef.

PHILITT : Vous êtes professeur et auteur d’ouvrages sur l’Histoire de la guerre et le droit de la guerre et de la paix. Avec le recul, pensez-vous que les travaux de Schmitt (sur la figure du partisan, sur le nomos de la terre, par exemple) restent des clés de lectures valides et pertinentes après les bouleversements récents de ces deux domaines ?

hg2677565573.jpgDavid Cumin : Absolument, Le Nomos de la terre et L’Évolution vers un concept discriminatoire de guerre restent deux ouvrages tout à fait incontournables. Le Nomos de la terre est absolument fondamental en droit international, en droit de la guerre. De même que la théorie du partisan, qui pourrait être améliorée, amendée, actualisée, mais demeure incontournable. On peut d’ailleurs regretter que ce ne soit que très récemment que les spécialistes français en droit international se soient intéressés à Schmitt. Pourtant il y a toujours eu chez lui ces deux piliers : droit constitutionnel et droit international. Par exemple, ses écrits sur la Société des Nations sont tout à fait transposables à l’ONU et donc tout à fait d’actualité.

PHILITT : Peut-on considérer qu’il y a aujourd’hui des continuateurs de la pensée de Carl Schmitt ? 

David Cumin : Schmitt a inspiré beaucoup d’auteurs, dans toute l’Europe. Il a été beaucoup cité mais aussi beaucoup pillé… Très critiqué également notamment par l’École de Francfort et Habermas qui a développé son œuvre avec et contre Schmitt. Un ouvrage britannique, Schmitt, un esprit dangereux, montrait bien toute l’influence de Schmitt dans le monde occidental et dans tous les domaines. Le GRECE et la Nouvelle Droite se sont réclamés de Schmitt, mais dans une perspective plus idéologique.

Dans un registre plus scientifique, en science politique, Julien Freund a revendiqué deux maîtres : Raymond Aron et Carl Schmitt. Il en a été un continuateur. Pierre-André Taguieff a été inspiré par Schmitt également, et plus récemment Tristan Storme. Schmitt a influencé énormément d’auteurs à droite comme à gauche. Giorgio Agamben, Toni Negri, la revue Telos aux États-Unis située à gauche sont fortement imprégnés de l’œuvre de Carl Schmitt. On peut difficilement imaginer travailler sur le droit international sans prendre en considération l’œuvre de Carl Schmitt.

PHILITT : Finalement, comment résumeriez-vous la pensée de Carl Schmitt ? 

David Cumin : Tout le paradoxe de l’existence et de l’œuvre publiée de Schmitt se résume ainsi : Carl Schmitt est un catholique prussien, un Prussien catholique. Sa catholicité expliquant son rapport à l’Église qui est pour lui le modèle de l’institution. Son origine prussienne expliquant son rapport à l’État, et surtout à l’armée. Il avait donc ces deux institutions, masculines, pour références, qui fondent le parallèle entre la transcendance et l’exception. Les polémistes disent « Schmitt le nazi », ce qui correspond à une période de sa vie, où il n’était pas forcément triomphant. Je préfère parler du « Prussien catholique », qui met en exergue le paradoxe de son existence et de son œuvre toutes entières.

vendredi, 06 mars 2015

Ernst Jünger, il soldato che discuteva di mitragliatrici con Heidegger


Ernst Jünger, il soldato che discuteva di mitragliatrici con Heidegger

Dalla sua avventurosa vita – quasi come ricordi del ragazzino di famiglia scappato di casa per arruolarsi nella Legione Straniera – da lì, sono riemerse le tracce di ferite. Nelle screpolature della sua pelle di vecchissimo, come tracciati di radici profonde, per la marchiatura del tempo, sono sbucati dal buio dei ricordi i segni cavallereschi, le tacche sulla carne. Nessuno per esempio aveva notato sull’avambraccio un segno secco. Forse occultato dalla rigenerazione della vita quotidiana, ieri, la morte glielo ha ripescato: disteso lungo il suo percorso raggrinzito di corpo morto. Dei suoi capelli bagnati nell’acqua gelida del fiume, bianchissimi fili, la rigidità cadaverica ha catturato l’impercettibile alito, un elmo che è quasi un’aureola. Una foto in bianco e nero restituisce il taglio all’altezza delle orecchie, a nuca nuda, in parallelo con gli alettoni aerodinamici del cappottone d’ordinanza. Le linee telefoniche raccontano già della “mobilitazione totale“ del governo, dei potentissimi professori, degli “amici francesi“, che sul grande morto – innamorato come tutti i morti del ricordo di tutto ciò che è vita – stanno “approntando il memoriale“. Tedesco e “parigino“ a un tempo, della sua avventurosa vita, per tutti i centodue anni portati in faccia al mondo per lui sempre più estraneo, Ernst Jünger porterà sulla bara il fasto di un’esistenza eccezionale, dentro la bara invece, trascinerà “l’addio al mondo“. Era anche un dandy: “La volontà regna sul mondo diventato materiale dell’oggettivazione incondizionata”. È stato “sublime” (glielo diceva un altro dandy). Disse, un giorno, a fondamento del suo destino: “Meglio un delinquente che un borghese”. Sublime bacchettatore di Hitler, che pure era stato suo sodale segreto nella “società di Thule”, schizzinoso rispetto alla pietas del demos, al fondatore del Terzo Reich, rinfacciava sempre l’eccessivo democraticismo, l’insopportabile volgarità plebea delle “camicie brune”. Qualcuno commissionò l’eliminazione di Jünger, Hitler che candidamente lo riconosceva “come un superiore in gradi”, un “vero capo”, lo salvò dai sicari.
Nella sua essenza di testimone, nel suo essere stato passeggero dei battelli a vapore e del Concorde, nel suo essere stato tutto quel che Ernst Jünger è stato, hippy e notabile prussiano, entomologo e romanziere, arrivando adesso all’Oriente Eterno, chiuderà la sua estrema scommessa. Al cospetto dell’Onnipotente, certamente, da algido chirurgo del Nulla qual è, l’orologiaio del Nichilismo sta portando sulle sue spalle di grande morto, l’immagine a lui più profondamente vera, la sua forma, e dunque la divisa. Dell’habitus militare, Jünger ha offerto l’esempio assoluto. Scrittore, infaticabile diarista, interlocutore e protagonista in quell’officina di vampe che fu la Rivoluzione Conservatrice, Jünger non chiude solo un capitolo nella storia della letteratura, ma brucia con la sua morte l’ultimo modo possibile di essere “uo­mo d’arme”. Arrivando davanti a Dio, infatti, davanti al Dio lungamente cercato nelle sua passeggiate quotidiane nel piccolo cimitero del suo villaggio, la sua anima si specchia levigata nella ruvida stoffa grigioverde del soldato. È morto il soldato dunque, l’ultimo vero soldato planetario, erede di Ludovico Ariosto e di Ercole Saviniano Cirano de Bergerac. Innamorato del sogno cavalleresco, ad Alberto Moravia, in un’intervista-dialogo confidò: “Nella guerra nucleare i due giocatori faranno saltare in aria la scacchiera”, e non si capì bene se il cruccio nucleare fosse, per il vecchio Jünger, più un fastidioso ostacolo per la guerra o per la pace. Ritenuto a torto purificato nel dopoguerra, ma forse fortunatamente non troppo purificato, nelle lunghe passeggiate con Martin Heidegger e Carl Schmitt, dopo i primi quindici minuti di conversazione metafisica, arrivati a un altopiano, si lasciavano prendere la mano da altre curiosità, tipo: “Secondo voi, una mitragliatrice collocata qui, quale inclinazione di tiro potrebbe avere?”. Combattente volontario delle due guerre mondiali, di due sconfitte, della prima ne ricordava “di Londra, Parigi e Mosca, lo straordinario entusiasmo della gioventù, l’ebbrezza”, della seconda intuì da subito l’ambiguità: “O ci sarà una rivoluzione, o sarà una lunghissima guerra di trincea, come nel 1914-1918”. Nato a Heidelberg nel 1895, Ernst Jünger è stato decorato due volte con la Croce di Ferro, la più alta onorificenza a cui ogni galantuomo belligerante avrebbe potuto aspirare. La prima l’ebbe dalle mani dell’Imperatore, la seconda, invece, l’ha ricevuta dal suo maldestro allievo, per aver salvato dei dissennati che si erano spinti troppo avanti nella trincea nemica per scattare delle fotografie. Disse: “Fui comunque divertito dall’idea di ricevere la Croce di Ferro per la seconda volta”. Era anche un dandy.

Pietrangelo Buttafuoco

Il 17 febbraio di 17 anni fa moriva Ernst Jünger.

mardi, 03 mars 2015

Carl Schmitt aveva ragione

Carl Schmitt aveva ragione

2775670,1518510,highRes,Carl+Schmitt+%28media_126098%29.jpgDopo la chia­mata alle armi con­tro lo Stato isla­mico e la con­se­guente defi­ni­zione di «guer­riero cro­ciato» rife­rita al nostro mini­stro degli Affari Esteri (e della coo­pe­ra­zione), e con­se­guen­te­mente di nazione nemica rife­rita all’Italia, gli ana­li­sti nazio­nali por­ta­voce degli inte­ressi supe­riori dell’economia si sono sca­te­nati in una ridda di arti­coli che ten­dono a ricon­fi­gu­rare le prio­rità della poli­tica estera euro­pea, e nazio­nale, nei ter­mini di una rin­no­vata «guerra glo­bale con­tro il terrorismo».

L’idea di fondo, comune alla grande stampa main­stream, è quella che l’Europa deve «ripen­sare la guerra»; dopo più di set­tanta anni di pace, infatti, que­sta pro­se­cu­zione della poli­tica con altri mezzi, come diceva Clau­sewitz, si pre­senta ora­mai come una alter­na­tiva con­creta alle incon­si­stenti mano­vre diplo­ma­ti­che fina­liz­zate a cir­co­scri­vere le varie crisi in atto, in par­ti­co­lare quelle ine­renti il fon­da­men­ta­li­smo isla­mico. E allora sarebbe utile, per que­sti appren­di­sti stre­goni, ricor­dare loro le rifles­sioni di Carl Sch­mitt con­te­nute nel suo Nomos della terra, un testo fon­da­men­tale per chi voglia capire, dalla parte di un pen­siero con­ser­va­tore, se non fran­ca­mente rea­zio­na­rio, e dun­que in linea con quello attuale e pre­va­lente, l’evoluzione, o meglio l’involuzione, di que­sto stru­mento geopolitico.

La rifles­sione si apre con il 2 aprile 1917, l’entrata in degli Usa nella Prima Guerra Mon­diale. Sono le moti­va­zioni «uma­ni­ta­rie» quelle che col­pi­scono di più l’autore tede­sco; infatti, Wil­son impe­gna gli Stati uniti con­tro «la guerra navale tede­sca, con­dotta con­tro tutte le nazioni del mondo, ovvero con­tro l’umanità». Que­sta è la moti­va­zione morale che spinge il Pre­si­dente ame­ri­cano ad impe­gnare la sua nazione per «garan­tire atti­va­mente la libertà dei popoli e la pace mondiale».

A par­tire da que­sta ana­lisi, dove sono già con­te­nuti tutti gli ele­menti por­tanti della fase geo­po­li­tica che stiamo vivendo – denun­cia di una guerra di una parte con­tro tutta l’umanità, il rela­tivo giu­di­zio morale, la volontà di por­tare libertà e pace a tutti i popoli della terra — la Ger­ma­nia veniva dichia­rata hostis gene­ris humani – espres­sione sino ad allora nor­mal­mente usata per la cri­mi­na­lità orga­niz­zata inter­na­zio­nale come la pira­te­ria – e dun­que con­si­de­rata un nemico nei con­fronti del quale «la neu­tra­lità non è né moral­mente legit­tima né pra­ti­ca­bile». Oltre­tutto, con quelle moti­va­zioni, gli Stati uniti si erano attri­buito il potere di deci­dere su scala inter­na­zio­nale quale parte bel­li­ge­rante avesse ragione e quale torto.

La con­clu­sione di Sch­mitt è che la Prima Guerra mon­diale, dopo l’entrata in gioco degli Usa sulla base di que­ste moti­va­zioni, aveva ces­sato di essere una clas­sica guerra inter­sta­tale, e si era tra­sfor­mata in una «guerra civile mon­diale» (Welt­bür­ger­krieg), secondo un modello desti­nato ad affer­marsi e a coin­vol­gere l’intera uma­nità. Le rifles­sioni di Sch­mitt si com­pon­gono in una finale, abis­sale, pro­fe­zia: l’avvento di una «guerra totale asim­me­trica e di annien­ta­mento», con­dotta da grandi potenze dotate di mezzi di distru­zione di massa, in pri­mis dalle potenze capi­ta­li­sti­che e libe­rali anglosassoni.

Que­ste rifles­sioni deli­neano già la realtà odierna che è pro­prio quella della guerra negata dal punto di vista giu­ri­dico, se non come forma di poli­zia inter­na­zio­nale in capo alle Nazioni Unite, e della sua sim­me­trica tra­sfor­ma­zione e «glo­ba­liz­za­zione» in forme irri­du­ci­bili a qua­lun­que defi­ni­zione coerente.

Venendo più in spe­ci­fico alle «guerre uma­ni­ta­rie»: «Wer Men­sch­heit sagt, will betrü­gen»: chi dice uma­nità cerca di ingan­narti. Que­sta è la mas­sima che Sch­mitt pro­pone già nel 1927 in Begriff des Poli­ti­schen per espri­mere la sua dif­fi­denza nei con­fronti dell’idea di uno Stato mon­diale che com­prenda tutta l’umanità, annulli il plu­ri­verso (Plu­ri­ver­sum) dei popoli e degli Stati e sop­prima la dimen­sione stessa del loro poli­tico. E a mag­gior ragione Sch­mitt si oppone al ten­ta­tivo di una grande potenza – l’ovvio rife­ri­mento è agli Stati uniti – di pre­sen­tare le pro­prie guerre come guerre con­dotte in nome e a van­tag­gio dell’intera umanità.

Se uno Stato com­batte il suo nemico in nome dell’umanità, la guerra che con­duce non è neces­sa­ria­mente una guerra dell’umanità. Quello Stato cerca sem­pli­ce­mente di impa­dro­nirsi di un con­cetto uni­ver­sale per potersi iden­ti­fi­care con esso a spese del nemico. Se ana­liz­ziamo con lo sguardo anti­ci­pa­tore di Sch­mitt la guerra all’Iraq, quella all’Afghanistan dopo l’11 set­tem­bre, la con­se­guente dichia­ra­zione della «guerra per­ma­nente glo­bale con­tro il ter­ro­ri­smo» e la clas­si­fi­ca­zione uni­la­te­rale degli Stati cana­glia, vediamo come tutte que­ste forme della guerra asim­me­trica con­tem­po­ra­nea, com­presi gli atti di ter­ro­ri­smo a fini poli­tici, siano stati ampia­mente pre­vi­sti e pre­ve­di­bili sin dal secolo scorso.

In pro­spet­tiva dun­que, pro­se­gue Sch­mitt, l’asimmetria del con­flitto avrebbe esa­spe­rato e dif­fuso le osti­lità: il più forte avrebbe trat­tato il nemico come un cri­mi­nale, men­tre chi si fosse tro­vato in con­di­zioni di irri­me­dia­bile infe­rio­rità sarebbe stato di fatto costretto ad usare i mezzi della guerra civile, al di fuori di ogni limi­ta­zione e di ogni regola, in una situa­zione di gene­rale anar­chia. E l’anarchia della «guerra civile mon­diale», se con­fron­tata con il nichi­li­smo di un potere impe­riale cen­tra­liz­zato, impe­gnato a domi­nare il mondo con l’uso dei mezzi di distru­zione di massa, avrebbe potuto alla fine «appa­rire all’umanità dispe­rata non solo come il male minore, ma anzi come il solo rime­dio efficace».

In una delle ultime pagine di Der Nomos der Erde Sch­mitt scrive: «Se le armi sono in modo evi­dente impari, allora decade il con­cetto di guerra sim­me­trica, nella quale i com­bat­tenti si col­lo­cano sullo stesso piano. È infatti pre­ro­ga­tiva della guerra sim­me­trica che entrambi i con­ten­denti abbiano una qual­che pos­si­bi­lità di vit­to­ria. Se que­sta pos­si­bi­lità viene meno, l’avversario più debole diventa sem­plice oggetto di coa­zione. Si acui­sce allora in misura cor­ri­spon­dente l’ostilità fra le parti in guerra. Chi si trova in stato di infe­rio­rità spo­sta la distin­zione fra potere e diritto nell’ambito del bel­lum inte­sti­num. Il più forte vede invece nella pro­pria supe­rio­rità mili­tare una prova della sua justa causa e tratta il nemico come un criminale.

La discri­mi­na­zione del nemico e la con­tem­po­ra­nea assun­zione a pro­prio favore della justa causa vanno di pari passo con il poten­zia­mento dei mezzi di annien­ta­mento e con lo sra­di­ca­mento spa­ziale del tea­tro di guerra. Si spa­lanca così l’abisso di una discri­mi­na­zione giu­ri­dica e morale altret­tanto distrut­tiva». La descri­zione della realtà attuale, dall’Iraq all’Afghanistan, dalla Siria al Libano, sem­bra essere rita­gliata esat­ta­mente su que­ste «pro­fe­zie» di Carl Sch­mitt che altro non dicono se non che il futuro deriva dal pas­sato. E dun­que, se così è, dob­biamo anche pen­sare che il nostro pre­sente di «guerre uma­ni­ta­rie» di inde­fi­nite «mis­sioni mili­tari di pace» di emer­genze uma­ni­ta­rie che altro non sono che situa­zioni di man­cato svi­luppo deli­be­ra­ta­mente lasciate incan­cre­nire al fine di farne, appunto, un casus belli uma­ni­ta­rio, vanno riflet­tute e ripen­sate all’interno di cor­nici radi­cal­mente diverse dalle attuali, pena la geo­me­trica ascesa della bar­ba­rie. Eppure, forse guar­dando ancora più avanti, con­sa­pe­vole delle sfide future e degli orrori pas­sati e pre­senti che, nell’estate del 1950, chiu­dendo la pre­fa­zione a Der Nomos der Erde, Sch­mitt scrive: «È ai costrut­tori di pace che è pro­messo il regno della terra. Anche l’idea di un nuovo Nomos della Terra si dischiu­derà solo a loro».

lundi, 16 février 2015

Ernst Jünger e ‘La battaglia come esperienza interiore’


Ernst Jünger e ‘La battaglia come esperienza interiore’

Jünger sconquassa l'anima del lettore, lo cattura con la sua scrittura; lo tiene inchiodato al libro pagina dopo pagina, in una stretta mortale dalla quale non potrà districarsi facilmente. Questo è un libro per anime in tempesta, per cuori d'acciaio, scritto con il sangue degli eroi.

di Valerio Alberto Menga

Ex: http://www.lintellettualedissidente.it

“Meglio morire come una meteora effervescente che spegnersi tremolando”.

E. Jünger

In occasione del centenario della Prima guerra mondiale tante sono state le pubblicazioni in memoria del grande e catastrofico evento. Si segnalano, di passata, per la saggistica Mondadori e Laterza, i saggi dello storico Emilio Gentile L’Apocalisse della Modernità e Due colpi di pistola, dieci milioni di morti, la fine di un mondo. Due titoli straordinari per l’efficacia che ha avuto l’autore nell’interpretare il primo confilitto mondale e la sproporzione delle conseguenze seguite all’attentato di Sarajevo del 1914. A distanza di 92 anni dalla sua originaria apparizione, e per la prima volta in italiano, è stato pubblicato per le edizioni Piano B (e magistralmente tradotto da Simone Butazzi, che si ringrazia) quella che era stata, a torto, considerata un’opera minore nella bibliografia di Enrst Jünger: La battaglia come esperienza interiore.

Fu un’innovazione quella che portò Jünger alla letteratura di guerra. Embelatici erano, e rimangono tutt’ora, Il fuoco di Barbusse e Niente di nuovo sul fronte occientale di Remarque. Questi due autori furono le due principali voci di un atteggiamento di sconforto, di orrore, di paura, di delusione, e di disfattismo davanti alla guerra.  Lo stesso atteggiamento che portò Louis-Ferdinand Céline, volontario nell’esercito francese, a riflessioni come quelle che compaiono nel suo Viaggio al termine della notte: “Per quanto lontano cercassi nella memoria, gli avevo fatto niente io, ai tedeschi. Ero sempre stato molto gentile ed educato con loro. Li conoscevo un po’ i tedeschi, ero persino stato a scuola da loro, quando ero piccolo, dalle parti di Hannover. Avevo parlato la loro lingua. Allora erano una massa di cretinetti caciaroni con occhi pallidi e furtivi come quelli dei lupi […] ma da lì adesso a tirarci nella colombarda, senza neanche venire a parlarci prima e nel bel mezzo della strada, ce ne correva parecchio, un abisso. Troppa differenza. La guerra insomma era tutto quello che non si capiva”. Jünger invece – come giustamente sottolinea Rodolfo Sideri nel suo Inquieto Novecento- è interprete di un atteggiamento “volto a lasciare che la guerra tempri l’uomo nella sua dimensione interiore”.

Ma che cosa è stato esattamente Ernst Jünger? Qual è la sua maggiore peculiarità? E’ stato uno scrittore? Un soldato? Un filosofo? Nacque in Germania, ad Heidelberg, nel 1895. E morì nel 1998 a Riedlingen, avendo sorpassato la soglia dei cento anni, dopo aver visto morire il fratello, i figli e la prima moglie. Per la lunga durata della sua vita fu indubbiamente il prezioso testimone di un’epoca. È stato anche un entomologo. Non deve certo stupire se un grande carattere del Novecento come lui si sia interessato allo studio e alla collezione di scarafaggi e scarabei. Ai suoi occhi guerrieri, essi apparivano un po’ come animali con una corazza naturale che, talvolta, riflettono i colori della guerra: il rosso e il grigio. Piccoli soldati di Madre Natura.


Il rosso e il grigio, quindi. Ecco i colori che attraverso lo sguardo del grande scrittore tedesco hanno determinato la Grande Guerra. E Le rouge et le gris –in onore a Stendhal- doveva essere il titolo originale del grande diario di guerra Nelle tempeste d’acciaio che gli valse, di diritto, un posto nel pantheon dei grandi scrittori europei del Novecento. Tuttavia optò per il secondo titolo, ispirato ad una poesia islandese, che meglio definiva “l’eternità tombale” della vita in trincea durante la guerra. Rosso come il sangue; grigio come le divise dei soldati, come l’acciaio delle armi e dei proiettili, come l’umore in trincea, come la terra devastata dai colpi, come il cielo oscurato dalla battaglia.

Incuriosisce il fatto che La battaglia come esperienza interiore era stato concepito dall’autore come un’opera che avrebbe dovuto fare da pendant al precedente Nelle tempeste d’acciaio, il cui punto di vista si riferiva agli avvenimenti puri e semplici. In quest’opera, invece, si può trovare tutto ciò che nelle “Tempeste” si era cercato invano.
Nelle tempeste d’acciaio ha il merito di descrivere nel titolo, e in due parole, la guerra di trincea.  Interpreta il primo conflitto mondiale in chiave nichilistica (come “lotta dei materiali”), osservando la realtà con sguardo oggettivo. Il difetto maggiore che però la caratterizza è la mancanza dello spazio concesso alle emozioni e al sentimento. La battaglia come esperienza interiore colma questo vuoto. E può annoverarsi senza dubbio tra le grandi opere di Jünger, grazie alla sua prosa alta e inarrivabile.Prima di aprire questo libro bisogna preparare il lettore ad entrare psicologicamente in trincea. Bisogna essere pronti a ricevere lo schizzo del sangue nemico dritto in faccia. Se invece siete tra coloro che non sopportano di guardare la realtà negli occhi, allora lasciate in pace questo libro.

Stosstruppen_rappresentazione.jpg“La battaglia rientra nelle grandi passioni. [...] E’ un canto antico e tremendo, che risale all’alba dell’uomo: nessuno avrebbe mai pensato che fosse ancora così vivo in noi”.  In questo scritto di guerra non manca nulla: il sangue, l’orrore, la trincea, l’eros, il coraggio, il fuoco, la paura… Questo per dare un’idea di ciò che aspetta il lettore che abbia il coraggio e la maturità di affrontare quest’opera rovente, che di certo non poteva non piacere ad un giovane nazional-socialista dei tempi. Perché Jünger è stato considerato, e forse è considerato ancora, un nazista. E’ vero che Hitler disse “Jünger non si tocca!” e lo protesse per ben due volte dalle grinfie di Göring che voleva la sua testa. Ma furono il rispetto per il soldato e lo scrittore di guerra che, con tutta probabilità, spinsero il Führer a perdonare a Jünger il suo comportamento. Ci si riferisce al suo antinazismo allegorico, aleggiante nel romanzo Sulle scogliere di marmo, e alla sua parte nella congiura capitanata da Stauffenberg che sfumò nel fallito attentato a Hitler, ben narrato nel film di Bryan Singer Operazione Valchiria. Scrisse un romanzo antinazista e partecipò all’attentato a Hitler, che mirava ad ucciderlo. Anche se in lui l’idea dell’uccisione del tiranno era indicice di mentalità rozza. Queste due cose stanno ben a sottolineare il fantomatico nazismo di cui fu accusato. Ma agli occhi stanchi e superficiali dei molti faciloni, è apparso così per molto tempo. È vero invece che i nazisti trassero, a piene mani, buona parte della loro cultura da alcuni scritti del grande soldato tedesco. Solo in seguito al premio Goethe, ottenuto nell’82, venne riabilitato ufficialmente come scrittore.

Davanti ad un uomo come lui è difficile dire se sia l’opera a superare la grandezza della vita dell’autore o viceversa. Jünger visse più di cento anni, giovanissimo si arruolò nella Legione Straniera per andare a combattere, per poi essere ripescato e rimpatriato dal padre. Fu un eroe decorato con la medaglia Pour le mérite dopo esser stato ferito quattordici volte nella Grande Guerra; vide due volte la cometa Halley (cha ha un ciclo di 76 anni); fu amico di Martin Heidegger e Carl Schmitt, e con essi scrisse alcune opere. Ha incontrato molti grandi del suo tempo, e in tutta la sua opera ha analizzato e affrontato il nichilismo, che è il tratto peculiare del suo e del nostro tempo. Da entomologo ha scoperto due nuove specie di coleotteri che oggi portano il suo nome: il Carabus saphyrinus juengeri e la Cicindera juengeri juengerorum. Da scrittore, invece, ha incantato il mondo e continua ad incantare, ad accendere le passioni e il pensiero.

La battaglia come esperienza interiore è un’opera scritta da un giovane inquieto che vuole conciliare il pensiero con l’azione. Qui vi si ritrova uno Jünger intriso di letture nietzscheane che, con la sua prosa alta e viscerale, scava nel profondo dei più indicibili sentimenti che hanno portato l’uomo moderno a scontrarsi, a riversare la propria Volontà di potenza nel campo di battaglia. Per il lettore che ama sottolineare i tratti più salienti, quest’opera, strage di carne e materia, sarà anche una strage di grafite. E si spera che, quindi, chi leggerà queste righe, perdonerà a chi scrive se si è fatto ampio uso di doverose citazioni. Lo stile dello scrittore-soldato porta lo spirito del lettore a vette così alte che il ritorno alla terra scavata dalle trincee è un vero e proprio schianto del cuore. Sconquassa l’anima del lettore, lo cattura con la sua scrittura; lo tiene inchiodato al libro pagina dopo pagina, in una stretta mortale dalla quale non potrà districarsi facilmente. Questo è un libro per anime in tempesta, per cuori d’acciaio, scritto con il sangue degli eroi.

Solitario tra i solitari, Jünger mostra il volto del gelido vento della morte, riscaldato dall’alito di fuoco di quella fornace che è la guerra. La figura romantica del soldato Jünger che legge l’Orlando furioso piegato sulle ginocchia, in trincea, rende bene l’idea del sentimento che lo portò ad arruolarsi volontario in guerra. L’odio per la comoda vita borghese è ben descritto in queste righe: “Ogni senso di reputazione borghese era rimasto indietro, a distanze siderali. Cos’era la buona salute? Utile, semmai, a persone che contano di vivere a lungo”. Nota è ormai la massima jungeriana per cui è meglio essere un delinquente che essere un borghese. Un giovane inquieto come lui, in Italia, in seguito dirà che “Borghese è colui che sta bene ed è vile” (Benito Mussolini).  Questo libro breve ma intenso potrebbe essere preso a ragione come il Manifesto degli interventisti o dei militaristi. Per l’autore è la guerra a fare gli uomini, essa è “madre di tutte le cose”, siamo noi a modellare il mondo, non il contrario. La guerra, aggiunge, non è solo nostra madre, ma anche nostra figlia. L’abbiamo cresciuta così come ha fatto con noi. “Noi siamo fabbri e acciaio sfavillante allo stesso tempo, martiri di noi stessi spinti da intime pulsioni[...] La guerra è umana quanto l’istinto sessuale: è legge di natura, perciò non ci sottrarremo mal al suo fascino. Non possiamo negarla, altrimenti finiremo divorati.”

Qui di seguito ecco alcuni passaggi che meglio sottolineano le ragioni e le passioni che portarono Jünger, come altri uomini, a provare loro stessi sul campo di battaglia, in quel particolare frangente della Storia. Molte erano le aspettative di coloro che si arruolarono volontari negli eserciti delle grandi nazioni europee: “La guerra è una grande scuola, e l’uomo nuovo apparterrà alla nostra schiatta”. E poi, scriverà: “Il punto di cristallizzazione pareva raggiunto, il superuomo in procinto di arrivare[...] Tutto questo sembrò chiaro quando la guerra lacerò la compagine europea”. Queste le parole dello Jünger soldato, filosofo e scrittore. Egli incarna le pulsioni e i turbamenti dell’uomo del Novecento che si affaccia con volto risoluto alla Modernità. E si scontra. Se il Novecento è stato il grande secolo delle ideologie e della politica, così come dei grandi conflitti, vale allora la formula di Clausewitz per cui la guerra è la semplice continuazione della politica con altri mezzi, che nasce in seguito alla “frizione”. Arriva, cioè, laddove la diplomazia non è riuscita. E per gli appassionati della polemologia questa è una lettura consigliata. Molte le passioni e i sentimenti che scaturiscono in queste pagine, ma vi è anche spazio per la riflessione. Un giusto equilibrio tra ragione e sentimento.


“Ognuno può rapportarsi alla guerra come vuole, ma non la può negare. Quindi io m’impegno, in questo libro nel quale mi voglio rassegnare alla guerra, a osservarla come qualcosa che è stato ed è ancora in noi, a privarla di ogni preconcetto e a descriverla per quello che è.” E poi ancora: “La guerra è il più potente incontro tra i popoli. Mentre nel commercio e per le trattative, nelle gare sportive e ai congressi si muovono solo le personalità di punta, in guerra l’intera squadra conosce un solo obiettivo: il nemico”. Non è possibile la guerra senza l’uomo. Né l’uomo senza la guerra. Questa assumerà di volta in volta il volto e il nome che l’occasione le suggerirà: battaglia, lotta, lo scontro, frizione, incidente diplomatico…

Il coraggio è un sentimento, fulcro della guerra per Jünger: “Un soldato senza coraggio è come un Cristo senza fede. Ecco perché in un esercito il coraggio deve essere quanto di più sacro”. Nelle “Tempeste d’acciaio” si leggono parole di riconoscimento del valore e del rispetto del nemico: “Durante la guerra mi sforzai sempre di considerare l’avversario senza odio, di apprezzarlo secondo la misura del suo coraggio. In battaglia cercai di individuarlo per ucciderlo, senza attendere da lui cosa diversa”. Nessun odio verso i nemici. I Francesi? “Sono dei gran viveurs, loro. Gente gradevole, davvero. Io non li odio mica.” E poi: “Chi saremmo noi senza questi vicini audaci e senza scrupoli che ogni cinquant’anni ci puliscono la ruggine dalle lame?”.

Al nemico viene riconosciuto il valore del suo coraggio. E ne La battaglia come esperienza interiore scrive: “I cuori coraggiosi riconoscono istintivamente la vera grandezza. Il coraggio riconosce il coraggio”. Ecco una delle sue massime maggiori: “Il mondo potrà anche ribaltarsi, ma un cuore coraggioso sarà sempre saldo”. L’uomo di Heidelberg è figlio della guerra, figlio ed interprete acuto del suo tempo. Lui è l’uomo nato dalla guerra, nella guerra e per la guerra. Lui, cuore coraggioso, anima in tempesta. Come egli stesso sottolinea, lo spirito di un’epoca si concentra sempre in pochi individui solitari. In questo libro si può carpire lo spirito guerriero che forgiò l’Uomo nuovo della Grande Guerra. E lui è uno di quegli individui solitari, voce di un’epoca in radicale mutamento. Importante è anche il rapporto con la Donna, nelle opere di guerra di Jünger. In un altro scritto dello stesso genere, intitolato Il tenente Sturm, la donna viene definita dall’autore come “ministra del grande mistero”. E la donna non ama la guerra, ma ama i guerrieri. Curzio Malaparte disse: “Amo la guerra perché sono un uomo”. E Jünger coerentemente afferma: ” Esiste un solo punto di vista per contemplare il fulcro della guerra, ed è quello mascolino”. In uno dei capitoli più belli della Battaglia viene affrontato il rapporto uomo/donna guerra, ed in merito a ciò sottolinea: “Bisognava che anche le donne fossero d’acciaio, per non finire schiacciate nel tumulto”. Il racconto che invece viene accennato, con infinita poesia, nel capitolo Eros, riporta alla memoria l’immagine di uno studente tedesco (in cui possiamo facilmente riconoscere il giovane Ernst) e una contadina piccarda che fanno l’amore nel bel mezzo della guerra, nell’imperversare della tempesta, essi, “centrifugati su una scogliera bellica”, sono “due cuori accesi in un mondo ghiacciato”. E con queste immagini e magnifiche parole conclude il capitolo: “Due labbra accarezzavano l’orecchio dell’uomo, impegnate più che mai a versarvi tutta la melodia di una lingua straniera[...] Poi finivi sotto la grandine dei proiettili con i baci ancora tra i capelli. La morte ti veniva incontro come un’amica. Tu, chicco di grano maturo che cadi sotto la falce”. Questo è Jünger.

Per il grande scrittore di Heidelberg sembra valere il precetto di Julius Evola per cui “la patria è là dove si combatte”. E la guerra è una donna da possedere, almeno finché infuria la battaglia. L’uomo, la guerra e la donna: fili intrecciati di un inestricabile destino, di un ciclo infinito: Vita Amore e Morte. Oggi gli animi dei molti pacifisti che popolano il mondo postmoderno irriderebbero il romanticismo di cui talvolta sono impregnati gli scritti di guerra. Non potrebbero però evitare di rimanere colpiti e affascinati dallo stile di uno scrittore immenso come quello che oggi si è voluto ricordare.


Si vuol concludere ora con due stralci tratti, rispettivamente, dalle opere Il tenente Sturm e con la conclusione de La battaglia come esperienza interiore che spiegano bene la complessità della guerra nel pensiero di Enrst Jünger: “Laggiù una stirpe nuova dava vita a una nuova interpretazione del mondo, passando attraverso un’esperienza antichissima. La guerra era una nebbia originaria di possibilità psichiche, carica di sviluppi; chi tra i suoi effetti riconosceva solo l’elemento rozzo, barbarico coglieva, di un complesso gigantesco, un solo attributo, con l’identico arbitrio ideologico di chi vedeva soltanto il carattere eroico e patriottico”.

“Ma chi in questa guerra vede solo negazione e sofferenza e non l’affermazione, il massimo dinamismo, allora avrà vissuto da schiavo. Costui avrà avuto solo un’esperienza esteriore, non un’esperienza interiore.”

mardi, 10 février 2015

Arthur Moeller van den Bruck an uns!

Arthur Moeller van den Bruck an uns!

von Martin Sellner

Ex: http://www.identitaere-generation.info

ArthurMoellervandenBruck.jpgMoeller van den Bruck gilt heute als einer der maßgeblichen Köpfe der Konservativen Revolution. Viele Identitäre berufen sich, neben der Neuen Rechte, auch auf diese Strömung, was Moeller ins Zentrum des Interesses rücken sollte. Einem breiteren Publikum ist er heute nur durch seine Schrift „Das dritte Reich“ bekannt, die (mit und über Dietrich Eckhart) titelgebend für das NS-Reich werden sollte. Doch damit tut man ihm Unrecht! Moeller war und ist viel mehr als nur „Stichwortgeber“ für den NS. In ihm, seinem Denken und Werdegang zeichnet sich hingegen die große Tragödie um die konservativ-revolutionären „Denker“ und die national-sozialistischen „Macher“ so deutlich ab, das wir auch heute noch viel daraus lernen können.

Dandy und Dissident

Um Moeller als Person nebelt heute die Aura des Erhabenen und Geheimnisvollen. Seine Zitate, seine Bilder, seine Begriffe ließen ihn für meine Phantasie immer zu einer Gestalt werden, die wie George über dem Getöse der Weimarer Dekadenz schwebte. Mitnichten! Ich war durchaus überrascht, als ich erfuhr, dass er sich mittendrin befunden hatte. Moeller war ein Dandy, chronisch pleite und Dauergast in diversen Bohemien-Kreisen. Überhastete Reisen, oft auf der Flucht von Gläubigern prägten sein zerfahrenes Leben, dem er auch mit 49 Jahren ein Ende setzte. Nichts von all dem deutet auf einen Charakter hin, der in der Lage war, gegen die Dekadenz der Weimarer Zeit anzuschreiben, und gegen Nihilismus und Beliebigkeit die Ideen von Stil, Einheit, Genesung und Stärke zu predigen. Doch van den Bruck war mit der Zeitschrift „Das Gewissen“ und seinen Buchveröffentlichungen einer der maßgeblichsten Denker der Konservativen Revolution.

Konservative Revolte gegen den Liberalismus

Heute ist Moeller van den Bruck vor allem über das Zitat: „Am Liberalismus gehen die Völker zugrunde“, bekannt. Das ist kein schlechter Umstand, da in diesem Satz vieles von seinem Denken zusammengefasst ist. Moeller sah in der Tat den herrschenden bürgerlichen Geist, den saturierten Pazifismus, die Gleichgültigkeit gegenüber jedem höheren Wert, den kaufmännischen Mensch und sein Projekt vom befriedeten Weltmarkt als schlimmsten Gegner, den er mit „Liberalismus“ als „Ausdruck einer egoistischen und individualistischen Lebensauffassung benannte. Er zersetzt alle gewachsenen Gemeinschaften und untergräbt jedes Ideal, das über den eigenen Körper und „das Lüstchen für den Tag und sein Lüstchen für die Nacht“ (Nietzsche).Und: „Er schaltet das Volk aus und setzt ein Ich an die Stelle“

Mehr noch als den Marxismus, den er teilweise als berechtigten Aufschrei gegen die Herrschaft des Geldes betrachtete, kämpfte er gegen das System. Die Kommunisten nannte er „querköpfige toll gewordene“ Deutsche. Prophetisch erkannte er, vor den nationalbolschewistischen Zersplitterungen aller „Internationalen“, dass „jedes Volk seinen eigenen Sozialismus“ hat. Zeitlebens hoffte er auf eine Vereinigung des ganzen Volkes gegen jede Klassenspaltung. Eine Vereinigung, die den Hauptfeind bekämpfen sollte. Es war die neue Gattung an „letzten Menschen“, Blooms, die heute so stark wuchern wie nie zuvor:

„Sie fühlen sich als Einzelwesen, die Niemandem verpflichtet sind, und am wenigsten dem Volke. An seiner Geschichte sind sie völlig unbeteiligt. Sie teilen nicht seine Überlieferung. Sie haben kein Miterlebnis seiner Vergangenheit. Sie haben auch nicht den Ehrgeiz seiner Zukunft. Sie suchen nur die Vorteile ihrer eigenen Gegenwart. Ihr letzter Gedanke ist auf die große Internationale gerichtet.“

Diese Internationale bedeutete damals wie heute das Ende aller Völker und Kulturen, aller Vielfalt und Freiheit – kurz: all dessen, was den Menschen ausmacht. (Es macht ihn eben aus, dass es ihn „an sich“ nicht gibt.) Gegen diesen Liberalismus kämpfte Moeller van den Bruck mit revolutionärer Kraft. Er verlachte impotente, alte Konservative, die sich zaghaft an tote Hüllen klammerten und mit arrogantem Elitismus die Arbeiter den Marxisten zutrieben. Der „Altkonservativismus“ hatte sich „auf seine Klitsche zurückgezogen und den Sinn für die Probleme der Zeit verloren.“

Zwar war er klar für Elite und den hierarchischen Staat, doch dieser sollte organisch sein und über die „Kraft in Gegensätzen zu leben“ verfügen. Anders als viele liberal gesinnte Konservative sah er die revolutionären Unruhen nicht nur als Gefahr und Bedrohung, sondern vielmehr als Fieber, dem eine Gesundung folgen könnte. Als klassischer Vertreter eines dritten Weges (Ursprünglich wollte er sein opus magnum „Die dritte Partei“ nennen) lehnte er sowohl Marxismus als auch Liberalismus ab und wollte mit der Neuerweckung ewiger Werte, eine große Einheit wiederherstellen.

Van den Bruck und die 3PT

Als 3.PT (3. politische Theorie) bezeichnen wir Identitäre in der Regel die Gesamtheit der nationalistischen, antiliberalen und antimarxistischen Strömungen des 20. Jahrhunderts, die häufig (und vereinfachend) als „Faschismus“ pauschalisiert werden. Insbesondere meinen wir damit den deutschen National-Sozialismus und den konkreten italienischen Faschismus.

Vieles von dem Gesagten und zitierten deutet daraufhin, dass Moeller ein Denker und Wegbereiter dieser 3.PT gewesen ist. Doch er stand dem italienischen Faschismus, den er noch miterlebte, durchaus kritisch gegenüber (obwohl er in ihm einen vielversprechenden Aufbruch für Italien und NUR Italien sah). Vor allem dessen Etatismus (Verabsolutierung des Staates), auf den er Mussolinis Südtirolpolitik zurückführte, erregte seine Ablehnung. Sein Tod 1925 verhinderte jede zeitgenössische Betrachtung des Nazi-Reichs, doch persönliche Kommentare über die Frühphase der Bewegung zeigen eher Ablehnung.

In Hitler sah er einen Menschen „ganz ohne Abstand und Augenmaß“. einen „Fanatiker“ und „Eiferer“. Auch im NS gab es abgesehen von dem erfolgreichen Versuch, den bekannten Autor für das eigene Reich zu reklamieren, wenige bis gar keine Bezüge auf sein Werk. 1939 erschien dann eine Dissertation eines Helmut Rödels, der, stellvertretend für die NSDAP, eine klare Distanzierung zu van den Bruck aussprach. Er sei „kein Seher und Künder des dritten Reichs im Sinne des NS.“

Er wurde als konservativer, esoterischer Traumtänzer abgelehnt, der im Gegensatz zum rein wissenschaftlichen, pragmatischen NS stehe, der nur die Naturgesetze vollziehe. Vor allem Moellers klares Bekenntnis, wonach „die Rassenanschauung (…) sich in unlösbare Widersprüche verstrickt, wenn sie Rasse nur in dem biologischen Sinne begreift“, war für die „naturwissenschaftliche“ Rassenlehre und -züchtung des NS ein Affront.

Moeller und der NS

Insgesamt war Moeller ein erklärter Gegner jedes Totalitarismus und jeder reinen Machtpragmatik. Ihm ging es um das große Erbe der deutschen und europäischen Traditionen und um den entschiedenen Kampf gegen die Entzauberung, Vermassung, Vereinheitlichung und Verflachung der Welt. Die oberflächliche Demagogie war ihm, ebenso wie rein pragmatische Machtpolitik, verhasst. Dennoch war er aber kein abgehobener „Schöngeist“, sondern stand mehr als andere für das „Revolutionäre“ in der Konservativen Revolution. Er wollte das Volk begeistern und mitreißen, wollte das Fieber sogar steigern, um zu einer Gesundung zu führen. Er wollte aktiv Einfluss auf die Politik nehmen und kritisierte die Konservativen scharf für ihr apolitisches, verspieltes Sektierertum. Seine Ablehnung am NS war also, anders als bei vielen anderen Denkern nicht einem letztlich verächtlichen Standesdünkel gegen „den Pöbel“ geschuldet. Er wollte ja gerade die revolutionären Kräfte aus der Arbeiterschaft in den Dienst einer großen spontanen Regeneration stellen! Er lehnte den NS aufgrund seiner Ideologie ab, die für Moellers stilvolle und erhabene Gedankenwelt, als plumper materialistischer Rassenkult erscheinen musste. Vor allem aber sah Moeller im kommenden Erwachen des „jungen“ deutschen Volkes eine Revolte gegen den Westen, und die liberale, atlantische Welt. Er sah Russland damals schon als Teil Europas und hoffte auf eine Überwindung und „Russifizierung“ des dortigen Marxismus zu einem ethnischen und kulturell entschärften Sozialismus (was ja nach dem 2. Weltkrieg auch peu à peu geschah)

Moellers Denken, das er mit anderen Gleichgesinnten wie vor allem Niekisch und Hielscher teilte, richtete sich also scharf gegen den Zivilisationschauvinismus des NS. Dieser war stark auf England und Amerika fixiert. Adolf Hitler selbst bewunderte das englische Kolonialreich und wollte es sogar im Sinne einer universalistischen Ideologie vom Arier als „Prometheus der Menschheit“ für die weiße Rasse „retten“. In diesem Lichte erscheint die NS-Idee als Auffassung von Herkunft und Rasse einmal mehr als Fortführung des Chauvinismus und Rassismus aus der englischen Kolonialzeit, indem am westlich-fortschrittlichen Wesen, „die Welt genesen“ sollte.

Moellers Idee von Kultur und Ethnos war eine andere, die ganz klar pluralistisch gerichtet war. Konservativ bedeutete für ihn vor allem „ die Fähigkeit, immer mehr von dem, was in uns ewig ist, freizulegen.“ Die Konservative Revolution ist daher keine universalistische Ideologie, sondern der Aufruf die eigeen Identität zu finden, zu vertiefen und weiterzuführen!

Wie im Faschismus eine italienische, so sah Moeller in der KR eine spezifisch deutsche Sache, die andere Völker nicht in gleichem Maße betraf. Der „deutsche Sonderweg“ war für ihn kein Schimpfwort, sondern eine erklärte Losung, die sowohl stolzes Pathos der Distanz und Eigentlichkeit, aber auch das Sein-lassen und die Akzeptanz der Anderen bedeutet. Etwas ganz anderes bedeutete dagegen Hitlers Aussage, der NS sei „kein Exportprodukt“. (Er und andere meinten damit, dass man das vom NS erkannte „Lebensgesetz“, wonach man im Kampf ums Überleben, als brutalen „Rassenkampf“ das eigene Volk, als statische, reine Rassengemeinschaft vergöttlichen und alle anderen als Barbaren entmenschlichen müsse. Diesen „Schlüssel zur Weltgeschichte“ solle man anderen Völkern nicht in die Hände spielen. Es sei dumm genug, dass ihn schon die Juden besäßen, die aber als dunkle Antimenschen im Gegensatz zum göttlichen Arier kein Recht auf dieses Wissen und den damit verbundenen Weltherrschaftsanspruch hätten.)

Diese Aussage steht gerade nicht gegen einen totalen Imperialismus, sondern entschieden dafür. Exportiert solle die arisch-germanische Herrschaft werden (vor allem in die Länder der slawischen Fellachen und Untermenschen) – nicht aber die dahinterstehende Triebkraft. Moellers außenpolitische Ideen sehen dagegen ganz anders aus, weil ihnen eine echt identitäre Haltung zum Eigenen – ohne Chauvinismus – zugrunde liegt. Er sah Deutschland vor allem als eigenständige Nation, die weder ganz im westlichen Liberalismus der Angelsachsen, noch im Slawentum oder Romanisch-Südlichen aufgehen könne und damit als mitteleuropäisches Reich eine Brücke zwischen Osten und Westen sei.

Moeller van den Bruck an uns

Ich sage, wenn ich wie so oft auf die KR angesprochen werde, dass ich auch eine Aufgabe der Identitären Bewegung darin sehe, ihre Traditionslinien, die mit dem Aufkommen des NS abgeschnitten und mit der Umerziehung nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg ausgebrannt und ausgetrocknet wurden, neu anzuzapfen. Dabei müssen und sollen wir vielleicht am besten ganz an den Anfang gehen und in der Ur-Stimmung ansetzen, aus der die KR mit ihren Denkern hervorging, statt uns allzu akademisch und wissenschaftlich nur mit ihren Werken und Strömungen zu beschäftigen. Van den Bruck steht als Bohemien, als zeitloser gedankenschwerer Traditionalist und radikaler, leichtherziger Revolutionär, wie vielleicht nur Ernst Jünger, für diesen fruchtbaren Zeitgeist.

Vor allem seine tiefsinnige Bewertung des Ethnokulturellen, sein reichsbestimmtes Denken der Politik, seine Ablehnung von Liberalismus und Marxismus, sowie plumpen Chauvinismus und Demagogie, machen ihn für uns Identitäre sehr interessant. Unsere Sicht, die unter klarer Abgrenzung zur 3.PT einen eigenen, neuen Weg für die Jugend erspäht, wird ihn selbstverständlich nicht immer beim Wort nehmen. Vor allem seine Bewertung des „Sozialismus“-Begriffs ist für uns heute hinfällig geworden, da der Marxismus längst im siegreichen Liberalismus aufgegangen ist und keine revolutionäre Idee mehr darstellt. Doch seine pluralistische Weltsicht, seine Verbindung 1. von ewigen Werten über der Zeit und 2. dem revolutionären Kampf in der Zeit, mit ihren Mitteln gegen 3. den herrschenden Zeitgeist, ist eine Formel, die heute mehr den je gültig ist.

Leute, die Identitären ihre „modernen Mittel“, ihr unkonventionelles Auftreten und ihre Verweigerung jedes Schablonendenkens und aller herkömmlichen Spalt-Begriffe vorwerfen, wären wohl auch damals von Moeller verlacht worden. Wie er strebt unsere Bewegung die Vereinigung aller guten Kräfte im Volk, die noch über gesunden Menschenverstand und ein klares Wir-Bewusstsein verfügen, in einer Front der Patrioten an. Dass wir uns dabei den alten Klüngeln und Fronten widersetzen, sich bei uns alle Konfessionen, Subkulturen und Spielarten des Patriotismus und Konservativismus befinden, spricht dafür, dass wir etwas richtig machen.

Nie wieder – vom Scheitern der KR lernen

Vor allem versuchen wir, in der bewussten Anknüpfung an das Erbe der KR, ihre Tragödie kein zweites Mal geschehen zu lassen. Während sie sich trotz aller Bemühungen im literarisch-akademischen Isolat verlor und allenfalls die metapolitische Hoheit über das Bürgertum wahrte (was Gramsci später neidvoll eingestehen musste), war es nur der NS, in dessen Führungselite so gut wie keiner von der KR sozialisiert worden war, der es schaffte das Volk auf seine Seite zu ziehen und die Denker, die seinen Weg geebnet hatten, auszubooten. Es liegt an uns, heute anders zu handeln;  uns niemals in akademischen Debatten zu verlieren, immer strategisch und politisch zu denken, was vor allem heißt: intensiv den Kontakt zum Volk zu suchen, auf die Straße zu gehen, treffsicher die brennenden Fragen zu beantworten und dem schwelenden Zorn der Leute ein Ziel und ein Zeichen zu geben. (Niemals hätte Moeller van den Bruck beispielsweise vorgeschlagen, seine theoretischen Konzepte und seine Kritik der Dekadenz zu Kernthemen politischer Arbeit zu machen. Ihm war bewusst, dass es darum ging, Themenführer in Thema „Versailles“ und der sozialen Frage zu werden.)

Heute droht ein plumper, chauvinistischer Neoconservativismus, der nichts anderes als der Krisenmodus des liberalen Westens ist, die „Ernte“ des patriotischen Aufbruchs einzufahren. (Die Neonazi-Szene und der sterbende NW sind in unserem Land als revolutionäre Kraft nicht ernstzunehmen und dienen nur als spitzelgetränktes „Fliegenpapier“ und Falle des Systems für die patriotische Jugend.) Wie damals der NS, so ist diese Bewegung in ungebildeten, rein von Hass und Chauvinismus geprägten Kreisen ohne jede Beeinflussung neurechter, konservativer Denkzirkel entstanden. Ein Armutszeugnis für deren Verbindung zum Volk! Die gehässige Hetze, die sich in diesem Ressentiment-Biotop wie ein Pilz bildet, spottet jeder Idee eines Ethnopluralismus und gesunden Patriotismus. Und wieder ist sie, wie damals der NS, nichts anderes als das Erbe des kolonialistisch-westlichen Rassismus und damit die bloße Schattenseite des humanistisch-universalistischen Egalitarismus.

Es ist die Aufgabe der Identitären, Konservativen, Traditionalisten und Neurechten, die heute ein noch klareres Bild und Bewusstsein (auch der Entartung des Nationalismus) haben als es die KR je haben konnte, ihre Erkenntnisse und Ideen ins Volk zu tragen. Sie müssen einschlagen wie ein Blitz dem gerechten Zorn die Sprache und der schwelenden Angst eine Hoffnung geben! Wie ein guter Arzt müssen wir die Mischung finden, die es schafft, den Brocken Selbsthass und die Auslandsliebe zu lösen, um eine gesunde, stolze Liebe zum Eigenen aufbrechen zu lassen. Nur damit können wir es am Ende zusammen mit der heilen Kraft einer fiebrigen Krisis schaffen auch die verblendeten, Multikulti-Schwarmköpfe unseres Volkes auf unsere Seite zu ziehen. Es ist die „große Absolution“, nach der sie sich noch im größten, grünen Selbsthass sehnen. Sie wollen wieder die Guten sein – und wir sind die Guten. Das muss ihnen bewusst werden, damit aus uns wieder ein Volk werden kann.

Die liberalistische, rein anti-islamische Ideologie, die nichts anderes als ein Wiedergänger der ekligsten kolonialen, religiösen und rassistischen Ressentiments der westlichen Ideologie ist, wird niemals das Volk einen können. Sie droht, wie damals der NS, mit dem Mittel der plumpesten Hetze eine Scheinlösung für die Masse zu werden, die unsere ethno-kulturelle Identität nicht rettet, sondern, wie Manfred Kleine-Hartlage sagte, statt in der „Säure“ des Islams im „Wasser“ des Liberalismus aufzulösen. Statt der identitären Regeneration soll eine „law-order“-Reform den welkenden Westen zusammenflicken und den Universalismus in der Tradition der drei modernen Ideologien weitertragen.

Im Geiste Moeller van der Brucks müssen wir dagegen auf einer klaren und reinen Erkenntnis der Gegner und der Gifte beharren, diese aber zu pragmatischen und politischen Taten werden lassen. In seinem Geiste müssen wir heute das schaffen, woran die KR damals scheiterte. Das heißt für Identitäre hier und heute themenführend in den brennenden Fragen zu werden und theoretisch-geistige Gebiete (Dekadenz, Technik, Geopolitik, usw.) im Bereich des Theoretisch-Geistigen wachsen und wirken zu lassen. In Kaffeehauskreisen, Denkerzirkeln oder Blogs wie diesem hier. (Nicht zuletzt um keine sinnlosen Fronten zu erzeugen). Dass diese beiden Bereiche sogar in Persönlichkeiten selbst harmonisch vereint werden können, erlebe ich nicht zuletzt bei mir in Wien, wo immer mehr junge Aktivisten nahtlos vom philosophischen Colloqium zum aktivistischen Parolenrufen übergehen und fließend zwischen Kapus und Anzug, Boxhandschuhen und Füllfeder wechseln. Nicht umsonst haben Cargohosen weite Taschen, in die sowohl ein Reclam-Bändchen als auch eine Spraydose oder ein Schlagstock passen (zur Selbstverteidigung versteht sich).

Über Martin Sellner

Martin Sellner
Studiert in Wien Rechtswissenschaften und Philosophie. Leiter der IBÖ Landesgruppe Wien.

dimanche, 08 février 2015

La crisis de la civilización occidental según Julius Evola


La crisis de la civilización occidental según Julius Evola

Ex: http://www.kosmos-polis.com

En un ensayo sobre el tantrismo la escritora Marguerite Yourcenar[i] reseñaba una de las obras monumentales de Julius Evola titulada Lo Yoga della Potenza. La académica francesa catalogaba al filósofo y orientalista italiano, profesor de las universidades de Florencia y de Milán, como "un erudito genial" ateniéndose a sus obras más ponderadas. Pero aunque el barón Evola fue un erudito genial, ciertamente no fue un erudito inmaculado. Evola tuvo un pasado fascista y fue "uno de esos italianos germanizados con no sé sabe qué clase de obsesiones gibelinas", un hombre "mucho más fascinado por el poder que por el conocimiento o el amor" que estaba poseído por un "titanismo prometeico más o menos espiritualizado"[ii]. Su Rivolta contro il mondo moderno (el título de otro de sus libros), por muy justificada que esa rebelión en parte esté, "acabó arrastrándolo a unos parajes aún más peligrosos que aquellos que creía abandonar". En sus libros asoman un puñado de vicios intelectuales, esperables en alguien con semejante orientación, que enturbian una y otra vez incluso sus trabajos más brillantes. La propia Yourcenar señaló casi todos esos vicios: "el concepto de raza elegida que en la práctica conduce al nazismo"; "una avidez enfermiza por los poderes supranormales, que lo lleva a aceptar sin control los aspectos más materiales de la aventura espiritual"; "el paso lamentable de la noción de poderes intelectuales y místicos a la de poder puro y simple"; "un sueño de dominación aristocrática y sacerdotal que no sabemos si correspondió a una edad de oro del pasado, pero del que en nuestro tiempo hemos visto caricaturas grotescas y atroces"; a lo que habría que añadir un desprecio sumario hacia lo femenino que lo lleva a proclamar la deficiencia interior de la mujer y la incapacidad femenina para la vida humana superior. No obstante, y a pesar de todo esto -que no debe olvidarse nunca cuando uno se acerca a la obra de Evola– también es cierto que sus mejores libros, tomados con las debidas cautelas, aportan abundante materia para la reflexión. Huellas de ellos pueden encontrarse en las obras de no pocos autores contemporáneos que, sin embargo, omiten cuidadosamente la fuente por considerarla innombrable y maldita. Adolfo Morganti, en el ámbito del orientalismo, y Alain de Benoist, en el de la filosofía, fueron los primeros que se atrevieron a remitir a las obras de Evola abiertamente. Como señaló Morganti, "después de años de que el pensamiento evoliano hubiera sido o demonizado grotescamente o ensalzado como un improbable evangelio, había que romper son el muro de las ideologías y proceder al debate de las ideas y a un análisis crítico digno de ese nombre"[iii].

En este sentido Cavalgar el tigre ha sido una de sus obras más interesantes e influyentes[iv]. Su punto de partida es la ciclología de las tradiciones culturales indoeuropeas, que observa un descenso progresivo de la civilización desde una 'edad de oro' primordial hasta una 'edad de hierro' donde se liberan todos los mecanismos disolutorios para dar paso a la liquidación del ciclo. Para esa concepción del tiempo –propia de nuestra cultura clásica y presente todavía hoy en el pensamiento hindú- nuestra época, lejos de ser la culminación de un tiempo lineal de progreso continuo, es el momento final de una era de disolución. En tal contexto temporal Evola señala que hay un cierto tipo humano "que, aun estando comprometido con el mundo actual, no pertenece interiormente a él, no contempla la posibilidad de ceder ante él y se siente, por su esencia, de una clase diferente a la mayor parte de sus contemporáneos". El lugar natural de este tipo humano sería "el mundo de la Tradición", entendiendo por tal cosa las civilizaciones y sociedades regidas por principios transcendentes. Puesto que lo que ha terminado por prevalecer en el mundo actual es la exacta antítesis de eso, Evola observa que los Hombres diferenciados a los que se refiere se hallan "de pie en medio de las ruinas". Para ellos hace una radiografía del mundo actual tan detallada como demoledora.

Evola empieza analizando la disolución del orden moral. El primer capítulo –titulado "En un mundo donde Dios ha muerto"- hace referencia al nihilismo hoy reinante en Occidente y ya anunciado por Nietzsche. "La muerte de Dios", dice Evola, "es una imagen que sirve para caracterizar todo un proceso histórico. Expresa el descreimiento hecho realidad cotidiana", la ruptura con la Tradición que en el Occidente actual tiene el carácter de un hecho consumado y tal vez irreversible. Evola observa que en este proceso de desacralización el hecho primario es una ruptura ontológica: las referencias reales a la Transcendencia han desaparecido de la vida humana. Todos los desarrollos del nihilismo están virtualmente contenidos en este hecho. Primero fue la aparición de la llamada 'moral autónoma', fundada sobre la mera autoridad de la razón independiente de todo criterio transcendente. Al haber perdido sus raíces –el lazo efectivo y original del Hombre con una dimensión supramaterial- esta moral ya no tiene una base invulnerable y la crítica puede destruirla fácilmente. Tras ella aparece, en un segundo momento, la ética utilitaria o social. "Al haber renunciado a todo fundamento absoluto e intrínseco del bien y del mal, se pretende justificar lo que queda de norma moral por lo que recomiendan al individuo su interés y la búsqueda de su tranquilidad material en la vida social". Esta ética ya no tiene carácter interiormente normativo o imperativo y todo se reduce a amoldarse a los códigos de la sociedad, que reemplazan a la ley transcendente derribada. Es un conformismo fundado "sobre el interés, la cobardía, la hipocresía y la inercia". Además, como ya no existe ningún lazo interior, "cualquier acto o comportamiento se vuelven lícitos cuando puede evitarse la sanción exterior, jurídico-social, o cuando uno es indiferente a ella". Hay, por tanto, dos fases. La primera es una rebelión metafísica que tiene consecuencias morales. En la segunda fase "hasta los motivos que habían justificado y alentado la rebelión desaparecen, volviéndose ilusorios para un nuevo tipo de Hombre. Aquí estamos ya en la fase específicamente nihilista, cuyo tema dominante es el sentido de lo absurdo y de la irracionalidad de la condición humana". Es lo que Nietzsche llamó "la miseria del Hombre sin Dios": la existencia parece perder todo significado y toda meta.

Todos los imperativos, todos los valores morales, todos los lazos y los apoyos se desmoronan. "La existencia es abandonada a sí misma en su realidad desnuda sin ningún punto de referencia fuera de ella que pueda darle sentido a los ojos del Hombre".

evola_upright_ll.jpgEvola hace notar que existe una corriente de pensamiento y una historiografía cuya característica es presentar el proceso anterior, al menos en sus primeras fases, como una conquista positiva. "Desde el siglo de las luces y cierto liberalismo", dice, "hasta el historicismo inmanentista, primero idealista, luego materialista y marxista, estas fases de disolución han sido interpretadas y exaltadas como una emancipación del Hombre, un progreso y un verdadero humanismo". En los tiempos en que nosotros vivimos, señala Evola, la ruptura metafísica y moral ha pasado ya al plano existencial. Hoy "una buena parte de la humanidad occidental encuentra normal que la existencia esté desprovista de todo verdadero significado y que no deba ser ligada a ningún principio superior, aunque se las ha arreglado para vivirla de la forma más soportable y menos desagradable posible. Sin embargo, esto tiene como contrapartida inevitable una vida interior cada vez más reducida, inestable y huidiza, así como la desaparición de toda rectitud y fuerza moral". Un sistema de anestésicos y compensaciones (el sexo banalizado, el alcohol, las drogas, las diversiones, el consumismo, los medios de masas) trata de suplir y tapar la falta de significado y de valor de una vida abandonada a sí misma. Sin embargo, cuando dicho entramado se tambalea por alguna razón aparece "la náusea, el asco, el vacío y el absurdo de toda esta nueva civilización materialista impuesta por toda la Tierra". En aquellos cuya sensibilidad es más aguda se constatan diversas formas de traumatismo interior y se ven aparecer estados de degradación y alineación existenciales. Especialmente significativa por lo que tiene de signo de los tiempos es la situación de la juventud 'perdida' o 'quemada' de hoy.

Señala Evola que una de las principales coberturas evasivas, uno de los anestésicos más eficaces del nihilismo occidental es el mito económico-social en sus dos vertientes: el bienestar consumista y el funcionarismo marxista. Capitalismo y marxismo participan del mismo espejismo: "creer en serio que la miseria existencial se reduce a sufrir indigencia material y que, en consecuencia, la primera debe desaparecer automáticamente si se elevan las condiciones materiales de la existencia". Evola considera que la verdad es más bien la opuesta: miseria espiritual y pobreza material carecen de relación y la felicidad y la plenitud humana tienen poco que ver con la abundancia material. Es un hecho que las vidas más profundas son a menudo, si no pobres, sí desde luego austeras (incluso en medio de la riqueza), porque un clima de facilidad debilita la virtud más alta e impide que el Hombre se pruebe y se discipline a sí mismo. "El verdadero significado del mito económico-social, sea cual fuere su variedad", dice Evola, "es el de un medio de anestesia interior tendente no sólo a eludir el problema de una existencia privada de todo sentido, sino a consolidar todas las formas de esta fundamental ausencia de sentido en la vida del Hombre moderno". Para Evola el marxismo y sus derivados 'progresistas' son "el estupefaciente más mortífero de todos los administrados hasta ahora a una humanidad desarraigada", estupefaciente que va acompañado de "una lobotomía psíquica tendente a neutralizar metódicamente, desde la infancia, toda forma de sensibilidad y de intereses superiores y cualquier modo de pensar que no se exprese en términos económico-sociales". En cuanto al sistema consumista, Evola dice que "destruye todo valor superior de la vida y de la personalidad", porque el individuo consumista acaba por considerar absurda cualquier renuncia al bienestar en nombre de valores más altos y se pliega gustoso a los condicionamientos anestesiantes del sistema. Puesto que en Occidente la 'clase obrera' ha entrado con gran fruición en el sistema consumista y en el modo de vida burgués, los derivados marxistas abandonan la revolución anticapitalista y llaman ahora a una suerte de "contestación global", irracional, anarquizante y privada de referentes superiores, en nombre del Tercer Mundo o de toda clase de minorías marginales.

Tanto el sistema como sus antagonistas tienen un carácter nihilista que no hace sino confirmar el nihilismo general de nuestra época.

Dos son los tipos humanos que ha producido el nihilismo contemporáneo. Evola los llama "el Hombre objeto" y el "nihilista activo". El primero -el tipo más frecuente- se pliega a los procesos de disolución en marcha de modo pasivo. O bien se adapta a una vida desprovista de sentido con anestésicos y sucedáneos, agarrándose a las formas supervivientes de convención y seguridad burguesas, o bien se entrega a formas de vida desordenadas y de revuelta anarcoide. El nihilista activo de corte nietzscheano, tipo mucho más restringido, está convencido, sin embargo, de que la actual rebelión contra la Transcendencia es el camino correcto, hace apología de ella y considera que el desastre actual es sólo el resultado de no haber sabido estar a la altura de las nuevas circunstancias sin Dios. Evola analiza entonces el tema de 'la muerte de Dios': para él no es la Divinidad metafísica, es el Dios teísta, lo que ha muerto, el Dios que es una proyección de los valores sociales dominantes o un apoyo para las debilidades humanas. Es el conjunto de conceptos que el cristianismo oficial ha considerado como esenciales e indispensables de toda religión 'verdadera' lo que ha muerto: "el Dios personal del teísmo, cierta ley moral con paraísos e infiernos, la concepción restringida de un orden providencial y de un finalismo moral del mundo y la fe que reposa sobre una base principalmente emotiva, dogmática y anti-intelectual. No es más que el Dios concebido como centro de gravedad de todo este sistema quien ha sido golpeado, un Dios que había terminado por servir de opio o contrapartida a la pequeña moral con que el mundo burgués sustituyó a la gran moral antigua. Pero el núcleo esencial, representado por las doctrinas metafísicas, permanece intacto para quien sepa comprenderlas y vivirlas, inaccesible a todos los procesos nihilistas, a toda disolución". Evola considera que el cristianismo ha facilitado la acción de las fuerzas de disolución en Occidente por haber liquidado todos los intentos metafísicos que dentro de él se han hecho. La irracionalidad de sus dogmas y la falta de un corpus sapiencial superior capaz de contener el derrumbamiento han hecho al cristianismo particularmente vulnerable a los embates de la crítica racional y del libre pensamiento.

Cuando la disolución se ha asentado en el orden moral, la enfermedad sigue con la infección de la persona. Evola distingue entre 'persona' e 'individuo'. La persona es "lo que el Hombre representa concreta y sensiblemente en el mundo y en su circunstancia, pero siempre como una forma de expresión y manifestación de un principio superior que debe ser reconocido como el verdadero centro del ser y sobre el que se sitúa el yo. El Hombre en tanto que persona tiene forma, es él mismo y se pertenece a sí mismo, y en esto se diferencia del individuo". En esto y en que la persona "no está cerrada hacia lo Alto". "La noción de individuo", por contra, "es la de una unidad abstracta, informe, numérica, sin cualidades propias y nada que lo diferencie verdaderamente". El individuo pertenece al reino de la cantidad y es un ego disociado de todo principio transcendente.

Evola vaticina que la crisis de los valores del individuo en el mundo moderno está destinada a ser general e irreversible. El materialismo, el mundo de las masas, las megaurbes modernas, la técnica, la mecanización, las fuerzas elementales despertadas y controladas por procesos objetivos, los efectos existenciales de catástrofes colectivas (las guerras totales o el megaterrorismo con sus frías destrucciones, por ejemplo), todo esto golpea mortalmente al individuo y reduce cada vez más la validez de los valores burgueses. Del individuo se desemboca así en algo todavía más bajo, el tipo de Hombre vacío, repetido en serie, producto multiplicable e insignificante, que corresponde a la vida uniformada actual. Con este tipo de Hombre vacío y serial llega "una nueva barbarie" y un "ideal animal" de vida. Un ideal basado en "el bienestar biológico, la comodidad y la euforia optimista que enfatiza lo que no es más que lozanía, juventud, fuerza física, seguridad y éxito materiales, satisfacción primitiva de los apetitos del vientre y del sexo, vida deportiva... y cuya contrapartida es una atrofia de todas las formas superiores de sensibilidad y de interés intelectual". En esta nueva barbarie y en este ideal animal se incluyen también todos los contestatarios primitivistas que reclaman una 'vuelta a la naturaleza', a la 'Madre Tierra'. Esta supuesta contestación no es sino una forma de regresión. Evola defiende que el Hombre ni es un animal ni ha tenido nunca un estado natural. El Hombre, desde el principio, "ha sido situado en un estado por encima de la naturaleza del que a continuación ha caído", de modo que cuando pretende volverse 'natural' (esto es, animal) en realidad se desnaturaliza.

Disuelta la moral y disuelto el individuo, también se disuelve el conocimiento. Evola se ocupa por extenso de la ciencia positiva y matemático-experimental propia de la modernidad. Esta ciencia no tiene para él valor de conocimiento en el sentido verdadero de ese término, pues se reduce a "una voluntad de poder aplicada a las cosas y a la naturaleza". Para Evola "la ciencia moderna, por una parte conduce a una prodigiosa extensión cuantitativa de los datos relativos a dominios antes inexplorados u olvidados, pero por otra parte no hace penetrar al Hombre en el fondo de la realidad, sino que incluso lo aleja de ella, lo vuelve aún más ajeno a ella". La naturaleza, en su profundidad, permanece cerrada al Hombre y es aún más misteriosa que antes: sus misterios simplemente han sido recubiertos y la mirada humana se ha distraído con las realizaciones espectaculares de los dominios técnicos industriales, dominios "donde no se trata de conocer el mundo, sino de transformarlo conforme al interés de una humanidad convertida exclusivamente en terrestre, como quería Marx". Simultáneamente el conocimiento directo y viviente, la penetración de la intuición intelectual o de la visión mística, "el único conocimiento que importaba a la humanidad no bastardeada", se rechaza hoy por 'no científico'.

Para Evola la concepción del mundo que tiene la ciencia moderna es esencialmente profanadora y ese mundo desacralizado por el saber científico se ha convertido en un elemento existencial constitutivo del Hombre moderno. A través de la instrucción obligatoria se le ha llenado la cabeza de nociones científicas positivistas "no pudiendo adquirir para todo lo que le rodea más que una mirada sin alma que se convierte desde entonces en destructora". El trasfondo efectivo del progreso científico-técnico actual, convertido en la nueva religión de la modernidad, es para el autor el estancamiento y la barbarie interiores. Evola señala que ese progreso "no le reporta nada al Hombre como tal": no le otorga ni conocimiento transcendente, ni potencia interior, ni una norma de acción de más altura moral. En el plano de la acción la ciencia moderna "pone a disposición del Hombre un conjunto prodigioso de medios sin resolver en absoluto el problema de los fines". Además, la ciencia se ha convertido en un proceso autónomo y fragmentado en cada vez más estrechas especializaciones al que "ninguna instancia superior es capaz de imponer un límite y de imprimir dirección, control o freno". Por ello "a menudo se tiene la impresión de que el desarrollo técnico-científico desborda al Hombre y le impone frecuentemente situaciones inesperadas, difíciles y llenas de incógnitas". Las formas de potencia exterior y mecánica de sus bombas, sus cohetes o su revolución tecnológica dejan, en cualquier caso, invariable al Hombre en sí, que sigue tan preso o más que antes de sus debilidades, sus bajas pasiones, su confusión y sus miedos. El Hombre actual no eleva su estatura moral, intelectual o espiritual por ser capaz de ir en cohete hasta la Luna, de producir seres humanos en laboratorio o de matar a miles de criaturas en cinco minutos gracias a la técnica.

La misma degradación que afecta al conocimiento se encuentra hoy, según Evola, en la cultura. La cultura occidental está neutralizada en su influjo, dividida en dominios particulares sin unidad orgánica y se halla privada de todo carácter objetivo, participando de esta forma en los procesos disolutorios de la época. Evola considera que la antítesis decretada entre cultura y política es "una de las manifestaciones más típicas de esa neutralización de la cultura". El contrario normal y fecundo de esta situación no es, para Evola, una cultura al servicio del poder y de la ideología en el sentido degradado de hoy, sino la existencia de una idea axial, de un símbolo elemental y central de una civilización dada, "que manifiesta su fuerza y ejerce una acción paralela y a menudo invisible tanto sobre el plano político (con todos los valores, no sólo materiales, que deberían referirse a un verdadero Estado), como sobre el plano del pensamiento, de la cultura y de las artes". Para Evola esa vieja idea axial hoy perdida es en el caso de la civilización occidental el "ideal del Imperio", ideal que se forjó en el mundo antiguo y medieval y que países como España contribuyeron a mantener en los Siglos de Oro. Evola entiende por tal cosa una gran organización política más allá de particularismos etnicistas y territoriales, organizada con criterios de excelencia y vertebrada por los valores transcendentes característicos de nuestra civilización.

evolaDADA-Evolagross.pngAl analizar la situación del arte moderno, Evola subraya sus tendencias morbosas e intimistas, que dan la espalda al plano sobre el que actúan las grandes fuerzas históricas y políticas y se retiran al mundo de la subjetividad privada del artista no dando valor más que a lo psicológico y a lo formalmente 'interesante'. Joyce, Proust o Gide son, en la literatura, ejemplos acabados de esta tendencia. En ocasiones a esta orientación se asocia la idea del 'arte puro', esto es, del mero formalismo rodeando a un contenido más o menos insignificante. Las innumerables vanguardias e ismos no tienen mucho más valor, afirmación que resulta significativa en la pluma de alguien como Evola, que fue una de las figuras señeras del dadaísmo pictórico italiano. El significado de estas vanguardias "se reduce a una revuelta estéril, reflejo del proceso general de disolución. Reflejan el estado de crisis, pero no aportan nada constructivo, estable o duradero". Su recorrido, además, es corto. Pronto acaban convertidas en un nuevo 'academicismo', una nueva convención, y entran como un producto de consumo más en los circuitos comerciales. En el fondo el arte de hoy, separado de todo contexto orgánico y necesario, se ve reducido al absurdo, convertido en un artículo de lujo para parásitos ociosos. "Si se consideran objetivamente los procesos en curso", observa Evola, "se siente nítidamente que el arte ya no tiene porvenir, que su posición es cada vez más marginal con respecto a la existencia y que su valor se reduce al de un artículo de gran lujo". Al asomarse a la literatura, el panorama no es mejor. "Su fondo constante es el fetichismo de las relaciones humanas, de los problemas sentimentales, sexuales o sociales de individuos sin importancia". Se ha impuesto un realismo inferior, corrosivo y derrotista, denuncia Evola, en el que "directa o indirectamente se mina todo ideal, se hace mofa de todo principio y se reducen los valores estéticos, lo justo, lo verdaderamente noble y digno a simples palabras; y todo ello sin obedecer siquiera a una tendencia declarada". Frente a este realismo inferior Evola postula un realismo positivo que afirma la existencia de valores "que para el tipo humano diferenciado no se reducen a ficciones ni fantasías, sino que tienen el valor de realidades absolutas. Entre éstas figuran el coraje espiritual, el honor, la rectitud, la veracidad o la fidelidad. Una existencia humana que ignora esto no es plenamente real, es infrarreal. Para el Hombre diferenciado, a pesar de la disolución presente, estos valores siguen siendo intocables".

La música tampoco escapa al clima imperante. En el terreno de la música culta la disolución ha seguido dos vías: la tecnicidad fría y cerebral del dodecafonismo y la música serial y una inmersión en lo físico que toma a las cosas y los impulsos elementales como temas inspiradores (iniciada con el impresionismo francés y la música nacionalista). Últimamente se ha llegado ya a una especie de "música glaciar" con composiciones "cuya extrema abstracción formal es análoga a las puras entidades algebraicas de la física más reciente o, en otro terreno, a cierto surrealismo. Son fuerzas sonoras liberadas de las estructuras tradicionales que empujan hacia un meandro tecnicista que sólo el álgebra pura de la composición preserva de una completa disolución en lo amorfo, por ejemplo en la intensidad de los timbres descarnados y atómicamente disociados". Fuera de la música culta, que por otra parte tiene un alcance cada vez más minoritario, la música folclórica ha desaparecido y lo que domina la esfera cotidiana son las diferentes variantes del pop, músicas elementales de diversión o distracción, a menudo vehículos idóneos para la transmisión de toda clase de influencias psíquicas negativas.

Disuelta la moral y el individuo, disueltos el conocimiento, la cultura y las artes, el dominio socio-político estalla igualmente. Entre todos los dominios de la vida moderna es el socio-político "aquel en el cual, por efecto de los procesos generales de disolución, aparece de una manera más manifiesta la ausencia de una estructura que posea el carisma de una verdadera legitimidad para ligarse a significados superiores". Señala Evola que en la época actual "no existe un Estado que pueda, por su propia naturaleza, reivindicar un principio de autoridad verdadera e inalienable" ni que pueda considerarse ajustado a una concepción transcendente de la política. Hoy sólo existen aparatos representativos y administrativos, no Estados que sean la encarnación de un ideal superior. No hay tampoco verdaderos estadistas, la clase dirigente actual no tiene ningún carisma, ninguna virtud superior. "Del mismo modo que ya no existe un verdadero Estado, tampoco existe un partido o un movimiento que se presente como defensor de ideales superiores por los que valga la pena luchar". "A pesar de la variedad de etiquetas", observa Evola, "el mundo actual de los partidos se reduce a un régimen de politicastros que juegan a menudo el papel de hombres de paja al servicio de intereses financieros, industriales o sindicales. Por lo demás la situación general es tal que incluso si existieran partidos o movimientos de otro tipo ya no tendrían ninguna audiencia en las masas desarraigadas, dado que estas masas sólo reaccionan positivamente a favor de quienes le prometen ventajas materiales y 'conquistas sociales'. Hoy en día en política sólo puede actuarse en el plano de las fuerzas pasionales y subintelectuales, fuerzas que por su misma naturaleza carecen de toda estabilidad. Sobre estas fuerzas se apoyan los demagogos, los dirigentes de masas, los fabricantes de mitos y los manipuladores de la opinión pública". Es por esto por lo que aunque hoy aparecieran líderes dignos de ese nombre –personas que apelasen "a fuerzas e intereses de otro tipo, que no prometieran ventajas materiales, que no consintieran en prostituirse o degradarse para asegurarse un poder efímero, precario e informe"-, estos líderes muy probablemente no tendrían ninguna influencia en la situación actual.

Pasando del dominio político al propiamente social, Evola observa que todas las unidades orgánicas de la sociedad se han disuelto o están en vías de hacerlo y lo que existe es esencialmente una masa inestable de individuos aislados contenidos por estructuras exteriores o movida por corrientes colectivas amorfas. Las 'jerarquías' existentes son meramente dinerarias y la excelencia no tiene ya ningún valor en el ordenamiento social. La institución familiar también está en manifiesta crisis, zarandeada entre los intentos de sabotaje por un lado y las reacciones moralizantes vacías y el conformismo burgués, por otro. Desde el punto de vista de Evola todo esto no es de extrañar: "la familia ha cesado desde hace tiempo de tener un significado superior y de estar cimentada por valores vivos de orden transcendente". El carácter orgánico y en cierto sentido heroico que ofrecía su unidad en otros tiempos se ha perdido, al igual que se ha desvanecido el último barniz residual de sacralidad. La familia moderna es para Evola una institución pequeño-burguesa, determinada por valores naturalistas, utilitarios, rutinarios, vulgares y en el mejor de los casos, sentimentales. La función fundamental de la familia, la procreación, se reduce hoy sencilla y groseramente a una continuidad de la sangre, no a la continuidad más esencial de un depósito espiritual e histórico y de una herencia de valores e ideales. "Por otra parte", se pregunta Evola, "¿cómo podría ser de otra forma si su jefe natural, el padre, es hoy en día casi un extraño, incluso físicamente, al estar preso del engranaje de la vida material de esta sociedad absurda? ¿Qué autoridad moral o espiritual puede revestir el padre si hoy es sólo una máquina de fabricar dinero?". Para colmo ahora esto mismo se puede decir también de la madre, convertida en otra máquina de fabricar dinero o en un individuo de vida frívola y mundana, incapaz en ambos casos de mejorar el clima interior de la familia y de ejercer sobre ella una influencia positiva. A la pérdida del prestigio paterno le sigue el distanciamiento o la rebeldía de los hijos y la ruptura, "cada día más nítida y brutal", entre las generaciones mayores y las jóvenes. Este corte de la continuidad espiritual entre las generaciones se ve agravado, además, por un ritmo de vida cada vez más rápido y desordenado.

La misma situación de derrumbamiento que se ve en la institución familiar afecta a la unión de hombre y mujer. Hoy se han hecho frecuentes en Occidente la sucesión frívola y atropellada de emparejamientos y de rupturas hasta el punto de que parece "una especie de prostitución o ayuntamiento libre legalizado". El matrimonio burgués –que tomaba sus bases de la concepción católica y puritana protestante del matrimonio– se ha venido abajo. Desde hace unas décadas esta convención burguesa "se ha estrellado contra la práctica corriente y contestataria del sexo libre" que reivindica la promiscuidad y "la superación de las inhibiciones y los tabúes represivos". Dentro de un marco igualmente naturalista y profano (el Occidente cristiano carece de modelos de matrimonio genuinamente sagrado) el péndulo se ha ido de un extremo a otro: de una visión del sexo pacata y atormentada a otra promiscua y burdelesca. El resultado es una de las características más llamativas de nuestro tiempo: el poder obsesivo y desequilibrado de los asuntos venéreos hasta el punto de que el sexo y cierto de tipo falsificado de mujer son los dos motivos dominantes de la sociedad actual. Como dice Evola, existe una especie de "intoxicación sexual crónica manifestada de mil maneras en la vida pública y las costumbres a través de un erotismo abstracto que lo impregna todo". En este clima se comercializan "espejismos de la sexualidad de masas" en forma de ídolos femeninos que son alimentados por la televisión, el cine, la prensa, las revistas ilustradas y el mundo del espectáculo y la moda. "La mayoría de estas mujeres 'fatales' de rasgos supuestamente fascinantes", señala Evola, "en realidad como personas tienen cualidades sexuales muy mediocres y decadentes, siendo su fondo existencial el de mujeres vulgares y neuróticas".

La pretendida 'liberación' sexual de nuestra época es, para el autor, una vulgar inversión. Señala Evola que habría verdadera liberación si se tomara conciencia de los aspectos auténticamente importantes del sexo, si se reaccionara contra las vulgaridades que obturan sus posibilidades más elevadas y si se tomara posición contra la fetichización de las relaciones interpersonales. Pero eso, evidentemente, no ocurre. Las verdaderas implicaciones de la presente 'liberación sexual' son para el autor muy otras: la entronización del "sexo disociado" que conduce "a una banalización y a un naturalismo de las relaciones entre hombre y mujer, a un materialismo y un inmoralismo expeditivo y fácil en un régimen donde faltan las condiciones más elementales para realizar experiencias sexuales de verdadero valor e intensidad". El sexo se convierte así en un sucedáneo más de los muchos que produce la vida moderna, usado como las drogas "para conseguir sensaciones exasperadas que ayuden a llenar el vacío de la existencia". Y esta conversión del sexo en sucedáneo dentro de una atmósfera de venerización abstracta y colectiva provoca una aguda despolarización de los sexos que convierte a la virilidad y la feminidad en sucedáneos también, descargándolas de la fuerza transcendente de la que cada una de ellas es portadora.

Como es lógico, en este clima general de disolución, la situación de las religiones es considerada igualmente lamentable. Para Evola un fenómeno típico de las fases terminales de una civilización es que "las religiones pierden su dimensión superior, se adormecen, se secularizan y dejan de cumplir su función original". Refiriéndose a la rama católica del cristianismo Evola señalaba en Gli uomini e le rovine, otro de sus libros, la lamentable falta de nivel de la que hoy se puede ser testigo: "el peso de las preocupaciones de carácter social y moralista es mucho mayor que el concedido a la vía sapiencial, la contemplación y la ascesis, puntos clave de toda forma superior de religiosidad. De hecho hoy las principales preocupaciones del catolicismo son un moralismo sexual pequeño-burgués y un paternalismo asistencial". Es entonces, con esta situación decadente de la religión regular, cuando aparece "un neo-espiritualismo evasivo, alienante, de compensación difusa, desarrollado fuera de las tradiciones regulares (incluso contra ellas) y sin la menor repercusión seria sobre la realidad". El uso bastardo que este neo-espiritualismo hace de ciertas doctrinas tradicionales de carácter interno lleva al descrédito de las mismas por la manera "deformada e ilegítima" en que por él son presentadas y propagadas.

Ante este clima general, todo esfuerzo de oposición frontal a las tendencias de la época es considerado inútil. Evola rechaza resueltamente la opción que consistiría en "apoyarse sobre lo que sobrevive del mundo burgués y defenderlo y tomarlo como base frente a las corrientes actuales de disolución y subversión más violentas, tras haber intentado reanimar esos restos con la ayuda de algunos valores más altos". Los valores burgueses, en realidad, son productos decadentes que para Evola no tienen mayor valor. La actitud existencial que preconiza será esa que el viejo adagio oriental denomina cabalgar el tigre. "Cuando un ciclo de civilización toca a su fin", escribe Evola, "es difícil obtener un resultado positivo oponiéndose directamente a las fuerzas en movimiento. La corriente es demasiado fuerte y uno sería arrastrado por ella. Lo esencial es no dejarse impresionar por la aparente omnipotencia de las fuerzas disolutorias de la época. Privadas de lazo con todo principio superior, estas fuerzas tienen, en realidad, un campo de acción limitado. Es preciso, pues, no dejarse hipnotizar por el presente ni por lo que nos rodea y contemplar las condiciones susceptibles de aparecer más tarde. La regla a seguir consistirá en dejar libre curso a las fuerzas de la época, permaneciendo firmes y dispuestos a actuar cuando el tigre, que no puede abalanzarse sobre quien lo cabalga, esté fatigado de correr". Se abandona, por tanto, la acción directa y se retira uno hacia posiciones más interiores.

Frente a la situación actual, sin embargo, no caben para Evola ni la desesperación ni el derrotismo. El Hombre diferenciado sabe que "cuando un ciclo termina, otro comienza, y el punto culminante del proceso disolutorio es también aquel en el cual se origina el enderezamiento en la dirección opuesta". Para un Hombre amante de la Transcendencia, dice Evola, el mundo actual resulta amargo y problemático, pero él sabe que no está aquí ni por un azar despiadado al que ha de resignarse con fe o con fatalismo, ni para librar una carrera de resistencia a fondo perdido. A ese tipo humano le corresponde la misión de velar en medio de la noche, en medio de las ruinas, y conservar la memoria de toda una herencia civilizatoria para que la continuidad con el pasado no se rompa. La vida es para él, en consecuencia, una aventura de importancia capital, cargada de sentido.

Evola señala, en fin, la esterilidad del 'mito de Oriente' en nuestras presentes circunstancias. "Entre quienes han reconocido la crisis del mundo moderno y han renunciado también a considerar a la civilización moderna como la civilización por excelencia, como el apogeo y la medida de cualquier otra, hay quienes han vuelto su mirada a Oriente, ya que allí ven subsistir una orientación tradicional y espiritual que desde hace tiempo ha dejado de ser en Occidente la base de organización efectiva de los diversos dominios de la existencia. Se han preguntado incluso si no podrían encontrar en Oriente puntos de referencia útiles para la reintegración de Occidente". Evola considera que si la mirada occidental al Oriente persigue contactos intelectuales y doctrinales esa búsqueda es legítima, aunque "al menos en parte podríamos encontrar ejemplos y referencias claras en nuestro propio pasado sin necesidad de recurrir a una civilización no occidental". Pero si lo que se persigue es la adopción de un marco existencial oriental "uno no puede hacerse ilusiones: Oriente sigue ahora la senda de degradación que nosotros hemos tardado varios siglos en recorrer. El 'mito de Oriente', fuera de los círculos minoritarios y aislados de quienes cultivan las disciplinas metafísicas, es por tanto falaz. El desierto crece y no hay ninguna otra civilización que pueda servirnos de apoyo. Debemos afrontar solos nuestros problemas".

En realidad, el autor insiste en una posibilidad que justifica el esfuerzo de mantener una perspectiva netamente occidental. Es el hecho de que si la fase final de la edad oscura ha arrancado antes entre nosotros, también podemos ser nosotros los primeros en superarla. Las demás civilizaciones han entrado en esta corriente más tardíamente y podrían hallarse en lo más agudo del proceso disolutorio cuando Occidente rebase el límite negativo y empiece a remontar. Nuestra civilización estaría, en ese caso, "cualificada para una nueva función de guía, muy diferente de la que ha realizado en el pasado con la civilización tecno-industrial y materialista, entonces ya periclitada, y cuyo único resultado ha sido la decadencia espiritual generalizada".

[i] Marguerite Yourcenar: El Tiempo, gran escultor, Madrid, Alfaguara, 1989.
[ii] César Martínez: "Metafísica del sexo de Julius Evola", Axis Mundi II, nº5, 1998.
[iii] Adolfo Morganti: "Julius Evola y el mundo budista italiano", en Julius Evola: La doctrina del despertar. El budismo y su finalidad práctica, Grijalbo, México DF, 1998.
[iv] Julius Evola: Cabalgar el tigre, Barcelona, Nuevo Arte Thor, 1987.

dimanche, 25 janvier 2015

Ernst Jünger: vivre par les armes et les mots


Ernst Jünger: vivre par les armes et les mots

La guerre est synonyme de souffrance et de désolation et les hommes de 14 sont les victimes de la barbarie moderne. Cent ans ont passé depuis le début de la Grande Guerre et cette opinion est aujourd’hui largement partagée ; elle anime l’esprit des discours et les cérémonies de commémoration. En Allemagne comme en France, Ernst Jünger incarne tout ce que notre Europe moderne et pacifiée ne souhaite plus voir et rejette, tout ce qu’elle a en horreur : un soldat, incarnation de cette culture martiale européenne aujourd’hui disparue, un guerrier devenu écrivain dont une grande partie de l’œuvre puise son inspiration dans les quatre années passées dans la boue et la fureur des tranchées du nord de la France.

L’œuvre de Jünger est vaste ; elle parcourt le XXème siècle, ses tourments et ses drames. Elle interroge sur les forces nihilistes à l’œuvre chez l’homme et dont l’écrivain ressentit le caractère destructeur au plus profond de sa chair, lui le guerrier blessé quatorze fois au front. Après quatre années de guerre, il est l’officier le plus décoré de l’armée allemande. Dans son premier livre, Orages d’acier, écrit dès son retour à la vie civile, il relate cette expérience inouïe de l’homme plongé au cœur de masses destructrices. À sa lecture, on s’immerge dans ce quotidien des tranchées, où alternent morne routine et actes de guerre effarants. La description des combats est précise, sans état d’âme, dépassionnée et parfois, presque esthétisante. Loin du pacifisme d’Erich Maria Remarque dans À l’ouest, rien de nouveau, l’auteur semble vivre cette guerre comme une opportunité unique de vivre ses rêves de gloire et d’aventure, forgé par une enfance bercée de héros mythologiques grecs et germaniques. Face à la fureur du feu, Jünger pour ne pas subir son destin, livré aux hasards de la guerre moderne, décide d’en devenir le maître. Par instinct de survie, pour ne pas être tué, il décide de devenir, lui même, un tueur, mais cette mort, il la veut sans haine, dans le respect de l’adversaire.

À l’heure du pacifisme béat contemporain, les soldats de la Grande Guerre sont aujourd’hui considérés comme les tristes victimes de l’histoire et du nationalisme ; des pantins craintifs envoyés à l’abattoir par des généraux ivres de sang et par des nations avides de guerre. L’expérience militaire de Jünger nous offre une vision en miroir contraire. Il y apparaît maître de son destin, attaché à la noblesse du soldat, fier du combat qu’il mène avec un cœur irrigué par un patriotisme ardent. Malgré ses horreurs, la guerre devient à ses yeux l’aventure épique au sein de laquelle l’homme peut découvrir une voie vers l’élévation, et non pas seulement une mort abjecte dénuée de sens. La guerre devient alors une expérience intérieure presque mystique, et ce, malgré l’effondrement de la conscience qu’elle engendre au cœur des combats : « La grande bataille marqua aussi un tournant dans ma vie intérieure, et non pas seulement parce que désormais je tins notre défaite pour possible. La formidable concentration des forces, à l’heure du destin où s’engageait la lutte pour un lointain avenir, et le déchaînement qui la suivait de façon si surprenante, si écrasante, m’avaient conduit pour la première fois jusqu’aux abîmes de forces étrangères, supérieures à l’individu. C’était autre chose que mes expériences précédentes ; c’était une initiation, qui n’ouvrait pas seulement les repaires brûlants de l’épouvante. »

Jünger est à la fois horrifié et fasciné par cette guerre sans nulle autre pareille alors, mais son abjection lui apparaît comme un des reflets de l’âme humaine. Il prend conscience d’être à la charnière de deux mondes, de vivre un point de non-retour. « On ressentait (…) l’inéluctable engloutissement d’une civilisation, et l’on prenait conscience en frissonnant d’être entraîné dans le maelstrom. » Le monde bourgeois qu’il a connu jusqu’alors vole en éclats et son tempérament l’amène à vouloir œuvrer à l’élaboration du nouveau monde qui va le remplacer. Cette guerre devient la matrice de ce siècle encore neuf où, malgré le chaos ambiant, l’avenir est à conquérir et une nouvelle société à construire.

D’une guerre à l’autre

Il sort de cette guerre en héros, couvert de gloire dans une Allemagne affligée par la honte d’une défaite incomprise. Le jeune officier, qu’il est alors, devient alors une des nombreuses figures de la révolution conservatrice ; ce mouvement intellectuel né dans le foisonnement culturel de la République de Weimar axé sur une critique de la modernité, un rejet du système démocratique assorti d’une franche hostilité à la société capitaliste et à certaines de ses manifestations comme l’urbanisation, l’industrialisation, le matérialisme et la perte de spiritualité. On peut voir dans ce mouvement un terreau intellectuel au fascisme, qui en partage certaines valeurs, même si la plupart de ses figures éminentes se démarqueront du mouvement nazi.


 Ainsi, la submersion hitlérienne ne suscite pas l’adhésion de ce patriote réfractaire à toutes formes d’idéologie. Il exècre en effet l’amoralité, la vulgarité et l’antisémitisme du régime nazi et entre alors dans une opposition passive : cette émigration intérieure théorisée par Franck Thiess. Hitler développe pourtant quant à lui une fascination pour Jünger, incarnation superbe du guerrier germanique fantasmé par la plupart des hiérarques du nouveau régime.

Fort de cette admiration qui le protège face à la Gestapo et la censure, il se permet l’audace de publier en 1939 Sur les falaises de marbre, un roman allégorique mettant en scène un monde imaginaire paisible et raffiné, submergé par le Grand Forestier, incarnation du mal brisant un monde d’harmonie. On y perçoit alors une condamnation du totalitarisme hitlérien. L’ouvrage devient alors un pamphlet antinazi pour de nombreux Européens même si ce livre présente une dimension intemporelle comme le souligne Julien Gracq : « Livre de tous les temps de catastrophe possible et passée. »

La guerre n’en a cependant pas fini avec lui. L’Europe s’embrase à nouveau et le contraint à revêtir l’uniforme pour une nouvelle guerre et pour un homme auquel il ne croit pas. Il est incorporé au sein des troupes d’occupation basées à Paris où il fréquente l’élite intellectuelle française. Le héros des tranchées exècre ce nouveau conflit et pense même à la désertion ou au suicide. Cette guerre ne lui apparaît plus comme source de gloire mais comme une tache qui ternit l’uniforme allemand d’une teinte de honte. Entre le jeune soldat avide de gloire de la Grande Guerre et l’officier mûr et assagi, stationné à Paris en 1940, le temps a modifié le regard. Il écrit alors : « le même uniforme, le même grade, mais un homme différent. »

La guerre comme élément naturel

Après 1945, son œuvre devient sinueuse et prolifique. Il théorise alors des concepts développés déjà avant-guerre. Il devient ainsi le théoricien d’une forme d’anarchisme propre à sa vision du monde. Jünger se passionne également pour l’entomologie et développe une pensée écologiste d’avant-garde mais loin d’entrer en contradiction avec sa pensée belliciste, celle-ci au contraire l’y conforte. Pour lui, la guerre s’inscrit entièrement dans l’ordre naturel, elle est gravée dans les gènes de l’humanité. C’est une utopie de s’y opposer car elle s’inscrit dans l’équilibre du monde : « La guerre n’est pas instituée par l’homme, pas plus que l’instinct sexuel ; elle est la loi de la nature. C’est pourquoi nous ne pourrons jamais nous soustraire à son empire. Nous ne saurions la nier sous peine d’être englouti par elle. »

Jünger traverse ce XXème siècle et atteint l’âge canonique de 102 ans pour s’éteindre après la réunification des deux Allemagne en 1998. Peu avant sa mort, l’homme suscite la polémique dans cette Allemagne entièrement pacifiste vouée à expier ce militarisme germanique, source pour de nombreux Européens de toutes les catastrophes du siècle. Pour ces raisons, il subit tout au long de ses ultimes années, l’attaque de la gauche et des verts allemands qui ne lui pardonnent pas son œuvre conservatrice et belliciste. En effet, dans une Europe en paix et démocratique, dont le poids sur les affaires internationales et la place dans l’histoire du monde s’atténuent toujours un peu plus, Jünger et son œuvre apparaissent comme vestiges d’un temps disparu et oublié, un temps où la guerre était acceptée comme inhérente aux affaires humaines et à la vie des nations.

jeudi, 22 janvier 2015

Spengler, Lasch, Bourget: culture et décadence


Spengler, Lasch, Bourget: culture et décadence

Avant de se demander trivialement qu’est-ce qu’une culture ou société décadente il faudrait peut-être réfléchir – et notre époque nous y oblige – à la possibilité même d’une telle interrogation. En effet, peut-on encore, sans provoquer l’incompréhension générale, associer culture et décadence ? Notre culture n’aurait-elle tout simplement pas anémié les préjugés intellectuels ou les outils conceptuels requis pour détecter un éventuel état de décadence ? Nous ne prétendons pas répondre sérieusement à ces questions dans ce court article mais simplement jeter, ci et là, quelques pistes de réflexion dont l’articulation devrait permettre d’esquisser les présupposés théoriques d’une rhétorique de la décadence. 

spengler.jpgNous avons déjà vu qu’un des traits de la médiocrité s’exprime dans une rupture du sens historique parfaitement illustrée par l’homme-masse et Festivus festivus. Un rapport à l’histoire décadent n’est pas autre chose qu’une culture de l’oubli, du pur présent. D’aucuns s’enivrent de ce présent jusqu’à la pâmoison, d’autres lui font révérence et le presse jusqu’à en extraire le jus aigre du progrès perpétuel. Il s’agit d’un progrès amnésique ayant pour seul critérium une propension à dynamiter les cadres institutionnels, à émanciper, à promouvoir le relativisme culturel. Différent à la fois de l’idéalisme politique des Lumières et des doctrines du salut par l’histoire (matérialisme historique et idéalisme absolu) dont pourtant il procède, l’idée actuelle de progrès tend à l’inauguration d’un état au sein duquel la notion même de décadence perd son sens, à savoir un état de déconstruction maximale et d’identité commune minimale. Notre vision du progrès (celle, du moins, des « élites » en place) repose sur une architecture conceptuelle peu propice à développer une sensibilité conservatrice ou réactionnaire et donc une lecture de notre civilisation en terme de déchéance.

La décadence suppose toujours la trace d’une chute (le péché originel, l‘hybris, ou le mythe de l’âge d’or), une dégénérescence (Chez Morel par exemple, qui définit la dégénérescence comme une déviation du « type primitif » lui-même produit de la création divine et « créé pour atteindre le but assigné par la sagesse éternelle ». Il y a dégénérescence « si les conditions qui assurent la durée et le progrès de l’espèce humaine, ne sont pas plus puissante encore que celles qui concourent à la détruire et à la faire dégénérer », autrement dit lorsque nous constatons une « déviation maladive d’un type primitif ».) ou un déclin (voir Oswald Spengler). L’idée de décadence se réalise pleinement lorsque le temps des horloges ne conserve plus mais dégrade et qu’une harmonie ou un ordre naturel se défait. A l’inverse, il devient impossible d’asseoir une critique basée sur une rhétorique de la décadence à l’heure où l’exaltation chimérique d’un progrès sans fin et d’une culture déconnectée de la nature alimentent les esprits. N’importe quelle matrice culturelle offre la possibilité de penser les changements en terme de progression ou de régression, de mieux ou de moins (l’imagination humaine est sans limite pour inventer des étalons de mesure autorisant de tels jugements), mais il n’est peut-être pas vrai que toutes les cultures ou civilisations (sous-entendu les individus allant dans le sens de cette culture et non pas, bien sûr, les figures de la réaction) puissent penser la décadence, c’est-à-dire appréhender la déliquescence dans son aspect le plus absolu, le plus fondamental, à l’échelle, précisément, d’une civilisation.


Culture de l’oubli où gît pourtant encore la certitude d’un progrès ; où l’histoire ressemble à une fonction exponentielle traduisant l’ascension infinie dans laquelle l’homme du présent entretient l’illusion d’un devoir de prolongement. Quoi prolonger exactement ? Ce qui a le goût et l’odeur du présent. Or, la possibilité d’une décadence est toujours ouverte lorsque nous entretenons une vue cyclique ou providentielle de l’histoire. Par exemple, « La conception biblique de l’histoire avait, nous dit Christopher Lasch, après tout, plus de points communs (…) avec la conception classique, telle qu’elle fut reformulée au cours de la Renaissance, qu’avec la louange moderne du progrès. Ce qu’elles partageait était une conscience du « sort des sociétés menacées » – une intelligence du fait que la qualité contingente, provisoire et finie des choses temporelles trouve sa démonstration la plus vivace non seulement dans la mort des individus, mais dans la grandeur et la décadence des nations ». L’histoire chrétienne, sous sa forme providentielle, demeure impénétrable et se rapproche sans doute davantage de la conception cyclique de l’antiquité ou de la fortune machiavélienne que de la conception linéaire ou rectiligne que nous connaissons. L’espérance chrétienne évolue très loin d’une interprétation progressiste de l’histoire ; son essence ne réside « ni dans le paradis sur terre de la fin de l’histoire, ni dans la christianisation de la société et les perfectionnements moraux qu’elle impliquerait », mais « dans « la conviction que la vie est une affaire délicate », « que rien n’y est jamais tenu pour acquis, que rien de temporel n’est capable de porter le fardeau de la foi humaine »» (Richard Niebuhr cité par Christopher Lasch).

lash15dfQC0YAL.jpgSimilairement, la théorie d’Oswald Spengler, annonçant le déclin inévitable de l’Occident, se raccroche à une détermination cyclique d’un sens de l’histoire qu’il estime être en mesure de saisir. Selon lui, le déclin de la culture occidentale s’amorce dans les civilisations qui elles-mêmes représentent le dernier souffle d’une culture, « son achèvement et sa fin » ou encore « un pas de géant vers l’anorganique ». « Un siècle d’activité extensive pure, excluant la haute production artistique et métaphysique – disons franchement une époque irreligieuse, ce qui traduit tout à fait le concept de ville mondiale – est une époque de décadence ». Cette anthropologie pessimiste du déclin indexée sur un mouvement historique erratique se retrouve dans l‘Homme et la technique. Pour Spengler l’homme se distingue de l’animal par sa supériorité technique qui lui confère une force de domination inédite. Technique de forme « générique », c’est-à-dire « invariable » et « impersonnelle » – « la caractéristique exclusive de la technique humaine (…) est qu’elle est indépendante de la vie de l’espèce humaine » – au contraire, bien entendu, des animaux pour qui la « cogitation » se veut « strictement tributaire du « ici et maintenant » immédiat, et ne tenant compte ni du passé ni de l’avenir, elle ne connaît pas non plus l’expérience ou l’angoisse ». Ainsi, « l’homme est devenu créateur de sa tactique vitale (…) et la forme intime de sa créativité est appelée culture ». L’histoire de la technique n’est rien d’autre que l’histoire de la culture et de la civilisation, c’est-à-dire l’histoire d’une activité créatrice décorrélée de la « tactique de la vie ». Considérant la nature « comme du matériau et des moyens à son service », l’homme prométhéen s’éloigne toujours plus de celle-ci en y substituant, de son emprunte drue, l’artifice (l’art au sens de technique) afin de se « construire sois-même un monde, être soi-même Dieu (…) » : « c’est bien cela le rêve du chercheur Faustien ». Cette prétention génère un déphasage tragique entre l’homme et la nature puisque, en dernière analyse, « l’homme ne cesse pas d’en dépendre (…) elle continue à l’englober elle-même, lui comme tout le reste, en dépit de tout ce qu’il peut faire ». « Toute haute culture est une tragédie ». La notion de chute est ici toujours présente ainsi que l’idée d’une nature humaine désorganisée par la technique.

Dans une même perspective, mais sous un mode d’avantage psychologique qu’historique, Paul Bourget dépeint la décadence des âmes au prisme d’une riche étude littéraire ( de Baudelaire à Tourgueniev en passant par Flaubet, Taine, Stendhal et bien d’autres) dans son Essais de psychologie contemporaine. En étudiant Baudelaire il relève d’emblée le climat suffocant d’une civilisation emportant un « désaccord entre l’homme et le milieu ». A ceux qui ont cru que l’assombrissement de la littérature à cette époque n’était qu’un simple passage, « Baudelaire n’y voyait-il pas plus juste, souligne Bourget, en regardant une certaine sorte de mélancolie comme l’inévitable produit d’un désaccord entre nos besoins de civilisés et la réalité des causes extérieure ? La preuve en est que, d’un bout à l’autre de l’Europe, la société contemporaine présente les mêmes symptômes, nuancés suivant les races, de cette mélancolie et de ce désaccord. Une nausée universelle devant les insuffisances de ce monde soulève le cœur des Slaves, des Germains et des Latins. Elle se manifeste chez les premiers par le nihilisme, chez les seconds par le pessimisme, chez nous-mêmes par de solitaires et bizarres névroses ». Ensuite l’auteur précise le sens du terme décadence dans un long commentaire : « par le mot décadence, on désigne volontiers l’état d’une société qui produit un trop petit nombre d’individus propres aux travaux de la vie commune. Une société doit être assimilé à un organisme (…) l’individu est la cellule sociale. Pour que l’organisme total fonctionne avec énergie, il est nécessaire que les organismes moindres fonctionnent avec énergie, mais avec une énergie subordonnée, et, pour que ces organisme moindres fonctionnent eux même avec énergie, il est nécessaire que leurs cellules composantes fonctionnent avec énergie, mais avec une énergie subordonnée.» En effet, « si l’énergie des cellules devient indépendante, les organismes qui composent l’organisme total cessent pareillement de subordonner leur énergie à l’énergie totale, et l’anarchie qui s’établit constitue la décadence de l’ensemble ». Encore une fois, on retrouve dans les analyses de Paul Bourget une remise en cause d’un progrès perpétuel (« ceux qui croient au progrès n’ont pas voulu apercevoir cette terrible rançon de notre sécurité mieux assise et de notre éducation plus complète ») et une croyance en un ordre social immanent qu’il faut préserver et non pas engendrer.

nisard41T0nlJaBUL.jpgAutre variation sous la plume de Désiré Nisard puisée dans son Études de mœurs et de critique sur les poètes latins de la décadence. Nisard fustige sous le nom de littérature décadente deux traits principaux : l’engouement pervers de la description ainsi qu’une érudition déplacée. Deux symboles d’un manque d’imagination sur le plan artistique. Cependant, il n’y pas de littérature décadente sans une décadence générale des mœurs. Alors que la description homérique se fixe sur l’humanité dans ce qu’elle possède de générique – la description brosse alors un monde commun, un homme commun, une spiritualité commune sous une multitudes de visages -, à l’inverse, la littérature décadente (notamment celle de Lucain) s’appesantit sur l’homme du divers : on passe d’une description de l’humanité à celle de l’individu. L’érudition irrigue la description et lui donne une coloration passéiste : il s’agit d’un « besoin de chercher dans les souvenirs du passé des détails que l’inspiration ne fournit pas » et non de cette érudition critique, parfaitement louable, qui consiste à amasser des faits sur une époque pour ensuite les comparer et les juger. Une fois de plus l’auteur mélange les deux fondamentaux inhérents aux discours de la décadence : la déchéance d’un passé en décomposition exprimée dans un ordre moral dévoyé. Ceux qu’il nomme « les versificateurs érudits » se rattachent à une littérature de seconde classe, une littérature dans laquelle s’épuise la grandeur des époques primitives. Alors que l’érudition de type décadente se perd dans les détails et dans la répétition d’un passé ou d’une nature révolue (on pourrait ici relever l’analogie avec le décadentisme ; notamment chez Huysmans pour qui le goût de l’érudition confine à l’exaltation de l’artifice, à l’art pour l’art – c’est-à-dire précisément ce que Nisard reproche aux versificateurs érudits – : « à coup sûr, on peut le dire : l’homme a fait dans son genre, aussi bien que le Dieu auquel il croit » nous dit des Esseintes) en s’attachant de trop près aux beautés purement descriptives (contingentes, relatives, casuels), les chef-d’œuvres primitifs (La Bible, les épopées d’Homère et de Dante, etc…) cultivent les beautés d’un ordre moral (soit des vérités éternelles valables pour toutes les époques et toutes les nations, soit ces vérités nécessaires qui fleurissent aux époques de grandeurs mais demeurent liées à une certaine culture). Chez les versificateurs érudits nous avons une simple « sensation de curiosité passagère qui résulte d’une heureuse combinaison de mots, d’une chute, d’une pointe » ; la littérature de l’âge d’or s’applique, quant à elle, à « conserver dans les formes pures et sacrées la somme des vérités pratiques nécessaires à la conservation et à l’amélioration de l’homme, dans quelque temps qu’il vive, et malgré toute ces variétés de mœurs, de société, de coutume, qui modifient son état, mais ne changent pas sa nature ».

La décadence n’a plus de sens pour une époque qui a fait table rase du passé, qui ne se situe plus vraiment par rapport au passé, et qui n’a plus une haute estime de sa propre culture : nous nous réjouissons de cet « horizon toujours ouvert à toutes les possibilité ». Ortega Y Gasset estime que dans une telle configuration, quand bien même il y aurait une décadence objectivement perceptible de notre culture, il n’est pas raisonnable de prononcer la déchéance d’une époque sentant bien que « sa vie est plus intense que toutes les vies antérieures »  ; et « une vie qui ne préfère à elle-même (et peu importe les raisons) aucune autre vie d’autrefois ou de quelque temps que ce soit, et qui, par cela même, se préfère à toute autre » ne peut décemment éprouver sa propre décadence. Le paradoxe réside en ceci que ce « désir de vivre » n’est plus lié à un sentiment de grandeur, d’appartenance à une culture supérieure – toujours accompagné d’une inquiétude quant à une éventuelle chute -, mais au monde de l’enfance. La cécité nous préserverait de l’expérience intime, profonde et douloureuse d’un monde qui s’écroule. Combien de temps encore ? Les écrits dénonçant un déclin rampant de notre civilisation se multiplient (Renaud Camus, Alain Finkielkraut, Bernard Lugan, Dominique Venner par exemple) et pourraient bien traduire un désir de vivre moins intense.

mercredi, 14 janvier 2015

Oswald Spengler & the Faustian Soul of the West


Oswald Spengler & the Faustian Soul of the West,

Part 1

By Ricardo Duchesne

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com 

If I had to choose one word to identify the uniqueness of the West it would be “Faustian.” This is the word Oswald Spengler used to designate the “soul” of the West. He believed that Western civilization was driven by an unusually dynamic and expansive psyche. The “prime-symbol” of this Faustian soul was “pure and limitless space.” This soul had a “tendency towards the infinite,” a tendency most acutely expressed in modern mathematics. 

The “infinite continuum,” the exponential logarithm and “its dissociation from all connexion with magnitude” and transference to a “transcendent relational world” were some of the words Spengler used to describe Western mathematics. But he also wrote of the “bodiless music” of the Western composer, “in which harmony and polyphony bring him to images of utter ‘beyondness’ that transcend all possibilities of visual definition,” and, before the modern era, of the Gothic “form-feeling” of “pure, imperceptible, unlimited space” (Decline of the West, Vol.1, Form and Actuality [Alfred Knopf, 1923] 1988: 53-90).

This soul type was first visible, according to Spengler, in medieval Europe, starting with Romanesque art, but particularly in the “spaciousness of Gothic cathedrals,” “the heroes of the Grail and Arthurian and Siegfried sagas, ever roaming in the infinite, and the Crusades,” including “the Hohenstaufen in Sicily, the Hansa in the Baltic, the Teutonic Knights in the Slavonic East, [and later] the Spaniards in America, [and] the Portuguese in the East Indies.” Spengler thus viewed the West as a strikingly vibrant culture driven by a type of personality overflowing with expansive impulses, “intellectual will to power.” “Fighting,” “progressing,” “overcoming of resistances,” battling “against what is near, tangible and easy” – these were some of the terms Spengler used to describe this soul (Decline of the West: 183-216).

A variety of words have been used to describe or identify the peculiar history of the West: “individualist,” “rationalist,” “imperialist,” “secularist,” “restless,” and “racist.” Spengler’s term “Faustian,” it seems to me, best captures the persistent, and far greater, originality of the West since ancient times in all the intellectual, artistic, and heroic spheres of life. But many today don’t read Spengler; there are no indications, in fact, that the foremost experts on the so-called “rise of the West” have even read any of his works.

The current academic consensus has reduced the uniqueness of the West to when this civilization “first” became industrial. This consensus believes that the West “diverged” from other agrarian civilizations only when it developed steam engines capable of using inorganic sources of energy. Prior to the industrial revolution, we are made to believe, there were “surprising similarities” between Europe and Asia. Both multiculturalist and Eurocentric historians tend to frame the “the rise of the West” or the “great divergence” in these economic/technological terms. David Landes, Kenneth Pomeranz, Bin Wong, Joel Mokyr, Jack Goldstone, E. L. Jones, and Peer Vries all single out the Industrial Revolution of 1750/1830 as the transformation which signaled a whole new pattern of evolution for the West (or England in the first instance). It matters little how far back in time these academics trace this Revolution, or how much weight they assign to preceding developments such as the Scientific Revolution or the slave trade, their emphasis is on the “divergence” generated by the arrival of mechanized industry and self-sustained increases in productivity sometime after 1750.

spenglervbbnjh.jpgBut I believe that the Industrial Revolution, including developments leading to this Revolution, barely capture what was unique about Western culture. I am obviously aware that other cultures were unique in having their own customs, languages, beliefs and historical experiences. My claim is that the West was uniquely exceptional in exhibiting in a continuous way the greatest degree of creativity, novelties, and expansionary dynamic. I trace the uniqueness of the West back to the aristocratic warlike culture of Indo-European speakers [2] as early as the fourth millennium. The aristocratic libertarian culture of Indo-European speakers was already unique and quite innovative in initiating the most mobile way of life in prehistoric times [3] starting with the domestication and riding of horses and the invention of chariot warfare. So were the ancient Greeks in their discovery of logos and its link with the order of the world, dialectical reason, the invention of prose, tragedy, citizen politics, and face-to-face infantry battle.

The Roman creation of a secular system of republican governance anchored on autonomous principles of judicial reasoning was in and of itself unique. The incessant wars and conquests of the Roman legions, together with their many war-making novelties and engineering skills, were one of the most vital illustrations of spatial expansionism [4] in history. The fusion of Christianity and the Greco-Roman intellectual and administrative heritage, coupled with the cultivation of the first rational theology in history [5], Catholicism, were a unique phenomenon. The medieval invention of universities [6] — in which a secular education could flourish and even articles of faith were open to criticism and rational analysis in an effort to arrive at the truth — was exceptional. The list of epoch making transformation in Europe is endless, the Renaissance, the Age of Discovery, the Scientific Revolution(s), the Military Revolution(s), the Cartographic Revolution, the Spanish Golden Age, the Printing Revolution, the Enlightenment, the Romantic Era, the German Philosophical Revolutions from Kant to Hegel to Nietzsche to Heidegger.

Limitations in Charles Murray’s Measurement of the Accomplishments of Western civilization

Some may wonder how can one make a comparative judgment about the accomplishments of civilizations without some objective criteria or standard of measurement. There is a book by Charles Murray published in 2003, Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950 [7], which systematically arranges “data that meet scientific standards of reliability and validity” for the purpose of evaluating the story of human accomplishments across cultures. It is the first effort to quantify “as facts” the accomplishments of individuals and countries across the world in the arts and sciences by calculating the amount of space allocated to these individuals in reference works, encyclopedias, and dictionaries. Charles Murray informs us that ninety-seven percent of accomplishment in the sciences occurred in Europe and North America from 800 BC to 1950. It also informs us that, in the Arts, Europe alone produced a far higher number of “significant figures” than the rest of the world combined. In music, “the lack of a tradition of named composers in non-Western civilization means that the Western total of 522 significant figures has no real competition at all” (p. 252-259).

Murray avoids a Eurocentric bias by creating separate compilations for each of “the giants” in the arts of the Arab world, China, India, and Japan, as well as of the “giants” of Europe. In this respect, Murray recognizes that one cannot apply one uniform standard of excellence for the diverse artistic traditions of the world. But he produces combined (worldwide) inventories of “the giants” for each of the natural sciences. Combined lists for the natural sciences are possible since world scientists themselves have come to accept the same methods and categories. The most striking feature of his list of “the giants” in the sciences (the top 20 in Astronomy, Physics, Biology, Medicine, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, and Mathematics) is that they are all (excepting one Japanese) Western (p. 84, 122-29).

What explanation does Murray offer for this remarkable “divergence” in human accomplishments? He argues that human accomplishment is determined by the degree to which cultures promote or discourage individual autonomy and purpose. Accomplishments have been “more common and more extensive in cultures where doing new things and acting autonomously [were] encouraged than in cultures [where they were] disapprove[d].” Human beings have also been “most magnificently productive and reached their highest cultural peaks in the times and places where humans have thought most deeply about their place in the universe and been most convinced they have one” (p. 394-99). The West was different in affording individuals greater autonomy and purpose.

One major limitation in Murray is that he attributes to Christianity this sense of purpose and place in the universe, unable to account for the incredible accomplishment of the pagan Greeks and Romans. It is also the case that Murray’s Human Accomplishment is a statistical assessment, an inventory of names, not an attempt to capture the historically dynamic character of Western individualism. His book leaves out all the dramatic transformations historians have identified with the West: Why did the voyages of global discovery “take place” in early modern Europe and not in China? Why did Newtonian mechanics elude other civilizations? Actually, no current historical work addresses all these transformations together. Countless books have been published on one or two major European transformations, but no scholar has tried to explain, or pose as a general question, the persistent creativity of Europeans from ancient to modern times across all the fields of human endeavor. The norm has been for specialists in one period or transformation to write about (or insist upon) the “radical” or “revolutionary” significance of the period or theme they happen to be experts on.

Missing is an understanding of the unparalleled degree to which the entire history of the West was filled with individuals persistently seeking “to transcend every optical limitation” (Decline of the West: 198). In comparative contrast to the history of India, China, Japan, Egypt, and the Americas, where artistic styles, political institutions and philosophical outlooks lasted for centuries, stands the “dynamic fertility of the Faustian with its ceaseless creation of new types and domains of form” (Decline of the West: 205). I can think of only three individuals, two philosophers of history and one historical sociologist, who have written in a wide-ranging way of:

  1. the “infinite drive,” “the irresistible trust” of the Occident,
  2. the “energetic, imperativistic, and dynamic” soul of the West, and
  3. the “rational restlessness” of the West

— Hegel, Spengler, and Weber.

Spengler is the one who overcomes in a keener way another flaw in Murray: his account of European distinctiveness is limited to the intellectual and artistic spheres. He pays no attention to accomplishments in warfare, exploration, and heroic leadership. His definition of accomplishment includes only peaceful individuals carrying scientific experiments and creating artistic works. Achievements come only in the form of “great books” and “great ideas.” In this respect, Human Accomplishment is akin to certain older-style Western Civ textbooks where the production of “Great Works” by “Great Men” in conditions of “Liberty” were the central themes. David Gress dubbed this type of historiography the “Grand Narrative [8]” (1998). By teaching Western history in terms of the realization of great ideas and works in the arts and sciences these texts “placed a burden of justification on the West” to explain how the reality of Western colonialism across the world, the higher degree of warfare among Europeans, the invention of far more destructive military weapons, the slave trade, and the unprecedented destruction of the civilizations of the Americas, should be left out of the account of Western accomplishments. Gress called upon historians to move away from an idealized image of Western uniqueness. Norman Davies, too, has criticized the way early Western civilization courses tended to “filter out anything that might appear mundane or repulsive” (A History of Europe, 1997: 28).

The Faustian Personality

I believe that Oswald Spengler’s identification of the West as “Faustian” provides us with the best word to overcome the current naïve separation between a cultured/peaceable West and an uncivilized/antagonistic West with his image of a strikingly vibrant culture driven by a type of Faustian personality overflowing with expansive, disruptive, and imaginative impulses manifested in all the spheres of life. For Spengler, the Faustian spirit was not restricted to the arts and sciences, but was present in the culture of the West at large. Spengler thus spoke of the “morphological relationship that inwardly binds together the expression-forms of all branches of Culture.” Rococo art, differential calculus, the Crusades, the Spanish conquest of the Americas were all expressions of the same restless soul. There is no incongruity between the “great ideas” of the West and the so-called “realities” of conquest and suffering. There is no need, from this standpoint, to concede to multicultural critics, as Norman Davies believes, “the sorry catalogue of wars, conflict, and persecutions that have dogged every stage of the [Western] tale” (p. 15-16). The expansionist dispositions of Europeans were not only indispensable but were themselves driven, as I argue in my book, The Uniqueness of Western Civilization, [9] and will briefly outline below, by an intensely felt desire to achieve great deeds and heroic immortality.

The great men of Europe were artists driven by an intensively felt desire for unmatched deeds. The “great ideas” – Archimedes’ “Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world,” or Hume’s “love of literary fame, my ruling passion” – were associated with aristocratic traits, defiant dispositions – no less than Cortez’s immense ambition for honour and glory, “to die worthily than to live dishonoured.”


In contrast to Weber, for whom the West “exhibited an unrivaled aptitude for rationalization,” Spengler saw in this Faustian soul a primeval-irrational will to power. It was not a calmed, disinterested, rationalistic ethos that was at the heart of Western particularity; it was a highly energetic, goal-oriented desire to break through the unknown, supersede the norm, and achieve mastery. The West was governed by an intense urge to transcend the limits of existence, by a highly energetic, restless, fateful being, an “adamantine will to overcome and break all resistances of the visible” (Decline: pp. 185-86).

There was something Faustian about all the great men of Europe, both in reality and in fiction: in Hamlet, Richard III, Gauss, Newton, Nicolas Cusanus, Don Quixote, Goethe’s Werther, Gregory VII, Michelangelo, Paracelsus, Dante, Descartes, Don Juan, Bach, Wagner’s Parsifal, Haydn, Leibniz’s Monads, Giordano Bruno, Frederick the Great, Rembrandt, Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler.

The Faustian soul — whose being consists in the overcoming of presence, whose feeling is loneliness and whose yearning is infinity — puts its need of solitude, distance, and abstraction into all its actualities, into its public life, its spiritual and its artistic form-worlds alike (Decline: 386).

For Spengler, Christianity, too, became a thoroughly Faustian moral ethic. “It was not Christianity that transformed Faustian man, but Faustian man who transformed Christianity — and he not only made it a new religion but also gave it a new moral direction”: will-to-power in ethics (344). This “Faustian-Christian morale” produced

Christians of the great style — Innocent III, Loyola and Savonarola, Pascal and St. Theresa [ . . . ] the great Saxon, Franconia and Hohenstaufen emperors . . . giant-men like Henry the Lion and Gregory VII . . . the men of the Renaissance, of the struggle of the two Roses, of the Huguenot Wars, the Spanish Conquistadores, the Prussian electors and kings, Napoleon, Bismarck, Rhodes (348-49).

But what exactly is a Faustian soul? How do we connect it in a concrete way to Europe’s creativity? To what original source or starting place did Spengler attribute this yearning for infinity? To start answering this question we should first remind ourselves of Spengler’s other central idea, his cyclical view of history, according to which

  1. each culture contains a unique spirit of its own, and
  2. all cultures undergo an organic process of birth, growth, and decay.

In other words, for Spengler, all cultures exhibit a period of dynamic, youthful creativity; each culture experiences “its childhood, youth, manhood, and old age.” “Each culture has its own new possibilities of self-expression, which arise, ripen, decay and never return” (18-24, 106-07). Spengler thus drew a distinction between the earlier vital stages of a culture (Kultur) and the later stages when the life forces were on their last legs until all that remained was a superficial Zivilisation populated by individuals preoccupied with preserving the memories of past glories while drudging through the unexciting affairs of their everyday lives.

However, notwithstanding this emphasis on the youthful energies of all cultures, Spengler viewed the West as the most strikingly dynamic culture driven by a soul overflowing with expansive energies and “intellectual will to power.” By “youthful” he meant the actualization of the specific soul of each culture, “the full sum of its possibilities in the shape of peoples, languages, dogmas, arts, states, sciences.” Only in Europe he saw “directional energy,” march music, painters relishing in the use of blue and green, “transcendent, spiritual, non-sensuous colors,” “colours of the heavens, the seas, the fruitful plain, the shadow of the Southern noon, the evening, the remote mountains” (245-46). I think John Farrenkopf [10] has it right when he argues that Spengler’s appreciation for non-Western cultures as worthy subjects of comparative inquiry came together with an “exaltation” of the greater creative energy of the West (2001: 35).

But what about Spengler’s repetitive insistence that ancient Greece and Rome were not Faustian? Although I agree with Spengler that in certain respects the Greek-Roman “soul” was oriented toward the present rather than the future, and that its architecture, geometry, and finite mathematics were bounded spatially, restrained, and perceptible, he overstates his argument about the lack of an expansionist spirit, downplaying the incredible creative energies of Greeks and Romans, their individual heroism and urge for the unknown. Farrenkopf thinks that the later Spengler came to view the Greeks and Romans as more individualistic and dynamic. I agree with Burckhardt that the Classical Greeks were singularly agonal and individualistic, and with Nietzsche’s insight that all that was civilized and rational among the Greeks would have been impossible without this agonal culture. The ancient Greeks who established colonies throughout the Mediterranean, the Macedonians who marched to “the ends of the world,” and the Romans who created the greatest empire in history, were similarly driven, to use Spengler’s term, by an “irrepressible urge to distance” as the Germanic peoples who brought Rome down, the Vikings who crossed the Atlantic, the Crusaders who wrecked havoc on the Near East, and the Portuguese who pushed themselves with their gunned ships upon the previously tranquil world of the Indian Ocean. Spengler does not persuade in his efforts to downplay this Faustian side of the Greeks and Romans.

fausto.jpgWhat was the ultimate original ground of the West’s Faustian soul? There are statements in Spengler which make references to “a Nordic world stretching from England to Japan” and a “harder-struggling” people, and a more individualistic and heroic spirit “in the old, genuine parts of the Mahabharata . . .  in Homer, Pindar, and Aeschylus, in the Germanic epic poetry and in Shakespeare, in many songs of the Chinese Shuking, and in circles of the Japanese samurai” (as cited in Farrenkopf: 227). Spengler makes reference to the common location of these peoples in the “Nordic” steppes. He does not make any specific reference to the Caucasian steppes but he clearly has in mind the “Aryan Indian” peoples who came out of the steppes and conquered India and wrote the Mahabharata. He calls “half Nordic” the Graeco-Roman, Aryan Indian, and Chinese high cultures. In Man and Technics, he writes of how the Nordic climate forged a man filled with vitality

through the hardness of the conditions of life, the cold, the constant adversity, into a tough race, with an intellect sharpened to the most extreme degree, with the cold fervor of an irrepressible passion for struggling, daring, driving forward.

Principally, he mentions the barbarian peoples of northern Europe, whose world he contrasts to “the languid world-feeling of the South” (Farrenkopf: 222). Spengler does not deny the environment, but rather than focusing on economic resources and their “critical” role in the industrialization process, he draws attention to the profound impact environments had in the formation of distinctive psychological orientations amongst the cultures of the world. He thinks that the Faustian form of spirituality came out of the “harder struggling” climes of the North. The Nordic character was less passive, less languorous, more energetic, individualistic, and more preoccupied with status and heroic deeds than the characters of other climes. He was a human biological being to be sure, but one animated with the spirit of a “proud beast of prey [11],” like that of an “eagle, lion, [or] tiger.” Much like Hegel’s master who engages in a fight to the death for pure prestige, for this “Nordic” individual “the concerns of life, the deed, became more important than mere physical existence” (Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life, Greenwood Press, 1976: 19-41).

This deed-oriented man is not satisfied with a Darwinian struggle for existence or a Marxist struggle for economic equality. He wants to climb high, soar upward and reach ever higher levels of existential intensity. He is not preoccupied with mere adaptation, reproduction, and conservation. He wants to storm into the heavens and shape the world. But who exactly is this character? Is he the Hegelian master who fights to the death for the sake of prestige? Spengler paraphrases Nietzsche when he writes that the primordial forces of Western culture reflect the “primary emotions of an energetic human existence, the cruelty, the joy in excitement, danger, the violent act, victory, crime, the thrill of a conqueror and destroyer.” Nietzsche too wrote of the “aristocratic” warrior who longed for the “proud, exalted states of the soul,” as experienced intimately through “combat, adventure, the chase, the dance, war games” (The Genealogy of Morals, 1956: 167). Who are these characters? Are their “primary emotions” any different from humans in other cultures?

Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/01/oswald-spengler-and-the-faustian-soul-of-the-west-part-1/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Faust-im-Studierzimmer-Georg-Friedrich-Kersting.jpg

[2] Indo-European speakers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpbjquTQT98

[3] most mobile way of life in prehistoric times: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8488.html

[4] vital illustrations of spatial expansionism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiIXC1U8HNo

[5] first rational theology in history: http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/history/history-science-and-technology/god-and-reason-middle-ages

[6] invention of universities: http://www.cambridge.org/ca/academic/subjects/history/european-history-1000-1450/first-universities-studium-generale-and-origins-university-education-europe

[7] Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060929642/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0060929642&linkCode=as2&tag=countecurrenp-20&linkId=RSAI5XD63BIRHVZ5

[8] Grand Narrative: http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/g/gress-plato.html

[9] The Uniqueness of Western Civilization,: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/.UdQ80Ds6Oxo#.VAhMZPldVOw

[10] John Farrenkopf: http://www.arktos.com/john-farrenkopf-prophet-of-decline.html

[11] beast of prey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLkeIACfi4Y&list=UUIfnKm98q78j2ZNcfSQhhCQ&index=3


Oswald Spengler & the Faustian Soul of the West,

Part 2

By Ricardo Duchesne 

Kant and the “Unsocial Sociability” of Humans

I ended Part 1 [2] asking who are these characters with proud aristocratic souls so different from the rather submissive, slavish souls of the Asiatic races. A good way to start answering this question is to compare Spengler’s Faustian man with what Immanuel Kant says about the “unsocial sociability” of humans generally. In his essay, “Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View,” Kant seemed somewhat puzzled but nevertheless attuned to the way progress in history had been driven by the fiercer, self-centered side of human nature. Looking at the wide span of history, he concluded that without the vain desire for honor, property, and status humans would have never developed beyond a primitive Arcadian existence of self-sufficiency and mutual love:

all human talents would remain hidden forever in a dormant state, and men, as good-natured as the sheep they tended, would scarcely render their existence more valuable than that of their animals . . . [T]he end for which they were created, their rational nature, would be an unfulfilled void.

Faust1r7yrluo1_400.gifThere can no development of the human faculties, no high culture, without conflict, aggression, and pride. It is these asocial traits, “vainglory,” “lust for power,” “avarice,” which awaken the otherwise dormant talents of humans and “drive them to new exertions of their forces and thus to the manifold development of their capacities.” Nature in her wisdom, “not the hand of an evil spirit,” created “the unsocial sociability of humans.”

But Kant never asked, in this context, why Europeans were responsible, in his own estimation, for most of the moral and rational progression in history. Separately, in another publication, Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View [3] (1798), Kant did observe major differences in the psychological and moral character of humans as exhibited in different places on earth, ranking human races accordingly, with Europeans at the top in “natural traits”. Still, Kant never connected his anthropology with his principle of asocial qualities.

Did “Nature” foster these asocial qualities evenly among the cultures of the world? While these “vices” — as we have learned today from evolutionary psychology — are genetically-based traits that evolved in response to long periods of adaptive selective pressures associated with the maximization of human survival, there is no reason to assume that the form and degree of these traits evolved evenly or equally among all the human races and cultures. It is my view that the asocial qualities of Europeans were different, more intense, strident, individuated.

Indo-European Aristocratic Lifestyle

I believe that this variation should be traced back to the aristocratic lifestyle of Indo-Europeans. Indo-Europeans were a pastoral people from the Pontic-Caspian steppes who initiated the most mobile way of life in prehistoric times starting with the riding of horses and the invention of wheeled vehicles in the fourth millennium BC, together with the efficient exploitation of the “secondary products” of domestic animals (dairy products, textiles, harnessing of animals), large-scale herding, and the invention of chariots in the second millennium. By the end of the second millennium, even though Indo-Europeans invaded both Eastern and Western lands, only the Occident had been “Indo-Europeanized [4].”

Indo-Europeans were also uniquely ruled by a class of free aristocrats. In very broad terms, I define as “aristocratic” a state in which the ruler, the king, or the commander-in-chief is not an autocrat who treats the upper classes as unequal servants but is a “peer” who exists in a spirit of equality as one more warrior of noble birth, primus inter pares [5]. This is not to say that leaders did not enjoy extra powers and advantages, or that leaders were not tempted to act in tyrannical ways. It is to say that in aristocratic cultures, for all the intense rivalries between families and individuals seeking their own renown, there was a strong ethos of aristocratic egalitarianism against despotic rule. A true aristocratic deserving respect from his peers could not be submissive; his dignity and honor as a man were intimately linked to his capacity for self-determination.

Different levels of social organization characterized Indo-European society. The lowest level, and the smallest unit of society, consisted of families residing in farmsteads and small hamlets, practicing mixed farming with livestock representing the predominant form of wealth. The next tier consisted of a clan of about five families with a common ancestor. The third level consisted of several clans — or a tribe — sharing the same. Those members of the tribe who owned livestock were considered to be free in the eyes of the tribe, with the right to bear arms and participate in the tribal assembly.

Although the scale of complexity of Indo-European societies changed considerably with the passage of time, and the Celtic tribal confederations that were in close contact with Caesar’s Rome during the 1st century BC, for example, were characterized by a high concentration of economic and political power, these confederations were still ruled by a class of free aristocrats. In classic Celtic society, real power within and outside the tribal assembly was wielded by the most powerful members of the nobility, as measured by the size of their clientage and their ability to bestow patronage. Patronage could be extended to members of other tribes and to free individuals who were lower in status and were thus tempted to surrender some of their independence in favor of protection and patronage.

Indo-European nobles were also grouped into war-bands. These bands were freely constituted associations of men operating independently from tribal or kinship ties. They could be initiated by any powerful individual on the merits of his martial abilities. The relation between the chief and his followers was personal and contractual: the followers would volunteer to be bound to the leader by oaths of loyalty wherein they would promise to assist him while the leader would promise to reward them from successful raids. The sovereignty of each member was thus recognized even though there was a recognized leader. These “groups of comrades,” to use Indo-European vocabulary, were singularly dedicated to predatory behavior and to “wolf-like” living by hunting and raiding, and to the performance of superior, even superhuman deeds. The members were generally young, unmarried men, thirsting for adventure. The followers were sworn not to survive a war-leader who was slain in battle, just as the leader was expected to show in all circumstances a personal example of courage and war-skills.

Young men born into noble families were not only driven by economic needs and the spirit of adventure, but also by a deep-seated psychological need for honor and recognition — a need nurtured not by nature as such but by a cultural setting in which one’s noble status was maintained in and through the risking of one’s life in a battle to the death for pure prestige. This competition for fame among war-band members (partially outside the ties of kinship) could not but have had an individualizing effect upon the warriors. Hence, although band members (“friend-companions” or “partners”) belonged to a cohesive and loyal group of like-minded individuals, they were not swallowed up anonymously within the group.

The Indo-European lifestyle included fierce competition for grazing rights, constant alertness in the defense of one’s portable wealth, and an expansionist disposition in a world in which competing herdsmen were motivated to seek new pastures as well as tempted to take the movable wealth (cattle) of their neighbors. This life required not just the skills of a butcher but a life span of horsemanship and arms (conflict, raids, violence) which brought to the fore certain mental dispositions including aggressiveness and individualism, in the sense that each individual, in this male-oriented atmosphere, needed to become as much a warrior as a herds-man.

The most important value of Indo-European aristocrats was the pursuit of individual glory as members of their warbands and as judged by their peers. The Iliad, Beowulf, Song of Roland, including such Irish, Icelandic and Germanic Sagas as Lebor na hUidre, Njals Saga, Gisla Saga Sursonnar, The Nibelungenlied recount the heroic deeds and fame of aristocrats — these are the earliest voices from the dawn of Western civilization. Within this heroic ‘life-world’ the unsocial traits of humans took on a sharper, keener, individuated expression.

What about other central Asian peoples from the steppes such as the Mongols and Turks who produced a similar heroic literature? There are a number of substantial differences. First, the Indo-European epic and heroic tradition precedes any other tradition by some thousands of years, not just the Homeric and the Sanskrit epics but, as we now know with some certainty from such major books as M. L. West’s Indo-European Poetry and Myth, and Calvert Watkins’s How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of IE Poetics (1995), going back to a prehistoric oral tradition. Second, IE poetry exhibits a keener grasp and rendition of the fundamentally tragic character of life, an aristocratic confidence in the face of destiny, the inevitability of human hardship and hubris, without bitterness, but with a deep joy.

Third, IE epics show both collective and individual inspiration, unlike non-IE epics which show characters functioning only as collective representations of their communities. This is why in some IE sagas there is a clear author’s stance, unlike the anonymous non-IE sages; the individuality, the rights of authorship, the poet’s awareness of himself as creator, is acknowledged in many ancient and medieval European sagas (see Hans Gunther, Religious Attitudes of the Indo-Europeans [1963] 2001, and Aaron Gurevich, The Origins of European Individualism [6], 1995).

Nietzsche and Sublimation of the Agonistic Ethos of Indo-European Barbarians

nietzschefffggg.jpgBut how do we connect the barbaric asocial traits of prehistoric Indo-European warriors to the superlative cultural achievements of Greeks and later civilized Europeans? Nietzsche provides us some keen insights as to how the untamed agonistic ethos of Indo-Europeans was translated into civilized creativity. In his fascinating early essay, “Homer on Competition” (1872), Nietzsche observes that civilized culture or convention (nomos) was not imposed on nature but was a sublimated continuation of the strife that was already inherent to nature (physis). The nature of existence is based on conflict and this conflict unfolded itself in human institutions and governments. Humans are not naturally harmonious and rational as Socrates had insisted; the nature of humanity is strife. Without strife there is no cultural development. Nietzsche argued against the separation of man/culture from nature: the cultural creations of humanity are expressions or aspects of nature itself.

But nature and culture are not identical; the artistic creations of humans, their norms and institutions, constitute a re-channeling of the destructive striving of nature into creative acts, which give form and aesthetic beauty to the otherwise barbaric character of natural strife. While culture is an extension of nature, it is also a form by which human beings conceal their cruel reality, and the absurdity and the destructiveness of their nature. This is what Nietzsche meant by the “dual character” of nature; humans restrain or sublimate their drives to create cultural artifacts as a way of coping with the meaningless destruction associated with striving.

Nietzsche, in another early publication, The Birth of Tragedy (1872), referred to this duality of human existence, nomos and physis, as the “Apollonian and Dionysian duality.” The Dionysian symbolized the excessive and intoxicating strife which characterized human life in early tribal societies, whereas the Apollonian symbolized the restraint and re-channeling of conflict possible in state-organized societies. In the case of Greek society, during pre-Homeric times, Nietzsche envisioned a world in which there were no or few limits to the Dionysian impulses, a time of “lust, deception, age, and death.” The Homeric and classical (Apollonian) inhabitants of city-states brought these primordial drives under “measure” and self-control. The emblematic meaning of the god Apollo was “nothing in excess.” Apollo was a provider of soundness of mind, a guardian against a complete descent into a state of chaos and wantonness. He was a redirector of the willful and hubristic yearnings of individuals into organized forms of warfare and higher levels of art and philosophy.

For Nietzsche, Greek civilization was not produced by a naturally harmonious character, or a fully moderated and pacified city-state. One of the major mix-ups all interpreters of the rise of the West fall into is to assume that Western achievements were about the overcoming and suppression of our Dionysian impulses. But Nietzsche is right: Greeks achieved their “civility” by attuning, not denying or emasculating, the destructive feuding and blood lust of their Dionysian past and placing their strife under certain rules, norms and laws. The limitless and chaotic character of strife as it existed in the state of nature was made “civilized” when Greeks came together within a larger political horizon, but it was not repressed. Their warfare took on the character of an organized contest within certain limits and conventions. The civilized aristocrat was the one who, in exercising sovereignty over his powerful longings (for sex, booze, revenge, and any other kind of intoxicant) learned self-command and, thereby, the capacity to use his reason to build up his political power and rule those “barbarians” who lacked this self-discipline. The Greeks created their admirable culture while remaining at ease with their superlative will to strife.

The problem with Nietzsche is lack of historical substantiation. The research now exists to add to Nietzsche the historically based argument that the Greeks viewed the nature of existence as strife because of their background in an Indo-European state of nature where strife was the overriding ethos. There are strong reasons to believe that Nietzsche’s concept of strife is an expression of his own Western background and his study of the Western agonistic mode of thinking that began with the Greeks. One may agree that strife is in the “nature of being” as such, but it is worth noting that, for Nietzsche, not all cultures have handled nature’s strife in the same way and not all cultures have been equally proficient in the sublimated production of creative individuals or geniuses. Nietzsche thus wrote of two basic human responses to the horror of endless strife: the un-Hellenic tendency to renounce life in this world as “not worth living,” leading to a religious call to seek a life in the beyond or the after-world, or the Greek tragic tendency, which acknowledged this strife, “terrible as it was, and regarded it as justified.” The cultures that came to terms with this strife, he believed, were more proficient in the completion of nature’s ends and in the production of creative individuals willing to act in this world. He saw Heraclitus’ celebration of war as the father and king of the whole universe as a uniquely Greek affirmation of nature as strife. It was this affirmation which led him to say that “only a Greek was capable of finding such an idea to be the fundament of a cosmology.”

The Greek speaking aristocrats had to learn to come together within a political community that would allow them to find some common ground and thus move away from the “state of nature” with its endless feuding and battling for individual glory. There would emerge in the 8th century BC a new type of political organization, the city-state. The greatness of Homeric and Classical Greece involved putting Apollonian limits around the indispensable but excessive Dionysian impulses of barbaric pre-Homeric Greeks. Ionian literature was far from the berserkers of the pre-Homeric world, but it was just as intensively competitive. The search for the truth was a free-for-all with each philosopher competing for intellectual prestige in a polemical tone that sought to discredit the theories of others while promoting one’s own. There were no Possessors of the Way in aristocratic Greece; no Chinese Sages decorously deferential to their superiors and expecting appropriate deference from their inferiors.

Friedrich_Nietzsche_by_lieandletdie.jpgThis agonistic ethos was ingrained in the Olympic Games, in the perpetual warring of the city-states, in the pursuit of a political career and in the competition among orators for the admiration of the citizens, and in the Athenian theater festivals where a great many poets would take part in Dionysian competitions. It was evident in the sophistic-Socratic ethos of dialogic argument and the pursuit of knowledge by comparing and criticizing individual speeches, evaluating contradictory claims, collecting out evidence, competitive persuasion and refutation. And in the Catholic scholastic method, according to which critics would engage major works, read them thoroughly, compare the book’s theories to other authorities, and through a series of dialogical exercises ascertain the respective merits and demerits.

In Spengler’s language, this Faustian soul was present in “the Viking infinity wistfulness,” and their colonizing activities through the North Sea, the Atlantic, and the Black Sea. In the Portuguese and Spaniards who “were possessed by the adventured-craving for uncharted distances and for everything unknown and dangerous.” In “the emigration to America,” “the Californian gold-rush,” “the passion of our Civilization for swift transit, the conquest of the air, the exploration of the Polar regions and the climbing of almost impossible mountain peaks” — “dramas of uncontrollable longings for freedom, solitude, immense independence, and of giant-like contempt for all limitations.” “These dramas are Faustian and only Faustian. No other culture, not even the Chinese, knows them” (335-37).

The West has clearly been facing a spiritual decline for many years now as Spengler observed despite its immense technological innovations, which Spengler acknowledged, observing how Europe, after 1800, came to be thoroughly dominated by a purely “mechanical” expression of this Faustian tendency in its remorseless expansion outward through industrial capitalism with its ever-growing markets and scientific breakthroughs. Spengler did not associate this mechanical (“Anglo-Saxon”) expansion with cultural creativity per se. Before 1800, the energy of Europe’s Faustian culture was still expressed in “organic” terms; that is, it was directed toward pushing the frontiers of inner knowledge through art, literature, and the development of the nation state. It was during the 1800s that the West, according to him, entered “the early Winter of full civilization” as its culture took on a purely capitalistic and mechanical character, extending itself across the globe, with no more “organic” ties to community or soil. It was at this point that this rootless rationalistic Zivilisation had come to exhaust its creative possibilities, and would have to confront “the cold, hard facts of a late life. . . . Of great paintings or great music there can no longer be, for Western people, any question” (Decline of the West, Vol. I: 20-21; Vol II: 46, 44, 40).

The decline of the organic Faustian soul is irreversible but there is reason to believe that decline is cyclical and not always permanent — as we have seen most significantly in the case of China many times throughout her history. European peoples need not lose their superlative drive for technological supremacy. The West can re-assert itself, unless the cultural Marxists are successful in their efforts to destroy this Faustian spirit permanently through mass immigration and miscegenation.

Source: http://www.eurocanadian.ca/2014/09/oswald-spengler-and-faustian-soul-of_8.html [7]

Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/01/oswald-spengler-and-the-faustian-soul-of-the-west-part-2/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Apollos.jpg

[2] Part 1: http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/01/oswald-spengler-and-the-faustian-soul-of-the-west-part-1/

[3] Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View: http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/philosophy/philosophy-texts/kant-anthropology-pragmatic-point-view

[4] Indo-Europeanized: http://books.google.ca/books/about/The_Kurgan_Culture_and_the_Indo_European.html?id=hCZmAAAAMAAJ&redir_esc=y

[5] primus inter pares: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primus_inter_pares

[6] The Origins of European Individualism: http://books.google.ca/books/about/The_Origins_of_European_Individualism.html?id=QrksZOjpURYC&redir_esc=y

[7] http://www.eurocanadian.ca/2014/09/oswald-spengler-and-faustian-soul-of_8.html: http://www.eurocanadian.ca/2014/09/oswald-spengler-and-faustian-soul-of_8.html


samedi, 03 janvier 2015

Ernst Jünger's The Glass Bees


Ernst Jünger's The Glass Bees

Matthew Gordon

(From Synthesis)

& http://www.wermodandwermod.com

Ernst Jünger
Louise Bogan & Elizabeth Mayer (transl.)
The Glass Bees
New York Review Books, 2000

THE Glass Bees is an introspective novel about a quiet but dignified cavalry officer called Richard. Unable to adjust to life after war and needing money, he applies for a security job at the headquarters of the mysterious oligarch Zapparoni. Confronted with mechanical and psychological trials, the dream becomes a nightmare, and Richard is forced to contemplate his place in the modern world and the nature of reality itself.

Although philosophical and lyrical, this book is nonetheless a tense page-turner with all the qualities of great sci-fi drama. The poetic imagery is highly expressive, but there are times when the sentences are clumsy and over-long, the meaning of a passage can be lost over a seemingly unnecessary paragraph break. Whether this is down to Jünger's original German or the fault of translation I couldn't possibly say. Nonetheless Ernst Jünger stands among the most lucid and skilful of continental modern writers.

Jünger's vision of the future isn't the ultra-Jacobin "boot stamping on a human face" of Nineteen-Eighty-Four - it is a subtler, more Western dystopia. Jünger is amazingly prescient in this, although he is rarely given credit for it; he predicts that the media and entertainment will rule the psyches of men, that miniaturisation and hyperreal gratification will become our new Faustian obsession and that for all the wonders and benefits of technology it is ultimately dehumanising and alienating. The new world won't be ruled by crude and brutal tyrants like Hitler, Stalin or Kim Jong Ill, but by benevolent and private businessmen, like Rupert Murdoch. We won’t be dominated by the authoritarian father-ego of Freud, but by the hedonistic-pervert of Lacan. Jünger anticipates the theory of hyperreality formulated by Baudrillard, and it is interesting that this book was published before theories on post-modernism and deconstruction became vogue.

Faced with this less than perfect future, Jünger's doesn't try to incite revolution or political struggle – his message remains the same throughout his work – but to inspire individual autonomy. Despite all outward constraints, uprightedness and self-reliance is real freedom. Jünger depicts a superficial and spiritually bankrupt future, but if he is to be believed, the potential for man to be his true self is always the same.

mercredi, 31 décembre 2014

Study of Sombart – Varsanyi


Study of Sombart – Varsanyi

A Study of Werner Sombart’s Writings by Nicholas A. Varsanyi (PDF – 8.4 MB):

A Study of Werner Sombart’s Writings

Varsanyi, Nicholas A. A Study of Werner Sombart’s Writings. Ph.D. Thesis, Montreal, McGill University, 1963. File originally retrieved from: <http://digitool.library.mcgill.ca/R/?func=dbin-jump-full&object_id=115298&local_base=GEN01-MCG02 >.


Ex: http://neweuropeanconservative.wordpress.com

lundi, 29 décembre 2014

Walter Flex: Le pèlerin entre deux mondes


Walter Flex: Le pèlerin entre deux mondes
Un livre épuisé à télécharger!
walter_flexr.jpgPar une nuit de tempête sur le front de Lorraine en 1914, un étudiant, volontaire de guerre, griffonne les premiers vers de ce qui va devenir un des plus fameux chants d'Europe : "Les oies sauvages…" (devenu par les vicissitudes de l'histoire hymne du feu 1er REP). C'est également le début d'un des ouvrages allemands les plus populaires de la Première Guerre mondiale.
Dans le havresac des soldats, ce journal de guerre côtoie Nietzsche, Schopenhauer ou Löns. C'est que Le pèlerin entre deux mondes est un hymne passionné à l'esprit des Wandervögel (Oiseaux migrateurs), mouvement de jeunesse qui associe retour à la nature et sagesse... Que la guerre, puisqu'elle s'est imposée, serve de révélateur à cet art de vivre, annonce d'une nouvelle communauté qui doit émerger dans l'avenir.
Les appels presque mystiques au soleil et à l'esprit des forêts, la tendresse et la poésie qui baignent le récit de Walter Flex, les évocations d'un christianisme viril et d'un paganisme compatissant, l'absence de haine pour l'adversaire, le cri des oies sauvages deviennent autant d'échos des aspirations profondes du peuple. Contre les pesanteurs et les mensonges d'une société individualiste et mercantile, l'esprit Wandervogel développe une pédagogie de la libération et du respect (« Rester pur et devenir mûr »).
Dans l'édition française parue en 1996 aux éd. du Porte-Glaive, la présentation et la traduction de Philippe Marcq restituent sobrement la lumineuse poésie du texte original. L'introduction de Robert Steuckers, quant à elle, évoque parfaitement l'œuvre et le contexte spirituel d'un auteur inconnu en France et oublié en Allemagne.

Télécharger ici

Préface de Robert Steuckers:


vendredi, 26 décembre 2014

Der deutsche Scheich



Der deutsche Scheich

Juden-Retter, Rassekundler, Islamist: Als Beduine verkleidet lebte Ludwig Ferdinand Clauß in den zwanziger Jahren unter Nomaden in der jordanischen Wüste. Seither gilt er als Mittler zwischen den Kulturen - doch der Forscher arbeitete auch den Nazis zu.


Ex: http://www.spiegel.de 


Die israelische Holocaust-Gedenkstätte Yad Vashem ließ dem deutschen Geisteswissenschaftler Ludwig Ferdinand Clauß (1892-1974) 1981 postum eine große Ehre zuteil werden. Weil er eine Jüdin versteckt und so vor der Deportation bewahrt hatte, erklärte man ihn zu einem "Gerechten unter den Völkern" und stellte ihn damit in eine Reihe mit all jenen nichtjüdischen Personen und Organisationen, die sich dem Nazi-Regime widersetzt und Juden das Leben gerettet hatten. 15 Jahre später allerdings wurde die Auszeichnung zurückgenommen. Clauß hatte, so war bekannt geworden, außerdem einen wichtigen Beitrag zur Rassenideologie der Nazis geleistet.

Wie konnte es passieren, dass einer der einflussreichsten Rassenforscher der NS-Zeit vorübergehend als Menschenfreund und Retter der Juden galt? Ein Missverständnis?

Auf den ersten Blick erscheinen seine Handlungen in dieser Zeit wie eine Mischung eigentlich unvereinbarer Positionen. Mit seinen rassistischen Publikationen lieferte der gebürtige Offenburger den Nationalsozialisten zusätzlichen Stoff für ihre vernichtende Ideologie - und ließ sich bei seinen Forschungen von einer jüdischen Mitarbeiterin helfen. Seine Bücher zur arabischen Kultur, Ergebnisse dieser gemeinsamen Arbeit, werden bis heute verlegt. So lobte 2004 der Hildesheimer Georg Olms Verlag den "Ausdrucksforschers und Anthropologen" als "herausragenden Kenner der islamischen Welt".

Scheich der deutschen Beduinen

Im Sommer 1927 betrat Ludwig Ferdinand Clauß das Zelt des Beduinen Mitghgâl Paschas und stellte sich dem Häuptling der Beni Sachr vor: "Muhammad Ferid el-Almani, Scheich der deutschen Beduinen". Es sollte der Anfang eines Stücks gemeinsamen Lebensweges werden. Vier Jahre lang blieb Clauß bei diesem Stamm, lebte mit den Beduinen zusammen und machte sie zum Gegenstand seiner rassischen Feldforschung. Mit seinem Buch "Als Beduine unter Beduinen" beeinflusste er nicht zuletzt auch das Bild der Deutschen von der arabischen Welt.

Der Orient hatte Clauß schon immer fasziniert. Im Frühjahr 1927 war er seinen romantischen Phantasien gefolgt und zu einer langen Reise aufgebrochen. Nach einem kurzen Aufenthalt in Damaskus ließ er sich zunächst in Jerusalem nieder. Dort beobachtete er, welche enorme Entwicklung die Stadt unter der britischen Mandatsmacht und durch die zionistischen Einwanderer nahm. Die Entwicklung missfiel ihm, denn er lehnte den westlichen Einfluss im Orient grundsätzlich als "ruchlose Verletzung und Verwirrung fremder Artgesetze" ab. Ebenso wie Europa sollte auch der Orient seinen "arteigenen Gesetzen" folgen. Clauß forderte, "das Morgenland" möge "diesen Fremdling" - gemeint waren die jüdischen Einwanderer - "ausstoßen".

Clauß interessierte sich vor allem für die "arteigene" Lebensweise der Araber. Um sie zu studieren wollte er sie in ihrem scheinbar ureigensten Lebensraum aufsuchen: Wie ein Biologe wilde Tiere am besten in freier Wildbahn beobachtet, entschied sich der Forscher, selbst in die transjordanische Wüste zu gehen. Ihre Bewohner, die Beduinen, verkörperten seiner Meinung nach den Ursprung wahren Arabertums. Von Schädelmessungen und ähnlichen Methoden anderer Rassenforscher hielt Clauß wenig. Sein Ansatz verlangte ein distanzloses Ergründen durch unmittelbares "Mitleben". Er verstand darunter eine beinahe mystische Verwandlung in "artfremdes" Sein, die über eine bloße "teilnehmende Beobachtung" weit hinausging: Er gab vor, nicht nur wie ein Beduine mit Beduinen, sondern tatsächlich als Beduine zu leben.

SS-Sonderauftrag "Rassen im Kampf"

LFC-1.jpgSeine Transformation bedurfte einiger Vorbereitungen. Äußerlich kam es auf die "artrechte Rassentracht" der Beduinen an; zudem übte sich Clauß im "artspezifischen Ausdruck" der Wüstenländer in Gestik und Mimik. Um sich von seinem ganzen Wesen her in einen Beduinen zu verwandeln, war aber noch ein weitere Schritt notwendig: Er musste den Islam, die seiner Ansicht nach "artspezifische Religion" der Araber, annehmen.

Nach seiner Rückkehr machte sich Clauß mit einschlägigen Büchern zur Rassenforschung einen Namen. Er entwickelte eine Lehre, die er "Rassenseelenkunde" nannte, forderte die radikale "Reinigung" des deutschen Volkes von "artfremden" Einflüssen und propagierte die Rückbesinnung auf das "nordische" Erbe. In völkischen Kreisen avancierte er zum Fachmann in Fragen des Islams, was sich in der NS-Zeit in entsprechenden Forschungstätigkeiten niederschlug.

Mit dem SS-Anthropologen Bruno Beger (mitverantwortlich für die "jüdische Skelettsammlung" an der Uni Straßburg) arbeitete Clauß in der SS-Stiftung "Das Ahnenerbe" an dem Sonderauftrag "Rassen im Kampf". Ziel war die Erforschung "fremdrassigen" Kampfverhaltens am Beispiel der muslimischen Verbände der Waffen-SS in Bosnien. Immer wieder betonte er in diesem Zusammenhang die angebliche "nahe weltanschauliche Nachbarschaft" des Nationalsozialismus "zur Glaubenswelt des Islams".

Einfluss auf die Nazi-Propaganda

In seiner Einteilung des Orients in unterschiedliche Rassen bracht sich auch der Antisemitismus Bahn: Clauß unterschied streng zwischen Arabern und einer von diesen scheinbar gänzlich verschiedenen "vorderasiatischen Rasse". Letztere verkörperte für ihn das urbane Leben, Rassenmischung, Wucherei und Betrug - mithin die klassischen Topoi des europäischen Antisemitismus. Kein Wunder also, dass er "das jüdische Volk" im Zentrum der "vorderasiatischen Rasse" wähnte.

Clauß trat damit zugleich der Zurechnung der Juden zu den "Semiten" entgegen, wozu theoretisch auch die Araber gehörten. Vielmehr formulierte er eine Unterscheidung von Juden und Arabern, die nicht zuletzt aus außenpolitischen Motiven heraus erwünscht war: Um die als Bündnispartner in Betracht kommenden Araber nicht zu verprellen, wurde der Begriff "antisemitisch" schließlich auch aus der offiziellen NS-Propaganda entfernt und durch "antijüdisch" ersetzt.

Nach dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges blieb Clauß eine akademische Karriere in Deutschland verwehrt. Die islamische Welt wurde schließlich zu seinem persönlichen Refugium. Mehrfach reiste er mit seinem Wohnwagen durch verschiedene arabische Staaten und setzte seine Hoffnung dabei bemerkenswerter Weise auf den im Entstehen begriffenen Fundamentalismus. Ähnlich wie der islamistische Ideologe Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) lehnte er den arabischen Nationalismus als Blasphemie vehement ab und rief zur Rückkehr zu den Wurzeln des Islams auf. Nur der Islam, so Clauß, könne die Welt vor einem Absturz in den totalen Materialismus des Westens retten.

Der Rassenforscher als Retter

Dass Clauß nach seinem Tod vorübergehend zum Gerechten unter den Völker wurde, verdankte er seinem Einsatz für seine Mitarbeiterin Margarete Landé, einer deutschen Jüdin. Die beiden kannten sich aus gemeinsamen Freiburger Studienzeiten. In Jerusalem traf Clauß Margarete Landé wieder, die Anfang der zwanziger Jahre als Zionistin nach Palästina gegangen war. Bei seinen Feldforschungen unter den Beduinen begleitete sie Clauß. Als "Sitt Marjam" konnte sie ihm vor allem beim Blick in das Frauenzelt behilflich sein.

1943 wurde Clauß wegen ihr aus der NSDAP ausgeschlossen. Eine Jüdin zu beschäftigten war verboten, außerdem wurde gemunkelt, dass er mit dieser zusammengelebt hatte. In den letzten Kriegsjahren versteckte er Landé auf seinem Brandenburger Landgut und schützte sie so vor dem Zugriff der Gestapo - der Grund für seine spätere Ehrung durch Yad Vashem.

Als Wissenschaftler war Clauß nach 1945 ein Einzelgänger geblieben. In seiner Schülerin, der rechtsextremen Religionshistorikerin Sigrid Hunke, fand Clauß allerdings eine Nachfolgerin, die viele seiner Ideen weiter transportierte. Ihr in dieser Hinsicht wichtigstes Buch "Allahs Sonne über dem Abendland" (1960) erscheint bis heute im Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag und liegt in der Islamecke jeder größeren Buchhandlung aus.

Sur la révolution conservatrice et, plus particulièrement, sur Friedrich-Georg Jünger

Robert Steuckers

Lille, 27 juin 2014

Sur la révolution conservatrice et, plus particulièrement, sur Friedrich-Georg Jünger

(en compagnie de la Camarde...!)

samedi, 13 décembre 2014

Lille, 27 juin 2014: Révolution conservatrice


La révolution conservatrice allemande (extrait)

Lille, 27 juin 2014

(conférence prononcée avec une solide angine de poitrine; amusant de se revoir alors que l'on est là, à l'article de la mort, en présence de la Camarde, envoyée promener au nom de Heidegger, de Mohler, du "kaïros". Eugène Krampon a eu le mot qu'il fallait: "T'as failli faire comme Molière! Mourir sur scène! Quel artiste tu fais!).


Una antropología de la Técnica. Consideraciones spenglerianas.


Una antropología de la Técnica.

Consideraciones spenglerianas.

Carlos Javier Blanco Martín


Ex: http://www.revistalarazonhistorica.com

Resumen: En este ensayo revisamos la idea de Técnica, sirviéndonos especialmente de las aportaciones de Oswald Spengler. Tratamos de su conexión con la ciencia, y la cuestión del supuesto relativismo spengleriano. También discutimos el tema de la continuidad entre mito, religión y ciencia, y el diverso sentido que estas tres ideas pueden tomar en nuestra civilización, la civilización occidental o fáustica. La degradación de la civilización fáustica expresada en la existencia del hombre-masa, incita a fijar nuevos conceptos sobre el significado actual de la técnica.

Abstract: In this paper we review the idea of ​​Technique, especially through the contributions of Oswald Spengler. We try to connect Technique with science, and the question of alleged Spengler relativism. We also discussed the issue of continuity between myth, religion and science, and the different sense that these different three ideas can take in our civilization, Western or Faustian civilization. The degradation of the Faustian civilization is expressed in the existence of the mass-man, encourage us to set new concepts about the current meaning of Technique.

Matizaciones en torno al universalismo o relativismo de la ciencia.

Las palabras de Spengler han sido mal interpretadas, con harta frecuencia, en un sentido relativista. De acuerdo con el relativismo, no habría una “ciencia universal” válida para todas las culturas y civilizaciones, cada una de estas culturas y civilizaciones poseerá su verdad. Contra el relativismo, y a favor del universalismo, se podría alegar que los cohetes espaciales chinos se lanzan en base a cálculos y teorías de la Física pertenecientes a un mismo corpus epistémico, no distinto del europeo, americano, ruso. Igualmente, los científicos nucleares iraníes comparten la misma ciencia, y pueden llevar dicha ciencia a las mismas realizaciones prácticas que los de cualquier otro ámbito cultural de la humanidad. Hay, en sus realizaciones, una universalidad en la ciencia. Pero este pretendido universalismo de la ciencia contemporánea arrastra un lastre habitual en nuestros días de “globalización”. El lastre se denomina “presentismo”. Se vive como si no existiera la Historia, como si se borrara de forma completa el proceso de desarrollo de cada una de las culturas y civilización hasta llegar al caótico horno y a la efervescente olla que es el mundo hoy. La ciencia físico-química, precisamente en lo que hace a sus aplicaciones prácticas, a sus extensiones tecnológicas, es de facto un conocimiento y recetario universal que, dentro de civilizaciones diversas, ya está a libre disposición de todos los hombres. Véase que ya en la Antigüedad y en el Medievo, los avances armamentísticos se universalizaban y no precisamente para traer paz y concordia entre los pueblos. Sustancialmente no hay diferencias en estos tiempos que corren: Occidente, con todo su potencial fáustico unilateralmente orientado hacia un capitalismo tecnológico está creando las bombas y los aparatos con los que, mañana, otro día, los islámicos o los orientales podrán esclavizarlo. Esta es la lección de Spengler que podemos leer en sus libros.

En una mirada histórica, no presentista, se observa que hay “una” física apolínea (antigua, griega), “una” física mágica (árabe), “una” física fáustica (europea). Esta evidencia histórica no guarda relación con una platónica concepción de la verdad, con un realismo de la índole que sea. Lo que Spengler quiere decirnos es que las tres ciencias físicas que fueron posibles son mutuamente incomprensibles, cada una verá a la otra como un simple depósito de vaguedades y nociones abstrusas. Como sucede con la moral y con el arte, hay tantas “físicas” como culturas y civilizaciones sean posibles, pues con la ciencia acontece lo mismo que con cualquier otra creación del alma del hombre: ésta se realiza y se expresa a partir del suelo donde arraiga y a partir de los derroteros que el sino ha trazado para esa cultura. Bien es cierto que nos encontramos en el trance de una “civilización universal”, pero este trance es asintótico, y una vez que se llegue a cierto punto de fusión, la olla puede reventar y el proceso puede revertir. Nada garantiza (pues el sino es inescrutable) que esa civilización universal haya de triunfar, ni tampoco lo contrario. Y precisamente porque los factores más rápidamente universalizables (armamento, tecnología deshumanizadora, depredación capitalista) son los más genocidas, siempre cabe aguardar a una protesta venida desde los elementos más hondos de cada especie de alma, una verdadera revuelta de la raíz contra la hojarasca inmunda. Esa reacción identitaria, esa “vuelta a las raíces”, nunca es del todo descartable. No en la Europa decadente de nuestros días, que ha sido, bien mirada, la exportadora de sus creaciones, la ciega y estúpida engendradora de armas mortíferas con las que ella misma se suicida. No cabe esperar del Islam o de cualquier otra civilización rival del occidente europeo un giro dulcificado en su devenir, una vez que adopten la ciencia tecnológica que nació con Galileo y siguió con Newton, Born y Max Planck. Los nuevos "bárbaros" tomarán esto, pero en el montón de sus basuras arrojarán las ideas de democracia, derechos humanos, tolerancia y respeto a la persona. La propia tradición filosófica occidental, la irradiación misma que “el milagro griego” supuso para el mundo se rebaja a la condición de mera “literatura” cuando olvida el verdadero bloque compacto que fue el Racionalismo una vez que nació en Grecia hace 2.600 años.

Mito, Religión y Ciencia: continuidades.


spenglermierzch-zac.jpgEn La Decadencia de Occidente de Oswald Spengler se muestra con claridad que entre la ciencia -como actividad teórica- y la religión hay una identidad de fondo. Las teorías de los físicos, sus entes teóricos (átomos, fuerzas, energía) son algo más que “abstracciones”. Son inobservables, suprasensibles en el mismo sentido en que podemos decir que son númina, esto es, divinidades. La ciencia no rompe con el mito (dando a la palabra mito todo su sentido de “siempre verdad”, y no el moderno y degradado sentido de “precursor falso de la verdad”). La actividad epistémica del hombre hunde sus raíces en las conductas animales y en la experiencia sensible de éstos, por supuesto. Entre el “ver” de un águila cuando localiza su presa, y la aprehensión del objeto teórico por parte del investigador, hay toda una continuidad, que no se puede negar. El anima,l al cazar o al preparar sus refugios, ya está manifestando de manera incipiente su condición de animal técnico, aunque es la reflexión por parte del sujeto la que deberá dar paso a la teoría:

“En el hombre, esta experiencia de los sentidos se ha condensado y profundizado en el sentido de experiencia visual. Pero al establecerse la costumbre de hablar con palabras, la intelección se separa de la visión y sigue desenvolviéndose independiente, en forma de pensamiento: a la técnica de la comprensión momentánea sigue la teoría, que representa una re-flexión. La técnica se orienta hacia la proximidad visible y la necesidad inmediata. La teoría se orienta hacia la lejanía, hacia los estremecimientos de lo invisible. Junto al breve saber de cada día, viene a colocarse a fe. Y, sin embargo, el hombre desarrolla un nuevo saber y una nueva técnica de orden superior: al mito sigue el culto. El mito conoce los númina; el culto los conjura. La teoría en sentido sublime, es completamente religiosa. Solo mucho después, en épocas muy posteriores, el hombre separa de la teoría religiosa la teoría física, al adquirir conciencia de los métodos. Pero, aparte de esto, poco es lo que cambia. El mundo imaginado por la física sigue siendo mitológico (...)” [LDO, I, 544-545] [1]

En los tiempos arcaicos, justo cuando la planta que damos en llamar Cultura, es una joven creación que se levanta por encima del suelo, y extiende sus primeros brotes (así los griegos de Homero, así los germanos y los celtas en su época prerromana) hay toda una labor colectiva de mitopoiesis. El pueblo, más que los poetas, crea sus dioses, su Olimpo, su Walhalla, a partir de su sentido de la vista y de su radicación en un solar. Cuando estos pueblos son móviles, migrantes, como acontece con los indoeuropeos, su experiencia itinerante les va enriqueciendo sin perder del todo aquellas primeras impresiones de un solar primigenio (Urheimat). El precedente del filósofo es el mitólogo, “conocedor” de los dioses, poeta que sabe dar el paso desde la cercanía a la lejanía. El precedente del sacerdote, ejecutor de ritos y maestro del culto debido a los dioses es, por el contrario, el sacerdote. El sacerdote conjura (beschwören) esos dioses, los invoca para atraérselos, por así decir. La ciencia moderna, la actual física que nos habla de átomos, fuerzas, energías fundamentales, ha desplegado una “nueva mitología”, por tanto, un complicado Olimpo que sólo los sabios más especializados surgidos de la Universidad pueden detallar y comprender. El tecnólogo, el científico aplicado, será quien les rinda culto y domine las prescripciones necesarias para su invocación.

Debemos insistir: estas continuidades, que tampoco Spengler cifra en clave darwinista, entre ver y comprender, mito y teoría, religión y ciencia, no significan un relativismo. Significan una comprensión de la ciencia contemporánea –y muy especialmente nuestra física fáustica- en un amplio contexto histórico-cultural. No hay por qué desvirtuar a Spengler con prejuicios realistas o platónicos en torno al carácter inmutable o no de nuestros conocimientos sobre la naturaleza. La física “mágica” de la cultura árabe era la verdad para aquella cultura, así como la física “apolínea” era la verdad para los griegos. El pensamiento alquimista y sustancialista no puede ser comprendido hoy, desde nuestra mentalidad dinámica y direccional- nuestra alma fáustica- así como nada entenderemos de la estática de los griegos si perseveramos en verla como un antecedente de nuestra dinámica.

Con todo, la subordinación de la ciencia a la tecnología, la integración de toda la física en el seno del complejo industrial, ha arrojado al “sabio” especialista de su pedestal sacerdotal. Acaso es el cosmólogo el único ejemplo de “sabio” actual que se deja arropar por un manto sacro y un aura de mitopoeta, pues la cosmología declina por su propia naturaleza el carácter aplicado, indaga sobre “los orígenes”. Teorías como la del Big Bang o los universos paralelos, especulaciones en torno al número de dimensiones del universo, las “estructuras últimas” de éste, la existencia de un “más allá” de los agujeros negros, la esencia oculta del tiempo y la materia oscura, etc. retrotraen la ciencia a los tiempos balbucientes de la filosofía presocrática, sin peder un ápice de aquel carácter mitopoético de que aquella gozaba todavía, sustituyendo (como empezó a hacerse en la Jonia de hace 2.600 años) los númina por conceptos, por un logos despersonificado. El carácter críptico, la oscuridad que un día dio fama a Heráclito y demás sabios de la antigüedad, hoy viene dado por el complejo andamiaje matemático que disimula, en realidad, la inevitable tendencia mitopoética y fáustica de nuestros cosmólogos.

Por supuesto, en la enseñanza primaria, secundaria, y en la propia universidad, antes de toda especialización, la “ciencia” sigue ofreciéndose en forma de parcelas y recetarios, yuxtaponiéndose toda clase de procedimiento técnico, “servil”. La metafísica, la sabiduría de los primeros principios y causas, aunaba (al tiempo que separaba) la Historia y la Naturaleza. En su fase griega era el estudio del ser en cuanto tal ser, sin Historia, el estudio de lo ya sido. La Naturaleza pasa a ser “eterno pretérito”, saber sobre lo producido: saber de dónde viene algo. La Historia, por el contrario, es el saber del adónde vamos: el sino. La ciencia de la naturaleza no puede ser vivida, sólo pensada. La Historia, en cambio, es vivida y lanzada hacia adelante.[2]

La Historia suele ser definida como “ciencia del pasado”, y nada más opuesto al enfoque de Spengler, para quien su estudio –en sentido morfológico y en una visión metaempírica- es en realidad la ciencia del eterno futuro, el eterno devenir (ewiges Werden, ewiges Zukunft). Pero somos víctima del moderno intelectualismo, un intelectualismo que nada tiene que ver con el pensamiento ontológico clásico de los griegos y escolásticos. Cuando Kant denomina a la causalidad “forma necesaria del conocimiento” [3], hay, en esta expresión, un evidente intelectualismo una restricción del significado de la palabra causalidad. El producirse, a partir del siglo XIX, vino a confundirse con lo producido. Esto último, lo “ya sido”, el conjunto de los hechos de la naturaleza, sirve de modelo para la Historia, ciencia de la vida y del producirse. Spengler dice que esta frontera borrada ha sido propia de una “espiritualidad decadente, urbana, habituada a la coacción de la causalidad” [LDO, 236][4]

El hombre de la gran ciudad, el hombre “civilizado” se ha formado en universidades y centros técnicos especializados, centros que ejercen una coacción mental (Denkzwang), una rigidez mecánica del espíritu. Triunfa el espíritu mecánico sobre el orgánico. El cientifismo aplicado a la Historia (vide: el materialismo histórico o el positivismo) busca la “ley”, acaso sustituida ahora por la finalidad, su remedo. De toda la ontología del devenir humano y del destino no logra otra cosa que un engranaje. [5]

Nacimiento del alma fáustica.

oswald-spengler-l-homme-et-la-technique.jpgDe lo que se trata es de situar la moderna ciencia física en el curso de desarrollo de la cultura fáustica, ya devenida civilización a partir, digamos, de las guerras napoleónicas a principios del siglo XIX. La cultura fáustica surge en el trayecto que va desde el siglo VIII al siglo X, y sus expresiones artísticas más imponentes ya pueden verse en los estilos arquitectónicos del románico y el gótico. Las creaciones del feudalismo, la Iglesia medieval, la Monarquía Asturiana, Carlomagno, el Sacro Imperio Romano Germánico, la Escolástica, etc., son sus correspondientes en el terreno institucional. Las semillas de la ciencia fáustica más esplendorosa del barroco (la dinámica y la Monadología de Leibniz, las fluxiones de Newton) ya están presentes in nuce en aquella feliz síntesis de germanismo “bárbaro” y cristiandad latina que va surgiendo de las oscuridades del siglo VIII. Una Cristiandad acosada, desde el Sur y desde el Oriente por el Islam, desde el norte por los vikingos. Aparentemente empequeñecida, a la defensiva, tímida y parapetada tras las selvas y fortalezas que todavía no son los sólidos castillos murados que vemos florecer a lo largo de la Edad Media. Pero una cristiandad, como aquella de la Liébana de Asturias donde Beato amonesta –nada menos- que al metropolitano de Toledo, viviendo éste bajo dominación musulmana y en cierta connivencia con ella. Esa Cristiandad rural que sobrevive gracias al valor de su sangre, de su ethnos y de una fe incólume que ya no es la fe “mágica” de la mozarabía, de los eremitas rupestres del periodo visigodo, de los cristianos del viejo Mare Nostrum, de un Bizancio decadente, ya orientalizado, “arábigo”, o de un mahometanismo pujante.

Es el cristianismo fáustico, a decir de Spengler, el que hizo de este conglomerado de pueblos celtogermánicos y latinos una Europa de Occidente a calificar como entidad cultural por derecho propio. Y de forma magistral e intuitiva el filósofo alemán asocia el origen de la arquitectura cristiana fáustica con las selvas del norte y las impresiones que el alma del germano balbuciente en su nueva fe, pudo obtener de ellas. En la propia península ibérica, donde se dan dos climas y dos religiones, es el Norte el que se comunica plenamente con la Europa carolingia y celtogermánica. En ese corredor que, desde el mar cantábrico hasta las grandes llanuras nórdicas, se llena de selvas y, acaso, riscos, el alma del hombre se impresiona por los fenómenos de la naturaleza, el misterio de los bosques, las tempestades, los mares bravos. [6]

El arábigo hubo de retroceder ante los paisajes agrestes y, para él, terribles de los (nunca mejor llamados) Picos de Europa en 718 (o 722). Poco después, el arte asturiano, partiendo de técnicas constructivas romanas pero plagado de mil influjos más, sin excluir el arte local, preanuncia los derroteros de una nueva espiritualidad, buscando la verticalidad y la afirmación fáustica. La verticalidad del gótico, el estilo del lejano Norte, ya es producto del alma que creció en las grandes selvas europeas.

Los cipreses y los pinos producen la impresión de cuerpos euclidianos; no hubieran podido ser nunca símbolos del espacio infinito. El roble, el haya, el tilo, con sus vacilantes machas de luz en los espacios llenos de sombra, producen una impresión incorpórea, ilimitada, espiritual” [LDO, I, 546].[7]

Algunos autores han señalado interesantes parecidos y diferencias entre Spengler y Ortega:

No es posible separar al hombre de sus circunstancias. En este sentido, la reflexión sobre la técnica no es sólo una parte de un sistema mayor, un sistema en el que vive el hombre, y donde no es posible separar la voluntad de vivir de la complejidad de las relaciones sociales. Lo individual y la historia están tan unidos que no es posible aislar a los unos de los otros. [...] primero, para reflexionar sobre la técnica se debe describir la naturaleza antropológica del hombre. Ambos empiezan por describir a un hombre sin un lugar en el mundo. Cazador inestable, hambriento de poder y pleno de voluntad para lograr sus deseos. Un hombre en una lucha constante con su entorno natural. Un hombre que no puede existir sin someter todo lo que encuentra. Ortega y Spengler están lejos del cristianismo. Sin embargo, su visión del hombre, nos parece, es un reflejo de la mentalidad que se centra en el hombre y que proviene principalmente de la traducción cultural judeo-cristiana. Segundo, el medio ambiente en el que el hombre vive es hostil. Continuamente opuesto a la voluntad de vivir del hombre. Un entorno natural en el que el hombre es un cuerpo extraño. Un entorno natural donde la opción es la sumisión o la muerte. Tercero, la técnica es un reflejo de la voluntad de poder. La técnica se utiliza para llevar a cabo los deseos del hombre. La principal diferencia es que Spengler es más determinista y pesimista que Ortega. Para Spengler, toda la historia está obligada a decaer, y la técnica es sólo una fase de esta decadencia. En Ortega, la técnica es un peligro, pero es también una posibilidad. La técnica es una forma vacía, que puede llenarse con la desesperación y la estupidez, o puede ser una herramienta útil para lograr los propósitos del hombre. En este sentido, Spengler es más determinista que Ortega.” [8].

En suma, la visión del hombre como cazador, como depredador rebelde, que se enfrenta a la naturaleza, lucha contra ella e impone su instinto de rapiña, excluye el hecho -milenario en años- de que gran parte de la humanidad ha llevado a cabo una existencia campesina, pacífica, sobrepuesta a los ciclos naturales de la vida, regulándolos y adaptándose a ellos. Piro, en cambio, resalta la visión más abierta, más optimista, de una humanidad que –ciertamente- puede dejarse dominar por una técnica vacía de contenido o instrumentalizada por intereses espurios, aborrecibles, pero una técnica que, a su vez, igualmente puede ponerse al servicio de la felicidad humana. De momento, Ortega ve, a la altura ya de los comienzos del siglo XX, cómo la técnica es la que da cabal explicación del imperio de la masa.

Degeneración del alma fáustica y producción del hombre-masa.

La democracia del siglo XX ya no es, como en el XIX, el imperio de la opinión (doxa), el imperio de la prensa escrita y de las élites burguesas que dicen hablar en nombre de todos. A fin de cuentas, aquellos lectores de periódicos del siglo XIX eran personas semi-instruidas que podían pastorear a grandes masas incultas. El poder del Capital requería de la prensa y de la creación de opinión. Había una nueva aristocracia del dinero y de la ideología por sobre la aristocracia vieja de la tierra y la sangre. Incluso en las clases trabajadoras, los líderes socialistas a veces eran hombres selectos de entre la fábrica y los sectores menesterosos, individualidades nacidas para ser aristócratas del espíritu, con capacidad de mando. Spengler y Ortega no abandonan nunca, nos parece, el fundamental legado aristotélico en materia política, la ley natural que ha de regir incluso los sistemas que se dicen democráticos: “hay hombres nacidos para mandar y hay hombres nacidos para obedecer”. Sin embargo, la libertad de ambas clases de hombres quedaría garantizada si los que mandan de hecho son los más capacitados, dignos y merecedores del mando. Creemos que en este aspecto, Ortega aboga por una antropología menos agresiva y deprimente, más proclive a la corrección de la democracia, entendida como el justo gobierno del pueblo y por el pueblo bien entendido que en este “pueblo” hay élites, hay aristocracias del espíritu a las que es preciso nuevamente convocar y alentar, pues fueron las masas indóciles y las ideologías decimonónicas las que desalojaron del timón a los capitanes más preparados. En este contexto, de donde La Meditación sobre la Técnica spengleriana es una obra que se enmarca perfectamente en La Rebelión de las Masas, orteguiana, la técnica en cuanto instrumento vacío de contenido, o quizá como peligro mefistofélico, aparece como posibilidad: la renuncia a toda técnica nos lleva directamente a la barbarie, o a utopías suicidas. Sería macabro ver cómo la Europa “fáustica” que desarrollara toda la técnica moderna se entregaría a una existencia muelle, de desnudez cínica o ecologista, mientras los integristas islámicos o las “potencias emergentes” acaparan todo el saber en materia de armas nucleares, control por satélites, balística intercontinental. La técnica, una vez desarrollada, admite muy mal los pasos atrás, y –de otra parte- marca exigencias no solo agresivas, en la línea del hombre-depredador de Spengler, sino también defensivas. Una nueva civilización, o una drástica reordenación del mundo, si incluye una vida más sencilla y una reducción de la voracidad consumista actual, no podrá permitirse el lujo de renunciar a los desarrollos tecnológicos destinados a garantizar la defensa ante toda índole de amenazas, ya vengan éstas de un orden natural ya procedan de conflictos antropológicos, o de la combinación de ambas clases de amenazas.

Dialéctica entre arraigo y conquista.

La caracterización spengleriana del hombre como animal de rapiña constituye una tesis anti-intelectualista. No es el intelecto lo que pone en la cima zoológica al hombre, sostiene Spengler, sino su máxima movilidad, su insaciable afán de cobrar presa, la astucia y previsión, el acecho y la táctica. En todos estos rasgos el ser humano supera a los demás animales, incluyendo a los mejores mamíferos cazadores. La inteligencia más bien sería producto secundario y derivado de la táctica (término militar que Spengler retrotrae a la zoología). De hecho, no hay necesidad de máquinas o herramientas para poder hablar de técnica. Es más bien el uso de las mismas, la conducta con fines depredadores, lo que determina la existencia de una técnica. Acaso el trabajo coordinado de los cazadores prehistóricos, antes que sus armas, configuró ya la técnica en un verdadero sentido spengleriano. Esto es interesante, porque aleja a Spengler del materialismo y del objetivismo cultural. Nuestra civilización es técnica no tanto por la producción y acumulación de artefactos, sino por el uso esencial de tácticas, que incluyen colaboración con otros sujetos, así como su control, sometimiento y dominación, junto con las máquinas y artefactos que se precisen. Toda la dialéctica de la alienación (Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx), y en concreto, la alienación del hombre bajo el dominio de la máquina, haciéndose él mismo cosa, objetivándose como cosa al servicio de las máquinas que él mismo ha creado, quedaría aquí reinterpretada: el hombre es el creador, también es el rebelde que inventa, “ingenia” constantemente. Los trámites y procesos parciales en los que el hombre se vuelve esclavo de otros hombres y aun de las máquinas, serían necesarios para la consecución de nuevas cumbres y presas en el depredador humano. Todo ello proviene de la propia zoología. La planta, de nula movilidad, sólo proporciona un escenario para la verdadera lucha por la vida. En los animales superiores, la oposición y complementariedad entre herbívoros y mamíferos adelanta, a su vez, el sedentarismo campesino frente al nomadismo del guerrero (el “noble”). En realidad, las culturas tal y como las entiende Spengler, “plantas” que arraigan en un solar primigenio, son fruto de una síntesis dialéctica entre estos elementos más sedentarios y vegetativos (aldeanos) y los más móviles y depredadores (nobles, guerreros). Es preciso nutrirse de unos elementos minerales, térreos, atmosféricos, paisajísticos, etc. para ir conformando el alma de una cultura en su estado naciente. El bosque para el germano, el desierto para el semita, las estepas para el mongol, etc. pero este alimento de la cultura balbuciente no basta: hace falta el desenvolvimiento: las correrías, las invasiones, la medición de fuerzas con los enemigos y la estabilización de fronteras. Una dialéctica entre arraigo y conquista. Entre la casa y el terruño (factor femenino) y la expedición de caza (factor masculino y móvil).

La técnica como causa de la alienación pero como motor para la conquista. 

speng197491.jpgHoy, un “gran hombre”, no puede dejar de lado las relaciones entre la técnica y la civilización. Los filósofos profesionales, ocupados de pequeñeces, que para Spengler podrían ser la lógica, la teoría del conocimiento o la psicología, hoy, son personajes que dan vergüenza:

“...si dejando a estos grandes hombres volvemos la mirada hacia los filósofos actuales, ¡qué vergüenza!, ¡qué insignificancia personal!, ¡qué mezquino horizonte práctico y espiritual! El mero hecho de figuramos a uno de ellos en el trance de demostrar su principado espiritual en la política, en la diplomacia, en la organización, en la dirección de alguna gran empresa colonial, comercial o de transportes, nos produce un sentimiento de verdadera compasión. Y esto no es señal de riqueza interior, es falta de enjundia. En vano busco a uno que se haya hecho ilustre por algún juicio profundo y previsor sobre cualquiera cuestión decisiva del presente. No encuentro más que opiniones provincianas, como las puede tener cualquiera. Cuando tomo en las manos un libro de un pensador moderno, me pregunto si el autor tiene alguna idea de las realidades políticas mundiales, de los grandes problemas urbanos, del capitalismo, del porvenir del Estado, de las relaciones entre la técnica y la marcha de la civilización, de los rusos, de la ciencia. Goethe hubiera entendido y amado todas estas cosas. Entre los filósofos vivientes no hay uno solo capaz de do minarlas con la mirada. Todo ello, lo repito, no es contenido de la filosofía; pero es un síntoma indudable de su interior necesidad, de su fertilidad, de su rango simbólico.” [LDO, I, 80]

El autor de La Decadencia de Occidente sentía una profunda emoción ante los artefactos técnicos en la medida en que éstos revelaban voluntad de poder, prolongaciones y sofisticaciones de las garras, colmillos, cuernos y fauces con que la naturaleza había dotado a los seres superiores, vale decir, a los depredadores. Un acorazado de la marina de guerra, un cañón de largo alcance, un nuevo tipo de explosivo o de carro de combate: en esto debe pensar el filósofo de la historia cuando piensa en profundidad y se hace una imagen del mundo y de sus civilizaciones en pugna. Spengler decía admirarse más por las líneas de un trasatlántico o de una nueva máquina industrial que por todos los cachivaches verbales que se traen y se llevan los “literatos”, los “intelectuales” al uso. No hay, pues, aliento ni mucho rincón para el humanismo, para la cultura en el sentido sublime, en el sentido de ocio y superestructura volátil. Hay inventos que sólo la cultura fáustica ha elevado a su máxima expresión y que están pensados y llevados a cabo para el dominio. Dominio: si no se trata del dominio sobre potencias extranjeras al menos el dominio sobre el espacio, el tiempo, la energía y cualquier otra posible limitación a las posibilidades humanas. Contrariamente a lo que se dice, fueron aquellos monjes medievales, henchidos de la idea de un Dios fáustico, quienes empezaron a plantear el universo en términos de máquina inmensa, en términos de fuerzas, de dinamismo, de potencia. Pero aquellos escolásticos que fueron los primeros científicos modernos (y no un Galileo presentado por los hagiógrafos laicistas como el primer campeón sobre el escolasticismo) vieron pronto el carácter demoníaco de la ciencia-técnica, de ese complejo de conocimiento-acción que estaba destinado a escapar a todo control. El humanista contemporáneo es un “espíritu sacerdotal” que exorciza la voluntad de poder inscrita en cada ingenio técnico:

“Así como en la Antigüedad la altiva obstinación de Prometeo frente a los dioses fue sentida y considerada como vesania criminal, así también la máquina fue sentida por el barroco como algo diabólico. El espíritu infernal había descubierto al hombre el secreto con que apoderarse del mecanismo universal y representar el papel de Dios. Por eso las naturalezas puramente sacerdotales, que viven en el reino del espíritu y no esperan nada de «este mundo», sobre todo los filósofos idealistas, los clasicistas, los humanistas, Kant y el mismo Nietzsche, guardan un silencio hostil sobre la técnica.” [LDO, II, 466]

"El silencio hostil sobre la técnica". Habría, según Spengler, un poso profundamente idealista y sacerdotal en la filosofía europea, un poso que ni siquiera Nietzsche pudo evitar, pese a sus diatribas contra la mentalidad sacerdotal. Hay un humanismo antitécnico que, de derecha o de izquierda, anhela un retorno a la candidez y al Edén perdido, y ese humanismo pretende orillar por completo una realidad: una realidad basada en el conflicto. El mundo es guerra, y la paz sólo se disfruta velando las armas. Cualquier máquina, toda herramienta, es un arma dentro del conjunto de cosas inventadas bajo impulsos meramente crematísticos, y de ser objetos útiles, acaban convirtiéndose en armas. Sojuzgar a la naturaleza, rebelarse ante ella; dominar a otros hombres, imponerse a los enemigos.

En la era del capitalismo industrial, sin embargo, el poder de las máquinas se vuelve ajeno y envolvente del propio sujeto creador de las mismas, así como ajenas y envolventes con respecto del obrero que las usa. Spengler tiñe sus reflexiones sobre la Historia contemporánea de un cierto tecnocratismo. El ingeniero, y no el patrón, y no el obrero, es quien conduce el proceso material de la historia.

Pero justamente por eso el hombre fáustico se ha convertido en esclavo de su creación Su número y la disposición de su vida quedan incluidos por la máquina en una trayectoria donde no hay descanso ni posibilidad de retroceso. El aldeano, el artífice, incluso el comerciante, aparecen de pronto inesenciales si se comparan con las tres figuras que la máquina ha educado durante su desarrollo; el empresario, el ingeniero, el obrero de fábrica. Una pequeña rama del trabajo manual, de la economía elaborativa, ha producido en esta cultura, y sólo en ella, el árbol poderoso que cubre con su sombra todos los demás oficios y profesiones: el mundo económico de la industria maquinista [376]. Obliga a la obediencia tanto al empresario como al obrero de fábrica. Los dos son esclavos, no señores de la máquina, que desenvuelve ahora su fuerza secreta más diabólica.” [LDO II, 774]

¿Qué queda de la “lucha de clases”? No hay tal. El obrero se vuelve esclavo obediente de la máquina, hasta aquí se le concede razón a Marx y a tantos críticos humanistas del maquinismo. Pero el patrón, que en la teoría marxiana acaba convirtiéndose en un parásito de la producción, es presentado por Spengler como un servidor obediente de una técnica diabólica, que comienza a marcar sus propias pautas, que legisla el comportamiento de los agentes humanos. El patrón, una vez realizada su inversión en tecnología, habrá de atenerse a las leyes impuestas por la propia tecnología. Marx pensaba que el ingeniero, en cuanto trabajador asalariado, podría emprender los cálculos racionales adecuados para mantener la producción maquinista y ponerla al servicio de la sociedad, esto es, de los demás obreros. Para Marx, el ingeniero debería dejar de ser un empleado íntimamente unido al patrón frente a la clase obrera, y alinearse con ella en le proceso socialista de eliminación del patrón capitalista enteramente superfluo. Por el contrario, en Spengler la caracterización de la industria maquinista es por completo diferente: el propio trabajo es una categoría abstracta y huera, hay jerarquía esencial en el mundo del trabajo, hay que regresar al dictum aristotélico: “unos hombres nacen para mandar y otros nacen para obedecer”. El trabajo de dirección es sustancialmente distinto al trabajo servil, manual y basado en la obediencia. No todos los hombres son iguales y, por tanto, no todos los trabajos son iguales. Y este principio, general en la Historia de las culturas y de las civilizaciones, no deja de aplicarse en la sociedad capitalista altamente industrializada. Los trabajos de dirección, a cargo de ingenieros y tecnócratas, son la nueva modalidad del caudillo guerrero, del conductor y conocedor de hombres. En rigor, podría hablarse de un socialismo: en la nueva era por venir, todos hemos de ser trabajadores, no hay lugar para los parásitos, quien no trabaje que no coma. Pero al mismo tiempo, en este nuevo socialismo, hay ineludiblemente jerarquías: trabajos de dirección y trabajos de base.

“El organizador y administrador constituye el centro en ese reino complicado y artificial de la máquina. El pensamiento, no la mano, es quien mantiene la cohesión. Pero justamente por eso existe una fisura todavía más importarte para conservar ese edificio, siempre amenazado, una figura más importante que la energía de esos empresarios, que hacen surgir ciudades de la tierra y cambian la forma del paisaje; es una figura que suele olvidarse en la controversia política: el ingeniero, el sabio sacerdote de la máquina. No sólo la altitud, sino la existencia misma de la industria, depende de la existencia de cien mil cabezas talentudas y educadas, que dominan la técnica y la desarrollan continuamente. El ingeniero es, en toda calma, dueño de la técnica y le marca su sino. El pensamiento del ingeniero es, como posibilidad, lo que la máquina como realidad. Se ha temido, con sentido harto materialista, el agotamiento de las minas de carbón. Pero mientras existan descubridores técnicos de alto vuelo, no hay peligros de esa clase que temer. Sólo cuando cese de reclutarse ese ejército de ingenieros, cuyo trabajo técnico constituye una intima unidad con el trabajo de la máquina, sólo entonces se extinguirá la industria, a pesar de los empresarios y de los trabajadores” [LDO, II, 775].

La lucha de clases en el marxismo ha de interpretarse imperativamente, no descriptivamente. Es un mandato que hizo Marx a los obreros a rebelarse, no es una “ley” que explique la historia, porque, para empezar, no siempre hubo clases sino estamentos y “grupos” definidos por muy otros criterios que los criterios economicistas de control y posesión de los medios de producción. De otra parte, el socialismo “ético” o “filantrópico” que ha llenado las cabezas huecas y las librerías desde el siglo XIX no es, en realidad, este marxismo “aguerrido” que llama a una guerra y a un odio de clases. Antes al contrario, gran parte de la izquierda (en especial la izquierda oficial e integrada plenamente en el sistema capitalista) llama a una reconciliación universal, a una abolición de los conflictos, a un  amor indiscriminado y a una paz perpetuas. La exacerbación de ciertas ideas racionalistas, del humanismo masónico, de la religión natural y deísta, del igualitarismo fanático, ha devenido, desde sus inicios sectarios, a constituir una suerte de pensamiento único, fuera del cual no hay más que criminalidad intelectual o “fascismo”. Derecha e izquierda admiten este marxismo “culturalista”, sin aguijón, según el cual la lucha de clases se sustituye por un diálogo o “acción comunicativa” infinita, se trueca por una madeja de intercambios dialógicos entre mónadas todas ellas autosuficientes. El empresario, el ingeniero, el obrero o el aldeano son, todos ellos “ciudadanos”, y después de asumida esta rotulación indistinta –burguesa- de “ciudadano” todo será paz y después gloria.

El hombre y la técnica. [9]

Y aquí interviene la técnica. La técnica entendida como panacea, como vertiente material u objetual de la misma medicina universal que constituye el diálogo o acción comunicativa, jamás podrá ser comprendida en toda su profundidad. Es lo que hacen hoy los “socialistas éticos”, los ideólogos posmarxistas, ya sin aguijón: en el fondo no serán necesarias nuevas revoluciones, y los obreros no tendrán que salir al frío de la calle, en donde ya no hay barricadas. La técnica, igual que el Cuerno de la Abundancia, vendrá a darnos los bienes necesarios que permitirán “bienestar para todos” y “parlamentarismo para todos”. El marxismo sin aguijón, todo el socialismo progresista que se ha impuesto hoy como doctrina oficial mundial, proclama una tesis que ya estaba presente en el propio corpus marxiano, y que la II Internacional no haría sino desarrollar de forma oportuna y oportunista: el propio desarrollo de las fuerzas productivas convertirá en superflua la figura del patrono, del capitalista. Unos obreros debidamente formados en administración y tecnología serían capaces de tomar el mando, de dirigir intelectualmente la producción. En esto, hay pocas diferencias con el muy extenso (y poco profundo) credo burgués de la Inglaterra utilitarista (Bentham o Mill): habría que llevar el mayor bienestar al mayor número posible de individuos. La titularidad jurídica de los medios de producción pasaría a ser una cuestión menor ante la perspectiva, cansada y propia de las momias de la cultura occidental (perspectiva “civilizada” en términos de Spengler). Pero he aquí que la técnica es algo más que un instrumento elevador del bienestar, algo más que una panacea posible para solventar disfunciones sociales. La perspectiva “extensiva” de la técnica ha de ser completada con la perspectiva “en profundidad”. La técnica es viejísima y consustancial con la evolución biológica del hombre. La técnica es táctica.

También los idealistas y los humanistas, la “gente de letras”, ignoran esta verdad. Para ellos la técnica arroja un hedor plebeyo, mundano, utilitario, que la acerca al ámbito de otras funciones corporales (nutrición, excreción, reproducción) sobre las que sería mejor callar fuera del ámbito especializado de la anatomía y fisiología. Y, sin embargo, gran parte de la Filosofía moderna es una reflexión sobre éstas técnicas de la vida, oscureciendo la técnica de las técnicas, esto es la Táctica, el combate. Con Nietzsche se ha puesto de moda relacionar la dieta, el régimen sexual y la necesidad de caminatas al aire libre, por un lado, y un saber degradado que conserva el nombre de “filosofía”. Las modas francesas, la sombra de Foucault, y toda esa literatura postmoderna en torno a las “tecnologías del Yo” acercan fatalmente a la filosofía de la fase civilizada occidental a subgéneros de otra índole como los libros de autoayuda, el psicoanálisis, las terapias alternativas y recetarios varios para una “vida sana y feliz” en la que el sexo, la dieta y el “pensamiento positivo” adquieren un enorme protagonismo. Justamente esto sucedió en la Antigüedad tardía: estoicos, cínicos, epicúreos, y demás sectas, redujeron la Filosofía a Ética, y ésta, a su vez, degeneró en un listado de consejos para la buena gestión de los genitales, del estómago, de la lengua y de pensamientos “positivos”. Ignoraron por completo que la técnica es la táctica de la vida, y que la vida es lucha. La Ética de las grandes urbes decadentes es la técnica del derrotado. La paz que se impone es la de quien triunfa porque ha luchado. Por el contrario la paz que se busca es la de aquel que ya no quiere o no puede luchar: cobarde, débil, cansado, tullido.

Basándose en Nietzsche, pero remitiéndose a una antropología mucho más nítida y naturalista, el Spengler de El Hombre y la Técnica retrotrae la Técnica al conjunto de tácticas de supervivencia de nuestra prehistoria animal, y en modo alguno las vincula a la herramienta. Hay técnica sin herramienta, como la del león que acecha a la gacela. Las herramientas pueden existir como una parte del ser orgánico (las garras, las zarpas, los picos, etc.) o pueden, en el caso humano, ser útiles fabricados y dotados de una vida extrasomática. Pero esta frontera del cuerpo humano no es la nota que distingue el origen de la técnica.

Además hay una analogía muy clara entre las especies animales y las dos clases fundamentales de hombre. Herbívoros y carnívoros, presas y rapaces. También en la sociedad humana se da esta dicotomía: dominadores y esclavos. En el filósofo germano no hay espacio para ternuras, no hay restos de humanismo cristiano o filantrópico, como sí quedaban en sus rivales (el socialismo ético y el marxismo, el liberalismo, el utilitarismo). El pensador de Blankenburg nos ofrece un cuadro crudo, belicista, feroz, de la historia natural y de la historia política. Este cuadro que se presenta como realista, sin idealizaciones ni edulcorantes, nos lo pone delante con una prosa bellísima, enérgica, feroz. Sin alambiques técnicos, sin jerga especializada, Spengler pone en funcionamiento sus profundas nociones de Biología, y muy especialmente de Etología. Partiendo de los precedentes fundamentales de Goethe, Schopenhauer y Darwin, pero corrigiéndolos a la vez (en especial a los dos últimos), Spengler nos hace conscientes de la muy diversa organización sensorial que poseen las distintas especies. El poder de la mirada en los animales rapaces (unos ojos cuya actuación ya, en sí mismo, es poder), que abre un abismo entre el ave de presa –por ejemplo- y la ternura ocular de una vaca... Este tipo de comparaciones (que por la época conformaban todo un continente nuevo de la ciencia, de la mano de von Üexkull) ilustran muy bien el tipo de aproximación naturalista que nuestro filósofo hace a la técnica y a las actividades directamente relacionadas con ella, la caza y la guerra.

En el animal no humano existe la “técnica de la especie”. Es ésta una técnica no personal, no inventiva, fija y repetitiva. Cada individuo se limita a ejecutar lo que su especie ha asimilado desde hace generaciones. Por el contrario, el hombre es creador para ser señor: innova, crea, se las ingenia para dominar, que es su verdadera vocación.

[1] A partir de ahora, las citas de La Decadencia de Occidente se harán de la siguiente manera: LDO, I significa tomo primero de la versión castellana de la obra,y LDO II es el segundo tomo de la misma en la traducción de Manuel G. Morente, Editorial Espasa, Madrid, 2011. Las citas de la versión alemana, corresponden con las iniciales en esa lengua, y se citará DUA, Der Untergang des Abendlandes, Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, München, 1972.

[2] “Die Geschichte ist ewiges Werden, ewige Zukunft also; die Natur ist geworden, also ewige Vergangenheit” [LDO, 538: DUA, 499-500].

[3] Kausalität  als notwendige Form der Erkenntnis”, DUA 197

[4]  “…inmitten späten, städtischer, an kausalen Denkzwang gewohnter Geiste”, [DUA, 236]

[5] Aber der Geist unsrer grossen Städte will so nicht schliessen. Umgeben von einer Maschinentechnik, die er selbst geschaffen hat, in dem er der Natur ihr gefährlichsts Geheimis, das Gesetz ablauscht, will er auch die Geschichte technisch erobern, theoretisch un praktisch” [DUA, 198].

[6] Wladensrauchen und Waldeinssamkeit, Gewitter und  Meeresbrandung, die das Naturgefühl des fautsichen Menschen, schon das des Kelten und Germanen, völlig beherrschen und seinen mythischen Schöpfungen den eigentümlichen Charakter geben, lassen das des antiken Menschen unbreührt” [DUA, 518] [LDO, I, 554-555].

[7] Die Zupresse und Pinie wirken körperhaft, euklidisch; sie hätten niemals Symbole des unendlichen Raumes werden können. Die Eiche, Buche und Linde mit den irrenden Lichtflecken in ihren schattenerfüllten Räumen wirken körperloss, grenzenlos, geistig” [DUA, 509].

[8] Pietro Piro: Dos meditaciones sobre la técnica: El hombre y la técnica de Oswald Spengler y Meditación de la técnica de Ortega y Gasset, en Laguna: Revista de filosofía, , Nº 32, 2013 , págs. 43-60. Cita en p. 55.

[9] Así se titula el ensayo breve de Oswald Spengler: El hombre y la técnica: una contribución a la filosofía de la vida, Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, 1934. Trad. Española de Manuel García Morente.